Since the kitchen is closer to being finished and has been cleaned up a little, last night we got to actually cook the first meal in the kitchen! (Warming up a frozen pizza in the oven doesn’t count.) A few pictures were taken of the now usable kitchen:
Cutting onions on the butcher block countertop
Cooking on Gas cooktop
Ready to eat–while sitting at the table!
Mashed potatoes, onions, and sausage–Yum!


Lots of progress in the kitchen/dining room

Big news of the weekend: After spending all afternoon working on this, the new refrigerator is finally in the kitchen! It was quite a complicated process to make this happen. The doorway from the living room to the kitchen is 30 inches wide. The depth of the refrigerator without doors or anything else sticking out is 29 inches. We had to remove the refrigerator doors and remove part of what the freezer door is anchored to on the bottom. As if disassembling the fridge and getting it into the kitchen wasn’t enough, we then had to piece it all back together.

Two other things finished this weekend as well–the red dining room chairs and moving the butcher block upstairs!

The butcher block weighs at least 200 pounds, so it wasn’t something that one person could move up the stairs alone (or the boy + girl could do–the girl doesn’t have enough muscles for this). A friend came over to help move it up the stairs, prepare the counter base to have the butcher block screwed in, and put the butcher block on top of the base (with screws holding it in place).

The red paint on the chairs was finished a few days ago and just needed a clear coat. We tried putting a clear coat on it a few days ago, but it just brushed off like dust when it dried–it didn’t seem to stick to the red paint at all. So, we went to buy some more clear gloss paint (same brand) to try and it worked this time!


The list of things to finish in the kitchen and dining room is getting smaller and it is actually starting to look more like a usable room.

Tile floor = finished!

This weekend, the remainder of the tile was cut and laid and grout was put in. Now that the kitchen/dining room floor is finished, we can now start the process of making it look a little more like a room instead of a storage/work space. We also found a glass table on craigslist and went to look at it today–should be able to pick it up and move it over here in a couple days. We didn’t have to go far to get it either–just .8 miles away in Crestwood North. The dining room chairs are closer to being ready, so maybe in the next few days the dining room will be ready to have pictures posted.

Paint progress–All doors and trim in the hallway and hall bathroom have been painted white. The only thing left to paint is the door in the dining room and touch ups of gray in the hallway. There are a couple other painting projects that need to be done at some point, but those will wait a little while longer.

We’ve briefly mentioned the Gunlocke chairs in the living room before, and we thought it was about time to actually show them to you. These were the chairs where we bought one (the brown one) from a local modern furniture seller then, a couple weeks later, happened to find one just like it (though green) at What’s on 2nd?


If you would like to help out the Crestwood community, please consider donating to my friend’s kickstarter program to provide a bi-monthly newsletter to the crestwood area.  She is the founder of the35212 and has been a very strong supporter of our community and its residents.

Largest project to date

The tile is down and ready to be grouted. Dog is excited to have tile floors to help him stay cool. He also enjoys trying to eat spacers, which has been a minor inconvenience.

Tile floor (and dog)

The original linen wallpaper has also been removed from the master bathroom. After hearing horror stories about removing wallpaper, we were a little worried about how difficult it might be to get it off and had been discussing the possibility of  painting on top of it. Just out of curiosity, we decided to try to peel a little piece of it off from around the window. To our surprise, it came off pretty easily. 10 minutes later, we had all the wallpaper down! Now we just have to get the 50 year old glue removed from the walls and prep for paint. After removing the wallpaper, moving the bathroom mats out of the way, and pushing the curtain out of the way, we also realized that the bathroom tile wasn’t nearly as pink as we originally thought.

Not quite as exciting, the white paint has been finished on the doors and trim in the hallway and primer has been put on the door and trim on the inside of the hall bathroom. The hall bathroom shows the biggest improvement from this–it used to be yellow.

Next on the agenda–subway tile backsplash

Small Steps Have Been Made

We haven’t quit working on the house. There has been a little bit of a pause in work for the past week, though. All the supplies to lay the tile have been purchased, and the decision has been made to hire someone to lay the tile which just hasn’t happened yet. Once this happens, we can get the refrigerator moved out of the living room and into the kitchen and get the kitchen set up. We can also figure out exactly what to do about the dining room table legs. Once the refrigerator is out of the living room, that should help the living room to start looking like a normal room–not a storage location for random objects that can’t go anywhere else.

We’ve worked on a couple things since the last post–painting all the doors and trim in the hallway (haven’t finished it yet) and painting all of the dining room chairs…RED.  That isn’t all that exciting to see a picture of, though.  You can wait til the table is ready…right?

Some of the next things that will be worked on are: a butcher block bar in the kitchen, a section of granite on the counter, get a sofa (no place to put it at the moment, 2 refrigerators are taking up my living room), finish cleaning the range hood, and put the backsplash up in the kitchen. I’m thinking the backspash will had a huge amount.  Goodbye laminate 15 inch backsplash!

Build Project #2: Office Desk


The desk in the office (1 of 2) is complete–the computer now has a space to sit!

