My Home


When Liesa Cole and Stan Bedingfield wanted to consolidate home and photo studio, they found just the right location, infused with the energy and vitality of downtown.

We were working with local real estate broker Robert Crook. We looked at several buildings, but nothing seemed quite right. Either it was far too big, too small or completely overwhelming. Then Robert called to let us know about a property that wasn’t officially on the market yet.  We fell immediately in love with the location, right off the Rotary Trail, a block away from Publix and Railroad Park. Originally a livery for stabling horses, then an auto repair shop, it had been fallow for many years. It was in pretty bad shape. It even had a tree growing inside. But it was situated beautifully in the midst of the revitalized area we wanted to be.  And it had the perfect bones to be a studio, so we built our home on top.

We were fortunate enough to have Richard Carnaggio as our architect.  With his guidance we strived to create a re-imagined space in harmony with the history of the building and the industrial district it inhabits. The residence is clad in Alabama cedar in the Shou Sugi Ban style. This is an ancient Japanese technique that involves charring the wood to preserve it. This hearkens to the fact that the building was destroyed by fire mid-century. Plus it has the added benefit of never having to be painted. The studio below is clad in rusted corten as a nod to the industrial nature of the district’s history. There is also a turret on the roof, clad with naturally rusted metal. It houses the spiral staircase to the rooftop. But aesthetically it resonates like a smoke stack—again, congruous with Birmingham’s industrial past. The interiors are modern, bridged by whatever we could salvage from the original space, like the brick walls and steel bridge girders.

 

We have proximity to great food, bars, parks, theatres and venues. It encourages a walkable, bike-rideable lifestyle. We love the diversity of the neighborhood and the stimulation of all the happenings all around.

It is very exciting to be downtown.

 

The bursting revitalization, all the great restaurants, the sense of community, creative stimulation, the diversity of the inhabitants. I take a few laps around Railroad Park every day to either crank up or wind down the day. The backdrop of our city, the wonderful landscaping of the park, the families and children playing, the skate boards and bicycles and scooters zipping past, the passersby of all walks of life smiling and nodding, the Frisbees and footballs and kites in the air and the ducks waddling about…all of this makes me exceedingly happy.

Liesa Cole is a commercial and fine-arts photographer and a self-described “connoisseur of eccentricity.”

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