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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Southern Architectural Accents

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Being born and reared in the Deep South, 
I have always been drawn to architectural accents 
that are wood, stone, glass, or any natural design that has character

No sleek, modern stark interiors for me.
I like looking at them, but cannot live in them. 

Think antebellum mansions with two-story massive columns, 
wrap-around porches, curved staircases, ten-twelve foot ceilings, 
raised wood panel walls, glass transoms over doors, and iron railings.
No, I did not live in such a house while growing up,
but I did live in a very shabby old dorm for four years while in college. 

While visiting my mother this summer, my brother, sister-in-law, sister, mother,
and I took a little road trip to an architectural salvage store in Cullman, Alabama. 

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques
Southern Accents Architectural Antiques describes itself as having the largest 
collection of architectural antiques in the South, selling both from their 
brick and mortar store in Cullman and from an online store. 

A collection of antique doors and chandeliers in the main floor showroom 
are just a glimpse of all that is to be found on multi-levels, inside and out, 
and in multiple buildings with entrances from more than one city street. 

Need an antique deadbolt lock to go with your new antique door? 

How about porch columns, interior columns, or stair newel posts? 

Would you like an ornate capital for your antique column or 
to repurpose as a plant, book, or cloche stand? 

Room after room all began as a small collection in 1969 in the garage of the owner 
who has turned over the day-to-day operations to his son with the help of twelve employees. 
Do you see the chandeliers?  How about that door-size carved mirror? 

And there it is, a transom window over a door! 
It reminds me of my college dorm room's transom. 
Yes, my dorm was a three-story red brick building with 
the entrance in a central turret, flanked on either side with a half-walled 
second-story terrace onto which my three huge windows opened. 
The ten-foot ceilings in the room rose above a very worn 
wood planked floor.  When the terrace windows and the transom 
were opened at the same time, a nice breeze cooled the room. 
For heat, there was a steam radiator. 
No air-conditioning or central heating system. 

But, I don't have memories of being hot or cold 
in O'Neil Hall at Florence State University, Alabama. 
Now known as the University of North Alabama,
the school's beginnings were in 1830, and it became 
the first state teacher's college south of the Ohio River. 

Many of these architectural salvage pieces could have 
come from O'Neil Hall with its wide curved banister staircases. 

One of my favorite finds was the old fireplace surround with the fleur-de-lis. 
No, it didn't come home with me, but I kept going back to look at it one more time. 
It was badly damaged with part of the iron broken to the right of the fleur-de-lis. 

Nothing like finding the very exact Old Chicago brass gooseneck faucet that was in 
your current house for over twenty years to make you feel like a relic yourself. 
My old gooseneck faucet is now in the garden shed, 
replaced by a newer, non-leaking faucet for the kitchen sink. 

There were so many one-of-a-kind beautiful old pieces everywhere. 
These were lying on the floor amidst many other plainer pieces. 
One of these, and its matching mate found after rummaging around 
on a nearby shelf, came home with me.  

Now that I look at my photos again, 
I'm wishing I had bought another piece in this photo. 

Looking at these photos also makes me excited to get to go 
the Round Top Antiques Fair in south Texas September 28-October 1. 
Once again, it is going to be hard to choose what to buy. 
Things I will be looking for are a French mirror, old iron fencing, 
and a blue seltzer bottle from France. 

Plus, I will be keeping my eyes open for unexpected treasures. 

Please join me at these inspiring sites...




  1. Bonjour Judith!

    I'm with ya.....though I grew up in Los Angeles, I do know what it's like to live in an old house. My childhood home was a Spanish California cottage! Arched doors, French doors leading to the outside and interesting architectual elements made my home a special place, to the point that my home NOW is filled with these same elements: arches, iron chandeliers as well as crystal. We even have one of these salvage warehouses about four blocks from our house!

    Surrounding oneself with the things that make a home, what a fun luxury and hobby. Enjoy your weekend as you nest and get ready for fall!

  2. I wished we had a store like that here. I wished I had the money to start one up. I love the old and sturdy look of things. We are remodeling our kitchen and our old stainless sink still did not work so we got a new one and can you believe it is rusting in spots. They don't make things like they use to.

  3. Judith, your posts full of intriguing images makes me want to hop in the car and take a road trip to Alabama. This store looks to be a treasure trove! If we were building a home, this is a resource I'd want to visit. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I'm so jealous that you got to go there! Do you read Ricki Jill's blog Art at Home? She lives near there and owns quite a few things from there including custom furniture.

  5. Hi Judith! Thanks for sharing this great post full of your fabulous pictures of an amazing place...makes my heart go "pitter-patter"! I live in Alabama but have never been to this place in Cullman...I am going to have to add it to a bucket list. You went to college in Alabama and live in Texas now? Have a great time at Round Top!

  6. Oh how I wish I had gone there while we lived in AL! I adore that kind of store and decor! I have a few pieces of architectural "left overs", but would love more! I picked up a spindle from a porch when we cleaned out my Dad's home and I think my brother and sister thought I was a bit strange. It looks lovely with a thick candle setting on top. apparently my dad and brother-in-law had dismantled a porch on an old house at some point and this piece was part of what was left. I also have several fleru de lis finials from wrought iron fences found at an antique mall in Montgomery. Thank you for sharing, Judith! I can't wait until the next flea market opening this fall! It's too hot here in the summer so they close until the weather is cooler.

  7. Oh that place is fabulous!! I love architectural elements in decor!

  8. Great collection of pictures, astounding scenery you got there. Hope to visit this remarkable sites someday. Thanks for the information.

    Architectural Themes


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