Detroit Urban Artifacts was born out of Ryan’s ability to see beauty in things that others did not. Between his artistic eye, intriguing imagination and fascination with classic horror movies growing up, antiques and architectural salvage were bound to become his life.
Working as a house painter and subcontractor for renovation companies in Detroit for over 17 years, Ryan found himself drawn to the original building materials from the old homes that were being renovated. He also found himself baffled at how all this beautiful history was being discarded on the curb only to be thrown in a landfill and forgotten. Wanting to rescue these items from destruction, he began to accumulate a collection of doors and pediments, ornate moldings, stained glass, fireplace mantels, wrought iron railings and various iron décor elements and brass hardware.
In 2008, Ryan purchased an extreme fixer upper home and intuitively knew what he wanted to do. Putting his passion for antiques, architectural salvage, and old homes to use, he began searching antique stores and salvage yards with a goal to restore it to its original glory. Revisiting his collection of discarded building supplies, he got to work with his first project, a complete kitchen remodel.
After being hired to do cleanouts for homes being renovated or deemed condemned and waiting to be destroyed, Ryan realized that rescuing and restoring architectural salvage was something that he wanted to pursue. Using what he needed for his personal home renovation and selling what was not needed, he found himself with a profitable small business.
Ryan held huge yard sales every year at his house with the demand for his recycled materials growing rapidly. Within two years, his yard sales were the talk of the town with people asking for more. Realizing that he was on to something, he stepped back from his job of over 17 years, followed his passion and created Detroit Urban Artifacts.
In keeping with his love of history, Ryan set up his shop in 2021 in the historic Russell Industrial Center in Detroit. With over 2400 square feet filled with architectural salvage, industrial lighting and workbenches, midcentury furniture and décor, old photos and art, miscellaneous oddities and of course lots of Detroit artifacts, there is something there for everyone.
With Ryan’s desire to keep usable construction supplies from entering landfills, while preserving these incredible architectural relics from Detroit’s history, Detroit Urban Artifacts is a place worth checking out.