Old School Architectural Cool

What do you do if you have a whole day to explore Chicago? The Sears Tower? See a Broadway show in the Theater District? Eat a real Chicago pizza? Visit a real Chicago Firehouse? Well, recently my sister and I managed to do all those things, but we also managed to see a side of Chicago that was a bit off the beaten path.

I have always owned homes built in the teens and twenties, so looking for old fixtures and knobs is a way of life for me and my never-ending restoration projects. When Karen suggested we try to find an architectural salvage, I was 100% on board. Salvage in a city known for its architecture like Chicago is like gold to those of us who love and live in Arts & Crafts era bungalows. We found a place that was accessible from the L on the Brown Line – Architectural Artifacts.

AA is a bit more like a museum than a salvage store, it actually hosts events like weddings on the main floor. Inside you might find a gargoyle next to a neon sign, wonders at every turn. Most of it was out of my price range, but it was an interesting way to spend a couple of hours.

20130514-163217.jpgHinges and hardware

20130514-163731.jpgGobs of knobs

20130514-163753.jpgMy reflection multiplied in stained glass

20130514-163816.jpgA sting of ideas

20130514-163834.jpgThe face of an angel

20130514-163853.jpgBottle neck

20130514-163920.jpgSole purpose

20130514-164003.jpgArts & Letters

20130514-164051.jpgQuarter sawn

20130514-164119.jpgA clock bigger than me

20130514-164148.jpgOrange leather

20130514-164212.jpgThe corner pocket

20130514-170421.jpgA nice piece of glass

20130514-211801.jpgThe Shroud of Zebra


20130514-211910.jpgIndustrial orange

20130514-211932.jpgThe Knights Who Say “Nee”


20130514-212024.jpgThe woman behind the Fruity Chicken

37 thoughts on “Old School Architectural Cool

  1. Great, great pictures. I love the colors, clarity and composition involved. I think they are masterpieces! 🙂 It sounds like you had a great time in Chicago. I think we really do need to spend a little time there! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Caution: Contents May Shift During Mood Swings | HonieBriggs

  3. Oh wow! If only I could get my mitts on those doorknobs! It seems like quite the place! Amazing shots. Loved them – as usual with your work. 🙂

  4. You documented this place wonderfully, great pictures! Maybe I can remember it for the next time I go to Chicago, my brother lives in a little neighborhood called Andersonville. I’ll have to ask him if he’s ever been there, he likes antiquing.

  5. I haven’t been to visit Chicago since I was a teenager and me and my brother hitchhiked from Milwaukee where we lived to Chicago to go to the Museum. Ah, fun times. 🙂 I love going to places like you did. I love all those old things! Great pics as always. I always wanted to change all my door knobs to old glass ones but never could afford it. Well done!

    • I have all glass knobs that I bought at a thrift store years ago – I spent $16 on a bucket of about a dozen – over the years I have paid many times that for the ones I need to complete my set. I still need another one – someday 🙂

    • Thanks Madame. I loved that clock and thought it would be awesome standing against a wall in my house. I have glass knobs in my house too and love seeing the variety. Mine are that glass that turns purple.

  6. Love the day, love these photos! When I read your intro, my first thought was find someone to show you the stuff behind the tourist attractions, and you did!
    There’s a wonderful architectural salvage that I pass on my way to pick up Flower Child from school. I often wander through, so many treasures! But big $$$$$s.

  7. WOW!!!! Just WOW! What an amazing place! What a fantastic collection of photos and nostalgia and ancientness!
    The woman stained glass- is the glass painted where her skin and face are?
    What’s the industrial orange object? It’s beautiful!! Reminds me of Alessi.
    I Love your photos. As always. 🙂
    love from Rach.

    • Thanks Rach – good to hear from you! The woman is some how painted in places – but it’s in the surface, not on the surface. She was life sized and amazing. The orange was the stair treads in the warehouse – I was shooting between floors and loved the color.

  8. What fun – i love chicago and what a cool place to visit! Pictures are wonderful – what I wouldn’t do for a bunch of those glass doorknobs! -and for some reason, MontyPython references keep surfacing in things I am reading – bring me the shrubbery! K

    • LOL – It’s just a flesh wound! I was so tempted by the doorknobs – I have glass ones at home but was missing a brown swirled ceramic one that was the mate to my porch double doors – I found a match there.

  9. My friend lives 3 blocks from Architectural Artifacts & my sis-in-law got married there. What a fun place. Before this landscaping gig, I used to go with my salvage friend and strip buildings slated to be demo-ed. We’d strip doorknobs, trim, mantles, anything that we could get off the frame of the house. He would make a nice chunk of change doing it. Thanks for the memories!!

    • It’s a really cool place and I could totally see a wedding there. I have a guy here locally that finds small amounts of salvage, but nothing on this scale. I love this stuff and came home with a new doorknob that matches a lone remaining one on my porch.

  10. I’m supposed to be working on something else right now instead of looking at blogs, but was going through withdrawls, so glad I clicked on this Lori, fantastic set of photographs, such a cool place! I’d go nuts in there!

    • Thanks – you know I totally love shooting old stuff – the texture and colors are so interesting. It’s way more fun to look at blogs than to do anything productive 🙂

  11. Okay, I know that I say this a lot here, but LOVE LOVE LOVE this set. Exceptional, hilarious, and just plain fun. Lorri, I can’t tell you how happy I am every time I see the message that there’s something new at the eff stop!

    • Thanks Steph, you’re the best 🙂 I really love shooting “stuff” – finding angles and interesting colors and shapes. This place was a gold mine, plus it was hilarious to walk around amid all this stuff and see things like Victorian toilets and glove molds around every corner.

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