Decorating From The Scrap Heap

1920's staircase at Emory University
From banks to churches to theatres to schools, "architecturologists," head to demolition sites to dig through, detach, and re-sell, in restored or raw form, handcrafted one-of-a-kind objects.

Retail outlets that specialize in this kind of "rescue work" can be found in many states across the country.

Prices range from thousands of dollars for the colossal (a stained-glass church window or marble lion's head from a state capitol) to a few hundred bucks for a claw-footed bathtub, affordable old hardware or plumbing fixtures in brass, silver, and crystal.

The idea is to incorporate one of these pieces into a room in your house and elevate the architectural integrity of that space. If you hate those cheap, flimsy doors made of plywood in your modern, ranch house, replace them with a hand-carved mahogany door, retrieved from an old bank, and throw in some brass hardware for extra glam.

On Wednesday, Christy Ferer shows where to find these treasures and how to incorporate them into your home.

Here are the items to be featured on the show:

  • Church Pew ($325)
    Seating for hallway or breakfast nook
    Taken from an upper West Side New York church
  • Stained Glass Window ($350)
    Makes nice coffee table
    Taken from a monastery in New Jersey
  • Corbels ($75)
    Use as shelf brackets or plant stands
    Taken from an apartment house in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn
  • Terra Cotta Friezes ($100)
    Used for bookshelves or bookends
    Taken from the NYC subway system
  • Elevator Indicator Lights ($50-$450 / each)
    Use as sconces
    Taken from various office buildings
  • Court Jester Window ($500)
    Taken from the oldest bar in Harlem, called "The Casa Blanca" on Lennox Avene
  • Windows for kitchen cabinet doors $25-$400
    Taken from numerous buildings
  • Register Grille ($35)
    Used for a trivet
    Taken from a mansion in Ossining, N.Y.