Reminiscing

Returning to work last week, we flipped our calendars to the new year and began our annual tradition of “tidying up” the showroom. In between assisting customers, answering phone calls and returning emails, we attempted to do a little house cleaning behind the front counter. It was during this process that we pulled out a drawer of old photos. One by one, as each photo was pulled from the drawer, we began reminiscing about how far this small, family owned business has come. 2017 will celebrate Southern Accents 48th year in business!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

 

This year will mark 17 years since Garlan, Jr. returned home to take over the business for his Dad, Garlan, Sr., who founded Southern Accents in 1969. There have been many changes over the years. The showroom itself got an unexpected facelift in 2011 after surviving a horrific day of dangerous tornados that ripped apart Cullman’s downtown area. While Southern Accents online presence was established in 2000, the last few years we have garnered a social media following that numbers in the tens of thousands. In recent years we have expanded our business to include reclaimed wood and have ventured into designing and creating event staging. But, as the business continues to grow and expand in new and exciting areas that were unimaginable 48 years ago, many things remain the same. We have not lost our love and passion for architectural antiques. That love, passed from father to son, is still the core of our business.

As we continued to filter through old photos, we laughed at how much the faces have changed. But in the background of each photo, beautiful architectural relics can be seen. Claw foot tubs, heavily carved doors and mantels, glistening chandeliers, stained glass windows… the same quality of antique relics that started this business 48 years ago still exists today. The only difference is that the relics, along with ourselves, are all a little older!


Southern Accents 2016 – Our Year in Review

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Another year has come and gone… but it has been a great one! 2016 has kept us so busy that it seems like only yesterday we were here recapping 2015. This past year started off with a bang as we traveled to New York to design the runway backdrop for our good friend Billy Reid for New York City fashion week. Returning from New York we quickly began a project for Mike Wolfe of American Pickers. We traveled to his home in Tennessee, providing salvaged wood and installation for the floor, ceiling and wall of his motorcycle warehouse. Mike has become a dear friend and we are currently working on other projects for him. Watch American Pickers and you may see Mike wearing his SA t-shirt!!

This past spring we were thrilled to be featured in Garden & Gun Magazine! Our relationship with Garden & Gun further developed this past year as we designed and decorated the G&G Artist Tent at Slossfest for the second year in a row. But, only after another very successful trek to Montgomery for our fourth installment of Southern Makers! We are already excitedly working on Southern Makers 2017 and believe that this year will be our biggest and best show yet, so stay tuned!!

This past fall we were excited to have the opportunity to save over 100 stained glass windows from Central Baptist Church in Decatur, Alabama. During this salvage mission we discovered a time capsule tucked away in the center of a cornerstone. The cornerstone and it’s contents will be presented back to Central Baptist Church this spring during their anniversary celebration.

October was a busy month as we traveled to Florence, Alabama for Billy Reid’s Shindig No. 8.While famed chef John Besh catered the event, Blackberry Farms Brewery provided their award winning beer as we were in charge of the set design and decorations for the annual event hosted by designer Billy Reid. We also started work on one of our largest projects to date at The Westin Hotelin Nashville, Tennessee.

To round out the year, for the first time in the history of Southern Accents, we closed the store during what is one of our regular business days so that our entire team could attend the Retailer of the Year Awards luncheon in Birmingham. Southern Accents was awarded the Silver distinction in our category. 2016 has been an exciting and successful year, but we know that without our customers, none of what we do would be possible. Whether we are patching a door, undertaking a large design project or preparing for an event like Southern Makers, it is only through the support and patronage of our customers that makes any of it possible. We would like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU for allowing us to do what we love!

Make sure you are following all of our projects via our social media accounts, as well as this blog. We are looking ahead to another exciting year in 2017 and would not want you to miss anything!!!


Merry Christmas!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

2016 has been another banner year for Southern Accents! We would like to say a huge thank you to all our customers! We appreciate your business as well as your shared passion for rescuing, restoring, documenting and protecting architectural treasures. From the entire SA TEAM… we wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY and BLESSED NEW YEAR!!!

Holiday Hours:
Southern Accents will be closed December 24 – 26 for Christmas and December 31 – January 2 for New Years. If you are traveling from out of town during the holidays, please give us a call first to make sure we are open.


