Tag Archives: architecture

The Value of a Story

Every architectural piece that is rescued by Southern Accents has a story and a value. The relationship between the value and the story are synonymous with one another, but are inherently different. The “story” tells of past events in the elements life or in other words, it’s evolution. After researching the story of an architectural fragment, Southern Accents also asks additional questions such as: the age, the maker, the condition, the rarity, the provenance. Combining the “story” with the researched facts of the architectural  remnant, Southern Accents can give a true “value” of the rescued item.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Salvaged iron window lintel from New York City

It is exciting for us when all the questions that are asked when finding the value and the story align to produce the highest caliber in recognizing an architectural  piece of historical significance. But this past week we obtained a true piece of architectural history from New York City. If you have been by the NYC Grand Central Terminal in the last year, you would have noticed that across the street, at One Vanderbilt Ave., there is a huge demolition / construction project in progress by the developer, SL Green. The project consists of constructing a new tower that will be taller than the Empire State building! Amazing enough in that fact alone, but the history of this monument goes much deeper! As the patriarch of the Vanderbilt family, Cornelius Vanderbilt, was the original developer of this land, where the cast iron lintel that we acquired, embellished a window of this now demolished building. The railroad/shipping tycoon, Mr. Vanderbilt, also is famed for developing the adjacent property – the Grand Central Station and Terminal. Along with all of those interesting facts, this rescued relic also shares the same architect that designed the Grand Central Station, Warren & Wetmore.

As the skyline of Midtown changes, architectural fragments, like this iron lintel, will be one of the only ways our future generations will be able see the sheer power and the bold masculinity of these destroyed historic buildings that once stood on some of the most prominent corners in our nation. The lintel is in mint condition and has aged perfectly with its crackle patina. Measuring 39″ wide x 8.25″ deep x 20.5″ tall, this was one of a few pieces saved off the original building before the demolition was finished. You can view this magnificent piece here in our showroom or take a look at it online. You’ll find it listed on our Ironworks page at sa1969.com. We #digmygig saving one historic treasure at a time!


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


“Projecting” History

If you live in North Central Alabama, hopefully, part of your holiday tradition includes a trip to the Alabama Theatre. Each year for about ten days in December this historic theatre screens holiday classics such as “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “White Christmas” and “Miracle on 34th Street”. A few months ago, we were fortunate enough to acquire one of the historic film projectors and some old reels that originally belonged to this majestic theatre. While the business of Southern Accents is all about architectural salvage, we also love restoration stories and this is a good one! This historical building almost became a parking lot in the late 1980’s.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The Alabama Theatre was built in 1927. It is the only remaining theatre of it’s size in the state of Alabama from that era. The theatre was the very first public building in the state to be air conditioned. Seating 2,500 it was known in it’s early days for hosting the biggest Mickey Mouse Club in the world! It was originally constructed to show silent films and is the home to an ornate Mighty Wurlitzer organ, one of only 25 organs of it’s type to ever be built. It was because of this rare organ that the majestic theatre was saved from destruction. In 1987 a non-profit organization, Birmingham Landmarks, Inc, was formed to purchase the building in an effort to save the Mighty Wurlitzer. In 1998, The Alabama underwent a complete restoration. Soon after, the resurrected theatre once again opened it’s doors for operation.

Alabama Theatre - Birmingham, Alabama

In addition to screening beloved classics during the holiday season, the Alabama hosts a variety of events and theatrical productions throughout the year. The building is currently on the National Register of Historical places and in 1993 received the designation of Official Historic Theatre of Alabama. Located less than an hour south of Southern Accents, planning a trip to this historic landmark is well worth the effort. This building is on our list of “must see” places in the state of Alabama! To read more about it’s history and view the schedule of upcoming events, visit the Alabama Theatre online.

Theatre picture and historical facts from www.alabamatheatre.com


Chapel Market or Bust!

