Category Archives: Antique Salvage

#SOUTHERN MAKERS 2017 – CELEBRATING 5 YEARS ON AUGUST 12+13

We are SUPER EXCITED to announce the dates of our 2017 installment of SOUTHERN MAKERS! The Montgomery tracks lead us North to Birmingham for our next southern adventure.

Southern Makers 2017 at Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham, Alabama

Tickets are now on sale for the fifth annual Southern Makers, a two-day event happening August 12-13, 2017, under the viaduct at the historic Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama. Part of the five-year celebration, is to try a new venue, change things up a bit and keep our event fresh— without losing the quality and spirit at the heart of the event.

Just as our original venue, Montgomery’s historic Union Station, represents movement and architectural beauty, so too does the Viaduct at Sloss but in a different way. The raw space composed of structural concrete material for its own sake, represents movement and a space for the making process. This rings true to our reason for creating Southern Makers back in 2013—bringing together handpicked top talent to explore southern based creativity that enriches lives – in one place for all to experience. We have the same values but we are relocating to a NEW historic environment. The Montgomery tracks are leading us North to Birmingham for a different southern adventure.

Southern Makers 2017 at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama

The viaduct at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama will be the home for Southern Makers 2017 August 12 & 13.

More than 100 of Alabama’s top makers, including nationally-renowned fashion designers, textile artists, screen printers, jewelers, brewers, winemakers, contemporary artists, farmers, woodworkers, chefs, bakers, architects, industrial designers, preservationists and entrepreneurs, will come together in Birmingham to celebrate Southern creativity and innovation. The complete list of Southern Makers will be posted to southernmakers.com mid-July, 2017.

Make plans now to join us for a day or the weekend! You’ll be able to shop with all of the talented artists and makers, enjoy food and drink from some of Alabama’s finest chefs and brewers, boogie down to live entertainment presented throughout the day on the Southern Makers stage, and sit in on demonstrations from many of our makers. There are a limited number of tickets available so don’t delay! Grab your tickets today and join us for a weekend of fun and creativity at historic Sloss Furnaces!

Southern Makers 2017 at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama

If you’ve never attended Southern Makers, you have missed a real treat! Join us August 12 & 13 at the historic Sloss Furnaces. This year will be bigger and better than ever!!!

TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE!!

To purchase tickets, visit the Southern Makers website at southernmakers.com. A single day ticket is $24.99 plus taxes and fees, a weekend ticket is $35.99 plus taxes and fees. Tickets at the door are $35.99 plus taxes and fees per day. Tickets are free for children under 10.

Southern Makers is also selling ALL ACCESS (VIP) weekend passes for $85.00 plus taxes and fees.This is an all weekend ticket that includes entry into the air-conditioned marquee partnering with Garden & Gun Magazine with culinary treats and libations from the South’s finest makers.

The event is produced and created by Southern Accents Architectural Antiques in collaboration with Goodwyn Mills & Cawood (GMC). Garden & Gun is the Southern Makers official media partner. All proceeds from the event benefit Southern Makers, a non-profit organization that aims to draw attention to, celebrate and promote southern talent and creativity.

Visit southernmakers.com and like Southern Makers on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthernMakers for more information on tickets, event details and the full list of Makers. For information on sponsorship opportunities, please email info@southernmakers.com.


Unlocking the History of Skeleton Keys

Not a day goes by at Southern Accents that someone doesn’t stop in and pick up a skeleton key… sometimes two, three or a whole handful! Many customers are looking to replace a lost key to open their old door. Others are looking for the small keys that will fit the lock on an old antique cabinet while others just seem to have a fascination with antique keys and are looking to add to their collection. And then there are the jewelry makers… the use of skeleton keys in hand crafted jewelry is currently a hot trend. Once again, tapping into our love of history, we did a little research on keys.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The purpose of a skeleton key is obviously to open a lock. Skeleton keys, also known as pass keys, are designed to open numerous locks, most commonly a warded lock. While some believe that a skeleton key derived it’s name because of it’s shape and resemblance to a skull, the name actually comes from the fact that the key is stripped down like a skeleton to it’s most essential parts: a cylindrical shank with a single rectangular tooth. The shank can be solid or a barrel shank which resembles the barrel of a gun.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

This photo shows an example of a barrel shank and a solid shank skeleton key.

