Shopping the Architectural Parts Warehouse

APW mantel

Perhaps it's just what your living room needs.

By Akum Norder

It's spring. It's time to renew. We open the windows, blow four months of dust off the bookshelf, and say aloud what we've all been feeling: "I'm tired of this place."

So what happens next?

A visit to the Architectural Parts Warehouse in Albany can provide inspiration for reinventing your house and garden -- and maybe in ways you don't expect.

APW montage

The warehouse, run as a nonprofit by the Historic Albany Foundation, is packed with pieces stripped from old buildings, here waiting for your next project. I'd imagine Historic Albany might wish a place like this didn't have to exist. Its website states that the foundation "strongly advocates the preservation of all historic buildings and encourages the retention of parts in their original settings." But if demolition is inevitable, they'll accept salvaged parts in the hopes they might see new life.

APW medallion

APW overview

APW acanthus

Looking at these thousands of pieces makes me a little sad to think of the houses they were stripped from: the fireplace mantels, the gracefully curving staircase rails, rows of shutters stacked ten deep. So many windows, so many doors. Just how many houses has Albany lost?

But there's also a curious beauty to the place. Grouping ordinary objects can put them in a new light. Seen by the dozens, even bits of window hardware are intriguing, sculptural. I found myself wondering if I should start a hinge collection.

APW metal bins

It gets the mind racing: What could I do with this stuff? Well ...

The previous owners of my home came here to the warehouse to buy carved pieces of architectural stone, which they used to border the garden beds.

APW doorknobs My brother-in-law took a dozen or so old doorknobs, impaled them on various lengths of pipe, and created a garden sculpture. They're like overgrown, Steampunk-inspired toadstools.

APW windows

Seeing all the windows makes me imagine recreating that window-wall room divider in the movie High Fidelity (similar to this one). Or, less ambitious, we could make a table from a window and old hinges - someone tacked up a magazine tear sheet with instructions near the stash of windows.

And then there's always remodeling. Why not add a mantle to the living room? Or put old ceramic faucets in the bathroom - and maybe a claw-foot bathtub? Or check here for tile before redoing the kitchen floor?

APW shutters

APW enlarger There also are things here that aren't house salvage at all -- but that could still help you reinvent your rooms. A vintage photo enlarger. Nineteenth-century chests. A wooden yoke. Old stoves. (My brother-in-law used one to create a kind of chiminea -- yes, he's a garden-decor superhero.) A midcentury desk lamp. Wooden pulleys (I think I need one).

If you're up for the thrill of the hunt, go to the warehouse. And be inspired by what you find.

APW chest

Find It

Architectural Parts Warehouse
89 Lexington Ave.
Albany, NY 12206

Comments

Thanks for teh reminder - this place is fabulous!

Thank you SO MUCH for this article. I have been wanting to go to an architectural salvage place forever but never knew where to find one. Summer projects here I come!

I haven't been here in awhile because it seemed like this place was picked over after getting shout outs (like on AOA). So THANKS A LOT for covering my favorite places and giving the masses the heads up. Not. ;-)

Once again you guys blow the lid off another Albany secret. I guess the only saving grace is that it's on Lexington Ave and most suburbanites and other wimps will not want to take the ride in.

Thank you, AOA for the fabulous write up about the Parts Warehouse. You really captured it and made me remember when I didn't work here, how I used to just come over and "visit" to cheer me up!! Now, I'm here all the time and invite the rest of you in! And PS Lexington isn't bad for anyone. Really appreciate the blog.
-Susan

Thanks for this ! I will be passing this on to someone who would really be into this type of thing. :)

Great article! Just a heads up that the links to their websites appear to be broken at the moment.

I bought tons of stuff from the warehouse for my old house, and even more stuff from this guy in Kingston http://www.stanthejunkman.com/

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