“BEFORE RECLAIMED ARCHITECTURE & FURNITURE WAS HOT,” SALVAGE ANGEL: RE-READ THE 2011 ARTICLE
Originally published February 24, 2011; read a new article about Salvage Angel here.
In 2002, a treasure hunter was born.
Actually, more like “created” during her quest to find architecturally appropriate and unique elements for a newly purchased early 1900’s Victorian home in Asbury Park.
Today, Carolyn Curtin – crowned the “Salvage Angel” by local historian Helen Chantal Pike – has an unparalleled trained eye for uncovering and claiming the finest architectural details, ultimately giving them a second life in properties around the metro area.
Salvage Angel, Curtin’s architectural upcycle, vintage furniture and decor warehouse, is the area’s largest and leading resource for curated “vintage-beautiful.” [more below]
TBP: Your storage area is like a museum of rare architectural elements. How did it all start?
Curtin: When I moved here in 2002, the house I purchased was in rough shape but most all of the original architectural detail remained – except for in the kitchen. So, my journey for period-perfect architectural elements began when I started assembling the kitchen. I wanted to be respectful of the home’s original design. I could not possibly have put in a new, store-bought kitchen in an early 1900’s house.
It all started with the kitchen sink. I knew everything was going to stem from the sink. I searched for sixteen months for the right sink that would work with the house.
During that time I was finding other architectural details that were just beautiful, like the original tin-lined tobacco cabinet from Colonial Soda Fountain in Wanamassa, which I used in the kitchen as the main cabinets.
TBP: And you started helping other homeowners.
Curtin: It grew from my personal need but I knew there had to be other people out there like me trying to truly restore older homes of all styles – craftsman to victorian. Anytime I came across beautiful pieces – most that were about to become landfill – I held onto them until I could find a new proper home.
I started with quality plumbing fixtures and then moved on to other special architectural pieces.
I wanted to help people moving into homes in Asbury Park and other areas restore homes that were robbed of their natural structural design elements
TBP: Nine years later, people call you at the eleventh hour when mansions in Rumson or bungalows in Spring Lake are being demolished.
Curtin: We have become known for our passion for this. A building’s owner or someone in the area will call us to buy pieces or save pieces from the dumpster and hold on to the architectural history and integrity. People want the beauty to live on. It is so true that they don’t make things like they used to.
But this is my passion. It has to be because otherwise it is just way too insane! It is just so much work but I love it.
TBP: And because of your passion, and how affordable it all is, I want to tear out my new bathrooms and start over beginning with pieces you saved, like the amazing Carrera marble console, milk glass towel bars and the Case kidney bean toilets – the most fancy-pants toilet I have ever seen.
Curtin: The reasons the items are still around and usable is because of their craftsmanship. I have vintage plumbing fixtures, sinks, toilets, hardware, faucets, lavatories, consoles and architectural elements like bookcases, stained glass windows, doors, knobs, lighting fixtures, fireplace mantles and tons of hardware – which is my favorite… accessories always make the outfit!
For Salvage Angel’s latest merchandise or to submit a ‘wish list,’ visit Facebook.com/SalvageAngel.
2015 UPDATE: SALVAGE ANGEL HAS MOVED TO ASBURY PARK, CLICK HERE FOR THE STORY.