Tag Archives: antique

Rub A Dub Tub

Southern Accents is seeing a huge resurgence in the popularity of clawfoot tubs. The antique, cast iron tubs are one of our most sought after items as we get numerous inquiries each week from customers looking for them. We take advantage of every opportunity to rescue these beauties! While many of the tubs that we obtain aren’t in perfect condition, our friend Stephen Bush, at Rub-a-Dub Tub, is an expert when it comes to lovingly restoring them to like new condition!

These salvaged, claw foot tubs will look brand new once refinished.

These salvaged, claw foot tubs will look brand new once refinished.

Most of the old cast iron tubs and sinks can be refinished and given a new life. We are all familiar with the traditional white, roll top bath tub, but what many don’t realize, is that there are numerous finish options available. Your tub can be turned into your own unique work of art! In addition to unlimited color options, the exterior of the tub can even be finished in stone, glass or tile! If you want a rustic look, a “wood” finish can be applied to the exterior giving the bath the look of real wood!

Restoring a procelain finish cast iron tub is a multi step process. The outside of the tub is first sandblasted, primed and sanded to be ready to paint. The interior of the tub is cleaned and etched. It then receives a coat of primer followed by a top coat of paint. The painted tub is then wet sanded and polished to give it that smooth finish before a final coat of acrylic urethane is applied. Unlike the cheap appliance paints that you can purchase in hardware stores, this detailed method of restoration ensures that your tub or sink is brought back to like-new condition.

This salvaged, cast iron, claw foot tub has been totally refinished, fitted with new feet and is ready for it's new home!

This salvaged, cast iron, claw foot tub has been totally refinished, fitted with new feet and is ready for it’s new home!

Often, the tubs we rescue may be missing one or more feet. Fitting an antique tub with feet is quite a task. Tubs are custom fitted for their specific feet when cast, therefore each type of foot has a unique peg connection, peg length, and curvature of the top of the foot that must match the tub. We have a collection of tub feet that we pull from when needed. When replacing feet on a tub, we install a safety clip to the back of the leg to help secure the feet, preventing them from coming off. These safety clips are cast especially for Southern Accents to ensure the tub is stable when it is being filled with water once installed in a home.

Most salvaged clawfoot tubs, before refinishing, range in price from $350 to $650. The refinishing cost ranges in price from approximately $850 to $1200. Visit Southern Accents showroom or website to view our collection of antique and vintage bath fixtures which include clawfoot tubs, pedestal and farmhouse sinks and more!


Keeping Our Nose To The Grind Stone!

At first glance these salvaged mill grist stones might pale in comparison to some of our more ornate architectural finds but not so! Millstones are a symbol of harvest and hospitality and date as far back as the dawn of man. The millstone is also referenced numerous times in the Bible. Samson, for example, after having been captured by the Philistines, was bound with bronze chains at the helm of a millstone and made to grind grain in their prison. The first economies in America were built around grist mills. Access to a millstone and grain were life sustaining resources for many cultures throughout history.

This European millstone is 6 1/2 feet in diameter and 13 inches thick.

This European millstone is 6 1/2 feet in diameter and 13 inches thick.

Millstones typically came in pairs and are cut from burrstone or limestone. The base or bed stone was larger and normally set in concrete or mortar to keep it stationary. The top or runner stone was a bit smaller and contained a handle. Grooves were hand cut into the face of the stones, the design of which ranged from subtle to elaborate. Grain was fed through a hole in the top of the runner stone. As this stone was rotated back and forth the groves cut through the grains of wheat, much like scissors, eventually grinding them to a fine flour. Smaller stones were used in homes and required two people to rotate the runner stone. Larger stones, available for community or commercial use, required considerable man power or quite often livestock to operate. Although access to flour for baking bread was vital, the act of grinding the grain was considered a menial task. Millstones were also used for grinding spices, nuts, and even pressing olives.

The hand carved grooves on the face of this millstone are beautiful.

The hand carved grooves on the face of this millstone are beautiful.

Today, these millstones are a considered a prized possession. The variety of intricate hand carvings on the face are works of art. For many, the stones are collector items. They quickly become a unique conversation piece when used in garden and landscapes. Currently we have three unique stones that we recently acquired. We have a 42″, 48″ and a large 6.5′ in diameter European millstone. All three stones are on display at our wood warehouse. Stop by or visit us online to view more pictures and pricing information.

Each millstone is unique in size and face patterns.

Each millstone is unique in size and face patterns.

The millstones are located at our Wood Warehouse on Janeway Drive in Cullman, Alabama.

The millstones are located at our Wood Warehouse on Janeway Drive in Cullman, Alabama.

