The 2013 Southern Living Idea House: Rustic Meets Refined

Yesterday, I traded my barn boots for white jeans and gold flip flops...leaving dust, ducks and chickens behind for a more refined farmhouse experience. I got to tour the 2013 Southern Living Idea House at Fontanel with interior designer Phoebe Howard and Southern Living's Editor In Chief, Lindsay Bierman. What a treat!

Classic farmhouse style.
{Inspired by a 150 year-old farmhouse in Leiper's Fork.}

Here's the official photo from Southern Living:

{Photo by Laurey W. Glenn.}

It was an invitation only sneak peek for design bloggers. Can you believe anyone still considers me a design blogger after all these posts on dream chasing and farm living? I was honored to be included.

I may be a farmgirl now {who shares too many raw emotions on her so-called design blog}, but one thing is for sure: I know beauty when I see it...and my beauty loving heart was overflowing after yesterday's tour!

We were allowed to photograph the exterior...
and only a few interior spaces.

The guest house stands alone, but is connected by porch. 

Darling little "bunkies" flank the main house.
{Love the limestone base.}

Board and batten shutters painted in SW Porpoise.
{The siding is SW Intellectual Grey.}

I loved all the exterior lighting from Bevolo.

I wanted this French Quarter Yoke for our farmhouse,
but my budget said this one from Ballard will do for now.

I took this shot for all of you School House light lovers!
{Also from Bevolo.}

Doesn't it look great mixed in with the copper lanterns and ceiling fans?

Lots of outdoor seating and dining thanks to 2800 SF of porches!
All outdoor furnishings are from Ballard Designs.

{A trick from Phoebe Howard: nail those outdoor rugs into place.}

Even the swing came from Ballard Designs.

I think I "need" one of these for our farmhouse porch.

We weren't able to photograph much of the inside,
but here are a few shots:

{Photo by Laurey W. Glenn for Southern Living.}

Love the barn door!

I've always wondered what these Ballard shelves looked like in person. Great!
{I love it when a renowned designer uses pieces available to the public.}

Love the detail at the base of the cabinets.
{The colors are a little off because of the lighting, but the cabinets
are SW Accessible Beige and the walls are SW Moderate White.}

Phoebe Howard surprised even herself with that red ceiling!
{That's Rachel Halvorson in the doorway. Love her style.}

I was so enjoying my little visit with Rachel and her cute friend
that I failed to take my usual detail shots in the guest house,
but here's one from Style Blueprint I wish I had taken:

Ticking is an obvious choice for a farmhouse, but I never would've thought
to use it in so many ways! Very cozy. {Photo by Wiff Harmer.}

I could go on and on about the inside of the house had I been allowed to photograph all the details that caught my eye, but we'll have to wait for the August issue of Southern Living to see more. Wait until you see the main living room with its high ceilings, reclaimed beams, wide plank floors, oversized lanterns, planked walls and serene color palette {inspired by the surrounding Tennessee hills}...all graced with plenty of natural light and sunshine. While designing the interiors, Phoebe said she imagined a big, strong, rugged farmer and his petite, very feminine, blonde-haired wife living there. I loved that! What a strong visual for the rustic and refined balance she created in this house. 

While we wait for the August issue, I'll just come right out and tell you that Phoebe Howard's work is flawless. As I toured the house, it was so obvious that she's doing what God made her to do. And when you do what God made you to do, it's so inspiring and life giving to others. I made a point to tell her so when I met her. {Not that she needed to hear that from a farmgirl in Franklin, but she received my encouragement ever so graciously!}

Phoebe Howard sitting in the library.
{Photo by Reed Brown for Southern Living.}

The book signing line had dwindled by the time I discovered it, so Phoebe and I had a few minutes to chat about farmhouses, the perfect blue-gray-green of my chicken eggs, and being a beauty lover turned designer later in life. Did you know she didn't start her design work until she was 38? She has four children and wanted to to that job well. I so admire her for that. It's proof that your passion can wait and that your gifts and talents aren't limited to your younger years. They'll still be there in spades when your children grow up!

I can't believe we got to come home with these two beautiful books.
I can't wait to flip through them on my porch swing
with a big glass of green tea lemonade!

A huge thank you to Dana Tucker, who stumbled upon my blog, loved my photographs, read the heart behind my words, reached out, and invited me to attend this event with her. Our conversations on the way to Fontanel and back were as inspiring to me as the house itself.

On the front porch of the Idea House with Dana Tucker.

Here's a better look at the beautiful door we're blocking:

{Photo by Wiff Harmer via Style Blueprint.}

If you live anywhere near Nashville or are visiting Nashville anytime between June 29 and December 29, treat yourself to a tour of this house and its surrounding gardens. Especially if you like farmhouses with a rustic meets refined style. The magazine photos are sure to be fabulous, but there's nothing like seeing beauty in person!

