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Decorating
Tour a Vintage Nashville Cottage
Southern charm meets global inspiration in this modern Nashville cottage.
Rarely does the result of a whirlwind look so calm, cool and collected. But Kimberly Irion Yungfleisch and her husband, Justin, had no time to waste with only two weeks to make their completely empty Nashville cottage into an established residence ready for Southern hospitality. The flurry of activity started when, after viewing what Kimberly... Keep Scrolling
Written by Kris Christensen
Photography by Bret Gum
Styling by Kimberly Irion Yungfleisch and Scarlett James


Rarely does the result of a whirlwind look so calm, cool and collected. But Kimberly Irion Yungfleisch and her husband, Justin, had no time to waste with only two weeks to make their completely empty Nashville cottage into an established residence ready for Southern hospitality.

open and inviting living room and dining room layout with a modern edge.
SMALL SPACE STYLE. Kimberly and Justin’s vacation home is actually quite compact, with the entryway opening to the dining area and flowing straight to the living room and kitchen. The modern rustic style unifies the furniture pieces and everything together into a cohesive whole. The space appears larger than it really is and allows for seamless entertaining.

The flurry of activity started when, after viewing what Kimberly estimates to be about 70 different properties, she and Justin fell in love with a brand new house built with plenty of old-fashioned character that they have christened “the Julep House.”

Bright, white open concept kitchen with vintage Persian rug.
PERFECTLY PERSONALIZED. The couple was content to leave everything the builder had installed in the kitchen without making any changes to the cabinets, counters or other surfaces. Fresh greenery, the Turkish rug and a large woven basket add a touch of warmth to the otherwise cool-colored space. The vintage-style barstools bring the midcentury look over from the living room and into the kitchen.

We did everything from scratch… I was treasure hunting like crazy!

Home Away From Home

The couple lives in Los Angeles and works in the entertainment industry, but wanted a home away from home where they could relax with loved ones and entertain on a more intimate level. “We wanted to put down roots in Nashville because I grew up there, and my family still lives in the area,” Kimberly says. “Our house is in a fun, historic neighborhood, and I love having shops, restaurants and ice cream within walking distance. The area is really dynamic and has a great energy.”

Hallway seating area with a modern design bench and art pieces hung on the light grey background wall.
SWEET SPOT. This Midcentury Modern daybed is a clever and attractive way to provide seating in the bedroom, and it is the perfect size to accommodate the Julep House’s younger guests overnight.

Although the interior of the Nashville cottage boasts modern amenities like remote security and climate controls, the building is constructed to the standards of the Nashville’s Historic Overlay, which seeks to preserve the charm of the city’s traditional architecture. This adherence to time-honored quality is what initially attracted the couple to the Julep House.

Guest bedroom with gray tufted headboard twin beds and vintage inspired blue rug.
MODERN & SOPHISTICATED. The gray guest room is quite posh without seeming at all pretentious. Tufted headboards complement the dove-colored bedspreads, but the real show stopper is the blue statement rug just underfoot.

Kimberly and Justin felt right at home with the builder’s use of high-quality materials and classic but on-trend design decisions. The usual adjustments that new owners do to paint colors or flooring in order to make a house fit their needs and tastes were not necessary. “We really lucked out by loving the entire aesthetic,” she says.

Although the interior boasts modern amenities like remote security and climate controls, the building is constructed to the standards of the Nashville’s Historic Overlay, which seeks to preserve the charm of the city’s traditional architecture.

“The house already had crown molding, beautiful wood floors and Carrara marble countertops installed when we purchased it, so we didn’t want to change anything. My only challenge was completing the décor in such a limited time frame.” With the keys finally in hand, Kimberly took time off work, packed her suitcases with a few treasured textiles from her favorite Southern California flea markets and flew to Nashville.

Rustic looking dining table topped with fresh greenery trimmings in vases.
PLEIN AIR PICTURE. Black-painted bistro chairs surround a rustic table to create a stylish but informal dining area. In the vacation home it’s not practical to keep indoor potted plants. But Kimberly uses clippings of fresh greenery to ensure the Julep House has the sense of hominess that only plants can provide. A vintage woven-grass wall hanging also brings the outdoor vibe inside.

