This week we were honored to help welcome members of the Alabama Museums Association to Cullman, Alabama. Members of the Association gathered in Cullman for their annual conference. Southern Accents owner, Garlan Gudger, Jr., met with the participants Sunday night at the St. Bernard Retreat Center. After issuing an official welcome to the crowd, he spoke about the revitalization efforts that have taken place in downtown Cullman in the wake of the 2011 tornados, many of which he has spearheaded. Garlan also spoke about the history of Southern Accents and filled everyone in on recent changes to our big event this fall, Southern Makers. After showing off his JFK door knob from his private collection, he opened the floor for a question and answer session.
We were thrilled to be able to host the reception this week for the Alabama Museums Association.
The conference convened Monday at Wallace State Community College. Early that evening everyone gathered at Southern Accents for cocktail hour before heading to the All Steak for dinner. The evening activities concluded at the Cullman County Museum where everyone enjoyed dessert. Tuesday’s activities took place at the Cullman Chamber of Commerce. According to Kristen Holmes, conference coordinator and District 2 Representative on the AMA Board of Directors, conference participants repeatedly commented about how much they enjoyed being in Cullman. Kristen said, “Garlan’s remarks to the group set the stage for our visit to the historic district of Cullman and the evening reception at Southern Accents, which was certainly a highlight of the event. That reception, which gave us a chance to network while roaming the store, was so unique and special that it will be hard to beat when the conference moves to Tuscaloosa next year!”
Approximately 50 members of the AMA joined us after hours to enjoy a few refreshments during cocktail hour while shopping through our showroom, warehouse and outdoor lots.
We were quite honored to have had the opportunity to speak to members of the Alabama Museums Association as well as host the group at the showroom Monday evening. Having a group of people who are involved throughout the state with protecting pieces of our history, keenly interested in our preservation and restoration efforts, fuels our passion for salvaging architectural elements of historical significance.
A few months ago we were contacted by our good friend, Rick Morgan. Rick is a contractor in Nashville who was doing some work for a new saloon just off Broadway on 2nd Ave North. The new saloon, Famous, which celebrated it’s grand opening this past November, is situated between Hard Rock Cafe and the Wildhorse Saloon.
Acquiring new doors for Famous Saloon was no easy task. Rick was working under very strict guidelines by the Nashville Historical Society which required him to replicate, as closely as possible, the doors that were originally present on the Second Ave block. This meant that 3 sets of doors, close to 12 feet in height each, were needed for the entry. Rick realized that the only solution to finding doors the size and style needed was to have them custom made. Knowing that Southern Accents could handle the job, Rick gave us a call!
After a bit of discussion with our wood workers, Josh and Roger, we accepted the challenge. Shortly after, work began on what is currently the largest set of doors that we have ever built. At 12 feet, not only are these doors exceptionally tall, they are extremely heavy. So heavy in fact, that our guys had to transport the 6 doors individually and had to set them in the frames on site! In addition to the exterior doors, we also built an unusual set of interior doors and provided material for the bar.
In speaking with Rick about the Famous doors he said, “The SA team knocked this one out of the park! The doors turned out better than I ever expected. Everyone here is beyond thrilled!” The next time you are in Nashville, stop by the Famous Saloon on 2nd Ave and enjoy the awesome atmosphere combined with great food and entertainment. And don’t forget to tell them that Southern Accents sent you!
Not a week passes that we aren’t asked: “What type of wood is that?” We don’t always know the answer to that question. At times, an antique door or mantel will be covered in several layers of old paint that we have to peel back to expose the wood. Other times, we run across a rare wood that requires a little research on our part to determine the species. Since a majority of our inventory is made of wood, we thought it would be a great idea to feature some of the more interesting species in a few of our newsletters. This week is all about a rather rare and exotic wood, pecky cypress.
The unique pattern seen in this piece of pecky cypress is created by the pockets or recesses caused by a fungus that attacked the tree while it was alive.
Cypress wood in general is rather light in color, has a straight grain and medium texture. Cypress trees are readily found in Southern Swamplands and can be easily identified by their unique ariel roots, called knees, that protrude above the ground or water. These trees are deciduous (unlike most conifers) and drop all their airy, needle-like leaves each the winter. Pecky cypress is rare in that it only occurs in less than 10% of cypress trees and only in older trees. The beautiful and yet unique design in the wood is actually caused by a fungus, polyporus amarus. The airborne fungi sets up after a tree has been damaged. A limb break, lightening strike, fire or any injury that creates damage or a break in the bark can allow the fungi to set up in the living tissue of the tree. As the fungus grows it creates pockets or recesses in the wood. Once the tree is cut, the fungus dies and the pecky can not continue to grow.
This photo shows a local cypress tree growing next to a large pond. The tree has dropped all of it’s needle like leaves for the winter.
