Southern Living Idea House: Nashville

Being a blogger is so much fun! I get invited to some of the best events and last week was invited up to Nashville to preview the newly opened Southern Living Ideahouse on the Fontanel property.  What a treat!  I love touring homes and to get to experience the ideahouse with several other bloggers was so much fun.  I met many bloggers from the Nashville area and some of them I knew and some I didn’t.

I invited one of my dearest and oldest friends, Vicki, to go with me. She was so excited to go on this fast trip with me.  She and I have been friends since we were 15 and in high school at Sprayberry, right here in Marietta.  We lived in the same area too and rode the bus together. We go way back and have been through thick and thin together. You know those kinds of friends, right?

Vicki and Rhoda

Vicki and me.

The new Southern Living ideahouse has just opened to the public and will be open the rest of the year, so if you get a chance, you must go and tour it.  A portion of the proceeds go to the St. Judes Childrens Research Hospital, which is a great cause.  This ideahouse was built on the property of Fontanel, which is Barbara Mandrell’s old mansion, which we also toured. I’ll tell you about that another day. It was also a treat to see, this huge log cabin home.

Developer:  Fontanel Properties LLC

Builder:  Castle Homes

Architect:  Historical Concepts

Interior Design:  Phoebe Howard

Lanscape Design:  Page/Duke Landscape Architects

Charitable Partner:  St. Judes Childrens Research Hospital

ideahouse Fontanel

We got there a little early and had a chance to take outside pics before everyone arrived, which came in handy.  All the bloggers started arriving a little later.  From the outside of the house, it’s set up in a U-shape around a courtyard, with lots of beautiful plantings.  After the Ideahouse is closed at the end of this year, this will become a bed and breakfast, which I think is so neat.

Southern Living house

It’s farmhouse in feel, with a huge wrap around porch that connects all the buildings.

Southern Living Idea House

Backside of the Ideahouse looking in from the courtyard.  You can see those beautiful shades that pull up and down for sun control.  It’s a gorgeous house, but we were only allowed to take photos of a few areas, but had full reign outside, so you’ll see lots of pics of the outside.

Southern Living idea house 2

This is another guesthouse suite that connects with the porch.

front of house

Front side of the house, from the road.

front and side of house

From the front and side of the Ideahouse, a pond was also built.  It’s in a picturesque valley with a mountain in the background and such a beautiful area for this home.

bunkie

One of the two bunkies at the Southern Living house. These are small guest suites, but so cute.

bunkie on right

The other bunkie.  You can see all the beautiful landscaping that was done at the house.  I love all of this too.

pond

View of the entrance and pond.

waterfall and entrance

Waterfall into the pond.

porch

On the spacious wrap around porch, there were several seating areas and this beautiful hanging swing.

hanging swing

Don’t you  love this?  The rope around the chains is a nice touch.  I could definitely take a nap on this.

ideahouse grounds

Background against a pretty green hill, you can see the expanse of the courtyard.

courtyard

From the porch, the left side of the compound.

chimney

Chimney from the outside.

table and chairs

Table and chairs on the main porch.

table on porch

Beautiful rustic table.

doghouse

Doghouse and seating area.

SL Ideahouse

Main house view.

rain catcher

A rain catcher, so pretty.

SL garden

The Southern Living plant collection.  I loved seeing all the beautiful landscaping too. Can’t wait to get started at my house on this part.

SL landscaping

Beautiful planting beds.

hydrangeas

Along with hydrangeas,  my favorite flowering bush. I’m planning to have plenty of these at my house too.

landscaping 2

More planting beds.

Southern Living house (2)

Getting ready to tour inside the house.

SL tour

We were introduced to the Southern Living folks, including Jen (who is the Southern Living media contact, great gal!), Lindsay Bierman, Editor in Chief for Southern Living, and Designer, Phoebe Howard.  It was a treat to see Lindsay again, I love talking to him and never miss his letter at the beginning of each month in the magazine.  Everyone at Fontanel was so friendly and welcomed us all in.  It’s such a treat to get to meet them all at events like this.

dining room

We all entered the house and took a tour. Again, because Southern Living will be covering the house in the August issue this year, we couldn’t take pics of all rooms, but did get to do a preview of the dining room and guesthouse. This is the well-lit dining room, simple and spacious. All interior design by the well-known and talented, Phoebe Howard.

dining room (2)

Loved this little corner piece with artwork.  Check out the pretty café curtains in the room too.

antique dr table

The table is an antique stone from Europe, so pretty.

