02 May

Damage to the Candy Store

The record-breaking storms that swept through Alabama on April 27th hit Cullman’s downtown hard. Buildings that had stood for over 100 years were destroyed by an EF4 tornado. Winds were gusting at more than 175-miles-per hour, and the tornado reportedly stretched 38 miles long, according to the National Weather Service.

Damage to SAAA Facade

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques was spared for the most part. Glass windows were blown out, but the building is still intact. Owner, Garlan Grudger who has been working to help his neighbors clean up the damage said, “I am blessed.” He said that his home and business had some minor damage, but nothing like the worst of the destruction to Cullman’s downtown area.

I asked him what I could do to help, and he simply asked me to shop there and at any other Cullman merchants as soon as they are able to conduct commerce again. That I can certainly do.

21 Feb

Kid in a Candy Store

Southern Accents

Remember what that was like? Remember the awe and wonder you felt seeing so many wonderful things all in one place? The anticipation and decision making involved in choosing from so many options?

This is the essence of a visit to Southern Accents Architectural Antiques in Cullman, AL, for me and I would bet for anybody who fixes or builds furniture or does restoration. SA is a museum of architectural history and oddities that you can touch—and take home with you.

I am always amazed at what I see when I get to visit. I know I am going to see salvaged doors, mantles, shutters, leaded glass, claw-foot tubs, hinges, door knobs, and newel posts. All really wonderful handcrafted items with history and character. But there is always at least one thing that is totally random.

On a recent trip with a friend, I was not disappointed. She was there to find a claw-foot tub for a new home build. I was there because I never miss a chance to visit. I don’t know the number of items they have there, but it has to be hundreds of thousands, if you count all the hinges, antique keys, and drawer pulls. We browsed through rooms and rooms of salvaged materials and most of it I had seen the like of there or somewhere else.

But as I said, there is always at least one thing that is weirdly out of place—if you are in the market for a 5 foot tall concrete Chinese lion, they have one for sale.

02 Jun

Built-in Shelves Finished

Finished the built-in shelves a while ago but forgot to post a pic and details since last post on the process. [The trouble with digital media storage is that it is easy to forget what pictures you have on the card.]

I framed the exterior of the shelves with stained ¼” x 2″ poplar lumber purchased at Lowes. The stain was the same red hickory used on the mirror frame followed by sealing with satin polyurethane. Cutting the angles was a bit difficult but the obscurities of my college trig class finally came in handy.

The back-splash is an easy to use product from Improvements (#337192, $27)—aluminum metal wall tiles. They are advertised as “will not crack, chip, or stain” and easy to install. The later—I can confirm—installation was so simple!

Each box of tiles contains 48 4 x 4 tiles and double adhesive foam for affixing  the tiles. The tiles come in almond, aluminum, black, white, chrome or copper and in triangle shaped to spice up your design.

12 Feb

Chair Caning Help

There is a new DVD set on Chair Caning that I wish was around when I was teaching myself to restore chair seats. The four DVD set ($79.99) covers the 7-step method, pre-woven cane, fibre rush, and splint-type weaving. If you only are interested in one aspect of seat weaving, you can buy any individual DVD ($24.99).

As for books, I can personally recommend Seat Weaving by Ricky Holdstock and Chair Seat Weaving for Antique Chairs by Marion Burr Sober. The former is a great resource with lots of pictures. The later is a 64 page booklet with line drawing diagrams, glossary, and easy to follow instructions for hand caning, rush weaving, splint weaving, and Shaker tape weaving.

Here are some online resources for instruction:

06 Apr

Symphony Decorator Showhouse ’09

Birmingham Symphony Decorator ShowhouseI have been asked to build a piece for the Birmingham Symphony Decorator Showhouse. It is to be a storage piece for the forest-inspired children’s room. I plan to use rustic oak timbers and fall peeled maple. I have a concept in my head. More on this as the project moves along….

Mountain Brook manor committed to be Decorators’ ShowHouse this spring – al.com http://bit.ly/vvLjr