Pecky cypress is a popular choice for doors, ceilings, wall paneling, and table tops. While you can paint this very durable wood, why would anyone want to?!! The characteristics of this rare wood are so incredibly gorgeous it deserves nothing less than to shine in all it’s glory! We currently have approximately 500 square feet of pecky cypress in stock at our wood showroom. The boards are 5″ w x 14′ long x 1″ thick and retail for $8 per square foot. Stop by our wood showroom during regular business hours to view this gorgeous wood!
In this photo you can see the arial roots, or knees, of the cypress tree protruding above the ground.
Several years ago we acquired a wonderful, turquoise blue 55’ Chevy. Even though it was a little rusty and would not run, we felt that we could give it a good home. We added our logo to the door panels and have used it for marketing purposes ever since.
Even though he was not running, Ole Blue has done his share of traveling around North/Central Alabama. With the help of our flatbed trailer, he made his debut in the spring of 2013 at Southern Makers. Parked at the entrance of Union Station Train Shed in Montgomery, Alabama, he greeted visitors and served as a backdrop for their many photos and selfies. Outfitted with a set of brand new tires, he returned to Montgomery in 2014 for his second appearance at Southern Makers. His bed filled with colorful flowers, he once again greeted visitors for the weekend, all of whom were delighted to see his cheery face!
In between his Southern Makers appearances, Ole Blue has been spotted at wedding venues and alley parties and has attracted the attention of numerous local photographers. One of his photos won a blue ribbon at the local fair. His face has been the subject of many paintings and is currently featured on several products by Alabama artist Mellissa Meeks.
This rendition of our 55′ Chevy titled “Wild Blue Yonder” by artist Mellissa Meeks currently hangs in our upstairs office.
Sadly, the time has come to find Ole Blue a new home. While he has served us well, it is time for retirement. We are seeking a replacement vintage vehicle that runs. We currently have him priced at $3,500 but will consider all reasonable offers. He would make a terrific prop or could potentially be given a new life by someone looking for an ambitious project. You can view him online HERE. Ole Blue is currently housed at our wood showroom at 250 Janeway Drive in Cullman. You can stop by during regular business hours to pay him a visit. Give us a call at 877-737-0554 with offers.
Returning to work last week, we flipped our calendars to the new year and began our annual tradition of “tidying up” the showroom. In between assisting customers, answering phone calls and returning emails, we attempted to do a little house cleaning behind the front counter. It was during this process that we pulled out a drawer of old photos. One by one, as each photo was pulled from the drawer, we began reminiscing about how far this small, family owned business has come. 2017 will celebrate Southern Accents 48th year in business!
This year will mark 17 years since Garlan, Jr. returned home to take over the business for his Dad, Garlan, Sr., who founded Southern Accents in 1969. There have been many changes over the years. The showroom itself got an unexpected facelift in 2011 after surviving a horrific day of dangerous tornados that ripped apart Cullman’s downtown area. While Southern Accents online presence was established in 2000, the last few years we have garnered a social media following that numbers in the tens of thousands. In recent years we have expanded our business to include reclaimed wood and have ventured into designing and creating event staging. But, as the business continues to grow and expand in new and exciting areas that were unimaginable 48 years ago, many things remain the same. We have not lost our love and passion for architectural antiques. That love, passed from father to son, is still the core of our business.
As we continued to filter through old photos, we laughed at how much the faces have changed. But in the background of each photo, beautiful architectural relics can be seen. Claw foot tubs, heavily carved doors and mantels, glistening chandeliers, stained glass windows… the same quality of antique relics that started this business 48 years ago still exists today. The only difference is that the relics, along with ourselves, are all a little older!
Another year has come and gone… but it has been a great one! 2016 has kept us so busy that it seems like only yesterday we were here recapping 2015. This past year started off with a bang as we traveled to New York to design the runway backdrop for our good friend Billy Reid for New York City fashion week. Returning from New York we quickly began a project for Mike Wolfe of American Pickers. We traveled to his home in Tennessee, providing salvaged wood and installation for the floor, ceiling and wall of his motorcycle warehouse. Mike has become a dear friend and we are currently working on other projects for him. Watch American Pickers and you may see Mike wearing his SA t-shirt!!
This past spring we were thrilled to be featured in Garden & Gun Magazine! Our relationship with Garden & Gun further developed this past year as we designed and decorated the G&G Artist Tent at Slossfest for the second year in a row. But, only after another very successful trek to Montgomery for our fourth installment of Southern Makers! We are already excitedly working on Southern Makers 2017 and believe that this year will be our biggest and best show yet, so stay tuned!!
This past fall we were excited to have the opportunity to save over 100 stained glass windows from Central Baptist Church in Decatur, Alabama. During this salvage mission we discovered a time capsule tucked away in the center of a cornerstone. The cornerstone and it’s contents will be presented back to Central Baptist Church this spring during their anniversary celebration.
