Tag Archives: junking

Where Does It All Come From?

Not a day passes at Southern Accents that someone doesn’t walk through our showroom door and ask where we find all of our inventory or how do we find the structures that we salvage. That is somewhat of a difficult question to answer being that there is no one answer that covers all the places. Walking through our showroom, each piece has it’s own story of where it came from and how it found its way to us.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents has been in existence since 1969. We are the oldest and largest architectural salvage business in Alabama. Throughout the past 46 years our business has continued to grow and expand, reaching customers throughout the nation. The past several years we have actively marketed exactly what we do which is to rescue, restore, protect and document architectural elements of historical significance. Because of our increasing presence in the salvage industry, we are often approached by property owners when they have an antique structure that needs to be rescued. As there becomes a greater awareness of how salvaged architectural elements can be reused or repurposed, more property owners realize the importance of rescuing material from structures that need to be taken down and will contact us.

At times, we will hear of an old house or building that is scheduled for demolition and we will reach out to the property owner to state our interest in salvaging the structure before it is demolished. We also plan several “picking” trips each year. Over the years we have established relationships with collectors throughout the country who are familiar with the specific type of architectural items that we restore. We contact them ahead of time and plan a buying trip. We are always looking for new resources and quite often will make pit stops during a buying trip to check out inventory from potential new sources.

One of our most recent salvage projects, an 1894 house in South Carolina

One of our most recent salvage projects, an 1894 house in South Carolina

Many of the items that we have, specifically a lot of the small antiques, come to us by way of our customers! We get calls and e-mails weekly from our customers who are cleaning or renovating a structure and have items that they can’t bear to throw away. We love the fact that Southern Accents is becoming synonymous with the word salvage. We hope to be the first thought everyone thinks when they have architectural salvage that they need to part with.

Visit our showroom and you will find a selection of small antique items and salvaged art created by local artists from salvaged goods.

Visit our showroom and you will find a selection of small antique items and salvaged art created by local artists from salvaged goods.

If you have architectural elements that you think we may be interested in, send a picture of your items, detailed information, any known history, and dimensions to info@sa1969.com. Specific items that we may be interested in are antique clawfoot tubs, farmhouse sinks, solid wood doors, mantels, corbels, decorative trim, fretwork, newel posts, and wrought iron as well as salvaged barn wood and beams. All emailed submissions will be reviewed and we will contact you if interested.

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


Junking “How To”

Antiquing or “Junking” has become a very popular pastime. For many, it is simply a fun hobby. For some it is a true appreciation for the artistry and craftsmanship of period pieces. Some share a keen awareness of the need to repurpose old items as a way of contributing to the sustainability of our planet. And yet for others, many old items hold a sentimental value that serve as a fond reminder of the past. No matter the reason, antiquing can be a fun adventure for the entire family! Whether you are hitting the weekend yard sales, planning a visit to Southern Accents, or attending one of the larger antique marts, we’ve compiled a check list to ensure that you are well prepared for your next antiquing adventure!

  • Comfortable Shoes & Clothing – Planning an all day adventure? Comfort is key! It’s also a good idea to make sure you are prepared for any inclement weather.
  • Truck – Even if you are only looking for small items, make sure if you find that “must have” larger item that you are able to take it with you.
  • Cash – Some vendors do not accept checks or credit cards but even more important, many vendors are more likely to offer discounts for cash sales.
  • Notebook & Pen – Before you head out, jot down measurements of spaces in your home you are looking to fill to ensure the piece you are looking at will fit. Also use the notebook to take notes on your purchased items. Write down any history or story associated with the item, where and when it was acquired and the price paid. Keeping a record of your purchases will come in handy down the road if you decide to sell or need to value your items.
  • Flashlight, Magnifying Glass, Measuring Tape, Calculator – These all come in handy when looking at details or determining if an item you have your eye on will fit in your space.

If you are hitting the yard sales or planning to visit multiple antique shops in a specific area, map out your day ahead of time. Having a plan will help you make the best use of your time and ensure that you are able to visit each location on your list. The MOST important advice we can give is this: if you see something that speaks to you, buy it! Chances are, if you take a “let me think about it” approach, the item will be gone when you come back. We see this happen ALL the time. Most of our antiques are one-of-a-kind. Quite often we have customers return to purchase an item they looked at previously only to be disappointed that the item was no longer available.

Planning a visit to Cullman. Stop by our showroom and pick up a copy of our brochure, Antique Shops of Cullman. Happy antiquing!

