Franklin designer helps create luxurious sanctuary for new arrivals from the West Coast

By Hollie Deese
Photography by Ruby and Peach

An executive position with Conversant Media has Lisa Gosselin traveling a lot of the time for work. So creating a sanctuary at home was key when she and her husband, Mike, moved to Franklin in June 2019 after 18 years in Southern California.

A friend of theirs lived in The Gulch, and they considered moving downtown. Ultimately, they decided they wanted enough property and privacy to be able to enjoy their time together. They fell in love with downtown Franklin, then found a home nearby on 1.5 acres – almost perfect for what they wanted.

“It was probably a little bit of a bigger house than what we were looking for, but the subdivision was awesome,” Gosselin says.

But with her son just graduated from Marine Corps recruit training and their daughter studying at Auburn University, she wanted a space the kids would want to come home to — with as many friends as they wanted.

“We have a huge game room, we have a media room and their bedrooms are all upstairs,” she says. “Taylor already brought home six friends for fall break, and it was perfect because we could fit 20.”

But moving from 1,400 square feet to 6,000 square feet was obviously a challenge, so Gosselin wanted a designer who could do a lot of the heavy lifting — finding all of that furniture — before they moved in. She interviewed four over the phone, and her husband met three in person, They knew, though, as soon as he met Onyx & Alabaster principal designer Tanya Hembree in downtown Franklin that they had met their match.

“I wanted a really beautiful home, but a livable home,” Gosselin says. “I didn’t want people to walk in and feel like they couldn’t touch anything. And she just totally got my vision.”

Hembree also happens to be from Southern California, which might be why Gosselin’s husband thought their style aesthetic was such a good match. But it could also be that they are both busy moms who need their homes to be a safe, stunning place to land at the end of the long workweek.

A 60-inch orb chandelier with crystals sets the tone of the home from the moment you walk in, and Hembree helped fill the space with art and plants, making the selection process as painless as possible.

“We did some pretty big dramatic art, which was fun,” Hembree says. “There’s a small print, Rachel Faulkner Brown. She’s one of our artists that we carry in-store. She does work in silhouettes or nudes. The two larger pieces were not local, but they were really dramatic, and I felt like the volume of the spaces, the colorways that were on these pieces, worked.”

The family room consists of a fireplace, a custom sectional in performance fabric that is made for sinking into, a couple of linen chairs, and piles of cozy pillows. The hearth room has a chic sleeper sofa with four velvet swivel chairs and another fireplace perfect for hanging out and talking.

“Some of our happiest clients are in very high-demand work careers,” Hembree says. “We can take care of all these details for them and make their home beautiful and ready — without them having to skip a beat from work. For me to be able to partner with them and help them create a beautiful home that eases a bit of their stress, but also creates a sanctuary from their super busy life, that is a gift.”

For Gosselin, it is one she is so happy she invested in, each and every time she walks in the door from her work travels for the international digital agency.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to my husband, ‘I love our house,’” Gosselin says. “I feel like this is my dream house.”