There are salvage yards and then there are salvage yards par excellence… and this is what we find hidden in the beautiful area of countryside on the Surrey/Sussex border, some ten miles South of Guildford and twelve miles North of Horsham
We must all have spent many tedious hours driving to a distant yard where the telephone promise of ‘yes we have tremendous selections of oak beams and a great stock of handmade bricks’, turns in reality, to be a mediocre pile of wet timbers. Probably the rejects from some project, lying on the ground in the corner of the yard and a motley selection of largely machine made bricks, of dubious texture and colour. What a complete waste of time, usually when time is not what you have, and a complete disappointment. The secret of the success of Antique Buildings Ltd is that the salvage yard is the natural offspring of the other side of the company’s business, of being a very successful architectural consultancy, which specialises exclusively in ancient oak framed buildings. The architectural consultancy has won countless historic building,
conservation and design awards for saving and converting redundant barns, extending listed houses and designing and creating new homes using reclaimed materials. The company’s architectural work always requires the very best in reclaimed materials, and even whole barn frames. This requirement was the seed for the salvage yard which has grown over many years to become pre-eminent in its field. The company has without doubt the finest and most diverse stock of ancient oak beams, wide floorboards, reclaimed handmade bricks and roof tiles, paving materials and all the other items that go to make up the fabric of a traditional oak framed building.
A visit to the company’s web site www.antiquebuildings.com is a must for any serious old building restorer/builder. There are pictures of materials for sale, beautiful sketch illustrations and photographs of complete building frames which the company has carefully dismantled and which are available for re-erection. Photographs of completed projects are an inspiration for the use of reclaimed building materials and indeed whole buildings. The section giving advice and answers to frequently asked questions is particularly helpful for the prospective home builder.
A unique feature of the service that Antique Buildings Ltd offers is that not only is free architectural and design advice given on the use of materials, but there is a whole collection, ‘a museum,’ of re-erected buildings on site, built using the very kinds of materials that you can buy from stock. Each of the buildings has been designed to show features which customers might wish to re-create. For instance, one of the most popular items are the stunning wide oak floorboards. These are the ones used in their award winning projects which have just the right degree of mellow charm and character, and to demonstrate their stability, they have been laid over underfloor heating.
Some buildings have oak joisted ceilings and others with rooms that are open to the rafters. There are three different working inglenook fireplaces, some areas are paved with reclaimed York stone, others with reclaimed terracotta tile and yet others with brick. These examples are ideal to help customers visualise their project. To then be able to go into the yard to view the stock of genuine old ceiling joists, exactly the right type of inglenook bricks and bressummer beams that are there for the choosing, is invaluable. To cap things off, not only are the materials in stock but the company will be delighted to provide a sketch design and to ident tag the chosen components of the design.
When, in his teens in the 1960s, the founder of the company, Peter Barker, was developing his fascination for oak framed buildings, he little realised that his hobby would blossom into the thriving business that is now Antique Buildings Ltd. The company’s success is commendable. The formula of friendly knowledgeable service, superb stocks of carefully selected and well stored materials,
coupled with very fair prices keep private and trade customers returning time and again. After all, there are very few ‘one stop shops’ for traditional reclaimed materials, not to mention whole homes. Finally, if you have to make a longer trip to visit the company, why not make a day of it, the local pub, The Sun Inn, sits on the village green and serves a very acceptable pint and ploughman’s. For further information on Antique Buildings Ltd please visit www.antiquebuildings.com or telephone 01483 200477.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.00pm and on Saturday by appointment.