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Tag: birmingham loft district

The Story Behind 2112 Morris Avenue – Now Listed for $389,900

It’s 1998 and the scene in downtown Birmingham is 180 degrees different than the scene we know today. The “Loft District” was not yet a sought after downtown community but Elisa Crowder was ahead of the curve. Already occupying space downtown at the Wheelock Building for her business, Elisa was in search of a live-work space that she could customize to suit her needs and aesthetic preferences.

When she initially viewed the space she now calls home, it was the open floor plan, high ceilings and storefront windows that drew her in. Formerly an art gallery, Elisa saw it as blank canvas to design the live/work space she was imagining.

Overall Elisa wanted the condo’s aesthetic to feel industrial and contemporary with a soothing color palette and almost everything in the space is custom. She added curved walls to create visual interest, aluminum baseboards to tie in the exposed ductwork, solid birch doors and earth-toned marble flooring can be found throughout. 3-Form translucent and polyresin architectural panels were incorporated in several areas and feature a design of grass, leaves, and water to bring earthy elements into the mix.

It’s fair to say that beyond the architectural details, this condo offers amenities that aren’t often found downtown. The master bathroom features a Jacuzzi tub, walk-in shower, dual sinks and heated towel racks. A sound system was also installed throughout the home so Elisa could enjoy music in every room.

“Downtown Birmingham is developing so quickly and this property is in the center of it all, “ said Elisa when describing her favorite aspects of the home. She has loved being walking distance to numerous restaurants and bars (The Atomic is right next door), taking exercise classes at Railroad Park, popping into of art galleries and going to shows in the Theatre district. “It’s nice to have everything so close.” From new restaurants like The Essential to The Famous Peanut Depot, Barons games, breweries and clothing boutiques, everything is at right your fingertips.

“Having a work-live space right in the center of and in walking distance to all of this activity has been wonderful and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in Birmingham.”

Now this fabulous 2,0000 square foot condo could be yours and features a new price! Contact us today to view this unique 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom loft-style condo in the heart of downtown. View the listing here.


Urban Style: Bar Stools With Big Impact

satellite urban style bar stools

satellite urban style bar stools

There are lots of ways to personalize your home with big renovations, or even custom installation work. But what if you want big style, no professionals required? For that, we suggest interesting accessories that stand out in streamlined spaces. One key example for urban style: bar stools with big impact.

The sheer power of repetition makes it an effective style trick. When you have three or four of something, after all, it tends to command notice. Be warned that a great bar stool rarely comes cheap, but it is an easy and portable style choice.

And you need not look through decor magazines or even the rabbit hole of Pinterest. We’ve simplified matters by drawing on our own local inspiration. We’ve looked at ideas around town and found these bar stool examples for your kitchen style game.



Paramount’s bar stools are unusually linear, a heavy metal frame supporting a pale rectangle of wood. Part of their job is not to overshadow the more flamboyant automotive references in the space, but they’re well designed in their own right. We can easily imagine them adding a bit of industrial edge to a nearby downtown loft.

Harvest plays up the Redmont Hotel’s architectural gravitas with a smart variation on a classic bar stool shape. A single cutout punctuates an upholstered backrest for the custom tailoring of the stool world.



Trimtab Brewing Company’s stools bring an automotive age to mind, befitting the former neighborhood of the Barber Motorsports Museum. The smoothly engineered curves, chrome bases, and integrated armrests remind us of great American cars. They’re sleek but road-tested.  

Slice Pizza & Brewhouse combines the retro feel of red vinyl with a sleek sculptural base. The color shines against a reclaimed wood bar and ties in nicely with other new restaurant openings in the area like Cashio’s Meatball Market and Babalu Tacos and Tapas. The base offers a place for the eye to linger and a nice reminder of the area’s recent industrial past.



Satellite plays up its space age styling with the stool version of a modern molded plastic chair. Long wooden legs angle out from the base with simple black supports. It’s a dose of nostalgia that still feels fresh, much like its 41st Street scene.

