Tag Archives: antique salvage

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!!!


The Artist & The Art – Matthew Mayes

Although Southern Accents is an architectural antique and salvage company, we are also a team of artists, creators, designers, visionaries, builders and collaborators. As such, we revel in an opportunity to meet and collaborate with fellow creatives. One recent meeting was with an impressive artist originally from Florence, Alabama; Matthew Mayes.

Matthew MayesMatthew is a self taught artist with 12 years experience in the professional art field. Matthew began his artistic adventure as a child watching the “Joy Of Painting” with Bob Ross. Having experienced many stints in the hospital and schooling at home because of illness, Matthew needed an outlet for his creativity. He credits art as filling this need in his life.

Matthew’s concentration is acrylic on canvas and on hollow core doors. He considers his work to be studies in color, perception, definition and composition. When asked in a recent interview about his process for starting a new piece, Matthew replied, “I start every piece by picking out all the colors (at once) that will be in the painting. I listen to all genres of music, which I use to create different moods while painting. Finally, I listen to my spirit and attempt to present on canvas the message(s) that I believe are flowing through me. There are multiple ways to “minister” to the public. Art is one of my gifts and callings.”

Southern Accents Architectural AntiquesA gift it is! Matthew’s artwork is inspirational. Southern Accents is currently housing one of Matthew’s works of art titled “A Sense Of Peace”. This 30″ x 80″ work, which is available for purchase, can be viewed in our showroom in downtown Cullman. Matthew’s artwork is also on display now through September 4th at the Birmingham Public Library. Visit the central library’s 4th floor gallery to view works from his “Layers of Meaning” collection.

Visit Matthew online at matthewmayes.net to view as well as purchase his beautiful artwork. Matthew is also available for commissioned works.


The Life Of A Mantel – Behind The Paint

When we were first contacted regarding our interest in salvaging the two 1890 houses in Little Rock, Arkansas that were scheduled for demolition, we marveled at the pictures sent to us. The exterior pictures would have been enough to catch our eye. The interior pictures are what produced a jaw dropping reaction among our team. The pictures revealed some of the most beautiful architectural pieces we have seen in our 54 years of business. The pictures that garnered the strongest reaction from us were the mantels… all seven of them! Beautiful, majestic, carved mantels, each one framing elegant tile sets. Several of the mantels were purchased on location, so we only returned to Cullman with four, one of which was a painted mantel. Being painted, the wood grain was covered. We weren’t expecting to find a surprise ‘behind the paint’. We immediately sent the mantel to our wood shop to have the paint stripped off and to our surprise and great delight we discovered that underneath all the old paint was an exquisite mantel made of birdseye maple. This mantel quickly moved to the top of our favorite item list!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Birdseye mantel in the strip tank.

We only see an artifact made from birdseye maple about once a year. It is a rare wood not commonly seen in antique items except in high quality pieces. Back when all furniture was made by hand, birdseye maple was only used by the most skilled artisans. It was a rather difficult wood to work with. The fine threads of the wood would easily catch and tear the grain. Because of this, items made from birdseye were extremely labor intensive. Many sawmills when faced with a run of birdseye would cut and use it as firewood! Today modern tools are available that make working with this stunning wood much easier.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The mantel top in the strip tank. The natural beauty of the wood showing as the old paint dissolves.

No one really knows for sure how or why this pattern occurs in the wood grain. It is found in several species of wood but is most commonly seen in hard maple. The very distinctive pattern resembles tiny, swirling eyes that disrupt the smooth lines of the grain, somewhat reminiscent of a burl but not quite the same. Could the cause of this phenomenon be some tiny pecking birds deforming the wood grain or possibly an infectious fungus or insect? Perhaps it is the result of a genetic mutation. The exact cause is irrelevant. One doesn’t need to understand the reason to appreciate the sheer beauty of this magnificent wood!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Birdseye mantel, stripped of the old paint, waiting for the final cleaning

The stripping process on this mantel is complete. It is now awaiting it’s final cleaning. The original beveled glass mirrors will be reinstalled and the mantel will take it’s place in our showroom. This birdseye mantel is currently for sale and can be viewed online by Clicking Here. We can’t wait to discover who the lucky new owner will be, but when the time comes this is one of those rare pieces that we will be sad to see leave our showroom.

Birdseye mantel before it was removed from the 1890 Bruner  house in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Birdseye mantel before it was removed from the 1890 Bruner house in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Written by: Lisa Jones

Edited by: Garlan Gudger, Jr.


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