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Arg!! Tired of over-priced stuff

Hugh Beaumont

One of the Regulars
Messages
171
Location
Fort Wayne, Indy-ana
We are restoring our house (my late grandfathers house from the 50's) and it is so darn expensive...:mad: I know restorations aren't cheap, but it's getting ridiculous. We don't have any structual things to change, just decor.

For instance, we want to replace our front door with three window door from the era, and believe it or not, they are plentiful on other peoples homes but none can be found as surplus. These post-war doors were cheap and put on about every ranch home throughout the US during the 40's, 50's and 60's.

There is a company that makes them, but they want between $1800-$2200!!

It seems anyone who jumped on the retro bandwagon thinks they can charge triple the price for things I guess because it's so clicky.

Want a chair with even a hint of mid-century straight lines and expect to pay hundreds over what a regular chair would cost.

On my daily drive, I pass hundreds of ranch homes built 50+ years ago with the original three window front doors. I am almost tempted to start knocking on some doors!

Anyone else sick of being taken advantage of just because it's "retro"?
 

PrettySquareGal

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,999
Location
New England
I don't think anyone is being "taken advantage of" if a company charges a premium for a reproduction, especially if it's well made here in the US. You're free to go elsewhere or even better, learn to make 'em yourself. :D
 

Foofoogal

Banned
Messages
4,884
Location
Vintage Land
indiana architectural salvage

Type this in Google and you may find some.

I understand your angst but supply and demand is business.
Location has alot to do with it also.

From someone who once upon a time bought a 1930s house where nothing was standard. lol
 

The Shirt

Practically Family
Messages
852
Location
Minneapolis
I was also going to suggest going the route of checking out your local and not quite local salvage places. You may also talk with these owner's let them know what you are looking for specifically and see fi they can come up with anything. It sounds like you have a ranch - have you checked out some of the magazines that cover that topic? Perhaps they have advertisers that may provide what you are looking for. Perhaps posted you desired door in Craigslist and see if there is any takers.

I agree that restoration is an arm and a leg endeavor. It's a labor of love. As for the furniture end of it - I've found that estate sales or garage sales are my best bet for finding a reasonable cost piece. That and being lucky.
 

Hugh Beaumont

One of the Regulars
Messages
171
Location
Fort Wayne, Indy-ana
I've scoured the local surplus yards. One owner even laughed that I wanted one of those old doors.....he said they throw them away because no one wants them. I told them I wanted everyone he gets then. :)

I do subscribe to a couple of magazines specializing in the mid-centiry culture and I think that is where my frustration began. Most of the advertisers in those mags are the ones gouging prices.

It really is a double edge sword. Original stuff from the era are usually cast aside and end up in the landfill, and the reproductions are over-priced.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,713
Location
London, UK
Please excuse my ignorance here, as I've not got a huge amount of experience with doors, but would it not be possible to buy a plain, solid door and cut out the window panes to the shapes you're after? Bit of a job, but surely much, much cheaper?
 

The Shirt

Practically Family
Messages
852
Location
Minneapolis
Actually Edward - that's not a bad idea. Have to make sure the door is solid wood rather than hollow core (which is pretty typical these days). Another option might be to try a smaller millwork shop in your town/city. Perhaps one that is a cabinet maker? Ask for a bid for just the door, you could stain, finish and hang the door yourself to save some money. I suspect you will still be at the $1000 mark or higher but trying to do it local might bring the price down, plus if they are hungry in this market it might help.

The magazine sources do tend to be the best of the best don't they? I would buy nearly everything in Atomic Ranch if I could. ;)
 

Miss 1929

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,397
Location
Oakland, California
Somtimes not cheaper to go salvage

As in the case of our front door - we thought it would save us some, and found the exact door a week later in Home Depot for less!
I was surprised.
But yes,you can spend and arm and a leg on things like doorknobs alone...
 

Decodence

A-List Customer
Messages
367
Location
Phoenix
niche market = $$$ Just the way it is. They have to make up the price on the reduced volume of niche pieces.
 

Hugh Beaumont

One of the Regulars
Messages
171
Location
Fort Wayne, Indy-ana
Possible, but unfortunately I don't have any equipment to do it, plus I am all thumbs and will probably lose one in my attempt :lol

I guess what adds to my frustration is the fact they are so plentiful, yet not available. Like being on the ocean, water all around, but none to drink.


Edward said:
Please excuse my ignorance here, as I've not got a huge amount of experience with doors, but would it not be possible to buy a plain, solid door and cut out the window panes to the shapes you're after? Bit of a job, but surely much, much cheaper?
 

