Salvage Heaven x 3

OLD CLAW-FOOT BATHTUBS never die. With any luck, they end up in architectural salvage depots, there to be rescued by renovators.


moon-river-signBefore yesterday, I never had occasion to visit Moon River Chattel on Grand Street in Brooklyn.  The original 13-year-old salvage outlet remains in an open lot, where tubs and sinks sit half-buried in snow; prices on the gorgeous soaking tubs, all in fine condition, are in the $700 range; porcelain pedestal sinks are around $400.

Moon River has two retail outlets on the same block. One has large-scale salvage: a p10204959-foot-tall, white-painted cabinet from a Victorian kitchen ($2,000), glass-and-wood showcases out of old stores, a fabulous early refrigerator in impeccable condition with a $3,000 price tag and a SOLD sticker. Across the street, not as interesting to me but very well-executed, is a shop — a gift shop, essentially — with a trendily nostalgic industrial-chic aesthetic. Among old metal lamps and wood school chairs are cool wire things, glassware, linens, and soaps.

Windows by the mile in Albany

Windows by the mile in Albany

But my two favorite salvage places (and these I have visited repeatedly, because I like my architectural salvage incredibly cheap) are Re-Store in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia, and the not-for-profit warehouse of the Historic Albany Foundation in the back streets of the Empire State’s (surprisingly intriguing) capital city.

We’re talking cheap here. Pedestal sinks for $125, schoolhouse globes for $25, old four-panel doors and six-over-six windows in good condition for…well, very little.

For old-house nuts like me (and you?), they’re great fun to explore.


About cara

I blog for fun at, and write about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites. My recently published posts and articles can be found here:
This entry was posted in BROOKLYN, HISTORIC PRESERVATION, HUDSON VALLEY, OLD-HOUSE MAKEOVERS, PHILADELPHIA and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Salvage Heaven x 3

  1. Melissa says:

    I’m thinking of making my mother mad that she set her porcelain sink on the curb. I don’t believe she would have done that if she’d known she could have gotten a couple hundred bucks for it.

    I’ve been apt hunting lately and now I see where all the tubs in the pre-war buildings have gone. I don’t understand why a renovation means having to take them out (this will be a recurring gripe, FYI).

  2. astor C. says:

    Historic Albany is an incredible resource for old (and beautiful) doors and windows. Just go knowing the dimensions and be prepared to spend the time searching. On the way up to Albany, stop in Hudson and check out Keystone–more expensive but more varied and exotic. They have a shop on the main drag (Warren St) plus a warehouse in an amazing old high-bay factory near the train depot.

  3. cara says:

    Thanks, Astor – I forgot about Keystone in Hudson. And you’re so right about knowing the dimensions you need when you go salvage-shopping.

  4. coppermaven says:

    If tubs can be reglazed, can sinks be refinished also? Buying a salvaged porcelain sink seems like a great idea as long as you can bring it back to pristine condition.

  5. cara says:

    I don’t see why not – maybe it’s not as common because it’s easier to just replace a sink.

  6. JC says:

    Which store has the schoolhouse globes? I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect one for ages. A salvage field trip to Philly or Albany would be great fun!

  7. cara says:

    Re-Store in Philly has the schoolhouse globes for $25. Go to and you will see them, among other things.

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