Salvage – Strange Closets people, homes, travel and stuff Mon, 29 Apr 2013 17:29:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Architectural Anarchy’s new showroom Thu, 11 Nov 2010 05:21:09 +0000

Architectural Anarchy’s massive showroom opens this Friday, November 12th, and I suspect many of you will want to add it to your bucket list (or at least your weekend one). I walked through the joint three times during my recent pre-opening visit, but I still left with the nagging feeling that I’d missed something special, most likely one-of-a-kind, hidden in plain sight among the sea of amazing antiques, vintage furniture and salvaged goods assembled by owners William and Gosia, who first teamed up to open Architectural Anarchy at the Andersonville Galleria. Also look for an ever-rotating lineup of work by local artists. Featured this month are Zulu, Jodie Richter and Lidia Wylangowski. Check it out for yourself starting this Friday at 11 a.m. Regular hours will be Thursday and Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm, Friday 11 am – 7 pm and Sunday, Noon – 5 pm.

Architectural Anarchy. 2229 S. Halsted St. Chicago. 224.522.4525

A striking painting by Lidia Wylangowski.

Another Lidia Wylangowski.

Zulu’s work will also be on display. Gosia especially loves this piece, which Zulu titled Botiquin.

Midnight Ocean by Zulu.

Jodie Richter

Unfortunately, the vault’s not for sale.

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Agent Gallery storefront opens on Damen Avenue Wed, 28 Oct 2009 06:01:11 +0000 4035910751_20b002c2b0

Agent Gallery owner Mariano Chavez looks a little bored when I arrive to see his new storefront on a stretch of Damen Avenue near the border of Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park.  Home to a diverse population of yuppies, bobos, immigrants and hipsters, the neighborhood seems tailor-made for Mariano’s merchandise, which includes unusual pieces (Catholic clergy garments, explosion-proof phones, glass artificial eyes) alongside more standard salvage fare (industrial lighting, school lockers, doll molds).

But when I arrive near 3 p.m., Mariano tells me the only passer-by to drop in for a visit was a possibly schizophrenic older man who was paranoid about the cloaked specters of death flanking the front window display, which Mariano, who’s also an artist with a degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, added to the consternation of close friends who feared this kind of thing might happen (although perhaps not on the first day).

Continued . . .


1890's skull and crossbones ceremonial robe ($85)

But Mariano does a brisk business online, so he’s not worried about the slow start.  In fact, opening a bricks and mortar store is more of a nice-to-have, a base of operations that doubles as storage and gives Mariano the opportunity to meet his customers face-to-face.

As I wander around taking photos, one of Mariano’s buddies stops by to check out the store.  The man’s husky, a little swarthy even, and it seems like he doesn’t really get what Agent Gallery’s all about.  “People pay for this stuff?” he asks clearly astonished.  But Mariano’s affirmation gets him thinking, and it’s not long before the man starts asking whether Agent Gallery can sell the miscellaneous things he may still have lying somewhere around the house.  Mariano listens intently before respectfully tabling the topic for another day.  Which may be a bad idea.  It’s Agent Gallery’s first day, so while the new shopkeep might have plenty of free time now, something tells me he’s going to be busier than he can handle when the neighbors discover Agent Gallery in their midst with its cool owner, interesting merchandise and great prices.  If you have a chance this weekend, stop in to say hi.

Agent Gallery.  916 N. Damen Avenue.  312.498.6818












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This Week: B4 It Was Cool (Soho, NYC) Thu, 08 Oct 2009 06:40:41 +0000 3551296800_0dcffeed2c

I stumbled upon the Soho salvage store B4 It Was Cool last May, but because the showroom’s unassuming entrance lacks display windows and signage, I very nearly passed it by.  Luckily, my curiosity was piqued by the bald, tattooed, rather tough looking but smiley gentleman who sat in front of the store, enjoying the near-perfect sunny late summer afternoon while he, as I later found out, cut deals with Soho bobos whose apartments were about to get much more interesting.

Although during my B4 It Was Cool visit, right-wing shock jock Michael Savage’s voice blared from the store’s stereo system, the showroom’s two levels of salvaged lights, furniture and charts was so hypnotic I could have stayed for hours.  In fact, the only reason it’s taken me so long to blog about this is because, frankly, I wanted to buy that astronomy chart (above (and below)), and I was afraid you might call the store and snatch it out from under me.  And the reason I didn’t call to buy the chart (and which is also the even bigger reason I haven’t written about it before now) is because I’d somehow lost the tattooed man’s business card, and no matter who I asked, nobody in the know seemed to know what I wanted to know, namely the incredible store’s name.  Embarrassingly, I didn’t even remember that B4 It Was Cool was on Houston Street (I’d like to see you admit something that ignorant about yourself publicly).