The first locks and keys were made of wood and can be traced back to Babylon and Egypt. The locks and keys were large, heavy, and impractical. Aside from the weight, the wood locks were susceptible to brut force attacks. The wood devices were eventually replaced when engineers from Ancient Rome improved the design and began using iron and bronze which provided a stronger, more reliable lock. The keys were smaller and the devices became more practical. Little changed in the design of the mechanism until the mid 1800’s when Linus Yale Sr. and Jr. introduced the modern flat keys. Skeleton keys, however, continued to be used in most houses until after WWII when the pin tumbler lock (or Yale lock) took over. You will find that the doors in many homes built in the 1940’s and earlier still have functioning mortise locks operated by skeleton keys.

Antique Lock and Key

This heavy iron lock from Germany and oversized skeleton key sits in one of the front windows of our showroom. The large 8.5″ key is shown next to a normal sized skeleton door key.

Our fascination with keys lie far beyond their practical use. Keys unlock more than just doors. There are many Biblical references to keys, including the passage in Revelation 1:18 where Jesus proclaims to hold the keys of death and Hades. You often hear someone refer to their true love as “holding the key to their heart.” Dignitaries are presented with the key to a city as a symbolic gesture of good will. The Gothic trefoil design found in many of the earliest keys is symbolic of the Holy Trinity. Whether a young boy proudly carrying an old skeleton key in his pocket or a woman sporting one around her neck, there seems to be something magical about keys… it is as if the revealing of some mystical treasure or deep dark secret awaits, that only the right key will unlock!


Foster Hall – An Event in Alabama’s History

If you know us at Southern Accents, you know how much we love a good story. When a story comes along that is attached to a piece of architecture and is documented, it’s story is not only validated in written form but helps in preserving a piece of our history. Such is the case with two windows that we recently acquired that has a semi-circular design that once graced the front of Foster Hall Auditorium on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. If you study Alabama History, then you are familiar with the event that took place at the entrance to Foster Auditorium on June 11, 1963. If not, then a short history lesson is in order. On this date, then Governor George C. Wallace, who opposed integration, stood at the entrance of the auditorium in an attempt to block two black students from registering at the University. Governor Wallace was unsuccessful in his attempt and that same day the first two black students enrolled at the University of Alabama. Two years later, one of the students, Vivian Malone, became the first black to receive a degree from UA. Years later, George Wallace apologized for his segregationist views and in October 1996, Vivian Malone Jones was chosen by the George Wallace Family Foundation to be the first recipient of its Lurleen B. Wallace Award of Courage. At the ceremony, Wallace said, “Vivian Malone Jones was at the center of the fight over states’ rights and conducted herself with grace, strength and, above all, courage.” In 2000, the University of Alabama bestowed on Vivian a doctorate of humane letters.

fosterhallwindows-blog

The large windows, which can be seen in photos dated at the time of this event, were later removed from the building to make way for a window air conditioning unit. The windows were crated and stored in a storage building on campus. Years later, that storage area, which was shared by faculty member George Hodgson, along with some of the University carpenters, was scheduled for demolition and had to be cleaned out. It was during this process that the crated windows (shown above) were removed by one of the carpenters and placed at the dumpster. George inquired about the windows and was given permission to take them. The windows were moved to his home garage where they sat for years.

In 2009, renovation of Foster Auditorium began. At that time, Mr. Hodgson offered the windows back to the University. The University turned down the offer stating that all of the units were being replaced with newer, maintenance free windows. Not wanting the windows to end up back in the dumpster, George continued to keep them crated and stored in his garage until a few weeks ago when he approached Southern Accents and asked if we would be interested in them. George offered a letter of authenticity that stated how the windows came to be in his possession along with a copy of the email exchange from 2009 offering the windows back to the University.

The Foster Auditorium event, albeit an ugly part of our history, is history none the less. One of the most important aspects of accurately recording historical events is so we can learn from past mistakes. Having written documentation on any historical item not only preserves the provenance of that item, but transforms a story into fact. We gladly accepted the windows and will use these historical architectural elements to serve as a reminder of an event that eventually lead, not to block entrances, but to open doors.