Resourceful Designing

When a person prepares a new home, there is typically a moving van crowded with items to fit inside and time to thoughtfully consider what’s missing. Kimberly had neither, but her family and friends helped to fill the place with the essential pieces and create fun memories of the whirlwind experience. “We did everything from scratch,” she laughs. “In those two weeks, we had to find everything from headboards to carrot peelers. I was treasure hunting like crazy! But my family loves projects, and we had a lot of friends pitch in. My friend Scarlett is an interior designer, so she offered her guidance with furniture selection and layout. My dad is also a talented woodworker and upholsterer.”

Wooden deck with whicker seating area and the front door open and inviting you into the home.
WELCOME ALL. Front porches are a Southern staple, and Kimberly’s house is no exception. The same kind of hospitable style that she decorates with indoors is first seen outside. The natural wood deck, beams and front door lend a rustic quality that contrasts with the clean and crisp white exterior. Two comfortable wicker chairs are set with a Turkish rug, graphic pillows and a convenient place to put the evening’s beverage of choice.

I collect textiles. I love them! Even if I don’t know where they are going to go or how they will be used, I still hoard them.

Skillful assistance is always welcome when budget is a consideration. Her father’s DIY skills helped keep costs down by saving money on custom upholstery and furniture refinishing for the less-than-perfect pieces Kimberly hauled home from various thrift stores and flea markets. “Every day it would be me in my overalls and my dad in his truck, just getting stuff done.”

Americana guest bedroom with matching queen sized beds under a hanging American flag on the wall.
SUMMERY STYLE. This pair of iron bed frames has guests dreaming of bygone days on a farm. A vintage flag imbues the room with retro nostalgia.

Peace of Mind

Ease of maintenance and durability drive the overall design. The Julep House is not a full-time residence, so simplicity gives Kimberly and Justin peace of mind while they are away and facilitates a relaxing environment during their visits. The place must also be ever-ready for a high volume of guests and able to withstand even the youngest visitors. She relies on midcentury furnishings and global textiles to create the unique fusion of modern style with vintage patina that gives her home its clean but storied personality.

A color palette of cool grays and rustic wood finishes serves as the design foundation that unifies the whole house from the entryway to the upstairs bedrooms. It is, however, the variety of shades and textures that provide dimension in each space. White also allows just enough contrast in the cabinetry, trim and accessories to keep the earthy ambience.

Bright and open room with twi queen sized beds with tinted velvet blue headboards and hanging wall art.
TUFTED TOUCHES. Indigo headboards contrast with the crisp white bedding and complement the bold mudcloth accent pillows. Nearby a woven wall hanging further enhances the room’s handcrafted global aesthetic.

Brightly colored rugs and boldly patterned fabrics act as visual highlights to punctuate otherwise neutral spaces. “I collect textiles. I love them! Even if I don’t know where they are going to go or how they will be used, I still hoard them,” she confesses. Vibrant indigo mudcloth appears frequently throughout the Julep House, as it is one of Kimberly’s decorating essentials. Among other uses, the blue fabric covers the surface of the entryway bench, hangs above the sofa as art and accents guest beds in the form of pillows.

Gray painted media center with musical art prints hanging on the wall behind it.
CENTRAL ENTERTAINMENT. The media center is positioned to be visible from both the kitchen and living area, so that none of the excitement is missed during big games. Surrounding the television is a small collection of framed thrift-store album covers that Kimberly picked up for less than a dollar. She enjoys finding quirky cover art with a sense of humor.

All Settled in a Nashville Cottage

With cool colors and clean lines, Kimberly and Justin’s Nashville cottage captures the essence of serenity, in direct contrast to the effort it took to get their house up and running. She admits, “I was constantly asking myself, How quickly can I make these decisions?”

Ultimately, Kimberly had a strong vision for the look and feel of her home away from home. The flurry of activity is now long subsided, and the couple enjoys welcoming their helpful friends and family members for evenings of good food, good company and most certainly a cold mint julep.

Want more design ideas with a Nashville cottage flair? Check out this post on how to mix the old with the new in your cottage.

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