We loading up the truck last week and hit the road early Friday morning for our last road trip of the year! Southern Accents was at The Chapel Market this past Saturday, October 25, 2014. The Chapel Market was held in a stunningly gorgeous neighborhood in Pike Road, Alabama, located just outside of Montgomery. Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage blog was the event organizer. This year’s market drew an incredible crowd of happy shoppers! Southern Accents was one of 17 vendors offering a varied selection of “vintage goods and pretty little things!” Saturday turned out to be a gorgeous day and we are so thankful for everyone who stopped by our booth. We really appreciate everyone who made a point of letting us know that they read our newsletters and follow us on our social media accounts. We were SO busy Saturday helping shoppers and visiting with so many of you that we didn’t have an opportunity to snap any pictures once the gates opened! We did however take just a few on Friday. If you weren’t able to attend, this is what you missed in our corner of the tent!

A few of the goodies we loaded and took to Chapel Market!

A few of the goodies we loaded and took to Chapel Market!

This was the scene early Saturday morning as we entered the market venue!

This was the scene early Saturday morning as we entered the market venue!

Exact same entrance location... just the opposite side of the road!  What a view!

Exact same entrance location… just the opposite side of the road! What a view!

We worked hard all day Friday setting up our booth.

We worked hard all day Friday setting up our booth.

It was great to have our Cullman neighbors, Littleville Blue in the booth next to us!

It was great to have our Cullman neighbors, Littleville Blue in the booth next to us!

The guys in the SA wood shop worked hard all week making a variety of beautiful items from some of our reclaimed wood.

The guys in the SA wood shop worked hard all week making a variety of beautiful items from some of our reclaimed wood.

Thanks to our wonderful friend Kim Whittaker! Kim brought her gorgeous Haul Couture bags and hung out with us for this event.

Thanks to our wonderful friend Kim Whittaker! Kim brought her gorgeous Haul Couture bags and hung out with us for this event.

The weather was perfect! Lots of sunshine!

The weather was perfect! Lots of sunshine!

Our booth this year was outside under a big tent which meant that we were able to "spread out"!

Our booth this year was outside under a big tent which meant that we were able to “spread out”!

If you missed this awesome event, make sure that you are on our mailing list so that you know about all of Southern Accents adventures! To sign up, simply visit us online at sa1969.com. You can sign up on our front page.

Written by: Lisa Jones

 


Through The “Stained” Looking Glass

Of all the architectural pieces that we salvage, none capture our attention and mesmerize us the way a beautiful piece of stained glass does. Gazing through a multi colored window as the suns rays penetrate the textured glass panes is fascinating. Being makers ourselves, we are awed by the creativity of artists as well as the creative process it takes to produce these works of art. Through the years, we have had many stunning pieces pass through our showroom including this 200 year old window shown below.

This 200 year old stained glass window originated from a church in Wales.

This 200 year old stained glass window originated from a church in Wales.

We love this quote from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” There is a romance between the mediums used in the creation of stained glass. While the fragments of colored glass completely contrast with the copper foil or lead came, they are still dependent on one another… it is the seamless intertwining of the two that creates a stunning work of art.

This jeweled, stained glass window is the most gorgeous piece that we have ever had pass through our showroom.

This jeweled stained glass window is the most gorgeous piece that we have ever had pass through our showroom.

The history of manmade glass dates all the way back to 2625 BC with the discovery of glass Egyptian beads. The earliest surviving example of pictorial stained glass is the 10th century Head of Christ. Fragments were excavated in 1912 from Lorsch Abbey in Germany. In addition to it’s sheer beauty, there is so much rich history surrounding stained glass it is impossible for us not to love it!

This beautiful window is one of 7 that we recently acquired.

This beautiful window is one of 7 that we recently acquired.