The Value of a Story

Every architectural piece that is rescued by Southern Accents has a story and a value. The relationship between the value and the story are synonymous with one another, but are inherently different. The “story” tells of past events in the elements life or in other words, it’s evolution. After researching the story of an architectural fragment, Southern Accents also asks additional questions such as: the age, the maker, the condition, the rarity, the provenance. Combining the “story” with the researched facts of the architectural  remnant, Southern Accents can give a true “value” of the rescued item.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Salvaged iron window lintel from New York City

It is exciting for us when all the questions that are asked when finding the value and the story align to produce the highest caliber in recognizing an architectural  piece of historical significance. But this past week we obtained a true piece of architectural history from New York City. If you have been by the NYC Grand Central Terminal in the last year, you would have noticed that across the street, at One Vanderbilt Ave., there is a huge demolition / construction project in progress by the developer, SL Green. The project consists of constructing a new tower that will be taller than the Empire State building! Amazing enough in that fact alone, but the history of this monument goes much deeper! As the patriarch of the Vanderbilt family, Cornelius Vanderbilt, was the original developer of this land, where the cast iron lintel that we acquired, embellished a window of this now demolished building. The railroad/shipping tycoon, Mr. Vanderbilt, also is famed for developing the adjacent property – the Grand Central Station and Terminal. Along with all of those interesting facts, this rescued relic also shares the same architect that designed the Grand Central Station, Warren & Wetmore.

As the skyline of Midtown changes, architectural fragments, like this iron lintel, will be one of the only ways our future generations will be able see the sheer power and the bold masculinity of these destroyed historic buildings that once stood on some of the most prominent corners in our nation. The lintel is in mint condition and has aged perfectly with its crackle patina. Measuring 39″ wide x 8.25″ deep x 20.5″ tall, this was one of a few pieces saved off the original building before the demolition was finished. You can view this magnificent piece here in our showroom or take a look at it online. You’ll find it listed on our Ironworks page at sa1969.com. We #digmygig saving one historic treasure at a time!


A Time To Give

This past Tuesday was recognized as Giving Tuesday. During this charitable season as you are thinking about your end-of-year giving, we would love for you to consider making a donation to a local cause. While the holiday season is a joyful time for most, for some, this time of year is a struggle. Several years ago it came to our attention that there was a group of pre school age children who were living below poverty level and in need. While many local organizations step up to help meet basic needs like food, clothing, and school supplies, we decided that we wanted to take on the task of ensuring that each of these children received a Christmas present. Out of our desire to bring a bit of joy to these children during the holiday season, our non-profit organization, SA323 was born!

The SA stands for Salvage Assurance and the 323 is based on Colossians 3:23 which is the core of our mission statement: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” Each December we purchase and present one wrapped gift to a group of around 100 children who might otherwise not receive anything for Christmas. We call on our friends Frosty and Rudolph to help deliver the gifts as well as provide snacks for their Santa party. 100% of the donations received are used locally to provide for these children. All donations are tax deductible and no gift is too small.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

If you would like to make a donation, please stop by our showroom during regular business hours or give us a call at 877-737-0554. Each donation of $100 or more received between now and December 15th will receive one of our custom Alabama wood ornaments. These ornaments are made especially for us by local artist Leldon Maxcy. We understand that there are many worthwhile organizations seeking donations during this time of year and we truly appreciate your consideration in helping us put a smile on the face of a these children that need your help!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Every donation of $100 or more will receive a custom Alabama wood ornament created especially for Southern Accents by local artist Leldon Maxcy.


Mauldin Goes To Mississippi

Recently, SA team member Jason Mauldin ventured over to Oxford, Mississippi to speak at Ole Miss and to attend The Conference On The Front Porch at Plein Air in Taylor, Mississippi. Journalism and marketing professor Mark Dolan asked Mauldin to speak to his integrated marketing class about the benefits of deeper story telling in marketing. Everything we do at Southern Accents has a story that we are preserving, so it was an excellent fit for one of our own story tellers to be a professor for the day. We look forward to continuing a relationship with Dr. Dolan and hope to return soon to expand on our initial visit.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

 

Just outside of Oxford is the lovely town of Taylor, Mississippi. In that small town is a wonderful new community called Plein Air. Every one of the homes there is required to have a front porch, so it was the perfect setting for a conference dedicated to the impact of front porches. We spoke with the founder of the Plein Air community, Campbell McCool, about his philosophy on the front porch. Campbell said, “the front porch lends itself to community and getting to know your neighbors, unlike suburbia where everyone runs inside and locks the door.” Some of the topics discussed at the conference included the history and cultural significance of the front porch from Ancient Greece to modern America. Other discussions included the sociological importance of the front porch, the front porch and politics, stylistic evolutions of the porch and its architectural significance and much more. Lovers of all things architectural and story telling, we knew we wanted to attend. Folks came from as far away as Texas and Canada to participate in the two day conference held in the Plein Air community chapel, which was constructed almost 100% from salvaged materials from Southern Accents! You can find out more about this conference, which will be an ongoing event, by visiting them at theconferenceonthefrontporch.com. It is great opportunities and collaborations like this that make us #digmygig.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The community chapel at Plein Air was constructed almost entirely of salvaged materials from Southern Accents.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

These magnificent doors are just one of the architectural elements that SA supplied for the chapel.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Everything from salvaged wood for the walls and floors to lights and windows for this beautiful chapel was acquired from Southern Accents.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The chapel has become a popular venue for weddings and community events.