This desk is made of an old door and sawhorse legs (building plan from Ana White). After reading comments on the instructions page, we decided to use two 2x4s as crossbeams instead of one 2×6, so that there would be some shelf space. The desk we made doesn’t exactly match the measurements on the plan. Maybe the wood cuts weren’t exact enough, maybe attaching the legs wasn’t precise enough. Whatever the problem, though, we still managed to end up with standing (and stable) legs for this desk. One problem we consistently had the entire time we were making this was how often the wood cracked. Our biggest problem with cracking wood occurred with the 2x6s, though it also happened with some of the 2x2s.  In the end, we came out with a great computer table with storage for not much $$!


About a week ago the kitchen looked like this:

As of Saturday, 225 square feet of backerboard is finished and ready for the tile to be put down. The humans are happy to be finished with this. The dog is happy too, since we are one step closer to him being able to roam the house while he’s at home alone. He’s also looking forward to more surface to slide around on.

Also…notice the white cabinets. Two layers of primer + two layers of Behr Premium Plus Ultra (Ultra Pure White) + some touch ups = they actually look white now!


Living room

Reminder of before:

Before: Living Room

Living room as of now:
Living Room

Changes that have been made to the living room:
It has been painted (only one layer of paint!)
Curtains taken down (I’m a little disappointed those original curtains don’t show up in the pictures) and blinds put up. Had to get custom cut blinds thanks to having 41.5 inch windows.
Slowly working on getting furniture. So far the room has a couple side chairs and a coffee table. Hopefully there will be a sofa soon (looking at this sofa). The sofa in there right now was actually intended to be put in the office (already owned this), but its size prevents it from getting there…so, it stays in the living room.
As you can see from the picture, the new refrigerator is currently hanging out in the living room. It will be here until the tile floor is completed in the kitchen.

Paint color: Behr Premium Plus Ultra: Creek Bend
Side chairs: Gunlocke–bought one from a local modern furniture seller then happened to find another one just like it (though a different color) at What’s on 2nd?
Coffee table: Adrian Pearsall–found at What’s on 2nd?

Meet the house

Meet the house. It is 51 years old, well built and in good condition. It was purchased from an older lady–she took good care of it, lived here for 43 years, and moved because it was getting too hard to go up and down the basement stairs. The before pictures were taken before all of her stuff was moved out, though she didn’t still live there at the time.

Before: Living Room
Before: Dining Room/Kitchen
Before: Kitchen
Before: Master Bedroom
Before: Master Bathroom
Before: Bedroom 2
Before: Bedroom 3
Before: Hall Bathroom
Before: Garage

Crestwood South

description from: Crestwood South…a brief history
links to news articles from: Birmingham Public Library Digital Collection

Crestwood South began to take shape as early as 1947. A Post-war America (1945-1960) brought with it an economic boom with the growth of cities and towns all across America; the City of Birmingham was no exception. A strong post-war economy also resulted in a population boom. As housing shortages quickly mounted, land developers in the Birmingham area emerged in full force to meet the demand for new housing. Jackson Securities and Investment Company led the initial development of the Crestwood South area.

Fashionable Homes in Crestwood (1949)

As “Birmingham’s most important subdivision” (Birmingham News, circa 1952) continued to evolve, so did its name. Crestwood South was once referred to by many names, but predominantly either Crestwood or Crestwood Hills. Throughout the developmental years, areas which lie adjacent (north and south) to the “New Atlanta Highway” (Highway 78/ Crestwood Boulevard), were referred to as Crestwood. The crossroads of the Crestwood Community undoubtedly lie at the intersection of Crestwood Boulevard and 56th Street. Over the next decade Crestwood South would continue to grow.

Crestwood Hills–Birmingham’s Most Important Subdivision since the ’20’s (1956)

Crestwood South experienced exceptional growth between the mid 1950’s and early 1960’s The neighborhood had lived up to its earlier title and had become one of Birmingham’s most desirable neighborhoods. Contributing factors such as its close proximity to the city center and the construction of wonderful new homes in an architectural style known as “mid-century modern” greatly increased interest in the neighborhood. Other contributing factors were the wonderful schools (Comer, Minnie Holman, Woodlawn, McElwain), various civic clubs, organized little league football (Crestwood Colts) and holiday traditions such as pictures with Santa at the Crestwood Park Pavillion, the beloved “candy throwing Santa” on Clairmont Avenue, as well as the coveted prize for “Best Door Decoration”.

The neighborhood continued to thrive throughout the 1960’s, but did so against a backdrop of a rising movement that would be the most important movement the world would ever know. The Civil Rights Movement provided, among many great things, a future opportunity for the neighborhood to grow in a new, human way; learning the values of diversity, tolerance, acceptance and equal rights along the way. There were struggles that lined the path, but Crestwood South would emerge forever changed and, as result, would continue to grow and become one of Birmingham’s most diverse communities.

Although the late 1970’s and early 1980’s brought some decline in growth for urban neighborhoods in general, it would be the 1990’s that would usher-in the urban-professional renaissance that transformed the neighborhood and community, seemingly overnight. The results were increased real estate values, increased interest in community affairs and a community that welcomed the new faces of Crestwood South – new faces that melded with the existing “pioneer residents” of the neighborhood’s early beginnings. Together the residents began to share a common vision of diversity which, even today, continues to propel the neighborhood further into the 21st century. The reality of Crestwood South’s diverse community of neighbors is as solid as the mountainside of iron-ore which serves as its backdrop.