Let's Shop: Restoration Resources

Eat your heart out, Restoration Hardware. This Boston shop's the real deal.

Renovating? Sprucing up your décor? Prepare to be inspired. Restoration Resources at 1946 Washington Street is the epicenter of historic salvage in New England. When we shopped around last week, we found a bounty of unique architectural elements that could be used in restoration projects. But even better, some of these fantastic pieces would look great in contemporary settings as well. Established in 1988 by Bill Raymer, the store got a serious face-lift last summer by Steven Morris. Now, angled aisles and organized products show off the huge collection of doors, lights, mirrors, furniture, mantels, hardware and antique relics within the 7,000 sqft showroom.

Baluster spindles hung at various heights resemble found art sculpture; hardware is grouped together by color; hanging lights of all different styles create a historic home awe.

Between answering enquiries from an event planner, and a homeowner interested in buying a one-off piece from the website, owner Bill Raymer shared how he had accumulated so much inventory. “Generally, we get calls from contractors, demolition companies and homeowners. We try to buy things in good condition or need minor repair.”

How does he decide what to buy? “Purchases are made on visual impulse,” he says “Going into old buildings is like a treasure hunt. I enjoy finding interesting and unique pieces.” On a recent house call to look at architectural details he also discovered some fine hardware, which happens to be his favorite kind of salvage. “Finally crafted and unique in design,” he says. After so many years of scouting homes, he’s learned to always ask, “what’s in the basement!”

In addition to buying and selling unique architectural artifacts, Bill likes to connect customers with the skilled craftsman who recycle and repurpose the original piece. Old iron gates can be turned into a headboard, hardware knobs can be hung as coat hooks, or turned wooden newels can find a new purpose as book ends, the decorating possibilities are numerous.

Owner Bill Raymer holds one of the many original architectural elements found in the store.

In this video, Bill shares the interesting story behind some of the grander pieces salvaged from mansions throughout New England.

The showroom is by appointment on Mondays and open Tuesday to Saturday 10-5pm. More information and a small sampling of their product is on their website and Ebay store. Restoration Resources also rents to the local film industry so there is every chance that the piece salvaged from a Boston mansion will appear in a feature film. The recycling continues. They’ve even starting renting out space for special events.