One of the first places I stumbled upon when I moved to LA in 2007 was Olde Good Things. Located in downtown LA, close to LA Trade Technical College, it is a bit hidden. Once you're in the neighborhood, you can't miss the Humpty Dumpty up on the wall (really!) and bright flashing star as you enter.
This is one of the most unique architectural antique shops anywhere. A bit more known in New York City, where there are five locations, we have the downtown store and another, more recently opened, on Olympic Blvd.
I spoke with Joe Stren, an Architecturologist, about this unique gem in Los Angeles. Sourcing from old foundries, schools, landmarks during renovation, Olde Good Things has an amazing array of items you will not find anywhere else. Salvage is the name of the game. Prices are wildly varied, from $4 up to $65,000; anyone can afford even a small unique antique.
Stren told me of one of his favorite pieces, an 1800's barber's chair that had changed hands over the years between high profile actors and directors among others. It has been fully restored to its original glory and is a must-see in person. Seeping in the vibe of Sweeney Todd, it's a bold and debonair piece.
The light and warmth provided by the hundreds of antique chandeliers is worth the trip in and of itself. Joe commented that with many of the lights using seven and a half watt bulbs, the electric bill is a gazillion dollars. One special chandelier is from the JFK airport. Another is an exquisite Murano glass chandelier in gorgeous pastel colors.
Everything from a staggering collection of glass doorknobs to stained glass windows, and over one hundred marble mantels from the Plaza Hotel, at its recent renovation, a bit of history is within reach.
Olde Good Things ships all over the world, and boasts over 200,000 square feet of warehouse space for all the salvaged gems. A large client base is located in both London, England and throughout Ireland. The demand is great for American antiques internationally, keeping these items' histories alive.
As I wander through the vast store, a local design school is having a field trip and the class is in equal amazement at the objects found within. When I leave, I thank Joe Stren for his generous time at the impromptu interview, and leave with a vintage railroad nail, a "date nail," as they are called. One of them will only set you back a mere four dollars. If you are intrigued, you can do a little research. As with many finds in the store, quite a history is available for most items.
A guaranteed fun and interesting time is to be had at Olde Good Things. If you are looking to remodel, a perfect place to find a one of a kind item. A little bit of a time warp, and a nostalgic glow immerses you whilst you're inside. Then the spell is broken by reentering the streets of modern Los Angeles. This is a destination to be sought out and explored.
The beautiful and informative website: www.oldegoodthings.com
Michelle Williams lives in Berkeley and is a former youth footballer star. Michelle's modern girl maxim? “Read lots... love old tech!”
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