I’ve recently become very interested in small space living, and couldn’t be more excited that we have a diminutive dwelling to share with y’all today! Kelly and Andrew have packed every inch full of meaningful mementos and inspired finds, and I know you will love taking a peek inside their Birmingham carriage house home. Hugs to Jean Allsopp for sharing these lovely photos!
P.S. Ready for another tiny carriage house? Don’t miss Meg + Josh’s tour!
The couple: Kelly Kinnaird, 25, and Andrew Kinnaird, 25
Years married: One year and three weeks – we made it!
Where you live: Homewood, Alabama
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Kelly is a graphic designer who recently launched a custom wedding invitation business. She loves dark nail polish, salty foods, and warm socks. Andrew works as a manager in telecommunications, making it possible for you to get cell phone signal at large venues. He loves dabbling in videography, fixing things, and kayaking after a good storm. We were both born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. We fell in love in college over four years of undeniable chemistry, late night Frosties, great music, love letters in Maine, and genuine conversation.
What is your favorite part of being married? We have such a wonderful, deep friendship that began long before we dated. Now that we are married, we love that we get to just hang out with each other every single day, deepening that friendship that brought us to love in the first place.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? To truly have a fulfilling, successful marriage, you must completely let go of yourself and your needs and serve your spouse daily. When you become selfless and intentional on a daily basis – not just every once and a while or when it is convenient – needs are met, hearts are filled, and the relationship thrives. It is a choice every day.
Do you rent or own? We are currently renting an adorable carriage house in Homewood, Alabama. It’s a quaint little area that looks straight out of a movie. We walk to the library, the park, coffee shops, stores, restaurants, and more. We are only minutes from downtown Birmingham, which makes it easy to pop downtown for a night out with friends or to visit the market on Saturday morning. We plan to rent here for a while longer while we save for our first house. We are not sure where we will end up in the next few years, but we currently love making Birmingham and our carriage house our home.
Tell us about the process of moving in together. I think we are still trying to figure out how to perfectly mesh our styles. Being a designer, my taste changes constantly, but usually hinges around an eclectic aesthetic with classic basics. Andrew is usually on board, but he believes comfort is most important, so we have to work through finding pieces that fill the house with comfort, but are still well-designed and aesthetically pleasing. We tend to like similar colors and are good at staying within a certain budget, so we always find a compromise.
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? I think we would both agree that the time between our ceremony and reception was our absolute favorite. We didn’t see each other before the ceremony, so directly following it was our first moment to really spend time together. That moment allowed us to fully absorb this idea of being husband and wife. It was incredibly intimate, and it felt as if our photographers weren’t even there. Every time I look at those first photographs of being husband and wife, it still feels as surreal as it did in that moment.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? We have a wall we dedicated to a handful of our favorite wedding photographs. The wall is on the stair landing between our first and second floor, so we pass by our favorite memories multiple times each day. We also have a few film shots scattered throughout our home.
What most makes your house feel like home? We feel very attached to our carriage house and sometimes wonder why we would ever leave. It is just so quaint and makes all gatherings feel intimate and personal, which in turn makes our four walls a home. I would also say our dog Reagan, who brings noise and unconditional love, our candles that bring warmth and light, and our plants that bring fresh air and color.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? We splurge on quality pieces we hope to pass down to our children, like our solid wooden dresser or antique sitting chairs. However, we buy those pieces secondhand to save a little, while also ensuring better quality. We seek out pieces at estate sales, thrift stores, and on Craigslist that we recover or finish to bring them up to date. For the trendier or more modern pieces, we are regulars at Target, Home Goods, and Ikea.
Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? We use most of the items on a weekly basis. I would have to say either our beloved silicone utensils (I don’t know how I lived without them), our cast iron skillets (yes, multiple – we are from the South, after all), or our gray quilt (by day, it is a throw for our bed, but by night, it is a giant blanket for living room hangouts).
Who cooks dinner? I gladly do! I love to cook. I have been slowly building my knowledge over the years and love the sense of satisfaction and community a good meal can provide. I look forward to the day where I have perfected enough homemade dishes to pass a recipe book on to my children.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We could live off of Mexican and Thai food. If we are looking for a quick weeknight meal, you can bet it will be a Mexican-inspired dish. Usually, it involves seasoned slow-cooked chicken, black beans, cheese, corn, avocados, roasted vegetables, and a homemade zesty Greek yogurt topping. On the weekend, you may catch us going to our favorite Thai restaurant to get our respective favorite dishes. The Thai restaurant is where our relationship began six years ago, so it holds a special place in our hearts (and our tummies!).
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? I love collecting old family recipes and tweaking them to our personal tastes. I also love coming across fresh, modern blogs such as Minimalist Baker, A Couple Cooks, and Half Baked Harvest, as well as the classics such as Martha Stewart and Southern Living.
How does your family handle finances? Do you use a set budget? We are self-proclaimed penny pinchers. We are known to only go out to eat if we split a meal or have a coupon, but we are okay with that! Andrew and I agree wholeheartedly on how we handle our finances – we set a strict budget, pay everything in cash (except basic online bills), and save aggressively. I personally handle our finances, but at the end of the month, we sit down together to look over our spending, savings, and financial goals. However, we do factor in some leisure money within that budget for the occasional concert, pair of shoes, or nail salon visit :)
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Our favorite date night involves a good movie marathon. We walk down to the library and check out a handful of movies. We then make a palette out of an air mattress and lots of blankets, and cuddle up for a night full of movies and popcorn.
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Andrew has a gift of loving people well. How I got so blessed that he chooses to selflessly love me every day is beyond me. He is eager to help, always putting my interests before his. I try to best serve him through taking care of all the business of the house. I work from home, so I try to clean regularly, pay the bills, grocery shop, and cook, so that when he comes home from work, we spend our time having genuine conversations and experiences rather than adding worries or chores onto his busy work day.
Do you have children? Our furbaby Reagan is just perfect for us now. We are recently married and want to spend the next few years soaking up new places and spaces. We love to travel and want to take advantage of that while we can. But, we feel very called to have our fair share of children (we are hoping for four!) and we look forward to that season when it arrives. We know the Lord’s plans are perfect and we can’t wait to see how He will shape our little family over the years.
Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… how incredibly rewarding it is. Yes, it is work. Yes, it is challenging. However, the reward is greater than anything I would have ever imagined. How it is possible to feel so fulfilled, loved, and cared for by another human is beyond me.
This year, our family is most excited about… enjoying the nest we have been building over the last year. We have finally finished up all the side projects within our house and are thankful to be able to spend the next year reaping the benefits of the home we have built together.
P.S. We’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!