Uptown’s Uncommon Market offers room after room of lovely discoveries.
From salvage yards to funky boutiques, these great spots transform everyday shopping into a true treasure hunt.
|Owner John Hargrove’s inventory at Orr-Reed includes salvaged tile, lighting fixtures, and vintage appliances.|
Orr-Reed Wrecking Company, Inc.
This is the granddaddy of ’em all. Long before recycling was a trend, Orr-Reed was the first site west of the Mississippi to provide full-service deconstruction and demolition services – offering salvage from Dallas’ finest homes and businesses back to the public. Started at the end of World War II by two friends whose funds came from an army discharge and the sale of a goatherd, Orr-Reed remains the quintessential digging experience, beckoning people from around the country to one of the most unique and economical shopping outings imaginable. On any given day, set designers, contractors, antiques hunters, junk dealers, and artists pass through its stacked aisles and warehouse. Service is both personal and personable. The staff members share secrets with patrons about their constantly changing merchandise – where to find pieces as well as their provenance. Vast stock includes antique lumber, church doors, architectural elements, windows and doors, wrought iron, top-of-the-line appliances, and plenty of what they describe as “good old-fashioned junk.” Popular items are claw-foot bathtubs (which they will refurbish on-site), porcelain sinks, antique stoves, and mantels (frequently used as headboards). Their bread-and-butter business is the reclaimed hardwoods – oak, maple, and heart-of-pine flooring –
starting at a cost of $1 per square foot. (Look down the next time you’re shopping at Anthropologie’s NorthPark location to see an application of Orr-Reed wood). Current owner John Hargrove approached the ailing Mr. Orr 14 years ago and assured him he would not abandon the operation or the cause. Hargrove’s passion for the people, the bargains, and the good it does for the community and environment has only increased over the years. He sums it up perfectly, “Orr-Reed salvages the unique history of Dallas.” Most merchandise is not priced, so inquire when you’re interested and, rest assured, you always get a deal. 1903 Rock Island. 214-428-7429.
Sticks & Stones Garden Market
In recent years, Sticks and Stones proprietor Mike Thompson has emerged as the local don of indoor and outdoor living: hip but part hippie, edgy yet kitschy. Likewise, his pioneering store, located just a skip off Henderson on Miller Avenue, is one half lush flowers, herbs, trees, and plants, the other half an unusual collection of new and found objects. The indoor space is jam-packed with a crazy collage of items such as fountains, tattered bergere chairs, gargoyles and angels, lamps, cottonseed meal, and candelabras. When your eye lands on the perfect thing, it feels like kismet. 5016 Miller Ave. 214-824-7277.
|Veteran salvage hunter Mike Thompson stocks his Knox-Henderson shop with weathered curiosities for both garden and home.|
MIKE THOMPSON’S DIGGING TIPS
Before you hit the salvage yards, heed this advice from the Sticks & Stones owner.
1 Take time to examine pieces. Unless otherwise stated, sales are “as is” and returns are rarely accepted. If you’re not sure or suffer chronic buyer’s remorse, bring a Polaroid or digital camera and snap an image you can take home with you. But keep in mind, some of these places turn inventory very quickly. Veteran salvage hunter Thompson recommends, “Always inquire about the approval policy. Some places will let you take pieces home to try out.”
2 Always take the cost of the entire project into consideration. Meaning, if you fall in love with a bargain piece and plan to transform it to meet your needs, how much will it ultimately cost you? “Will you need a metalist to cut it or add hinges or brackets? Will a carpenter need to whittle it to make it level, alter or cut it down to size? If it needs to be repainted, account for paint and prep work, and metal may need to be sandblasted,” says Thompson.
|Owner Raymond Pittet’s namesake shop specializes in 17th to 19th architecural finds.|
Pittet Architecturals and Antiques
Over the past 16 years, Raymond Pittet has dazzled locals with his eye for high-end, precious antiques. His latest space in the Design District is no exception. Open just 18 months, the showroom has 17th- to 19th-century “monumental pieces” – architecturals, garden accessories, entry doors, iron works, and one of the nation’s most extensive selections of antique marble and stone fireplaces. The space is well-edited, as if Pittet and associates tirelessly scoured Europe in your honor and brought back unexpected treasures. In the back of the showroom, you can do a bit more digging amid antique interior and exterior doors, the occasional gilded French panel, daybeds, and furniture. Head outside for 18th-century clay pots along with urns, fountains, and benches. Not to be missed is the unique collection of marble sinks, their beautiful patina honed over a dozen generations. Considering their lineage, pieces are reasonably priced. A copper pot is $160, while a nearly 300-year-old stone mantel strikingly carved with “1721,” the year it was cast, is around $20,000. Shipments arrive monthly from Europe. 318 Cole St. 214-651-7999.
