It’s inspiring to see a historical home undergo a modern makeover that also pays homage to its past. Such is the case with the Shute-Turner House, an estate in Old Hickory that bridges the gap between historic charm and contemporary chic with a little rock ’n’ roll thrown in for good measure. We are in Music City, after all.
At just less than an acre, the land surrounding the Shute-Turner House has decades of stories to tell. Located near The Hermitage mansion, Andrew Jackson originally owned the land, which covered more than 250 acres. Eventually, the property was sold to General Shute and became his family home. In fact, legend has it the General’s prized horse is still buried in the front yard. And what a front yard it is, with a circle drive, 10 majestic magnolia trees of three different varieties, and even the old limestone carriage stones onto which guests stepped down from their horse and buggies. A smokehouse at the back of the property offers a glimpse of timeworn tradition, and an interior courtyard offers a secluded outdoor oasis for the five-bedroom, five-and-a-half bath stunner. Current owner Therese Winnington, who also happens to be a real estate agent and designer, recalls how she stumbled upon the property. “We went into the neighborhood to look at another property that sits on the lake,” she says. “We started looking more in the neighborhood, and I thought this house was really interesting. It’s massive, it has history, it’s unique, but nobody was biting on it, so we went in and toured it. I walk into a house, and it speaks to me — [this one] felt warm and inviting and family-friendly. All of the things that we were looking for.”
Though the house gave off the right vibes, Therese and her husband quickly discovered why it had been sitting on the market for a while — it was in dire need of renovation. “The kitchen and all the bathrooms had to be updated,” she says, “but we thought it was really cool. Where else are you going to find a house built in 1833 that has a fireplace in nearly every room? It was one of those no-brainers.” And so began the labor-intensive project to transition the Shute-Turner House into its next chapter.
The original structure may have been roughly 3,000 square feet, significant in that day and time to be sure, but the newest iteration measures 8,400 square feet. Over time, an entire wing was added on, and at some point in the 1980s, the property was bestowed with running water — a huge step up from its former days of possessing a cistern and an outhouse. The home was formerly on the historic register, but they rescinded the official designation around 2002 when it became apparent that the former owner was using historically inaccurate materials. After that, the home was essentially stuck in the ‘90s until Therese’s purchase.
These days, the house is sitting pretty with modern amenities that merge with nostalgic elements to create an elegant space that wows. In large part, the upgrades can be attributed to Therese and her husband, who infused a unique style with their own quirky flair. “I design every house like I’ll live there for the rest of my life,” says Therese. “It’s funky and fun, and it’s definitely a unique spin on [our] personalities. Most of our houses have a little bit of country and a little bit of rock ’n’ roll.” This renovation was extensive, as they gutted not only the kitchen but all five-and-a-half bathrooms. They did away with plastic bathtubs and Formica countertops, finished out the smokehouse, installed a wood-burning fireplace, and even created a side patio with an outdoor fireplace. All the while, they retained the home’s authenticity, preserving standout elements such as fireplaces and mantels and offering function to otherwise obsolete home features. “From the kitchen into the dining room, there’s a pass-through that we turned into a wet bar,” says Therese. “It would have been where the chefs put the food through for the diners in the dining room. You just don’t see that in houses anymore. You take what doesn’t function now, but you don’t get rid of it — you repurpose it. There are limestone [carriage stones] in the front yard. When people came up to the property back in the day, they stepped down onto them from their horse and buggy. Now, they’re cool [pedestals] to put plants on.”
Each room in the Shute-Turner House is distinctive. From a Florida room that offers a fond nod to interior-design-great Bunny Williams to the “Cowboy and Indian Bedroom” and “Beetlejuice Hallway,” Therese has created themed spaces that add up to one memorable home with surprises around every corner. The art collection alone is unforgettable, with provocative, whimsical pieces that run the gamut from street artists and inexpensive Etsy purchases to sought-after prison artwork and kitschy items found at consignment shops. One thing is clear: While the Shute-Turner House may appear traditional from the outside, the interior tells a different tale.
Finishing out the smokehouse, Therese and her crew re-tiled the floor, sealed the walls, and added a wood-burning fireplace. Eye-catching, the free-standing stove is a huge midcentury modern piece that Therese and her husband acquired from none other than Grumpy’s Bail Bonds owner Leah Hulan, who was selling it during her own renovation. It’s a gorgeous addition to the Shute-Turner smokehouse space, offering a bright focal point amid the rustic wood beams and old brick. It draws the eye up to the 22-foot ceilings, where meat and fish once hung to cure. It may look like the perfect fit now, but Therese admits the installation required a creative approach. “We had to get our crew to go up to Kentucky to disassemble the whole fireplace, and then we had to figure out how to reassemble it in our space with the pitch and height of the roof in the smokehouse,” she says. “Retrofitting stuff in an old house is tough; you can’t just buy it off the shelf and think it’ll work!” Thankfully, her crew was up for the challenge.
An intriguing contemporary interior with an old soul, the Shute-Turner House is like nothing else that exists in Nashville. And though Therese has already sold the historic home to a thoroughly enamored buyer, she’s beginning her next project, which she describes as “reminiscent of a Parisian apartment.” If she infuses even half as much passion and design-savvy into it as she has with the Shute-Turner House, we have no doubt Music City is in for a treat!
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