Architectural Salvage – Art or Junk?

Architectural Salvage – Art or Junk?

Brackets, door knobs, spindels and glass are everywhere. There is peeling paint, brass and wood; distressed, worn and in need of love. Lots of things in here are in need of love, but that’s why they’re here…right? Behind the facade of a tired looking warehouse is a shop giving these wonderful objects a second, or third, chance. After all, someone loved these pieces enough not to trash them. They respected them enough to clean them up a bit and bring them here. The person that buys them is the next hero in the story, taking these pieces home and giving them a new life. This wonderful “junk” deserves another opportunity to serve its purpose, to decorate and to fill a space with beauty.


They say “they don’t make things like they used to”, and that is no more evident than here in this architectural salvage shop. Iron gates molded and shaped into scroll patterns and flowers, ornate in design and beaming with character underneath the rust. Copper switch plates adorned with beautiful patterns and designs, some with detailed flower designs that rival the beauty of any English garden. Stained glass windows with patterns and colors from every spectrum of the rainbow, hidden under layers of grime.

Why? Why don’t you see this work anymore? This is a lost art, at least this type of craftsmanship. The caloused, rough and stained hands that made these pieces cared about what they made. They were concerned about making something that would be functional and beautiful, something that would stand the test of time. Today, we get the big three choices at the home improvement warehouse of switch plates; plain in bright white, off white or (oooh, my favorite) almond. Craftsmanship was replaced with speed, efficiency and the lower-the-cost-the-better point of view. It’s too bad. Although I appreciate these qualities in a car maker, walking into this shop I realize what we’ve been missing. Entering here is a step back in time, to the way things used to be.

In comparison to these craftsmen, my hands have never seen an honest days work. Sitting behind my desk with my computer and phone, being tired at the end of the day, doesn’t compare to the workmanship on display here.

Sure you see artists at arts and crafts shows, but these days it’s all paintings and jewelry. They seem to pale in comparison to me. Especially these days when booths are stocked with items bought wholesale over the internet from China or Vietnam. Not that these products aren’t nice, but why go to the show when I can find that stuff at Walmart?


Well, you won’t find the items in this shop at a discount retail store, that’s for sure. Art should be prized in this country like it is in so many other countries. This store is salvaging art, not just brackets and old doors.


This shop is as American as it gets. “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”, isn’t that what they say? Find that junk and capitalize on it, now that’s the American way. Well they are capitalizing on it and they should be. These people are providing a wonderful service, preserving the art of our past and breathing new life into the work painstakingly created by men long ago.

So get out some sand paper, cleaning cloths and paint buckets. Head down to the Architectural Salvage shop in Little Italy and buy a piece of art for your home that you will treasure and enjoy for many years to come. Trust me, it will hold up better than any almond colored plastic piece at the warehouse store and be so much more beautiful.

If you think about it, your getting a real bargain. We pay hotels huge sums of money for these little details in our room and we’re only staying a night or two. Why not enjoy these luxuries in your own home, everyday.


When I was in the store my friend texted me to ask what I was doing that day. I told her that I was in an architectural salvage store looking around and taking pictures. She retorted by asking if ‘architectural salvage’ was another way of saying I was in a junk yard. I laughed, and I suppose some would agree that it was a junk store, but I’ve never seen such lovely junk and to me I was walking through an art gallery.

Village Theatre – A Relic Brought Back To Life

A Relic Brought Back To Life 

The smell of popcorn is filling the air with a scent the residents of this community thought they might not enjoy ever again. But after more than a decade the historic Village Theater on Coronado is finally open again.

Plagued by problems including a building in severe disrepair, asbestos and, of course, funding, this re-opening has been long in coming. Most residents of this lovely island would walk by the shut up landmark, built in 1947, and have fond memories of going to a movie with family and friends. But for so many years the seats sat empty, rotting, a lonely, seemingly unwanted relic.

However, this treasure never unwanted, abandoned or forgotten. In fact, many in this community rallied around the theater like wrapping it in a blanket of love. Now, the transition is complete and the blanket is coming off,  revealing a 3 million dollar renovation that brings back the glory days of this beautiful old theater, only better.

