A cascade of arcane historic restoration knowledge rattles around Reggie Young’s head.
He’s quick to kick into the history and chemical breakdown of lime mortar, and he knows the locations of pyramid-shaped limestone kilns that dot the Valley.
All this knowledge — along with that accumulated by his famous industry friends — must be shared, of course.
Young once owned Howard Hall Farm in Athens, where he created a living laboratory for students and experts alike to gain hands-on restoration experience. Instructors included Rory Brennan from This Old House and Dennis Heaphy, who maintained the tin skin of the Statue of Liberty.
After the 2008 crash crushed the historic preservation business, he had to sell the property. “No one was doing $1 million makeovers anymore,” he says. So, he moved to Brooklyn and indulged his passion.
Now, he has relocated to Newburgh, though he routinely returns to his native Pennsylvania to fill his truck with architectural salvage as historic homes there fall to the wrecking ball.
In 2018, he opened Hudson Valley House Parts on Broadway to provide affordable house parts for local restoration, as well as unusual and hard-to-find specialty decorative items. Examples of the latter include a five-drawer 19th-century post office desk, a vintage farmhouse table, and an 8-by-11-foot stained glass window made in a Cornwall shop for a Garrison Mansion in the 1880s. While he had to close his doors temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was able to keep the business afloat by shifting to a stronger online presence. The business sees lots of traffic and sales through its Instagram page, which has doubled its following over the past six months. Along with its Etsy and Cherish sites, the business found success with online sales, shipping everywhere, from Los Angeles to Atlanta. These online sales have continued even after Young was able to open the doors again for foot traffic.
He also serves private clients by finding and delivering appropriate architectural salvage items for restorations. “We source parts from all over the East Coast,” says Young. Clients include architects, designers, homeowners, special event companies, as well as film sets and restaurants.
Prior to March 2020, Young offered classes to home restoration purists focusing on topics like linseed oil paint, window restoration, plaster restoration and lime mortar techniques. They’re hoping to open those back up in 2021, he says.
He sees a market bounce-back, even in formerly forlorn places like Peekskill and Poughkeepsie. “We want to encourage awareness and train people,” he says. “There’s a whole valley full of grand old homes waiting to be pointed.”
159 Broadway, Newburgh; 845.245.4291; www.hvhouseparts.com