2012 1st Ave N.
Birmingham, Al 35203

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Pre-Construction Incentive at The New Ideal

On February 15th all New Ideal pre-construction pricing will end and pricing on all remaining units will increase by 2%! Anyone who signs a contract by February 14th will still enjoy pre-construction pricing, as well as 2% of their purchase price in the form a credit to be used towards finish upgrades! The move to contract only requires a $10,000 earnest money deposit. No additional funds are due until the completion and closing on your unit!

Whether you’re looking for a Micro, One Bedroom, or Two Bedroom unit, The New Ideal offers numerous floor plan options in all different sizes and pricing! The award-winning architects at Creature designed these plans and the project is expected to be completed in 2019. Located in The Theatre District, The Alabama and Lyric Theatres are just steps from your door!

Take a look into the future at The New Ideal

You’ll choose from the standard finish plan, a light upgrade package or dark upgrade package. Have you ever wanted an island with a waterfall edge, beautiful white quartz counters or a floating vanity? All of these features are upgrade options! You can even put this credit towards appliance upgrades!

Special offer: Sign a contract by February 14th and enjoy a 4% savings!

Unit 408B is a fabulous corner unit located on the fourth floor with exposed brick, 14 foot ceilings and large windows overlooking 18th Street and 2nd Avenue North! See this unit below pictured in the standard, light and dark package options.

Standard Package

Light Package

Dark Upgrade Package

Appliance Package

With 19-one bedrooms, 15-two bedrooms and 8-micro units, there’s a floor plan option for every personality. Prefer outdoor space? Unit 207B is one of only 3 units with a private patio in the community courtyard area! Just look at the light pouring into this living room below!

Take a closer look at 3 floor plan options here:

304B (2BR/2BA)

101B (2BR/1BA)

306B (1BR/1BA)

201A (Micro)

Did you know when you live at The New Ideal you’ll be neighbors with The Piztiz? Enjoy awesome restaurants like Ono Poke, Alabama Biscuit and The Louis Bar, right at your fingertips. Recently, The Sidewalk Film Festival announced their plans to integrate a cinema into the basement of The Pizitz and construction is underway! There’s no shortage of excitement happening in the downtown neighborhood!



Design Notes From a Boutique Build

h2 boutique build in crestline

h2 boutique build in crestline

The Crestline custom home in our Instagram feed is not just an H2 build but an H2 home. It belongs to one of our co-founders, and we love showing it off. But this boutique build is about more than personal style; it’s about the way we do business. We believe so much in our partners at Nequette Architecture & Design because we live with their work.

Consider the way Louis Nequette described the project in an Instagram post:

“How do you design a new roomy house in an old established neighborhood without killing the old school street scale? This courtyard house in Mountain Brook maintains a cozy Crestline cottage scale from the street while wrapping it’s floor plan all the way around a private courtyard pool. 3 Bedrooms in the attic line expand the design to support this ever-growing family.”

It’s the epitome of our boutique build philosophy, where space matters but quality matters more. Located in an older neighborhood, the design can’t rely on overblown entryways and conspicuous volume. It can’t rely on sheer square footage to carve out enough space for a family. That’s where design comes in.

It relies instead on the comfortable luxury of stairwells steeped in sunlight, of archways and corbels, and an open plan that refuses to be just another box. And while it’s true that this level of detail really only comes with custom design, we think you’ll notice elements that have made it into more turnkey builds. Into places like the Gladstone.

The bottom line is this: the folks who design your H2 community home are the same ones who design ours. Theirs is the work we know and the vision we trust.

And the trust works both ways. Designer Bill Aroosian lives at Abbey Road, where he designed the kitchens. Jeffrey Dungan, of the former Dungan Nequette partnership, also made his home there. They had enough faith in our communities they literally bought into them. It’s our favorite kind of testimonial.

YP Tips: Brand Evolution with John's City Diner

john's city diner


Shannon Gober opened John’s City Diner in 2004 on the bones of Birmingham’s iconic John’s restaurant. The recession took its toll on the downtown neighborhood, he said, but he’s also seen a Loft District rebirth. Throughout the changing business environment, Gober has developed a clear sense of his diner brand and a healthy perspective on Magic City competition.

We tend to think of business competition as being one against external forces, but Gober said John’s has struggled mightily against its own history. The inaugural years of John’s City Diner were plagued by mistaken identity, he said, with customers unclear about the difference between the diner and the former restaurant. “We want to pay a lot of homage to that restaurant being there, to what it meant to the city, but also at the same time let people realize that we are a completely different restaurant,” Gober explained.

Part of that effort has been the series of physical changes to the diner, creating a space that’s visually distinct from the old John’s restaurant, according to Gober. But he’s also created a food perspective that sets the diner version apart, he said, focusing on local ingredients free of things like antibiotics and GMO tinkering.

