It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – At the Southern Living Idea House

Tuesday I spent a magical evening at the newly decorated Southern Living idea House at Fontanel where the builder, Castle Homes, gave VIP guests (including me!) a special private tour. It feels as though the Christmas season has begun in Nashville!

natural Christmas decor

photo by The Decorologist



You may remember I was invited to tour the Idea House back in the summer with a group of top southern bloggers prior to it’s grand opening, where I got to meet designer Phoebe Howard and Southern Living’s editor, Lindsay Bierman.  Let’s take a look inside of the house now, all decorated for Christmas:

southern living idea house fontanel

photo by The Decorologist



When I arrived after a busy day of paint color consultations, the place was milling with happy designers and real estate pros from the Nashville area.  The decorated house had a southern holiday feel with lots of natural greenery and burlap. 

VIP Southern Living Idea House party

photo by The Decorologist



There was plenty of food and Christmas cheer as we all toured the house and adjoining guest houses that are part of the Idea House complex.  The kitchen is really a cozy, happy place to be.  Don’t you just LOVE that pair of light fixtures?  For the paint colors in the Southern Living Idea House, click here.

southern living idea house fontanel kitchen

photo by The Decorologist



The Southern Living Idea House is open Wednesdays through Sundays through the end of the year.  In January, it will be available to rent for events and gatherings and will also function as a boutique bed and breakfast.  Wouldn’t you love to stay in this cozy guest room?  Well, soon you can!

southern living idea house fontanel christmas decorations

photo by The Decorologist



I love how they even decked out the taxidermy in this guest room.  I know a little somethin’ about that . . . 

taxidermy decor in southern living idea house

photo by The Decorologist



I got to hang out with Nashville’s PR guru, Nancy McNulty, whose PR firm helped make this lovely evening possible.

nancy mcnulty and the decorologist kristie barnett

Nancy McNulty and Kristie Barnett




holiday mantel decor

photo by The Decorologist


This is me with Alan Looney, president of Castle Homes, the Nashville-based custom home builder of the 2013 Southern Living Idea House.  He shared with me this funny story about the time somebody incorrectly assumed his name was Mr. Castle.  When he started his company, he figured Castle Homes had a more positive connotation than Looney Homes.  Wise choice, Alan.

alan looney and the decorologist

Alan Looney of Castle Homes and Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist



Alan and his team at Castle Homes used lots of natural materials and texture to create this charming high-end farmhouse that feels as though it’s been here for a hundred years, but with all the modern conveniences.

Southern Living Idea Housephoto by The Decorologist



Here’s a shot of me and my dear friend and editor at Thomas Nelson Publishing, Michelle Burke.   Look at the size of the decorations on that tree – those balls are as big as my head!

Kristie Barnett and Michelle Burke

 Kristie Barnett and Michelle Burke



southern living idea house nashville


Make sure you take some time to tour the 2013 Southern Living Idea House on the grounds of Fontanel Mansion in Nashville before the end of the year.  Believe me, it will get you in the mood for Christmas!  Have you started decorating yet?

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6 years ago

Hi! I was wondering if you knew whether those fireplace logs are real, or gas insert-type? I love the firesplaces in this post. Thanks!

6 years ago

Word nerd here- fontanel (fontanelle) is the soft spot on the top of a baby’s head. Does this place make you feel warm and fuzzy like rubbing the top of a baby’s head? 😉

6 years ago

You look very pretty Kristie! I am glad you got to meet with so many people that I’m sure are going to help your career. Good for you! Have a great weekend my friend!

carol jane
carol jane
6 years ago

Im sorry. But I cant stand those deer heads. So awfull. everything else is beautiful.

Michelle at Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust

What a beautiful home. Love the classy Christmas decor.

Warmly, Michelle

6 years ago

Can’t wait to see this house all decked out for Christmas! I’ve already been looking at holiday bow ties for my deer. Speaking of which, you need to post a picture of his final décor. He was still a work in progress when you wrote the blog post.

6 years ago

You look beautiful and my favorite decorated spot is that gorgeous mantel. Looks like you had a fun time…although I am not quite in the Christmas spirit yet.

John Kennedy
6 years ago

Hi Kristie,
After viewing your website I feel that you have a good sense for Home Decor, I would like to invite you to check out the Home Decor page from my Tools For all Trades website,, you may be interested to find some products that compliment your website.

Kind regards, John

Arturo @ Murobushi
6 years ago

Great post! I always have ideas for decorating during the holidays but yours were by far one of the best. Not tacky at all and very classy.

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