Tyler Pennington spent many childhood years admiring a nearby ranch home that evoked images of the New England coast. Years later, that house went on the market, and an adult Tyler bought it from the original owners and modified the design to fit his family’s needs while preserving the architecture he first fell in love with. “I have lived in the area my whole life and always admired the home,” explains the Brentwood, TN, native. “Many houses in the area built in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s lack the architectural pizazz, but this home is neat and a little different from most because of the stone and cedar siding and detached garage. The original owner built the house in 1973 and raised his family there, so it is really special for him to see me make it my own and have a place to raise my kids.”
In outfitting the home for his family of five, Tyler sought to maintain the original form while upgrading the house with an updated floor plan, resulting in rooms that fit the decades-old bones but are still suitable for a modern lifestyle.
As the owner of White Pines Building Group, Tyler handled much of the work himself. However, he did enlist help from architect Champ Webb of C.W. Design and architect Andrew King of AK Designs for the second-story addition and exterior elements. For the interior design, he turned to Sara Ray Interior Design to design a home “that had a current look without taking the interiors too modern or trendy.” After reconfiguring the space and adding a second story, attention was given to selecting finishes and furnishings that reflect Tyler’s aesthetic while accommodating the wear-and-tear of three young children. “His style is a classic, traditional look with clean lines and modern touches,” explains Sara Ray. When it came to furnishings, the designer focused on fabric that can withstand daily use and easily be washed. Vintage rugs were another smart addition because they can handle heavy traffic and regular cleanings.
Antique and antique-looking pieces pair well with modern elements for a timeless and balanced design that errs on the side of masculine. Two armoires frame the fireplace in the living area; antique wood-carved lamps sit atop a chest in the dining room, vintage rugs are found on all three floors, and antique-looking furniture and finishings offset the more modern selections. “I love design that is historically relevant and well-made materials that, whether old or new, will still look nice in 30 years,” Tyler says. Confident that he could maintain the architecture he first fell in love with and simultaneously improve the interiors, Tyler made his childhood dream home a reality.
With the original design serving as the foundation of the redesign, Tyler incorporated natural materials that were true to the home and the area while intentionally joining the old with the new. Although the interior was gutted, original materials and aspects of the design were preserved and reused and others were recreated. For example, Tyler points to the new poplar molding found in the entryway and dining room, the hardwood floors milled in Leiper’s Fork, and the windows designed to mimic the original grid pattern. Perhaps the most extensive project was the relocation of the original fireplace. The limestone removed from the original fireplace was salvaged and relocated to its current spot in the central living space. The new fireplace stretches two stories and acts as a focal point of the first-floor design.
All photos by Gieves Anderson Photography.
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