Foster_Auditorium

This photo was taken after 1963 but prior to the renovations of 2009. Air conditioning units can be seen where the arch top windows once were.

Foster_Auditorium_Malone_Hood_Plaza_University_of_Alabama

Foster Auditorium after the 2009 renovations which included the addition of the Malone-Hood Plaza and Autherine Lucy Clock Tower. The University of Alabama paid tribute to Autherine Lucy Foster, James Hood and the late Vivian Malone Jones, the three African-American students whose enrollment represented UA’s first steps toward desegregation, at the dedication which was held November 3, 2010.

FosterHallNewspaper-blog

The Crimson White newspaper from 2009 highlights the planned renovations of Foster Auditorium. In the photo you can see the air conditioner units that replaced the windows.


Which Wood Would You Choose?

We were doing a little spring cleaning at the Wood Showroom this week and ran across several stacks of unique wood. Webster’s dictionary defines unique as something unusual or distinctively characteristic. At Southern Accents, unique could be anything from a piece of double beaded shiplap to an unusual color or pattern in the wood. Sorting through the stacks usually starts a conversation about the variety and history of reclaimed wood. Walking through our wood showroom, it is quite interesting to take note of the uniqueness and character of each stack.

Unlike visiting a lumber yard or local DIY store with stacks of raw lumber, looking around our large showroom, filled with salvaged wood, there is so much beauty to behold.  There is a kaleidoscope of color found in the salvaged lumber. Shades of weathered browns and greys mixed with reds, blues and greens from layers of old paint or stain can be seen throughout the showroom. There is a character in reclaimed wood that can only be added with age. Old knots, nail holes, and occasionally small carvings are like battle wounds that help tell it’s story.Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

This photo perfectly demonstrates how we used salvaged wood in a variety of colors to create these accent walls in Garden & Guns Artist Tent at Slossfest.

From barn wood, bead board, reclaimed flooring and large beams, how do you choose which wood is right for your project? While some projects may require certain size or thickness specifications, we like to encourage our customers to browse our selection of salvaged wood and see which stack “speaks” to them. The painted shiplap and colored bead-board have been very popular as wall and ceiling coverings. Salvaged flooring is readily sought after to be reused as it was originally intended. Mantel shelves and matching corbels are cut from old hand hewn beams. Our customers show up looking for the perfect wood, with all it’s wonderful imperfections, to use on an endless list of projects. It doesn’t matter the size of the project, whether you need a single board to build a picture frame or several hundred square feet for a larger project, come pay us a visit! Seeing, touching, even smelling the old wood will lead you to the perfect choice for your job!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

These beautiful heart pine skins have an oil stain that have created a richness to the wood over time. 7″ wide, 1/2″ thick and an average length of 10′, these boards are $5.75 per sq ft.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

This bead board is covered with a variety of pastel colored, chippy paint. 3/4″ wide and 3/4″ thick, this stack of double bead pine wood is available in 6′ and 10′ lengths for $5.75 per sq ft.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Oak skins cut from reclaimed beams. 5 3/4″ wide x 1/2″ thick x 8′ long, $5.75 per sq ft. The boards can be gang ripped to 5″ for an additional $0.25 per sq ft.


If Opportunity Doesn’t Knock… Build A Door!

If you’ve ever created anything with your own hands, you know how rewarding the end result can be. From decorating a cake, sewing a garment, painting a canvas, sculpting a piece of clay or building a door… it’s not what you create that matters, it’s that you took the opportunity to try the creative “process” that’s important. Stepping back and admiring your finished work brings a fulfilling sense of accomplishment. Even if the finished work has flaws or imperfections, each work is unique because it was hand crafted. Our Southern Accents wood workers always feel a sense of pride with each completed project, and they should. Josh and Roger typically pull out their phones and take a photo of each completed custom piece. Roger takes it one step further… he plans his vacation route each year so that he can stop and see at least one of the doors he has built, that is finished and installed on a customer’s home.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

This photo is one that Roger took a few years ago as he traveled to his favorite vacation spot, St. Simons Island. This set of beautiful, double arched entry doors are a custom pair that Roger built for one of our customers. When we build a set of custom doors, whether the customer picks them up or whether we deliver them, they leave our wood shop unfinished. Once the doors are in the owners hands, it is up to them to do the finishing work and installation, so we seldom get to see the fully finished product. While we always admire the beautiful hand work of our completed custom doors, having the opportunity to see the doors fully finished and installed brings about a whole new level of pride!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Roger didn’t have to travel far to see this finished door… it is installed one door down from our showroom!

