The building or renovating of a dream home isn’t for the faint of heart. It is also important to keep your perspective. The home is an outer reflection of who you are and where you are in life. It can change a lot, even after you have created that magnificent dream home. 

As Your Lifestyle Changes…

My mom designed a beautiful modern style home down in Louisiana (where I am from) when she was in her late 30’s. After we kids flew the coop, she no longer wanted all the maintenance and space that went with a fabulous environment for entertaining. Mom evolved into a late-blooming artist and wanted a smaller home with just enough room to do her artwork, ample walls for her still-evolving art collection, and the time and money to travel solo in her RV.

So when I work with clients, I am always helping them think about what will happen next after creating this giant undertaking. I now realize that I have gone about it organically, one step or phase at a time with my architect husband. I am accidentally creating my own soulful home – just one step at a time, with lots of love and care – making sure every step of the way is something I would love.

We live in Sylvan Park, a prewar neighborhood in Nashville, walkable to the Greenway, shops, and restaurants. Our yard is a rare double lot, affording us a luxurious view of the back lawn – an urban oasis. Here’s the original house, which we gutted and rebuilt several years ago, along with the studio when it’d just been built, featured in an Apartment Therapy article.

The solid wood plank floors are a continuation of our existing wood floors and will give us a seamless appearance. Once the original 50’s wood flooring is sanded, and it’s all resealed, you won’t know where one stopped, and the other one started.

Below are my vision boards from over the years. They’re still up on my studio walls, updated as I get more precise. 

The future guest house is the studio on our property where we’re living in now. That will be phase ii after the house addition.

My yoga and meditation room have had to move outdoors (around the corner of the studio) and take temporary residence. It’s now where I get my well deserved ‘me time.’   

I think part of doing a dream home is really about flexing with the times and doing whatever you can in your power to make things comfortable for yourself, while you remain uprooted.

This is the view from my future bedroom. The wishbone-shaped 65-year-old dogwood peeking out behind the studio is the jewel of the yard.  You can see from the turning leaves on top that it’s about to turn crimson red for the fall.

Because I normally think of “dream homes” as large, all-at-once undertakings like my Mom did, or sometimes my clients too, I didn’t really think of this house as one of those. I understood that David and I were gradually doing our thing and that we were making it count.  And I understood that I loved this little housey-house with all my heart. It’s what I call a “soulful home.” But a dream home?

Well, as things started to come together – and especially that gorgeous, luscious view streaming in from a ribbon of 10’ tall windows across the back of the house – I realized – This is my dream home.

Finally, here we have our backyard studio where David, Liam, and I have been camping out. I feel like a 21st-century pioneer, like a cross between camping and traveling, but without the exotic destinations.

It’s fun to see it all finally coming together, but how do you make that happen?  Stay tuned for my next blog post where I share with you some of the challenges we came across that were hard to overcome. 

– Marcelle Guilbeau

Nashville Interior Designer
Soulful Living By Design

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