Stone Cottage Restoration

Sarah Baxter is a 5 foot nothing Texas spit fire—all wild, black hair and red lipstick– an ever steady forward march regardless if it’s a season of joy or uncertainty. Tackling challenges head on with a spirit of curiosity and determination, she has used this same energy to breathe love and life into her 1945 stone cottage that she shares with her husband, Andy Baxter, half of the folk band Penny and Sparrow. And while Andy is touring the country, Sarah has enjoyed pouring herself into creating a space of peace and relaxation after purchasing a historic home minutes from downtown Florence, Alabama 3 years ago. 

Sarah counts renovation hours based on how long it takes her to listen to Stephen King audio books. For example, she knows it took her approximately 45 hours to tile the kitchen with classic, white subway tile, because that’s how long the book IT is on audible. Or that the bedroom was painted and styled in 19 hours listening to The Outsider. She has poured herself into the two-bedroom, one-bath cottage— taking a house, once dark and covered with worn carpet and window coverings, and cracked it wide open. Carpet was ripped up to reveal beautiful, original hardwood floors in both the living room and kitchen, a full bathroom renovation was completed, storm windows were popped off, walls were painted a fresh white with modern black frames, and just like that, its as if the house took a deep, collected sigh of relief and has bloomed to reveal a space that is not only homey, but inspiring.

In fact, Sarah is inspired wherever she goes, constantly searching for ideas and thrifting for treasures to bring life into her home, whether it be forgotten paintings found at the back of an antique shop, or house plants which she tends to with deep care and consideration. Every wall of their home is chalk full of character and with a story to follow, including the entrance, which boasts Uncle Buck, the deer head Sarah rescued from her dad’s garage, or the wall of mirrors, an eclectic, antique collection which hangs in the living room reflecting beams of light through the front windows. However, all things are considered for the sake of Gator— their adorable Cairn Terrier, who bravely keeps watch at their front door. The sectional legs were removed for easier access and rugs were put down to ensure there was considerable traction— but, whatever the reason, the house is a treasure-trove of boho, chic decor that stuns around every corner of the 1,000 sq ft space.  

One of those corners is the dining space that boasts a room-length, hand-made table by Whit Brown, with a backdrop of black and white photographs and art, antique, brass light fixtures, and a charming mix of chairs that lead out to the back patio surrounded by ancient trees, a firepit, potted plants, and cozy seating for nights hosting friends. This house is special — a place that has been given careful consideration, and hours of painstaking work— and what was once left alone, is now alive and moving with music, art, writing, laughter, love— and Sarah is the heartbeat. 

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