 

When building custom doors, Roger will keep track of the customers who are within a reasonable driving distance of his yearly vacation itinerary. He plans at least one stop each year to view one of his handiworks! He will stop and knock on the door in hopes that the owner will be home. When he can catch them at home, he explains that he is the one who built their door and will ask to take a photograph.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Artists understand the fact that with each creation, we give a little piece of ourselves. Having an opportunity to hear the owners excitement, love, and appreciation for our creation heightens our reward and sense of accomplishment. Building a custom door by hand is a tedious, time consuming task. Our guys take a tremendous amount of care with each new job and are rightly proud of their work. If you are in the market for a door that is crafted by hand and truly one-of-a-kind, give us a call or stop by the showroom and let us show you what we can offer!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The door on the left is an antique door that we salvaged. The door on the right is a custom door that we built… we mimicked the style of the antique door, creating a new entry door for our customer.


SA Welcomes the Alabama Museums Association

This week we were honored to help welcome members of the Alabama Museums Association to Cullman, Alabama. Members of the Association gathered in Cullman for their annual conference. Southern Accents owner, Garlan Gudger, Jr., met with the participants Sunday night at the St. Bernard Retreat Center. After issuing an official welcome to the crowd, he spoke about the revitalization efforts that have taken place in downtown Cullman in the wake of the 2011 tornados, many of which he has spearheaded. Garlan also spoke about the history of Southern Accents and filled everyone in on recent changes to our big event this fall, Southern Makers. After showing off his JFK door knob from his private collection, he opened the floor for a question and answer session.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

We were thrilled to be able to host the reception this week for the Alabama Museums Association.

The conference convened Monday at Wallace State Community College. Early that evening everyone gathered at Southern Accents for cocktail hour before heading to the All Steak for dinner. The evening activities concluded at the Cullman County Museum where everyone enjoyed dessert. Tuesday’s activities took place at the Cullman Chamber of Commerce. According to Kristen Holmes, conference coordinator and District 2 Representative on the AMA Board of Directors, conference participants repeatedly commented about how much they enjoyed being in Cullman. Kristen said, “Garlan’s remarks to the group set the stage for our visit to the historic district of Cullman and the evening reception at Southern Accents, which was certainly a highlight of the event. That reception, which gave us a chance to network while roaming the store, was so unique and special that it will be hard to beat when the conference moves to Tuscaloosa next year!”

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Approximately 50 members of the AMA joined us after hours to enjoy a few refreshments during cocktail hour while shopping through our showroom, warehouse and outdoor lots.

We were quite honored to have had the opportunity to speak to members of the Alabama Museums Association as well as host the group at the showroom Monday evening. Having a group of people who are involved throughout the state with protecting pieces of our history, keenly interested in our preservation and restoration efforts, fuels our passion for salvaging architectural elements of historical significance.


Famous Doors

A few months ago we were contacted by our good friend, Rick Morgan. Rick is a contractor in Nashville who was doing some work for a new saloon just off Broadway on 2nd Ave North. The new saloon, Famous, which celebrated it’s grand opening this past November, is situated between Hard Rock Cafe and the Wildhorse Saloon.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Acquiring new doors for Famous Saloon was no easy task. Rick was working under very strict guidelines by the Nashville Historical Society which required him to replicate, as closely as possible, the doors that were originally present on the Second Ave block. This meant that 3 sets of doors, close to 12 feet in height each, were needed for the entry. Rick realized that the only solution to finding doors the size and style needed was to have them custom made. Knowing that Southern Accents could handle the job, Rick gave us a call!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

After a bit of discussion with our wood workers, Josh and Roger, we accepted the challenge. Shortly after, work began on what is currently the largest set of doors that we have ever built. At 12 feet, not only are these doors exceptionally tall, they are extremely heavy. So heavy in fact, that our guys had to transport the 6 doors individually and had to set them in the frames on site! In addition to the exterior doors, we also built an unusual set of interior doors and provided material for the bar.

