Thursday, October 26th, 2006
The sink question has been heavy on my mind this week because we need to decide that before we can figure out where to put the electrical outlets in the bathroom.
If you read this blog, you know it’s been a long saga. First I wanted a pedestal sink. Then I wanted a vessel sink. Then my heart was set on an antique marble wall-hung sink supported by cast iron brackets. Debates raged on this site, in my house, and in my head.
Then yesterday I had to drive to Huntsville to attend a press conference for work. It was nice being out of the office for a day – just me, the Interstate and my Sex and the City audiobook.
About halfway between Birmingham and Huntsville I saw a billboard: ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUES.
Whoa. How perfect is that?
I eagerly turned off at the next exit, in Cullman, a town I’ve heard of but never been. It’s old downtown was cute, busy and full of antique shops. The kind of downtown I love to see, the kind that has appreciation written all over it. (unlike our downtown, which is kind of sad)
Then I found Southern Accents Architectural Antiques. When I opened the door, I swear I heard a choir of angels singing.
It was everything I’d always daydreamed about – a shop and warehouse full of goodies. Mantels, doors, lighting, clawfoot tubs, doorknobs, doorbells, keys, newel posts, metal brackets, wood brackets, windows, iron grates, railings, gates, plinth blocks, drawer pulls. A whole outdoor lot full of beautiful cast iron clawfoot tubs and sinks in every size and shape.
And here it was! A mere 2 hours away!
But I had to get to the press conference, and I knew if I started really looking, I’d get sucked in and lose all track of time and wake up sometime the next morning clutching a pedestal sink and sucking my thumb.
So I left. I car-danced all the way to Huntsville. I giggled to myself. I tried to think of people to call who would actually care that I’d found a really awesome architectural salvage place. I was desperate to get back.
Fortunately, the press conference was pretty interesting in its own right. A plant in Huntsville is expanding, which will create 175 more manufacturing jobs. One of the reasons cited for choosing the location for expansion was the high quality of products put out by these men and woman grouped in a broad semi-circle behind us. When the governor said, “It is because of you,” we all turned and gave them a standing ovation. I got a little tear in my eye because they reminded me of Darwin and how much pride he takes in his work (also at a manufacturing plant).
I thought it went well, and I was proud of myself, too, because I managed to discuss compacted graphite iron with some measure of intelligence. I’m in a male-dominated industry, so I love an opportunity to prove myself to be just as savvy as they are.
But then came the best part of the day – back to Southern Accents! Hurray!
The place was hoppin’, and I think that’s awesome. Give them your business, people! I want them to last forever and ever! The business was founded by Dr. Garlan Gudger Sr. in 1969, and now Garlan Gudger Jr. runs it. Which brings me to another awesome thing about this place – the staff are knowledgeable! According to their flier, Garlan has a degree in Building Science, specializing in innovative construction practices in historic properties. So cool! I asked a question, and they knew the answer! AND they were nice, especially his lovely wife whose name has momentarily left my head. I LOVE these people!
I originally asked about a marble sink, but when they didn’t have one, I went out to the garden o’ cast iron and fell in love with a curvy bombshell of a 1930s sink. It was gigantic and wonderful, and after a million questions that Garlan answered without batting an eyelash, I decided it would definitely work in our bathroom. Best of all, it didn’t even need refinishing, so it only cost $137 after tax. Way cheaper than any of my other plans.
Never has picking up such a heavy weight been such a relief. Maybe that’s because I didn’t actually pick it up. Garlan and another guy did, and back at home I crushed my fingers between it and the trunk, and then a red-faced Darwin carried it into the house alone.
But it was worth it. I’m so glad I found it and so glad I found that place. I’ll be dragging Darwin back there soon. Very soon.
Here’s the web site: Southern Accents Architectural Antiques. They do ship, and I highly recommend them.
Here are my photos from the store.