In with the old: Homeowners, builders recycle the past with architectural salvage
Oswego resident Bill Novak asked his homebuilder, DJK Inc. in Plainfield, to dress his new house with salvaged materials. The result: oak flooring from Europe and a massive beam from a dismantled barn in Elizabeth, Ill., for a mantel in the family room.

"That mantel must weigh 400 to 500 pounds," said Novak. "It really gives the room an Old World look. It's beautiful." The items give him a "greener" home, he added.

Many of the best-dressed homes in the area are those owned by the people who sell the salvaged goods. Kneen's Lincoln Park home is a treasure trove of antique fireplace surrounds, vintage lighting and marble scraps that became sills and shelves.

In addition to repurposed hardware from his shop, Bettenhausen's Wilmette house has salvaged millwork and built-ins.

"No one says, 'I love the new lacquered table,'" he said, "but the 100-year-old built-in gets the looks."

Architectural salvage resources

Here's a sampling of Illinois sources for architectural salvage items:

Airport Lumber Co., 6222 W. Plank Road, Peoria; 309-697-1106

Al Bar Wilmette Platers, 127 Green Bay Road, Wilmette;

Architectural Artifacts Inc., 4325 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago;

Carlson's Barnwood Co., 8066 N. 1200 Ave., Cambridge, Ill.;

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 2201 S. Halsted St., Chicago; for addresses of suburban ReStores, visit

Kimball & Bean Architectural and Garden Antiques, 3606 S. Country Club Road, Woodstock;

Kneen & Co., 399 W. Fullerton Parkway, Chicago;

ReBuilding Exchange, 2160 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago;

Salvage One, 1840 W. Hubbard St., Chicago;

Urban Remains, 1850 W. Grand Ave., Chicago;