Vintage treasure hunting at Eco Building Bargains, Springfield, Mass.

The past few weeks have been pamdemonium around here — there has been mega-action on my office remodel, updates to come. As part of that project, I’ve been to the ReStore over in Springfield three times. Actually, it’s not a ReStore, it’s Eco Building Bargains. Same concept exactly and in fact, *my* center really notches things up because they have a well-connected team that travels all over the state deconstructing homes and bringing the salable parts back to the store for reuse. This means: They have great stuff.

During my recent visits, I was mainly scoping for vintage kitchen cabinetry or other materials to create built-in storage for my office; I am completely tortured over this question right now. But the place is a 60-mile drive from my house, so once I land, I spend hours each time looking at every little itty bitty everything, to get my ideas churning about just about anything.

I am pretty certain that everyone there thinks that I am really truly crazy. That fact notwithstanding, it is my job to inspect and ponder and puzzle and noodle and then report back to you on vintage treasures like these. Three hours at the ReStore? Thank goodness that there are now bathrooms in their new location. May I suggest a barista and a book store? Like in Charlotte.

For your Monday morning eye candy — and torture, because these are so wonderful: A big stash of vintage steel apartment doors that I spotted all tucked away among about 500 other vintage doors of every shape and size.

These doors are steel. Moreover, they each feature amazing raised trim pieces also made of some sort of metal. Yes: Each of these raised design is applied metal ornamentation. If I were a dealer, I would buy the doors, strip the trim, and sell the trim — it would make for some fabulous wall designs.

Alas, my existing vintage hoard already has my house bursting at the seams. Harsh words have been spoken. Divorce is at hand if I don’t lighten up. As a result, I am learning to snap-snap-snap and walk on by. These beauties will go to someone else who will appreciate them. I know so, because who else would buy them?

…Above: Push the black button….

… And the doorbell rang! A nice, hollow, but decisive cling-clong. Be still my heart, I was IN LOVE. I oh so desperately wanted this door for the cling-clong! Boo hoo.

I counted 13 of these doors in all.

There were three below, but like I said, I was scouring every fracking inch of the place and spotted 10 more up in the rafters. Must have come from an apartment building. The doors were $65 each.

I also resisted — barely — buying one of these vintage church chairs. Seriously, I pulled the best one and set it up by the register. But about 10 minutes later, I went over and told the cashier that I had decided against it and that she could set the chair free. That was a close call; DH would not have been happy about that one.

The vintage lockers were $120 (for the set of four). Don’t we all want a set of these? But I resisted.

Republic Steel — the company that made — and still makes — these lockers today is the same Republic that made steel kitchen cabinets back in the day.

There was a goodly amount of this blue bathroom tile — Diamond Brand.

Made in Japan, it said on the back of the tiles.

This sink was the prettiest shade of coral. My camera could not capture the shade, it was just gorgeous.

My color of the year, Cobalt, in a hex sink. Lovely. However, I *think* dark sinks like this will show every darn spot, *beware*.

Vintage white sinks are always appropriate. And look at the beautiful faucets on these guys.

They had many window shutters, lots of the classic small louvers…

… and also this style, which I’ve never taken notice of before. None in the size that John is looking for, for his tiki basement, though.

What did I buy? I did not find any kitchen cabinetry that could be retrofitted into my office/studio. But I did buy a compact office table on wheels — super high quality by Herman Miller, $30. I will hook the Ergotron to it, and then be able to move my workstation to a corner or side of the room (cords permitting) when I want to focus on my art projects. I will likely repaint the plastic top, or do something funky with it. I also bought some vintage trim — Victorian, not midcentury. My office-studio remodel has decided it wants to be My Hippy Space. Stay tuned.


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  1. Becky says

    We had a “cling-clong” doorbell quite similar to that, on our apartment front door (complex built in early 70’s). Love that coral sink!

  2. Kate H says

    I like these kind of posts. It gives me hope that once I am able to re-do stuff, there will be appropriate materials for me that won’t have to come from a big-box store. Also, I won’t have to settle for greige, which is my big fear: I’ll get ready to re-do something and there won’t be anything but greige left in the world. Talk about a nightmare.

  3. Brad says

    i would have been tempted by those classic lockers, for the garage. gotta be useful….if unbelievably heavy.

    i somehow missed this store, and i lived in nearby northampton for 12 years! indeed….

  4. Jen says

    I still haven’t made it up there, as it’s about an hour from my house and usually the last thing I think to do on the weekend. Did you happen to see any good desks? That’s what we’re in the market for!

    • pam kueber says

      No Jen, I do not recall seeing desks. I think they specialize more in home fixtures rather than furniture. (Although I found my Herman Miller table — they had a ton of Herman Miller office fixtures, looks like they had a big donation…) I recommend: Craigslist and estate sales for desks.

  5. JKaye says

    So you got that triangular table on wheels? How cool. Going the hippy route? There will be a touch of paisley, and some daisies in a vase, right? What fun.

  6. JKaye says

    Should I have written hippie instead of hippy? How about happy? Your office should have the theme, Don’t worry, be happy!

  7. says

    Oh my goodness, those steel doors are just phenomenal! We seriously need to take the time to visit one of the ReStores near us. Not really near, probably an hour away, but I know it will be worth the visit for the eye candy alone, even if we find nothing we need/want.

  8. Joyce Wagner says

    I’m heading to the closest Re-Store myself tomorrow. Hope they have goodies as nice as these. I LOVE those metal doors!! It kills me seeing all the colors and shapes of sinks, etc. as my hubby is a plumber and they have been junking them for years – til I told him to stop and put them up on ebay or etsy. So if anyone is looking for specific colors, you can also hit me up – I never know what they have but it’s always vintage. Loved seeing all the goodies you saw – I don’t think I could have been as good as you were though! 😉

  9. says

    I LOVE the Eco Building Bargains in Springfield. And my sustainable design professor was the architect that designed the new building! 😀
    The other day I found 50 sq. ft. of turquoise linoleum floor tiles with pink, grey, and yellow streaks, I’m going to put them into one of my vintage trailer restorations soon!
    Thanks for all the great pictures, Pam! Those doors are awesome.

  10. Dot says

    What great stuff! Especially the blue tile, looks like a perfect match for my upstairs bathroom. Wish our ReStore had inventory like this.

  11. Jeff says

    Wow, Pam, your ReStore is better than ours!! I have those Moroccan looking design inserts on those doors- been wondering how to use them, have about 8 of them in the garage.

    Also, the sinks are fabu- I bought 7 sinks at our ReStore recently in lilac, coral, yellow, seafoam, and baby blue- some hudee rings, mostly wall mounted- all 50’s and all in their ORIGINAL BOXES! Of course I’m hoarding them, but will sell eventually.

  12. Elizabeth clement says

    The door you show I had in my first mid century. The home was built by an engineer who worked for Exon. It was all cement and cinder-block. I called it my bomb shelter. Had a step down livingroom, and the heating duck was under the step.

    Ahhh, I loved that house. We were the second owners. There was a steel beam under the sunken living room, the kind found in parking garages . Personally would never buy new construction. Our second, and final home: 1950 ranch. Once again, one owner prior to us.

  13. Amy says

    I grew up in Springfield and live in Ware now. Restore is the best! This whole area is great, actually– a lot of thrift stores, tag sales, just tons of opportunities for finding vintage.

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