Recently Shoals Economic Development (SEDA) created a campaign encouraging young professionals to move to the Shoals and work remotely— to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life, and enjoy the spoils of an area that offers delicious food, music, and art without the traffic and cost of living. And just as downtown Florence is on the cusp of developing into one of Alabama’s artistic and foodie epicenters, real estate is evolving and growing as well, as property owners are coming up with creative solutions to not only restore historical spaces, but use them to add to a blossoming downtown culture.
Rusty and Anna Carbine, owners of 215 N Court Street, are at the forefront of this downtown restoration. Having purchased the historic building, which was originally used as a General Store and later as Butler Shoe Store in the 60’s and 70’s, they began renovations in early 2011 and opened Unraveled, a beautiful yarn shop, with all the nostalgia and charm of a Nora Ephron film. As they refurbished the building they were surprised to find that the second floor was only accessible by crawling through a hole in the neighboring building, so a staircase was added from the first to the second floor in order to access the space for storage. After running Unraveled for 5 years, in 2017 the doors to the quaint shop closed and Anna suggested the idea of transforming the upstairs into a loft AirBnB as more and more young professionals, families, and travelers are coming to the area looking to experience the Shoal’s modern twist on Southern charm.
The Carbines teamed up with architect Kristen Newton of Manuel Zeitlin Architects and interior designer Jenny Hill of Nine Design, who brought a fresh, modern perspective and made the most of the wide open space, where sun beams through 8-foot-tall French doors that lead to a wrought iron balcony overlooking Court Street. The ceiling is open to reveal original exposed beams, and houses a large industrial, black fan, while the original heart pine hardwood floors were ripped up, refinished, and laid back down, creating a rustic warmth throughout the space. The loft boasts a spacious, open living room and kitchen with a large, quartz island from Frye Granite Co., lined with clear, modern barstools and gold pendant lighting from Rejuvenation out of California.
The loft, available to rent as an AirBnB, features a grand entrance up a long, wooden staircase alongside exposed brick, and spills out into the foyer with stunning interior metal windows built by Andrew Ferrin with Ferrin Ironworks in Nashville, Tn. Off of the foyer the Master Bedroom and full bathroom with fresh, white tile, a soaker tub, and walk-in shower is decorated with relaxing, muted neutrals and splashes of rich fabric. In addition, the loft leads out to the 400 square ft elevated patio system constructed by completely removing and lowering the roof structure by 21 inches in order to create a serene, private space in the middle of downtown, perfect for entertaining or quiet evenings sipping wine and reading.
Whether you live in town and want to escape for a luxurious staycation, looking to move to the Shoals and experience everything the downtown shops and restaurants have to offer, or are just passing through, this newly renovated gem offers up a unique experience that’s both relaxing and exciting. With the Carbine’s passion for preservation and Jenny Hill’s eye for detail and design, the Court Street Loft is an incredible example of embracing Southern roots and growing into a new generation of artists and entrepreneurs looking for that big-city feeling in the middle of small, town Alabama.