A Philly Story: Narberth Church

In March of this year, Restore of Philadelphia salvaged this vacant church which had been the oldest house of worship in that borough until the new owner decided to replace it with apartments.  ReHouse has now acquired some of the unique architectural details that formerly called this church home.  Here is the story.
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image source: Google Street View
The Baptist Church of the Evangel, was the oldest house of worship in the Philadelphia borough of Narberth.  Building for the church began in 1891 and was completed the next year.  This is the original structure.
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Image source: S. F. Hotchkin, Rural Pennsylvania in the Vicinity of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, George W. Jacobs & Co., 1897), p. 55; collection of the Lower Merion Historical Society
The church building was enlarged in 1924 to its final size.  An article from the Our Town paper of Narberth, PA on January 28, 1928 offers the following view of the beautiful grey stone building.  You can read the entire 34th anniversary article HERE.
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In an effort to save as much history as possible, Restore of Philadelphia was able to salvage what they could before the building came down.  Their original blog post is still available HERE.
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image source: Restore of Philadelphia
They removed the “enormous pair of doors that entered the congregation room.  Each door is 33″ wide and with the pair together in the frame, the overall width is 6′ and the height is 93″.  Each door is 3 full inches thick with massive hinges.  The jamb frame was buried in the floor about 5 or 6 inches to stabilize the pair.  Gorgeous, massive, impressive, functional, endless possibilities.  Trim for the door stopped at wainscoting on the other side and was inside the tile on this face side.  All parts that can make it work again are here and ready to reinstall.”  $3880.

 

Other doors from the church include some interesting sizes and hardware.  These 6 panel saloon style doors are from bathroom stalls.  They measure 33″ wide and only 66.5″ high.  They include decorative handles, side stoppers, and swinging hinges.  We received 3 of the 4 that were removed.

33w x 66.5h. #91844. $245each.

Next we have some 5 panel doors in the same dark finish solid pine.  The church originally had 26 of these doors throughout and in varying conditions.  We have at least 4 with the natural wood finish as shown and several that have been painted on one or both sides.  One has 2 hearts cut out near the top.  I wonder what room that went to. These do not include hardware.  Lastly, there are a few with ventilation panels on the bottom half.

29.75w or 36w x 84h. #various. $95-120

 

FAQs – Pricing Cast Iron Bathtubs

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Although many homeowners are removing their original cast iron bathtubs, just as many are putting them back in.  So, how much do they cost?  As with most antique purchases, it all depends on condition.  At ReHouse we take into account many factors when pricing our antique tubs to make sure you get the best deal we can offer.  To help you decide which tub is right for you I am going to share the method to our tub pricing madness: the  “Antique Tub Rating” checklist.  This sheet is a point rating system developed by owner, Sally, to determine appropriate pricing guidelines for tubs.

Interior Finish – Rated on a scale of 1-10, this is the condition of the inside of the tub.  Is there rust or missing porcelain particularly around the faucet and drain?  Are there those non-slip flowers in the bottom that are a pain in the neck to remove?  Are there stains that won’t come out?  Is the porcelain smooth or rough?  Could you actually bathe in it as it is?  Below are some photos of tub interiors that range from 4-10.  These have each been cleaned to the best of our abilities.

Exterior Finish – Rated on a scale of 1-5, this is the condition of the outside of the tub.  Is it painted or 1/2 painted?  Is it rusty?  How rusty?  Can it be cleaned with normal household cleaning supplies?  Will the surface need to be sandblasted in order to accept new porcelain?  Below are some photos of tub exteriors that range from 3-5.  These have each been cleaned to the best of our abilities.

Feet/Base – Rated on a scale of 1-5, this is the condition of the feet on a clawfoot tub or the skirt on a pedestal tub.  Is the porcelain in tact?  What about rust?  Are there 4 feet and do they match?  How ornate are the feet?

Size – Aren’t they all the same?  Nope!  Most are 5 feet long.  That earns it 3 points.  Some are 4.5 or 5.5 feet long.  These lengths earn a tub 4 points.  The most unusual sizes are smaller that 4.5 feet or longer than 5.5 feet.  Any tubs falling in these ranges earn 5 points!

