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 Tag: 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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Doors, Garage and Otherwise

Appleseed finished pouring the concrete on the first floor of the garage and started building the forms for the second floor. They also installed the garage doors. Until they get that second floor completed, the door leading to the second floor looks like it is hanging in space, which I think is a lot of fun for some reason. Work has started on the freight elevator, too. The components have arrived and scaffolding has been erected to install them.

Work on my loft continues. Interior doors have been hung. All tiling is complete. HVAC is installed. New Heart Pine boards have been installed in some of the damaged areas.

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Embarrassing Geekiness and Its Application to Color Selection

I was pretty torn over the paint colors, so I decided to draw the space and try out various colors. I can't draw rooms at all, and I ended up throwing away the drawing. I decided instead to try something that I can draw vaguely well, use the wood and brick colors that exist in the space, and try out various combinations of complimentary colors. When I picked out the colors, I took the drawing to Appleseed. Mike and Whitney said that no one had ever brought them a steampunk cowboy for color matching. After some snickering they hung it up on their wall. We've put some variations of the colors on the walls to see what I like. Mike described the green color as being inspired by copper patina. The residence will have a combination of this green and a mustard yellow.

The tile is almost finished in the bathrooms. I don't like cleaning shower doors and especially hate cleaning shower curtains, so I wanted a walk in shower with neither of these nuisances. Some of the brick will be exposed, and covered with a sealant. Tile protects the areas that will get more moisture exposure and creates a ledge for soap and shampoo.

The guest bath is a more traditional setup, with the same tile on the floor, and "subway" tiles on the wall.

The final tiled area is a utility room for hosing down camping and scuba gear. This room's sheet rock walls will be painted with a water resistant sealant.

Finally, we've started to pour concrete in the parking deck. For those of you familiar with the grease trap hold-up, we decided to concrete around the proposed area for the traps, until we have a 100% confirmation that they will be needed. Hopefully this will help me get a Certificate of Occupancy earlier, and I can finally stop having to sit in 280 traffic for 2 hours every day.

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