Demolition auction score!

A few weeks ago, Indiana University at South Bend (IUSB) had a demolition auction of 30 houses that they were razing to make way for a parking lot.  Almost all of the houses had been used for student housing before they build their current apartments, so they weren't in good shape from a historic standpoint.  But there were some neat features and details that were auctioned off, including woodwork, built-ins, kitchen cabinets, plumbing, and flooring.  I was unable to attend, due to my work schedule, but my wonderful mother went for me.  She scored us a set of built-in cabinets ($165) and a house-full of woodwork ($25).  She also networked with some salvagers who would be happy to sell us anything that they recovered.

Yesterday, Shayne and I went to "our" house (1026 Bellevue) and claimed our built-in bookshelves.  They were ridiculously easy to remove, though they had been banged up a bit by folks who had won other items in the house.  During their removal, I found that the bookcases had originally had lights installed.  We had to rip out the wiring, but the little light fixtures inside are still intact, and we may restore them at a later time.  We also saved some baseboard of an unknown wood species (for some reason I think beech, but I don't know why), but almost all of the doors had so many holes for handles and locks that they weren't worth saving.  There was a neat old closet cupboard that I would have loved to take with us, but we don't have the space to store it.  We also didn't have space in the truck to transport it.  It was BIG.

Salvaging always makes me sad.  I'm glad that we (or someone) is dismantling the houses so that the materials can be reused...  But to see them torn down to make way for a slab of asphalt just seems silly.  I could probably write an entire pity-party post, but I'll spare you all my mental anguish.

When we got home, the original plan was to store the built-ins in the garage for some future house.  Though they were only about 2' wide, they wouldn't fit in the doorway between our living and dining rooms.  But I asked my ever-so-patient husband to bring one of them inside for me, "just to see something."

After a bit of furniture shuffling, we now have two new additions to our living room:

(Please excuse the grainy picture.  The lighting this morning is not the greatest)

It would be ideal if they were twice as wide, but I think they look nice.  To casual observation, you don't notice that they're not part of the room.  I'd center them on either side of the window, but each cabinet has a hole on the side where the doorway woodwork is supposed to fit.  I can just see our cat and baby thinking that they are the greatest new place to hide...

Here's to another bit of rescued house history!


Omar said...

Awesome score -- you know I got a salvage file cabinet that didn't have sides either. I think it was originally built to be stacked in a row. We had custom sides built to match the rear profile. I think it came out great, and mostly imperceptible that it wasn't built that way..

Amy Watson said...

Those are gorgeous! So glad that you got ahold of them! And I'm sorry I missed out on the sale!