After a year in our new (old) home I'm finally ready to start sharing it all with you! Before I could let you in 😉 I had another guest coming. Who you ask? Well, I'm so thrilled to share first looks from our domino magazine tour (shot by one of my first Nashville friends, Alyssa Rosenheck)! When domino calls you give them first dibs, of course. However, now it's yours for the viewing!
I've included the Q&A from the domino feature at the close of this post if you want the down and dirty about how Ben and I put our space together. There's honestly so much more to do and I'll be sharing additional reports as we go. As a travel writer, sharing the design of my space wasn't necessarily something I'd considered much before, however, bringing our travels into our home is something I'm always doing, so perhaps that idea will inspired what you're bringing home from your own travels too!
A few details about our house and then we can jump right in. Our home is a two-bedroom bungalow (built in the ‘40s) located just outside Nashville in the idyllic countryside town of Gallatin. Ben and I had a goal of creating a home that blends our style, shows off some our vintage finds, and puts our favorite memories from our travels on display. So here we go! Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
All photos: ©AlyssaRosenheck
How long have you lived in your home?
Less than a year! Ben and I are both from New Orleans however, when we met several years ago, he had an apartment in downtown Nashville and I was living uptown in New Orleans. We both travel so much (he being a musician and I a travel and style writer) so when we decided to combine our lives into one home we began looking for something near Nashville and a few months later the house was ours.
How did you choose Nashville to be your home base?
New Orleans will always be home for us and the inspiration we each gain from that city is immeasurable—Nashville offers so much to the creatives living here. We considered quite a few cities but wanted to be in a place where Ben could make music and where I could take time away to write, while still having the energy of a music-driven city nearby. Our home is walking distance from an old-school downtown square with an old-fashioned soda shop, a theatre, a juice shop, and farmer’s market—plus lots of antique shops and locally owned boutiques. It’s an easy drive into Nashville, and surrounded by natural areas and parks so, we’re able to feel a bit of respite when we’re home.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I’d describe my aesthetic as maximal-eclectic collector. I love texture and layers sprinkled with collected personal treasures. I dress the same way I decorate. Our home is filled with nubby blankets picked up from our road trips through Texas and Montana, mixed with a few favorites like our plush velvet sofa, which was sourced from a local antique shop. We both love a lived-in relaxed style with luxe touches.
How long did it take you to design your space?
It’s very much in progress, however the space began to feel like home after a few months. When we’re not traveling we both use our space for our personal creative endeavors so it needed to inspire the art to manifest in each of us. I do quite a bit of consulting work and when Ben is not on tour with his current band he’s working on his own music. For us, we wanted to design our space quickly so we could live and work, without it feeling hastily pulled together.
We set out to fill the space with furniture, rugs, and textiles first. Then, since we’re constantly collecting quirky souvenirs from our travels—and since Ben inevitably comes home with new concert posters (we have a room full of them!) from each tour—we felt that once the bones of the space were in place, we could constantly change up what’s layered in.
What’s your favorite place to find new decor?
While Ben loves heirlooms and I love mementos from travels, when buying something new we both want to feel a sense of connection to the piece. I like to know the story behind the things I’m adding to our home. We’ve bought much of our one-of-a-kind bohemian pieces from Nashville shop Trésor Cru (which translates from French to “vintage treasure”), including plant stands, baskets, bowls, tables, and chairs. The shell planter hanging in the kitchen nook is my absolute favorite find from them.
There are so many antique shops and flea markets near us and we’re regulars at those. In regards to art, I’m always scouring Instagram looking for artists doing cool things. I just added two paintings from southern painter Blayne Macauley to our bedroom; Ben takes 35mm film photos (most of the landscape photos in my coming book are photos he shot!) and I send all of our art and photos to Framebridge on the recommendation of an artist friend. I specifically love their Designer’s Choice service—often they’ll give framing ideas I hadn’t thought of.
I’m obsessed with the wallpapers and fabrics at Hygge & West and as I’ve been warming Ben up to the idea of wallpaper, I’ve done quite a few DIY wallpaper projects like lining the interiors of bookshelves and framing 4-5 foot sections of paper as if they’re a piece of art themselves. The Nana paper from Justina Blakeney’s Hygge & West collection is in the living room, framed in a 5-foot frame, and I have that same paper on my porch.
I need to know the story behind the green sofa! And the Bill Murray painting!
The sofa is seriously my favorite! Ben and I found it at a local antique shop on our very first trip out to source things for the house. Can you believe we actually passed on it the first time? I went back to that shop with his mom a month later, the price had been reduced and it was still there! She encouraged it and we bought it on the spot and had it delivered a few days later.
In regards to the painting: I’m a huge Bill Murray fan, I mean who isn’t, Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation is my all time favorite movie. This piece was created by an incredible Louisiana based artist (T.J. Black). I’d spent quite a bit of time around his studio as he was working on a collection that was pop-art inspired. When I saw this piece, I just couldn’t live without it. There is such a fun sense of whimsy in it and of course Bill is a classic. It makes me smile everyday (I’ve owned it for around seven years and have always hung it where it’s one of the first things I see in the morning). I feel like when collecting art or anything that is going to be permanently on your walls, absolutely loving it is key, especially if you are making an investment.