We have received several gorgeous pieces of stained glass recently. To view all of our incredible windows and to see more detailed pictures of them, visit our website at www.sa1969.com or stop by our showroom. The stained glass can be found on the Antique Windows page. Our showroom is open Tuesday – Friday from 9am till 5pm and Saturday from 10am till 4pm. Closed Sunday, Monday by appointment only.

Written by: Lisa Jones


The S “A” Team

Every Tuesday morning at Southern Accents begins with a team meeting. This is actually the only time during the week that we are all in one place at the same time. We gather upstairs and sit around our large, custom made salvaged wood table. Ben arrives with a bag of fresh, warm doughnuts from one of our local bakeries. Everyone grabs a cup of coffee or a bottled Coke from the cooler and we begin the meeting with prayer. The primary purpose for our weekly gathering is two fold: to encourage one another and to plan our schedule for the upcoming week.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Our weekly meeting has become an integral part of our business. We always spend a few minutes discussing personal issues. We talk about our kids, our pets, our weekend ventures. We laugh a lot and at times have shed a few tears. This is our time to catch up with one another and make sure that we are all doing well. If there are needs or issues to be addressed, we do it here.

The next order of business is business! We each have our “to do” list that we go over in detail. The goal is to make sure that we are all on the same page. We discuss custom orders, sales goals, deliveries, and upcoming projects. We talk about marketing and toss around ideas for newsletter topics. And we talk about wood… we talk a LOT about wood!

The bulk of our business involves wood. Wood doors, wood mantels, wood columns, wood corbels and wood trim. We have an entire warehouse filled with nothing but salvaged wood. Everything from old barnwood to antique wood flooring. Wood that has been salvaged from the walls of historic houses and vintage beams from old log cabins and industrial mills. If you were a fly on the wall listening in on the conversations, there would be no doubt about the fact that we love what we do! We have a team of creative artists who get excited about an upcoming salvage mission. Skilled craftsmen and wood workers who gaze on a stack of salvaged wood the way a painter looks at a blank canvas. Ask our guys what they “do for fun” and they will be quick to tell you that they spend their free time building furniture or creating artistic pieces for no other reason than to feed their creative soul!

Stop by our showroom or wood warehouse and talk to any of our team members! We love to hear about your creative ideas and to give input in the design process. Our knowledgeable team can help you pick out the perfect materials for your next project!


What’s Your Canvas?

Southern Accents famous salvaged wood wall!

Speak of artwork and the vision that pops into most people’s mind would be that of a framed canvas, hanging on a wall, showcasing a beautiful scene or portrait created by an artist via the use of brushes and paints. While a canvas may be the most recognized medium for artwork, art takes on many different forms and the canvas could be just about anything! Photographers, wood workers, sculptors, welders, musicians, chefs and other creatives are producing exquisite works of art from some of the most unlikely mediums.

If you are a regular reader of our weekly newsletter or have visited our showroom in the past few months, you’ve surely already seen our salvaged wood wall. This work of art was created from a pile of discarded wood sitting at our wood warehouse. Artists and creatives visit our showroom weekly seeking old tin ceiling tiles, salvaged wood, old doors, glass paned windows, and salvaged hardware, to be used as a canvas for their unique works of art. We have THE most creative customers! We are always humbled by your passion and intrigued with your many unique ideas.

What’s your canvas? Summer is a great time to allow your creative juices to run rampant! We have a warehouse full of salvaged items waiting to be turned in to beautiful works of art. If you need a little inspiration, check out our Pinterest boards. We’ve pinned a lot of ideas to get you started. Stop by our showroom and talk with us about your next project.

We also LOVE to receive pictures of your finished works. If you have a picture to share, please send it to info@sa1969.com or feel free to post pictures to our Facebook page.