Rust? – Even though this is partly covered in the above topics, this indicates the overall rust situation.  Rust requires sandblasting.  Sandblasting requires tools and time.  A lot of rust and the tub loses 5 points.  “Average” rust (a little around the faucet and drain) takes away 3 points.  None?  No points taken away.

Faucet? – yes or no.  If there is a fabulous faucet the tub might get some extra points.  Otherwise this is just for informational purposes.

Let’s visit a few of the tubs we have in stock at the moment.  Let’s start with the lowest rating and work our way up.  This tub only earned a 6.

Next we have an 15 pointer.

Here is an interesting specimen.  Often times a non-neutral paint color on the outside would lose points in the Exterior Finish category.  In this case, the paint job is so unique and well done it earned points for this tub which totaled 18.  Who wouldn’t want to bathe in the pools at Giverny?

A few different tubs came in at the 19 point mark.  Both have near perfect Interior Finishes, workable Exterior Finishes, and only tiny spots of rust.

 

Lastly, here are some beauties.  The cream of the crop.  Admittedly, these tubs did not look so well last month.  These tubs have been completely refinished by Bathtub Made New.  They can refinish your tub or sink too if you need a professional.  These two tubs earned 22 and 23 points.

Let’s finish up with a slide show of some other tubs which have passed through our doors over the years.

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Barn Wood Walls with Sliding Door (part 1)

We are always doing little projects around the store to give customers inspiration as well as an interesting shopping experience.  Our newest project has gotten so many comments that I knew I had to post more details.

This odd little corner has “needed something” since before I started here 2 years ago.  The bi-fold door is broken and does not slide.  The size and shape of the space is odd and awkward.  Customers either think that the whole corner is off limits, or they try to shop in the storage room.  In fact, this corner is so uninteresting that there are NO photos of it at all in the vast archive of ReHouse photos.  We had to do something!

 

Enter barn wood.  (find out where the barn wood came from HERE)  The decision was made to cover part of the walls with barn wood from our stock.  Don’t worry, there is still more here for your project.  Barn wood comes in many colors and textures.  Colors range from traditional “barn red” and “white wash” to varying shades of brown, grey, greyish brown, even brownish and mossy.  The texture of barn wood can be described as rustic, distressed, holey, rough, chewed on, pitted, worn, even old.  Fortunately, these are all adjectives that add to the appeal of barn wood.

 

How much wood to buy.  Begin by measuring the area of the walls you plan to cover.  In our corner we had 2 walls that would be mostly covered.  As you know, Length times Height will equal area in this case.  This is your required square footage.  Bring this number with you when purchasing your barn wood.  Always buy a little extra.  If you don’t need it for you wall you can use it elsewhere to tie things together.  Although each piece of wood will be unique, try to choose boards with a similar thickness.  This will ensure that your wall isn’t bumpy when done.  Things just don’t hang well on bumpy walls!

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Where to start. We started by trimming around the door with narrow boards.  After that was in place, we started at the top of the wall section.  There was a piece of trim on the wall there dividing the upper section from the pegboard mid section.  We butted the top piece of wood against the trim. Each board was attached through the studs with a nail gun.  Then continued to add wood in the same manner making sure each new board was still level.  There may be small gaps between boards in order to keep things straight.  As you can see below, it all works out.

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You’re done!  You didn’t know it would be that easy, did you?  How do you like it?  We love ours but decided to go a bit farther.  Here is a preview of the now white washed barn wood walls along with the proud builder.  Thanks for your hard work, David.

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This story continues in part 2 HERE.

Cast Iron Radiator Restoration

One category of salvaged items that weighs us down with questions are cast iron radiators.  Yes, we do carry them. No, we do not restore them.  Some, we are able to test and others we are not.  That being said, we salvage and re-house hundreds.  People who use them say the heat they generate is significantly better than newer methods.

 

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Our customer, Michelle, shared these photos with us of her adventures in radiator restoration.  Michelle is not a professional but a DIYer with energy and imagination and a well-stocked Project Pantry.  Her radiators were purchased at ReHouse recently, and as you can see they were partially painted in the past.  These 2 were marked down because they were non-working having been tested by a customer.  Michelle and her family took on the challenge, and here is the process through her photos.