Gober hasn’t simply had to differentiate himself against the old John’s, though. He’s also had to face a classic business problem: if an idea you helped pioneer has become the new standard, where do you go from there? The standard, in this case, being chicken and waffles.

“One of the things that we put on our menu several years ago was chicken and waffles, and we were really the first restaurant that I’m aware of to really go full-force with chicken and waffles,” Gober said. “And that has been something that really has almost developed a cult following if you will, and now, if you look around, you see chicken and waffles on menus all over the place.”

The waffle tale doesn’t come up as a complaint, but in the story of John’s newest menu revisions, which include two variations on the original dish. By adding Nashville and Hong styles, Gober is able to evolve the dish and incorporate new food ideas. The new dishes “introduce some things that are really who we are, which is elevating these old-school classics,” he said, “so we constantly look for those things that are popping up or things that might be a little different that people in Birmingham maybe haven’t had.”

Meanwhile, Gober acknowledges that the growing restaurant options in the Loft District around John’s could be construed as a threat. But he doesn’t see it that way. More business density means more people in the neighborhood, he explained, and more potential customers. “As far as we’re concerned, we’re happy to have it,” Gober said.

“And so before, where downtown really felt more like a city center, now our area in particular — here within a couple blocks of the restaurant, in the loft district — has kind of become a neighborhood area, almost like you would see in any residential neighborhood out there.”

Downtown Spotlight: Uptown & the BJCC

Image via Uptown Birmingham

So much of Birmingham’s charm is in the small, independent spaces that do one or two things really well. But every city needs a space capable of being almost all things to most people. Every city needs a space that’s equally friendly to Jay Z and boat shows, Swan Lake and monster trucks. The Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex is exactly that space, our city’s ultimate blank canvas.

This weekend it’s home to BrickFair Birmingham, a gathering for our very favorite kind of DIY builder: the Lego hobbyist. Lego builds remind us of cross stitch in 3-D, creating infinitely complex designs from a series of simple geometric shapes. We also appreciate the everyman artistic potential showcased in structures of plastic brick.

A large scale show-and-tell for Lego enthusiasts, BrickFair’s facebook page promises a wide sampling of designs across more than 58,000 square feet in the BJCC’s East Hall. Footage from last year’s convention shows large scale battle scenes, entire cityscapes, and Fantasia Mickey Mouse charming a mop and bucket. All that for an entrance fee of only $10.

But even if you’re not the convention type, there are still plenty of reasons to head toward the BJCC this weekend, all located in its surrounding Uptown Entertainment District. With solid food and drink choices at Bottle & Bone, Cantina Laredo, and Texas de Brazil, among others, Uptown has made the BJCC area part of our regular social lives. No longer just a venue for traveling exhibitions, it’s a setting for an average Saturday night. Whether it’s lamb chops at Texas de Brazil, the mead menu at Todd English P.U.B., or fried pickles at The Southern Kitchen & Bar, there’s something for everyone here, too.

Bham Eats: A Pizza Lover's Guide to Birmingham

It may have Italian origins, but there’s an entire pizza culture that’s quintessentially American. And with the influences of hyperlocalism, traditional craftsmanship and, yes, hipsterdom, we think the pizza scene in Birmingham is as much a melting pot as it’s ever been. More than that, we think the pizza joints available say a lot about their respective neighborhoods. To prove our point, we’ve created a two-part style profile for the Birmingham pizza scene.


Features: historic commercial buildings, new loft spaces, professional commuters, a modern-traditional food scene

Image via The Cynical Cook

Trattoria Centrale features pizza in its lunch and brunch menus, and it remains one of our favorite spots. (You could say they had us at a pie called “porkalicious.”) Their pizzas feature classic ingredients – mushrooms, sausage, cheese – in keeping with a traditionalist’s view of pizza, but the product is not something an Italian would recognize. It’s a nod to old world ideas with a square, modern shape befitting the surrounding area’s loft residences and new live/work spaces. Trattoria generally sells by the slice, but whole and half pies are also an option. And if you happen to over buy, remember our new offices are right around the corner.


Features: brainy, diverse UAB university and hospital district; contemporary Birmingham’s original quirky social scene

Image via urbanspoon


Rocky’s Pizza and Italian Foods has a reputation for hearty, filling pies that feels right for a place named after a Stallone character. And you know you’re not leaving hungry from a joint that also boasts a hot muffaletta. Because it’s on Southside – with its crazy blend of students, bars, and medical professionals – Rocky’s has a surprising number of fruit toppings and a naan crust option.

Hungry Howie’s is shouting distance from many of the UAB dorms. Equally adept at fueling study sessions or aiding bar recovery, this place is basically the indie-ish version of Domino’s.

