4 Sources for Architectural Salvage in Chicago

updated Jul 17, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Architectural salvage shops are increasingly popular destinations for designers, collectors, and remodelers, and for the home decorator looking for unique furnishings, there’s no better place to start a search. 

In part, salvage stores hold such wide appeal because the items there carry the forgotten tales of the past, and invite collectors to imagine creative reuse ideas. Additionally, reclaimed objects and materials are greener and often more durable, which appeals to buyers’ practical sides. 

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
  • Warehouse: 1850 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL  60622
  • Showroom: 1818 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL  60622

Urban Remains carries a little bit of everything–hardware, stonework, millwork, glass, lighting, etc.–but their most notable holding is their large collection of vintage industrial and medical furniture. If you’re seeking vintage lockers, toolboxes, industrial tables, old warehouse lighting, etc., this is the place for you. They also have a showroom of well-curated curiosities and a large collection of signage and vintage letters. They maintain an excellent online inventory, and they ship worldwide, making this store an excellent option for shoppers who can’t make it to Chicago. 

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
  • 4325 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL  60613

Architectural Artifacts has been in business for 25 years, and Stuart Grannen, the owner, has spent those years well, amassing a varied, intriguing, and beautiful collection of objects, which fill an 80,000 square foot warehouse. These antique pieces have been gathered from around the globe, and you’ll find pieces from Argentina, France, and Morocco alongside pieces from old Chicago landmarks. 

Currently, Grannen is building a 15,000 square foot museum in the ground floor of Architectural Artifacts’ atrium space. The museum will be dedicated to the most interesting and important pieces of Chicago’s architectural past, and it will be free to the public.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
  • 1840 W. Hubbard St., Chicago, IL  60622

Salvage One, which has been in business for almost thirty years, has a 60,000 square foot space in West Town. While they still have plenty of salvaged pieces available for purchase, Salvage One has cemented themselves of late as a popular venue for private events, and they were voted “Best Place to Get Married” in the Chicago Reader Readers’ Poll for 2012. They are only open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
  • 1740 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, IL  60614

Rebuilding Exchange is a great resource for DIY enthusiasts. In addition to reclaimed appliances, cabinetry, doors, windows, and sinks, they carry reclaimed wood and other raw materials. Many of the items here are not as rare or old as those carried at some of the stores listed above, but they still carry history (for instance, you can purchase lumber collected from a barn in Minnesota), and can give your home a warm, salvaged look at a reasonable price.