2023 Southern Living Idea House Spotlights Indoor-Outdoor Living with Tennessee Modern Farmhouse
A quick drive from the bustle of Nashville takes you to the calm, rolling hills of the Tennessee countryside. Nestled in peaceful Leipers Fork, this year’s Southern Living Idea House blends indoor-outdoor living with surrounding natural elements for a welcoming farmhouse vibe accented by modern touches.
Lake + Land Studio architects sought to embody the Modern Farmhouse trend, while reflecting the region’s historic landscape. The great room’s high-vaulted ceilings are balanced by smaller adjacent gathering spaces, and a variety of windows cast bright light throughout the home. The multi-slide back door opens up to the expansive Tennessee hills and valleys.
Classic Southern Outdoor Living
As with any archetypal Southern home, the 2023 Southern Living Idea House emphasizes outdoor living spaces with a welcoming front porch and a cozy rear terrace with optional screening. The outdoor kitchen and a raised-bed garden evoke visions of warm summer nights spent entertaining.
“Overall the house [has] deeper and exaggerated bracketed overhangs on the front and back porches, which allow you to enjoy those spaces a little bit longer when [the day] gets to the hot parts of the sun, but also helps shield you from the many rainy days that we deal with,” Luke Sippel, architect with Lake + Land Studio, told Southern Living.
With the emphasis on blending indoor-outdoor living, interior designer Laura Hodges and the architects worked together to select durable decking that still looked stylish. The team chose Zuri® Premium Decking from Westlake Royal Building Products™ in the Chestnut color because “we wanted to make sure the decking would work with the interior flooring,” according to Hodges, owner of Laura Hodges Studio. “We chose the decking first, selecting a color that would work well with a white oak floor. For the interiors, we selected a darker floor stain on white oak, and we knew that the Zuri decking was going to live with it in a beautiful way.”
A seamless indoor-outdoor transition is strengthened by a cohesiveness in color and texture. “We worked with the architects on the exterior color palette, selecting colors that reflected the landscape and would coordinate with the interior,” Hodges explains. “We carried the stone from the exterior onto the fireplace in the great room, which gives a great sense of continuity to the design.”
Additionally, “Zuri was a beautiful and natural-looking complement to the paint colors and the stone finishes,” she says. “The decking color we chose has a warm undertone to it that works so well with the muted greens and grays of the exterior.”
Natural Elements, Sustainable Design
Hodges followed similar principles for the interior. “We wanted to make sure the design of the interiors was a reflection of the natural surroundings,” she says. At the same time, “We wanted the house to reflect the lively music and arts scene in Nashville,” which can be seen in the original artwork and locally sourced rugs and vintage furniture.
With a warm, natural color palette, Hodges incorporated stronger textures, including linen, velvet, and leather, and added statement-making light fixtures with graceful silhouettes.
The use of vintage and antique pieces was part of Hodges’ sustainability approach that spans inside to out and calls back to rich Southern tradition.
“We made intentionally sustainable design choices inside the house,” the designer says. “What’s nice about having the Zuri decking on the outside is the durability and the longevity of the product. Zuri decking feels and looks natural while holding up really well with low maintenance. Hopefully any new homeowners would keep it there even if the house changes hands and that speaks to the idea that good design is sustainable.”