Seeking Architectural Treasures *
© Becky Linhardt 2011
Cincinnati is a treasure trove for seekers of antiques and antiquities. As one of the earliest, largest cities established west of the Alleghany Mountains, the city founder’s spared no expense in building great mansions and “temples of commerce” to proclaim their wealth and power.
While some people like to visit Cincinnati’s historic and stately homes or admire the architecture to be found in the great buildings downtown that survived “urban renewal,” others are looking for bits and pieces of the past that they can take back home to incorporate in their own updated designs.
Conservative Cincinnatians began recycling early – in the 1970’s as many of the great homes and commercial buildings were being torn down to make way for sleek, modern buildings. A few foresighted people saw the value of the workmanship of the older buildings scheduled for demolition and bought the rights to salvage.
The Wooden Nickel was one of the businesses that developed to market architectural salvage and can still be found in its original location near the majestic Music Hall. However, the inventory now includes furniture and antiques (American and European) all from before 1910, specializing in the 1870-90s.
Looking for a mantel, an oversized door frame, a sconce, chandelier, or a stained glass window from a grand old mansion? Maybe you can re-purpose something from the corporate world of old – columns, decorative wood moldings, and even an amazing wooden set of storage drawers from some commercial building with brass label holders.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say and there is plenty of treasure to see, ship or and cart away. Even if you aren’t tempted to buy, the experience of being surrounded by such treasures is an experience to be enjoyed – like walking into Ali Baba’s cave.
1410 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45202
* DESIGN INSPIRATION
Don’t forget the funky. While scouting I found an industrial wheeled pallet from an old factory ($395) that was similar to one I had seen in Elle Décor – the designer had used it as a coffee table in a country getaway – no need to worry about scuffs or spill on its sturdy, rustic surfaces.
Would you believe a stainless steel work table from a commercial kitchen? With an under-counter drawer, lower shelf and a pot rack that was part of the back supports? It would be functional and a great focal point in the right kitchen.