Written by Lisa Jones


Pan Lights – Rescued, Rewired, Restored

When thinking about salvaged lighting, most of our thoughts lean towards ornate crystal chandeliers. However, a large number of the lights that we salvage are pan lights. Pan lights were introduced in the early part of the 20th century and were made for electricity instead of gas. Although the architectural styles have evolved over the years from Victorian, Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, Prairie style, and most currently modern, the light has maintained it’s basic design. The pan light can be identified by the body of the light which typically has a finial attached to the bottom and one or more chains attached to the top. The body of the light fixture contains two or more arms which support the shade holders and shades. We’re always excited to find a pan light that still has it’s original glass shades!

This salvaged pan light is covered with old paint.

This salvaged pan light is covered with old paint.

Most of the pan lights that we salvage are made of pressed brass, like the 4 arm light shown here that we rescued this week. This light was covered with several layers of paint. The light was taken to our wood shop where it was cleaned and stripped, removing all of the old paint, dirt and debris. The light will now be sent to our lighting technician, Tim, so that he can work his magic! Tim will rewire this light and give it a light polish. We love the natural patina of the aged brass so we do not try to bring the brass back to it’s original shine. Once the light has been fully restored it will be equipped with replacement shades and take its place in our showroom!

The fixture has been stripped of the old paint and cleaned. It will be rewired and fully restored.

The fixture has been stripped of the old paint and cleaned. It will be rewired and fully restored.

Visit us on line or better yet, stop by our showroom and browse our incredible selection of salvaged and antique lighting!

This pan light fixture has been cleaned, rewired, equipped with replacement glass shades and is ready for a new home!

This pan light fixture has been cleaned, rewired, equipped with replacement glass shades and is ready for a new home!


Piano Keys Unlocking Beauty

A couple of weeks ago we salvaged an upright piano from a structure in Birmingham. The piano was in such a state of disrepair, that it could have never been used to produce music again. This once fine tuned piano seemed to have lost its luster in the dirty abandoned building. Our SA team has usually seen these discarded to the nearest landfill or even to the burn pile. Most upright pianos are bulky, heavy and hard to move. But unlike most pianos, this particular one, for some reason, attracted our interest. Of course a few minutes later, it was being loaded and hauled back to Cullman.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

After we arrived back at the store, the instrument that was once carefully constructed by the hands of a skilled craftsman, was now being de-constructed by the hands of an artist. As we began this process, we started to see the beauty of the interior parts and patina of the individual pieces that was hidden inside. We saw the strings tightly pulled against the cast iron harp. We saw the wood wrapped velvet hammers that once created the soft tones of sound when they struck those strings. We imagined the small hands of a child sitting at the keys, carefully pecking out a simple melody. We will never know how many fingers ran across the keys during its lifespan or the amount of pure joy experienced by the many listening ears, but we can appreciate the history of the “pieces” that made up the “whole”. But now, it was our time to create a new history for the piano using our team’s imagination. Our future goal is to adapt these individual parts into a work of art that will be available for future generations to enjoy. Continuing the story of its history by up-cycling its salvageable parts in the present, only allows for its continued appreciation in the future.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Stay tuned for the big reveal as in coming weeks we give new life to a piece of this old piano by transforming it into a useful piece of building art!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

We would love to hear your ideas on how you would repurpose all of these piano parts. Visit our Facebook and Instagram page and share your ideas! Tag us with #saaa1969 and #SApianoart.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Written by: Lisa Jones & Garlan Gudger

 


Tarnished, Totally Terrific Tin!

One of the things that we enjoy most about salvaging architectural elements is exploring ways to repurpose them. We brought back several large pieces of salvaged tin from our last trip to Philadelphia. The tin, dated around the late 1880’s, was salvaged from the turret of a building similar to the one shown here.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

As soon as we saw these pieces, we immediately knew we wanted to use the tin in a way that would showcase each magnificent piece. SA team member Josh Howe turned several pieces of the tin into gorgeous wall art by framing them with salvaged pieces of door and window trim from another salvaged structure.

Whether framed or used in other creative ways, the beauty of this tin is deserving of a second life! Stop by our showroom or give us a call at 877 737-0554 regarding our inventory of salvaged tin. Custom framing is available through our wood shop.

Salvaged tin pieces framed in salvaged door and window trim to create wall art.

Salvaged tin pieces framed in salvaged door and window trim to create wall art.

Salvaged decorative tin piece from Philadelphia

Salvaged decorative tin piece from Philadelphia

Salvaged decorative tin piece from Philadelphia

Salvaged decorative tin piece from Philadelphia

Salvaged decorative tin piece from Philadelphia

Salvaged decorative tin piece from Philadelphia


The “What” of What We Salvage

A question we are often asked regarding our salvage projects is, “What all do you salvage from a house?” To answer that question… We will salvage any architectural element from a structure that can be safely removed in good enough condition that we believe can be reused or repurposed. Architectural elements can include any or all of the following: doors and accompanying hardware, door frames with trim, crown molding, wainscoting, fireplace mantels, sinks, tubs, light fixtures, wood flooring, floor joists, baseboards, wood walls, wood beams, newel posts, stairways and railings, decorative wood trim, decorative tile, ceiling medallions, porch posts and columns, windows, garden gates, iron fencing and at times brick and stone.