Image via Cosmo’s Pizza

Cosmo’s Pizza has a classic look, a fantastic handmade crust, and an eclectic blend of specialty pies. As far as we know, it’s the only place in town where you can request alligator sausage or a yellow pepper sauce, and its drunk diner vibe is the perfect fit for a Five Points location.

Image via Mellow Mushroom


Mellow Mushroom is the pizza place that feels like a neighborhood bar, complete with trivia nights and a large draft menu. With its comfortingly fluffy crust and heavier-than-average rotation of veggie toppings, it almost feels healthy, like you could eat here and still shop at the Golden Temple.

Next week we’ll explore options to the east, including Lakeview and Avondale.


Forest Park Spotlight: Full Circle


Full Circle specializes in all of life’s little accessories. They’re not technically necessities, but they’re essential for the life well lived.

For instance, we find there’s always someone in our lives who needs a genuine Certificate of Awesome card. Full Circle also stocks a library checkout card-styled option that lets you check by the purpose of your greeting, which makes it our go-to emergency, all occasion card. (Unless you’ve received one from us, in which case, it was definitely calibrated to your specific tastes.)


Much of the shop feels like someone with style similar to ours has gathered up the very best items so they would be waiting for us next time we need a thoughtful gift, or a bit of retail therapy. The shop interior, with its warm woods and oriental rugs, has a luxe homey vibe suggestive of high quality goods that lean cozy rather than fancy.

The small women’s clothing section showcases soft fabrics and easy draping, equally appropriate with structured pieces at work and organic cotton leggings at home. The handbag selection of cute, carry everything totes and slouchy clutches are perfect for effortless street style, the kind that looks cute but still has to carry cash, keys, and a smartphone. Which is to say our female team members are eyeing presents for themselves there too.


Full Circle is a gift shop in the best sense of the word, stocking charming items that you’d be proud to give and delighted to receive. They’re things with a practical purpose – cloth children’s books and Bavarian felted coasters – that are too cute to be fully utilitarian. They’re the kind of things we don’t always think to buy ourselves but that make the absolute perfect present.

Welcome to Forest Park. It’s thoughtful and lovely here.

Lakeview Spotlight: Birmingham Breadworks

photo 1

Depending on your attitude toward carbohydrates, a great neighborhood bakery is either an occasional luxury or a daily necessity. Either way, we’re happy to report that Birmingham Breadworks has joined the Lakeview neighborhood, and they’re doing a delicious business.

It’s a stripped-down space for a stripped-down concept: “The best bread in Birmingham.” There are brick floors, rough walls, an old couch against one wall,  clusters of chairs around serviceable tables, and only a few historical photos for decoration. The fanciest part of the shop is the bakery serving area, which is, we think, as it should be.

There’s a case of eat-alone creations, both sweet and savory, plus shelves of bread items ready for a week’s worth of sandwiches or a hearty dinner party. The menu is small enough to be plainly written on the wall, and it has three categories: Bread, Pastry, Coffee.

photo 3

So far we’ve tried the pain au chocolat and the asiago bacon focaccia. We recommend both, but the focaccia stole the show. Its texture was somewhere between a dinner roll and an Italian pizza dough, soft but chewy in the center with a solid crisped crust. (We’ve gotten so used to the dense, flattened bread that passes as focaccia in grocery store bakeries, we had no idea what we were missing.) The bacon and cheese baked into the top are smoky and crunchy and extra delicious. Co-owner and baker Corey Hinkel pointed to the magic of bacon grease in acceptance of our praise.

The word rustic gets thrown around a lot these days, but we’re hard pressed to come up with a better one for Birmingham Breadworks. It’s not flashy or fancy, but it’s solid food from bakers who want to know you enjoyed it. It is neighborhood in a nutshell.

We couldn’t bear to leave empty handed, so we also snagged a bag of brioche buns to go. We’ll let you know how long they last.



Bham Events: January Theater

If your January could use some hilarity, you’re in luck. This month’s Birmingham arts schedule features three shows that promise a heaping dose of absurdity – the good kind – from our homegrown theater scene.

Image via Theatre Downtown

Beginning January 8th, Theatre Downtown presents Peter Nachtrieb’s Bob: A Life in Five Acts. The play’s synopsis of acts presents the main character, Bob, as a series of resurrection tales. He’s an orphan who rises from fast food obscurity to have his heart shattered, undertake an epic journey, find a version of success, follow it with redemption, and then “the rest.” The Theatre Downtown promises a character who “follows the journey we all take through life, and the weird and wonderful characters we meet along the way.”

