Ranch & Coast Magazine

February 2024

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and that led to opening the store." She later renovated her current home, the historic William and Ida Cook house in Mission Hills, for which she won a People in Preservation Award in 2011 from the nonprofit Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO), which raises awareness and appreciation of our region's architectural and cultural heritage. Over the years, Architectural Salvage has attracted customers from local homebuyers to Hollywood celebrities. Barbra Streisand visited the store with her husband, James Brolin, when they were building a house, Scalice recalls. "She got some Art Nouveau hardware, back plates, escutcheons, doorknobs, and some other bits. She loved the Art Nouveau style." Musician Tom Waits was a frequent visitor. "He just started piling stuff up on the counter and I could see he was just excited and energized by the store," says Scalice. "I remember he got this big tile with a frog on it, and he ended up coming back many times. I actually had his cell number for a while!" Local businesses and restaurants have also added pieces of San Diego history to their establishments. e Cohn Restaurant Group's Craft & Commerce, for example, bought an elaborate mantlepiece salvaged from a redwood home. "It is over the top!" Scalice exclaims. "It has motifs of bears, squirrels, leaves, and grapes in this amazing relief. It's exciting because the community gets to see this jaw droppingly interesting piece!" Five days after my interview with Scalice, a buyer purchased all of Architectural Salvage's entire remaining inventory with plans to open a new, reimagined store this spring in Barrio Logan. Scalice is thrilled. "I encourage the community to give the startup all of the support and goodwill that they have shown to me over the decades." (Stay tuned for details.) So, what's next on Scalice's bucket list? "I'm just going to go!" she exclaims. "I'm going to say 'yes' to opportunities I haven't even thought about yet. I have a second home up in British Columbia on a little island and I'd like to spend more time up there. I'm an avid kayaker and hiker, and I'd like to possibly train for another swim. I want to go for things that haven't even been on my radar right now because life is so exciting. Life is so full of possibilities, and we just can't sit around on the sidelines. We have to go for it, and I'm so fortunate to be in a position where I can do that." 619.696.1313, architecturalsalvage.com Customers stream in not only to browse but to say goodbye to Scalice, who is closing the store in March to pursue other interests, including travel and athletic adventures. (Her "life highlight" was swimming in the ames River Marathon last August.) "It's just been a lovefest," says Scalice as she scans the store and the long line of people snaking out the door, waiting patiently to purchase their treasures. "I'm hearing the stories of all the things that have gone into people's homes. It has been bittersweet but lovely." A memory board in the store is covered with photos of unique and often hilarious finds over the years, as well as images of Bettina, the late, beloved shop cat who took long naps on the store's counter, and who Scalise says was the most photographed feline in San Diego. "We're so sad you're leaving," Stone tells Scalice. Stone has been combing the bins at Architectural Salvage ever since she bought her 1912-era home four years ago. On this day, she is on the hunt for an antique doorknob set screw that, according to Scalice, is "nearly impossible to find." But it is Stone's lucky day. After rummaging through boxes, the part turns up. "She won the lottery," says Scalice. "I can't emphasize enough how difficult it is to find." And that's why Stone is unhappy to see the store shuttered. "We need this store in our community," she says. "ere are pieces you just can't get at Home Depot. is [store] is a doorway to the past. ey help us keep our doors open. ere's some important stuff made 100 years ago. We have to take care of that legacy." Scalice, an artist and environmentalist, has been a champion of historic preservation and reuse for decades, ever since she built a small house in her Encinitas backyard using reclaimed materials, long before accessory dwelling units, known as ADUs, were popular. "I love old houses and one of the unique things about old houses is that they have all these interesting things that new houses don't have," Scalise says. "So, I set out to find all these different things that I could use and just had fun with it. I just fell in love with the process Artist and preservationist Elizabeth Scalise founded Architectural Salvage in Little Italy 28 years ago @ranchandcoast RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2024 71 Architectural Salvage's wall of escutcheons

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