guesthouse 1

The other area we got to photograph was the guesthouse.  It was painted in darker tones, mostly neutral browns and creams, but very cozy and inviting.

guesthouse 2

Bookcase with lots of things from Ballard Designs, also a sponsor of the house.

guesthouse 3

Beautiful sitting area around the fireplace.

guesthouse 4

Turtle shells.

guesthouse 5

Bedding

guesthouse 6

Bathroom suite.

guesthouse 7

With tub and shower.  Wouldn’t you love to stay here for a visit to Nashville?

guesthouse 8

Spacious bathroom.

guesthouse 9

Interesting accessories.

guesthouse 10

Small kitchen area. We had a lot of fun touring the house and out buildings and then Vicki and I took off for the Fontanel tour and again, I’ll tell you all about that later.  Loved it!  It’s right up the road from the ideahouse and Fontanel is now open as a tourist destination, since the Mandrell family sold it a few years ago.

Ideahouse party

Later that evening, we gathered once again at the Ideahouse for the grand opening party and that was a treat too.  Lots of good food and drinks for a crowd of about 250.  Many Nashville dignitaries and country celebs were there.

Rolls Royce

A Rolls Royce was parked out front. This is the closest I’ve ever been to one of those.

SL Ideahouse party

A big crowd gathered and it was a beautiful evening for an outdoor party.  Music was performed by The Farm, local musicians.

stage and house

The big wrap around porch came in handy, with many spilling into the courtyard.

SL ideahouse crowd

You can see the crowd here.

Rhoda and Jamie

One funny story for you!  See my striped sun dress?  I just bought this at TJ Maxx a few weeks ago and love it.  Jaime Dudney, Barbara Mandrell’s daughter, was introduced from the speaker podium during the talks and I noted that she and I had on the same dress!  Funny, right?!  It’s always interesting when that happens.  I couldn’t let the opportunity go by without speaking to her and making light of the fact that we were dressed alike.  I sauntered over and said hi, Jaime, I have to tell you one thing, “we have great taste in clothes.”.  She laughed and was super friendly and I decided that we had to take a pic together, just to prove it.  So, that’s what we did.  Thanks for posing with me, Jaime!  I also had to tell her that I just love her mama, cause I do.  I have always admired and respected Barbara Mandrell so much.

Ballard designs folk

Met up with the Ballard Designs gang and it’s always fun to hang out with them too.  They are one of our big sponsors at Haven this year and we can’t wait for that either.

What a fun trip, short and sweet.  I’m so blessed to get to do the things I do and I have to pinch myself every single day that I’m invited to these type events.  God is good!  I’ll keep doing this and sharing it with all of you as long as it keeps going.  Thanks for going on the journey with me!

For more sneak peeks of the house, check out Southern Living’s Pinterest board.  Also, several other bloggers covered the house and it was so good to see them all, including Dana TuckerBlonde Mom Blog, The Decorologist, and LLH Designs.

You can find lots more fun pics at their blogs too!


- Rhoda


Comments

  1. Such a beautiful event to spend the day at.

  2. Rhoda, thanks for the sneak peak at the Idea House! Looks like that was an amazing event to attend, and you looked marvelous in your sun dress!

  3. How fun! I would love to see it! Thanks for sharing your pics. I always love them and feel like I am there.

  4. Thanks for taking us along on your dreamy trip! That little bunkie looks soooo much bigger on the inside than I thought it would from the exterior photo. All of it looks beautiful! I have been trying to work in my yard (between all the rains!) so I loved seeing all the landscaping there.

    • HI, Kelly, those pics on the inside are actually the guesthouse room, not the bunkies. The guest house is bigger than the bunkies, but all were beautiful.

  5. It’s wonderful that you got to do something so special with your girlfriend! What fun to see the house and gardens, and meet all those fine people! It was so tastefully decorated! I would have liked the music and food, and meeting Barbara Mandrell’s daughter too! Love your dresses!

  6. Jennifer says:

    So what do they do with the house? Sell it, just a tour house? Seems like a waste for someone not to live there! It’s amazing!

  7. What a treat! Thanks for sharing. Southern Living always does such a beautiful job.
    My favorite part though – the picture of you and Vicki. Dear friends are such a treasure, one of God’s greatest blessings.

  8. Rhoda you are a doll for sharing this with us. I just came home to Wisconsin after visiting my tiny condo that I just purchased in Cape Haze Florida. My husband and I will be snowbirds. The Idea House gave me some inspiration for decorating along with your beautiful home in Georgia (heh, we’re neighbors, in neighboring states). P.S. you looked so cute in your sun dress!

