Downtown Birmingham’s revitalization shows no sign of slowing down. From new restaurants, boutiques and hotels to a new brewery, a grocery store and a bevy of mixed-use developments with apartments and lofts — the urban heart of the Magic City is turning into a true metropolis. Where once there were mostly offices and lunch spots for those office-people, there is now a vibrant nightlife and amenities within walking distance that make living in downtown Birmingham a reality that more and more people are beginning to enjoy … which made us curious to see what these urban abodes look like. So, we’ve collected a glimpse into the fabulous loft spaces of downtown Birmingham for your voyeuristic viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
11 Stunning Lofts in Downtown Birmingham
Award-winning photographer Liesa Cole and her producer husband Stan Bedingfield live and work in this historic renovation, designed by CCR Architecture & Interiors. The first-floor photography studio and sometimes event venue, aptly named Studio GoodLight, is flooded with natural light via a variety of tubular skylights. “Starting with the back half of a one-story historic building (the front half was developed by others), the alley-facing entrance wall was clad in weathering steel with a second floor residential addition clad in Shou Sugi Ban, or charred Alabama Cedar, siding with a weathering steel stair turret leading to a roof terrace,” says architect Richard Carnaggio of CCR. “The three-story spiral staircase passes by the entrance to the residence, allowing guests and patrons of the studio to access the rooftop terrace while maintaining the residence’s privacy.”
The forward-thinking project won the Best of Residential Design award from The IDIE International Design Association in 2017, among other honors, and we can see why. “Our favorite thing about our live-work loft is its location directly above our studio and it’s adjacent to the Rotary Trail,” says Liesa. “And you can’t beat the convenience to our work — a short glide down the spiral stair — and the places we want to be downtown for culture, dining and entertainment.”
Chic City Living
“The Thomas Lofts are designed to provide custom home quality living in an urban authentic historic environment — where glass showers, expansive closets and luxury kitchens meet old brick walls and 1900s heart pine floors,” says Architect and President of Nequette Architecture & Design, Louis Nequette, the brains behind this mixed-use development named for his father. Situated along bustling Second Avenue North, The Thomas houses nine spacious one-bedroom loft apartments, a shared rooftop patio space and underground parking for tenants, two office suites, Nequette’s new office on the top floor and two ground-level commercial spaces, pre-equipped for restaurant tenants. Says Louis, “My favorite thing about The Thomas is the mix of people that comes and goes every day. We have residents and professionals, artists and techie creatives, all working and living in one building and the energy feels great.”
Cowboys vs. Aliens
“Think: Cowboys vs. Aliens,” says Mike Gibson, Chief Design Officer of Creature. “If you have never seen the movie, it is a juxtaposition of old and high tech. One that makes you step back and do a double take. Our projects represent the same style: adaptive reuse that pays homage to what was there, but also embraces modern design.” Exposed bricks and beams intermingle with pops of color and modern amenities. “This space celebrates the movable separation wall between the living and cooking areas,” says Mike of the unique piece designed and built by Creature.
Sunsets over Sloss
Tammy Cohen and Richard Carnaggio — President and Vice President, respectively, of CCR Architecture & Interiors — live in a stunning modern loft above their architecture firm. The building is a tilt-up concrete warehouse with steel framing, large open spaces and windows with fabulous views of Birmingham. “Our home is furnished with contemporary pieces to warm the warehouse aesthetic,” says Richard. “We enjoy collecting art and having local artists paint murals in the space.” Their son, Francisco, and dogs, Loki and Henry, also add warmth and personality to the space. “My favorite thing about our loft is the view to Sloss Furnaces and the amazing sunsets,” says Tammy. “We enjoy the Rotary Trail and our easy connection to the city center, dining and culture.”
Glamour in Gray Scale at The Pizitz
“The loft has a young and fresh industrial feel,” says Ginny Maguire, co-owner of AG Designs, of this space at The Pizitz. “They have an open-concept floor plan, sliding barn doors and amazing views.” Ginny and her interior design partner and co-owner, Annie Goldberg, designed a few of the first lofts in the newly renovated Pizitz building, creating an elegant, modern look in tones ranging from black to white. They relished the opportunity to work within the iconic Birmingham building. Says Annie, “The lofts are brand-new; however, they incorporate aspects that are original to this historical building.”
Sleek Reno in John Hand Building
“The renovation of the 18th story of the John Hand Building provided a canvas on which to celebrate the old and introduce the new modern clean lines favored by the owners,” says Mike Gibson of Creature. This sleek loft sets itself apart with its intentional and art-forward deconstructed style. Rustic steel beams glide across an otherwise gleaming modern kitchen and living space, where an old marble hallway floor snakes across the space, giving a sense of the building’s former life.
Morris Avenue “OG”
Twenty years ago, hardly anyone was living in downtown Birmingham. But Elisa Crowder was a trendsetter. Along the iconic cobblestoned Morris Avenue, she found a space she loved, which was formerly an art gallery, and set to work custom-creating the loft of her dreams, even installing a sound system throughout so she could enjoy music in every room.”I love how unique this loft is,” says Lynlee Hughes, Realtor with H2 Real Estate. “There is truly nothing else like it downtown. I’m also drawn to the amount of space — 2,000 square feet is a big-time luxury in the city!”
New Life in 100-Year-Old Building
These historic buildings near Birmingham’s “Heaviest Corner” were built during the city’s steel boom in 1887. And today, it is Founders Station, a newly renovated mixed-use development with residential lofts, as well as some restaurants on the street level. “It is not every day that we get to design a modern living space in a 100-year-old building,” says Mike Gibson of Creature. “From the creation of the new balconies to embracing the original brick and flooring, this project celebrates old and new.”
Personality at The Pizitz
These two lofts at The Pizitz capture each loft owner’s personal style. One exudes a rustic-meets-rock-and-roll vibe, while the other has a layered modern-meets-traditional look. And we couldn’t help but throw in the chic rooftop pool that all Pizitz loft owners enjoy!
Modern Industrial Lofts on 15th
Within walking distance of UAB and the famous Dreamland BBQ, the Lofts on 15th, designed by Christopher Architecture & Interiors, features open steel ceilings, steel windows and doors, large closets and stained concrete floors for a modern industrial, yet inviting vibe. The juxtaposition of concrete masonry with a Renaissance stone veneer is at once striking and appropriate for the structure’s urban setting. “My favorite part is the massive steel windows which introduce natural light into the spaces,” says Christopher Reebals, senior architect at Christopher Architecture & Interiors.
Itching to move to downtown Birmingham yet? We sure are!
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