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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Old Mill Soapstone - Charlottesville, Roanoke, DC Metro

I discovered Old Mill Soapstone a few years ago when updating our bathroom. (We have one bathroom in our little bungalow and were in desperate need of two sinks to save the peace!) We enlisted a friend to build the cabinet and chose soapstone for the counter. It is now one of my favorite touches in our home. The soapstone adds warmth and grounds the room, I'm totally hooked!

I was excited to finally meet Sally O'Brien, from Old Mill Soapstone, in person when she came to Black Dog the other day. Her friends were raving about her front porch made of soapstone scraps, so I asked Sally to send me some pictures. She wet the porch to show the variation in stone and I'm now thinking of our next project :) A terrific example of 'green building' and reuse!

If you are in need of soapstone, please give them a call! They are great folks to work with and travel the east coast for installations.

Old Mill Soapstone

Friday, March 19, 2010

Apartment Therapy: How to resurface your butcher block

Apartment Therapy offers advice for resurfacing butcher tops HERE.

We offer both vintage (above) & new (below) butcher blocks.

For additional information on new butcher blocks,
see our earlier post HERE.

Happy Friday!

Ready for Spring? Garden Statuary from Unique Stone is on its way!

We are proud to offer reproduction garden statuary from Unique Stone, a family business located in North Carolina. We recently placed our Spring order and will be receiving new inventory in a couple weeks. To take a look at all they have to offer, their website is:
Happy Spring!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Black Dog Salvage: Before and After

In honor of our 10th anniversary in business,
thought it might be fun to show some before & after shots of how we've grown!
Shown above is the original Black Dog Salvage location at the old Marsteller stone yard, across from Reserve Avenue on Franklin Road.

Three years later, the business moved to our current location at 902 13th Street SW. While the endeavor was a massive undertaking, the new building provided a great space and an opportunity to organize our treasure trove.

What a difference!

Black Dog Properties, LLC also purchased the stone house located next door.
For additional information about the home, click HERE.


Here it is now, waiting for an appropriate reuse.

We are looking forward to restoring this unique property and ideally would like to create a tie-in with the new park and greenway trail, currently under construction surrounding the house. Ideas for reuse include a restaurant, bike shop, canoe livery or gift shop. There are no plans for residential use. Please contact us with any ideas or questions.

We're looking forward to the next ten years,
many thanks to all of our customers for your support!

The Stone House next to Black Dog Salvage

We often get questions about the stone house located next door to Black Dog Salvage.
In this week's Roanoke Times, a reader wrote in to ask about the house, so we thought it was a good time to post some of the information we have gathered over the years.

The house was purchased by Black Dog Properties, LLC in 2003 when Black Dog Salvage moved from its original location on Franklin Road (across from Reserve Avenue at the old Marsteller stone yard, now demolished). Click HERE for a "Before" and "After".

When the property was purchased, the roof & exterior of the house were in very poor condition. With the help of our "in-house" contracting affiliate, Blue Ridge Residential, Inc., and assistance from the Roanoke City Department of Economic Development Facade Grant Program, the exterior was stabilized and is now waiting for appropriate reuse.

This stately home was built by Michael Grosso, a stone mason by trade, and his son Joseph. From what we can tell, it was built around 1911 in the upscale neighborhood of Mountain View at the foot of the old Woodrum Bridge. Thirty years later, Magic City Launderers and Cleaners was constructed next door (now Black Dog Salvage).

Michael Grosso was born near Rome, Italy and migrated to the United States around 1867. He moved to Rocky Mount, VA in the 1890s and eventually settled in Roanoke.

One story has it that Mr. Grosso's original desire was to move to Virginia Heights, one of the city's first suburbs. Due to his ethnic decent, he was restricted from owning property there and instead built his home as close as possible, just across the bridge. However, we are dubious as to whether or not the story is true, considering the affluent neighbors he eventually settled near, which included the likes of J.B. Fishburn and other city leaders.

Michael Grosso's stone work can be found throughout Roanoke, including the walls around the Hotel Roanoke, Jefferson Center (formerly Jefferson High School) and the Fishburn estate, now Mountain View Recreation Center.

Stone walls became popular in the early 1900s as a replacement for fences that had been torn down after the enactment of the city's anti-cow ordinance. According to the Roanoke Times*, "The more affluent residents built bluestone walls to replace fences, particularly where a retaining wall was necessary. Some walls were built of cheaper stone, but "bluestone" was the most expensive and symbolically conferred a 'status' on the owner."

We believe Mr. Grosso also carved the stone for the old downtown post office, constructed in the 1880s and demolished in the 1930s (pictured above). It is clear that his home was made of surplus stone from his many projects. (If you look closely at his house, the corners of the front porch match those on the post office.) Most striking are his carved stone gargoyles (shown reaching out around the turret).