  9. What a fun outing! Thanks so much for giving us a preview! Now, I can’t wait for that issue of Southern Living!

  10. It’s beautiful home, but the interior is just too neutral for my taste. I love the little bunkies.

  11. I loved the tour! Thanks so much for taking us along with you!

  12. margaret says:

    What a treat! Thank you for sharing your trip with us. I cannot wait every year until the August issue to see the new idea homes. Love your dress. I’m off to TJMaxx this AM for sure!

  13. Rhoda
    What a great home and love all the outdoor plantings! I have to say you look so amazing & happy -its just written all over your face!
    and how funny to be matching Barbara’s daughter!!

  14. Rhoda! What a great day. Loved meeting you and Vicki! Hope you enjoyed your stay in Nashville. I’m linking your post to my Southern Living Tour recap. :) Hope to see you again soon.

  15. What an awesome experience! I love the ropes around the chains of the swings… such a great touch. And now I know why you decided to jump on the fiddle leaf fig bandwagon! ;-)
    xo heidi

  16. You just have the most fun! I like the photo of you and your long-time friend, Vicki. (I would have been friends with you girls in school.) I also like the photo with you and Jaime with your matching dresses. You just keep “living the life”!

  17. Thank you for sharing your time visiting the SL House! YOu are absolutely adorable and beautiful in your maxi sundress!!!

    You are very blessed to be able to do so many fun things. And so generous for sharing them with us!

    I’m very excited to go to Haven and meet you!

  18. Absolutely love the style of this show home. I am always inspired by your posts and have been looking at using stripes in my hallway… again I am seeing them in your post and definitely this is the way I am going. I was going to paint them but think I have found the perfect wallpaper to use, although painting them would certainly cut down the cost. I may even put together a post on stripes.

    Lee :)

  19. Wow! With the amazing environment, the view, and the house itself, it’s impossible to not be able to relax there. It’s a good thing you took photos of almost all the areas. It’s not a surprise why bloggers flock there. You can even make it an inspiration when you build and design your own house.

  20. Sarah Frost says:

    How can I find out where the wicker club chairs came from? They are exactly what I am searching for!
    Thanks for you help!

    • HI, Sarah, my source list says the table and chairs are from Ballard Designs. They did all the outdoor furniture.

  21. Rhoda, it was such a pleasure (as usual) to see you! So glad you loved the house. We’re so happy to be a part of this gorgeous project.

  22. Thanks for sharing your tour with us! The porch swing is my favorite!

  23. I love how they casually wrapped the jute rope around the porch swing!!!

    Looking good in your stripes mama!

    Xo
    Jen

  24. Beautiful house! I wondered about those bathroom mirrors … were they wood? I’m getting ready to do a mirror framing for my mom and was looking to do something fairly rustic looking. Can you tell me more about them?

  25. I handled publicity when Barbara and Ken sold Fontanel at auction. It’s a massive place. I spent a good bit of time there, and we got a lot of press, including a live tour on Today, with Matt Lauer interviewing Barbara as she walked through the house. They spent the whole day the previous day running cable through the hallways. I had somehow not realized the buyers (who were friends of Barbara’s) had turned it into a museum of sorts.

  26. Great write up Rhoda! Loved seeing you! So glad you got to drive up to Nashville. What a fun event – how FUN is that picture of you with Barbara Mandrell’s daughter? I’m a TJ Maxx girl…their clothes are great.

  27. Great article Rhoda, I appreciate everything your guys are doing for Nashville. Keep it up.

  28. Julie O'Leary says:

    Any idea where I could purchase the sunbrella slip covered swivel chairs flanking the fireplace in
    The Guest House Downstairs Suite?

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] I Absolutely Loved. This perfect porch swing. [...]

  2. […] Phase I of the master bathroom renovation is in full swing and my latest progress includes creating some easy, DIY wall stripes. If you recall, my inspiration for the space comes from the 2013 Southern Living Idea House. […]

  3. […] lovely – but over the top in either style or expense for me.  I’d seen a sneak peak on Southern Hospitality and in the August issue of Southern Living but it was much nicer to see it in […]

  4. […] Rhoda from Southern Hospitality Blog came out for the summer blogger event at the grand opening of the Southern Living Idea House. She was as beautiful and gracious in person as she is on her blog. […]

  5. […] Rhoda from Southern Hospitality Blog came out for the summer blogger event at the grand opening of the Southern Living Idea House. She was as beautiful and gracious in person as she is on her blog. […]

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