For a couple looking for a second home, this antebellum-style farmhouse offered a getaway that elicits a sense of serenity. Found in Fairview, TN, a town about 45 minutes outside of Nashville, the property attracted owners Toni and Jim Turner at first glance. Drawn to the site as a compass needle is drawn to point north, the couple purchased the estate and fittingly named it “True North.”

A journey through the property creates an illusion of entering a resort. The drive through manicured acres, which were designed by Page|Duke Landscape Architects, lands you at the estate. Designer Roger Higgins of R. Higgins Interiors was awestruck upon seeing the several hundred acres for the first time. Roger is responsible for making the house a place in which the Turners could relax, feel at home, and entertain friends and family. With few preconceived ideas of how they wanted the home to look, Roger calls the Turners the ideal clients, and with their blessing, he focused on creating a timeless appeal. “When you think of a Middle Tennessee farm, you want it to be comfortable and relaxing with great views. This is what we were hoping to communicate,” Roger says of the inspiration.

Tennessee farm house, columns

In all of his projects, Roger Higgins works to match the interior and the exterior. With the expertise of Gavin Duke of Page|Duke Landscaping, the lawns have a cohesive and manicured look. The columns on the house were changed from square to turned wood, for a more antebellum look.

A sense of calm, which the homeowners and their guests instinctively respond to, can be found not only in the lush greenery, but also inside the home. After stepping through the columns, visitors are greeted with a design concept that celebrates comfortable living. Despite formal living areas and design dictated by antique pieces, generous scale seating and chairs offer ample options to land and put up your feet. The home was move-in ready when purchased, but Roger did not want it to feel like new construction. That drove his decision to create a concept that made it look as if furnishings had been accumulated over time and made the home feel as if it was occupied by a family and had been for some time.

The curation of pieces came from Roger’s love of and experience with antique sales, consignment stores and markets. “I think nothing is off limits. Sometimes, those unexpected shopping places are where you find the unusual pieces that make a statement,” Roger shares. A few noteworthy finds are the plaster rose window found through an antique dealer in Georgia, the glazed terra-cotta horse head that hangs over the television and the old Italian mirror that lives in the dining room. Although this is not Roger’s first time curating a collection of pieces for someone else, there were a few pieces of art he found himself struggling to part with. Regardless of his difficulty watching these pieces go, he knew they were ideal for the space.

First Floor

From the foyer, you find the living room on the right and the dining room on the left. Straight ahead is a family room with a kitchen to its left. Behind the family room sits the screened porch with a breakfast room and the far side of the kitchen to the left of the porch. The hall to the right of the family room takes you to the master bedroom and bathroom.

Tennessee farm house, living room

The ceiling detailing was already in the space and Roger was able to highlight this architectural feature with décor. The sketch, which hangs over the fireplace, is by Nashville artist Sandy Ziegler. From a photo of a family member, she created what appears to be an antique portrait.

Tennessee farm home, patio

The porch serves as a spot for comfortable meals or conversations.

Tennessee farm house, breakfast room

Roger was able to work with the setting and the scale of the space by including standout pieces, such as this two-story, custom-made lantern that hangs in the breakfast room. Roger designed the piece, which was created by a blacksmith in Sharps Chapel, TN.

Tennessee farm house, kitchen

Roger did not change any of the tile or cabinetry in the bathroom and kitchen, but he matched these areas to the rest of the house through the addition of paint, wall coverings, window treatments and lighting.

Tennessee farm home, dining room

The dining room table and display armoire were a few of the pieces the Turners owned prior to acquiring the home. Everything else was expertly chosen for the space.

Tennessee farm house, living

Roger blended patterns, colors and textures to achieve the desired feel.

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As a general rule of thumb, Roger always hangs window treatments as high as he can to give the illusion that the windows look taller. “Nothing finishes the room like window treatments. We left the windows open — to maintain the beautiful views — but still framed and finished them,” Roger shares.

Second Floor

On the second floor, there are four guest bedrooms with separate baths. There is also a “hospitality room” for guests to gather and engage.

Tennessee farm house, hospitality area

Toni Turner requested a “hospitality room” on the second level that is designed with a game table, seating areas and work spots, making it a comfortable place where folks can gather.

Tennessee farm house, office

The windows in the hospitality room, an area that doubles as Toni’s office, offer sweeping views of the property.

Tennessee farm house, bedroom

As one of the bedrooms on the second floor, this space is desired by guests for its green hues and sizable windows. We also adore the mirror, which Roger pulled from the R. Higgins showroom.

Tennessee farm house

Art and décor (such as the painting from Scott Antique Markets and the bronze horse from Restoration Hardware) pay homage to the equestrian feel of Tennessee farmlands.

Tennessee farm house, bedroom

Again, Roger shows us the importance of framing windows and maximizing their impact by helping them appear taller than they are.

Tennessee farm house, media room

Over the garage sits the theater and media area. The Turners log a fair number of hours in this cozy space, which is a perfect escape.

Another interesting design element is the use of wallpaper. “I used wallpaper in the bathrooms and in a couple of places, such as the bar area,” Roger tells us. “Wallpaper is an instant way to add personality to a space — it is not just a paint color, but it is a style. It immediately represents more of a person than paint color can.” The personality of the homeowners can be found in the wallpaper and décor.

Tennessee farm house, bathroom

The master bathroom offers a pop of personality with the F. Schumacher wallpaper.

Third Floor

The converted attic houses a bedroom, bath, washer/dryer and small kitchen. In a house that is otherwise traditional, the third floor design comes as a bit of a surprise, which is what the homeowner wanted. Roger credits Gavin Duke as an influence and help with the layout of the wood and the floor plan. This unexpected aesthetic of the space is enhanced by the double chimney, designed by Roger and Gavin, and the sweeping views of the property.

Tennessee farm house, attic

The converted attic holds a bedroom, bathroom and small kitchen, in addition to design elements that differ from the remainder of the house. Roger particularly adores the terra-cotta horse head (from Scott Antique Markets in Atlanta, GA) hanging above the television. The wood paneling that defines the space came from Woodstock Vintage Lumber.

Tennessee farm house, chimney

The double chimneys help create symmetry, which directed the placement of the furnishings.

Tennessee farm house, views

This loft area, located behind the bed on the third floor, has some of the best views in the house!

Tennessee farm house, bedroom

The wood paneling is found in all of the rooms on the third floor. Although Roger typically creates a cohesive look in homes, he appreciated the homeowners’ desire to add an element of surprise to the space.

The third floor landing was designed around the window, which came from a church in Georgia.

The third floor landing was designed around the window, which once lived in a church in Georgia.

This Tennessee farmhouse suits the Turners’ personalities and the rural setting. It reflects the reality of a modern, lived-in space that celebrates function, form and design, and it’s definitely a place they can relax and feel at home.

REGIONAL RESOURCES (a listing of some, not all, of the wonderful vendors):

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Thank you to Shannon Fontaine Photography for the lovely visuals, to Toni and Jim Turner for welcoming us into their home and to Roger Higgins of R. Higgins Interiors for sharing insight into his design. 

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