Thursday, February 16, 2017

When to Buy an Antique vs. a Reproduction

By Gretchen Sawatzki

Top: New clawfoot tub; Below: Antique tub
Restoring a historic bathroom or kitchen in an old home can be a challenge. Finding period appropriate fixtures from antiques and vintage stores can also be difficult to find. And, when you do find the right antique fixture it sometimes doesn't fit, so what can you do? You can stick with the antiques or try new reproduction products that might solve the problem.

Reproduction products come in all types of finishes and period designs. They may look identical to the "real" thing, however they are manufactured with different methods and materials, making them less durable than their vintage counterparts. There are however great reproductions available when you can't find the perfect antique.

Antique clawfoot tubs are a dream and they are coveted finds. When you can find an antique clawfoot tub in good condition, it's worth the investment, however today's reproductions by Sign of the Crab offer the same luxury and beauty as the antique tubs and can be in ordered in a number of sizes.

Antique lighting is another great place to spend some money if you're looking for something unique or made of a particular material. Industrial style lighting is often easy to find at local antique shops and with a quick re-wiring kit from B&P Lamp Supply you can make your slick vintage find into a safe and functional fixture. If you aren't that handy however there are great reproduction light fixtures available through online retailers like Rejuvenation.

Left: reproduction light fixture; Right: restored antique light fixture

Antique hardware is always a great find that is often easy to repurpose for a modern application. The challenge with hardware is finding multiples of the same drawer pulls, knobs, or keyhole covers. When you can find a vintage set of hardware, it's good advice to take it home. If you aren't so lucky with locating a set however there are a number of online companies that offer worthy reproductions including Rejuvenation and WSI Distributors.

Above: Set of vintage drawer pulls; Below: reproduction drawer pull

When you're working on a restoration project it's best to use antique and vintage fixture whenever possible - they look great, age gracefully, were crafted to last, and are eco-friendly. But, if you can't find the right antique or vintage fixture, you can always opt for the reproductions.


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