There’s a lot to love about America’s music city: famous hot chicken, endless live shows, and whiskey for miles. Not that we needed it but now we’ve got one more reason to pack our bags and head down south to Nashville, Tennessee: The Wendell Home. Located in East Nashville, this beautiful Airbnb is packed with Schoolhouse goodies and has been thoughtfully renovated from top to bottom. Designed by New-York-based stylist Alana Stipech and her husband Kristopher, they bought the home last year and instantly started updating the space. The result is a truly stunning, bright and happy place - basically a dream Airbnb rental where visitors (of course) are always welcome.
Name: Alana Stipech of The Wendell Home
Date opened: March 2017
Neighborhood: East Nashville
Can you start us off with a little background about yourself? How did you start your career as a stylist and what’s next on your horizon for 2018?
“My background in hospitality, floral design, personal shopping, interiors, and wedding planning were the perfect stepping stones to becoming a freelance stylist. I dabbled in a lot of creative jobs before understanding how much I loved creating beautiful things for people to enjoy. Lately I’ve realized my true passion lies not only in composing pretty images for a photoshoot, but in creating an entire experience for people to actually enjoy firsthand. Realizing this has given me some very exciting ideas for a new project in my hometown of San Luis Obispo, California.. it’s a bit under wraps for now, but I’m very excited and can’t wait to share more!”
Tell us about The Wendell Home! It’s such a bright and well-designed space. What was the inspiration behind opening your airbnb?
“Thank you! My husband Kristopher and I bought the home in November 2016. We’d been talking about investing in real estate for several years, and Kristopher had done a ton of research about which cities were best from a financial standpoint. Nashville was at the top of every list, and we had already been going there often to visit friends, so we decided to go for it! We were drawn to East Nashville from the start, since most of our friends already live there. It’s a really cool community of people and filled with great restaurants and bars.
We flew in one weekend to look at homes, and our friend who is an awesome realtor set up about 16 showings for us. The Wendell Home was the first home we looked at, and I told Kristopher, “Let’s go get brunch and enjoy Nashville. We don’t need to look at any others, this is the one!” haha! We did end up looking at all the others, but The Wendell Home was still the one at the end of the day! A month later the renovation and design work started!”
Did you have a very specific design vision from the beginning or did everything come together organically?
“There were a few things we were sure about and it all came together around that. I knew I wanted it to be very minimal, and not overly specific in style so that it could be a place for all to enjoy. I also wanted our Airbnb guests to feel like they could come in and imagine being at home in our space, so it was a balance of making it feel cozy and lived in, yet still clean and unimposing. I also knew I wanted to be able to rent it out for photo shoots. As a stylist I’m always looking for a perfect place to shoot, so I wanted people to be able to come in and work around what we had and add their own vision to the space.”
How did you execute on the vision – what’s your process for creating such a stylish and warm space?
“There were a few pieces that I found and had to have (the french marble buffet in the dining room, the cane headboard in the master, etc), so I basically designed the rest of each room around them. I’m definitely not a professional interior designer, so a lot was trial and error! There were several pieces of furniture we had to end up returning, or selling, to replace with a better fit. Kristopher and I also designed several things custom to our space, such as our stair railing and some of the furniture, and local maker Robert Pritchard of The Bright Works brought them to life!”
“Creating something totally unique to our space was really fun and satisfying. Kristopher also set the home up to utilize technology. To access the home, our guests enter their phone number on the front door keypad. We are able to control interior and exterior lighting and the home’s temperature from our phones, so our guests always arrive to a comfortable, inviting space.”
There are so many Schoolhouse goodies in here! What are some of your favorites and why did you choose them in particular?
“We love Schoolhouse! We both lived in Seattle for a few years prior to NYC and I still remember the first time I took a weekend trip to Portland, and went to Schoolhouse. It was such a magical experience. My favorite piece is the Luna pendant in our entryway, every time we walk into The Wendell Home after being away for a couple months it makes me so happy to open the front door and see it. My other faves are the two brass Isaac sconces in the twin room! They look perfect with the wrought iron beds. I love how that room turned out - it’s playful and still manages to be chic as well. We get the most compliments on the modern farmhouse pedants above our kitchen island!”
What are some trends or design tricks you’re currently loving most right now?
“It’s not a trend yet, but I think closed floor plans will be soon. Open concept has been such a thing for a long time now, and I think that will change soon. I’m a bit of a traditionalist, so I am ready for more people to get on board with proper dining rooms, pantries, and closed kitchens! I am also still loving wallpaper, which has been trendy for awhile. Such an easy and removable way to transform a room!”
You’re based in New York and The Wendell Home is in Nashville. What do you like most about each and any secret or favorite spots to share?
“I love that NYC makes you appreciate small joys. The city is busy and loud and fast, so every moment of peace and simplicity feels special and refreshing. Being from California where we don’t get all four seasons, autumn in New York is one of the most magical things I’ve ever experienced. Nashville is more ‘my speed.’ Kristopher thrives off the NYC energy, and I appreciate it, but I resonate more with Nashville and how laid back it is. Everyone is so kind and down to earth. There is an amazing food scene and if you know me, you know I’m a foodie AND a huge country music fan, so it’s a natural fit! My fave spots in Nashville are Henrietta Red, Martin’s BBQ, Bloomsbury Farm and Arrington Vineyard.”
Lastly, what makes a house a home to you?
“Thoughtful design, a space to relax and be inspired by, and a kitchen to cook meals for friends and family!”
Photography by Ellie Lillstrom