We unearthed a similar gargoyle a few years ago from Mr. Grosso's backyard, which appears to have been a "second", never making it to the post office. It is now resting in our garden room under the waterfall.

There are also two other gargoyles, that were likely salvaged from the post office, that are now perched in a driveway near Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

We were fortunate to meet one of Mr. Grosso's nieces, Sister Angie Driscoll (the youngest pictured on the right), who shared pictures and newspaper clippings about her uncle.  She grew up across the street with her 13 siblings in a home that Mr. Grosso also built, which was later demolished when the Memorial Bridge was widened.  Her mother, Lizzie Driscoll (Joe's sister), is pictured second from the left.

Michael Grosso died at the age of 96 in the early 1940s and his son, Joseph, passed away a few years later.

From one of the clippings, it appeared that the house was slated for demolition (thankfully that never happened). The article mentioned that the city would be donating stone from the property to the Greater Raleigh Court Civic League to be used in the Virginia Heights Baptist Church "mini-park" at the corner of Grandin Road and Memorial Avenue and for the GREATER RALEIGH COURT sign at the corner of Grandin Road and Brandon Avenue. There is definitely stone in both of those places, but it is unclear if they actually were donated from Mr. Grosso's home. We'll check to find out.

We are looking forward to restoring this unique property and ideally would like to create a tie-in with the new park and greenway trail, currently under construction surrounding the house. Ideas for reuse include a restaurant, bike shop, canoe livery or gift shop. There are no plans for residential use.

If you have any more information about the stone house or the Grosso family, please let us know. We'd love to hear from you!

For additional information, two articles published by The Roanoke Times:

Michael Grosso: Stonemason of Early City
by Raymond Barnes, June 1, 1968

*City's walls are monuments to stonemason
September 23, 1980

Thursday, March 11, 2010

3, 2, 1... Action! Look out for a new Black Dog Salvage commerical in the next few weeks!

"Quiet on the set!"
We had a great time filming our latest commercial!
Produced by Bruce Bryan, B2C Enterprises
Created by Grant Plaskon, G Force Productions
We first met them when they produced this commercial.

We were thrilled that a few of our favorite faces of Black Dog
were willing to participate in the commercial!
You may even recognize a few...

Donna Scott, co-owner of Black Dog's Belle Maison

Shelby Bingham

John Reburn, owner of Appalachia Press and Black Dog's Edith Blanche

Lisa Soltis, Roanoke City's Economic Development Specialist

Mark Pace

Gerald Carter, Second Presbyterian

Salvage Sister, Lauren Williams with our foster puppy, Lizzie!

Look out for the new commercial in the next few weeks,
we'll be sure to post it on our blog!
Black Dog Salvage

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rustic Industrial Barnwood Coffee Table ON WHEELS!

I could use one of these in every room!

Great storage, warm rustic reclaimed barwood,
with new industrial design legs... on wheels!

Custom made here in our shop.
Black Dog Salvage

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Reclaimed Furniture: Sustainable and Local at its best!

Our shop has been brimming with tons of new reclaimed furniture pieces...
Antique Wrought Iron Mirror (above)

Reclaimed Oak Media / Console Table

or is it a bookshelf or island?

Best of all... it's on wheels!

Antique Millstone turned table...

or planter?

Reclaimed mirror with candle holders.

Reclaimed Barnwood Planters

Spring is just around the corner!
Black Dog Salvage

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Medina Baskets has officially arrived in the Marketplace!

The crew from Medina Baskets came by to set up their outlet with all kinds of fabulous finds!

Including these fun plates...

and colorful pottery!

and, of course... BASKETS!
Come by to check the selection and best of all...CLEARANCE PRICES
Black Dog Salvage

Incorporating Architectural Salvage into New Homes

Builder Magazine recently published an article
"Vintage Details Lend Character to New Homes" offering a number of case studies.
It's worth the read for salvage inspiration!

For a few Black Dog Salvage case studies,
click HERE for Helen's home (pictured above).

And HERE for Lisa's new/old home.

Have you incorporated architectural salvage into any projects?
If so, we'd love to hear from you!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Medina Baskets CLEARANCE OUTLET now at Black Dog Salvage!

We're excited to welcome our newest vendor to the Marketplace...
Medina Baskets!

Medina Baskets originally had a shop in Adams Morgan (DC)
and moved a few years ago to beautiful Floyd, VA (home of FloydFest).

You can now find their beautiful baskets, rugs and accessories from Morocco
with outlet prices here at Black Dog Salvage.

I can't wait to go shopping!