If you haven’t been to Uniquities Architectural Antiques on Alyth Road in Calgary, you’re missing a walk through history. Julia and Doug Shantz have created a store that supplies antique building materials, architectural antiques, lighting, vintage furniture and some really cool eccentricities.
Originally from Wales, Julia grew up in older homes and was very familiar with salvage yards. She emigrated to Canada in 1983, and eleven years later her and Doug purchased a 1915 heritage home.
Frustrated with the lack of original salvage material available, she figured there were others who, like her, have a love for all things antique.
This led to the creation of her store that’s filled with unusual antiques sourced from the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and The United States.
Julia travels to Europe four times a year. She has her ear to the ground and knows when old churches, schools and warehouses are being torn down.
Instead of being reduced to rubble and shipped to the landfill, Julia has these buildings carefully taken apart and shipped in containers to Calgary.
The fun begins as soon as you drive up to the warehouse.
A wonderful collection of garden items are displayed right outside. Debbie and I had a great time looking through a stack of beautiful salvaged tiles. Then there was that stunning iron gate that took our breath away.
And the inside is even better.
There’s wooden benches from an old church, an antique pine table from 19th century France, brass light fixtures, Antique Persian rugs, and so much more. Then there’s all the architectural salvage like windows, doors, panelling, and beams.
Uniquities also specialize in bespoke pieces out of their salvage materials. Right now we have a client who would like a custom table for her home. We’re in the process of putting together ideas and are looking forward to working with Uniquities who will build this one-of-a-kind piece.
Uniquities likes to call their brand “rough-luxe”. It’s a celebration of imperfection. Many of the items have their original finish and the quality of the craftsmanship is superb. These types of materials just can’t be replicated. There’s a special energy that comes from having a piece of history in your home.
Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It's not about how much you have, it's about using what you have to create beauty.