Before: Paint and Rust

Ammonia Bath, Pressure Wash, Wire Brush

Post-Cleaning

Prime and Paint

Installed

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If you are interested in taking on a similar job, please do thorough research before starting.  Speak with someone who has working knowledge of the process, and remember that this restoration is not a one day project.  Here is a sample budget for this type of project.

Michelle’s Radiator Restoration Budget

2 non-working radiators at ReHouse, $30

replacement bushings and fittings at Debbie Supply, $50

2 cans spray paint, $16

Gallon of ammonia, $3

Castalloy and flux  to fix leaks, $80

Total  Cost:    $180

Heat in the living room: priceless!

 

Thanks Michelle.  Great job!

Q & A with ReHouse Recovery

Customer: How do you get all this stuff?

ReHouse: One way is that we go get it! Our Acquisitions Manager is tasked with making and taking daily calls regarding salvage jobs for ReHouse Recovery.

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Customer: How does he know which ones will result in something store-worthy?

ReHouse:  Before taking on any job we request photos and details about it.  For a large job that cannot be adequately represented in just a few photos, the Acquisitions Manager will go out to the location for a preview.  He will take notes and additional photos of items he feels we can save. We work with our customers to clearly determine what is available as part of each salvage job.

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Customer: How do you narrow it down from there?

ReHouse: As with any business there are factors that go into choosing jobs.  How far away is it? How many employees will be needed? Can we take the van or will it require the larger but less fuel efficient truck? How much effort will it take to remove the items? How long will the removal take?  What is the condition of the items?  Is there anything unique or hard to find?  Do customers want the resulting merchandise?  Using a special formula created by the Finance Dept. we can conclude which jobs to pursue.

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Customer: Once you get there how do you know what to bring back?

ReHouse: We have lists upon lists of items we typically look for.  Our primary focus is reusable architectural items such as doors, trim, woodwork, windows, corbels, columns, etc.  We also have an ever growing customer wish list which includes everything from a vague description of something someone’s grandmother used to have to stained-glass, gothic-arched window with specific colors, design, and measurements.  Once in a while we will find something so unusual or strange or ugly we just have to bring it back to the store and see what happens.

Customer: Do you only salvage houses?

ReHouse: No.  We salvage many types of buildings and for different reasons.  Sometimes we go to single or multi-family homes that are being renovated or torn down.  These often have hardwood flooring, gumwood trim, built-in cabinets, leaded glass, wood framed windows, fireplace mantels, hardware, and other architectural details.  Sometimes we go to a restaurant or hotel that is being updated or closed. Here we find multiples of items people often ask for such as mirrors, large frames, chairs, tables, and light fixtures.  Each type of location has its own special findings, its own focus, but the mission remains the same… “ReHouse strives to better the environment by reusing antique, vintage, and modern building materials that would have otherwise gone to the landfill.”

 

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Customer: What have you salvaged lately?

ReHouse:  Our most recent job was in Spencerport where a customer of ours is planning to take down his century old horse barn.  Here, we were given the ok to remove whatever we needed, and our focus was barn wood which is currently very popular in home décor trends.  We also brought back main exterior barn doors, stall doors, and lots of hardware.

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Customer: Isn’t it dangerous?

ReHouse: Life is dangerous.  Salvaging is no more or less so.  The employees that go out on our salvage jobs have been well trained in all aspects of safety when doing such work.  Locations are checked before any work starts to make them aware of any possible dangers.  They are encouraged to work safely and may even call off a job if it presents an uncomfortably risky situation for anyone.

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Customer: How long does it take?

ReHouse: Sometimes it is easy to know how long a job will take.  If we go to a house that only has kitchen cabinets we can usually estimate 1-2 hours for removal and loading.  In the case of the barn it was hard to know.  We scheduled 2 days of recovery in which we were able to remove all stall doors, main doors, hardware and other wooden items that were not “tied down.”  At the end of 2 days we reevaluated, talked to the owner, and are now able to return for one more day in order to cut out as much barn wood as possible.

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Customer: What did you end up with from the barn?

ReHouse: Enjoy these photos of the salvaged goodies that will soon be available for purchase.

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