Nashville Idea House Tour

The Living Room
Photo: Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

We put together an all-star team to design the ultimate Nashville house. Located on the land of country music icon Barbara Mandrel's estate, Fontanel, Atlanta and Peachtree City, Georgia-based architecture firm, Historical Concepts worked with uber-Southern decorator, Phoebe Howard who works out of Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlanta; and Jacksonville, Florida to create this Nashville house that can host a crowd. Mimicking an old farmhouse, the main house revolves around one large living room flanked by a hardworking kitchen on one end that boasts a laundry room with enviable laundry room shelving. The exterior boasts a wraparound front porch with extra-deep porch swings and completely a separate rear-dining porch that is connected to the living room and dining room. Outside the main house, Historical Concepts designed several guest houses and bunkies each with their own kitchenette and porch so that company could have their own privacy. Consider this the ultimate Nashville house.

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Nashville Idea House at Fontanel

Nashville Idea House at Fontanel
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Our 2013 Idea House team designed, built, and decorated a new Southern farmhouse on the grounds of Fontanel in Nashville, Tennessee. Here, we bring you room-by-room inspiration from our best Idea House ever!

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The Entryway

The Entryway
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

The chevron design of the wood door dates back centuries. Besides looking great, it's also a practical choice. The pattern keeps the door stable and sheds water to prevent warping.

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The Living Room

Tennessee Idea House Living Room
Laurey W. Glenn

Front and back doors open directly into a two-story-high living room, where spruce-planked walls and wood beams salvaged from an 1890 Tennessee barn reflect the home's rural setting and give the space a refined, barnlike feel. Interior decorator Phoebe Howard balanced the rustic elements with color. "I added an air of elegance with a soft color palette that reflects the surrounding sky and hills," she says.

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The Living Room

The Living Room
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Phoebe used plenty of warm wood antiques to give the new upholstered furniture groupings a sense of age and patina.

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The Living Room

The Living Room
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

To find coffee tables of the right size and scale, Phoebe used a decorator's secret: She started with antique dining tables and had the legs cut down to make them the ideal height.

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The Kitchen

The Kitchen
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

From cabinet countertop configuration to hanging pendants, the two sides of this kitchen are almost exact matches. At each end, the elements differ, but their size and scale balance each other to feel symmetrical.

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The Kitchen

Tennessee Idea House Kitchen
Laurey W. Glenn

Taken from an early-1900s Tennessee barn, the knotty boards of the custom sliding barn doors add rustic texture against the smooth painted walls.

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The Kitchen

Dark Green kitchen cabinets with marble slab backsplash
Laurey W. Glenn

Bathing the kitchen in color creates a cozy, friendly feel. "The one thing I had to have was white knobs," says Phoebe. "I love how they pop against the dark green."

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The Kitchen

Green kitchen cabinet
Laurey W. Glenn

Every Southern kitchen needs a spot to display china. Our glass-front cabinets flank the opening to the dining room for easy access.

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The Back Porch

Indoor Style
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

In the back, a porch is nestled between the dining room and primary bedroom. "With farmhouses, it was common for parts of porches to be enclosed as interior needs grew," says architectural designer Terry Pylant. "We designed the rear of the house to reflect that tradition, as if the flanking rooms were once part of the porch." A neutral palette connects the porch to the home's exterior and its pastoral setting.

  • Video: Tour the Porches
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The Front Porch

Fontanel Idea House: The Front Porch
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

"The wrapped covered porch is the key to this entire design because it provides the connectivity from space to space," says Terry. The porch's deep dimensions offer ample space for multiple seating and dining areas—a plus when entertaining large groups of people.

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The Dining Room

The Dining Room
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

The casual dining space is surrounded by windows on three sides. Sheer cafe curtains, hung just above the bottom sash, give softness and privacy while still allowing a view of the outside and inviting lots of sunlight to stream in through the upper panes.

  • Video: Tour the Dining Room
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The Anteroom

The Anteroom
Laurey W. Glenn

This small vestibule provides a pretty visual transition from the living room to the study, and primary suite.

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The Study

The Study
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Just off the living room sits a wonderful, intimate little study that was designed as a purposeful departure from its big, open neighbor. "It's very important to have that room you can retreat to in the early morning or evening," says Terry. A deep green paint color covers the walls and built-in bookcases, elevating the room's coziness. To counterbalance the depth of the wall color, Phoebe used lighter colors for the curtains, upholstery, and rug.

  • Video: Tour the Study
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The Study

The Study
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

For the study's large expanse of bookshelves, Phoebe started by placing all of the objects first to establish balance and then filled in with leather-bound books, all sorted by size and pulled to the front edge of the shelves to look neat and even. "Fill your bookcases with as many books as you can get in there, and stay away from using too many small knickknacks," she advises.

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The Study

The Study
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Phoebe used the same dark green (Palm Leaf by Sherwin-Williams) on the walls, trim, and built-in bookcases for a warm, eveloping effect.

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The Primary Bedroom

Light Blue Master Bedroom
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Spool beds became popular with American furniture makers in the mid 19th century. This bedroom's impressive example, which is from the Mr. and Mrs. Howard collection by Sherrill Furniture, combines graceful spools, four tall posts (a Southern addition), and a pretty painted finish.

