A Carriage House Cottage

By Katie Faulkner | Photography by Beacon Imagery


The exteriors of this impeccably designed carriage house carry the craftsman features of the main home it stands beside, while the interiors draw the perfectly preserved lines of an old, endearing cottage. Homeowner Don Thatcher was very involved in the home’s design and construction. “I drew the plans and was involved in the construction and picking of all the finishes,” Don says. His goal was to create a cottage-like guest house that felt as old and established as the 109-year-old main home. “I really wanted this home to feel like it was part of the main home and had been here for a long time,” Don explains.

With wood shake and lap siding, hand-cut stone accents, metal roofing, wooden window boxes, and tapered columns, this home is dripping with charm and character. The interiors are no different, punctuated by a collection of thoughtful art and pottery by Chip Dantzler, Don, and other friends, as well as statement pieces, select antiques, and smart design style.


(Photo by Rich Smith) Through the patio doors is a balcony that overlooks the home’s spectacular garden. Blooming begonias, draping evergreens, lush hydrangeas, a Japanese maple, a bird bath spilling with succulents, the main home, and much more are all part of this incredible view from the second story of this carriage house.


“I really wanted this home to feel like it was part of the main home and had been here for a long time.”

–Don Thatcher



entry hallway with neutral gray walls in the thatcher/dantzler guest house in chattanooga



Since it serves as a guest house, you can enter from the street or by walking through the garden that connects to the main home. From either side, you’re greeted by a grounding deep shade on the walls of the long hallway. Two small but stunning chandeliers light the hallway with the help of ample natural light, thanks to smartly placed windows. The traditional staircase features striking stained steps and handrails with lovely millwork, evoking an old-world aesthetic.

To the right of the garden entrance is a stylish gentleman’s office. Concrete floors topped by a cowhide rug and an antique desk and chair evoke a slightly rugged style, while the art on the walls and family memorabilia elevate the space to new heights.


eclectic charming office in the thatcher/dantzler guest home in chattanooga



“The fly fishing rod on the wall was one that my dad had made for me. It’s composed of several pieces of bamboo, and that’s what gives it its strength, and at the same time, its flexibility,” Don shares. Nearby, fishing flies, which Don, his brother Sam, and their father tied, are framed in a shadow box. The built-in bookcase nearby has a ladder from the decommissioned Queen Mary ship.

In the adjoining bathroom, a corner shower is perfect for guests to rinse off after a dip in the pool, or even messy gardeners who need to clean up, but it’s also designed to work as a dog shower. The unique pebble-inlaid floor and a refinished washstand topped by a rock sink basin add charm while marrying the rugged with the refined.



mudroom shower off the office in the thatcher/dantzler guest home in chattanooga

Walking up the stairs, past the tapestry and antique sconces, natural light paints the landing near the kitchen. A drop-leaf, bar-height table made entirely of reclaimed wood is a multipurpose surface, used as an island workspace and seating area. The mix of cross-back farmhouse and industrial iron barstools works to continue the established and aged feel of the home. Adding a similar character, the off-white cabinetry sports a dark wax detailing. Concrete countertops, a bronze faucet, custom tile backsplash, and stainless appliances keep this kitchen functional and stylish. Nearby, a pale wood-planked hip wall tucks away a cozy sleeping corner soaked in sunlight. The smart use of extra space is in keeping with the home’s style. “It’s a very primitive cottage feature to have a bed in the kitchen area – something from the olden days,” Don explains.

“It really does feel like you’re in a tree house when you’re up here.”

–Don Thatcher



The iconic wood-planked ceiling continues into the living room. Its vault adds volume to the quaint area, while the angles on either side help create the illusion of an old barn converted into a dwelling. Don painted the ceiling in a watered-down semigloss paint in the same color as the walls. “The semigloss works to accentuate the characteristics of the wood grain and knots,” he explains. The corner fireplace features an arrangement of Harry Lauder walking stick from the garden. It is offset by the glass patio doors and tall windows across from it. Neither the fireplace nor the windows compete for attention, while the real focal point of the room is the spectacular light fixture. Pulling in a hint of industrial, this fixture plays off the cozier elements of the room to create interest. The windows lend a vibrant view of the garden below and treetops beside.“It really does feel like you’re in a tree house when you’re up here,” Don says. The slipcovered wingback chairs continue the cottage décor styling while blending seamlessly with a rustic industrial coffee table and more traditional breakfront.



desk and game table breakfast nook by windows in thatcher dantzler guest house in chattanooga

In a sunny, windowed corner, this vintage drop-leaf table, paired with a ceramic lamp and farmhouse chairs, provides a scenic respite, serving as a desk, game table, or quiet place to enjoy coffee.


Off the living room, through the eight-foot-tall paneled split door is the master bedroom. The dark earth tone of the doors is mimicked in the ceiling’s color, creating a weighted sense of relaxation to beckon restful sleep. The plush white bed is flanked by antique end tables, and there are three other sitting areas in the room: by the window, in the corner beside the head of the bed, and at an antique Baker secretary desk hidden in the far corner.


white tiled shower in the master bathroom thatcher/dantzler guest house in chattanooga



Walking through to the master bathroom, a fully tiled walk-in shower mirrors the shower downstairs with its pebble floor, but the color palette is pale rather than natural. A rainfall showerhead and corner seat make this shower extra luxurious. The angled ceilings add interest, while a marble-topped vanity and vintage brass and crystal chandelier elevate the décor.

Don Thatcher

Don Thatcher

Through meticulous planning and attention to detail, from extra-wide trim to hand-painted light fixtures to carefully placed unique finds, Don has created an established and artful home full of light and character. “I really enjoy projects like this, where the goal is to capture a specific style. I intentionally designed this home to fit the time period and character of the main home, while looking like a separate house that can stand on its own. The goal was to keep it in character with the neighborhood and the surrounding charming bungalows,” Don says. CS

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