Some of you may have seen the sneak peak we shared on Instagram last week that alluded to pillaging a school and promised more details on the blog soon. (What’s that, you don’t follow us on Instagram? Well you should — if you like strange artsy pictures be sure to follow Naomi, if you like a constant barrage of cat photos definitely follow Sage, and if you want sneak peaks of the awesome projects we’re working on then follow both of us!)
Anyway, back to our Instagram teaser:
Last Saturday we embarked on what was possibly one of our coolest and most exhilarating excursions to-date. You know we love thrifting adventures together, so when we found out that a town in the Boston suburbs is tearing down its old high school (having already built a new building at a different site) and planned to open the school to the public to take anything and everything that hadn’t already been removed, obviously we jumped at the chance.
The “pillaging extravaganza” (not what the town was officially calling it…) took place on a Saturday morning, and the only rule appeared to be an entrance fee of $20 per car. Other than that, our understanding was that we’d be able to take anything we could carry. Just like thrifting, except everything is free (minus the $20 fee — sunk cost! better get as much as possible to make up for it!) and there’s more of an “end of the world” vibe going on.
We really had no idea what to expect. What would be in there? How violent would the fighting get between roving hoards of townspeople? We stocked a backpack full of supplies, complete with drill, crowbar, rope, screwdrivers, pliers, gloves, and of course a cell phone to document the adventure. We also brought a furniture dolly to transport larger items. We convinced Brad to accompany us, but Sam insisted that he had to stay home and work on digging the trench for the hedge. With supplies + Brad in tow, we headed over to the school with two cars (for maximum plundering) and lined up for the grand opening:
We can’t fully describe the adrenaline rush as we ran into the school and started manically checking rooms.
It was a strange scene: hallways full of abandoned classrooms, drawers open and askew, walls covered in in graffiti that apparently they let the kids do on the last day of classes there.
There was even a lonely trophy room, where they had left behind a lot of the awards that had been won over the years…. and one half deflated balloon.
Fortunately there seemed to be enough stuff to go around and all the people there were very calm and polite to one another, so it didn’t devolve into human chaos (we’d been imagining some sort of Running of the Brides or Black Friday madness, which is just the worst side of humanity).
Well, MOST people were very calm and polite…
Yes, we may have been the only people running. But we didn’t want to miss anything good! Normally we’re both pretty conscientious people who don’t, like, steal and rip things off walls, so it was a strangely freeing experience.
Going into it we didn’t know if there’d be any furniture whatsoever, or if we’d be doing things like prying up tiles and removing door hardware. There ended up being quite a lot of furniture left, though, and even though we weren’t going for standard office fare like desk chairs (which is what we saw a lot of people grabbing) we ended up finding some really cool pieces (or at least we thought they were cool…Brad thought we were a little crazy). We’ll be bringing a whole new design genre into our houses: schoolhouse industrial.
The school was open to us for four hours, and we made use of every minute, carefully making our way through each classroom and taking trip after trip out to our cars to pile things up on the curb (with the hope that we’d be able to fit it all in there when we were done).
In one of the science classrooms, we found a matching pair of solid-wood wall cabinets in great shape.
So of course we grabbed those right off the wall.
As we saw our pile of
junk plundered treasure growing, we switched to salvaging just the parts of the pieces of furniture that we liked, like every tapered table leg we could get our hands on.
There was also a ton of smaller items to collect, including art supplies, glassware from the science classrooms, books from the library, etc.
When we’d tired ourselves out, we embarked on the complicated task of loading the cars, which involved tying a lot of furniture to the top of our vehicles.
We made sure to tie everything down as securely as possible, but also drove home very slowly with our hazards on. We headed to Naomi and Brad’s house to unpack both cars and divvy up our random assortment of plundered items precious cargo. And of course, to painstakingly photograph each piece to show you everything we brought home!
Even though you’re probably more interested in seeing what we got than knowing about our sorting process, as you look through the photos just be sure to imagine this: us laying out each piece, one-by-one, in front of Naomi’s stone wall, and then both taking millions of photos on our respective cameras while standing side-by-side. Why we thought it was necessary to both capture the exact same set of photos isn’t clear to either of us, but we seem to suffer from the same kind of insanity so at least we get along pretty well.
Okay, now on to what we brought home! Pretty much everything needs some serious love/re-imagining before it’s ready for primetime in our houses, so everything you see will be a project on the blog at some point. If you have ideas for any of it, don’t hesitate to let us know!
This is the first thing we grabbed. Yes, it is horribly ripped up and in need of reupholstery. But, but, FREE!
This cabinet has seen better days and needs a new top at the very least, but it’s a cool piece (it’s SALVAGED, you guys) and that hardware is awesome.
With a good cleaning and some fresh paint, this sweet little metal cabinet would make great basement storage. Every time we picked it up we got something sticky on our hands, so obviously Sage made sure to leave this at Naomi’s.
We loved the color and shape of these chairs, which would work perfectly in the kitchen for a retro look. Plus, they match Sage’s kitchen counters.
All the legs we rudely detached from their table tops:
A lab table — a very sturdy wood piece with a solid top that would make a great desk or even kitchen island with a little love.
We’re obsessed with this cart, which was used to transport books in the library:
(UPDATE: Check out what I did with this library cart)
Some task lamps we found in the art studio:
This wire shelf doesn’t look like much, but imagine those lines once it’s been fixed up — maybe a bold color, or a metallic finish with Rub N’ Buff like Naomi’s magazine rack.
Here are the cabinets we removed from the wall, in all their glory. Full disclosure: they’re upside down. But we were so tired at this point that there was no way we were flipping them over for this photo. We each have one, so stay tuned for a dual makeover challenge!
This adorable little cabinet we found in a science room. It has a bunch of little holes and hooks for hanging small items like tags or keys — not sure what will happen to it yet, but we couldn’t help removing it from the wall and bringing it home with us.
And now, on to some of the more random things we hauled home with us.
These fireplace accessories (not that either of us have a fireplace…):
Some lab equipment:
An awesome assortment of beakers, test tubes, and other glass containers we found in a lab:
A bunch of tools we found in a shed on school grounds:
This random assortment, including spray paint, a box of glass sheets, two wooden boxes that we found in the shed that stored just a portion of someone’s extensive seashell collection, and pieces of marble that we
ransacked rescued from the sad abandoned trophy room (yes, we took apart a bunch of trophies):
A box of corks, to add to Sage’s extensive cork collection:
A box of locks (with combinations!), which was one of Brad’s picks. We think there’s some sort of ebay play in their future….
Some more of Brad’s finds, including the awesome stone and brass apple you may have noticed in the Library update last week:And last but not least, some lightbulbs. Obviously.
That’s it! We’re pretty excited about all the projects in our future (and Sam and Brad are super excited about how full our respective basements just got). Let us know if you have any ideas for any of our “new” pieces!