2nd Avenue Storage

Walk to Your Storage Unit

Located in Birmingham, AL, 2nd Avenue Storage is the Loft District's source for all your storage and secure parking needs. 
Come see us next door to El Barrio. 


Filtering by Category: Construction

Urban Gardening

Ginkgo trees line 2nd Avenue. The city plants them in 4 foot square tree wells every 25 feet or so. The trees look great and add a lot of warmth to the neighborhood. The city does not plant or cover the wells, so a lot of them are just dirt. It would be nice to have a unified look for the neighborhood, but in the meantime it gives us residents an opportunity to get creative and do some gardening.

Two weeks ago we dug up the old dirt around the ginkgoes in front of the Counts Bros building and added some soil conditioner. We surrounded the wells with a wood border to keep in the soil and discourage pedestrians from stepping on the plants. The wood fit with El Barrio's look, and the guys seemed pleased with it, although I think they were just happy to get rid of what had become 4 foot ashtrays.

Before I talk about the plants, I have to admit I know very little about gardening so I probably choose some items that won't work with the sun or whatever. I took some pictures and brought them to a local garden store and they did the best they could advising me on what to plant. We planted jasmine and clematis around the base of the trees to add some leafy greenery at ground level. At the corners of the wells we planted small perennial flowers for some color. I wasn't sure how vegetables would do, but it was hard to resist planting some cayenne and other hot peppers. Primarily we stuck to herbs: chives, oregano, and basil. We also commandeered a couple of rosemary shoots from a nearby bush that was overgrown.

Urban gardening presents some challenges that you wouldn't have with a yard. For example, I don't have a water faucet on the first floor, and lugging buckets didn't seem like a lot of fun, so I had to come up with a creative way to water the plants.

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Making the Mural

It was hard for me not post pictures of the mural while it was in process. I have a terrible time keeping my mouth shut, particularly when I'm excited about something. I was already living upstairs when Shane B started working on it. Every night for a month, he'd come in around 9 and work until I'm not sure when. I'd always find some excuse to poke my head in and take a few work-in-progress pictures, and then hide them on my computer in a folder named "Don't Post, Idiot." I'd mentioned before that the mural was done entirely with spray paint, and that this amazed me. You can see that more in these pictures. For more pictures of the finished mural, look here.[gallery order="DESC"]

El Barrio Dining Room Preview

It should have been obvious, but it's recently come to my attention that Jeremy Erdreich must be a much smoother talker than I: He convinced El Barrio to let him post some dining room pictures, in particular the mural about which I was sworn to secrecy. It's a great article and you should definitely follow that link and take a look. In other news, Mike told me the health department inspection went well, and the guys moved in most of the dining room furniture this weekend.

Concrete... Oooh my!

Still breathing heavy from my scorching-hot 3-part series featuring piles of dirt? Well hold on to you pants. We're getting to the good stuff: concrete slabs. What?! Not enough, you say? OK, maybe I can throw in a little framing, but that's gonna cost you extra. The original pine floors were removed in El Barrio's bar and kitchen areas in order to replace them with concrete. For a professional kitchen, concrete is much safer and easier to clean. The wood was salvaged to be used in other places. After pouring concrete, framing began for the bar and some interior rooms.

The same day the contractor poured El Barrio's floor they also poured concrete in the residential entrance. Some of the wood at the residential entrance was damaged. We've tried to reuse and repair any of the original pine that we could, but here we cut out the rotten boards at a diagonal to be replaced with this concrete. It's pretty dirty in the picture below, but it's intended to add a little drama to the space with contrasting textures. Aside from being the entrance to my loft, Jerry and Roxane will eventually use this area as an office for Self-Storage management and real estate.

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El Barrio's Plumbing Installed

Continuing my photographic study of dirt, last week Appleseed finished laying out the plumbing for El Barrio. The long strip in the first shot is the bar. The larger area below is the kitchen area. These pipes will feed the various sinks, dishwashers, etc needed to run a restaurant. Should finish up with electrical this week. [gallery order="DESC"]

El Barrio Begins Buildout

El Barrio began their buildout last week, and Brian has been gracious enough to let me post some progress pictures as long as I don't spoil any surprises of the decor's Wow Factor. What I'm saying is: get ready to look at some pictures of dirt. The original pine floors were removed in the bar and kitchen areas in order to replace them with safer and easier to clean concrete. The salvaged wood was kept to use for patching the dining area floor, where the wood will remain.

As in the parking deck construction, below the wooden floors was a coal by-product filler, which is the dark patches you can see in the pictures. The dark patch towards the back is the kitchen area, and the thin strip running up the side is the bar, where they will feature fresh margaritas.

In other news, last night I gave the garage door opener to my first parking customer. Welcome, Darryl! And thanks for being so patient.

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Oh, I'm afraid the Big Ass Fan will be quite operational by the time your friends arrive

After a few tornado related delays, we're back on track to try for a Certificate of Occupancy by the end of the month. The parking deck is complete except for the concrete section below which will be El Barrio's grease traps. The rear stairs are almost finished and already looking pretty cool.

After the door hardware installation, the self-storage units themselves are complete. The security system should be finished soon. Unfortunately the freight elevator will most likely not be ready until next month.

My residence is nearing completion as well. All plumbing fixtures except the tub have been installed. The steel cabinetry is finished and the industrial feel will contrast the slick appliances, once installed.

The Big Ass Fan is installed. I took a picture of Mike standing under it, for scale. As you can see, it's big. Mike's idea for the fan was to have it peaking out halfway past the center dividing wall, to give the illusion of a giant circular saw coming towards the wooden beadboard wall.

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Countertops Made Out of Lava

I got this voice message: "Wade, It's Mike Gibson. Just calling to let you know the countertops are freaking awesome. Okay. That's it. Thanks. Bye." Appleseed's specialty is custom cabinetry. To keep with the industrial feel and exposed materials, they built the kitchen cabinetry out of steel rather than wood. I like to reuse as much of the building's original materials as possible so they incorporated two sturdy old wooden display tables into the base of the kitchen island. The tables were once used by the dry goods store.

I had originally wanted concrete countertops. Mike told me that if everything I used was rough, then it wouldn't look like I was doing it on purpose; it would just look rough. He said that I needed to put some nice features in to contrast the rough look. He suggested a white Alabama marble, which I just didn't like. His next suggestion was onyx. I looked around online to see some examples. Turns out, onyx is slightly translucent, so you can light it. I thought it would be cool to have a countertop that looked like glowing lava, or a forge to compliment the steel cabinetry. Ben figured out a way to run LED lights around the edge. You can see the results below, and it looks incredible.

The cabinets in the master bath are also steel. However, the guest bath has standard wooden cabinetry, but we did use onyx on top. Mike claims to have "a surprise" for the guest bath countertop, so we'll see what that is.

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