Which room of your home do you spend the most time in?
Our entertainment room! In the design of the house, it would technically be a dining room, but for us it’s where we eat, hang out, listen to music, and entertain. We added a big fluffy couch from West Elm and loads of afghans and floor pillows. Ben has a music studio that’s still in renovation in our home, however we have an upright piano, a few guitars and a record player in this room. Often times, I spend hours on end writing at the farm table that’s situated along the northern window and energetically, it’s the heart of the house
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in the weathered colors and textures in nature. I’m drawn to the landscapes experienced along our road trips—from seascapes to mountains and the in between, and I love that Ben shoots on film. I’m forever inspired by what comes out of his analog cameras. I love the study of wabi sabi—a Japanese worldview centered on seeing the beauty in imperfection and accepting the natural cycle of life. It’s a philosophy that has inspired a joy in collecting things like old tea towels and wilted flowers pressed between pages of books. It reminds me to embrace moments when things aren’t perfect as a part of the life experience.
What’s your favorite memory you have in your home?
Every time we’ve hosted friends and family it’s been pure magic and full of memories! We’re preparing to host a party for about a dozen friends to celebrate my book release and I want it to be a mystical experience for everyone. I’ve learned to slow down and not worry so much about creating perfection and instead to focus on what will create warmth and a glow for people when they visit. For example: I’ll gift the guests, all of whom are close personal friends, chakra stones, and the essential oils and herbal blends that I burn everyday. Sense of smell is closely linked with memory and I want our guests to take home the feeling of being here with us.
Also, Ben has been gone so much for his tour so every time he comes home we spend hours cooking, drinking wine, and listening to music on our porch and those nights are a big reminder of why we chose a home away from the noise and light pollution of a city!
What’s your favorite room?
Our bedroom. It was certainly one of the selling points of the house: there’s a fireplace in one corner that we’ve lined with books and crystals and there’s beautiful light in the room, too. While my tendency is towards lots of layers, we kept this room fairly minimal. We used lighter colors and added wooden touches like the antique trunks, which we use as nightstands. The trunks are family heirlooms, a great-great aunt of Ben’s traveled the Orient in the ‘30s, bought the trunks and shipped them home (and they were antiques then!). They’ve been passed down since.
I love gallery walls, however in this room, I chose single pieces that have a bit of a muse-like quality. I absolutely love the vibe of the girl in the black and white photograph sitting above my dresser. This room has become a quiet retreat for relaxation and meditative moments. In the evenings I’ll light up some palo santo and sage and spend the final hour of the day winding down.
I also love your little clothing rack corner. Is that due to space constraints or a desire to show off your favorite objects?
A bit of both. Our house is a small, two-bedroom bungalow built in the ‘40s and the closets are basically non-existent. I’ve dealt with this before, I lived in a French Quarter loft apartment years ago in New Orleans and took the same approach. Vintage dresses and beautiful pieces hang on the rack that’s visible to visitors and the less beautiful things go in the closets. It certainly makes getting dressed fun in the morning! We have two small closets in our bedroom so things like shoes, denim, and bags are tucked away while the more luxurious pieces hang in view.
How do you keep your plants alive if you're always on the road?
Whenever we have friends and family over they ask the same thing! However, after a bit of testing and plenty of plant mama homework, I’ve figured out which plants work for us. I typically choose low maintenance plants (no fiddle figs here, as much as I’d love to have one!). I love philodendrons, snake plants, succulents, and cacti. I keep self watering aqua globes in the plants that need to be watered a bit more regularly. We’re rarely gone for more than two weeks at a time so, the aqua bulbs can keep things alive while we’re away. Most of the plants in our house are resilient and will bounce back to life with water and the right light.
And tell me a bit about your book, launching September 12! How is it different than your first?
Yes, so soon! The book Wanderful: The Modern Bohemian's Guide to Traveling in Style is a fashion travelogue featuring nine intimate road trips exploring cities, beaches, deserts, and forests—it is intended to make the reader feel as if they're traipsing the country with their best, and best-dressed girlfriends. I creative-directed and wrote the book and traveled with several insanely talented photographer friends to create the imagery. As a girl with a love for off-the-beaten-path destinations, I found myself putting aside standard travel guides and, instead, looking to fashion mavens, musicians, and artists for travel and style inspiration. Each chapter opens with a playlist, a book list, and a packing list to set the vibe for the trip, and then features favorite vintage shops, late-night dancing spots, and Instagram-worthy local lunch counters, too. There’s trendy destinations like Marfa, Santa Fe, New Orleans, and Joshua Tree and then artistic hideaways along each route too.
I couldn’t even compare it with the first book, they’re so different! New Orleans Style takes a look at the melting pot of cultures that gave rise to the diverse sartorial influences found in New Orleans. It’s a bit of a historical account of of French sophistication, Spanish exuberance and deep Creole roots. It’s truly my ode to the legacy of the costume, couture and style of my home.