4885 15th St., Detroit | 313-896-8333 | aswdetroit.org | Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday
The good people at the nonprofit Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit do more than save great architectural details in buildings they painstakingly deconstruct, though they’re well-known for that. According to Chris Rutherford, executive director of ASW, explains that the group’s mission also includes waste diversion: Without Rutherford and his teams, every item for sale in the warehouse would have gone in a landfill.
Municipalities, as well as home and business owners, hire ASW crews and licensed subcontractors to deconstruct unwanted or blighted buildings. The crews carefully preserve all reusable construction and architectural materials. Those items then go to one of two warehouses, where they are resold to the public at dramatically reduced prices. How reduced? Prices are negotiable, but a good rule of thumb is to assume you can purchase most things for about half of what you would pay in a retail setting.
What can you purchase there? Just about everything for your home, down to the proverbial kitchen sink. ASW rescues bathroom vanities, clawfoot tubs, chandeliers, windows, vintage doors, doorknobs, lumber, bricks, wood floors, fireplace mantels, granite countertops, whole kitchens and everything in between, all the way down to saving the real iron nails used in historic construction.
They’re planning to expand as well. Stay tuned for news regarding a full warehouse auction, so Rutherford and team can clear space for a more retail friendly space over the summer. Plans also include a small café and additional storefront build-outs. Deconstruction costs more and is much more labor-intensive than demolition, but the benefits to renovators, DIY enthusiasts and the environment are readily apparent. Rutherford believes the tide will continue to turn in favor of deconstruction as awareness rises. And with Mayor Mike Duggan backing a pilot project to partially deconstruct 10 vacant buildings before demolishing them, the idea seems to be gaining traciton.