There’s an Art Deco mural behind the concession stand, new carpet designed only for this theater, a state of the art sound system, and a new ticket booth out front reminiscent of days past. But the take-your-breath-away moment comes when you walk down the short hallway into the main showing hall. The murals on the wall are so magnificent I’m sure I’m not the only one who had tears well up in their eyes. On one side is a mural of Coronado and on the other is the downtown San Diego skyline. Both were clearly painted by a skilled craftsman that obviously fell head over heals in love with the old theater, because the end result is truly a labor of love.



I understand being completely taken with this old theater and being part of this grand opening for me brings back fond memories. My husband and I lived on this island when the theater was operating before and we would have ‘island night’. We’d walk down Orange Avenue, go to dinner and then catch a movie. It didn’t matter that the seats had so many holes that you had to bring a seat cover and do your best not to fall through. The sound system wasn’t that great and the screen had rips, tears and pieces missing. But, I think these were some of the most romantic nights I can recall in our long and wonderful marriage. We had since moved away but would occasionally visit, always saddened by the loss of our beloved theater. Recently, after deciding to move back to the island again, we were thrilled to see work being done on the place.

So, hand in hand he and I went to dinner and then attended the grand opening. The seats, perfect, plush and new were filled once again with families, kids and movie lovers young and old. Everyone attending was awed by the work and love put into this old place and moved by the commitment and passion put into the job. The smell of popcorn was wafting out onto the street for residents and visitors alike to enjoy and be enticed in. The ticket booth was open and probably the best part of the evening was that there was a long line of people wanting to buy tickets to get into the next movie.

For more information about the theater or to purchase tickets please go to

History, Art and a Lovely Summer Day

History, Art and a Lovely Summer Day


Nestled in Balboa Park between the San Diego Zoo and the Natural History Museum is the Spanish Village Art Center. With 37 studios and over 90 artists this little shopping area has much to offer. But on this particular summer day in June I went to attend the pottery show and sale.

Amongst the blossoming purple jacaranda trees and the vibrant painted tiles of the Spanish Village the art was only another addition to the beauty of the surroundings. Merchants and students alike were selling their beautiful works of art in the center on tables set up just for the occasion. As the humidity rose and the heat of the day intensified, so did the crowds. Baskets in hand carefully choosing their next treasure. I too had a basket and had a hard time choosing from all the wonderful pieces on display.

Many artists were on hand to answer questions and tell you all about their passion. Live music playing and all the surrounding studios open offered hours of enjoyable shopping. Everywhere you looked were the colors to remind you of a lovely summer day in the park, the tile floor of the village, the pottery, the flowers, the trees, I couldn’t have been lost on the beauty if I tried. The pottery and art on sale were beautiful, crafty and skillfully created. There were cups, bowls and pots in every size, shape, color and design imaginable. I wanted to take all of them home with me, but ultimately I chose only a piece or two.

Treasures in hand, I make my way back to my car being lullabied by the carousel music at the other end of the parking lot. Someone is waiting for my space so sitting and listening wouldn’t be right. They’d like to go to the sale to find their own treasure. But I’ll be back and soon, after all Balboa Park is a treasure in and of itself.

Want to learn how to make your own pottery? Most of the studios offer classes in practically every art medium there is including pottery. Only visiting? Schedule your class for when your here. Go to for more information and a schedule of classes.

Although you may have missed the sale today, don’t worry this is a semi-annual sale and it will be back in November. There are many other sales throughout the year so don’t miss out. Check online today to find out what’s coming up.

New Blog!

Welcome to my new blog! I just started my new blog and I’m very excited. Not sure I’ll keep the name but for now it will work. My husband and I travel quite a lot, even if it’s only an hour or two from our home. We are always going somewhere spectacular. The world has so much to offer and see I thought I’d share some of my experiences with you. The purpose of the blog is to share some great experiences, some wonderful photography (taken by me, of course) and hopefully give you some ideas of where you’d like to go and things you’d like to see. I’ve signed up for a travel writing course because I want my writing to be top notch so you come back to my blog again and again and read it religiously. I hope you will and I hope to see you back here again soon. 🙂 Happy travels.

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