Nestled just off Portage Avenue at 324 Young Street, near the University of Winnipeg’s newly-built McFeetors Hall, The Old House Revival Company is housed in an unassuming, three-storey brick building, but inside it is home to a variety of old treasures.
Walking through the front door, visitors are visually bombarded with a stunning array of eccentric antique lamps and beautiful, reclaimed stained-glass windows dangling from the ceiling, with all manner of antique furniture and trinkets wedged in between.
The company re-sells materials from pre-1930s houses that would otherwise go to the landfill when renovations occur. The goal is to preserve the quality craftsmanship of buildings from that time period so they can continue to be enjoyed for years to come.
“It’s to not lose that piece, to not see those items go to the landfill and be lost,” says Wendy Ryder, store manager.
The Old House Revival Company started when a local woman began accumulating items to restore an old house in River Heights, but never finished the project. Since then, the company bounced around the city until it was bought by current owner John Hunsberger. He moved the business to its current home on Young Street: a 1913-built warehouse that originally served as a laundry for large hotels like Hotel Fort Garry.
Doors, windows, tin tiles, faucets, lighting, bolts, hinges, doorknobs, moldings – The Old House Revival Co. has it all and then some, and nothing makes the staff happier than to help you find what you’ve been looking for.
“It’s like Christmas every day for that person who comes in and finds the one piece they’ve been looking for forever” Wendy says.
“There was someone in the other day from Saskatoon who had just bought a century home, and he was ecstatic to see that we had what he would need to make the home functional. Otherwise what do you do? You'd have to put in a new door or you'd have to put in new hardware – having the parts is keeping these old buildings alive.”
“It’s exciting, and there’s a feel to it too. Like this desk – there’s a certain feel to this desk as opposed to say, a brand-new desk.”
Along with Wendy, The Old House Revival Company is run by one full-time, and five part-time employees.
“We all love it here,” Wendy says.
“You fall in love with the store.”
The building has three floors. The basement and main floor are occupied by The Old House Revival Company itself, and the second and third floors contain an antique mall that rents space to over 25 antique vendors. The Old House Revival Company tends to focus on pre-1940’s salvage materials, including large furniture , hardware and lighting, but vendors in the antique mall specialize in smaller items and fringe into the retro-era as well.
Though it’s certainly no thrift store, many of the items in the antique mall are reasonably priced, and all of them have been saved from an undesirable fate. The whole store exudes the particular “feel" Wendy mentioned. There’s something special about owning an object that had a previous life, and the quality and craftsmanship of items from generations past can often be hard to find.
“Sometimes I wonder what antiques will be like in the future. What happens when we hit the 1970s and the quality started to slip? In the 1980s, many things were made with pressboard. It will be interesting to see,” Wendy says.
“How is it going to survive? I wonder if it will.”
Monday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
324 Young Street