A Design Insta Crush Yields A Soulful Remodel Of A Nashville Home


blue armchair rust-colored traditional living...

Originality was key for a designer given free rein to deliver soul to a Nashville home.

family room with swedish monk...

Designer Stephanie Sabbe’s talent for marrying old and new comes into play in the family room of this Nashville home, where antique Swedish monk chairs, reupholstered in a green Kravet velvet, flank a waterfall concrete console by Wisteria. A custom ottoman skirted in Robert Allen’s Padula Bluebell provides extra seating and softness. A vintage mirror and bird prints add character.

family room wood beams blue...

Anchoring a vintage Turkish rug in the family room are a Lee Industries sofa—covered in Sanibel Ocean heathered velvet—and tufted armchair. An antique Amish coffee table and primitive stool, both sourced from the Nashville Flea Market, bring texture and warmth to the light and airy space, which Sabbe painted with Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace. Boxed cedar beams add architectural interest to the ceiling.

english country inspired white kitchen...

Sabbe drew inspiration from English country houses for the kitchen, inserting the homeowners’ existing vintage copper pots, an antique jug from the Nashville Flea Market and a brass-framed landscape by Bruno Monteiro through her own online shop. But she was keen to modernize things, too, choosing Wishbone-style counter stools and Barn Light Electric Co. pendants to illuminate the room without obstructing views.

kitchen prep sink with quartzite...

Macabus quartzite countertops and brass hardware bring a timeless look to a kitchen vignette boasting a simple prep sink by Blanco and faucet by American Standard. Wall paneling in Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace contrasts beautifully with the Stingray color by the same company used for the cabinetry.

blue dry bar in benjamin...

Straddling the line between relaxed and formal, the dry bar connects the home’s dining room to its screened porch. Sabbe created impact with color using Benjamin Moore’s Summer Nights. The room’s original floors influenced her selection of wallcovering— Arbutus by Morris & Co.—while vintage paintings, baskets and crocks reinforce the tawny palette.

breakfast area green kravet banquette

In the breakfast area, woven seagrass chairs by Phillips Scott sidle up to a rustic RH trestle table. The built-in banquette features cushions upholstered in a green Kravet vinyl. Blue and white pillows in fabrics by Elizabeth Eakins and Michael S. Smith for Jasper soften the nook, where the homeowners’ copper chargers serve as punctuation points.

master bathroom soaking tub with...

In the master bathroom, all cabinetry and woodwork are enrobed in Benjamin Moore’s Newburg Green. Surrounded by built-in bookcases and completed with swing-arm brass sconces by Visual Comfort & Co., the soaking tub proffers the little luxury of having tomes at one’s fingertips. A vintage Turkish rug and antique chair emphasize the library-like feel.

master bathroom cabinetry with honed...

Brass hardware and floors laid with honed Carrara marble from Concepts in Tile and Stone contrast with the deep tone of the master bathroom cabinetry by MidSouth Custom Cabinets. Just over the threshold, the master bedroom offers a light and airy reprieve.

master bedroom RH bed vintage...

A large window frames an RH bed in the master bedroom. The low headboard, upholstered in a caramel-colored textile, converses with the tones of vintage artwork Sabbe arranged beside Noir’s modern Enzo sconce. More graphic black appears in a bookshelf-turned-nightstand by Phillips Scott, striped draperies and an accent pillow fabricated in Quadrille’s Fez Background linen.

To former Los Angeles dwellers Kaylee and David Wilson, there was something special about Tennessee designer Stephanie Sabbe. Her original yet familiar aesthetic had captured Kaylee’s attention well before a life transition spurred a return to her indie filmmaker husband’s native Nashville. “I followed her on Instagram for more than a year and loved her authenticity and her work,” Kaylee explains. “I knew moving here, we wanted to buy an old house and keep it old, and Stephanie would retain that character.”

When the Wilsons reached out for the designer’s input on a home they’d purchased in Green Hills, “She saw the address and said, ‘Wait just a second—I live five doors down from this house!’ I think we were always meant to be neighbors,” Kaylee recounts. Serendipitously, Sabbe had just finished the renovation of her own family’s abode—built the same year as the Wilsons’, in 1926—so she was excited to put into practice everything she’d learned along the way. The Wilsons, for their part, were more than willing to put their faith in her hands. “From the get-go, there was this crazy synergy,” Sabbe recalls. “It really was like getting to design my home all over again, only this time, I got to do it even better.”

Sabbe spearheaded a renovation that involved reworking the traditional floor plan to open the kitchen to the living spaces, even closing up a window to gain additional cabinetry space. “People are hesitant to do that,” says Sabbe. “But it allowed the Wilsons to have a proper kitchen layout, and there’s still plenty of natural light.”

Sabbe’s direction also added decorative cedar beams alongside an existing structural support in the ceiling. “I wanted them to look intentional—like they’d always been there,” she says, adding how the home’s original, load-bearing brick chimney was camouflaged between two cased openings—a move that gave the Wilsons the open floor plan they craved and allowed them to cook while watching their children play in the family room simultaneously.

Upstairs in the master suite, the renovation captured several square feet from the bedroom to create a larger, more luxurious bathroom. But Sabbe’s manner of addressing the cozy, cocooning sleeping quarters meant the reduced footprint was virtually unnoticeable.

Once she’d improved functionality for the family, Sabbe says she and the Wilsons entered a “total trust zone,” with the designer receiving carte blanche to curate a storied, soulful look. “We pretty much have identical personal styles, so anything I dragged over there—a vintage portrait sketch, Oushak rugs, Swedish monk chairs—they were always game for everything,” she says. Most of those finds came from Sabbe’s scourings of her self-professed “secret haunts” in Tennessee, some of which she repurposed for modern-day needs—such as shortening the legs of an Amish-made table found at the local flea market to create a makeshift coffee table.

Antiques—especially English-inspired ones—were central to Sabbe’s vision, but they were also incredibly personal for Kaylee. “I grew up in a family where antiques were appreciated,” she says. “We were taught from early childhood that furniture is an art and should be taken care of and passed down like stories. Stephanie also subscribes to that idea, and she has a way of making old things feel very fresh.” For example: A duo of carved antique chairs flanks a modern concrete console in the family room, while contemporary sconces illuminate framed oil paintings at the master bedside.

Surprisingly, “This was one of the first projects I’ve worked on where I felt like I got to truly flex my creative muscles in their entirety,” Sabbe reveals, adding that the Wilsons were unfazed when she suggested hanging a portrait of a man they didn’t know in the cozy, cinnamon-hued dining room. “I think they understood he would add age and character in a way a new acquisition couldn’t.”

Layering the home one space at a time, Sabbe addressed each as if it were a standalone chapter in a good novel. “It was like a domino effect—one room after the other,” she says, noting how paint colors throughout offer clues to her approach. “Of course, we wanted things to feel cohesive, but that variation you see was deliberate. I don’t think you can truly appreciate color unless you experience the relief of it.” Her philosophy on patterns proved much the same: “They deliver more impact when you’ve had a break from them nearby, and the juxtapositions create a rhythm as you move through the house.” For the Wilsons, that rhythm is somewhat like life itself—always in flux and, thankfully, always bringing a new adventure around the next corner.