Featured Dealer: Second Chance Inc.
Providing jobs to Baltimore's unemployed by training them to salvage the city's architectural past, one deconstruction job at a time
Second Chance is different than high-end architectural antiques stores. The products we offer, the customers who come in, and the employees who work here run the gamut. Second Chance gives jobs to the city's unemployed by training them to do deconstruction, which is basically unbuilding old houses and giving their components a new lease on life. The people who undergo training each year are guaranteed a job with us at the end of the apprenticeship. What's great is that we are expanding into other cities that have the same issues as Baltimore: displaced workers but a strong labor pool and local governments that are interested in providing jobs. In each of these cities—which include Newark and Philadelphia—there's plenty of urban redevelopment, which means a lot of old buildings to deconstruct. We also get donated items, as people want to see their old things reused, and not going to landfills. In our retail stores where all those deconstruction materials are sold, we offer our customers everything from a $5 doorknob to a $50,000 chandelier. With all of this great inventory to explore, you'll want to wear your walking shoes when you come visit our 135,000 square-foot warehouse space.
A wealth of salvaged pieces from various deconstruction sites in nine different states fill Second Chance's five warehouses. Light fixtures alone occupy at least two of our warehouses.
In Warehouse #1, we offer customers a glimpse of our mighty selection of inventory, which is spread throughout all our warehouses, in a single showroom. Everything from pedestal sinks to ornate limestone columns and antique scales are on display.
Decorative tin ceiling tiles are a common element of traditional Baltimore row homes. Our customers use these tiles as decorative artwork hung on the wall, or folded around wooden boards to make decorative mirror frames and headboards.
This corbel, sourced from an ongoing redevelopment program in east Baltimore, was originally used on the outside of a home. But as many of our customers can attest, working with our salvaged pieces means getting creative, and this piece could be used as an interior architectural or decorative element as well. About $65.
While architectural pieces are the mainstay of our stock, antique furniture fills Warehouse #3, where rockers such as these start at around $100.
Our company specializes in vintage architectural elements, but we also sell new or nearly new kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Prices for a small bathroom vanity range from $75 for a basic unit to $800 for a piece with a granite top and all the plumbing fixtures.
These old wrought-iron gates from the early 1900s display a level of craftsmanship that is not seen today. Ironwork typically sells for $30 per running foot.
Pieces like this early 20th-century shower are the definition of hard-to-find. This comes from the Olmstead brother-designed Roland Park neighborhood here in Baltimore, where we have recently done deconstruction work. It's priced at $9500.
Baltimore's own Tongue Insurance Building, a landmark of the city's architecture, experienced its heyday in the 1920s. Since then, Second Chance's own deconstruction team dismantled the building, which yielded some beautiful pieces, including this ornate façade from the exterior of the building's second floor.
Clawfoot tubs, which are all-too-often removed from old homes and sent to landfills, have become one of the most popular pieces in Second Chance's inventory. Tubs like these range in price from $50 to $1200, depending on size, condition and rarity.
Second Chance's inventory of knob plates is prolific. Plates like these, which were often accompanied by the glass doorknobs made popular in the early 20th-century, range in price from $2 to $25.
Gorgeous marble keystones from the 19th- and 20th-centuries are among Second Chance's more delicate items. Pieces like this fireplace surround average about $4000.
These stained glass windows come from one of our more ambitious projects in Philadelphia, a circa-1850s church. Panels like these are typically reused as decorative elements in the homes, especially placed in front of an existing window. Letting the light stream in behind them really makes them beautiful.
Perhaps one of the most sought-after and valuable commodities on the architectural salvage market is reclaimed wood. Pieces like these, which come from the beams and floors in old homes, are among the most popular products on sale at Second Chance.
Our shelves are brimming with doorknobs galore. Knobs made of faceted glass, porcelain, metal, and wood are all used for a variety of creative purposes, including wall hooks and coat hangers (not to mention to open doors!). Prices start at $2 and can go as high as $150.
This is Mark Moreland, the manager of Warehouses #1 and #2. Mark was a decorative faux painter for many years before he decided that he needed a change. He came to Second Chance three and half years ago, and has been a key player here ever since.
We employ over 50 people at our Baltimore outfit. While over half of our employees are trained in our apprenticeship deconstruction program, the other half work at our retail facilities, selling our products to homeowners, renters, artists, restoration contractors, as well as commercial builders.
It usually takes us 8 to 10 days to completely deconstruct a site, and we usually have about five projects going on at the same time. When a project is finished, the big pieces like the huge columns and wood siding start to roll in.
Two trucks are dispatched daily to various homes to pickup donated items. We can have 35 to 60 donated items come in, not to mention all the salvaged materials from our deconstruction project sites.