Monthly Archives: November 2013

Salvaged Art

With the holiday season upon us, most of us are probably in the process of making out our shopping list. An architectural salvage store is a great place to shop for gift items… especially if you are looking for unique, one-of-a-kind gifts! We have a working relationship with several incredibly talented, local artists. We are continually blown away by their creativity. These artists turn salvaged items, scraps of wood, stone, tile, tin, hardware, etc. into beautiful works of art. Each piece of artwork is unique and the styles vary greatly from each artist. We want you to meet a few of the artists and invite you to stop by Southern Accents showroom to shop our unique collection of gift items!

Mickey Davis grew up in a small town and credits his indulgent neighbor, Mrs. Applewhite, for encouraging his creativity as a child. By providing him with his own box of parts and pieces she expanded his imagination with stories that transformed the junk into treasures. Mickey works a full time job, but finds time to spend each day creating art from other people’s discards.

Mickey Davis

Salvaged artwork from Mickey Davis

James & Natalie Stevens both grew up in their father’s wood shops. After an unsuccessful search for unique artwork to hang on the walls of their new home, they decided to make their own. Not only were they pleased with the results, but thoroughly enjoyed the process. They work together to turn reclaimed materials, antiques, and generally rustic items into modern works of art.

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Christmas tree ornaments made from salvaged wood by James & Natalie Stevens

Mellissa Meeks is a self-taught artist whose work reflects warmth, spontaneity and a whimsical nature. Mellissa has created several original pieces of art work for Southern Accents. Most recently she has merged her love of salvaged items and antiques into unique folk art pieces. Mellissa loves giving back to the community and has worked diligently with Southern Accents to help raise money for SA323, our newly found non-profit organization.

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Original folk art from artist Mellissa Meeks

Russ & Erin Bloxham Curtis are a husband and wife team who founded Boy Meets Girl in 2010. They work together to transform architectural salvage into unique, functional, and one of a kind home decor. From barn wood growth charts to IPad holders from shutter hinges, it is fun to see these artists creativity come to life!

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Salvaged art items from Russ & Erin Bloxham Curtis

Mandy Phillips is an artist who is inspired by the impressions that seem irrelevant to our society. Intrigued by raw simplicity, the connection of colors, and lines that traverse the normal, Mandy’s artistic impressions is a natural fit for Southern Accents. She sees beauty in the old and patinaed… just as we do.

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Original artwork from artist Mandy Phillips

Join Southern Accents on Friday, December 6th for our Christmas Open House. We will have coffee and light refreshments from 9:00 am Р1:00  pm. You will be able to browse our great selection of unique, one-of-a-kind gift items as well as meet several of our artisans. Visit us on Facebook and watch for more details coming soon!


DIY Salvaged Wood Chalkboard

This past year Southern Accents built a couple of giant chalk boards for the Southern Makers event. Event goers were asked to chalk their answer to the question, “What Inspires You?” on the boards. The idea was such a huge hit that we constructed a second large chalkboard for the social media conference, Haven, in Atlanta. Each blogger attending the conference was asked to autograph our board. We have found a bounty of uses for these versatile boards and decided to share how we create our boards and frame them with salvaged materials.

Our resident artisan Roger Long happily demonstrated the steps by creating a small chalkboard in our wood shop. Using 1/4″ multi density fiber board, Roger cut an 8″ x 10″ board using a table saw. The fiber board is inexpensive, provides a smooth surface, and can be picked up at your local hardware store.

Spray chalk paint was used to coat the smooth side of an 8" x 10" piece of fiber board.

Spray chalk paint was used to coat the smooth side of an 8″ x 10″ piece of fiber board.

The smooth side of the board was painted using black chalk paint. The best method to use for a small board is spray paint. Larger boards can be painted using a smooth roller. Once dry, a steel wool pad was used to lightly sand over the first coat. The board was wiped clean with mineral spirits to remove dust particles and was given a second coat of paint. The board was then set aside until completely dry.

Roger Long cutting the salvaged wood boards to create the chalk board frame.

Roger Long cutting the salvaged wood boards to create the chalk board frame.

