Atlanta-based couple Terry and and Robert Banta acted fast when they spotted a charming Carpenter-Gothic-style cottage for sale in Monteagle, Tennessee. No matter how much time passed, the mountains kept tugging them back.
This delightful cottage gives Southern Gothic a new meaning, updating the classic Carpenter-Gothic-style space for contemporary living without altering any of its wonderful charm. Built around 1890, this beautiful Tennessee mountain cottage is a study in simplicity, mixing natural materials including stone and timber to create a warm, inviting, and welcoming space. The open kitchen includes limestone countertops and a butcher-block island, echoing the natural materials used throughout. In the loft, a vaulted ceiling clad in board-and-batten timber echoes the beaded board ceilings downstairs. Clearly rooted in history and tradition, but delicately and sympathetically restored for comfortable living today, this Tennessee mountain cottage is elegant, enticing, and clearly fit for the Southern life.
The "window" that underscores this house's Gothic charm is actually a repurposed mirror found at an antiques shop in Nashville. A chipped Victorian front door sets the tone for the decor inside.
Old green wicker porch furniture "just kind of goes," says the home's designer Rachel Halverson. The house and the church next door were both built around 1890.
A neutral color palette unifies the newly exposed spaces, while rich textures—wood-paneled walls, beaded-board ceilings—layer on character and warmth.
The Living Room
"There's not one thing that feels contrived about this house. It's relaxed and natural," said Terry.
The all-white, open kitchen is outfitted with limestone countertops, brass fittings, and antique radios that belonged to the homeowners' grandmothers.
The Dining Room
To maintain the authenticity and create a cohesive look when renovating an old house, Halvorson advises to choose period-appropriate materials and finishes that don't look out of place.
"You need a big landing to balance out little bedrooms," says Halvorson. Here, they vaulted the ceiling and clad it with board-and-batten.
The Master Bedroom
Assorted calico and checked patterns are a nod to the past yet feel completely contemporary. Just follow Halvorson's lead by tempering them with classic cottage white, and you can't go wrong.
The Guest Bedroom
The Bantas dusted off pieces they hadn't used in years—including their kids' toddler beds—and put them on permanent display. "Almost everything has a story," says Terry. "There were few things we had to purchase."
"Friends use our home, so I wanted everything to be simple to find and grab," says Terry. The tiny bath was outtfitted with open corner shelves to put whatever a guest may need within arms reach.