For 15-plus years, Carolyn Curtin has been saving architectural gems: cast-iron tubs, pedestal sinks, lumber, signs, stained glass, light fixtures, and thousands of doors, knobs, hinges and more. The items date from the late 1800s through the 20th century, and the collection, which includes furniture and other household items, now fills a 20,000-square-foot former Canada Dry warehouse, as well as a small retail storefront in downtown Asbury Park.
Salvage Angel by the Sea has helped appoint homes throughout the region, including in Asbury Park, where it began for Curtin 17 years ago with her purchase of a Victorian house she wanted to restore with era-appropriate pieces. Her quest to find a kitchen sink grew into a vocation and then a full-time job. “As they were knocking things down around us in a town that was getting gentrified, the collection organically got bigger,” she says.
As word spread, contractors called with finds. “It’s an interesting business, but it’s not for the faint of heart,” she says. “You do a lot of heavy lifting, and you get dirty by the end of the day.”
The warehouse features a mirror room and another devoted to vintage rattan—“It’s hot with the hipsters,” Curtin says. So are all the mid-century modern finds. The inventory also includes smaller items: vintage clothing, jewelry, and even Christmas odds and ends.
Some period pieces Curtin rescued have been featured on popular television shows and movies, such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, If Beale Street Could Talk, and the forthcoming Joker movie. She also supplied materials for The Sopranos prequel, a Bruce Springsteen video and other productions.
Demand for vintage remains strong. Salvage Angel’s retail store in the former Steinbach building opened in May.Click here to leave a comment