Here’s just a few of our treasures worth digging through!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques


Antique Trail

Autumn is our favorite time of the year! This past week the leaves on the trees began to “pop” and there is a cool, crisp breeze in the air. Although we think any time of the year is a great time to visit Cullman, Alabama, this time of the year seems especially magical! No matter what direction you are traveling from to get here… the drive is simply spectacular.

While we think a day trip to Southern Accents is well worth the trip to Cullman, there are numerous antique shops in Cullman worth visiting. Many of our customers who have made the trip tell us that one day is not enough time to take it all in!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Several months ago we put together a brochure listing the trail of antique shops in Cullman. There are twelve shops within a 15 mile radius of downtown Cullman. Although the bulk of our inventory is antique and salvaged architectural items like doors, mantels, claw foot tubs, ironwork, chandeliers, newel posts, hardware and salvaged wood, you will find a huge variety of unique small items, artwork and gifts offered by the multiple antique stores. Whether you are looking for a particular item or are just “junking”, Cullman should be a stopping point on your map!

Before you leave our showroom, pick up one of the free brochures. The trail of antique shops begins just one block from Southern Accents. While you are in the downtown area you will want to stop in and enjoy lunch at one of the unique downtown eateries that we have listed on the back of the brochure.

We love our town and the people who call it home. Our hope is that you will come for a visit, find it as charming as we do and will want to return often!

Downtown Details

Downtown Cullman is loaded with small town charm! There’s plenty to see and do. If you are traveling from out of town we encourage you to come and spend more than a day. We want you to get the most out of your visit so when planning your trip, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Most of the small downtown shops, including Southern Accents, are closed Sunday and Monday.
  • Most downtown shops close at 5:00pm during the week and many close early on Saturday so please check the days and hours of operation of the various places you plan to visit ahead of time.
  • Cullman has a wide variety of festivals throughout the year. Check the events calendar on the Cullman Chamber of Commerce website for a list of upcoming events.

Road Trip!

Southern Accents was on the road last week on a “picking” trip! A “picking” trip, unlike a salvage mission, is when we go in search of vintage and antique architectural items that have already been salvaged. This trip took us north around the Philly area. These areas are rich, in history and architecture, because they were home to some of the first English settlements in the 1600’s. Several days on the road with many stops along the way left us with a truck full of fabulous finds!

A few of our fabulous finds from Philly!

A few of our fabulous finds from Philly!

Check our New Arrivals page. We’ve already added tons of awesome finds from this trip with more to come!


Five Dollar (And Under) Finds!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents is an architectural salvage store, but walk in our showroom or visit our website and you will quickly see that we are SO much more! We have a fantastic collection of small salvage items that lend themselves perfectly to creative DIY or salvage art projects. All of the items shown above are $5 or LESS!!

When on a salvage mission, quite often there are unique, small items that we are able to rescue. There are also a lot of small items that are architectural in nature that we remove directly from the house or structure whenever possible. Salvaged door knobs and hardware, skeleton keys, tin shingles, staircase spindles, small trim pieces, even salvaged wood scraps… all of these small items can be repurposed. We’ve seen so many creative ideas from our customers and others who have turned these items into everything from beautiful jewelry to unbelievable works of art.

The holiday season is just around the corner. Unique, handmade items are a great way to give a gift that has meaning. Now is the time to start planning for and creating those gift items! Stop by our showroom or visit our website and take a look at all of our unique finds. Our “$5 and under items” typically go quickly and are only available while supplies last! And, when you finish your work of art… send us a picture! We LOVE to see what our customers do with our treasures and would love to share your creations on our Pinterest and Facebook page for others to see! Send pictures to info@sa1969.com

A Day Trip To Cullman – Antique Trail

Southern Accents is located in historic downtown Cullman, Alabama. We are proud of our community and would not want to be anywhere else! We think a day trip to Cullman is well worth the effort. There is plenty to do around and see in Cullman that would occupy way more than one day. However, we are providing a list that will keep you busy antiquing and junking for a full day. Most of these stops are within a few blocks radius so pack your walking shoes, park your car, and hit the streets with us!

Southern Accents – 308 2nd Ave SE
A visit with us should be at the top of your list! Southern Accents houses the largest collection of architectural antiques and salvage items in the Southeast. Many folks have spent an entire day browsing our showroom, warehouses and outdoor lots. With antiques and salvaged goods tucked away in every nook and cranny… there’s a lot to see! Come browse through our collection of antique doors, mantels, chandeliers, clawfoot tubs, ironwork and more. Our friendly team will be waiting to show you around!

