by Karen E. Farley
photos by Kyle Spears
Nancy Crocker, the new owner of the Olde Magnolia House Inn, is ready to welcome guests.
"I had my first guests August 2nd," she smiles. "They were here for a day and wanted to come back and spend more time in Nashville. They saw my ad in Our Brown County magazine and made a reservation."
Crocker moved to Nashville from Indianapolis in April, after purchasing the historic home. But she also loved collecting things and had plans to open a vintage store.
"When I looked at the Magnolia House, it occurred to me that I could put the store up front, live in the back and have a second income from upstairs," she explains.
The inn has three bedrooms and a sitting room filled with vintage games and books. Guests are invited to relax on the porch after a day of shopping, or pick up a book from one of the many that are placed on tables around the house.
Each room is named after an artist that was alive during the time the house was built. The rooms have a keyless entry, which makes for easy access for guests staying at the inn. They also have smart TVs, sound machines, and coffeemakers, along with a basket of snacks. On-site parking is also available.
"My goal was to still make it feel like a 100-year-old home, but in today's world," she adds. "Each room has its own character."
The Monet suite has two beds, a gas fireplace, large windows, and a private bath with a claw foot tub and shower. The Van Gogh also has a private bath with one queen bed. The Renoir room has two beds, and has access to a bathroom across the hall (bathrobes included). The entire upstairs will sleep 10 and special rates are available to reserve all three rooms.
Crocker also plans to offer special packages that will include sweets from Sydney's Sweets, teas from Sweetea's Tea Shop, and spa services from Ethereal Day Spa and Salon.
When Crocker purchased the home, the contents remained in the house. Some of the furniture was used to decorate the rooms, but a few pieces are upcycled-items. Some of these pieces are for sale in the shop. Crocker has been taking ordinary objects and turning them into extraordinary ones since she was ten years old.
"The first thing I ever made was from boxes that came with my two sister's Polaroid cameras they got for Christmas," she explains. "There were square boxes inside other square boxes and I made a dollhouse out of them."
Crocker grew up in Anderson, Indiana and is the youngest of four sisters. After high school she graduated from Ball State with a B.S. in Home Economics Education. She taught for a few years, married, and moved to Ohio. Crocker, now a single mom (daughter Molly, 20, and son Mitchell, 22), was a homemaker for 25 years. Her dream of opening a shop with furniture and items she collected over the last few years became a reality when she opened the doors to 4th Sister Vintage Store in June.
When asked how she came up with the name 4th Sister for her shop, she smiles.
"I wanted something that I would never not be," she explains "I have always been and always will be the fourth sister. It also worked with the hand me down aspect of the business, and being the youngest, I always got things handed down to me."
She credits her third sister, Louann, with helping clean and declutter the entire house. Her daughter, Molly, also helped and lives in a small room during the summer while on college break. Together, the three of them spent weeks getting the house ready for the opening of the store.
Her shop is filled with both vintage and upcycled items. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held June 25, but she made her first sale before the doors were open.
"My first sale was twenty dollars," she smiles. "It's not just a gift shop. When people come in, they see something and say, 'I've got to have that.' Most sales are emotional sales. People see something that reminds them of someone or something."
Crocker has been creating unique items out of ordinary ones for years. Recently, she won a blue ribbon at the Brown County 4-H Fair for her recycled furniture. She entered her Where's Waldo desk made from a school desk she had in the shop.
"They told me kids were sitting at the desk trying to find Waldo," she laughs.
For unique vintage items, stop by 4th Sister at 213 South Jefferson, behind the Nashville BP station. The shop is open most days from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. To make reservations at the inn, call Nancy at (614) 638-8849, or book online at <www.oldemagnoliahouse.com>. Room prices and availability are available on the Facebook site.