Written by: Lisa Jones


Appointment Please

As creative souls, we love the opportunity to sit down with our customers and give input on design ideas of your various projects. Whether it is a home renovation using salvaged materials, a specific custom creation, such as a table or door, the use of salvaged materials in restaurant decor or stage design, we enjoy being involved in the design process. While we would love to be able to sit down and spend one-on-one time with every customer, during our regular business hours, it is just not always possible. However, while Southern Accents showroom is closed to the public on Sundays and Mondays, we are available on Mondays for this creative process by appointment!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

If you’ve ever lived in a small town, you already know regular business hours are typically a little “different!” For Cullman, Alabama, that means that most businesses downtown, even a lot of the local restaurants, are closed on Mondays. Since most of the downtown businesses open on Saturday, Sunday and Monday are needed to allow owners and employees an opportunity to rest so that we can continue to work hard throughout the week. Most weeks, however, we will have a few out-of-town customers not familiar with this small town practice, travel to Cullman, only to be disappointed that we are closed. Even though our showroom is closed on Mondays, you can call ahead and book an appointment for a one-on-one consultation with Southern Accents owner, Garlan Gudger or sales team member Ben Sellers. Those seeking an appointment are asked to call at least one to two weeks in advance to inquire on appointment availability. Making a Monday appointment allows us the opportunity to focus our full attention on your project without the distractions of the day to day business during the rest of the week.

Once you’ve booked an appointment we encourage you to come prepared! Some of the things you will want to bring with you for your appointment include blueprints, exact measurements, sketches, and design ideas. If you have pictures of what you want your project to look like, print them off or have them organized on a Pinterest board that we can look at. If your project involves using salvaged materials for home, office or restaurant decor or possibly a stage design, have a sketch and measurements of the room or stage layout. The better prepared you are, the more progress we can make during your appointment.

During your appointment, you will be able to sit down with Garlan or Ben and discuss your project. If you are ready to look at materials, you will be able browse our selection of architectural antiques and salvaged goods in our showroom as well as our warehouses. If you are ready to make a purchase, you will also have the opportunity to purchase materials that day so come prepared to haul your wares home!

Ready for some one-on-one time? Call our showroom at 877 737-0554 during our regular business hours of Tuesday – Friday 9am to 5pm and Saturday 10am to 4pm. Makenzie will take your request and contact information and then get back with you to schedule your appointment! We look forward to working with you on your next project!


Showroom History

When you visit our showroom, our collection of architectural antiques is quite impressive. But look beyond the doors, mantels, columns, tubs, etc. and you will see beautiful brick walls, old fire doors and creaky old wood floors. The Southern Accents showroom is rich with history and warrants a visit to Cullman, Alabama all on its own!

Cullman was founded in 1873 by Colonel John G. Cullmann, a German refugee who’s dream was to develop a thriving German immigrant colony in the South. Colonel Cullmann’s recruiting efforts were successful and by 1877, the settlement had grown enough to meet the population requirement needed for the creation of a new county.

Southern Accents Architectural AntiquesIn 1884, one of the first banks in Cullman was established, Parker Bank & Trust Company. The Cullman community was growing at a rapid rate and there was a need for housing. By 1910 Parker Bank had built two adjoining buildings next door as an investment property to help meet that need. Initially, one of the buildings that now houses Southern Accents showroom, served as a hotel providing temporary shelter for new immigrants moving to the area. Years later the hotel was turned into a girls boarding school and dormitory. Eventually the building returned to housing families upstairs while the downstairs was rented to retail shop owners. Over time, the bank continued to add to this building. Today, this building which faces 2nd Ave SE, houses four retail businesses, including Southern Accents. The old Parker Bank building is still standing next door and is currently under renovation.

This building, erected around 1910, as it stands today. Southern Accents showroom is the second storefront from the right.

This building, erected around 1910, as it stands today. Southern Accents showroom is the second storefront from the right.

In the late 1970’s Dr. Garlan Gudger, Sr., looking to move his hobby turned architectural antique business to the downtown area, initially purchased the storefront closest to the Parker Bank building. Next door was a paint store owned by a Mr. Jay Cole. As Dr. Gudger’s inventory and customer base increased he saw the need for a larger retail space. Dr. Gudger purchased the larger storefront space from Mr. Cole in the early 80’s and moved his wares next door, where we can still be found today.