If you love antiques and vintage goods, and we know you do, there are several shops, most within walking distance, that you will want to visit.

  • 3rd Street Promenade – 216A 3rd ST SE
    Located just around the corner from Southern Accents, 3rd Street Promenade offers a wonderful selection of art and handcrafted jewelry and gift items from established as well as emerging local artists. Their shop is located in a beautifully restored building with 100 year old exposed brick walls. This unique gallery/shop is a treat to feed the artistic soul and must not be skipped!

Hungry? We’ve got you covered! There are a variety of food venues available within walking distance. A few of our favorites:

  • Berkeley Bob’s Coffee House – 304 1st Ave SE
    Voted the best coffee house in Alabama in 2012 by Alabama Magazine.
  • Moe’s Original Bar B Que – 318 1st Ave SE
    Drop in at Moe’s for their mouth watering menu of smoked pork or chicken and awesome sides!
  • Rumors Deli – 105 1st Ave NE
    Rumor’s has been featured in Southern Living and is included in Southern Living’s book “Off The Eaten Path”.
  • Flavors Bakery – 101 1st Ave NE
    Wonderful bakery featuring made-from-scratch French pastries.
  • Blue Moose Cafe & Brew Pub – 216 1st Ave SE
    Home cooking and local brew.
  • Busy Bee – 101 5th ST SE
    Serving burgers and fries since 1919!
  • Downtown Grill – 108 4th ST SW
    Best wings in town!
  • The All Steak – 323 3rd AVE SE
    Home of the famous orange rolls!
  • Carlton’s Italian Restaurant – 208 3rd AVE SE
    Great atmosphere and awesome pizza and pasta.

As you visit the businesses on our list, please be sure and let them know that Southern Accents sent you! We appreciate our customers and know that these other downtown businesses will as well.

There are a variety of other unique shops in the downtown area. If you are looking for shoes, women’s or children’s apparel, gift items and more, just let us know what’s on your shopping list and one of our team members will be happy to point you in the right direction!

Everyone's favorite corner! This corner of our warehouse is where you will find beautiful wood corbels.

Everyone’s favorite corner! This corner of our warehouse is where you will find beautiful wood corbels.

We have hundreds of antique door knobs available!

We have hundreds of antique door knobs available!

When browsing our showroom, don't forget to look UP! Our collection of gorgeous chandeliers and antique lighting hang from the ceiling throughout our showroom.

When browsing our showroom, don’t forget to look UP! Our collection of gorgeous chandeliers and antique lighting hang from the ceiling throughout our showroom.

Looking for doors... we have a huge selection of interior and exterior solid wood doors, available in a wide variety of sizes.

Looking for doors… we have a huge selection of interior and exterior, solid wood, antique and salvaged doors, available in a wide variety of sizes.

Southern Accents has the largest collection of architectural antiques in the Southeast. Plan a visit soon!

Southern Accents has the largest collection of architectural antiques in the Southeast. Plan a visit soon!


Written By: Lisa Jones

Lucy’s Lockets

If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit Southern Accents then you may not know that we are SO much more than large architectural antiques. We are a happy haven for artists, photographers, decorators, builders and crafty do-it-yourselfers! This is the first in a series that we are doing to introduce you to some of the artistic people that we work with.

Meet Lucy Farmer! Lucy has worked with Southern Accents the past couple of years and was instrumental in launching our social media marketing campaigns. Lucy still works with us on marketing and branding projects and is currently helping design our booth for the big Home and Garden Show next February in Birmingham, Alabama. Lucy recently started her own blog, Lucy’s Inspired, where she is chronicling her building project of what she calls her ‘Hansel & Gretel’ home. Lucy has a love for everything old, vintage and antique and is also socially conscious of the need to recycle used materials whenever possible.  It was no surprise when she came to Southern Accents seeking salvaged materials for her building project.

When Lucy is not working on her cottage you might find her working on her line of vintage inspired jewelry, Lucy Lockets. Lucy started making  jewelry several years ago as a hobby. She was drawn to old vintage and antique pieces of hardware and other items she would find lying around and decided to turn them into wearable art. Lucy frequents antique stores and vintage markets looking for small pieces that she can incorporate into  her designs. She even admitted to finding and using ‘junky’ items lying on the side of the road! When asked what inspires her, she said that each old item tells a story. Often pieces will remind her of something she saw as a child in her grandmother’s home. She hopes that her jewelry will evoke the same fond memories for those wearing it.