In speaking with Rick about the Famous doors he said, “The SA team knocked this one out of the park! The doors turned out better than I ever expected. Everyone here is beyond thrilled!” The next time you are in Nashville, stop by the Famous Saloon on 2nd Ave and enjoy the awesome atmosphere combined with great food and entertainment. And don’t forget to tell them that Southern Accents sent you!


Wood Series – Pecky Cypress

Not a week passes that we aren’t asked: “What type of wood is that?” We don’t always know the answer to that question. At times, an antique door or mantel will be covered in several layers of old paint that we have to peel back to expose the wood. Other times, we run across a rare wood that requires a little research on our part to determine the species. Since a majority of our inventory is made of wood, we thought it would be a great idea to feature some of the more interesting species in a few of our newsletters. This week is all about a rather rare and exotic wood, pecky cypress.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The unique pattern seen in this piece of pecky cypress is created by the pockets or recesses caused by a fungus that attacked the tree while it was alive.

Cypress wood in general is rather light in color, has a straight grain and medium texture. Cypress trees are readily found in Southern Swamplands and can be easily identified by their unique ariel roots, called knees, that protrude above the ground or water. These trees are deciduous (unlike most conifers) and drop all their airy, needle-like leaves each the winter. Pecky cypress is rare in that it only occurs in less than 10% of cypress trees and only in older trees. The beautiful and yet unique design in the wood is actually caused by a fungus, polyporus amarus. The airborne fungi sets up after a tree has been damaged. A limb break, lightening strike, fire or any injury that creates damage or a break in the bark can allow the fungi to set up in the living tissue of the tree. As the fungus grows it creates pockets or recesses in the wood. Once the tree is cut, the fungus dies and the pecky can not continue to grow.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

This photo shows a local cypress tree growing next to a large pond. The tree has dropped all of it’s needle like leaves for the winter.

Pecky cypress is a popular choice for doors, ceilings, wall paneling, and table tops. While you can paint this very durable wood, why would anyone want to?!! The characteristics of this rare wood are so incredibly gorgeous it deserves nothing less than to shine in all it’s glory! We currently have approximately 500 square feet of pecky cypress in stock at our wood showroom. The boards are 5″ w x 14′ long x 1″ thick and retail for $8 per square foot. Stop by our wood showroom during regular business hours to view this gorgeous wood!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

In this photo you can see the arial roots, or knees, of the cypress tree protruding above the ground.


An Ode to Ole Blue

Several years ago we acquired a wonderful, turquoise blue 55’ Chevy. Even though it was a little rusty and would not run, we felt that we could give it a good home. We added our logo to the door panels and have used it for marketing purposes ever since.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Even though he was not running, Ole Blue has done his share of traveling around North/Central Alabama. With the help of our flatbed trailer, he made his debut in the spring of 2013 at Southern Makers. Parked at the entrance of Union Station Train Shed in Montgomery, Alabama, he greeted visitors and served as a backdrop for their many photos and selfies. Outfitted with a set of brand new tires, he returned to Montgomery in 2014 for his second appearance at Southern Makers. His bed filled with colorful flowers, he once again greeted visitors for the weekend, all of whom were delighted to see his cheery face!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

In between his Southern Makers appearances, Ole Blue has been spotted at wedding venues and alley parties and has attracted the attention of numerous local photographers. One of his photos won a blue ribbon at the local fair. His face has been the subject of many paintings and is currently featured on several products by Alabama artist Mellissa Meeks.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

This rendition of our 55′ Chevy titled “Wild Blue Yonder” by artist Mellissa Meeks currently hangs in our upstairs office.

Sadly, the time has come to find Ole Blue a new home. While he has served us well, it is time for retirement. We are seeking a replacement vintage vehicle that runs. We currently have him priced at $3,500 but will consider all reasonable offers. He would make a terrific prop or could potentially be given a new life by someone looking for an ambitious project. You can view him online HERE. Ole Blue is currently housed at our wood showroom at 250 Janeway Drive in Cullman. You can stop by during regular business hours to pay him a visit. Give us a call at 877-737-0554 with offers.


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!


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