August 5, 2014

Architectural Antiques: Shopping at Housewerks

I hadn’t been down to see my friends at Housewerks Salvage since last winter, so when my friend Andrea called to ask if I’d go with her, I jumped at the chance. Housewerks is located in an old Victorian-era pumping station, and is an ideal space for hunting up architectural antiques and salvage.housewerks (9)

Before we even got inside, we explored the yard, which is filled with tiles, marble, iron pieces, and items whose purpose you can’t even begin to guess. housewerks (11)housewerks (13)housewerks (14)housewerks (23)housewerks (20)

We stumbled upon stacks of tiles which would make a terrific accent, because there are not enough of any pattern to do an entire floor. I think my favourite ones are still the black and white checks with the waved edges. housewerks (7)housewerks (4)housewerks (6)housewerks (5)

When I worked at another architectural salvage yard, we’d take these decorative heat registers and put lights in them. housewerks (8)

I loved this colour that the rust had created. It’s such a great deep orange. housewerks (12)

Of course, while the predominant colour is rusted metal, housewerks (16)that makes other shades stand out even more. This old elevator car would make a great bar.housewerks (15)

The dramatic skies, which looked so threatening, were a perfect backdrop for the Victorian building.housewerks (18)

I loved this light fixture, and if I could have figured out a place for it, I’d have snapped it up instantly! Although it looks like pebble glass, it’s really a heavy plastic. housewerks (19)

As we wandered inside, I was once again struck by the variety of pieces which Housewerks has in stock, and how well they merchandise it. housewerks (24)

This is the view from the other side:housewerks (28)

Here are some of the pieces we found inside:

Bakelite billiard balls.housewerks (30)

Glass globes for lights… or sculptural ornaments for your garden. housewerks (33)

Every single letter and symbol that you can think of! housewerks (25)

I had a hard time getting a picture of this without reflections, but it’s hilarious nevertheless!housewerks (27)

A massive piece of glass with a sand-blasted compass rose. Perfect for doors or windows at a beach house. housewerks (29)

From an old building, perfect for a garden ornament.housewerks (36)

Massive copper bucket. Hot tub or planter?housewerks (31)

Old brass door hinges.housewerks (43)

Beautiful verde gris dipper. Sort of looks like an old still-life painting, doesn’t it?housewerks (44)

Honestly, the best thing at Housewerks is the owner, my dear friend Ben, a.k.a. General Rubric!housewerks (26)He’s a font of arcane knowledge and could write a Ph.D. dissertation on the intricacies of the different styles of mouldings used in 18th century townhouses in Philadelphia, or what type of screw early 20th century carpenters used on kitchen cabinetry. Smart as a whip and a great eye for antique salvage pieces. And he can fix just about anything, as evidenced last week by an emergency phone call from Mick Hart, formerly of The Grateful Dead, who needed an instrument repaired between shows in DC and Connecticut. Ben did it!

A visit to Housewerks is a great way to while away an afternoon. You should go!


  1. Oh, I love places like this. In fact, I just visited two myself, one in California on the hunt for a few bits of hardware for my home, and one in Oregon on my recent travels. Your friend Ben must have seen (and fixed) some amazing bits and bobs in his time. Thank you for posting and sharing this jewel with your loyal readers.

  2. WHAT AN EYE!!
    Thanks for the visit.

  3. These are the best places for exploring! Those black and white wavy tile are my fave as well, Meg!
    The Arts by Karena

  4. Always love a visit here when I'm in Baltimore!

  5. I love architectural salvage, the bigger and older, the better! I have to restrain myself, although not always successfully.

  6. adored this + what a great friend.

  7. You take us along to the most interesting places. I'd love to spend some time here. The black and white tiles are my favorites too and would love that architectural piece for my garden.


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