Taking a Day Trip

Editor’s note: This article has been republished. Original date of publication: February 28th, 2018.


I moved to Asheville back in 1988, long before it had become famous for its funky shops, artisan galleries, vibrant downtown, panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Arts and Crafts heritage, music scene, and craft beer breweries. Thirty years later, I still love Asheville, but its popularity has come with a price. Sidewalks are crowded, parking is hard to find, and at restaurants the standard greeting is, “Do you have a reservation?”

So, this year Leigh Ann and I have made a resolution to do more exploring around Asheville, taking day trips to places that have not yet been overrun with tourists. Last weekend we headed off to Brevard, thirty-some minutes southwest of Asheville, a town of 7600 people and well-known for Brevard College, the Brevard School of Music, and a colony of white squirrels with its own fabled folklore.

Before heading out, I checked in with my good friend Jim Wilson, owner of Chatsworth Antiques in downtown Asheville, for the names of any antiques shops in Brevard. When he mentioned an architectural shop called Underground Salvage, I knew that would be our first stop.

Even though we’re not involved with any major restoration or building projects at the moment, I love architectural salvage shops. I don’t expect to find any Stickley furniture or Rookwood art pottery, but sometimes you just feel like rooting through stacks of newel posts, rows of doors, boxes of hardware, and displays of stained-glass windows.

And I never forget that most Arts and Crafts andirons, including those made by the Roycroft blacksmiths and in Gustav Stickley’s blacksmith shop, were often left unsigned, always leaving open the possibility of making a true discovery in a salvage warehouse.

Tired of your shiny chrome door knobs from Lowe’s? Swap them out for some vintage door knobs.


And I never tire of ways to bring stained glass windows into our home. In the past when doing new construction, I have actually built them into walls, but now I clean them up, repaint the frame, and put hooks in the top to hang them in front of our existing windows. Quick tip:  if you want your stained glass window framed in oak, rather than knock the old frame apart, simply tack thin oak boards right on top of the painted frame. See this week’s Collectors Guide (February 28th, 2018 edition) for more information.


And if you’re living in a late mid-century ranch house with flimsy hollow-core doors, you can find a variety of solid wood replacements.

So, next time you’re ready for a day trip, don’t overlook any architectural salvage shops along the way.

Until next week,

“The only person who doesn’t find anything is the one who quit looking.”