A Wood Story

From the time I was a small sapling, I had dreams of one day making it big! You see, in my world, as a tree, I wanted to be beautiful, admired, treasured. I never imagined, however, that my humble beginnings would see such an exciting end!

Each year as I grew taller and stronger, I could see myself as a fine piece of furniture sitting in the home or office of someone important, perhaps famous. Growing up in a large forrest, I was always surrounded by those trees who seemed destined for greatness. While the other trees were chosen, one by one for important tasks, I was left. I would hear tales of how many ended up in the hands of a master craftsman who lovingly turned their wood into hand carved mantels, beautiful flooring, carved furniture and strong entry doors. Just when I thought my dream would never become a reality, the loggers returned one last time and I was among the last to be chosen. However, my dreams were dashed, for I did not end up in the hands of an artist, but instead was taken to a sawmill. My beautiful trunk was cut into rough boards which were then nailed to the exterior of a small barn. Here, I sat for well over a hundred years, enduring countless rain storms, strong winds, droughts, snow and blistering sunlight. My weathered skin began to age and crack. Eventually, the barn itself was neglected and reached a state of dis-repair. I heard rumor of other wood barns that were in a similar state being burned down so their owners would not have to maintain them. Just when I thought my dreams of becoming a masterpiece were being diminished… I was rescued!

This is one of the many barns salvaged by Southern Accents.

This is one of the many barns salvaged by Southern Accents.

A group of workers unexpectedly showed up. One by one my boards were pulled from my frail barn structure and transported to a huge warehouse. Here, the rusty, time worn nails were removed. Many years of dirt and grime were brushed away. I was neatly stacked out of the weather and given a chance to dry out. Unfamiliar faces would show up at this warehouse where other wood was also stored and they would comment about my beauty and patina. I felt secure and protected. One day, unbeknownst to me, I was once again chosen for a very special purpose. My boards were cut into small blocks. At first, I was unsure why, but it all began to take shape as the blocks were carefully placed together. Like pieces of a puzzle, each small piece was meticulously selected by a craftsman. As the artists worked together to turn the small pieces into a “wood-brick” wall, I heard talk of a city called New York and a designer by the name of Billy Reid. Before I knew what was happening, I was whisked away and traveled many hours where I became an integral part of an exciting event called Fashion Week. I served as a backdrop with magnificent crystal chandeliers which provided lighting on each wood block. As beautiful models graced my presence, cameras flashed, and the onlookers loudly applauded. I felt I had been given a second chance to be a masterpiece, even if it was for only one night!!

Salvaged wood blocks were used to build this stunning backdrop for Billy Reid's Fashion Week 2013 show. Picture used courtesy of Billy Reid.

Salvaged wood blocks were used to build this stunning backdrop for Billy Reid’s Fashion Week 2013 show. Picture used courtesy of Billy Reid.

The night ended too soon, but there was one last surprise in store. The following day I was loaded back on a truck and began the journey to what would become my final resting place. I was placed in Billy Reid’s boutique in Georgetown. Unlike the role I played in Fashion Week, this time I was installed in their showroom as a floor. Each day important customers walk across me as they admire Billy’s latest designs. From a humble barn to an upscale showroom, my dreams have been fulfilled in a way that far surpassed my wildest imagination.

The wood-brick wall now serves as the floor in Billy Reid's Georgetown retail location. Picture used courtesy of Billy Reid.

The wood-brick wall now serves as the floor in Billy Reid’s Georgetown retail location. Picture used courtesy of Billy Reid.

Southern Accents goal is to rescue, restore, and protect architectural elements of historical significance. The salvaged wood used to construct the backdrop for Billy Reid for Fashion Week 2013 is but one small example of how we work to save architectural materials that can be re-purposed or designed into works of art. You can visit us online at http://www.sa1969.com or visit our showroom and warehouses located in historic downtown Cullman, Alabama to find your own work of art!

Wall built by Southern Accents from salvaged wood blocks.

Wood-brick wall built by Southern Accents from salvaged wood blocks.

Written by: Lisa Jones
Edited by: Garlan Gudger, Jr.


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