Written by Lindsey Osborne
Photography by Edward Badham
From Jared Pineda’s Homewood living room, you can see the cars pass by on Oxmoor Road, and, on Sunday mornings, the hundreds of people who come to worship at Trinity United Methodist Church across the street. It’s a good vantage point—perched on the top of a small hill—and the front of the house is nearly all windows. Pineda even walled in the old porch, so there’s a sitting area in the front of the room that allows for maximum people watching.
For Pineda, this modern home is a true labor of love. He bought it shortly after moving to Birmingham from Nashville in 2010. Pineda, an architect, was looking for a way to make his first stamp on Birmingham and offer tangible examples of his work. Built in 1956, the house, a foreclosure, was a great deal that he found through an auction. It once belonged to Trinity, who used it as a home for visiting pastors, but Pineda isn’t sure who lived in it before him—all he knows is that it was a mess.
He started immediately, first fixing up a room for him and his now 8-year-old son. He says that initially, the home, which was completely unkempt, was almost unlivable—Pineda’s mother wouldn’t even go in the first time he brought her over because it smelled so terrible. But slowly—it took him more than three years to finish completely—he worked to restore and elevate most every inch of the house.
The home’s living area is remarkably open, a gift Pineda gave the home. Before, walls separated the kitchen and living room; now, the only divider is a fireplace, separating a sitting area and a more laid-back living area. Vertical beams create a visual division between the kitchen and the living areas at large, but all remains open, with communication able to freely flow between the three.
The kitchen, previously a scene straight from the 1950s, boasts oak and birch wooden countertops (that Pineda and a friend built themselves), metal cupboards, and slate grey tile. Tucked under the other side of the large kitchen countertop are sleek black barstools, making the kitchen an eat-in space and further connecting it to the living areas. Another table, for more formal meals, sits just off the side of the kitchen. Throughout the kitchen—and the rest of the home—are accents that nod to the house’s overall modern aesthetic in tones of white, silver, and grey (all of the floors are some shade of grey in varied materials.) Pineda has been careful to hold out for things that truly matched his style, like an army green cowhide rug, and has gathered pieces over the years from his travels to round out the home.
The rest of the home follows in the kitchen’s sleek, modern suit. Pineda says he’s been told that the bathrooms are like “something at the W Hotel,” but he means that in a good way. Fresh, white walls pair well with dark grey accents and silver bathroom fixtures, including a rainfall showerhead and a pebbled shower floor in the master bath. Pineda uses one bedroom for his office, where he does freelance work as an architect. Another boasts bunk beds and a magnifying glass for his son. The master, too, is bright and airy. Pineda opted out of closets for the rooms to maximize space and instead hangs their clothes on rods, which works—it almost adds to the design and is motivation to keep his wardrobe in top condition, Pineda says.
Besides the electrical and plumbing, Pineda installed every update on the house himself, which he says helped him remain inside a tight budget while allowing for the upscale finish that he wanted. “I would say I did 95 percent of it myself,” he says. “I had to learn how to do things like drywall and tile. I did most of the work on the weekends, working as much as I could.” Pineda says the house reminds him a bit of a Californian home, which makes sense—his architectural foundation was laid in Los Angeles, at the University of Southern California. He spent two and a half years of the five-year architecture program there, before transferring to Auburn to be closer to his family (he is originally from Fort Payne, Alabama) and graduating in 2005. The connection is most noticeable in the way Pineda has installed the bank of sliding doors and windows along the front of the house—he says they all open all the way, truly establishing an open-air, no-walls feel.
Pineda has placed the house on the market on account of his upcoming marriage, but says that there’s no way he could have known how much he would fall for it and the city of Homewood. He is glad to leave this house as one of his marks on our city. “Modern residential homes are my passion, and there aren’t very many in Birmingham,” he says. “There aren’t many homes built this way in Birmingham, just renovated. All in all, I love how it turned out.”
View Jared Pineda’s website at www.archanearchitecture.com