Continued . . .


Here's another look. Gorgeous, isn't it?

Of course, over time B4 It Was Cool slipped my mind, and it wasn’t until last week when, feeling a bit depressed about the upcoming winter, I started looking through my summer photos and realized it was past time I wrote a post about this amazing store.  Channeling my inner Holmes*, I deduced that the neighbors might know something, so I rang up Soho’s John Derian & Co., which is located just a couple blocks away.  Bingo.  The lovely woman who answered the phone knew straightaway I’d likely visited B4 It Was Cool.  Thank you miss.

Which is why I can finally write this post.  Of course, I promptly called about the chart, and let’s just say I wish I’d have called b4 it was gone.  Please e-mail me if you have one.  Or just snail mail the actual chart to me, which works even better.  And regarding B4 It Was Cool, I highly recommend you add it to your next New York itinerary.

B4 It Was Cool.  89 E. Houston St., New York, NY.  212-219-0939

* Sherlock, that is.


















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This Week: Urban Remains Tue, 25 Aug 2009 04:50:05 +0000 3849418090_20f1b90725

A few words before this post begins.  I apologize in advance for mentioning 80’s pop star and former Go Go Belinda Carlisle in the same post as this very cool salvage shop.  Also, if you’d like to send me $450, please email me.  Finally, be sure to check out the post-post-text photos where you’ll see possibly the most amazing, awesome, crazy, killer robot lamp ever.

Belinda Carlisle was right; heaven is a place on Earth, a place where Bertoia wire chairs hang from the ceiling next to anatomy charts and industrial lighting features.  Heaven is a place called Urban Remains, an afterlife of sorts for pretty much everything and anything from doorknobs to Eames chairs.

Vintage science and medical junkies take note, Urban Remains specializes in hospital castoffs, including inventory from Grant and Michael Reese Hospitals, much of which I’m dying to reincarnate in my house.  I could have easily spent eternity looking at knick-knacks, but the oversized medical lighting options really lit up my tarnished halo.  So now I’ve been to heaven and back.  It’s a start.

Urban Remains. 410 N. Paulina St. Chicago. 312-492-6254.


If you read last week’s Tuesday Ramble, you may recall that I’m really nuts about Restoration Hardware’s heat lamps because they resemble killer robots.  So I was pleasantly surprised to see a far scarier, deadlier looking lamp for myself when I visited Urban Remains last week.  Check it out:


Issssssn't this the scariesssssst thing you've ever ssssssseen?




Sometimes things are not what they seem. And sometimes they are.


A gift from me to M . . . well, you know who you are.



Let's face it, this T, which is exactly like mine, looks fairly exhaulted, does it not? Almost like it's floating in a golden light, a beacon for design-o-philes everywhere.



While this post contains a number of salvaged letters, there are an inordinately large number of S's, don't you think?



Dapper huh?


Another S. I'm known for my informative captions, which not only describe the photo but also provide interesting ancillary information.


The Libra in me really wants this massive scale. Actually, the rest of me wants it too. Also, if it wouldn't be so revealing, I'd say that the T symbol with the scales might be the perfect tattoo for what was formerly my upper arm muscle.


No thanks. Can't do it. But it's cool.

I realize you’re just looking at the photos in order to read the captions, so I wanted to let you know this is the last caption.




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New Content (Metal Craftsman) Fri, 21 Nov 2008 14:00:00 +0000

During my tour of Daniel’s Antiques super-secret warehouse, I had the opportunity to meet his neighbor Greg Kumpin, a metal craftsman who works with contractors to design and manufacture custom fences, window grates, staircases (spiral and otherwise) and the like.

Greg’s space included detailed scale models, interesting chandeliers, artfully arranged vignettes and sculptures, and it felt far more like an artist’s studio than the typical shop.

In fact, when he showed me a sculpture he created for a contractor’s project, he explained that it was rejected because it would “rust over time.”

“It’s supposed to rust over time,” Greg explained incredulously (and sounding very much like an artist).

Seeing Greg’s space made me wonder what makes something art? And what prompts some people (who clearly have an artist’s soul) to become “metal craftsman” while others accept the artist title, accoutrements and lifestyle? Are there even answers to these questions? And why aren’t these questions posed on Entertainment Tonight?

In any event, Greg can and will make just about anything from furniture to fences, but based on the work I saw, he kicks it up a notch (even the piles of scrap metal are artfully arranged and eminently photographable). To contact Greg:

New Content, Inc.
Greg Kumpin

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