As Michelle and Nick Spiva’s three boys left home and headed off to college, the Nashville couple knew they needed to start rethinking their space. And so the planning began. They took notes on everything they loved or regretted about the house they were currently in, like the wastefully expansive living room. “It took up about a third of the downstairs, and we only went in it maybe twice a year,” Michelle explains. They also wanted a screened porch. “I couldn’t add one at our old house, but screened porches have an easy and casual comfort that’s hard to replicate inside,” she says. After a few years, the list stacked up. “It wound up being about 10 typed pages of notes,” Michelle says. When the time came to build their new house, the Spivas turned to their list.
In addition to a smaller, simpler design, they wanted their home to blend seamlessly into the older neighborhood. They recruited architect Ron Farris to help build a new house that looks like it’s been on this street forever. Next, the couple called on interior designer Rachel Halvorson to create a design plan that played to the architecture and made it feel fresh and clean while incorporating some of their old furniture. Halvorson and Farris turned the Spivas’ wish list into a perfect home with lots of natural light, a zero-waste layout, and a dreamy porch. Read on for eight smart design ideas used by this downsizing duo.