Local Reclaimed Wood Projects

A continually growing part of our architectural salvage business is in the area of reclaimed wood. This highly sought after commodity, which is available in salvaged wood planks, beadboard, shiplap, barn wood and salvaged hand hewn beams, is being used in a wide variety of ways. From flooring, wall facades, ceiling coverings, furniture, fireplace mantel shelves, table and counter tops, artwork and more, old wood is being given a new life! In our wood shop, we use reclaimed wood in the creation of many of our custom built doors. While our customers who are using salvaged wood are spread throughout the country, we have recently been involved in two local projects that we want to highlight.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

 

Our good friends and fellow downtown business owners, Rob and Mary Ellen Werner, recently came to us in search of salvaged, white “chippy” painted bead board. The bead board was recently installed on the front and side wall of their retail shop, Werner’s Trading Company, located on HWY 278. The white wood walls brightened up the front sales area, as well as created a great backdrop for their selection of menswear. When asked why they chose reclaimed wood for this space, Mary Ellen replied, “we just LOVE wood!” They also expressed their belief in the importance of repurposing salvaged material. Werners new wall covering looks fantastic and Rob and Mary Ellen could not be more pleased with their choice of material for this project.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Another local project that we have been involved with is the renovation of the historic Parker Bank building that is located on the same block as Southern Accents showroom. The top floor of this beautiful old building will be the new residence for the current owners, Ron and Trena Pierce. The bottom floor will serve as an office space for Ron’s business. Salvaged wood has been used throughout the building during the renovation process. Wood slats salvaged from Bonhaven was repurposed to create a stunning parquet floor at each entrance. Upstairs, in the master bedroom, salvaged wood was used to create a unique accent wall that will serve as the backdrop for the master bed. Down the hall, the guest bedroom is equipped with three, custom built bunk beds that will soon be ready for the grand children’s visits! The built-in beds were constructed from salvaged gym bleachers and industrial pipe.

We can’t wait to post photos of this finished project in coming weeks! In the mean time, visit our wood showroom at 250 Janeway Drive and let us show you our current inventory of salvaged and reclaimed wood for your next project!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The gorgeous white wood wall at Werner’s provides the perfect backdrop for their selection of mens wear.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The salvaged wood accent wall will serve as a backdrop for the master bed in the renovated Parker Bank building.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

In an effort to make the best use of their limited space, a set of custom, built-in, bunk beds were constructed in what will be a guest bedroom for the three grandchildren. The beds were constructed from salvaged gym bleachers and industrial pipe.


Retailer of the Year – Winners Announced

Tuesday of last week, Southern Accents did something that we have never done before… we intentionally closed the store for the entire day on what should have been a normal business day for us. Aside from major holidays, our showroom is open for business each week Tuesday through Saturday. While closing for a day may not be good for business, it was good for our team. Our entire team cleaned up, dressed up, and headed to the Vestavia Country Club in Birmingham to attend the Retailer of the Year award luncheon.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

 

A couple of months ago we were notified that SA had made it to the top three, after having been nominated for Retailer of the Year by local business owner Rob Werner. We received an invitation to the luncheon on October 18 where the winners would be announced. Owner, Garlan Gudger, Jr. decided that the entire team would attend the luncheon and be a part of the big announcement. We work hard as a team and this past year has been a busy one. Knowing that everyone needed a day off to relax and have a little fun, Garlan made the decision to close the store and take everyone with him. We dusted off our shoes and traded in our jeans and SA tees for a more formal attire and headed south for the day! Garlan’s family, including Garlan Sr., who is the founder of Southern Accents, joined the party along with the Werners.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Garlan with friend and fellow business owner Rob Werner

When the winners were announced, Southern Accents was awarded the silver distinction in our category. “The Alabama Retailer of the Year judges praised Gudger for his “team orientation” and his success in “using 21st century technology to sell 19th century material.” They also gave him high marks for his work to preserve history and invigorate his city’s downtown.” Not only are we thrilled to have received this recognition, we are also humbled to have been included in the company of other successful and very worthy business owners and nominees from across the state of Alabama. We were inspired, not only by the success stories of the other nominees, but also by the words of keynote speaker Terry Finley, CEO of Books-A-Million.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Garlan was quick to praise and thank the entire SA team. Southern Accents would also like to thank the Alabama Retail Association for their recognition, as well as Rob Werner for the nomination. But, this award would not be possible without our customers! Thank you all for believing in us and in what we do. Your support allows us to continue on our mission to rescue, restore, document and preserve architectural elements of historical significance.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Fellow Alabama Retail of the Year category winners


