Tag Archives: Greenville Alabama

Greenville Salvage Mission

Southern Accents latest salvage mission took us to Greenville, Alabama to this fantastic 1890’s house. The house, which has been vacant for a few years, featured some of the very best craftsmanship that we have seen to date. Amongst the dust, chippy paint, and attic full of bats, were splendid columns topped with spectacular plaster ionic capitals, tiled fireplaces with white oak and mahogany mantels, cast iron surrounds, large solid wood doors and diamond paned windows just waiting to be rescued! And the wood… from the sky blue bead board on the porch ceiling to the magnificent heart pine flooring, the wood that lay in this house was simply amazing!

The 1890's house in Greenville, Alabama contained some of the finest workmanship that we've ever seen.

The 1890’s house in Greenville, Alabama contained some of the finest workmanship that we’ve ever seen.

Every salvage mission that we embark on is different from the one before. Old houses especially seem to speak to us, each one in it’s own unique voice, as if it has a story to tell. Upon entering this house, each of our team members felt a sense of peace. This particular house gave off a “happy” vibe. While salvaging the property, we had the opportunity to visit with two sisters who grew up in the house. As they walked with us through each room, they fondly shared with us some of their memories. They remembered moving in to the house as young children. Their parents had reached an agreement with the owner, an elderly widower who needed someone to assist in taking care of him. The couple and their four young daughters lived in the three bedroom one bath house and, in return, they cared for the owner until his death. Not having any family to leave the house to, the owner sold the property to the family for $10 before his passing.

This beautiful house is one that we would have loved to see restored.

This beautiful house is one that we would have loved to see restored.

Southern Accents mission is to rescue, restore, and repurpose architectural elements of historical significance. It is never our goal to destroy a property. We only come on the scene once a building has been scheduled for demolition by the property owner. This house is one that we would love to have seen restored. We are, however, thankful to have been given the opportunity to salvage all the beautiful architectural elements from this house before it was taken down. In our continued preservation efforts, we are documenting this salvage mission. We pictured this property before beginning any salvage efforts. We also had our in-house architect take measurements, draw blueprints and are currently researching for more history and information on the property. We will be taking all of this information and publishing it on our website and blog as well as keeping a printed copy in our showroom. This is our way of ensuring that information on this magnificent house is available for future generations to enjoy, just as the items salvaged from this house will be enjoyed for many years by their new owners.

The heart pine wood flooring throughout this house was gorgeous.

The heart pine wood flooring throughout this house was gorgeous.

Please visit our New Arrivals page to view many of the remaining items salvaged from this house.

These spectacular interior columns are topped with plaster ionic capitals

These spectacular interior columns are topped with plaster ionic capitals

The wrap around porch showcased more columns topped with plaster ionic capitals and a gorgeous sky blue painted porch ceiling.

The wrap around porch showcased more columns topped with plaster ionic capitals and a gorgeous sky blue painted porch ceiling.

This spectacular white oak mantel was one of five that we salvaged from the Greenville house.

This spectacular white oak mantel was one of five that we salvaged from the Greenville house.

Tin spire salvaged from the top of the Greenville house.

Tin spire salvaged from the top of the Greenville house.

Written by: Lisa Jones


Front Porch Ceiling Blues

Southern Accents most recent salvage mission found us tearing out a beautiful powder blue porch ceiling from an 1890’s house in South Alabama. As we began posting pictures of this beautiful wood, we received several comments regarding the paint color of the wood. We had heard a number of tales regarding the blue porch ceilings and decided to do a little research which uncovered three very interesting theories!

Blue porch ceiling from 1890's house in Greenville, Alabama

Blue porch ceiling from 1890’s house in Greenville, Alabama

1) The tradition of painting porch ceilings the color blue seems to have originated in the South as a spiritual and cultural custom. Folk lore states that the blue color was first used by African slaves to secure the entry of their homes. This color was supposed to protect both their home and it’s inhabitants from “haints.” Haints are restless spirits of the dead who have not moved on from this physical world. The belief was that the color blue represented water, which spirits could not cross over. Not only were the porch ceilings painted blue, but often the frames of doors and windows as well. It was also believed that the blue color extended the daylight hours, thus scaring away the evil spirits. Southerners specifically have held to this tradition through the years. In the South Carolina Lowcountry, there is a name for the specific color of blue used on the porch ceilings. It is called “haint blue.”

2) Another widely held belief was that the blue color repelled insects. For years, many believed that the light blue color fooled the insects into thinking that the porch ceiling was the sky, thus preventing them from nesting there. Although there is no evidence to indicate that this was sound reasoning, the blue color paint contained lye, which is a known insect repellent. The lye paint would fade quickly so the wood was supposed to be repainted every year. It is feasible that the lye in the paint acted as an insecticide that helped ward off bugs and spiders, thus giving credibility to this theory.

3) The blue porch ceilings are especially common to Victorian houses, which are known for using the soft color tones of nature. Soft shades of blue have a calming effect which lends itself perfectly to what was typically everyone’s favorite spot in the house… the front porch!

The Southern Accents team salvaging this beautiful blue porch ceiling from an 1890's house in Greenville, Alabama.

The Southern Accents team salvaging this beautiful blue porch ceiling from an 1890’s house in Greenville, Alabama.

Although we will never know for sure why the porch ceiling that we just salvaged was painted blue, the wood is gorgeous and the beautiful blue color makes for a very interesting story. This wood has been delivered to our wood warehouse where it will be de-nailed and made ready for it’s next purpose. Stop by our wood warehouse to view our large collection of salvaged wood or stop by our showroom in historic downtown Cullman, Alabama and speak with one of our sales representatives.

Written by: Lisa Jones


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