Your ticket purchase will not only bless you with beauty and inspiration, but it will also bless precious children who are fighting for their lives. Part of the ticket sales will be donated to St. Jude.

This is sweet Mae. {Photo courtesy of Southern Living.} She's the patient ambassador
to the house...and just so happens to be the daughter of a college friend. 
You can learn more about her story here

When the August issue of Southern Living comes out, let's flip through and talk about this house as if we're sharing the same porch swing! I've got more sources and details to share when the official photos are released. Until then, you can get a few more sneak peeks here.

Beauty and blessings to you!

After the touring season,
this fabulous farmhouse will become a bed and breakfast!

You might enjoy this interview with Phoebe Howard
and Lindsay Bierman over at Interior Canvas.

One last photo...

The design team and a handful of design bloggers.
What a honor to stand near this much talent!


  1. Oh, my! Love that house! Reminds me so much of Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop, Texas! Perfection. How exciting that you got to go!

    1. I love Lost Pines! This house would be right at home in the Texas Hill Country.

  2. What a beautiful post on the house and the story behind the house. You captured every detail, even ones that I missed. Anyone reading this will see and hear exactly what we heard and saw (with the exceptions of the double secret interiors) :) I had a blast spending time with you. So blessed to have you come into my life. xoxoxox

    1. I never would've had the opportunity had it not been for you! Loved every minute of it!

  3. Beautiful post! Can't wait to go see it, as Mrs. Howard's work is divine!

  4. One word: jealous. (Sorry. Shame on me, I know!)
    What a fun opportunity, and a beautiful home. Thanks for sharing the inside track!

  5. How wonderful that you were able to tour that beautiful house! I am ready to take a trip down to Nashville (from NJ) just to see it! Maybe I could try to catch a glimpse of Keith Urban while I am there! Thanks for sharing your lovely day with us!

  6. Gorgeous!!! This would be the most fun Girls Day!! So exciting that you got to go and get a goody bag! (I love goody bags-lol) Thank you for sharing pretty lady!!!

  7. Wow Lins you lucky girl! What a gorgeous house and you look quite fabulous and happy, always love seeing pics of you.

    1. You would've loved it. I've never done anything like that before. I felt a little silly at first because I don't feel like an "official" design blogger, but once I saw the beauty, I was in my element! xo!

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    1. SO worth the tour! I'm not sure I'm the best person to ask about where to live because Franklin is the only spot we considered. We would've been interested in Leiper's Fork had it not been for the school issue. I don't get out much, so I haven't explored other areas.

  9. Yes, that house is my style exactly!! Do you happen to know where the chandelier in the foyer is from?? I'm sure you're probably not able to give out ALL the secrets but I'd love to have one in my dining room!
    Th ks for sharing!!

    1. I think you're referring to the dining room chandelier. It's the Large Country Chandelier from Circa Lighting. All indoor lighting is from Circa. We'll get to see much more in the magazine.

  10. This house is amazing...I am such a fan of Phoebe Howard and I have both of those books and they are wonderful..Definitely planning to go visit this house...I have been fortunate to have been able to visit many Southern Living Idea Houses...they are so full of inspiration! Congrats on being part of a great team of bloggers to attend this event!

    1. I love that you can actually apply some of the ideas form the Idea House. It's not to the trade, all high end (though there was plenty out of my price point). I've never been to one before. I'd definitely do it again.

  11. Gorgeous Idea House and can't wait for the August issue. More importantly (I'm a grandma...) I did go read Mae's story and am praying that she is in remission and will grow from a beautiful young girl into a beautiful young and then older woman ;0) I'm sure she's a blessing to her family.

    1. I don't know Mae (just know her mom from college), but I can tell she's a bright light in this world. I know your prayers are coveted by her family. Their faith amazes me.

  12. beauty FILLED post....
    can't wait for the issue!

  13. Is this a house or an inn? Does real estate cost nothing in Tennessee? Where I live a house like this (without anyland) would be 25 million dollars. Is it common for people in these areas to require so much space? It just seems like these houses own their owners and not the other way around.

    1. It will be a bed and breakfast, not a personal home. But it's designed to feel like a family home. The land has a history (once belonged to Barbara Mandrell). It's not in a prime real estate area in my opinion...though a quaint and country spot nonetheless.

  14. Thanks for the tour. I love the room with all the black and white ticking...had to pin it!

  15. My daughter just moved to Nashville and has chose to live in Franklin. She comes from Temecula via Carlsbad CA. She loves TN (so far). 4 seasons will be certain change for her family of 5. Says it's so relaxing an the people are SO friendly. Thank you for your southern charm and welcoming heart.

    1. I just met someone new to Franklin from California a few weeks ago! But I think she had two children, so I'm guessing it wasn't your daughter. :) Four seasons have been a delight to me, too. (Though winter can be a little dreary when you're used to more sunshine!)


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