Architectural salvage can serve as toolkits for self-expression, according to Anthony D’Argenzio, a “visual strategist” who founded the New York–based creative agency
Zio & Sons. He stocks up on vintage building parts, whether drawer pulls or staircase trim, to enliven rooms for clients and himself. He buys his lighter weight inventory, like hardware and lighting parts, from online sources, and he scours estate sales and salvage yards for anything too pricey or bulky to ship. The materials, he explains, can add flavor and storytelling opportunities to any project, and they often cost less than their modern counterparts. And recycling the components keeps them out of landfills.
Among his favorite genres of materials that reward re-users:
1. Reclaimed wood Above: “Every piece of wood in so many variations tells a story, whether it was originally part of a boardwalk or a factory or the siding on a house. Maybe it was painted 50 times, or maybe it’s been left in its original finish. And the possibilities for reusing it are endless: Turn the wood into trim, shelves, a console, put hooks on it or use it to cover one whole wall. Buy a little more than you think you need, so it can be worked into nearby spaces if you want, and give some cohesive flow.” Photograph by Martyn Thompson, courtesy of Zio & Sons; for more, see House Call: 50 Shades of Weathered White in Hudson, NY, from Zio & Sons. 2. Old sinks Above: “They have such beautiful character and patina. If you can find them with original hardware, that’s definitely ideal, or if they do need new fittings, make sure that the holes are spaced in such a way that you can get new parts for them—otherwise you get into the expense of custom. If they come with leg supports that you decide you don’t need, those can be repurposed for something else. All the pieces don’t have to fit.” Photograph by Martyn Thompson, courtesy of Zio & Sons. 3. Hardware Above: “Bronze, iron, copper, brass—they all weather really well. If I can’t find enough of one pattern for all the drawers and doors in one room to match, I’ll do all the drawers in one kind and the doors in another. As long as the designs are in the same realm, or maybe the metals are the same.” Photograph by Marili Forastieri, produced and styled by Zio & Sons. For more, see A 1700s Stone Farmhouse in the Hudson Valley, Discovered via Google. 4. Architectural elements and furniture Above: “Try to think outside the box: Don’t think of the pieces as only having their original purposes, think of them as works of art instead. Maybe a wood column can be used as a focal piece in the corner of a room. Lean an old door against a wall and put hooks on it. Lean a window against a wall, so the stained glass adds texture and character to the room. Turn a handyman’s worktable into kitchen cabinets. What you choose doesn’t have to make one hundred percent sense, it’s about fun too; think about the feeling you want to convey, and not just the perfect cubic-inch fit.” Photograph by Marili Forastieri; photo styling by Zio & Sons. For more, see A Historical Hudson, NY, Home Reimagined (European Antiques Included). 5. Lighting Above: “Vintage glass shades, schoolhouse lights—anything can be connected to new fittings and bases, anything can be rewired, to give a custom, unique look to the room.” Photograph by Marili Forastieri, produced and styled by Zio & Sons. 6. Tiles Above: “If you can’t find enough to fill out your whole project, use vintage ones as trim, that alone can add interest.” Photograph by Martyn Thompson, courtesy of Zio & Sons. 7. Marble slabs Above: “Marble can be turned into trim around backsplashes, thresholds, door saddles. Marble can be cut, so it’s more versatile than tile.” Photograph by Marili Forastieri; photo styling by Zio & Sons. 8. Fireplace mantelpieces Above: “Mantles can be great for a dead wall in a large room that needs some architectural charm. You can hang plates from them, and you can fit shelves into the opening where the fireplace was.” Photograph by Martyn Thompson, courtesy of Zio & Sons. 9. The unexpected Above: “I love using old rope. It develops this rich weathered texture over time, and it can be cut, it can be morphed into whatever you want. We just wrapped an old water pipe in rope, to give a nautical, rustic vibe.” Photograph by Martyn Thompson, courtesy of Zio & Sons.
See D’Argenzio’s styling in action: