For nearly every person who walks into the Provenance warehouse in Kensington, one thing becomes immediately apparent: This shopping trip just became a day-long affair.
Stacked to the brim with thousands of pieces salvaged wood on one side, and shelves upon shelves stuffed with antiques and reclaimed materials from historic Philly buildings and beyond, Provenance has become one of the go-to places for vintage finds in the Philadelphia region.
But while most people know Provenance as a one-stop-shop for architectural gems, the team—a mix of designers, former architects, and craftsmen—has been somewhat quietly dipping its toe into the design-build world, creating a line of unusual lighting fixtures and furniture out of its incredible stock of salvaged wood.
“It’s a continuation of what we’ve been doing for customers on a custom basis,” says co-owner Scott Lash. “We’re just trying to add some more to the retail experience so people can come in and see a little more of what we’re doing.”
Provenance started out in 2009 as a purely salvage company, driving around to help collect materials from demolition sites all around the country. Since then, it’s expanded its services to include custom-design work.
Its new line of products comes after a pretty busy 2016, during which the team played a hand in a number of noteworthy projects in Philly and beyond. Lokal, the boutique hotel in Old City that was transformed by Jersey Ice Cream Co., features a set of reclaimed, factory-style windows and hardwood floors from Provenance. Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, an old distillery-turned-restaurant and hotel in Fishtown, also sourced materials like Independence Mall Marble from the warehouse.
But amid its many commissioned projects, the Provenance crew realized that it was missing out on another type of clientele: People who love and appreciate old-world relics, but maybe haven’t quite mastered the whole DIY thing.
Provenance first experimented with creating sliding barn doors, given that they were such a popular request from customers already. From there, the team widened their portfolio, creating stunning coffee tables, tabletops, and benches out of wood they salvaged from all over the country.
Its line of desk lamps, created by melding vintage X-ray reflectors with new bases, soon followed. The next step is setting up a showroom within Provenance’s already massive warehouse, so that shoppers can see the furniture and lighting fixtures on display.
One hope is that the new lines of furniture and lighting will help make trips to Provenance a little less, well, overwhelming. Says Lash, “For a lot of people, when they come here the first time, they look at stuff and say, ‘How do I use it?’ Now, we hope they come back and say, ‘Okay, this could work in my home.’”
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