Southern Accents famous salvaged wood wall!

Southern Accents famous salvaged wood wall!

In the years since moving to our current location, our showroom has undergone a few changes including the addition of a large stairway which further increased our retail space by allowing easy access to the second floor. In April of 2011 the building sustained damage from the F4 tornado that destroyed a good portion of Cullman’s downtown area. The damage was repaired and 2014 saw the addition of office space upstairs along with our salvaged wood wall that is already on the “must see” list when visiting us!

Peek into our spindle room upstairs and take a look at our map hanging on the wall. This map is covered with pins showing where all our wonderful customers have come from!

Peek into our spindle room upstairs and take a look at our map hanging on the wall. This map is covered with pins showing where all our wonderful customers have come from!

Our showroom is open Tues – Fri 9am to 5pm and Sat 10am to 4pm. Stop in for a visit and let one of our team members show you around! You can also watch this VIDEO for a brief tour of our showroom!

Written by: Lisa Jones


The Tradition of “Barn Red”

One of the most sought after items at Southern Accents wood warehouse is salvaged red barn wood. What is it about the old red painted wood that is so irresistible? For that matter… why are so many barns painted red? A little research uncovered quite a few very interesting facts as to why barns are painted that wonderful color of red!

This picture of a beautiful red barn in Tennessee was taken by artist Mellissa Meeks.

This picture of a beautiful red barn in Tennessee was taken by artist Mellissa Meeks.

As research has it, some settlers in the early 1700’s left their barns unpainted because they simply could not afford the paint. By the late 1700’s farmers began to experiment with ways to make their own paint in an effort to protect the barn wood from the elements. Linseed oil, which has a dark coral hue, was often mixed with skim milk and lime which sealed the wood to help keep it from rotting. This mixture was inexpensive to make and lasted for years. The linseed oil mixture, however, did not address the issue of mold. Mold, in large quantities, posed a health risk for people as well as the animals. Growing on the barn, mold trapped moisture in the wood causing it to decay. Farmers began adding ferrous oxide (rusted iron) to the linseed oil mixture. Rust was plentiful and was a known poison to many molds and moss. The linseed oil and ferrous oxide were both responsible for the red color, but it was more of a burnt-orange red.

Another theory, which has some credence dating back to the American Indians, states that some farmers added blood from a recent slaughter to the mixture which turned the paint to a darker red. Some believe that the darker red color was an effort to make the barn covering look more like brick from a distance, giving the appearance of affluence.

Salvaged red barn wood from Southern Accents was used to cover this wall at Grabow Outdoors in Fultondale, Alabama.

Salvaged red barn wood from Southern Accents was used to cover this wall at Grabow Outdoors in Fultondale, Alabama.

There is also the belief that farmers chose red so that their cows could find their way home! Given the fact that cows are colorblind and can’t see red or green hues, that strategy failed!

Through the years farmers discovered that painting the barn a dark color kept it warmer during the winter since dark colors absorb heat from the suns rays. Black barns were the norm in the tobacco regions of Kentucky and North Carolina, where the barns were used to cure tobacco. The additional heat absorption from the dark paint helped the tobacco cure faster. This discovery could account for the transition through the years to the use of darker shades of “barn red.”

By the mid to late 1800’s as paints were being produced with chemical pigments, red was the least expensive paint color to purchase making it the continued color of choice. Today, many farmers paint the barn red in honor of tradition. After all, what is more picturesque than a beautiful red barn set against a backdrop of a green field or pasture?

This salvaged red barn wood currently sits in our Wood Warehouse.

This salvaged red barn wood currently sits in our Wood Warehouse, waiting to be given a “new life.”

Written by: Lisa Jones


%d bloggers like this: