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Using Architectural Salvage Finds to Refresh a Hallway

Did you know some of our best DIY home refresh projects come from antique and vintage inspiration? In this post, I’ll show you how much fun you can have shopping at a local architectural salvage yard and what we found to refresh our drab hallway.

Many of you already know how much I love my vintage treasures and flea market finds. But when you can take a special vintage find and use it for a home refresh project you’ve had on your to-do list for several years, that’s just icing on the cake!

hallway refresh with cedar planks from architectural salvage yard

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cedar planks from architectural salvage yard
before shot of the hallway

I don’t show this area very often.

It’s the VERY SMALL hallway between our kitchen and the laundry room. The walk-in pantry is to the right of the hallway entrance.

There isn’t any natural light here, so we use mirrors and light-colored walls to open the space.

before shop of the hallway

The shiplap wall with the mirror hanging was added after we moved in to create a walk-in closet on the other side.

We lost a lot of space by doing this, but the walk-in closet made much more sense than having an odd area we didn’t need.

The original room could have been the house’s eating area when it was first built in 1920. But I think a new kitchen eating nook was added to the front of the house in the sixties, so it was no longer needed.

before shot of the hallway

So, let’s start with what exactly architectural salvage is.

Architectural salvage is the reclamation of old buildings’ materials, fixtures, and other features for reuse in new construction or restoration projects.

It’s an important part of the green building movement because it allows for reusing materials that would otherwise be thrown away and can help create unique and interesting interior and exterior focal points.

vintage corbels from architectural salvage yard

Some of the vintage and antique architectural features you can find at an architectural salvage yard include:

  • old glass and solid doors
  • windows
  • hardware like door knob sets and hinges
  • mantels or fireplace surrounds
  • columns and corbels
  • staircases
  • paneling and wood planks
  • crown molding
  • flooring
  • lighting fixtures
  • vintage appliances
  • bathtubs
  • fencing and gates
  • decorative elements and so much more
 architectural salvage yard

We’ve spent a lot of time at Earthwise Architectural Salvage in Tacoma, WA, throughout the years while renovating our 103-year-old beach cottage.

The antique and vintage inventory comes from old houses and buildings. Each piece has its distinctive style.

Many architectural elements like a pedestal sink, entry door, French doors, and salvage ironwork have all been incorporated into our home.

vintage windows from architectural salvage yard

You’ll find a huge selection of antique and vintage windows from all eras, from the classic Victorian style to mid-century modern.

The prices fluctuate between semi-reasonable and crazy, or as I like to call them, “Are you out of your mind?”

columns from architectural salvage yard

Columns can add a classic, timeless look to any room and create a stunning focal point. They are in various styles, from classic Greek and Roman columns to more ornate styles from the Victorian era.

Whether you’re looking for a single column or a set, you will find something perfect for your renovation project at an architectural salvage yard.

corbels from architectural salvage yard

Corbels are decorative pieces of wood or stone that were once used to support exterior features such as balconies and porches. You can find various antique corbels at vintage architectural salvage yards, ranging in style, size, and materials.

Whether you’re looking for a subtle accent piece or a bold statement piece, you’ll surely find the perfect corbel to add charm to your home.

crown molding from architectural salvage yard

Finding vintage crown molding at architectural salvage yards can be a great way to add unique character to your home. Not only are these pieces often one-of-a-kind, but they are also often much cheaper than buying brand-new crown molding.

You can find a variety of styles and sizes to fit your needs. Salvage yards are the perfect place to browse for vintage molding, so if you’re looking for a special piece to finish your home, it’s worth visiting.

trim pieces and vintage doors from architectural salvage yard

Shopping for wooden trim pieces and vintage doors at architectural salvage yards is a great way to add character and appeal to your home.

Remember, you’ll be helping the environment by reusing a door that may have otherwise ended up in a landfill.

door knob selections from architectural salvage yard

If you’re looking for truly unique vintage door knobs, a great place to start your search is at architectural salvage yards. These shops are treasure troves of antique and vintage door knobs, offering various styles, shapes, and materials.

From crystal door knobs to rustic cast iron pulls, you’re sure to find something to accentuate the character of your home.

vintage school house light fixtures from architectural salvage yard

Architectural salvage yards are a great place to find vintage light fixtures. Not only can you find unique pieces to add character to your home, but you can also find items no longer available in stores.

With a little searching, you can find fixtures from different eras and styles to fit any room. From antique chandeliers to wall sconces, the possibilities for finding the perfect fixture for your home are endless.

white picket fencing from architectural salvage yard

We found this white picket fencing with other salvage treasures for the yard.

vintage dental chair

How about this vintage dental chair? Everyone needs one of these, don’t you think?

vintage and antique appliances

Our local architectural salvage yard had plenty of antique and vintage household appliances.

cedar planks from architectural salvage yard

It was love at first sight!

