Inside Kacey Musgraves’s Serene Nashville Home

Together with the help of interior designer Lindsay Rhodes, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter crafted the home for a new beginning
Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves, wearing a Valentino gown, poolside at her Nashville home. She purchased the monumental classical plaster head sculpture at Hunt & Gather in Minneapolis while on tour earlier this year. Fashion styling by Erica Cloud.

It’s both entirely accurate and a bit of an oversimplification to refer to Star-Crossed, Kacey Musgraves’s fifth studio album, as a divorce record. Yes, the acclaimed 2021 release was written partially in the wake of her split from fellow singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly. But songs like “Justified,” “Breadwinner,” and “Camera Roll” feel more emotionally complex than that descriptor suggests, and they’ll resonate with listeners long after tabloid interest in the 33-year-old Grammy Award winner’s love life has faded.

Similarly, the 3,500-square-foot Nashville home that Musgraves moved into during the same period both is and is not a divorce house. Its purchase in 2020 was indeed necessitated by what she initially refers to as “a big life change.” (She immediately abandons the code words in favor of her usual candor.) But it seems clear that her choices during the renovation and redecoration were not reactive, at least not in a negative way. “I wanted a place that felt like me,” she says, “where I could express myself without having to think about another person and what they might want. This felt like a new beginning.”

CB2 armchairs and Faina side chairs (wearing a Pierre Frey mohair velvet) surround a vintage travertine table in the dining room.

Built in 2012, the house was decorated in a bold, colorful, wallpaper-heavy more-is-more style when the Golden, Texas, native first moved in. But together with the interior designer Lindsay Rhodes, Musgraves soon set about returning the space to something more akin to a blank canvas. “Kacey needed to start from white to see where she wanted to go,” Rhodes says. “The house had a lot of subway tiles and Craftsman-style details, so we wanted to make everything feel clean. We basically blanketed the entire kitchen with plaster, even the island, to create smooth lines and give it a stonelike texture. Then we used a pale mineral paint throughout the house. It almost feels like a watercolor; instead of being flat, it gives a little dimension.”

(There is one space that was left untouched: a powder room papered with charcoal sketches by the late, locally prominent artist Hazel King, which aligned uncannily with an idea Musgraves had wanted to implement in her previous home. “I’d started collecting nude sketches because I had this vision of hanging them floor to ceiling in a bathroom, but I hadn’t done it. And then it was somehow here, already manifested, almost exactly how I’d pictured it. It’s one of my favorite things about the house.”)

Much of the home is now painted white or off-white, but the sunset hues that do appear were chosen for specific, personal reasons. The piano room, for example, ended up a dusky pink that was inspired by a candle Musgraves created in collaboration with the cult fragrance brand Boy Smells. “It’s a perfect balance of masculine and feminine,” she says of the shade. And the pale-yellow-toned striated-silk wall covering in the dining room complements both the travertine table therein and an orb-shaped Murano glass light fixture that hangs in the entryway, which Musgraves was “really proud” to have scored on 1stDibs.

In the family room, a vintage Maitland-Smith cocktail table sits in front of a Verellen sofa.

A late-19th-century tramp art box stands atop a Biedermeier-style table on the upstairs landing. Hand-knotted moroccan checkerboard rug.

“There are a lot of orbs and circles in the house,” Musgraves says. “I was writing the album at the same time I was moving into the home, and there were a lot of themes that were kind of presenting themselves [in both projects]. This theme of full-circle-ness kept appearing, and I had some spiritual experiences that involved orbs—I had a psychedelic plant therapy session in which people from my past kept presenting themselves to me in the form of orbs.” She laughs. “Without running the risk of sounding like an absolute psycho, it was really transformative for me.”

Many of the house’s larger pieces – including the enormous bust on display by the singer’s swimming pool – were purchased second-, third-, or fourth-hand. “I have a huge love for getting up on a Saturday and browsing estate sales. When I’m on the road, instead of staying locked away on the bus, I’ll get up, get coffee, and find the nearest antiques store. There’s something really interesting to me about taking ownership over an object that meant a lot to someone else, and kind of becoming the new steward of whatever it is.” Case in point: the antique gilt French bed frame that she placed in one of her guest rooms. “I love thinking about who might have slept here, what they dreamed about, the love that was made on this bed,” she says. “To me, it’s really magical.”

As she walks around, pointing out her favorite things, it’s clear that almost everything in the house has a story. The photograph of a teenager in a cheerleading jacket smoking a cigarette? That’s her mother. “She looks like a total badass because she is a badass,” Musgraves says. The jewelry box filled with bits of blue eggshells? Well, when she and her boyfriend, writer Cole Schafer, first started dating, he had a dream about a robin’s egg, and then she found one on her front doorstep later that same morning. “And then a handful of days later…he found a robin’s egg on his front doorstep. And a couple of months after that, we were visiting his parents in Indiana, and long story short, there was a robin’s egg on their front doorstep!” The ceramic camel on her bar? She made it herself the summer before last, in “this clay class with a bunch of old ladies that was the most fun ever.” The framed half-smoked joint? Given to her by Willie Nelson when the two were on tour together in 2014. “He rolled this huge fatty,” she remembers, “and we all sat around and smoked it with him, and then he said, ‘Save the rest for another time,’ and I did.”

“The interior of this home was my first time trying to embrace a minimalist mindset, and that is a challenge for me,” Musgraves admits. “I love collecting things that intrigue me, which doesn’t always bode well for [maintaining] a minimalist environment.” She also invokes wabi-sabi, the Japanese concept of embracing beauty in imperfection, as a way of explaining her actual aesthetic. “You can’t put your finger on the exact style of this house, and I’d say the same about my music. Instead, it’s a big patchwork quilt of all these things that spark some kind of joy in me.”

This story appears in AD’s May 2022 issue. To get a copy, subscribe to AD.