Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Portland - The Hardware

I alluded to it in yesterday's post. If you are an old house owner visiting Portland, from the moment your plane lands you hear a soft whisper beckoning you from across the Willamette River.

With the Oregon countryside under my belt, on my second free day in Portland I headed across the river. For those of you that know Portland, I took the light rail from city center out to the Convention Center. I got off the train, located Grand Ave NE and started walking south. Now you know my dedication ;-)

My first stop was School House Electric. I ordered my kitchen lights through them a few years back (to be installed as part of the kitchen restoration). I adore their hand painted shades. It was fun to see the lights from their catalogs in person. I asked them if they knew of any other old house type places in the neighborhood and they handed me the Resource List (I hope they don't mind that I included it here) with a recommendation to go see Hippo Hardware.

So, off to Hippo Hardware I went. Three floors filled with old (and some new) hardware, lighting & plumbing. I had a very good time chatting with the guys in the lighting department about how no one make sockets with bottom pull chains for sconces any more. This is a sign of a true old light store, when they know this.

I worked my way down to the hardware department and just for fun asked the salesperson if she had any idea what hardware would have been used on an old ice delivery door. I restored my ice delivery door a while back but the hardware is missing, and I have been on a bit of a quest to find replacement hardware. I don't think she really knew the answer, but she pointed me to a bunch of boxes of salvaged ice box hardware. I spent the next hour and a half sitting on the dirty, concrete floor going through those boxes. In the end, I found a nice brass latch that I bought. It looks like something that might have been on an ice delivery door.

After a lot more walking, my next stop was Rejuvenation. I bought my dining room light through them, as well as some bathroom fixtures & light. I have had mixed luck with their customer service, and this past summer much to my frustration they declined to help me buy back band they stock in their Portland store. However, there is no way you can be in Portland and not visit the store. It is impressive.

Armed with a little card filled with various measurements from my house, I ventured into the store. I bought two ceramic bolt caps to replace the plastic ones that came with my non-vintage toilet. I bought a nickel sash lock to replace the one I mysteriously lost while restoring my bathroom window. I debated buying the brass turn keys for my storm windows. I decided not to buy them and now could kick myself; I'll end up ordering them via phone soon.

Then while digging through the clearance bins, I found a brass storm door set at 50% off...identical to the one I used on my front storm door. :-) Perfect for the wood storm door I intend to hunt down for my back door.

I made my purchases and then strolled back to look at their salvage. Holy cow, salvage prices in Portland are very high. I just about had a heart attack when I saw what they were asking for a bathroom wall sink. Of course, being a glutton for punishment I had to wander over to the millwork section and go look at the perfect back band I am not allowed to buy ;-) I fingered it longingly and briefly considered pleading with them in person to ship it to me. But, alas my pride wouldn't let me.

I toyed with the idea of walking down the McCoy Millwork & 1874 House Antiques but it was still a pretty far ways off and the sun was heading down, so I turned around and made my way back to the light rail stop and headed back across the river to my hotel.

Of course, TSA loved all that metal when I went through airport security.


merideth said...

don't you just love Portland? it's a bonanza for us house folks...completely aside from it being an awesome city in its own right...and dude, just, WHOA on your ghost story!

Trissa said...

I love Hippo Hardware! We spent quite a bit of time there on our last visit to Portland. Your post made me want to plan another visit...

StuccoHouse said...

I really do like Portland. It was kind of funny but one of the first billboards I saw coming in fromthe airport was for a furniture store and it said in big letters "No Swedish Fiberboard Here." My kind of town :-)

Hippo Hardware was fun. I was really glad that SchoolHouse sent me that way, cuz I had never heard of them.

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