Quite often, before we can begin a new salvage project, the first thing we do is remove items from the house that have been left behind. Most often these are small items or furniture that have been stored away in the attic. Once these items have been removed, the real work begins. When salvaging a house, we basically “deconstruct” it. The first elements that we remove are typically the last elements that were installed in the house such as interior doors, mantels, bath and light fixtures. Once these items are removed, we then begin pulling the wood. We start at the top of multi level structures and work our way down. The last items taken are structural elements such as wood beams, columns, and posts.

Most often the property owner will schedule a demolition company to come in right behind us. If we are salvaging brick or stone from the structure, we will often coordinate those efforts with the demolition crew.

We are typically given a set amount of time to save what we can. At times we may only have a single day! Several years ago we were given the opportunity to salvage wood from a house that was scheduled for demolition. We worked hard for a full day pulling as much wood as we could. We arrived on day two to continue our efforts only to discover that the fire department had already set the structure ablaze! Once we begin a new project we work as efficiently as possible to ensure that we are able to save as many elements as possible.

We believe our work here at Southern Accents is truly preserving our history through salvage. We’ve recently added items to our New Arrivals page that were saved during phase I of our latest salvage project. In the coming days, we will be returning for phase II. Make sure you are following along with us on our social media accounts as we continue what will be our largest salvage project to date!

Here are a few of our latest finds!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

 

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

 

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques


Minton Pictorial Tiles

Occasionally we run across an item that shines amongst all the dirt, dust and debris of being on site of an architectural salvage job. The item that shined the brightest on our latest salvage mission was a set of 19th century sepia-toned ceramic tiles. This set of pictorial tiles was installed as a fireplace surround in what once was the elegant keeping room in a majestic home.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The tiles were fabricated by Minton China Works, Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire, England. This well known manufacturer was originated by Thomas Minton in 1793. Through the years the very successful company grew and expanded at the helm of several generations of Mintons. Thomas’s son Herbert, who succeeded his father, not only developed new production techniques, but also enlisted the services of artists and skilled artisans which helped establish the company as the most famed and prolific manufacturer of ceramics and china for most of the Victorian Era. Minton tiles were used in countless prestigious buildings and homes.

The Minton tiles that we were able to salvage were simply stunning and in great condition. Because this Minton set did not combine to create a larger scene, like most American tile sets, the tiles were perfect collector pieces. Each 6″ x 6″ glazed tile was a work of art.

Each of these tiles have already found a new home! We can’t wait to receive pictures from their new owners showing us how these lovely tiles are being displayed!


The Why of What We Do

This past week the Southern Accents team hit the road and began what is our largest salvage project to date. The first order of business was to explore the historic house. Walking through multiple rooms of the dark, four story abode, we all had the same sense of feeling overwhelmed. Several days of filtering through the house was an emotional experience. Each room held remnants of lives once lived in a majestic dwelling. We were awed with the artistry of the architectural elements. The quality of the materials used in the house, which was constructed in the late 1800’s was impressive. We were saddened by its current state and wished that we could have visited during its heyday. As we listened to the property owner tell us the history of the house, we imagined the happy sounds of six generations of family who occupied the house through the years.

Salvaging a historic house is a task that we do not take lightly. It is always our preference to see a house fully restored to its original state. Once time and nature takes its toll and it reaches a point of deterioration where restoration is simply not feasible, it becomes our goal to rescue as many elements from the house as we possibly can. When a house can’t be brought back to life, we can salvage, restore, and repurpose much of it. Our documentation efforts allow the house, its stories and its history to be remembered and passed down for many more generations to come.

There is a window of time where we have the opportunity to safely conduct a salvage operation of this magnitude. There comes a point, when the house begins to collapse in on itself, the window is closed and all is lost. That saddens us even more.

In the coming weeks we will have stories to tell, pictures to share, and beautiful architectural elements to offer from this stately house. Wrapping up our first week on the job, we leave feeling as if we’ve left a part of ourselves with this project but also feeling that we are better for having had the experience.

Here’s a glimpse at just a few of the finds from our latest salvage mission.

A glimpse at some of the attic finds.

A glimpse at some of the attic finds.

Beautiful embossed hardware decorated many of the doors.

Beautiful embossed hardware decorated many of the doors.

The passing of time had glued this picture to the glass.

Time had glued this picture to the glass.

Old houses with large attics typically hold all kinds of surprises!

Old houses with large attics typically hold all kinds of surprises!

