By Hollie Deese
The first time Lindsey Stewart, 26, and her husband walked into their Eagle Creek house in Gallatin, they knew they had found the place that would always be the first place they would remember as home.
“When we walked in the door it literally felt like home so much that my Mom and I got tears in our eyes,” she says. “It was so sweet because we ran into the previous owner and she actually said the same thing, that she walked in the door and she was like, ‘This is home.’ It just had a really nice, homey, welcoming feeling.”
The gut feeling made them decide to say no to a beautiful, open-concept townhouse with all the upgrades they were ready to make an offer on and instead go for the older option they would have to put some work into.
Built in 2000, the Stewarts purchased the home earlier this year in January from the first owners, a bit of history she loves that she will always be able to link with theirs.
“They were a young couple there, and they raised their family there which was so sweet,” Stewart says.
Stewart grew up in Sumner County, after her family moved here when her father started a business with a family friend when she was a child. After college, she started teaching at Sumner Academy but left after the last school year to pursue a career in home design and has been steadily been busy building a clientele.
But, she has also had quite a bit of practice on their first house. Finally able to experiment fully after five years of apartment living, she loves to open her home for loved ones to enjoy.
“It’s definitely a passion of mine, or it’s a growing passion,” she says. “I guess I really like making people feel relaxed and at ease and at home when they walk in the door. I think the feeling of being home is so important. Home should feel like a cozy sanctuary where you can just relax and be yourself and kick up your heels. I like to give everyone who comes over that feeling since we host a lot. That’s important to me.”
Stewart has repainted every room in the house, while adding her charming and totally affordable DIY touches everywhere, like reupholstering a prayer kneeler with remnant tablecloth fabric her dog Harley destroyed and clearance measuring tape ribbon.
“I have just been on a painting streak because I think it’s a really easy way to personalize the house,” she says. “It’s affordable if you’re willing to tape off and be meticulous, and it makes a big difference.”
And instead of re-tiling her backsplash right away, she just painted it white to give it a temporary subway-type feel to go with a daring and spontaneous kitchen makeover she took on one day to achieve a farmhouse look, even removing the doors off the cabinets.
And, because she has two dogs that she says destroy everything, the design in her house has to be indestructible, which is why the fact she has white couches shocks her guests, until she tells them her budget-friendly secret.
“I actually chose white slipcovers,” she says. “Because they are cheap from Ikea, I can buy a whole new slip cover in case there is an emergency. In the meantime, if anything spills, I can bleach it. If they were suede or microfiber, I would have to really take care of it, and this one I can just rip it off and throw it in the washer. It’s really easy and low maintenance and easier to keep clean.”
The Stewarts have only lived in the home through two seasons, spring and summer, and Lindsey has had fun figuring out what all the greenery has been as it has bloomed or not in the yard after their winter move-in.
“Since we are new homeowners, we really didn’t know what was trees and what was dead, and so it was like really fun to see them sprout and bloom for the first time and come to life,” she says.
And she is especially looking forward to their first Christmas in the home this winter, not only because she is a huge fan of decorating for the holiday, but because her military husband will finally be home again to see all the work she has put in, while he has been deployed overseas, since they closed on the home.
“I am such a Christmas person,” she says. “I am really looking forward to welcoming him home. I like the idea of him coming home to changes and improvements.”