Found: Preservation Station

As promised, I wanted to give you a little more detail about the amazing Preservation Station!  Their affiliation with Tennessee Preservation Trust just makes it that much better for me.  They are the masters of things salvaged.  My kind of people!  In their own words, they are “building a future with the unique elements of the past.”  I love the architectural elements found here; and that they can be incorporated into so many different design styles.  Their website can be found here, but I’ve been following them on Facebook for a while and love to see the energy and excitement they have for new pieces, whether its hardware or an elaborate entryway door, the passion is evident.  I love that.

I actually just slipped and got sidetracked looking at photos from a Clarksville home that Preservation Station was able to fully salvage before it was torn down.  They were able to fully salvage the entire staircase…. wow!

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One of the reasons that the idea of things being salvaged is so important to me is the loss in our society of mastering a craft.  I sincerely hope the trend for education adapts to once again include apprenticeships in fields where we learn to work with our hands and create.  How fast can it be done, and how cheap can we get it?  The need for immediate gratification and “I want it now” has heaped us into a jumble of mass-produced mess.  Will we have anything unique to our lifetime that we can pass down to our children?  Now a home can be built in 120 days start to finish, where it once took years.  We’ve lost character and we’ve lost detail.  This is why I am so happy that Preservation Station is making such great strides in salvaging and repurposing pieces of our history!  There is so much to learn about pieces crafted by hand, quality pieces.  

Their website inventory is just a fraction of what they have in the physical store.  Here are a few pics to spark your interest!  If you love digging, junking, yard “say-lin” or antiquing, you’ll love Preservation Station.  Right now they are holding a logo contest and I think I might enter!  Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted!

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And can I just say one more thing?  That green door.  Buddy.

Historic Preservation

On our one year anniversary, Joseph scheduled a walking tour for us in Charleston, South Carolina.  This was my first of many visits to Charleston, and it is there I fully realized my passion for historical restoration.  On our walking tour with Ed Grimball, we got an exclusive look at some amazing pieces of America’s history, and Ed can be credited for my love affair with the beauty of Charleston’s unique ability to retain what was.  I learned the dirtiness of the word “renovation” (it is “restoration” people), a community’s cohesive fight to preserve what was once beautiful about the South, and the painstaking and personal job it is to lay hands on a historical house and coax it into a museum-worthy home.  So much about The Salvaged grew from that trip and every other since then.  I know it sounds over the top, but something about this place became a part of me, and I feel I a great kindredness with those members of the Preservation Society of Charleston that I met on our last trip.  It was only in the gift shop on King Street, but the maps and prints just had me doing my classic child-like point and “omagawds.”  But I am nothing if not authentic, right!?  Yes? But seriously, just in those few moments a spark was lit.

I got home and started researching local historic societies and memberships.  Here in Nashville the Tennessee Preservation Trust has a very similar mission.  They are strong advocates for the restoration of Tennessee history by being a voice for the protection, restoration, and promotion of our historical architecture and cultural resources.   From their website’s Mission and History page:

To promote the preservation of our state’s diverse historic resources through education, advocacy, and collaborative partnerships.

The Tennessee Preservation Trust is the state’s only Statewide Partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We are a membership-based organization that focuses on promoting preservation across Tennessee through education and advocacy. We support individuals and communities across Tennessee who want to protect, restore, and promote their historic and cultural resources.

Headquartered in Nashville, TPT represents thousands of the state’s heritage supporters through individual memberships and partnerships. We work to monitor and promote preservation-friendly legislation at the local, state, and federal levels, and assist Tennesseans with advocacy issues pertaining to specific historic sites, historic districts, and pertinent zoning issues. TPT has a committed staff, an active board of directors, and many dedicated volunteers.

timthumb.phpvia Tennessee Preservation Trust website

To further my love for this organization, they have partnered with Preservation Station on 8th Avenue, which I will feature on Thursday’s post.  “Preservation Station has partnered with TPT to salvage architectural elements that might otherwise be forever lost.”  You had me at “salvage.”  There is something devastating to me in the thought that the craftsmanship of our history could be lost.  Preservation Station and Tennessee Preservation Trust are doing something special.  Visit the links above if you want to be a part of it or learn more!

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via Tennessee Preservation Trust website

Have a great Tuesday!

