Friday, April 6, 2012

Biggest Baddest Junk Shop Anywhere? Urban Ore In Berkeley California Might Just Be It! Status: Mind Boggling.


I thought I'd died and gone to heaven...nope, I flied and gone to Cali!  Yeah, unfortunately we flew to San Fran / Oakland, which I think was the Girlfriends secret plan to keep me from dragging too much stuff (any actually ::sob::) home with me.  It KILLED me to leave this seriously cool console stereo behind but I didn't think it would fit in the overhead.


I'm sure everybody knows how hard it was to drag me away (kicking and screaming like a 4

year old in a toy store) from this amazing piece.  This would have been a true keeper.  How

crazy unusual is it to find a console stereo with drop leaf sides, a slick tambour front door and

articulated (they swing out) / removable speakers?  There were some minor finish issues on the

top but the rest was in excellent condition.  I would have been stupid happy to pay the $125 to

take this home.  It would have likely been the ONLY thing I would have been able to bring

home though.  Still would have been happy!


The place is just huge.  I could have spend HOURS digging through everything.  Believe me...

what you are seeing here is just a small snapshot of all that is available here.  There's tons

(literally) of used building materials available too.  This is like such a cool place if you are an

artist dealing in found materials or a set designer for the stage...or if you're a bit of a picker,

like me!


Even though I tried to plow through quickly and shoot what I could, the Girlfriend still got

bored and pulled out her Nook to read.  Thankfully there was plenty of comfy chairs in all shapes

and styles available for "testing". 


The joint has plenty of "plug and play" items as well as project material at any and all stages of

completion.  The hanging light fixtures broke my heart a little.  The stove has all it's knobs in case

you were wondering.  That black mic stand would make a killer "industrial" inspired lamp project.

The pink hairdrier could also become a reading lamp.  Wouldn't that cut steel plate make a neat

fence gate?


Look at all those hanging globe lights and that one smoked plexi fixture right in the middle of

them!  Nice.  The yellow vinyl Kem Weber style streamline industrial modern chairs were actually

a little least to my midwest sensibilities.  $125 each...what do you think?  Most

everything else I priced seemed very reasonable.


There is even a lot of vintage building and "retro renovation" materials out in the lot.  Of course it's

not ALL vintage or old.  There's lots of stuff there just to replace a screen door or light fixture in

your hallway.  But that's not what I was all gawking at, especially with only so much time to spend.

If you get out to the San Fransisco / Berkeley California way you should take a couple hours to

visit Urban Ore and grab yourself up some crazy project material or an amazing vintage light fixture

for your pad.  When you do, send me some pics!  I wanna live vicariously though you!



  1. We've got a place identical to that up north here. 21,000 sq ft of previously enjoyed stuff run by a not-for-profit charitable organization and staffed by volunteers that receives a tax break from the city. I hit this place once sometimes twice a week for furniture, building materials and lots of small stuff. I wish there were more places like this to save more items from going to the landfill. There's also Habitat For Humanity Re-Store, it's mostly used or leftover building material but sometimes you find vintage lighting, furniture etc and they are in every big city.

    1. Hi David. You sir are a lucky man! All we got's around here (that I know of!) is the Habitat For Humanity ReStore and it's only a fraction of the size of this place.

  2. We just got home from a home salvage yard. It was enormous and had vintage and antique fixtures from homes of all sizes, including some of the old mansions in the area. It was so fun to look through all of the stuff. I am going to do a blog post on the trip here shortly. We were there looking for wooden shutters, bricks, and an exterior door.

    1. Hi Rachael. Sounds like you had a great scavenger hunt! Aren't you glad you remembered to take your camera with you? I hate when I get some place that turns out amazing and I don't have a decent camera with me!

  3. What a place! I am actually in awe of that convertible console situation at the top of the post... I've never seen anything like it! One of the most inconvenient things about 50's/60's console is the sheer size, and here's one that has the good manners to deconstruct when you need it to! So neat.

    1. Hi Lisa. I can only imagine how great it sounded too. The speakers where quite heavy and the enclosures where solid wood (to the best of my knowledge). Even if it didn't work it's got great bones that could accommodate newer stereo equipment.

  4. Will be there this summer visiting family. Can't wait to go!!

    1. Hi Anony. There are a couple of other places to check out while you are out there. Stay tuned!

    2. If you are going to visit Urban Ore then you should also hit up

      Ohmega Salvage
      2407 & 2400 San Pablo Ave.
      Berkeley, CA 94702

      2466 San Pablo Ave
      Berkeley, CA

      There is another salvage guy on the corner on the way to Goodwill. Same side of the street. I can't remember the name of the place. The green fence looks scary from the outside but lots of good stuff to dig through.

      You can make a whole day of vintage shopping on San Pablo Ave in Berkely but not in the Oakland part.

  5. I was in Berkeley all summer last year, I can't believe I missed this!

    1. Hi Dreamer. I bet there all kinds of places like this around here too and I just don't know about them....yet!

  6. Good Lord I wish we had something as cool as this in the UK. To be fair we have some smaller places but nothing as cool as these things in them. Love American 50s...well most things :)