Kelsea Ballerini fell hard for Nashville long before she lived there. Now twenty-three years old with an acclaimed album, a handful of CMA nominations, and a booming national tour, it’s abundantly clear that Music City loves her too.
In the past year, the country music sweetheart has produced multiple No. 1 songs, toured with legendary artists like Rascal Flatts and Lady Antebellum, and moved into, and out of her first apartment. Her latest venture? A cozy, new house in the heart of Nashville.
“It’s the first big girl thing that I’ve ever bought, so I knew that I wanted it to be something that I would feel comfortable coming home to,” she says. “I spend so much time on the road, it’s important to have that home base.”
Because Laurel & Wolf created just such a space for her last year, she decided to use the service again for this larger project. Designer Kimberly Winthrop set about bringing Kelsea’s signature Southern-glam flair and edgy, feminine style into the space.
“Since the home is a new construction, I really wanted to bring some earthy elements in to warm it up,” says Kimberly. On the left, a beige, patterned tray holds fresh, blooming roses. On the right, chic arm chairs holding zebra print cushions add edginess to a feminine living room.
She did so using worn, rustic accents from online vintage shops, lots of reclaimed wood, and a touch of plant life.
“Cladding the entire fireplace in reclaimed wood added so much texture and made it stand as a real architectural statement in the living room, accentuating the 15-foot ceilings,” Kimberly says.
Kelsea loves that the open-plan living-dining-kitchen area gives her room to grow and entertain. A long dining table with steel blue Louis XVI chairs paired with industrial iron-cage style sconces exhibit a more sophisticated presence while her living room, with its pillowy, cloudlike sofa is an ideal spot for plopping down for a wine and cheese night with girlfriends, or for a Netflix binge after a long week on the road.
“One of the things that’s really important to me right now is spending time with people when I’m home and just having those close friendships that help balance out life,” Kelsea says.
In some ways, her new space is similar to the house she grew up in. “My mom is so good at making things feel cozy and inviting,” she says. “We called our house the dollhouse because it was lime green and pink and super shabby chic.” Though the new design doesn’t follow the same color story, it still possesses a warm and inviting vibe.
“When I was a kid, I loved bright colors. I think every room I had had hot pink walls. Now, I’m a lot more neutral,” Kelsea says of her more grown-up aesthetic. However, this penchant for pink shines through in her ultra-girly closet, filled with all the sparkle and wardrobe changes of her life on tour.
“Kelsea wanted to make sure this room was girly from top to bottom,” says Kimberly, who added a sparkling, crystal chandelier to accent the bold, floral wallpaper. “Sometimes more is more, and in this closet, it works.”
As Kelsea shows off her extensive wardrobe, she makes sure to pull out a pair of hot pink, high heel shoes – the first thing she bought when she signed her record deal. “These were a celebration gift to myself, they were my good luck shoes,” she exclaims.
Since her vibrant closet mirrors her glamorous life as a country star, Kelsea wanted the rest of her space to be serene. A lot of this much-needed relaxation happens in the kitchen.
“My favorite room growing up was probably the kitchen. Both my parents loved to cook and we always had people over. I have fond memories of Frank Sinatra playing and all the smells and tastes…I think it was just an area of fellowship for us.”
Though Kelsea plans to use her new kitchen often for cooking, entertaining, and creating fresh memories with friends, it’s not her favorite room in the house anymore. The music room is the place that unites and defines all things Kelsea.
“This is my favorite room in the world because I feel like it’s such a heartbeat of everything I love,” Kelsea says. The barn wood reminds her of her East Tennessee roots, her very first guitar with roses painted by a friend hangs on the wall across from records, awards, and a few more of her beloved instruments.
“I’m working on my next album right now, and I guarantee a lot of it will be written in this room,” she says as she relaxes on the music room couch, the same one from the living room in her old apartment.
“I think for me, when I feel most comfortable, I’m at my most creative. It’s really hard for me to write when I’m not in Nashville. It’s hard for me to write on the road. To have a room like this that has big pieces of me all over the place and is filled with music and inspiring things… I feel like other inspirations will follow.”
At the rate that her star is rising, we’re guessing this music room is going to fill up with new songs, new friends and new awards. Whether she’s just finished writing a song or released a new hit single, she loves building her home as the backbone of her career.
“I call them mountaintop moments. They’re the moments that make me look up for five seconds and be like, you’re gonna remember this. When all is said and done, this is something that you’re going to remember.”