All I could think of when I first saw the cedar plank architectural salvage finds for my hallway ceiling project was how perfectly imperfect each board was.

cedar planks from architectural salvage yard

I could also visualize them as flooring for our 1920 beach cottage. But for now, the mission was to cover the existing drywall on the hallway ceiling.

We took home the best four boards (114 ft long) and cut them in half. The final bill was $160, which I estimate would have been the cost if I had bought new lumber at Home Depot.

hallway refresh

Our contractor renovated every inch of this old house. And he did a great job. But our friend was pretty much hit or miss when it came to drywall.

Sadly, after inspecting the original hallway project, there were quite a few flaws that needed to be redone.

Adding wood ceiling planks is a great way to cover any drywall imperfections. It would also be easy to cover a dated popcorn ceiling.

hallway refresh with cedar planks from architectural salvage yard

I originally wanted to continue the white tongue and groove from the kitchen ceiling into this space.

The problem was that this small hallway already had white shiplap walls. I felt like it needed something other than white paint. This was the right place to add natural wood rather than paint the planks white like the rest of the rooms in the house.

I liked the idea of a rustic wood ceiling playing off the white walls. It reminded me of how the living room’s dark, distressed wood beams play off the shiplap walls so well.

hallway refresh with cedar planks from architectural salvage yard

The wood tones with white wooden planked walls would be just the thing to add more visual interest and also add a more cohesive look to my cottage.

This hallway refresh DIY project ended up being an easy DIY project. The good news is we could keep the cost of wood planks down because this was such a small space. The wood was in good shape, so we didn’t have to do any staining, sanding, or varnishing.

We could have used wood paneling to cover the drywall, but a plank ceiling gives wood paneling an updated and modern twist. I’m a fan of the real thing!

hallway refresh with cedar planks from architectural salvage yard

The 1×4 wood trim between the shiplap and ceiling was first removed. This allowed the wood trim to be reinstalled over the cedar planks for a more finished look.

If you don’t have any trim, you can push the planks up against the wall and hide any spaces with quarter-round molding.

The 10-inch-wide wood boards were cut with a chop saw and table saw, leaving the plank a little over 6 feet long. The entire ceiling needed the four boards we bought and then cut in half.

Ceiling planks were installed with a 16 gauge fish nailer.

hallway refresh with cedar planks from architectural salvage yard

If you are looking for vintage treasures like a distressed mirror, an aged clock, or heirloom antiques, an architectural salvage shop may not be the right place for you.

Check out these places to shop for your perfect and most fabulous find.

  • antique markets or antique stores
  • a flea market
  • thrift stores
  • estate sales
  • an antique shop

When someone asks me what my favorite decorating style is, I almost always blurt out COTTAGE style without even thinking about it.

But the more I look around my house, the more I would call it a vintage cottage style.

After buying our 1920 beach cottage, I became obsessed with hunting for antique and vintage pieces. Anything with a feeling of nostalgia fit right in. We made many visits to architectural salvage stores so we could reuse older pieces that were left behind and still had a story to tell.

hallway refresh with cedar planks from architectural salvage yard

It has become important to me to be part of this timeless culture and feel a sense of history throughout my home. I want to show off those special pieces that add character to a room and start a conversation.

We have taken the most memorable journey as we renovated, remodeled, revamped, and refreshed our timeless beach cottage. Our goal is to keep a classic look that will stay timeless as our home ages.

This hallway refresh was such a fun project. The best part is that the cedar planks were found on our first visit to the architectural salvage yard this year.

I’m looking forward to the next project!

If you have any questions or additional suggestions, please share them in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with anyone who may be interested in this post.

Until next time,

Happy Thrifting!

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Antiqueing and thrifting for home decor on the seacoast sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it? My friend Jennifer is going to show you how it’s done!


My friend Lora shares how to repurpose a vintage vanity into beautiful side tables. You don’t want to miss this one.

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  1. Kim –
    The ceiling looks amazing!
    I love the warmth the wood brings to the space.

  2. Wow! what a great place to find some stuff!!! The hallway looks amazing but that architectural salvage stuff has great stuff – is that near you???? I need to go!

  3. Architectural salvage stores are sooo fun to poke around in; it’s like a candy store! Love how the planks look in your hallway; I’ve always loved the rustic wood/paint combo. It’s like the whole space turned into a showstopper! So fun to see everyone’s vintage decor today!

    1. They do have some great pieces. The deals are hard to find sometimes but the timeless finds we have added to our home are totally worth what we paid for them.

  4. I’m in love with your salvage yard! Oh, all those door knobs are so gorgeous, especially all the glass ones!! The ceiling really looks fantastic and I love that little hallway space. Hope the knee rehab is going well!

    1. We have a lot of those door knobs in our house. Their collections are amazing! Thank you for your well wishes, Jennifer. The knee gets better every day.

  5. Kim I love what you did with your ceiling it looks incredible! What a great idea! Hope you’re feeling better after your knee surgery??

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