Text by Bethany Adams
When Gabe and Keely Scott first saw their future home in Nashville, Tennessee, they didn’t know if it was the house for them. “It needed a lot of work,” says Keely, “and we were unsure if we were up for the challenge.” But the house’s location, as well as Keely’s long-standing dream of renovating an old home, eventually won out. “After the fifth walk-through, we decided to go for it,” she says.
The couple chose to live in the house for a year before renovating, which Keely says helped them work out what they wanted in the new design. “It had a long hallway with five rooms off of it; it was a very choppy feeling,” Keely says. “We knew we wanted to open up walls and create an open living space.”
With the help of designer and personal friend Justin Orton, they created a layout that’s perfect for entertaining, which was a main priority for Gabe and Keely. The updated design includes an open dining and living area with access to the back deck. During colder months, the couple can stay warm and cozy in front of the fire while easily enjoying the view of their backyard through the large glass doors framing the fireplace.
In keeping with the “modern Victorian farmhouse” style that Keely says was their vision, they opted for a color palette that echoes calming comfort. “I knew when we decided to paint the exterior black that I wanted a white, clean look inside,” Keely says. The crisp tones are softened by shades of gray in places like the kitchen, where a charming warmth can be found even on the chilliest days.
Although the couple wanted to update the home, they were careful to maintain as much of the original character as possible. When adding square footage and extending the main hallway, they reclaimed the original heart pine flooring from another section of the house. Other pieces that Keely says they preserved include the pocket door in the entry and the Victorian tile fireplace surround in the sitting room.
When it came to renovating the home, Gabe utilized his love of technology to transform the cottage into a “smart house.” He and Keely can now control the lights, HVAC, sound, and alarm systems with an app. “It’s almost too smart for me, but we love how easy that makes things,” Keely says.
With the major projects completed, Keely turned her attention to filling the cottage with pieces that would make the space distinctly theirs. “[When I was] growing up, my mom and aunt taught me how to be on the hunt and find unique items,” Keely says. Her favorite place to search for interesting finds is in Round Top, Texas, where the Original Round Top Antiques Fair has produced discoveries like the old gymnasium speaker that serves as a hanging light in the living room. “We love the conversation piece it is,” Keely adds.
The home’s interior transitions seamlessly from antique character to contemporary flair with bold artwork and sleek furniture choices. In the dining room, the antique farm table is surrounded by four wire chairs draped with faux fur, creating a comfortable spot to enjoy a warm drink when the seasons change. From start to finish, Gabe and Keely poured themselves into the renovation of this Nashville cottage, letting their personalities shine in every corner. By taking a chance on a challenging project, they managed to create a space like no other.