Bec Porter’s Southern Comfort

After nearly a decade in L.A., Justin Anderson and Austin Rhodes head to Nashville to design a new life and a new home that blends the glamour of Old Hollywood with the charm of the New South.
Blue and white Cleo Vine wallpaper in media room.

The media room’s walls and windows are covered in Cleo Vine by Anna French, inspired by a 1920s botanical print.

Bec Porter laughs as she recalls the early days of working with clients Justin Anderson and Austin “Scoot” Rhodes. “The three of us would sit on the floor of their empty house for hours talking and getting to know one another so I could gauge their style,” the interior designer says. “They had just moved to Nashville from L.A. and had that ‘California cool’ vibe, so I assumed they would want clean-lined, contemporary interiors. But as we pored over magazine pages and Pinterest boards, I realized that I’d pegged them completely wrong. They love color, pattern, and antiques!”

Justin, a lifelong Californian, and Scoot, an Ohio native, fell for the Music City and its Southern charm while visiting a friend who had recently relocated there. They were also drawn to the design vernacular of the houses. There was something about the curated feel and refined-yet-relaxed aesthetic that tugged on their heartstrings and made them feel at home.

Skylands main terrace, summer home of Martha Stewart

The round table and klismos-style chairs bring curve appeal to the dining room that is defined by its clean-lined coffered ceiling.

Packing only the contents of their closets and their year-old Cavachon pup, the men headed South and settled into a newly built, modern farmhouse in the sleepy suburb of Oak Hill. Inside, classic architectural features like coffered ceilings, exposed beams, oak floors, and wainscoting instill character and depth into generously proportioned rooms that feel surprisingly intimate. “They mentioned the word ‘cozy’ over and over,” says Bec. “Both Justin and Scoot work a lot and travel often, so they wanted to come home to a place that would nurture their souls and recharge their spirits.”

Skylands main terrace, summer home of Martha Stewart

In the great room, watercolor egrets create a focal point behind the linen-covered sofa.

And cozy is exactly what they got. Wood tables and case pieces that are natural in finish and substantial in size radiate warmth from their knots, saw marks, and wormholes. Bec offset the hard surfaces, straight lines, and rich patina with upholstery in fuzzy shearling, luxe velvet, and slubby linen. These furniture pieces boast deep seats designed for sinking into—an absolute essential for the couple who lives for stretching out when staying in. Another must-have for the self-described homebodies was a spacious, clutter-free kitchen anchored by a large island for convivial cooking with guests. “Scoot is a fantastic cook and is always experimenting with new recipes, so function was just as important as form,” Justin says. “We love hosting sit-down meals, so we made sure to have a surplus of comfortable seating that encourages guests to linger after dessert.”

Skylands main terrace, summer home of Martha Stewart

A built-in banquette serves as a cozy nook in the family room. The fiddle-leaf fig tree creates some separation from the main space.

Whether they are entertaining neighbors for happy hour or out-of-towners for an extended stay, Justin and Scoot roll out the red carpet for all their guests. But there is one room designed exclusively for two very special visitors—their mothers. Wallpaper and matching draperies in a chintz-inspired motif seamlessly wrap the room, creating a cocoon-like effect. Shades of gray, cream, and taupe update the classic print for a look that is more current than that of its predecessors. Additional guest suites are also well-appointed but express their own unique personalities. Defined by its blush walls, the “pink room” is sweet but far from saccharine thanks to its antique walnut chaise longue and striking blue-and-white floral bedding. In the aptly named “green room,” a Jacobean-inspired floral wallpaper reads more dapper than delicate in earthy shades of moss, olive, and celery, while a pair of vintage pineapple finial poster beds is refreshed in crisp white linens with scalloped edges embroidered in green.

“They mentioned the word ‘cozy’ over and over. Both Justin and Scoot work a lot and travel often, so they wanted to come home to a place that would nurture their souls and recharge their spirits.”

—Bec Porter

Skylands main terrace, summer home of Martha Stewart

In a guest room, blush walls present a neutral canvas for patterns that reference toile, batik, and damask styles.

Skylands main terrace, summer home of Martha Stewart

On a bedroom wall, Lee Jofa’s Adlington Paper pairs with framed pressed botanicals for a “secret garden” look.

“Scoot and I both grew up in households where fresh flowers were a part of the everyday décor, which is why we gravitate toward floral prints,” Justin says. “At the end of the day, it’s comforting to come home to a house full of blooms—even if they’re just on the walls! Bec did a great job of integrating floral prints that are neither too feminine and fussy nor too masculine and modern. Just like the real deal, they give off good energy!”

Skylands main terrace, summer home of Martha Stewart

Down-filled bedding, velvet blackout drapes, and a sprawling white shearling rug up the ante on the cozy factor in the master bedroom. A feature wall of fuzzy stripes in rich midnight blue anchors the airy iron-frame canopy bed and makes it a focal point.

Skylands main terrace, summer home of Martha Stewart

Shiplap in a chevron pattern forms a sophisticated architectural backdrop for the soaking tub. Navy walls and window treatments, an antique Oushak runner, and a shearling chair and ottoman add warm layers to the master bath.


Ellie Cashman “Dark Floral

A still life painting comes to mind when I think about this floral. It makes a big impact in a small space such as a powder room because you can see it up close and appreciate its intricacies and details.

Quadrille “Happy Garden”

This one is simple but makes a statement. Because it only has two colors, it can be worked into a room with other colors and prints without overwhelming it.

Cloth & Paper “Capri

I love this overscale print for large walls or as an accent behind a tall, upholstered headboard. It’s abstract, but when I see it, I see hibiscus branches.

Wallquest British Heritage “Floral Pattern KT20508”

This European floral is calm and has a slight Art Nouveau feel. While this particular pattern is my favorite, I love every pattern in the British Heritage book.

Skylands main terrace, summer home of Martha Stewart

Cavachon pup Kevin McCallister strikes a pose.

Skylands main terrace, summer home of Martha Stewart

Schumacher’s Pyne Hollyhock wallpaper climbs the walls of the “Moms’ Room.”


—Justin Anderson

By Margaret Zainey Roux | Photography by Mary Craven Dawkins Photography