Even though these furniture pieces are not in the best condition, they can be restored or repurposed.

Even though these furniture pieces are not in the best condition, they can be restored or repurposed.

This incredible staircase is one of the many architectural elements that can be salvaged from a house or structure.

This incredible staircase is one of the many architectural elements that can be salvaged from a house or structure.

 

Written by: Lisa Jones


Ball & Claw

A search for claw foot tubs on Pinterest will return an endless list of gorgeous tubs. These tubs, which evoke a sense of elegance and serenity, are gaining in popularity. Most of the tubs sit on 4 feet and the majority of the feet are some form of a “ball and claw” design. We have customers come to our showroom on a regular basis looking for tub feet. What most don’t realize is that the tub feet are not interchangeable from tub to tub!

 

Southern Accents Architectural AntiquesQuite often a customer will visit Southern Accentsshowroom looking for replacement feet or a single foot to replace a broken or missing leg on their old tub. When shopping for a single replacement foot, you must bring one of the feet with you in order to find an identical match. If looking for a set of feet, you will need to bring the actual bath tub to ensure a perfect fit. Tubs are custom fitted for their specific feet when cast therefore each type of foot has a unique peg connection, peg length, and curvature of the top of the foot that must match your tub.

When purchasing an antique claw foot tub, ensuring that the tub comes equipped with properly fitted feet, will save you a lot of headaches and disappointments!

Our collection of antique tub feet includes a wide variety of designs ranging in style from simple to very ornate. The heavy iron feet also make great door stops and book ends! We’ve even seen them used on coffee tables and other furniture pieces. A little imagination is all it takes to come up with creative ways to repurpose these fabulous pieces! Stop by our outdoor lot and browse our unique collection of antique claw foot tubs and tub feet!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

A Little History

History has it that the ball and claw foot design was originally derived from the Chinese. The claw symbolized the foot of a dragon guarding a pearl, a symbol of wisdom, from evil forces. The design was introduced in Europe through trade and was popular in the early 1700’s. While England favored a lion’s paw, American designs, which were popular until the late 1700’s, favored an eagle’s talon. Antique furniture experts can tell the origin of furniture pieces featuring this foot design by the character of the ball and claw feet. Many of the feet, like the one shown to the left, have an embossed makers mark. These markings, when present, can help identify when and where the feet were cast.

Written by: Lisa Jones


A Tale of Two Cities & One Set Of Doors

We are always fascinated by the many stories we are able to uncover about some of the architectural pieces that we salvage. One story involves our good friends at Billy Reid and a set of antique doors salvaged from a building in New York City.

Southern Accents often travels north in search of salvaged architectural antiques. One such trip saw us return with an incredible set of tall exterior doors. This particular set of doors was simply gorgeous with lots of detailed carving and loads of character. The doors were so striking that Southern Accents owner, Garlan, decided to keep the doors and place them in his home. The doors were temporarily moved to a storage area of our warehouse until they could be retrofitted for his loft.

Billy Reid - Nashville, Tennessee

Billy Reid – Nashville, Tennessee

A few months later Billy Reid visited the SA showroom looking for items for their new retail shop in Nashville, Tennessee. Billy spied the New York doors and decided that he had to have them for his Nashville location. After a bit of negotiating, Garlan reluctantly agreed to relinquish the doors to his friend. The magnificent set of doors currently grace the entrance of the Billy Reid store in Nashville, Tennessee, along with a number of other items acquired from Southern Accents.

Billy Reid - New York City

Billy Reid – New York City

Fast forward one year later… Billy Reid is preparing to open his retail store in New York City on 54 Bond Street. Billy selected a variety of material from Southern Accents for his new location that needed to be delivered. Garlan had a trip to New York already scheduled so he decided to drive up and deliver Billy’s materials himself. Upon arriving in New York, as Garlan began unloading the items, he noticed something that looked strangely familiar. The front doors of Billy Reid’s New York store looked identical to the front entrance doors of his Nashville location. Garlan snapped a few pictures and took a few measurements, confirming that the doors were indeed identical. After a bit of investigation, Garlan discovered that the doors he had fallen in love with and purchased almost two years earlier had indeed been salvaged from that very building in New York City! Garlan was thrilled with this discovery as it confirmed that the doors ended up exactly where they were supposed to be. Billy had unknowingly selected entrance doors for his Nashville store that were the original doors that hung on the front entrance of the exact building that would become the location of his New York City store.

Coincidence? Perhaps, but this story and others like it are what inspires us to continue doing what we do… rescue, restore, protect and document architectural elements of historical significance. Next time you are in Nashville or New York City, make sure you pay a visit to Billy Reid and pause for a moment before entering the shop to admire the doors!

Written by: Lisa Jones
Pictures courtesy of Billy Reid


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