Resting Place

I know it might sound crazy, but I love reading names on headstones.  Old cemeteries just seem to draw me in.  There is something incredibly reverent about standing in a place chosen to be a person’s resting place.  I read a name etched in stone, and I just long to know the story behind that name.  A person is born, and is given a name.  It is drawn in crayon, printed on report cards.  It is screamed, strung first-and-middle when you know you are in deep trouble, miss.  It is embossed on a high school graduation announcement, appears in the paper on the principal’s list, is cast on a ballot, stamped on a gold trophy for second place or most valuable player.  It is engraved on a wedding invitation, embroidered within a new monogram.  It is spoken, written, referenced, searched, clicked on, cursed, whispered, wept over.  Our names.

I think about death a lot and what my name will leave behind.  Sometimes I struggle to keep afloat amidst this overwhelming fear that a life can pass through this time, and into the next, unnoticed.  What details can we salvage from our memory when we hear a name?  It can transport your mind to another place, recall something long forgotten.  Unturned stones.  Mystery.  History.  Walking up on one of the oldest cemeteries I have ever seen was a quiet sort of welcome on a cold morning in Charleston.  I love saying the names out loud of those long past and gone to dust, there in the final resting place.

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“In faith he died, in dust he lies.  But faith foresees that dust shall rise, when Jesus calls, while hope assumes and boasts her Joy among the Tombs.”

I can’t believe I didn’t get his name in this shot.  In the 12th year of his age.  What killed you, baby?  And who chose such perfect words for your memorial?  What a beautiful resting place.  Standing here 265 years later, I read your name out loud.

*All images of Circular Congregational Church, Charleston SC: via The Salvaged

Antiques on King

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*King Street, Charleston between 1910 and 1920

One of our no-plan plan days in Charleston included a morning dedicated to perusing.  Window shopping, meandering, wandering.  And for me, gawking.  Discreetly gawking, ok?  Because I’m not a complete redneck hollering and pointing at things like “auohhmagawdforreeeeeel!?” I just think those things in my head.  I did lose it over a couple of things, but I recovered pretty quickly and I don’t think anyone else saw me.  In all seriousness I whispered to the ceiling of Golden and Associates, “I could spend one million dollars in here on a random Monday morning.”  Maybe more.  No, definitely more.  Dumb.

This makes me achey.  I just pointed at it.  “Uh, uh, uh!” like my one year old.  It is fun and has something to say, but so, so sophisticated I think.  The beads are a sickeningly ridiculous shade of green.

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That tag, unfortunately, is turned around.  If you were to reach up and turn this tag slowly with two inquisitive fingers and start imagining it in your stairwell, you would find that it says: $22,000 for the pair.  There are two of you!?  I was sad to find I was way in over my head.  But those are wood beads.  And I’m pretty crafty.  So I might try to copy you.

Slay me:

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Then I smashed my face up against the window of George C. Birlant and Company, where I saw this:

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So we went in.

I’ll take all these!

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Etched greek key?  Ok, if you insist.

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I cannot deal with this.  I went back three times and looked at this guy.  “Oh I really like this guy!” I said.  What I was really thinking: “Holy shit. A FOX DOOR KNOCKER I HAVE TO HAVE THIS OH MY GOD I MIGHT HYPERVENTILATE.”

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I’m still a little sad that I didn’t just pull the trigger on the foxy knocker.  It was $180, so I wouldn’t have wanted to kill myself to swipe the plastic for it.  Maybe I’ll call them up to see if they still have it.  If we get a tax return.  And yes, if you’re curious, that is in fact a french bulldog there to the right.

What I love about King Street is what other people might love about Rodeo Drive.  I’ll shop at The Limited and TJ Maxx my whole life in order to clothe myself.  Don’t care.  Ok maybe I’ll buy a Burberry trench one day, but I’m not a brand snob.  Ok maybe I’d wear Oscar de la Renta if I ever walk the red carpet one day.  But that’s pretty much it.  I’m an old-things-with-a-story kind of girl.  I’d rather spend $500 on a pair of lamps than a hand bag, for certain.  Why is is that when I walk into an antique store, I whisper?  Reverence.  Worship?  Sometimes “antiques” = junk, but not on King Street dearies, not on King Street.  This specific morning in Charleston was beautiful because I love to learn about quality, timelessness and classic design. How many incredible stories are behind each piece, so lovingly crafted and cared for?  I love to dream.  What girl doesn’t?