Hot Diggity Dogs has the most retro offering, which works for a brick-and-mortar hot dog stand in this neighborhood of casual nostalgia. The chrome stools with vinyl seats are a familiar shape with room for personalization.



Weeknight Breakfast at Carrigan’s Downtown

breakfast at Carrigan's

breakfast at Carrigan's

We’ve all hit that point midway through a particularly grueling workweek that demands more than your average comfort. The kind of week that demands breakfast food. Luckily, the good folks at Carrigan’s Public House launched a solution this fall: a “breakfast for supper” special each Wednesday evening.

Carrigan’s has marketed the meal as a reward for making it through your Wednesday. And at $10 for the breakfast dish plus mimosa, it definitely is. It’s also a genius antidote to any hump day blues. As the great Ron Swanson said, “There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food.”

This is no ordinary diner menu, though. It’s a single dish, and it may or may not be announced ahead of time. Past examples have included sausage and egg in a waffle sandwich, goat cheese-topped eggs in a basket nestled against curls of prosciutto, and a bagel and lox served with the prettiest poached eggs. All in keeping with the downtown loft district’s gastropub vibe.

One of our favorite things about the neighborhood is its rotating roster of specialty brunch availability–Saturdays at El Barrio and Feast & Forest, select Saturdays at Yo Mama’s, and Sundays at Trattoria Centrale–but Wednesday evening is a whole new ballgame. We frankly wouldn’t complain if every day was some sort of brunch day, but we’re perfectly happy to celebrate incremental wins.  

True brunch may be a meal reserved for leisurely weekends, but fancy breakfast food need not wait that long. The Carrigan’s solution seems both fancy and spartan, going out with a hint of staying in. All in keeping with the mixed use dynamic of downtown loft living.

We can’t promise a solution to all your hump day problems, but breakfast at Carrigan’s is a fine start. Or at least a merciful end. Here’s to hump day!



Louis Nequette’s Downtown Design Plan

downtown design

The thing we love about Nequette Architecture & Design is their ability to stake out a timeless middle ground in their design projects. They eschew the starkly modern but refuse to be constrained by the past. And as they renovate their own two buildings on Second Avenue North, we asked owner Louis Nequette to tell us about their downtown design process.


Allocating Space

We worked with Nequette to acquire the two former Harold’s furniture buildings, which are more or less across the street from his current rented space. It’ll be a classic loft district mixed-use project — ground-floor retail topped with loft living — with a twist: the firm will be the building’s penthouse resident.

“Our plan was not to put that floor on there until we climbed up on the roof and got a load of the 360-degree amazing views,” Nequette said. “After seeing that we were inspired and wanted to create a place where we could do what we do every day with as much inspiration as possible.”

The building’s thick industrial walls have enough heft to support an addition, and the one the firm has planned should be stunning. “There’ll be a lot of glass,” Nequette said, to optimize the views.


Weighing Value

The building dates from 1889, according to documents Nequette found, which adds a layer of history to the design consideration. Still, Nequette said the process isn’t far off from any kind of major renovation: “It’s about walking through and finding the redeeming qualities of, ‘Where’s the magic? What’s special about the existing building?’

“Sometimes there’s nothing, and it gets demolished completely. Sometimes there’s so much that it really warrants it being a historical preservation kind of project. And then most cases it’s kind of in the middle, and that’s how this one was,” he said.

Residential units were a natural next step, since the minimal interior framing of a warehouse “makes for a great loft kind of situation.” As for the penthouse addition, Nequette bucked the trend of adding “a modern box on a traditional building.” (He says it’s often a good approach, though, that “creates a lot of interest to clash those two styles together.”)

The deciding factor was the addition’s footprint. “We felt because we wanted to pull the top floor up to the front elevation, that that would look more strange and out of place and not in keeping with the character of 2nd Avenue,” he said. “As opposed to doing what we’re doing, which is take a much more traditionally-inspired approach to that design.