Joie DeVive

One Too Many
Messages
1,308
Location
Colorado
I know your pain, I want a metal edge, formica top table for my kitchen, and the repros I've seen are about $300 for a 3'X3'! And the matching chairs run around $150 a pop.:eek: That may not be a lot to some people, but for us just buying our first house, it's too much... So we wait.[huh]

I suspect you've already tried these ideas, but just in case, have you:

  • Asked the man at the surplus yard to hold the next door like that that comes through offering to "make it worth his while".
  • Watched for people in the area doing renovations. Big dumpsters in the drive are a big hint. And then asking if they are replacing their doors. (My neighbor across the street just tore out his big baby blue porcelain over iron tub and left it in the drive. It's gone now, I just hope it didn't get dragged off to the dump. :( )
  • Tried estate sales, garage sales, flea markets etc.
  • Looked on Craiglist and Freecycle.

Happy hunting.
 

sixsexsix

Practically Family
Messages
870
Location
toronto
I agree with craigslist, you can find really good deals there. Also look for auctions in smaller towns outside of the city - they have tons of stuff and you can usually get things pretty cheap.
 

Foofoogal

Banned
Messages
4,884
Location
Vintage Land
Dermann,
Go to Google. Push the shopping button thing. Type in leather watch box. Comes in many prices.
I love the Google products feature. Type in vintage or antique or any term really.
 

Tomasso

Incurably Addicted
Messages
13,719
Location
USA
Hugh Beaumont said:
being taken advantage of

Hugh Beaumont said:
gouging prices.

:rolleyes:

Decodence said:
niche market = $$$ Just the way it is. They have to make up the price on the reduced volume of niche pieces.
And, it's not that lucrative as these people are going out of business every day.

I would suggest that you rent a pick-up and drive to Chicago, where there are a million of your doors laying around.;)
 

Brinybay

Practically Family
Messages
571
Location
Seattle, Wa
Try finding a local free-lance carpenter and describe what you need. When my Dad died a couple years ago, we were aghast at the cost of caskets. I located a carpenter via local ads who quoted a price for a descent casket for about 1/4 of the price funeral homes and casket companies were asking for them. You'd be surprised what some people with "garage shops" can do.
 

Twitch

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,133
Location
City of the Angels
In the realm of outside doors, a couple years ago I wanted a new back door of soldi wood instead of the cheap, and penatrable hollow ones. A contractor was finishing up other stuff for me but obviously didn't want to do the job so he tried to snow me with BS about how they're hard to find and don't know what it would cost etc.

I sez go to Home Depot they got all kinds. Anyhow it ende up with my handymn doing it for next to nothing. Certainly if the other dork would have done it it would have been crazy high.

BTW hanging doors is tough, 2 person work. If you've never hung one don't try!
 

SpitfireXIV

One of the Regulars
Messages
180
Location
chicago
i know your frustration regarding finding period pieces to match your house. i've tried a few ways to get (in my case, just shutters) fixtures to complete my house here.

as a preservationist, i cringe when i see cute little homes with cyclone fences put up around them, knowing their untimely fate. but, one obliging house provided me with shutters to match my current ones; the thought of having custom ones made, or replacing my existing ones and having to buy shutters for the rest so they all match was ridiculously expensive!

keep an eye out around your neighbourhood to see if there are any "teardowns" that might have the door you need; that would be one less thing in a landfill (which is good) and you can get a period piece hopefully for free!

the other suggestion i have is this: check with your local "Habitat for Humanity" chapter; our local one has a "Re-Store" where people donate their fixtures, cabinets, etc. when they do any sort of re-hab work. Profits from the Re-Store go to help building projects in the area. Win-win, really.

Hope that helps
 

Vintage Betty

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,300
Location
California, USA
In Silicon Valley, I subscribed via email to a Yahoo industrial demolition email list in my region for almost two years. Contractors gave notice on the type of structure they were tearing down, and the cost of items, or if you could haul it away for free by a certain date.

I didn't need anything, so I eventually unsubscribed. Perhaps it's time to have a chat with a tear down company in your area? A small "donation" to the coffee fund probably wouldn't hurt to keep their eyes open.

On another note, I have at least half a dozen vintage doors in my barn I am giving away. If you know of any method to get some or all these doors to you from California, you can have them for free.

Vintage Betty
 

Hugh Beaumont

One of the Regulars
Messages
171
Location
Fort Wayne, Indy-ana
Thank you Vintage Betty! Do you have any of the doors I speak of? If I can't find anything locally, I'll let you know.

Also, thanks to everyone else.

I did locate our local reStore It. They don't open until Tuesday, so I'll check that out.

Thanks again.
 

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