Lucy stopped by the store this week with several of her latest creations. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind work of art. When asked her reaction the very first time she walked in to Southern Accents she said, “I thought I had hit the jackpot”. This is the perfect place to search for old pieces for my designs”.

Lucy has been spending a little more time lately on her jewelry creations even custom designing pieces for some of her clients. “I love to take a personal item, like an old piece of jewelry from someone’s grandmother, and incorporate it into a custom design.” Lucy also loves the fact that she can create her jewelry at home which gives her more time to spend with her children.

If you want to read more about the Hansel and Gretel cottage or about Lucy’s Lockets, you can follow Lucy on her blog, Lucy’s Inspired. We’re inspired by Lucy and share her passion for preserving the past any way we can.

Bella Rustica Bound

Bella Rustica is all the buzz this week around Southern Accents! Garlan Jr. along with several of our team members will be heading north to Pulaski, Tennessee this weekend… we can hardly wait!

Bella Rustica is a three day, Vintage Barn Marketplace, held on the Milky Way Farm in Pulaski. This annual event is held as a fund raiser for AGAPE. Well over 30 juried vendors will have booths set up in a beautifully restored stone barn on this magnificent estate built in the 1930’s by the candy bar giant Frank Mars. In it’s prime, this 2,800 acre farm was home to over 30 barns, many containing chandeliers, paneled walls and wrought iron detailing. We are taking our truck with hopes of shopping this event. We are also looking forward to touring the estate and taking in all of it’s architectural and historical beauty.

While we are at Bella Rustica we also hope to meet with our friend Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage. Gina is giving away a $100 gift certificate to Southern Accents! If you haven’t signed up yet, you have till midnight on Wednesday, September 26th to get your name in the pot. Hop on over toGina’s Blog for all the details!

Garlan will be leaving Bella Rustica and traveling on down the road to a house in Tennessee that is scheduled for demolition. Our crew will start tearing out all kinds of treasures from this old home next week. As soon as the truck is full, it will head back South so that we can share our finds with you. We will have doors, wood, and anything else we can salvage from the scheduled demolition along with whatever catches our eye at Bella Rustica.

Make sure that you Like us on Facebook and that you areFollowing Our BLOG so that you will be one of the first to know about our latest finds! We will be posting info and pictures from our trip to Bella Rustica as well as the demolition as early as this weekend! You do not want to miss it!

Junking Survival Guide

We ran across this picture last week and found it quite humorous, primarily because this could be one of our customers! We have had good folks show up in a Volkswagen and try to figure out how they can use it to transport a door or bathtub. This lead’s us to this week’s question.

Q. I’m ready to go junking. What do I take with me?

A. At the top of our list would be a truck, however, this guy should have taken a bigger truck! Before starting your venture you need to give thought to the notion that although you may not be looking for furniture or large sized items, there’s a good possibility that you will come across a large ‘must have’ item. How will you get it home? You need to be prepared to transport a large item just in case. Making a separate trip later to transport might cause you to decide to walk away from a really great find. You also need to have blankets, rope, and anything you may need to pack and secure your new found treasures.

2) Having cash on hand is a must. The obvious reason being that many sellers may not be set up to accept credit cards and may be hesitant to accept a check. However, the main reason to carry cash is because it is a great bartering tool. Many sellers expect buyers to try and negotiate the price. Offering a cash payment can sometimes get you that discount!

Speaking of discounts… if you have a smartphone and ‘check in’ on Facebook when you enter our store, you can receive a 10% discount on your purchase of any regular priced items (delivery and woodshop services excluded)!! All you have to do is pull up facebook on your smartphone and show us that you’ve checked in at Southern Accents. How easy is that?

3) Other items that can definitely come in handy: measuring tape, magnifying glass, flashlight, calculator, notebook and pen. You may need a magnifying glass to look at small details or inscriptions. When considering large items you need to know if they will fit into your available space before making the purchase. Keeping a notebook or journal is a great way to keep track of information you may gather from a seller. Asking questions and recording any available information could be useful in tracking the history or provenance of an item. This information may also be beneficial if you decide to resell down the road. Log each item along with the name and contact information of the seller, the price paid, and any other important or interesting information you are able to obtain. If the end of the day finds your truck loaded down, you won’t remember where you scored all those hard-to-pass-up treasures!

Taking a little time to plan your trips and being well prepared before embarking on them will lend itself to a fun and successful junking adventure!

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