The Westin Hotel – Nashville

A growing area of Southern Accents business the past few years has been set design and staging. We’ve designed and built sets for some amazing venues: New York Fashion week, SlossFest, Yellowhammer Presidential Forum, Southern Makers and more. While we are best known for our use of reclaimed wood and salvaged materials, our latest project pushed our creativity to new and exciting heights!! Last week we completed a job for the new Westin Hotel in downtown Nashville just in time for their grand opening. While this job presented many challenges, we overcame each one with the end result being nothing short of spectacular!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Through relationships with quality people like Brent Smith, and others, we found ourselves in contact with the owners of the Westin Hotel who were looking for someone to construct the decor for two lobby ceilings. Jason West, of David Mexico Design Group out of NYC, came up with a beautiful multi faceted ceiling design. Jason’s design featured intricate lines and angles that resembled a pyramid. For this project we decided to use a high density urethane foam, which was hand carved to form the various facets. From start to finish, we were given only 31 days to complete the project.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Large blocks of foam were hand carved to create the ceiling decor

Once we received the purchase order, the first step was to acquire the needed material. The foam used for this job had to be custom made. 15 blocks of 4’ x 10’ foam was poured and shipped to our warehouse in Garden City, Alabama. This process took 21 days, leaving us with only 10 days to complete the project! While the empty warehouse provided the large working space needed, there was no electricity, which forced our team to work with the assistance of a generator. SA team member Josh Howe, who has a BFA from the University of Montevallo with a concentration in sculpting, quickly went to work hand sculpting each piece of foam. Once the foam was carved, each piece was covered in a bronzy gold colored vinyl. The pieces were then transported to the Westin where SA team members worked throughout the week and into the wee hours of the night framing and hanging the finished works of art.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Foam pieces were laid out in our warehouse in preparation for transportation to Nashville

We were honored to have been given the opportunity to take on this project. While the challenges we faced pushed us out of our comfort zone, we proved that we can take on any project and rise to the occasion. Like all of our endeavors, this was a team effort. From Jason’s spectacular design, to Josh’s artistry, to those that provided the vinyl application and other tools and equipment needed, everyone involved served an intricate and important role in this creation.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The Westin elevator lobby upon our arrival

We are excited about the relationships formed during this venture and look forward to working with the Westin again in the future. Located at 807 Clark Place in Nashville, TN, the Westin officially opened Oct 12 and is booked at 100% occupancy this Sunday. When you visit this decadent hotel, remember to look UP at the ceiling while in the elevator lobby of the 1st and 27th floor to view Southern Accents handiwork!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

One of the two lobbies as we neared completion


Time Capsule Discovered

We believe that through our efforts here at Southern Accents, we always bridge the future to the past. One of the most interesting things about salvaging a house or building is discovering hidden treasures. At times the treasures are unexpected; little notes or photos that have slipped behind an old mantel or a forgotten item found buried beneath an old barn. Often times the treasures aren’t hidden at all, but might take a bit of digging to uncover, like the value inside boxes left in an attic that tell the stories of the former owner. We found such an example recently while salvaging the sanctuary of Central Baptist church in Decatur, Alabama.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Our latest salvage mission involved the former sanctuary of Central Baptist Church in Decatur, Alabama. This beautiful building, constructed in 1926, was recently scheduled for demolition. The new property owner, Jeff Parker, could not bear to see over 100 beautiful stained glass windows and the many architectural elements go to waste. Therefore he contacted Southern Accents to salvage everything we could from the 90 year old building. Over the past several weeks we made several trips to downtown Decatur. In addition to the stained glass windows, we removed doors, newel posts and light fixtures, but our most exciting find was a small package tucked away inside a cut limestone cornerstone.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

 

We noticed the cornerstone at the back of the building. The stone was dated 1926, which told us that it was original to the building. We removed the stone, thinking that we might find a treasure behind it. What we did not expect, was a treasure hidden inside. Cut into the center of the stone was a 6″ x 6″ pocket. Inside was a small package wrapped in brown paper and tied with a string. The package was about the same size as a deck of playing cards. It was carefully removed, documented and brought back to our showroom in Cullman, Alabama, along with the stone for documenting. We cautiously unwrapped the package to discover 351 paper cards! Each card contained the signature of a church member, along with the name of his/her Sunday School teacher. While not all of the cards were perfectly legible, all that were have been recorded and placed in an excel spreadsheet for future generations.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Once documented, we called Jeff Parker. He, along with Southern Accents, agreed to give the cornerstone and the package containing all the cards to Central Baptist Church. SA and Jeff Parker will present these items to pastor Rob Jackson next spring during Central Baptists anniversary celebration. It is our wish that this precious piece of history remain with the church family. Please visit our blog for more photos from the Central Baptist Church salvage mission.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques


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