Designer Phoebe Howard is a woman on the move. In addition to her day job, Phoebe has a beautiful line of furniture with Sherrill, a new book, The Joy of Decorating, and a newly completed project that will surely elevate her profile even more. Mrs. Howard’s latest venture is in collaboration with Historical Concepts, Castle Builders and Page-Duke Landscape Architects for the 2013 Southern Living Idea House in Nashville.
The house officially opened on June 29, but I was fortunate to get a behind the scenes tour the day before with Phoebe. I found her delightful:
The Idea House is the brainchild of Fontanel Properties, LLC. A a few years ago, the owners bought the former home outside of Nashville – if you call 136 acres and a 27,000 square foot log house with an indoor swimming pool as a focal point “home” – of country artist Barbara Mandrell and turned it into an outdoor entertainment, dining and adventure venue. Think Corn Hole, zip-lining, Willie Nelson, Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, Guster, and Harry Connick, Jr.
See? Corn Hole:
Barenaked Guster Folds:
And now, design.
I remember having my doubts when the project to transform Ms. Mandrell’s property was first announced. Her extravagant home was the subject of more than a little controversy. (Disclosure: We have mutual friends, so we’ve met and she’s very sweet and tiny.) The thing I found most questionable during the build was her decision to name the place Fontanel, which is the word for the soft spot on a newborn’s head, and the new owners decision to keep that moniker. In all honesty, I’m still not a fan of it.
Anywho, when I accepted the gracious offer to tour the Southern Living 2013 Idea House with Mrs. Howard, I didn’t expect to fall in love with Fontanel, but it is a very beautiful property with multiple adventurous pursuits to enjoy. Built as a compound, the Idea House will become a Bed & Breakfast when the show ends its run in December. It’s a perfect spot for an action packed destination wedding!
Rendering to die for:
Yeah. It’s really that pretty. There are five houses in the compound. A one bedroom main house with living and dining areas, two 2 bedroom guest houses and two 1 bedroom “bunkies.” No photography was allowed in the main house or bunkies, but a peek inside the Guest House will give you an idea to the quality of the design in this build.
There is one very large bedroom on the first floor with a sitting area and kitchenette, and another generous bedroom upstairs in both Guest Houses:
Let’s start on the first floor. All the exterior doors at the Idea House are custom-built. Their design differs, depending on the type of house:
Phoebe used Sherwin Williams Portobello on the walls, Sand Dollar on the ceiling and Moderate White on the trim.
The swivel chairs and wicker table are from Ballard. The practical and beautiful fabrics on the furniture and windows are all from Sunbrella, the lighting is from Circa and the great artwork over the fireplace is by Carolyn Carr:
It’s a sweet spot to sit:
The white vases from Suzanne Kasler make a nice counterpoint to this textural vignette:
And this fab Compass Table from Ballard Designs adds a touch of sparkle and whimsy:
Phoebe designed the Idea House the way most people do: A little custom, a little retail. It’s a combination I go to again and again.
A Sub-Zero fridge and dinnerware from the Southern Living Collection for Ballard complement the white cabinetry and wood countertop:
Across from the sitting area and kitchenette, the bed is a study in visual comfort with items from both the Mrs. Howard Collection:
The lamps and many of the pillows are also by Suzanne Kasler for Ballard:
To the right of the bed, a space-saving character-adding sliding barn door leads to a large light-filled bath.
Idea House sponsor Kohler, brought the A-game of two companies under their corporate umbrella, Kallista and Ann Sacks, to the luxurious bath:
The bathtub is from the Michael S. Smith for Loft Collection and the étagères are from Ballard:
Metric tile, a graphic neutral base from Ann Sacks, amps up the texture in the spacious shower:
In the Upstairs Bedroom, Phoebe covered the windows, walls and furniture with Laura Kiran’s Medium Ticking in Warm Grey:
Repetition of the same pattern throughout the space made for a warm and cozy environment.
The console is an antique from Parc Monseau and the upholstered bench is from Mr. and Mrs. Howard for Sherrill.
The furniture is Mrs. Howard, the red trim is from Fabricut, and the pillow fabric is Colefax and Fowler’s Ophelia Linen.
The Milk Can Lamps are by Charlie West and the Taylor Staircases are from one of my favorite affordable designer resources, Made Goods.
The rustic space-saving sliding barn doors are used throughout the compound. I adore the contrast between them and the more formal elements, like the bed and nightstand, in the space.
My favorite detail from this room is the attention Phoebe paid to what is known is the trade as “the fifth wall.” I think normal people call it “the ceiling.” Gah. Design nerds!
Adding a bold red to the ceiling is the perfect punch of excitement in this otherwise sedate, upholstered room. Boom!
I’m going to let Mrs. Howard take you on a 90 second tour of the beautiful Main House.
So what do you think? Personally, I found it such a charming and homey design, I would move in a New York minute.
Did the Idea House give you ideas? Ask me for more specifics on resources or leave your thoughts in the comments below. Let’s talk design!
Photos @livethefinelife2013, except where noted.