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!
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.”
Weathering steel and charred Alabama cedar are accented by a bright pop of turquoise and a striking work of graffiti art. Image: Liesa Cole
The rooftop terrace has amazing views of the Magic City skyline. Image: Liesa Cole
A serene modern tub surrounded by natural elements is topped off with a statement-making light fixture. Image: Liesa Cole
Clean lines and walls of light with access to a surrounding porch create a rejuvenating refuge in this mostly black-and-white master bedroom. Image: Liesa Cole
The rooftop terrace sparkles alongside the twinkling lights of the Magic City. Image: Liesa Cole
“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.”
Windows are the soul of this office loft, allowing for gorgeous light to filter throughout the open-concept space and offering sweeping views of the city. Image: Luker Photography
The office coffee station and adjacent dining space feel like anything but your traditional “break room” and rather more like a chic boutique hotel. Image: Luker Photography
“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.
Creature designed this inventive movable separation wall between the living room and kitchen. Image: Creature
A wall of windows lets natural light flood the space. Repurposed items serve as functional furniture and wall art. Image: Creature
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.”
Metal is a through-line in this stunning loft space, accented by bright pops of color in furniture and modern art. Image: Liesa Cole of Studio GoodLight
Tammy and Richard commissioned a local artist to paint this dynamic mural in their uber-cool den. Image: Liesa Cole of Studio GoodLight
This loft kitchen distills the industrial warehouse look to an elegant and refined work of art. Image: Liesa Cole of Studio GoodLight
On the lower level, Tammy and Richard share their backyard and fire pit with their employees by day. By day’s end, they can enjoy views of the Magic City and Sloss Furnaces fireside or from their loft balcony. Image: Liesa Cole of Studio GoodLight
“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.”
The big city views from this loft double as a work of art in this calming loft. Image: The Pizitz
With its strong lines and bold palette, this kitchen exudes modernity and sophistication. Image: The Pizitz
The master bedroom opens into the living space via large sliding doors, allowing for both access to the natural light by day and privacy by night. Image: The Pizitz
“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.
This gorgeous bathroom offers one of the best views of the Magic City from the 18th floor of the John Hand building. Image: Creature
Mike Gibson, Creature’s Chief Design Officer, left the old marble hallway floors as a reminder of the historic building’s storied past. In their adaptive reuse projects, the firm seeks to honor the historic, old elements of a structure alongside cool, modern design. Image: Creature
Exposed brick peeks forth in interesting formations, almost like a work of modern art. Image: Creature
An imposing steel beam is a surefire conversation piece in this white and pastel blue kitchen. Image: Creature
The open floor plan allows natural light to flood the space from both sides. A wall of custom cabinetry doubles as storage and a privacy wall for more private spaces beyond. Image: Creature
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!”
A soothing color palette and a contemporary vibe were important to Elisa as she designed the space. Image: Alan Bates
Exposed brick lends a nice pop of texture, and translucent and polyresin architectural panels are placed in the entryway, allowing the natural light in, while maintaining privacy. Image: Alan Bates
Eliza incorporated curved lines and walls throughout for visual interest. The master bathroom features a Jacuzzi tub, walk-in shower, dual sinks and heated towel racks. Image: Alan Bates
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.”
Arched windows and balconies with views of the Magic City make this a space we’d love to call home. Image: Luker Photography
Founders Station residents have views of the iconic City Federal Building, and the parking pad, sidewalk and restaurant terrace allow pedestrians to easily move between Morris Avenue and First Avenue North. Image: Luker Photography
Residents get to enjoy this sunset over Red Mountain. Image: Luker Photography
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 art, pops of color and a mid-century modern influence make this space pop. Image: Mindy Rohr
Vibrant concert posters and rustic wooden furniture mix with modern furniture and a vintage rug for a look that teems with personality. Image: Mindy Rohr
The stunning rooftop pool at The Pizitz offers fabulous views of the city. Image: Mindy Rohr
Elegant textures in the more modern sitting area meet gorgeous antique furniture for a collected look. Image: Mindy Rohr
Velvet, floral, seagrass and a stately column topped with a botanical-inspired centerpiece stand in striking contrast to the modern kitchen beyond. Image: Mindy Rohr
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.
This multi-family complex with almost 14,000 square feet and 11 loft-apartment units is in downtown Birmingham. Image: Christopher Architecture & Interiors
We love how the light interplays with the gleaming stained concrete floors. Image: Luker Photography
Understated and modern, the fixtures and finishes are equal parts hip and elegant. Image: Luker Photography
Itching to move to downtown Birmingham yet? We sure are!
This article originally appeared on StyleBlueprint.