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The Bedroom Anteroom

The Bedroom Anteroom
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Located between the bedroom and bath, this painted dresser is topped with sparkly mirrored scones and a large mirror to reflect all of the bedroom's natural light.

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The Primary Bath

The Master Bath
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

For the primary bath, Historical Concepts designed floating walls for the vanities that also function as room dividers for the tub/sink area and the large dressing room. "This allows both areas to share light and air through the entire space," says Terry. Phoebe gave the vanities a more modern look by rapping each with honed marble and then using refined limed oak for the cabinet doors.

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The Primary Bath

Patterned and Complimentary
Laurey W. Glenn

"Laid out in a pattern, this Ann Sacks tile gives the same graphic punch as a painted floor but is much more practical for a bath," says Phoebe. She continued the tile into the large closet and dressing area so that the two connected spaces would feel cohesive.

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The Primary Closet

The Master Closet
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

In addition to the matching floor tile and pendant lights, refined limed-wood door fronts and similar cabinet hardware link the enviable closet to the connecting bath.

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The Guesthouse Upstairs Suite

The Guesthouse Upstairs Suite
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

In the second-floor suite, Phoebe gave the small space big impact by covering everything in the same fabric (Medium Ticking in Warm Gray; laurakiran.com). "I took a farmhouse classic, the ticking stripe, and gave it a little kick by using it on the walls, curtains, upholstery, and even the lampshades," says Phoebe. Everything has a band of red trim to tie it back to the stunning oxblood red ceiling, while all-white bedding by the Company Store provides a break in the pattern.

  • Video: Tour the Guesthouse
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The Guesthouse Upstairs Suite

The Guesthouse Upstairs Suite
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Wrapping the small room in fabric gave the look of wallpaper but with a warmer, tactile effect.

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The Guest House Downstairs Suite

Guest Suite Fireplace
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

On the first floor, rich brown walls and a combination of neutral fabrics carry out a warm mushroom-and-ivory color palette. Everything from the upholstery of the swivel chairs to the curtains is made of durable Sunbrella fabrics. "Designing a guest room to be worry-free makes it even more comfortable," says Phoebe. "These fabrics let a room be bulletproof without lacking style."

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The Guest Bath

The Guest Bath
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Used as a wainscot, the graphic tone-on-tone tile (annsacks.com) offers a nice backdrop to the handsome, extra deep freestanding bathtub (kallista.com).

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The Guest House Porch

The Guest House Porch
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

The subtle color palette of the porch blends with the rustic views surrouding the guest house. Ample seating allows for a comfortable perch for visitors.

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The Bunkies

The Bunkies
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

On the edge of the property, two miniature versions of the main house serve as a visual gateway into the compound. Known affectionately as "the bunkies," the houses mimic each other inside and out and offer every comfort that a guest could want. Both have a porch just right for a cafe table, a cozy bedroom with two indulgent queen beds, a petite kitchenette, and a full bath.

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"Her" Bunkie

Hydrandea Blue Twin Bedroom
Laurey W. Glenn

Phoebe called on husband-and-wife fabric designers Peter Fasano and Elizabeth Hamilton to help her give the two bunkies their own personalities. "I used Elizabeth's designs to make her bunkie more feminine with a pretty blue-and-white palette, paisley wallpaper, and tufted headboards."

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"Her" Bunkie

"Her" Bunkie
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Fresh cut flowers and pretty accessories lend a feminine feel to this bunkie.

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"His" Bunkie

"His" Bunkie
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

"His" bunkie is more masculine with a tone-on-tone striped wallpaper and darker wood finishes.

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"His" Bunkie

"His" Bunkie
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Darker, heavier furnishings give this bunkie a more masculine feel.

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The Bunkie Kitchenette

The Bunkie Kitchenette
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Both bunkies feature a petite kitchenette, a convenient feature for guests.

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The Bunkie Bath

The Bunkie Bath
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

In the small bath, a mirror is suspended with metal rods in front of the window, allowing some sunlight to pass through.

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The Mudroom

Mudroom Storage
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

A separate entrance from the porch opens directly into the hardworking mudroom with its pairs of custom open built-ins and closed closets that provide ample space for open and hidden storage.

  • Video: Tour the Mudroom
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The Powder Room

The Powder Room
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

This space is stunning with its interesting mix of textures including walls of glazed moss green tile (annsacks.com), a Carrara marble vessel sink (us.kohler.com), a granite vanity top (artisan-counters.com), aged iron sconces (circalighting.com), and a faux-shagreen mirror (madegoods.com).

  • Video: Tour the Powder Room
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The Laundry Room

The Laundry Room
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Tile is a pretty and practical choice for the light-filled laundry room. For interest on the walls, Phoebe used two colors of the same small mosaic tile (Straight Chisai; annsacks.com) in wide stripes.

  • Video: Tour the Laundry Room
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Y'all Come Visit

Nashville Idea House at Night
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Our 2013 Idea House is now the Inn at Fontanel, a six-room boutique hotel outside Nashville. With six employees (basically one person per room) and someone to care for guests around the clock, the attention here is as personal as it gets. Staff can help you secure a table at a hard-to-book Nashville restaurant, such as Husk, or last-minute tickets to a show at the Grand Ole Opry. Attendants have even been known to walk guests' dogs. (Two of the suites are pet-friendly.) If you want to go to town, the innkeepers can easily arrange car service into Nashville.

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