Alyson Sailer and Connie Vernich Add Timeless Touches to a New Build

An architect and an interior designer work to create a traditional yet welcoming abode for a couple with a growing extended family.

Text: Lauren Gentry Walker
Photos: Paige Rumore

As a couple entering retirement and expecting their sixth grandchild, Phyllis and Jim Lackey knew they wanted a home that could not only accommodate their growing family but also be a comfortable space for just the two of them. The new build in Franklin, Tennessee, sits on a quiet, private cul-de-sac and backs up to a farm—allowing the homeowners to hear the horses as they sit on their covered porch. After deciding to build the home, the Lackeys brought in architect Alyson Sailer of Sailer Design and interior designer Connie Vernich of Vernich Interiors.

“The empty nesters had dreams of a beautiful, antebellum-inspired home that would be functional for daily life and large enough to entertain extended family,” says Sailer. “Franklin is a quaint, charming Southern town with a slow-paced feel,” says Vernich. “The exterior of the home fits nicely with the open land it sits on, and I love the Tennessee limestone Alyson used on the front. It gives the classic home character while paying homage to the land around it.” The use of real materials was a priority for the homeowners, and the finished product includes details such as true cut stone, oval windows, and full round downspouts.

The open concept floor plan excludes a formal dining room but allows ample room for a large dining table, and three sets of French doors open to the covered porch, providing extra seating during larger gatherings. The designer made sure to use plenty of blue, the homeowner’s favorite color, and was able to mix a variety of shades and patterns. The upholstery used in the home is made up of performance fabrics that keep things functional, and a blend of textures give each room its own vibe. The everyday living space—including the master and a guest bedroom—is on the first floor, while three guest bedrooms and a media room are located on the second level.

The master suite was given its own sitting area with private access to the covered porch and overlooks the beautiful tree line and a peaceful creek that runs through the property. The feminine and masculine lines of the space were accentuated with medium tones of blue paisley and rich velvets.

Timeless Touches

Timeless Touches

Timeless Touches

Timeless Touches

Timeless Touches

Timeless Touches

Timeless Touches

“During the build, we could tell it was going to be a special room,” says Vernich. “We played off the incredible light that streams in, and we knew it needed soft and dreamy fabrics. The colors are so soothing for winding down in the evening, and the space is truly comfortable and functional for the couple.”

From a custom-designed garage and workshop to a spacious kitchen and well-equipped pantry, every detail on the homeowners’ wish list was taken into consideration. Sailer even designed a hidden bookcase in the study that leads to the master closet, allowing the homeowner to check in with work without having to walk through the home. “I love creating secret spaces whenever I have the opportunity,” she says. “My other favorite detail was designing a one-car garage for Phyllis that would give her easy access to drop off groceries in the kitchen.”

The overall interior design concept was centered around making the brand new home feel comfortable and worn in. By mixing old with new and using timeless colors and patterns, Vernich believes the house will still feel fresh in 25 years. “Even though this was a new build, we brought in elements like the antique distressed mirror in the bar area,” says Vernich. “We wanted it to feel a bit more lived-in. From the cabinetry to the hardware, we used classic touches with a vintage feel.”