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Designer Couple Turns Old Firehouse into a Live-Work Haven

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Since it was first erected sometime around World War I, this firehouse in Montgomery, Alabama's historic Garden District has served as an annex for a public school and even a radio communications facility. For the last eight years, however, it's slowly been turned into an intimate and dynamic home for one enterprising couple. On the hunt for a one-of-a-kind "live/work" space, architect David Braly and landscape designer Mark Montoya found their solution in Montgomery's "Firehouse Nine," a defunct facility whose ground-floor equipment bay was just begging to be turned into a art studio (both men drawing and painting in addition to their day jobs.) The pair bought the property from the city for $110,000 in 2007, and, after successfully getting it rezoned as a private residence, began transforming it into a homey dwelling that still maintains the soul of the firehouse.

"We were going to figure out how to live in a firehouse, not turn a firehouse into something pretending to be a regular house," Montoya tells Preservation. To this end, the preservation-minded couple took advantage of the firehouse proportions. For example, the hallway on the second floor is more than 6 feet wide. "At that width, you can put furniture against the walls, so it can be a place to linger, not just pass through," Braly says.

Still, some changes were made, including turning a ground-floor kitchen into a guest room, installing a new kitchen and dining area on the second floor's large open-plan space, and covering walls of the master bedroom with pages from Grolier's encyclopedias (which can be "read while lying in bed.") For the full story on Braly and Montoya's conversion project and more photos, head over to Preservation.


And here's a video slideshow tour via Preservation:

· A Firehouse Home in Alabama [Preservation]
· Live in a Former Fire Station in Downtown Plymouth for $1.05M [Curbed National]
· Converted Firehouse From 'The Princess Diaries' Wants $2.6M [Curbed National]