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A Nashville Home for a Couple Whose Hearts Will Always Be on the Road

published May 7, 2019
Credit: Julia Steele
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After years spent bouncing between Nashville and New Orleans, Andi and Ben put down roots in Nashville to be part of its music scene.

Name: Andi Eaton & Ben Alleman
Location: Gallatin, TN
Size: 1,336 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years

Andi Eaton and partner Ben Alleman love their lives on the road—she’s a travel writer and founder of Oui We; he’s a musician—but they craved a permanent home base where they could reconnect and recharge. They’d been splitting time between their native New Orleans and a Nashville rental, but time on the road—and time apart—got to be too much. It was time to pick one spot to hunker down. Nashville won for its booming music industry.

The problem: The music scene isn’t the only thing booming in Nashville—properties often list and sell in the same day! The couple sought a quieter respite outside of town—where they’d hoped to find an artist community and farmers’ markets—they weren’t optimistic. Add two nonstop travel schedules (Andi even wrote a book, Wanderful, devoted to road-tripping), and all signs pointed to a difficult search.

Watch: The Permanent Home of Two Wandering Souls

Enter real estate agent Juliana Cox. A member of the National Association of REALTORS®, Juliana came highly recommended from several friends and understood Andi and Ben’s aesthetic and lifestyle. “She asked a lot of questions at the beginning of the process,” Andi says. “We totally trusted her from that point forward, when we knew she got what we were looking for.”

Juliana jumped right in, sending video tours of houses when Andi and Ben were traveling. One of these included a home in the suburb of Gallatin that had been on the market just three days. Juliana quickly FaceTimed Andi for a house tour—then she returned on the back of her husband’s motorcycle to get footage of the neighborhood! (You have to see the footage, included in the video above.)

Juliana urged Andi to act fast, so Andi went with her gut, making an offer before Ben had seen it. In fact, Ben didn’t set foot in the house before they bought the house—with Juliana organizing a unique closing session in which Ben was FaceTimed in and Andi had power of attorney to proceed on his behalf.

The house is just what the creative couple wanted: a spacious, quiet space near friends and community (which is important to Andi, who runs a women’s social club). It’s grounding, personal, and undoubtedly Andi and Ben’s. The couple has made every room a respite with light, neutral walls framing their collection of family heirlooms, travel mementos, and art created by friends (like that amazing Bill Murray print).

For a couple whose definition of “home” had long been the storage space where you keep your stuff between trips, the two enjoy knowing that they’re building equity as homeowners. “The novelty of being able to travel together is awesome,” Ben says of the shift, “but it is a more special thing to be here in our home together.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My home’s style: 1940s cottage bungalow

Inspiration: We both find inspiration in the colors and textures in nature. I’m drawn to the landscapes experienced along our road trips—from seascapes to mountains and the in-between. I love that Ben shoots on film. I’m always inspired by what comes out of his analog cameras. We both love weathered architecture too and a sense of wabi-sabi. It’s a philosophy that has inspired collecting things like flowers that are dried and pressed between pages of books.

Favorite element of the home: The original hardwood floors, the fireplaces in our bedroom and living room.

Biggest challenge, and how you overcame it: Our house only has one bathroom and it was a disaster when we moved in. The subfloor was rotten, the bathtub walls were covered in wall paint—it was crazy. We remodeled the bathroom from the subfloor up. It required that we moved out for two months to get it completed, but we love it now.

What friends say about your home: It has warm vibes, good energy, and that it feels special and full of thoughtful moments. It’s a reflection of us and the thing we love!

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen. It’s just in need of some updating—as much as I love to cook, I’m in need of an appliance upgrade.

Proudest DIY: I’m a collector. And curating each room is something I get so much out of, but I’m honestly not much of a DIY project person. My projects lean toward the greener side of things: I love to cook, so I created a little herb garden in the kitchen, for example.

One other little DIY: I’ve been warming Ben up to the idea of wallpaper, so I’ve done a few DIY wallpaper projects. For example: the “Nana” paper from Justina Blakeney’s Hygge & West collection is in the living room, framed in a five-foot frame as if it’s an art print, and I have that same paper lining the bookcase on my porch.

Biggest indulgence: That bathroom renovation. We’ve sourced everything else at local antique shops or from mom & pop shops we come across on our travels.

Best advice: Figure out what makes you smile and find your design style from there. For example: Ben loves heirlooms (those pieces remind him of family) and I love texture and colors that bring me back to a memory from my travels. When buying something new, we both want to feel a sense of connection to the piece or the person that made it. I like to know the story behind the things I’m adding to our home.

Dream Sources: Markets in Mexico (each time I’ve gone to Mexico I come home with weavings and ceramics) and mom & pop antique shops and flea markets. There are quite a few antique shops and flea markets near our home, and we’re regulars at those. The green velvet sofa in the entertainment room was a local antique shop find; so is the Costa Rican flower cart we use as our bar. We spotted the sofa on our very first trip out to source things for the house. I went back to that shop a month later, the price had been reduced and it was still there!

Resources:

Entertainment room:

Paint color: Agreeable Gray

Beaumont Medallion VI05 Rug, Rugs USA

Green Velvet Sofa, Goodlettsville Antique Mall

Costa Rican Flower Cart (same as above)

Farm Table, 112 Antique Market

Casper Dining Chairs Houzz

Red Shelving Lack by Ikea

Beaded Chandelier Wayfair

Macrame Planter & Vintage Wall Hanging, Gas Lamp Antiques

Ladder Bookself Lowe’s

Duponi Silk Drapes, Ben’s mom made these

Art: Concert Posters, The “Lover’s” watercolor painting is from a friend – Morgan Johnston of Club Duquette, The Mardi Gras piece was a gift from my mother, framed photos were all taken by either Ben or I and framed by Framebridge.

Living Room:

Bill Murray, Artist is an old friend from Louisiana – TJ Black

Brain on Art Painting, Marc Fresh Art

Double Dream Sofa, West Elm

Vintage Rattan Hourglass Side Tables, White Bohemian Rattan Chair, Ceramics  Trésor Cru

Plant Basket, Xinh & Co

Crystals, Crystal Heart

Black & White Photo of girl with camera is a thrift find

Nana Wallpaper in blue by Justina Blakeney, Hygge & West

Lamps are mostly from Homegoods & World Market

The blankets and throws are all from either markets or shops found on our travels

Bedroom:

Platform Bed, Palletz Bed

Cream Side Tables, Goodlettesville Antique Mall

Clothing Rack, I bought this at a film set flash sale out of the wardrobe department

Mirror on dresser, Goodwill

Ringspun Cotton Blanket, Target

Directors Chair, I found this at a craft fair

Boccioni Recycled Glass Jugs, mine came from Marshall’s I think

Pillows, a variety of places – Homegoods, World Market

Antique Trunks, these were passed down from a great aunt of Ben’s

Textiles on the wall are from an artisan market in San Miguel de Allende, the weavers are from Oaxaca, MX

Baskets and Curtains, World Market

Bathroom:

Fixtures are all from Lowe’s

Tiles were sourced at a local shop

Photo on Wall: 35 mm film photo shot by Ben, framed by Framebridge

Baskets are thrift finds

Kitchen:

Hanging Planter, Tresor Cru

Farmhouse Sink and Fixtures, Lowe’s

Edessa Medallion Rug, Rugs USA

Thanks, Andi!