HOW TO SALVAGE SHOP
1 Map your route. Start early in the day and don’t forget water – warehouses and outdoor yards get very warm in summer months. It’s best to visit sites close to each other, and break for lunch before you make the decision to continue or call it a day.
2 Wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes and jeans, because chances are you will encounter glass, wood, or other hard objects.
3 For their protection, leave the little ones at home with a sitter. Places that deal in architectural salvage are loaded with heavy items and often sardine-packed.
4 Know your dimensional needs. Keep those details in your calendar or Blackberry for reference. Also, pack a pocket-sized measuring tape and a notebook and pencil to jot down notes about items or locations of interest.
5 If you are looking for appliances, research manufacturers and models before you go. Nearly-new or scratch-and-dent fridges, stoves, and ovens often sell for a fraction of the retail cost, but remember to factor in any electrical, gas, water line, or plumbing expenses you will incur.
6 Do your homework. Scan design books and magazines or even homes you admire before you go. Once you get to a location, do not hesitate to seek out the staff. Most who work in these venues are there out of passion. They know the merchandise and how to help you find what you like.
More Great Digs
Discount Home Warehouse
Specializing in architectural salvage and building materials, owners Heather and Tom Hirosky know how to organize their treasures to both appeal and keep the OCD in check. Merchandise is categorized by rooms and includes plantation shutters, mirrors, leaded and stained glass windows, and more. In the lighting room, period fixtures move quickly, but on most visits you’ll find a good supply of indoor and outdoor lanterns, and sconces. What’s behind the warehouse door is Monty Hall-worthy: you never know what you will find. Perhaps a complete near-new Arts-and-Crafts style cherrywood kitchen or Sub-Zero fridge. 1758 Empire Central. 214-631-2755. www.dhwsalvage.com.
Since 1971, brothers Don and Ward Mayborn have traveled the globe searching for antiques with “a certain personality” for their unique Uptown shop. This tradition of bringing together unexpected collections, furnishings, art, and decorative pieces for the home continues today with the addition of Ward’s son, Scott. The family enterprise fills three buildings along historic Fairmount Street and Maple Avenue. Outside one of the buildings resides a dreamy, unexpected vista: a great collection of English outdoor garden accessories including urns, planters, finials, benches, and fountains. Uncommon Market is perhaps most respected for its period lighting, including vintage chandeliers, sconces, and lamps. Collectors also seek out the decorative leather-bound books among Uncommon Market’s treasure trove of pieces from England, France, Belgium, and Holland. See our directory listing.
Habitat Home Improvement Outlet
This is the place for the budget-minded DIY enthusiast who loves a worthwhile cause. The outlet store for Georgia-based Habitat for Humanity emphasizes low-cost home improvement items: paint, PVC pipe, interior doors, pedestal sinks, laminate flooring, and cabinet hardware, as well as tools, some home furnishings, and decorative items. Specials are frequent, and prices are low. Thibaut wallpaper – the renowned company whose papers have graced White House walls – is only $1.50 per roll. Look for more items at the Oak Cliff location. A portion of proceeds returns to the local community to help with Habitat home-building costs. 2800 North Hampton Rd. 214-678-2360. 451 W. I-30, Garland. 972-303-0203. www.dallas-habitat.org.
Husband-and-wife team Alan Smith and Lindra Petty have a just-off-the-beaten path store where almost every piece is an antique and the pragmatic collector Smith’s motto is, “Take the old and make it practical for today.” Theirs is an eclectic and tasteful selection of mostly French and Italian antiques with a few Texas pieces thrown in for good measure, along with furnishings, and charmingly unusual collectibles. Look upstairs for a collection of old beds, balusters, beautifully painted stage sets, theater props, and vintage wood that home renovators and designers comb through regularly. 114 Parkhouse St. 214-741-1199.