Modernizing Character

“We’ve done both at different times, but in this case, it calls for trying to keep the whole building in character.”

What does that character look like? Neatly-framed windows that emerge naturally from the building’s existing roofline, with a bay window bumping out over the second building. A hint of modern tension in its asymmetry, but nothing that would give you pause.

Looking at the drawings, we were struck by how natural the addition seemed. Which is how we feel about most Nequette Architecture & Design projects. That middle ground we mentioned? It’s a way of designing that feels like it’s always been there, and a result we always love.

Luxury with History at Levy’s Fine Jewelry Downtown

levy's fine jewelry downtown


levy's fine jewelry downtown

Levy’s Fine Jewelry downtown stands alone. Literally. It stands not in a neat commercial row but as the only store on its block of 2nd Avenue North. That’s fitting for a store that’s been a longtime fixture of downtown Birmingham and offers pieces from many of its eras.

We’re quick to celebrate the grand repurposing of our city’s past, particularly in this downtown Loft District. But it’s also nice to celebrate a place like Levy’s that’s weathered the last century more or less intact.

And should you be contemplating a very special holiday purchase, we recommend thinking of Levy’s long history as a wonderful metaphor. This shop is a place that has lasted, after all. Not impervious to change, but strong enough to adapt with it.

Not that you need metaphors to appreciate the global antiques or rows of jewelry sparkling in its window displays. The baubles speak plainly enough for themselves. But if your special person is the kind who loves living in a neighborhood with a past, with the crafted details now rarely produced, Levy’s is the best possible source.

Even the relative simplicity of a large 1940s solitaire (sold, unfortunately) has an unexpected depth. In a 1950s setting, a ruffle of diamonds hugs an emerald set in platinum with a serpent motif. Both as interesting as they are lovely.

And if a very big gift isn’t on your shopping list, there are plenty of charming everyday options with a nice patina. Cufflinks, say, or a delicate pendant.

Perhaps our very favorite thing about this store–besides the fact that it has a matriarchis its business strategy. As described in this BMetro feature, the shop has managed to blend its lovable storefront retail with lucrative trade show sales. One foot in local tradition and one in the wider world, which is basically the model for our reviving downtown district.

Neighborhood Cheer: Your Birmingham Gift Guide

a very birmingham holiday
birmingham gift guide
Window by Java Lewis at John’s City Diner

There are some great gifts to celebrate collective Birmingham pride–in fact, we rounded some up in our very first guide. But what of those who’ve cultivated their own corner of the city? They might like a more specific option. So we’ve put together a list of locally-inspired gifts we think are most emblematic of some hot neighborhoods right now: A Birmingham gift guide for the urban dweller.


Its biggest claim to fame may be the 41st Street restaurant & bar scene, but we think MAKEbhm is this year’s big neighborhood shift. Gift your own piece of that creative energy with a piece of MAKE resident Susan Gordon Pottery. From sculpted bowls to Magic City ornaments, there’s something for everyone. And if you want to support two Avondale businesses with one gift, Winslet & Rhys stocks select pieces.


The season’s big entertainment option is ice skating in Railroad Park. And with a run that extends through mid-January, December gifting is still feasible. But the most bated-breath stretch of this year has been watching the downtown Publix take shape. Its opening has been delayed until sometime in January, reported AL.com. But there’s nothing to celebrate the neighborhood’s practical convenience like a Publix gift card.


Redmont Vodka appeared in ABC stores this spring and served as Sloss Fest’s “official spirit,” reported AL.com. Lakeview’s entertainment options have grown leaps and bounds this year–Sky Castle, Ghost Train, Scene among them–and Redmont’s branding strikes the perfect balance between the area’s understated exteriors and its party potential. They’ve also released a Cotton Gin, which we can’t help but love.

