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February 11, 2014, 02:08 PM

Julia Shantz coaches Calgarians on architectural salvage.

By Ruby Hazael

Julia Shantz' showroom at Uniquities Architectural Antiques and Salvage in Calgary, Canada [photo Uniquities

Alberta, Canada - Meredith Bailey from the Avenue, published an interview last week with Julia Shantz from Uniquities Architectural Antiques & Salvage in Calgary. Julia grew up in Wales. After moving to Canada, she and her husband filled a container with architectural salvage in the UK and shipped it across the Atlantic to renovate her turn of the century home.

Julia says 'Wales has more castles, per capita, than anywhere else on the planet. That was my stomping grounds when I was a kid. That living history really resonated with me. We travel to Europe on buying trips three or four times a year. Our last round of buying in 2013 was four containers, including two 40-footers. Total, it's 80 tons of goodies. That includes iron, stone, wood and tile. Our costs incurred for importing are astronomical.'

'You have to watch the trends, even though architectural antiques and salvage isn't 'trendy.' We're not selling a fad. But you have to follow what's happening in the design and fashion world. On the catwalk this year is a lot of Russian fabric and influence. We were very lucky to find convex mirrors from a Russian railway station, clocks with Cold War symbols and wooden panels.'

'I couldn't use 'salvage' here for many years because nobody had heard of it unless it was car salvage. We've only used the term in our signage in the past five years. Calgarians have a young understanding of antiques and architectural salvage; it's not deep-rooted, unless you're dealing with people from Eastern Canada or Europe.'

'It can take 10 days to ship to Montreal from Bristol. From Montreal to Calgary, you're looking at two weeks by train and then truck. Our packers in Bristol pack it so well, you can't fit a toothpick in the containers. Buying an entire chapel from Wales is the biggest project we've done. We used the interior wood to build our custom furniture and tables and bars for commercial clients.'

We're using the exterior stone to face a house in Elbow Park. It has Welsh slate roofing and all of the lintels are 19th-century stone with two 40-foot chimneys with hand-thrown 18th-century brick. It will look like nothing else in Calgary. You have to be really open to change. For instance, rainwater hoppers, a part of a Victorian drainpipe system, are beautifully cast iron and would have been scrapped 20 years ago. Today, we use them for light fixtures, planters or people put them up on their houses. You have to be completely in tune with your market.'

For more of Julia's interview see Meredith's article in the Calgary Avenue website.

Uniquities Architectural has been a member of the Salvo Code since 1998. It is located at Bay 2, 2501 Alyth Rd. S.E.

Uniquities Architectural Antiques

Avenue Calgary: The Expert: Architectural Salvage
Salvo Code

Story Type:  News

ID: 80615

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