Dierks Bentley’s Nashville Bungalow Sings

The country superstar and his family put down roots in a bright Music City bungalow

Photo: mary craven dawkins

Cassidy and Dierks Bentley spend a lot of time in this nook just off the kitchen, surrounded by wallpaper by watercolor artist Kelly Ventura.

When Dierks Bentley gives a tour of his home, nestled in a lively central Nashville neighborhood, he’s happy to talk about wallpaper. He’ll tell stories about paint colors and chime in with his wife, Cassidy, about fabric and artwork. But you get a sense it’s the outside he can’t wait to show off—the front porch of their Craftsman looking out on the bustling street, and the passel of bikes, skateboards, and walking shoes that keep his family on the move.

“Cass found the house, and we just went for it,” Bentley says. “It’s been awesome in a lot of different ways: Kids running in and out. I can ride my bike. I can look out the window and see a bar, a coffee shop, and restaurants. We have great people all around us, and it’s made me love the city in a way I’ve never loved it before.”

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Photo: mary craven dawkins

The family room doubles as an eclectic art gallery.

Sure, working musicians are tucked into every corner of Nashville, but the heart of town isn’t necessarily a locale you would expect for a big-time country star with three CMA Awards, fourteen Grammy nominations, and an impressive portfolio of ten studio albums, including his recently released Gravel & Gold. As buses drive picture-taking tourists past sprawling celebrity estates in the suburbs (the Bentleys have been through all that), you won’t find a looming gate or a winding drive with a big lawn or pool here. “This house is smaller than the last house we lived in, and that’s one of the things we love about it,” Bentley says. “We like being close to our kids—and apparently, close to our neighbors.”

During the height of the pandemic, the Bentleys sheltered in a cozy, 1,200-square-foot house in Telluride, Colorado, with their three kids and two dogs. To everyone’s delight, it worked, and they realized they might benefit from downsizing. Designer Lindsay Rhodes, a longtime friend and collaborator, visited the family there to plan their new Nashville space, meeting on the porch—as you do in a pandemic—to sift through tiles and samples in a wild array of patterns and colors. When the Bentleys lived in their old house, “the kids were younger,” Rhodes says. “As your kids grow, your life and what you need change. They’re family people, and they want the house to reflect them and have meaning behind it.”

Photo: mary craven dawkins

A guest bedroom; a powder room.

They found what they were looking for in the circa-1910 cottage with ten-foot ceilings, delicate molding, big, bright windows, and a central hallway that bisects and connects the whole house, initially intended to circulate airflow in the pre-air-conditioner days. “There’s a lot of personality,” Cassidy says.

One of her favorite spots is a central nook just off the kitchen. There, enveloped by watercolor-dappled wallpaper, the couple drinks coffee and chats while the kids do homework. Adjacent to it, in the contrastingly minimalist kitchen, Harry Styles, Frank Sinatra, Dua Lipa, or George Jones might serenade dinner prep. (“Bluegrass and country music are always in the air somewhere,” Bentley says.)

Photo: mary craven dawkins

The mudroom; the kitchen’s minimalism contrasts with the color and patterns in the rest of the house.

In the nearby family room, stripes on the walls and ceiling provide a backdrop for a gallery of eclectically framed artwork, where a moody still life, a painting of Bill Monroe, and black-and-white family photos hang alongside kindergarten self-portraits and other homemade masterpieces salvaged from backpacks. A cream sofa and rug and a pink-marbled coffee table anchor the space in reality.


Photo: mary craven dawkins

The living room.

Baby pink walls in the more formal living room get punctuated with bold leopard prints, mustard-colored accents, amaretto drapes, and a massive flower-laden painting by the New Orleans artist Ashley Longshore. To an onlooker, the femininity of the space might contradict the Dierks Bentley they think they know—the long-haired cowboy dressed in boots and black leather who often calls fans onstage to shotgun beers with him—but here, he’s rather comfortable on a blue velvet couch, awash in the blush glow. “I call it the Arizona room—it has that sunset hue,” Bentley says, noting the state from which he and Cassidy both hail. “You walk in the house, and it’s a little reminder of home.”

Photo: mary craven dawkins

The Bentleys in the central hallway with their two dogs, Emmy (left) and Bear.

Though his career began in the early 2000s, Bentley never thought much about creating a home in Nashville, until Cassidy moved to town when the two were getting married in 2005. “I had been living on a friend’s couch, and I had a houseboat I was kind of living on, too,” he says. “The bus was home for a long time. This is the first home that felt like home to me, honestly.”

As with all aspects of Bentley’s life, the best way to understand the place is to listen to it, taking in the way the floor creaks as children run across it and the chatter of neighbors strolling by on the street. “The house is kind of like music,” he says, “where you have to hear it to share what it is that makes it special.”