Tag Archives: Portland Architectural Salvage

Magazine 2013 April – Noble Salvage

Really great write up of Portland, Maine salvage store Portland Architectural Salvage.

Like the physics of Einstein, the salvage and resale game is wholly built around fundamental equations of space and time. Given enough time and the precious square footage, even the most seemingly peculiar item will someday find its enthusiastic buyer. The question is when to cut one’s losses and part with, say, a space-greedy claw-foot bathtub for less than it might be worth. Some of Dunn’s finds never even make it to the floor, since she knows her long-time buyers well enough to pluck certain treasures specific to their tastes. (For example, she recently nabbed a pair of gothically adorned French doors from an old church with local house-flipper and interior designer Tyler Karu in mind.) Catalog stagers and movie set-designers are among her most loyal clients, and visitors to the showroom run a vast socioeconomic gamut, from hard-luck scrappers looking to sell doorknobs to modestly budgeted South Portland newlyweds to jet-setting Manhattanites who fly up for dinner and, oh, a few grand worth of antiquing. Dunn doesn’t like to drop names, but past celebrity clients have included a certain slow-handed English guitarist and a beloved, Brooklyn-born singer and actress who we’ll simply call Barbra S.

If the sheer volume of artifacts around the showroom puts you in mind of more voyeuristic reality programming — for example, A&E’s Hoarders, about compulsive collectors living among their own trash — rest assured that at the heart of Portland Architectural Salvage is a discriminating eye and a passion for preservation.

“We see immediately what’s junk and what’s really good,” says Dunn. “We have to go through the crap to get at anything we think we can sell.”

Then she lays her hand lovingly on a natural-oak mantel I might have looked right past.

“Here’s something that was carved two hundred years ago, that at one point was all put together by hand.” Her finger traces the graceful curve of the detail work.

“It’s history,” she says, “and sadly, it’s being thrown away.”

Read the entire article via Magazine 2013 April – Noble Salvage.