To frame our board we chose some gorgeous pieces of red barn wood from our salvaged wood warehouse. These pieces originally had a tongue and groove, which gave the inside of our frame a natural lip to hold and attach the chalkboard. If using solid pieces of wood a router could be used to create the needed grooves. Another option is to cut the fiber board larger than the inside measurement of your frame and attach it directly to the back of the frame using small tacks or staples.

Tongue and groove boards were cut and the edges mitered for use in framing our chalk board.

Tongue and groove boards were cut and the edges mitered for use in framing our chalk board.

The wood pieces were cut to a common width and then cut to the required lengths to frame the 8″ x 10″ chalk board. If mitering the corners, extra length must be added to each side to accommodate the mitered edges. There are many great tutorials online that give step-by-step instructions on how to properly miter the edges. Roger is a pro so the corners of our frame looked fabulous when finished. Another option is to create a solid edge frame. This eliminates the need for mitered edges and creates a more rustic looking frame for the chalkboard.

Wood glue was used in the frame assembly.

Wood glue was used in the frame assembly.

Once our pieces were cut, Roger laid them on the work table to ensure that they fit together properly. To assemble the frame he used a combination of wood glue and corrugated staples. The wood we chose for our frame was heavy so the corners were screwed together to reinforce the frame.

After the pieces were glued, corrugated staples were also used to secure the corners.

After the pieces were glued, corrugated staples were also used to secure the corners.

Screws were used in all corners to help secure our wood frame.

Screws were used in all corners to help secure our wood frame.

Because the wood had to be trimmed to a common width, the outside edge of our frame was raw. Using an extra piece of the red salvaged wood, Roger cut pieces of trim that he attached to the raw edges using wood glue and small staples. This gave the frame a very nice finished look.

Wood trim was cut and attached to the raw edges using wood glue and small staples.

Wood trim was cut and attached to the raw edges using wood glue and small staples.

Roger lightly sanded the trim at each corner, giving the frame a nice polished look.

Roger lightly sanded the trim at each corner, giving the frame a nice polished look.

Once the frame assembly was complete and the glue given time to dry, the chalk board was attached and secured to the inside grooves with small tacks. Roger chose to use two small eye screws and wire to create a hanger for the board. The finished result was beautiful! There is something about old red barn wood that is simply irresistible!

Small eye screws and wire were used to create a hanger.

Small eye screws and wire were used to create a hanger.

The chalk board was attached to the inside grooves of the frame using small tacks

The chalk board was attached to the inside grooves of the frame using small tacks

We realize that not everyone has access to a wood shop and all the right tools. Our goal is to demonstrate how salvaged items can be turned in to beautiful works of art and useful items. Our hope is that our projects will both encourage and inspire!

The finished chalk board!

The finished chalk board!

One of our salvaged wood frame chalk boards used at a wedding this past summer.

One of our salvaged wood frame chalk boards used at a wedding this past summer.

Written by: Lisa Jones
Southern Accents Webmaster/Marketing


The Lovely Miss Heather

The Lovely Miss Heather

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques Ask Southern Accents owner, Garlan Gudger, and he will confess, without hesitation, that one of his greatest accomplishments in life has been marrying his beautiful wife Heather. Heather is not only his partner in life, but his partner in business. Heather has always been heavily involved in the decision making but now that their two young sons are in school, she has taken on a more active role in the day to day operation of the business. If you attended the Birmingham Home & Garden show this past February or most recently The Chapel Market in Montgomery, you probably saw Heather hard at work in the Southern Accents booth. Visit our showroom and most days you will see her working with customers or spiffing up the showroom floor or front windows.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques While hard at work around the showroom, Heather is also very active in the community. This past year she was instrumental in helping plan and implement large community events such as Celebrate Cullman. She also stayed busy planning a few of our own events such as the 2013 Alley Party and our “Painting For A Purpose” fund raising event which is a new venture near and dear to her heart.

Heather has been at the forefront of Southern Accents latest venture… forming a non-profit charitable organization. The charitable organization, aptly named SA323, is a team effort. The SA is short for Salvage Assurance while the 323 is based on Colossians 3:23, a Bible verse that we have adopted, as a team, as our work ethic. Funds from our Painting For A Purpose community art event held last month will be used during the holiday season to help a group of children in our community who are in need, assuring that they each receive at least one present this Christmas. Future fund raising events and charitable opportunities are in the works.

