Tag Archives: Salvage Mission

Ghosts In The Attic

We love ghost stories! Two years ago we wrote about our resident ghost, Matilda. Although we have not heard from her since the April 2011 tornados, to this day, several SA team members still tell stories about her.

Quite often we will hear murmurings and have speculations about the presence of spirits in a structure that we are salvaging. Such was the case on our latest salvage mission in Spartanburg, SC. One of the few remaining descendants of the estate told stories about a particular cabinet door in the kitchen. He stated that each time he or his wife would walk into the kitchen, this one door was always open. They would close the door only to find it mysteriously re-opened. He said that eventually they gave up and just left that one door open. When asked if he thought that the house was haunted, his only response was a huge grin across his face!

The blue walls and little star stickers attached to the ceiling was a reminder that this was once the baby's room.

The blue walls and little star stickers attached to the ceiling were reminders that this was once the baby’s room.

This crib was found in the attic.

This crib was found in the attic.

One story passed around by some of the locals is that a small graveyard was moved before the house was built in 1884, which caused unrest among the spirits of those buried. While we can not confirm that story, we did find numerous bones in an area beneath the cellar. We do know that one of the children, a baby boy, passed away in the house and that the mother was never able to recover from the grief of his death. While the baby’s room was eventually turned in to a library, to this day, the blue walls with little star stickers on the ceiling remain. In addition to the baby’s death, we also know that one of the owners died in the house.

This mask, believed to be a death mask, was found in one of the bedrooms.

This mask, believed to be a death mask, was found in one of the bedrooms.

Having heard that the house was haunted, experiencing our own encounter during one of our trips, while frightening, did not catch us off guard. On more than one occasion, the sound of shuffling feet could be heard moving down the stairs and across the wood flooring. With each occurrence, there was no one present to account for the sound. During one of the encounters, one of our team members saw what looked to be two eyes standing in the doorway that lead to the cellar.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

This picture shows an unexplained reflection of what appears to be one, possibly two children traveling down the stairs.

Looking through pictures taken in the house, we came across one picture that seemed odd. While hard to make out in the picture above, when enlarged, there seems to be one, possibly two children coming down the stairs. Another team member was trying to record some video from his phone. Each time he turned toward the staircase his phone would mysteriously shut off.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

There was something about this staircase that was inviting, yet at the same time creepy.

While we can’t say for sure that what we encountered were restless spirits, there were many aspects of the house, like the staircase pictured above, that were haunting! This particular staircase, which lead to a dark, damp, dreary attic, seemed to beckon. Yet, upon making our way to the attic, filled with personal artifacts, none of us wanted to linger too long!

mask

While this is nothing more than an old halloween mask, scenes like this, scattered throughout the attic, did not make our time there any less frightening!

Are ghosts real… you decide! Our stories from this past adventure are ones we will be talking about for quite some time!


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!


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.


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


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