Downtown Loft District:

Between the Lyric Theatre and the Redmont Hotel, it’s been a restorative year downtown. There’s more on the way, of course, with the Pizitz Building and the Thomas Jefferson Tower, but why not celebrate what we’ve achieved so far? Tickets to one of the Lyric’s varied shows–Russian ballet and Ben Folds are both on the calendar for 2017–are a thoughtful way to experience this now-functioning beauty. Or commit to treating your giftee to drinks at the Redmont’s rooftop bar, appropriately named The Roof, as another experience-over-stuff option. And tickets to New Year’s Eve at the Redmont make for easy wrapping.

A Landmark New Year’s Eve at the Redmont

new year's eve at the redmont hotel

new year's eve at the redmont hotel

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching, which means it’s time to strategize. How else can you pick up something appropriately festive for yourself while you’re out holiday shopping? We suggest complementing your cocktail threads for this year’s new event: New Year’s Eve at the Redmont.

More specifically, on its rooftop bar, The Roof.

There are plenty of wonderful ways to ring in a new year. Romantic fine dining, house parties with friends, champagne on your very own couch–these are all valid choices. But there are some events that are inherently memorable, and our money is on the Redmont to be among them.

We’ve advocated for ticketed events in the past for one simple reason: it’s nice to know there’s room at your destination. And with the Redmont evening’s tiered pricing, you can choose what level of accommodation you expect, from General Hotel Admission to a rooftop sofa with your name on it. Or make a complete evening of it by purchasing tickets to Harvest’s prix fixe dinner that night as well.

But decide soon. All but the VIP ticket sales end Friday, December 16.

It’s hard to imagine a bad choice, though, if it involves city views from 14 stories up. The twinkling lights of downtown’s Loft District are unfailingly magical. And spying landmark buildings from City Federal to the Thomas Jefferson Tower? Well, that’s a wider angle than your average downtown resident can boast.

The view is reason enough to visit The Roof anytime, but even more so this time.

At its heart, celebrating New Year’s Eve is marking time by secular ritual. It’s honoring (and sometimes shedding) our past as we hold out our hopes for the future. And at its very best, it’s about doing those things collectively. In this, our new Birmingham era, what better way to celebrate the developments of 2016 than at one of them?

Art in Full View at Canary Gallery Downtown

canary gallery downtown

canary gallery downtown

While renovations were underway, a giant chandelier was the most distinguishing feature at Canary Gallery downtown. It’s still one of our favorites, but there’s no shortage of things to see now: crisp white walls display work ranging from bold pop art to soft country landscapes. Like its Loft District neighbors, the gallery puts an existing building to stylish mixed use.

What we especially like about this space is its visibility. Even when the gallery is closed, its corner spot with generous windows and ambient lighting means there’s something to see any time of day. It’s a boon for the neighborhood streetscape and part of a block undergoing rapid transformation. After all, Artefact Supply opened this fall, and our friends at Nequette Architecture and Design have their own plans nearby.

Perhaps the gallery’s most intriguing feature is its business model. The gallery describes itself as “a neighborhood art gallery, event space, and gathering spot.It’s a working gallery with art for sale, in other words, but it’s also a flexible multipurpose space befitting its downtown district. Downtown Birmingham is already a booming artistic space, but Canary adds something extra to the mix.

It’s hard not to daydream about hosting an event there. The floor plan’s easy flow and lofted nook invite mingling and lingering. Which is what owner Libby Pantazis had in mind, according to a profile in Iron City Ink.

And the tone of Canary Gallery is more reminiscent of Art Crawl than high society. It’s designed “to be a friendly, welcoming place, not a holy temple of art,” according to the Iron City Ink piece, which noted that gallery hours cater to the surrounding bar and restaurant scene. In fact, the gallery’s blog suggests restaurant patrons could spend their wait time over a glass of wine–available for purchase–and art.