When asked why setting up a non-profit charitable organization was important to her, Heather replied, “Garlan and I are passionate about giving back. We’ve been blessed and believe that giving back to those in need is the right thing to do. We consistently have people cross our paths that are going through a hard time and need a little help to see them through. But, we did not want this to be just about us. We wanted this to be a team effort. Future projects will be a joint decision between our awesome Southern Accents team members. Everyone’s on board with this venture!”

If you have not had the opportunity to meet “the lovely Miss Heather” be sure and ask for her when you visit our showroom or look for her at any of our upcoming events!

Written by: Lisa Jones
Southern Accents Webmaster/Marketing


A Haunting Tale

Southern Accents is located in historic downtown Cullman. Given the fact that our business, and our passion, revolves around salvaging elements of historical significance, it only makes sense that our showroom and warehouse would be located in an old building rich with history. An unexpected element of residing in an old dwelling however is a few unexplained occurrences that have left us questioning whether we are the buildings only inhabitants!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

While our showroom is located on 2nd Avenue, travel around the corner to the other side of the block and you will arrive at the front entrance of our warehouse and wood shop. Look up and the building itself clearly speaks of its former resident on the facade of the brick. Still visible, the sign reads O. Fischer Undertaker. From what we have been told, a room that now serves as our wood shop was once an embalming room. In the back corner is an elevator shaft used to transport the deceased from the embalming room to a viewing room upstairs. The upstairs area has been transformed over the past few years into a beautiful loft apartment, the residence of Southern Accents owners Garlan and Heather Gudger. Although the elevator is no longer in use, the door, which remains locked for safety reasons, would open upstairs into what is now the master bedroom.

Over the years, Roger, our local artisan, has many times heard an unexplained woman’s voice in the wood shop as well as encountered an odd occurrence or two! Roger explains the voice as a “whispery sound carried in the wind.” Although he says that he can definitely distinguish the voice as that of a woman, he’s never been able to understand what she is saying. He has heard the voice on numerous occasions, enough to give “her” a name, Matilda. Talk to Roger and he will tell you about a time when he had a cup of water sitting on his work table. Suddenly the cup started swaying back and forth without the assistance of the wind or any other activity that would have generated the movement. He grabbed the cup to prevent it from toppling over and spilling. Roger talks of Matilda with a bit of a nervous grin on his face. Oddly enough, he has not heard her voice since a destructive tornado ripped through the downtown area in April of 2011. Even so, don’t ask Roger to come in to the wood shop and work on a project after dark!

When asked if there had ever been any paranormal activity in the upstairs area, Heather has her own thrilling story. When the Gudgers first moved into the loft, there were a number of items left behind that they decided to keep which included an old hospital bed, embalming bottles and a cake stand. The cake stand was cleaned and displayed on the kitchen counter. Heather tells of three separate occasions when she used the cake stand to hold her rings while she washed the dishes. On each of these occasions, her wedding ring, and only her wedding ring, disappeared. Each time she frantically combed the apartment looking for the missing jewelry only to find days later that the ring had been returned to the cake stand. Needless to say, she no longer places her rings on the cake stand!

This wood cake stand found in the loft was cleaned up and now sits on the kitchen counter.

This wood cake stand found in the loft was cleaned up and now sits on the kitchen counter.

Whether ghosts or spirits unable or unwilling to exit this earth really exist is questionable. All we know is that there have been numerous unexplained occurrences in a building that once was home to O. Fischer, Undertaker. The questions we ponder are whether our “Matilda” was responsible for Heather’s missing wedding ring and where is she now? Did the tornado scare Matilda off? It sure scared the heck out of us!

Embalming bottles left from the days of the Undertaker!

Embalming bottles left from the days of the Undertaker!

Stop by Southern Accents and tour our showroom and warehouse. There’s lots of interesting things to see and we always have a few stories to share!

Written by: Lisa Jones
Southern Accents Webmaster/Marketing


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