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.