Best Ornamental Salvage
When Ray Oktavec was in the rag biz, he boasted $6 million sales. If Wal-Mart wanted embroidery on that sleeveless shirt, he'd get it done. But this v.p. changed shirts just after the economy tanked. Then on September 11, 2001, he was on his way to New York City to do business for Beverly Hills Polo Club clothing company. His plane was forced to turn around, and soon the company went under, taking his job with it. So now, in a building off South Andrews Avenue, gutted and remodeled into a warehouse-size space, he and his wife, Barby, deal in antiques and ornamental architectural salvage. Although the goods have changed, Oktavec still exercises a finely tuned eye in selecting merchandise and in reading the marketplace. Eastside stocks some stunning finds. From an estate in southern Dade County, he purchased an elaborately worked wrought-iron door that features an image of Cuba's patron saint Virgen de la Caridad (Our Lady of Charity). The Oktavecs gleaned a liberal range of stained glass from England, including stacks of small pub windows and a giant five-pane window decorated with delicate turquoise panes. Amid the antiques and high-end salvage are ideas a handyman could carry home for giving old objects new uses: benches fashioned from antique iron and wooden headboards, a wrought-iron horse feeder turned into a planter, and old doors given new life as murals.
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