Tag Archives: repurposed

The “Not So” Glamorous Side of Salvage

Salvaged and reclaimed wood has become a large part of Southern Accents architectural salvage business. Travel one mile down the road from our main showroom and you will find our wood showroom, stocked floor to ceiling with a variety of salvaged wood, beadboard, trim, hand hewn beams and circular sawn materials. One of the first questions we are asked is, “where does it all come from?” While we have several sources for our salvaged wood, much of it comes from our own salvage missions. This past weekend we traveled to South Carolina to begin the process of removing wood flooring and wood joists from a house scheduled for demolition.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The wood flooring is carefully removed one board at a time.

The process of salvaging wood from a structure is not an easy or glamorous task! Our goal is to carefully remove the wood so that it remains intact, and therefore, can be reused or repurposed. Before starting the wood salvage process, we first have to evaluate each individual room. We look at each room and try to figure out what the original builder, from 100 years ago, installed last. This “reverse building” will determine what we will today take out first. Building, just like our deconstructing, is a process. Many of the older homes have undergone renovations or room additions, so most often there are variances in the construction method from room to room. Our goal is to deconstruct each room from top to bottom, removing wood from the ceilings, walls and floors such as trim, baseboards, molding, and wainscoting.

This photo shows one of the rooms before and after the trim, wainscoting, and crown molding were removed

This photo shows one of the rooms before and after the trim, wainscoting, and crown molding were removed

Our days typically begin at sunrise and end late in the day. The wood has to be removed in such a way that the nails usually remain intact so that the wood does not split. Most often we are working in an environment that has been vacant for many years. As we begin pulling and cutting the wood, generations of dirt and dust are stirred into the air, filling it with a fine mist of particles that seem to quickly settle in every exposed pore of our bodies. It is a tedious process, but each and every individual piece of wood is finally pulled, removed from the house, and carefully stacked on our truck or trailer bed. By the time the wood is ready to travel back to our showroom, it has been touched numerous times. Handling each piece is also a difficult task in itself as there are rusty nails protruding from each piece.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The wood is carefully stacked on the trailer, rusty nails and all!

To say that this is a “dirty job” is an understatement. It is dirty, sweaty, grimmy, back breaking labor. Housing for our SA demo team for most of our projects is an RV parked at a camp ground. Once our work day ends, we return to our camp, hit the shower and go in search of a hot meal. Even though our bodies are tired, we crack jokes on each other and pick and play just to have some fun so we can get our minds off the work that awaits us the next day.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

We work hard but we also have fun!

Once our trucks and trailers are full, we begin the journey home, but the process does not end there. Upon arriving at the wood showroom, the wood is carefully unloaded. We then begin the task of de-nailing each and every piece. The wood is then sorted, according to species and size, re-stacked, labeled and prepared for sale.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

The S “A” Team!

The life of a junk man is not glamorous, but it is satisfying. At the end of the day, our hard work of rescuing a piece of history and then later seeing the excitement of our customers in our showroom as they select the salvaged material for their project is enough of a reward to push us to that next project!


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!


Maker Collaborations

Southern Accents loves to collaborate with other artists and makers. Whether we are giving input on design or working to supply salvage materials for a project, working along side those who both understand and share our passion for creativity is invigorating. We are always inspired by fellow creatives.

Wood Studio RockerOne of our many valued relationships is with our good friends at Wood Studio. Wood Studio just received a prestigious recognition for their Lookout Mountain Rocker. Gear Patrol recently named the hand crafted rocker the Best Family Values Reading Chair. In 2012, Garden and Gun Magazine awarded Wood Studio the overall winner of their yearly Made In The South Award. We have had a working relationship with Wood Studio for a number of years. Like Southern Accents, Wood Studio is a small family owned and operated business. Founded by father Randy, sons Dylan and Keith now run the wood shop located in Arley, Alabama. Keith makes a regular trip to SA’s wood warehouse looking for reclaimed wood that can be shaped into one of their signature, hand crafted pieces of furniture. Keith states, “We are so lucky to have Southern Accents as a local resource. I couldn’t drive a day in any direction and find any better selection of quality or quantity. SA’s selection of wood and salvaged architectural elements is unmatched. Collaborating with Garlan is really inspiring. I enjoy the ease in which we can bounce ideas off of each other. We have a lot in common and a mutual respect for what it takes to work and succeed with a unique family business in small town Alabama.”

If you’ve never had the opportunity to see Wood Studios’s line of fine furniture, you can check them out online or make plans now to visit with them at Southern Makers! Wood Studio will be returning to Southern Makers May 2nd and 3rd in Montgomery, Alabama. Stop by their booth and test out one of the Lookout Mountain Rockers… you may find that you want to stay for a while!


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


Milling Around

Southern Accents has been a family owned and operated business since 1969. Second generation owner, Garlan Gudger, Jr., saw the need last year to take SA’s salvage operations to the next level by adding the ability to mill our own salvage lumber.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

A growing part of Southern Accents business is salvage wood. One mile from the showroom, on Janeway Drive, sits our warehouse, fully stocked with salvaged barn wood, bead board, beams, fireplace timbers and more. As people are becoming more environmentally aware, the demand for salvage and repurposed wood continues to grow. The patina and beauty of naturally aged wood is simply unmatched. When using the wood for flooring, most want the antique wood milled. Milling the wood ensures that the planks are uniform in width and thickness. It can also give the wood a “clean” face and open up the wood pores, allowing it to be more susceptible to receiving stains and finishes. Having our own mill allows us the ability to fulfill custom orders more quickly and efficiently.

Stop by our wood warehouse and shop one of the largest selections of salvaged wood available in the Southeast! Our warehouse is open Tues-Fri from 9 to 5 and Sat from 10 to 4.

Our current wood stock includes this gorgeous chippy paint breadboard recently salvaged from Selma, Alabama. We have approximately 3,000 square feet while supplies last, priced at $1.00 per linear foot. There is a mix of colors that include white, grey, avocado, haint blue, electric blue, lime green. The salvaged breadboard is a popular choice for wall and ceiling coverings as well as an endless number of craft and DIY projects, including frames, headboards, and more. The ends have been cut and the wood is ready to be repurposed!

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

beadboard4
Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques


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


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


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

 


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