The week AFTER I got back from Nashville over the summer from my sorority annual trip I received my August Southern Living with the Southern Living Idea House for this year . . . Located in Nashville, TN. So annoying! Sorry sisters that I wasn't on top of knowing about this. However, since I only live 3 hours away I was able to visit.
The house is on the Fontanel property northwest of nashville , not too far from town but secluded. Once it closes for Southern Living tours it will re-open February 7th as The Inn at Fontanel.
Due to the cold weather, they had a tented walkway so we couldn't get an outdoor pic, this photo is from southern living.com :
Lets head inside . . .
(PS: please appreciate my dedication to sharing the house with you, I usually do not like posting public pics sans makeup)
Upon entry besides being greeted by a beautiful very large and open living room we were welcomed by a lady staffing the house. She was very nice to take our picture by the gorgeous tree.
And then suggested one by the mantle
I'm so glad we went this time of year - in addition to seeing the beautiful home we got to see the GORGEOUS Christmas decor.
So here is the main room:
Sorry, it's hard to get the nice display pics with a house actively being toured. Also, it was overcast that day and the house is designed for natural lighting so the lighting was weird for pictures. I'll link to the digital tour since mine is not the best, but you get the idea. Anyway - this room featured beautiful wood beams across the ceiling which I love and two seating area, which I did not. I'll cover my detailed "review" of the house at the end.
Off the living room is a spacious kitchen:
Off this is a mud room and bathroom and laundry room, both large and nicely done but hard to photograph. Then a dining room :
Due to the informal nature and openness to the kitchen I feel most southern area might call this a breakfast room, but its much bigger. It's a room designed for eating. Connected to . . .
The screened in back patio! Sorry ladies, the good looking guy doesn't come with the house ; ) This space also has two seating areas and connects to the master suite.
The welcome lady had told us to take our time exploring, touch as much as we wanted, try the furniture and take a nap. I think she was kidding on the nap but man was this bed tempting that. The master suite also has a very spacious master bath:
Too large to capture in one photo, this is the dressing area looking out, love the giant tub! This is looking into the dressing area:
Looks like the changing room at a spa. The bathroom also features a large shower with a rain forest head in the center, a water closet and sink area. I think y'all know what sinks, showers and toilets look like. Also connected to the master suite is the library / sitting room:
The library, master bath and master bedroom will make up the "best" suite off the hotel, at $799 a night. The library connects to the main living room (the photo of which was taken from that doorway and is a common area not exclusive to the suite) and the front porch. . .
This is just part of the porch, it's very large - this is it from a side view of the main building :
Seriously, HUGE. It has enough room for a dining table, two chase lounges and porch swing. It also served to connect the guest house and garage / carriage house to the main building.
The guest house features two suites, one upstairs:
And one down:
Each suite includes a bathroom and kitchenette area. The downstairs suite has a large bath and sitting area with fireplace, which I am demonstrating sans fire. It will be $484 a night while the upstairs suite is $424.
Guest house exterior:
Detached from the main house and suites are two bunkie structures:
Each bunkie features two beds, a bathroom with shower only, kitchenette and small porch area. They are $224 a night.
It was inevitable that I would in fact try out one of the beds - it was indeed comfy. Here's a close up of what all the kitchenettes look like:
Our last stop was the carriage house, which had a doggie area :
And upstairs suite for $424 a night, which I didn't notice our picture of was bad until we left. It was similar to the other upstairs suite but with turquoise as the accent color.
Downstairs they are using the garage as the idea room, where I got my goodie bag to fill with brochures on materials used, decorating ideas and gardening plans.
So overall I enjoyed the tour, see I'm happily posing outside the front door:
But if you're interested here's my personal thoughts on the house / future hotel. . .
Please don't get me wrong, the house is beautifully done while at the same time being warm, inviting and non museum like - this is very important as furniture that screams don't sit on me is very annoying! However, I was disappointed by the house on several levels. For one, there seems to be a lot of space repetition / wasted space: two seating areas in the living room, two porches with seating areas - why are there so many general seating areas? The mud room, laundry room and master bath are all larger than they need to be and waste some space. Also, I didn't like that most of the rooms were done up as bedrooms - I get that the property will serve as a hotel in 2014 but I would have liked the idea house to have different decor than hotel suites. For example, the bunkies would have been better set up as kids rooms; I also would have liked to see at least on of the suites as a man cave, craft room, home office, media room use . . . You know, how an actual family uses rooms. With this, the same decorator did the whole place - great for consistency of a hotel but variety of styles would have been nice to see, I like show homes with a decorator for each room. The house has been billed as a modern family compound but it seemed very family specific and too out of touch with real people - this house is great as a vacation home for a wealthy couple with 3 grown children and 4 to 8 grandchildren . . . Who like to have multiple areas to gather and talk : ). (If you're not a math person it's $2,579 for the whole place per night) It's really nice but not very practical for real people. I think there was a lot of missed potential on this one. Best I can tell because there isn't much info prior idea homes have been sold and are now private residences while this will be a hotel and seems very designed for that purpose. Past idea house were more decorated as if an actual family might live there. I think the variety of structures gave a lot of potential to have different things going on and instead it was look another hotel room. And btw, the hotel pricing seems a bit much and inconsistent. The bunkies sleep 4 but cost the least amount, hmm. Would love to see the bunkies with a bed removed and small seating area. The other suites need to come down $100 a night and the main house suite down at least $200. The bunkies would make nice girls weekend accommodations if anyone is interested. . . Did I mention the on site distillery?
However, not to be a complete grump there were many things I like. Most importantly, the $12 tickets are going to St Jude, yay good causes! Inside the house, I like that TVs were used, real people have them so I appreciate having a beautiful room where a tv is incorporated. I love the color scheme, very much my personal taste. The porch furniture was AMAZING! Love the farm table on the front porch. Also, I like that "knick knacks" were used, nothing looked cluttered - let's face it , real people have stuff. Finally, I like the program that came with the tour, since its an idea house it's good to know what something is and where to get it (or not, $400 300 thread count sheets , not buying no matter how gorgeous).
Regardless of my personal views of the house it was a nice visit. If you are within driving distance I recommend stopping by before it closes December 29th. If you're too far away and don't foresee a $500 hotel stay in your future here's the online tour: