Chase Rice on Discovering Home (and Bison Farming) Amid the Pandemic
As month seven of the coronavirus pandemic struck and you were mulling over splurging on a stand mixer, new carpeting, or maybe even a Peloton, Chase Rice was welcoming 10 bison to his Tennessee property.
"I just pray that there's not another pandemic," laughs Rice. "I don't know what I'll come up with next!"
Now, with the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 crisis approaching, the country star has 20 bison under his care in what can only be described as a "legit operation." He's added fencing, gates, and a coral to the Nashville-area ranch, and has learned all he can about the giant mammals.
"I've always thought bison are cool," Rice explains, adding that the idea to start farming them actually came from his preacher. "They're about as American you can get."
With touring suspended indefinitely, the "Drinkin' Beer. Talkin' God. Amen" singer has been busy inside too.
Though Rice has owned his house for five years, it never really felt like home. And it didn't have to—he was always on the road.
But that all changed when the pandemic hit. Stuck at home for the first time, Rice looked around and wondered "what do I have all this for?"
So, starting with the kitchen and gym, he got to work on transforming the old house into the modern farmhouse of his dreams.
Rice collaborated with local designer Jenny Reimold, and together they made some really unique choices. The butcher block countertops in the kitchen from Olde Wood Limited, for example, are made from vintage railroad car flooring which used to run on the NYC-Chicago route in the 1920s.
"They're just the coolest," Rice says.
A lot of the décor was sourced locally. Antique accents like the duck decoy and moonshine jug were sourced from Mercantile 1858 in Franklin, while the lantern lights came from Riverside Franklin just down the road. And when the pandemic threatened to knock the renovation project off track, Blanco Sinks, Vesta Fine Hardware, and Davis Custom Finishes jumped in to save the day.
It's safe to say that the 35-year-old former UNC Chapel Hill linebacker has been bitten by the design bug.
"I went from not really caring about my house because I was never in it," Rice admitted. But now, here he is, getting excited about his countertop. And for good reason—they're awesome.
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Amidst anxiety and uncertainty of the past year, Rice has come to love his home and making it his own.
"[The renovations] will never be done," he added. "I like the process too much."