For the Musgrove family, their sought-after additional living space was needed for an in-law suite for homeowner Judy Musgrove’s mother-in-law. In search of a residence that could accommodate their needs, the family found property in east Franklin that had a main home, a separate art studio and more than six acres of land. This need is not unique. In fact, the AARP reports that up to 90 percent of seniors wish to age in their own homes. With more families wanting to accommodate this desire, the demand for extra living quarters is on the rise.

Trace Ventures, a design-build firm that specializes in residential remodeling, was hired to convert the art studio into a detached in-law suite with a full bath, kitchen, bedroom and living space. The main level layout and practical design will allow the suite’s new tenant to age in place. “We typically do mother-in-law suites that sit above a garage — and basement conversions — so this one was out of the ordinary in that it is a detached structure,” says Gianni Shipman, operations manager of Trace Ventures, about the nature of the project.

In-law suite design exterior

Reminiscent of an old church, this structure, once an art studio, is now an in-law suite.

In-law suite design, one level

Main level living allows owner Judy Musgrove’s mother-in-law to age in place.

In addition to creating a functional space, the Trace Ventures team (with design direction from the homeowners) was able to create a space that offered comfort and privacy. The building, constructed in 1999, was originally used as a tractor barn and was later converted into an art studio. Today, the building is reminiscent of a church, due in large part to the handful of pieces pulled from a 300-year-old church in Baltimore, MD, reclaimed by the William Powell Company and used during the earlier renovation by the previous owners, who turned it into the art studio. The new design preserved many of these aspects, including the exterior doors and architectural elements, such as the beamed ceilings. “We wanted to maintain the feeling of the space while making it light, easy and functional,” homeowner Judy Musgrove informs us. “I love the north-facing windows that allow light to flood the area — even when it is gray outside.” Trace Ventures was able to achieve this and shared similar sentiments regarding the direction of the design. “We were able to reuse these amazing old doors and keep a lot of the character of the space while converting it into a usable space for our clients’ mother to live in,” Katie Wayne, director of marketing for Trace Ventures says.

The light wood floors and cool coloring reflect décor that can be found inside the main home. Both the in-law suite and the main home are light and open, which instills a sense of peace and calm. The coloring is consistent throughout the property, and a welcome pop of personality can be found in the cabinets, which are robin’s-egg blue with a gray wash. While looking for plain white cabinets, Judy and her daughter were attracted to the beachy feel of these cabinets.

The design elements and the décor come together to create a space that Judy Musgrove’s mother-in-law can now call home.

In-law suite design, before

From this before image, you can see how the doors and beams defined the space even before the transformation.

In-law suite design design, doors

The doors were reclaimed from a 300-year-old church in Baltimore, MD, and help define both the exterior and interior design.

In-law suite design, view from front door

The view from the entry shows how the space functions and flows from the kitchen and living area into the bedroom.

in-law suite design, natural light

The north-facing windows flood the space with natural light.

In-law suite design, kitchen

The kitchen is small, yet functional. With plenty of cabinetry and counter space, cooking and prep is a breeze.

In-law suite design, bedroom

The church-like architectural elements are carried from the main living space into the bedroom.

In-law suite design, bedroom

Again, the windows provide natural light, and the beamed ceilings offer added interest to the space.

In-law suite design, bathroom

The bathroom is equipped with a vanity, toilet and full-size shower. It is spacious with a thoughtful layout.

In-law suite design, shower

The light tiles make the shower feel even larger and fall in line with the décor in the rest of the home.

“Anytime you do a project like this, there are good things and bad things,” Judy reminds us. “Trace has always handled the bad things with grace and professionalism, which is what I appreciate about them. Working with someone you know who is going to be able to work through some difficult situations.”

The finished product is a beautiful space for its new resident to call home.


Cabinets: Timberland Cabinetry Co., Door Style: Craftsman, Finish: Tide Water

Countertops: Cambria Stone, Whitney


  • Bathroom floor tile: Ecowood 6-by-24-inch, Nominal Plank, Rovere
  • Bathroom floor grout: Sterling Silver
  • Shower floor tile: Level Pebble Mosiac 12-inch, Interlock French Tan
  • Shower wall tile: Rondec 3/8-inch BN Tuscan Beige

Flooring: Pine (installed by previous homeowners) with one coat of clear sealer and two coats of polyurethane


Appliances: GE Artistry from CenWood

Paint Colors:

  • Walls: Sherwin-Williams Promar 200 Eggshell Gray Marble 530-4
  • Ceilings: Sherwin-Williams Promar 400 Flat Gray Marble
  • Trim: Proclassic oil satin (Porter Velvet White)

Thank you to the Musgrove family for welcoming us into their in-law suite, and thank you to Trace Ventures for walking us through the design process! 

And special thanks to Jason Krupek for the stunning photography.


See how we grow! StyleBlueprint is launching in Charlotte, NC, this spring. Sign up for our Charlotte newsletter that will feature the very best of this fabulous Southern city. Or share the news with a friend — click here to learn more.