Tag Archives: windows

No Fireplace, No Problem

Visit Pinterest and search for mantels and you will get an endless stream of pictures of beautifully decorated mantels. This time of year there seems to be an abundance of  creative ideas and how to’s on decorating your mantel for the holiday season. But what if you don’t have a fireplace? No fireplace, no mantel, no stockings hung for Santa!


In preparation for Southern Accents Christmas Trunk Show, I decided to haul a mantel up stairs and decorate it with items from our showroom. I rummaged through the mantel warehouse and found a small mantel that I thought would fit the bill. The dark stained wood had a natural distressed finish that would look great with all the old iron and industrial pieces I already had in mind for the display. Jeff graciously took the mantel to the wood shop for a little cleaning and then hauled it up a flight of stairs! Thank you Jeff!!


There is no fireplace in our upstairs showroom but I didn’t see that as a problem. I have seen quite a few gorgeous wall displays using old mantels. If wall space is available, why not? If I were using this in my home, I would secure the mantel to the wall. Since this is a temporary display I simply leaned the mantel against the wall.


I filled one of our small antique wooden barrels with heavy hardware pieces and placed it in front of the mantel to ensure that the mantel would not tip over. I placed a heavy industrial piece on the other side of the mantel to serve the same purpose. The beautiful cast iron fireplace screen and antique tool set helped create the exact look I was going for. Some fresh greenery from my yard and a big burlap bow added the perfect touch!


I needed a partner in crime so I enlisted the help of my good friend Vicki. Vicki has a wonderful knack for pulling odd pieces together and making them look gorgeous. She is also gifted when it comes to making bows! I would have spent half the night on the two bows… she twitched her nose, blinked her eyes and they were done! Thank you Vicki for all your help!!


I constructed a wreath from magnolia leaves  which were also cut from my yard. I used small gauge floral wire and wired each leaf to an inexpensive wire wreath frame. Once the wreath was finished Vicki added the burlap bow. We then attached the wreath to an antique beveled glass window. The window was simply placed on the mantel and propped against the wall.


I feel in love with this cast iron piece from the moment it came through the door. The shape reminded me of a Christmas tree so it was the first piece I chose for the display. Vicki added the antique glass door knobs to soften the look of the iron.


I imagine that these antique iron finials at one time graced the top of some majestic iron fence. They were somewhat hidden on a downstairs shelf but when I saw them I immediately knew they had to be part of the display. The greenery on top of the mantel created the perfect bed for all the antique items. I cut yew and rosemary which also created a wonderful, woodsy, holiday fragrance.


This small industrial piece is one that I’ve had my eye on for this specific purpose because it resembles a star. I was afraid that someone would snatch it up before I had the chance to use it in the display so I’ve had it tucked away upstairs for the past few weeks! We needed one more tall piece to balance the display. Vicki found this iron bracket downstairs. Perfect!


I saved my favorite piece for last. As I was walking through the store this little piece jumped out at me. It is an iron piece from an old pocket door roller. When I saw it I thought it looked like an old wooden toy car. It reminded me of Christmas’s past when times were simpler.

The mantel came together quickly. It was as if we were putting together a puzzle. Each piece fit perfectly and seemed to tell a story. When I think about it, I’m sure each piece could tell a story. I wonder who once peered out the beautiful window and what did they see? What fields have been plowed with the industrial pieces? What lay beyond the iron fence that once housed the perfect finials? Whose hands held the glass knobs? Every old piece has a story to tell. Not knowing the stories behind each piece, how much fun would it be to create my own?

Don’t let the absence of a fireplace keep you from having a beautiful holiday mantel. A little wall space is all that’s needed. The stockings can be hung and the mantel can be enjoyed year round. With each new season comes an opportunity to create a beautiful new scene.

Southern Accents has a large selection of mantels and half mantels in a wide range of sizes and prices. Most of the antique items used in this display are available for sale in our showroom. Browse our website or give us a call at 877 737-0554 to inquire about any of the items shown.

Reconnecting the past

We know there is a history behind every piece we salvage. We do not always know all of the history, but can usually tell you where it came from and how old it is. We recently had the privilege to salvage a home in Montgomery, Alabama that was built in the 1800’s. We found a little history of this home after an article was written in the Montgomery Advertiser about our salvaging efforts.

About a week after that article ran, we received a call from a young lady that read the article after it was picked up in the Mobile Press Register. She continued to tell us that her husband was the Great grandson of Charles Linn Gay, a prominent Montgomery businessman. He had the home built in 1899. She wanted something from the house. Something to remember her husband’s history. We asked her to write something for us that would depict what her feelings were when she saw the article and what made her contact us. Her letter is the following:

I found out about the Gay House in Montgomery through an article in the Mobile Press-Register.  I didn’t even know it existed until my husband, Charles, called me and told me to look for the article.  The house was built by his great-grandfather, Charles Linn Gay, in the 1800’s.  There was a picture of the house in the paper with the article.  It was in obvious disrepair, but it was easy to see that it was once a stunning home.

The article discussed the process that would be taking place in order to salvage as many items as possible from the home.  As soon as I read that Southern Accents would be selling the items, I called the manager, Kolby, and told him who I was.  He was fantastic.  He sent pictures that they had taken of the home to me, and I was able to share those with Charles and his mother and brothers. My mother-in-law told us about visiting the home in the 70’s and how beautiful it was.  It was neat to learn about the history of both the home and Charles’ family.  If it weren’t for the article in the newspaper and my subsequent phone call to Kolby, we probably would never have had the opportunity to discuss the family’s past because we would never have thought to ask!   

I wanted to make sure that we were able to get a piece of the house for our home in Mobile.   We live in a small, midtown house and don’t have a lot of room for extras, so Kolby helped me decide that a small window would be a great showpiece.  We plan to hang it on one of the walls in our house.

Neither Charles nor I have been to the Gay home in Montgomery or have even laid eyes on it in person.  So why do we want a piece of this home?  That’s easy – because it’s part of my husband’s history.  Most of the Gay family has passed on, but this house and the things in it represent his great-grandfather and all of the family that came after him.  This window will help us to remember those who came before us, those who helped make my husband who he is today, and share our history with those who come after us.  When you think about it, a window really makes perfect sense.  In it, we can look back at the past and look forward to the future.

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