Water Works

Diamond in the rough. ©2008 Green Bottle Workshop LLC

Diamond in the rough. ©2008 Green Bottle Workshop LLC

Earlier this year, back when Liane and I were in the midst of our seemingly endless search for land or house, our dear friend (and RealtySouth realtor) Jonathan Thompson showed us a property in Vestavia that he was positively sure we’d find to be the end-all, be-all.

The building—an old, disused water filtration station for Birmingham Water Works—was certainly intriguing… no doubt about it. With a long, flat front elevation, and sturdy bones (mighty, mighty brick), it offered ample amounts of space, tall ceilings, and the prospect of living in one of our choice areas. In short, just about everything we were looking for.

But… we were, well, daunted.

I mean, who wouldn’t be just a tad intimidated by a building where one of the largest open spaces was home to two massively ginourmous, not-going-anywhere-without-a-fight steel filtration tanks?

Tanks, a lot! ©2008 Green Bottle Workshop LLC

Tanks, a lot! ©2008 Green Bottle Workshop LLC

Much to the chagrin of Mr. Thompson (sorry Jonathan!)—we decided to pass. Of course, we could see the potential. We just weren’t quite sure we had the where-with-all, grit, endurance, or fortitude to make it happen. But the Green Bottle gang? That, along with mucho talent and vision, they got in spades.

And so it was, just after we’d learned of the fortuitous price drop on the lot at 1133, that we received a call from Will at Green Bottle. He and co-captain Matthew had found something “potentially interesting”: an old utility building used for water filtration.

So there we were, reconsidering the possibility that maybe, just maybe this was the place. Or was it 1133 that we wanted?

We discussed with Green Bottle the pros and cons of new construction at 1133 versus a renovation of the Water Works, considering factors such as budget, the stipulations involved in our financing (we might have to live at the Water Works for a time during construction!), and, of course, the end aesthetic.

The Water Works re-do would lend itself more to an open floor plan with lots of exposed brick and industrial touches. We imagined a space not unlike some of the old warehouse loft conversions we had come to know (and enjoy) while living and working in Boston. What 1133 would look like, though, was completely up for grabs—limited only by our budget and the collective imagination of the Green Bottle gang.

We went with 1133… or haven’t you been paying attention? And the Water Works? Well, Green Bottle would still have their day with it. For while we were hemming and hawing and weighing and pondering (sorry Lou!), Matthew, and his lovely wife Mikel, came to fall in love with the diamond in the rough in Vestavia that scared us away.

It’s now the newest Green Bottle masterwork-in-progress… and well on its way to being M+Ms own first/last/dream home.

They’ve started a blog about it (like to hear it, here it go)… and here’s where the Water Works story continues…

Turning on the water works. ©2008 Green Bottle Workshop LLC

Turning on the water works. ©2008 Green Bottle Workshop LLC


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October 2008
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