I love The Architectural Forum on Essex Road in Islington. You can find the coolest salvaged treasure in there. If you are handy yourself, they also have a reclamation yard with lots of unrestored salvage waiting to be upcycled.
So imagine my delight to find out that their sister company, V&V Reclamation, are having their first ever architectural salvage auction next week! The auction takes place at Wellers Auctioneers in Hertfordshire on Friday and Saturday, May 10 and 11th. I know it’s not in London but Wellers Auctioneers is only about an hour from Islington. It sounds like a nice day trip to the countryside.
The auction has over 1500 lots with items ranging from fireplaces to architectural artefacts. Many items come from the Hampstead mansion of Sir Joseph Beecham, a rich Edwardian industrialist. The provenance of the other reclaimed items include keystones and decorative plaques from St. Thomas’ Hospital, yorkstone paving from St. Paul’s Cathedral and carved stonework from several prestigious London buildings.
Assuming you don’t have a grand country house which needs restoration, you may think to yourself that’s all very nice but what do I do with it? Plenty! Architectural salvage in your average home can be used in many creative ways.
In the garden
- Window frame turned into a living wall planter with the addition of pocket planters
- Door frames provide romantic patio screening
- Window frames and door frames are used to create a greenhouse
- Old typewriter converted into a planter
- Wheels turned into garden edging/garden art
Freestanding decorative pieces
- Window frames used in a table display
- Window frames turned into mirrors
- Iron railings add depth to a mantle piece display
- Doors turned into large mirrors
- Window framed turned into an artist’s inspiration board
- Window frame created into artwork
- Window frames turned into a cork pinboard
- Window frames provide jewelry display
- Cornice recycled as a picture ledge
- Window frame recycled into a memo board
Furniture such as cabinets, tables and headboards
- The Queen of Creativity, Martha Stewart, provides a tutorial on how to turn a mantlepiece into an upholstered headboard
- Window frame repurposed into a coffee table
- Large doors propped casually create a less structured headboard
- Arches turned into a dramatic console table
- Doors cover a medicine cabinet and ironwork provides a stand for bathroom basins
Believe it or not, these pictures represent only a small amount of the creative uses for salvage. If you would like more ideas, visit my Pinterest Salvage board.
How wonderful that we can find a place for these beautiful pieces, many of which were handcrafted, in our modern day homes! They show real craftsmanship which is so often missing in current society with its emphasis on items with a limited shelf-life.
Architectural salvage is beautiful in its own right and imbued with patina and history. Such pieces can add character and intrigue to any interior, whether traditional or contemporary, and elevate your home to the next level.
I hope you get the chance to attend The Architectural Forum’s auction. Remember, you get (i) a day trip out of London, (ii) upcycling kudos, (iii) shopping and (iv) items that none of your friends will have or can get. I’d say that’s pretty good multi-tasking, don’t you?