Going Back in Time at Gayle’s Pasadena Architectural Salvage

Over the weekend, the hubby and I ventured out to Pasadena to visit Gayle’s Pasadena Architectural Salvage. We want to put a door into an existing doorway between our kitchen and dining room, which is easier said than done. In the process of measuring the doorway and then searching the more obvious places to buy a door like Home Depot or Lowes, I learned that the doors used in the 1920’s are actually ever so slightly smaller than today’s standard door sizes (by fractions of an inch!) So I began a search for an antique door of the proper size (29 ¾” x 78 ½ “) and came across this veritable treasure trove of salvaged goodies from the 19th and 20th centuries.

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They have everything! From fireplace mantles, to old butler pantries, to lighting fixtures, to furniture and hardware galore! I was in heaven walking through the store and trying to imagine from what type of home each of these unique pieces may have originated.

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And there were rows upon rows of old doors. We found the perfect one! We really wanted a glass door, so as to be able to separate the two rooms without cutting completely cutting off the flow of the house. We found this 10-light french door, which will be the perfect entry into our kitchen (which has white cabinets and siding, and grey walls). All it needs is a coat of white paint to match the white we used in the kitchen. I can’t wait to ave it delivered and start working on mounting it!

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Here are a few of my favorite things that we saw in the store. I can’t wait to go back again and see what else appears there!

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I found this chair charming, with it’s leather seat and brass buttons. While it may not be the most comfortable seat for a house guest, it could make a great conversation piece for the antique furniture lover.
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This is just one of many fireplace mantels they had. With it’s it’s natural wood grain proudly displayed and the beautiful carved wood detail, this one take me back in time!

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I have mentioned my love for the Arts and Crafts movement before, and this gorgeous buffet is no exception! It’s wood is in beautiful condition, and it’s natural red tones make for an exceptionally elegant addition for a formal dining room.

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I just adore these kitchen canisters!

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This cabinet just begs to be taken home! (And we almost did… who knows, there’s still time!) I am absolutely in love with the wood inlay, which is almost a bit more Art Nouveau than Arts and Crafts. And the velvet lining inside seems to be original, and in fabulous shape! I can just imagine some mustached gentlemen pulling out his favorite Brandy snifter while puffing on a delicious cigar.

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There is a butler pantry in the Gamble House that looks just like this! If I had a great big kitchen, I would slide this right into it!!

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There were beautiful displays of stain glass hanging throughout the store, all saved for someone (maybe you!) to take home and put in their own window.

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There was also a plethora of hardware! Door knobs, hinges, cabinet hardware, keys… you name it!

Have you ever been unexpectedly led to such treasures? Where do you look for antiques in your town?

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Why I Love… The Ginkgo Leaf

Ginkgo has all sorts of significance. It’s a health supplement that boosts blood flow, improves memory, and acts as an antioxidant. The ginkgo tree is a symbol of longevity in Japanese culture. Ginkgo can be a vessel for storytelling in the written word and in art. What I love the most is it’s use in interior design.

The ginkgo leaf appears frequently in creations of and inspired by the arts and crafts movement, one of my favorite design movements to ogle at because of its connection to nature and use of materials from nature. (If you haven’t been to the Gamble House in Pasadena, you MUST go! The Greene brothers’ use of wood and natural imagery in the house is overwhelmingly beautiful, and a prime example of the Arts and Crafts movement!) Since the late 19th and early 20th centuries also brought with them more accessible travel to Asian countries, it makes sense that the symbolism of the ginkgo tree would have traveled back to the Western world along with some of the Japanese design sensibilities evident in the style. And wouldn’t we all want to be surrounded daily by the symbol for long life!

The unique thing about the ginkgo tree is the shape of its leaves. They have curves, angles, and straight lines alike, and are distinguishable against any other leaf shape that I’ve ever seen. That makes them great elements in design that uses straight lines and geometric shapes as well as more whimsical designs heavy with curves and organic shapes.

When we moved into our house, the previous owners had kept the home true to the Craftsman style in every way they could, which we loved. It made us feel like we belonged there! But in practice, I quickly realized I needed a space to live in that was a bit more modern than that. However, I do try to keep nature and the Arts and Crafts movement in mind, even as I’m scouring through mid-century or farmhouse style furniture looking for the right piece to bring home. I try to bring organic shapes and natural materials into every room. When I discovered this rug, I knew it would be perfect in our living room.

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The colors were right (grey with a splash of gold), the shapes were right (organic shapes but with clean lines), AND the pattern was conceived out of ginkgo leaves! I love this rug because it helps me bring together the radial shapes and warm colors from our dining room while complimenting the straight lines and light grey color from our sofa. And as a bonus, the ginkgo shapes tie in our “Welcome” sign (which we picked up last time we were at the Gamble House) as well as our real life young ginkgo tree that lives in our front yard. Perfection!

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Do you have a symbol or shape that you love to see used in art or design? What other symbols should I keep my eye out for?