Fontanel Mansion and Farm sure has come a long way from its origins just a few short years ago. If you head out just a bit northwest of Nashville – no more than about 10 or 15 minutes, you’ll find not only the Fontanel properties offering entertainment, events and fine dining, but you’ll also find the new Southern Living Idea House.
The opening party, which took place on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, was every bit a success. Nearly 500 guests attended the opening of the Southern Living Idea House at Fontanel. The event was held in the courtyard of the newly built property, which consists of the main house, the guesthouse, the garage suite, and the cutest little one bedroom cottage you’ve ever seen that Southern Living has affectionately dubbed “The Bunkie,” in keeping with the oh-so-popular trend of maintaining cozy little power-packed living spaces.
Guests from the music industry mingled with government officials and CEOs. Three-time Grammy-award-winning blues artist Keb’ Mo’ was in attendance, along with Big Kenny of Big & Rich, Larry Gatlin, Eddy Raven, the President and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation Butch Spyridon, Concilman Walter Hunt, State Senator Thelma Harper and many, many more.
Co-owners of Fontanel Marc Oswald and Dale Morris addressed the crowd, as did Southern Living Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Bierman, Publisher Greg Schumann and Idea House Manager, Frank Craige.
Oswald told the story of how the Southern Living Idea House came to be situated on their Fontanel property. Not long ago, Butch Spyridon had told Oswald that he would like to do something “good” for them – to show his appreciation for all that he and Dale Morris had done for the Nashville community. He didn’t know what it would be, but he reiterated that it would be “something good.” Three months later, Spyridon called Oswald up and asked, “Have you ever heard of Southern Living? Well, they plan to build an “Idea House,” and my idea is that they should build it on your property.” And so it came to be.
Along with notables in the crowd, every top-notch, elbow-rubbing, celebrity party needs fantastic music. It is simply a must! So country music group The Farm provided the entertainment for the event, and they managed to keep the audience completely awe-struck, despite the dominating heat. I can’t imagine a better fit – or a better sound – that could have filled the evening air. Their songs – filled with fiddle, great harmonies and high-energy yet comforting rhythms – reminded one of past summer days, when life was nothing but good.
During the event, Dale Morris – one of Nashville’s premier artist managers – paid tribute to Earline, his wife of 54 years, by dedicating an all-white flower garden to her. Created by Page/Duke Landscape Architects, it is filled with beautiful white flowers of multiple varieties, and its backdrop is “Porter’s Pond,” a catch-and-release tilapia and bass pond where children can come to fish.
For you car lovers, there was also a fantastic 1936 Packard on display. Talk about a great photo op! As you can see, our trusty photographer Bill Hobbs certainly didn’t miss the opportunity.
All in all, it was a wonderful evening, complete with meeting new friends, tasting delectable foods and meandering through the incredible rooms of the new Idea house. It was so good to see such a beautifully, well-thought-out home built where once there was only a field. Southern Living’s District Advertising Manager Holly Belk put it best when we discussed this remarkable project. “Barely a year ago, I remember being out here and putting the shovel in the dirt at the ground-breaking ceremony. Now, here we are. It’s turned out beautifully.”
If you weren’t there, you should’ve been. But there is still time.
The Southern Living Idea House was built by Castle Homes and is located at 4133 Whites Creek Pike in Whites Creek, Tenn. The house will be open to the public beginning June 29, 2013 and running through the end of this year. Tickets are $12, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The uniquely Southern property will reopen as a boutique hotel next year.
For more information, please go to southernliving.com/2013ideahouse.