A Neighborhood Aesthetic at Artefact Supply Downtown

artefact supply downtown

artefact supply downtown

Remember last year’s Glimmer pop-up by Charm on 2nd’s Chatham Hellmers? It won’t be around this holiday season, but a more permanent retail situation has taken its place. Brandon Hays opened Artefact Supply downtown this fall. Besides adding more sidewalk shopping, the store helps define a Loft District aesthetic.

With its cozy settee and an Oriental rug lounging across from the clothing displays, it’s easy to imagine this shop as a throwback to the district’s original commercial tenants. Artefact Supply’s menswear-only mission adds to that sensibility, creating the feel of a small tailor’s shop, for instance, rather than a modern boutique.

Labels here lean toward indie design, including the Florence-based Billy Reid. In fact, Reid was a major formative influence for Hays, according to the shop website. Drawn to the “timeless, classic styles and quality, craftsmanship” the label represented, Brandon began approaching his closet with that same eye. But he couldn’t find the kinds of clothes he was looking for locally and found online shopping uninspiring. He set about solving the problem for himself and others with Artefact Supply.

The shop was originally scheduled for the Box Row project in Avondale, but we think its final downtown location is a more perfect fit. With an indie aesthetic, booming food scene, and general loft-ness, it would be easy to categorize downtown as another Birmingham “Brooklyn.” But there’s a definite aesthetic that sets downtown apart, a distinct sense of polish. In fact, the combination of fancy architectural influences and nearby big business feels more New Orleans Central Business District to us.

The neighborhood is both humbly bespoke and also a little bit grand, from Heidi Elnora’s new atelier to the prevalence of Alabama marble. With its rich leather goods and fine knitwear, Artefact Supply fits both parts of the downtown style brief.

Food, Cute, Fun: Downtown Birmingham on Instagram

Sunset over Bham…

A post shared by H2 Real Estate (@h2realestate) on

There’s one downtown resident who makes modern interiors, city vistas, and even emergency medical procedures look squeal-out-loud adorable. It’s not a dog or even a child. Downtown Birmingham’s cutest Instagram belongs to a hedgehog named Kevin. But this gram-er in miniature’s feed is more than just cute animal photos. It’s a fun introduction to downtown living.

Kevin has the ultimate loft district accessory: a rooftop view. But having a bird’s eye on everything doesn’t stop him from exploring the neighborhood. Like most downtown Birmingham residents, he’s been photographed at Railroad Park, the Rotary Trail, and the Vulcan mural. He’s also hopped over to Sloss Furnaces and Cahaba Brewing, since neither are far down the road.

Besides his quills, Kevin surrounds himself with all of our downtown style goals. His open plan living space has bar area seating and a cozy sectional sofa. The kitchen has wide open shelves and industrial pendant lighting. It’s bright enough to support a fiddle-leaf fig, and the color palette of light neutrals only emphasizes natural light.  

Some days Kevin prefers lounging around his own space with his best pug friend–dogs are a common feature of Loft District living, after all. Others, he’ll ride a fanny pack to Chipotle in Parkside, which makes us jealous. And we imagine he dipped into Revelator Coffee while visiting 3rd Avenue’s public art.

Kevin is the ultimate snapshot, in other words, but there are another handful worthy of honorable mentions:

Feast & Forest has a beautifully styled feed. It’s full of natural light shots, an organic palette, and often some exposed brick. Besides shots of the Bandit Baking case and handmade pasta, the backgrounds alone are a Loft District style guide. Polished concrete, reclaimed wood, the aforementioned brick–the feed is exercise in rustic urban textures.

We Have Doughnuts is another hit of daily food fun, but it’s also a glimpse of street life. We love their Blach’s Loft Building location and their ability to inject fun into the workweek. They offered a treats-only Halloween to folks who showed up in costume and included games worth free doughnuts during the Rio Olympics.

The City of Birmingham has been offering more and more neighborhood events in the downtown area, from Food Truck Fridays to Prince memorial celebrations in Linn Park. The easiest way to keep track? Follow their Instagram feed. And for those events you can’t make, there may well be video clips to show a glimpse of what you missed.