West End Architectural Salvage, Des Moines, Iowa

Last month I was home in Iowa for a wedding and had heard about an architectural salvage shop in Des Moines, so I made sure to leave enough time on my way to the airport. I stopped in and was blown away buy the scale and quality of the pieces they had. I also didn't know they have a show on HGTV so when I walked in was a little surprised to see a full on TV crew filming. After wondering around, I walked up to the man who was obviously the owner and said, "I'm a photographer from NY and would love to shoot your place". He responded, "Of course you are Troy, go ahead" and my mouth fell. Turns out the owner, Don Short is from Marshalltown and actually gave me my first commercial job ever back in 1997! And to top it off he's the former owner of Maid Rite in Marshalltown, my favorite place to eat when I go back! After catching up I walked around some more and couldn't believe the quantity and quality of the objects they sell. And to top it all of, an awesome coffee shop in the lobby. Five floors of amazing salvage from Iowa and prices about half of what they would be in NY. The only problem being most things I loved would take their own truck to ship. An absolute must see if in Des Moines.

Atlanta Auction Gallery

Yelling fire won't make me move as fast as "Antique auction with free BBQ and beer." Hearing that and we were off to Atlanta Auction Gallery, which being really kind, is not in the best part of town. My assistant Pat's friend David told us he was off to pick for his great little antique store in Atlanta and asked us to meet him there. Growing up in Iowa I spent what felt like every Saturday at my local auction house with my parents and in the summer I spent every Saturday at the livestock auction with my grandfather. This was exactly like I remember. The most random amount of crap you have ever seen mixed with a few pieces of total awesomeness. Walking in is a long buffet with BBQ, hamburgers, corn, greens and whatever else the caterer had left over from a higher paying job. That said, the best part of auctions are setting around and BS'ing with friends while drinking keg beer from a solo cup. I can't wait to go back.