City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Close Quarters

How one local family realized home is what you make of it

There are many things I hope to teach my children in life—but certainly at the top of the list are adapting their attitude to be flexible in new circumstances and cultivating their love of living in community with family and friends. As our year in a 1,400 square foot condo comes to a close, I can confidently say that experience is life’s greatest teacher, and my kids have done the homework and the extra credit with this particular assignment. With the older three kids sharing a room with three twin beds and one closet, the sense of possession over space and things has faded into the background while shared bedtime stories, late night laughter and bed-making competitions have taken center stage.

When thinking of where to live during the indefinite interim between selling our home and moving into
our next home, we knew we wanted something central, walkable and nearby our favorite amenities. When we found the condo, I knew this opportunity to live in Mountain Brook Village, in walking distance to so many restaurants and stores, would be an incredible experience for the kids. Although my Gilchrist account has suffered greatly, we have fully embraced walking to dinner, scooter-ing all around the Village and meeting up with friends for an afternoon Mountain Brook Creamery date or at the lemonade stands on Montevallo Road. We chose to view our time in the condo as a period in our lives where we get to live in the center of the action and be close to everything—and we did our best to take advantage of it.

Jeremy Clark has worked on several projects with our family and really understands how our family lives—read: we need durable coffee tables that can undergo a night time transformation to a stage for dance parties! He understood that we wanted to feel like the condo was home and an escape all at once. He executed a design plan that allowed us to love the space and feel no rush to leave because the condo did not feel “temporarily designed” or like a passing through phase in our journey. His eye for beauty is unmatched, and I appreciate all he does to make every house he works on feel like home.

Another challenge of condo living as a family of six is finding a way to make all of our things fit. Enter Laura Carden of Go Get Organized! Laura and her team showed us how to be efficient with the closet space we had, with an honorable mention to our three storage units at MorningStar. She used her expertise and experience to see how our family lives and translate that into a streamlined system that had everything we needed right at our fingertips.

More than anything, our time in communal living has made a lasting impact and has been the highlight of our year. We have a group of condo dwellers that meets every night on the patio for wine and cheese, and my children have formed special friendships with them. My son, Hobbs, busted in the front door the other night demanding his baseball glove and a baseball because Mr. Jim was outside and wanted to play ball with him. Other nights, I have stepped outside to see Mrs. Elise helping my daughter Charlotte with her math homework or my daughter Alice painting Ms. Mary Michael’s nails.

It may not seem like much, but I have been so inspired by the ways these people have become close friends and have chosen to step into our kids’ lives and play with them, help them with schoolwork, talk to them about life and develop them as people. Their bond goes beyond living in close proximity and is rooted in a community that takes care of one another. Tyler and I have enjoyed coming home from a long day of work and being able to catch up with everyone and decompress from our stressful day-to-day with meaningful conversations and quality time. Overall, our year of living in close quarters has proven to be a very special time for our family that I wouldn’t trade for anything.