October was a busy month as we traveled to Florence, Alabama for Billy Reid’s Shindig No. 8.While famed chef John Besh catered the event, Blackberry Farms Brewery provided their award winning beer as we were in charge of the set design and decorations for the annual event hosted by designer Billy Reid. We also started work on one of our largest projects to date at The Westin Hotelin Nashville, Tennessee.
To round out the year, for the first time in the history of Southern Accents, we closed the store during what is one of our regular business days so that our entire team could attend the Retailer of the Year Awards luncheon in Birmingham. Southern Accents was awarded the Silver distinction in our category. 2016 has been an exciting and successful year, but we know that without our customers, none of what we do would be possible. Whether we are patching a door, undertaking a large design project or preparing for an event like Southern Makers, it is only through the support and patronage of our customers that makes any of it possible. We would like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU for allowing us to do what we love!
Make sure you are following all of our projects via our social media accounts, as well as this blog. We are looking ahead to another exciting year in 2017 and would not want you to miss anything!!!
2016 has been another banner year for Southern Accents! We would like to say a huge thank you to all our customers! We appreciate your business as well as your shared passion for rescuing, restoring, documenting and protecting architectural treasures. From the entire SA TEAM… we wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY and BLESSED NEW YEAR!!!
Southern Accents will be closed December 24 – 26 for Christmas and December 31 – January 2 for New Years. If you are traveling from out of town during the holidays, please give us a call first to make sure we are open.
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.
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!
This past Tuesday was recognized as Giving Tuesday. During this charitable season as you are thinking about your end-of-year giving, we would love for you to consider making a donation to a local cause. While the holiday season is a joyful time for most, for some, this time of year is a struggle. Several years ago it came to our attention that there was a group of pre school age children who were living below poverty level and in need. While many local organizations step up to help meet basic needs like food, clothing, and school supplies, we decided that we wanted to take on the task of ensuring that each of these children received a Christmas present. Out of our desire to bring a bit of joy to these children during the holiday season, our non-profit organization, SA323 was born!
The SA stands for Salvage Assurance and the 323 is based on Colossians 3:23 which is the core of our mission statement: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” Each December we purchase and present one wrapped gift to a group of around 100 children who might otherwise not receive anything for Christmas. We call on our friends Frosty and Rudolph to help deliver the gifts as well as provide snacks for their Santa party. 100% of the donations received are used locally to provide for these children. All donations are tax deductible and no gift is too small.
If you would like to make a donation, please stop by our showroom during regular business hours or give us a call at 877-737-0554. Each donation of $100 or more received between now and December 15th will receive one of our custom Alabama wood ornaments. These ornaments are made especially for us by local artist Leldon Maxcy. We understand that there are many worthwhile organizations seeking donations during this time of year and we truly appreciate your consideration in helping us put a smile on the face of a these children that need your help!
Every donation of $100 or more will receive a custom Alabama wood ornament created especially for Southern Accents by local artist Leldon Maxcy.
Recently, SA team member Jason Mauldin ventured over to Oxford, Mississippi to speak at Ole Miss and to attend The Conference On The Front Porch at Plein Air in Taylor, Mississippi. Journalism and marketing professor Mark Dolan asked Mauldin to speak to his integrated marketing class about the benefits of deeper story telling in marketing. Everything we do at Southern Accents has a story that we are preserving, so it was an excellent fit for one of our own story tellers to be a professor for the day. We look forward to continuing a relationship with Dr. Dolan and hope to return soon to expand on our initial visit.
Just outside of Oxford is the lovely town of Taylor, Mississippi. In that small town is a wonderful new community called Plein Air. Every one of the homes there is required to have a front porch, so it was the perfect setting for a conference dedicated to the impact of front porches. We spoke with the founder of the Plein Air community, Campbell McCool, about his philosophy on the front porch. Campbell said, “the front porch lends itself to community and getting to know your neighbors, unlike suburbia where everyone runs inside and locks the door.” Some of the topics discussed at the conference included the history and cultural significance of the front porch from Ancient Greece to modern America. Other discussions included the sociological importance of the front porch, the front porch and politics, stylistic evolutions of the porch and its architectural significance and much more. Lovers of all things architectural and story telling, we knew we wanted to attend. Folks came from as far away as Texas and Canada to participate in the two day conference held in the Plein Air community chapel, which was constructed almost 100% from salvaged materials from Southern Accents! You can find out more about this conference, which will be an ongoing event, by visiting them at theconferenceonthefrontporch.com. It is great opportunities and collaborations like this that make us #digmygig.
The community chapel at Plein Air was constructed almost entirely of salvaged materials from Southern Accents.
These magnificent doors are just one of the architectural elements that SA supplied for the chapel.
Everything from salvaged wood for the walls and floors to lights and windows for this beautiful chapel was acquired from Southern Accents.
The chapel has become a popular venue for weddings and community events.