It’s hard to believe that, just 20 minutes away from the bustling, modern center of Nashville, Tennessee, you can find rolling pastureland and farmhouses representative of the old South. Well, one tiny cottage outside of the city has an even more unimaginable switch from its humble exterior to its stunning interior.
Terry Jo Vetters Bichell is the host in charge of this special cottage, listed for rental on Airbnb. A native of Texas, Bichell now calls Nashville her home. She lives in an antebellum plantation-style home with her family.
Bichell’s life on her former plantation is a happily simple one, according to her bio on Airbnb. “At home we like to grow a garden, tend bees and chickens, swim, cook, read, watch movies and play with our horses, kittens and dog,” she declares.
Her rolling land also contains a second property, a light blue cottage with a covered porch built “for southern-style contemplation,” according to Bichell’s description. The quaint look of this smaller abode shouldn’t be taken at face value, though.
That’s because the small Southern home was redone in 2015, giving it a totally updated feel in spite of its timeless surrounds. The property’s now “renovated [and] full of light,” according to Bichell’s description – a description that becomes a clear statement of fact as soon as one walks through the front door.
Inside, the home’s modernized touches perfectly blend the cottage’s history with contemporary decor trends. Warm hardwood floors play a big part in the timeless canvas that Bichell has painted, as do the white walls covered in crisp shadow-box trim.
In the kitchen, sleek stainless steel appliances bring all of the modern touches of home that Airbnb guests will expect. But light blue shaker style cabinets – complete with a butcher-block countertop and a farmhouse sink – make it all feel appropriately rustic.
Although the home can comfortably accommodate four guests – as illustrated by a quartet of wooden chairs surrounding the dining table just across from the kitchen – local laws actually make this reality quite difficult. Some short-term rentals are frowned upon in this area of Tennessee, so if you fancy staying at the cottage and there’s more than one of you, you’ll need to book it for a minimum period of three months.
Walking past the TV and through the first door on the left brings guests into the first of the home’s bedrooms. The master’s decor mirrors that of the main living space – natural wood flooring and furniture warm up the bright white walls.
A few steps away is the house’s bathroom, which has the same powder blue cabinetry as the kitchen. Again, the fresh color scheme makes the space feel airy and bright, even if it’s a seemingly small shower room.
But the home’s most fun feature might just be one that’s not visible right away. There’s a clue as to what it is when guests walk through the home’s front door – they’re sure to notice a ladder going upstairs.
And those slanted steps lead upstairs to tucked-away sleeping quarters for two. Beneath slanted ceilings reside two twin beds outfitted in charming floral comforters that are, of course, in that same shade of sky blue.
Although this bedroom is “perfect for children,” according to Bichell’s description, there comes a caveat for parents who want to stay in the cottage. Besides needing to book for three months or longer, parents will need to check their offspring’s birth certificates. You see, little ones under six years of age aren’t allowed up to the loft, likely for safety reasons.
This section of the home takes heed of the cottage’s high ceilings, but so does its final roof-based feature that’s visible from both inside and outside of the cottage. There’s an adorable square cupola at the structure’s apex.
The design feature serves more than a visual purpose, though – cupolas are often used for extra ventilation. In the powder blue cottage, the addition helps keep the place cool, to the point where guests barely use the home’s air-conditioning unit, something that Bichell is keen to impress on any interested parties.
“The cottage is designed with a cupola and ceiling fans to make it airy and breezy, even in the heat of summer,” the host states on her rental home’s description. “There is a portable air conditioner if you need it, but most people have not used the AC.”
There’s another feature on the property that’ll help keep guests cool, too – the Bichells’ pool and backyard. Vacationers may also be delighted by the family’s horses, but they’re “to be seen and admired, not ridden by guests,” according to Bichell.
The only other guest behavior suggested by Bichell is a respect for the earth and environment, policies to which her family adheres. “We keep our property organic and recycle glass, plastic and paper,” she writes. “We feed leftover food to our chickens and compost all the remaining organic matter.”
And all of that combined has wowed the 70-plus guests who have visited the Bichells’ property and its tiny guest cottage – and given the place a unanimous five-star review. “This was our family’s first visit to Nashville and Terry Jo made it an unforgettable experience,” wrote Theresa, who stayed at the house in June of 2016 before the 90-day minimum rental period came into force.
Another guest, Julie, who visited the property in April of 2015, had a similarly relaxing getaway with her girlfriends. “Sitting in the rocking chairs on the front porch, we enjoyed our coffee and chatted the morning away. We didn’t want to leave!” she wrote.