History

There is no place I’d rather be than this city this dark morning to celebrate the anniversary of our wedding.  Three years is such a tiny sliver of time in the grand scheme of things, but in that time, I’ve come to realize that the vitality of our marriage hinges on our respect for history.  Personal history shapes everything.  It shapes your perspective and character like the layers in a tree.  A tree’s strength is dependent on the strength of its core, and the depth of its roots.  Its history is just there, below the surface: a part of each turn, of every branch, as its reaching up for the light.

This is not to say that you should turn backward.  Looking forward and building a future is crucial, yes, but history?  You can run from it, ignore it, build on it, honor it, or embrace it.  It can follow you around, wait for your return, haunt you, inspire you, and teach you who you are because of where you’ve been.  History doesn’t have to define who we are, or who we will become, but every layer has created someone beautifully individual, with the choice of creating a new history.  It walks around the streets of Charleston as if it could tap me on the shoulder at any moment.  It’s in the movement of the water in the harbor, each crack in the sidewalk, and in every live oak dripping with Spanish moss.  It’s on every porch, under slowly-turning fans, where I imagine thousands of clicks of champagne glasses, pearl-clad wrists, sun-kissed faces of low country children hiding under table skirts, and toasts of celebration, times of remembering, and stolen moments of solitude rocking slowly away the evenings.  There is something distinctly respectful about a city that honors history in such a way.  The beauty lies in how carefully and gently this place can coax me into a sense of time slowing, and savoring what can be salvaged out of this life.  If you seek history with soft reserve, restore and salvage what you can, what I believe you’ll find is a gorgeous reflection of the best parts of your own history.

A cherished moment from this trip: walking hand in hand in awe of this beast of history, this unbelievably magical canopy.  What an honor it has been to celebrate another year with my Groom in this place.  Happy Anniversary to you, my darling.  Thank you for bringing this beautiful moment to me, and making it part of our history!

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The Angel Oak is said to be 300-400 years old.  She stands on John’s Island, reaching on and on, I hope forever. *image via The Salvaged

Pathways

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This coming Sunday I’m headed back to Charleston.  I don’t know that I’ve ever felt more at home than I do walking the streets of this place.

The only place I can think of that trumps this one, is a specific memory of coming home from college.  I don’t even remember the reason, it was probably just a regular day.  (And aren’t the regular days the most beautiful ones, really?) But I was on the couch in the living room and it was early evening.  Mama was in the kitchen, and it was either the washing machine or dishwasher running, or knowing her it was both.  It may have been something in the lamplight when I cracked my eyes open, but the feeling of home came over me and there it was: a defining moment.  The gentle noises in which I now seek solace are those same sounds given to me by my Mother.  And lamplight.

The pathways that I’ve chosen are so incredibly definitive of who I am.  If I were a pathway, I would want to be this one.  This pathway has been salvaged, no?  Some of the original stones walked by hundreds of wistful hearts who looked up to see a sliver of black sky poked with pin holes of striking white, dotted dreams.  No way to tell how many deep breaths have been taken on this pathway.  How many hung heads or knots choked on to hide tears of rejection.  This pathway has secrets, I’m sure.  Bodies pressed together in dim gaslit doorways.  Love.  Warmth.  Promise.  Laughs and stumbles following an evening of just-one-mores.

How does a city this beautiful remain untouched in America?  Diligence, I think.  And fighters.  Fighters who said no to skyscrapers and “forward progress” and yes to memory.  Fighters saved pathways like this, pathways like me.  Charleston speaks to me because my soul seeks fighters to help me salvage what I can of myself, to love my crumbling brick and layers of exterior and who fight along with me to help me make something beautiful of myself.  We find shadows on any pathway, but see there?  Just at the very end it turns into brilliant white.  Charleston stands authentic and true, and it seems that this pathway is pieced and constructed with those in mind who walk slowly and savor.

Sometimes I think it’s appropriate that we look down at our feet so that we can see what pathway is carrying us forward.  It’s more a state of mind, really.

Here’s to salvaged pathways that move us.

*image via the salvaged