Image via Virginia Samford Theatre

The Producers, that show business classic, opens at the Virginia Samford Theatre on January 22nd. Besides the timeless tale of theater hacks who conjure up “Springtime for Hitler” in a bid to close quickly and avoid investor payouts, this production includes local tap group the Birmingham Sugar Babies. This self-described group of “lovely, mature ladies” formed in 2002 for a single theater run and have been together ever since. They “range in age from 53 to 71 years young.” (Ed. note: The Sugar Babies are not included in our promise of absurdity. They are merely awesome.)

Image via Terrific New Theatre

Opening January 29th is Terrific New Theatre’s production of I’ll Eat You Last. Bette Midler premiered the role of Sue Mengers, agent to the stars and keeper of their secrets, on Broadway in 2013. Midler called the show’s writing “irresistible,” and the New York Times noted that it broke even only eight weeks into its run, which is almost unheard of. Kristin Staskowski plays Mengers in the Birmingham production, where Thursday shows – besides opening nights – are “pay what you can afford.”

Bham Beverages: A Bloody Mary Roundup


The new year is a symbolic fresh start, a time to shake off our disappointments of the past and move forward to new adventures. But after a whole holiday season – not to mention New Year’s Eve – we don’t always feel fresh come January. Sometimes it’s good to look back to old wisdom for solutions, and sometimes those solutions mean a slight repeat of the behavior that got you here. Sometimes, you just need a little hair of the dog.

Like many a recovering reveler before us, we tend to choose the Bloody Mary as our elixir of choice, blending past mistakes with hearty tomato juice, a hit of spice, and a sprinkling of vegetables to assure ourselves we’re taking the healthy approach.

Fortunately, Birmingham is a brunch-inspired kinda place, and there are plenty of neighborhood beverage options. We’ve put together a handy reference guide below, so your metaphorical dog is never far away.

Highland Park

Rojo serves a classic Bloody Mary, by the glass or by the pitcher, at Saturday and Sunday brunch. Add in some bracing park time, and you’ll be on track with healthy resolutions.

Garage Cafe‘s Bloody Mary earned a mention in Southern Living, which recommended their “from-scratch bloody mary with eight different spices.” Available today and Saturday after 11 and Sunday after 3.


Five Bar offers the Bloody Mary Bar (!!!) at their Sunday brunch. If the standard bartender never gives you quite enough olives, this one’s for you.

Five Points

Cosmos also offers a Bloody Mary Bar during their Sunday brunch, with what appears to be a generous range of hot sauce options.


El Barrio mixes up a Bloody Maria during Saturday brunch hours, which sounds like a great way to vary your habits in the new year.

The Collins Bar, home of the custom cocktail, will tweak the recipe just for you today and Saturday after 2 and Sunday after 6.


Melt serves a Bloody Mary that sounds like a meal with habanero jack cheese and bacon, today and Saturday.

Bottletree includes a Spicy Bloody Mary on their Sunday brunch menu, along with vegetarian and vegan food selections for the full-on detox experience.

Forest Park

Silvertron also serves by the pitcher during Sunday brunch, providing the perfect pairing for a Crab and Shrimp Cake Benedict.

Downtown Spotlight: The Florentine Building

photo (2)

You know that feeling you get when you enter the Alabama Theatre? That feeling of being transported to a world where everything is just a bit richer and shinier and more magical than the world you’re used to? The Florentine Building evokes similar feelings, but you feel them just as strongly from the street.

The Florentine facade features marble and moldings and arched windows and a Mediterranean tile roof. It has rows of columns framing the second story windows plus a horizontal stripe effect from contrasting stone. And all of that is just on the outside.

But like many of Birmingham’s great architectural treasures, it sat underutilized. It’s bottom floor had been divided up into small businesses–we remember a tailor and a hot dog stand–while its second story was empty in recent years (and we imagine very, very sad). It was basically the beast’s castle in the pre-Belle era: There was still life stirring there, but only slightly.

Ballroom before image via The Florentine

This year, all that changed. Coretti Catering began a full-scale renovation of the building, which is slated to become a restaurant on the street level and an event space in the second-story ballroom, AL.com reported. One lucky couple christened the building with their wedding reception this month, and we think it’s safe to anticipate many more glamorous events to come.

Even when it’s not hosting a dream reception, the building brightens up the neighborhood at night with colored lighting inside the ballroom and warm, white light along the exterior molding. It’s twinkling and magical, like holiday lights welcome all year long.

Ballroom after image via The Florentine

The Florentine was conceived as an elaborate effort to woo a local lady, the building’s owners say, a private love letter that made its mark on the whole city. We say it’s fresh start is our favorite sign of our fair city’s readiness to welcome a gorgeous new year.

As we close out 2014, we thank you for being part of our online community. We look forward to welcoming you back in 2015 and finding new local treasures to share.

Happy New Year, Birmingham!