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.

03 Jan

Fine Dining: Part 2

I have been commissioned to build another dining table like the one I built for the Coastal Living Idea House in River Dunes, NC. I am very excited about it and asked Kelly S. (the owner of the finished table) if I could blog about it. So, it begins.

Yesterday, in frigid weather uncharacteristic of the South, I drove to Cullman, AL to pick up salvaged oak timbers from Southern Accents Architectural Antiques (see my previous post). These are the same timbers I used for the CLv table. The timbers came from roof supports on an old barn. The guys at SAAA pulled the nails and sawed the timbers in half (roughly) lengthwise. The wood has some really neat features besides old nail holes. There are bug trails and knots and some have really great oak figuring. My next step is to plane it to the proper thickness for the table top. As rough as this is now, it is neat to see what it will become and how beautiful the finished wood is.

Raw Oak TimbersA closer look

09 Jun

History Lesson

Went to Southern Accents, Inc. in Cullman, AL today to browse the warehouses of architectural salvage materials. They have everything from old hardware, doors, leaded glass, knobs, to salvage wood. Amazing! It was a history lesson. One thing that struck me was some segregation era signs they had in a pile at the end of one counter. Some of them said “White Women Only” others said “Colored in the Rear” or something like that. It is bizzare that those times were not that long ago and remarkable how far we have come since. It makes me sad that people were hated for no reason other than the color of their skin. Pure ignorance and evil from the pit of hell.

It was a history lesson for me as well to see the doors, windows, mantels, door bells, hardware, and other items saved from the trash heap of time. SA is doing good work by saving these pieces of history and passing them on, and making a profit in true American fashion. They also make what was old new—SA has a complete wood shop that makes doors out of reclaimed wood. If you are ever in that neck of the woods, stop by. You will want to allow some extra time to browse through history.