The strong and enchanting exterior of this Belle Meade Highlands home captures passersby in a mere glance. The warmth of the flickering gas lantern and the sturdy front door balance the cool color palette with dusty blue windows and a painted brick exterior. In front, the lush green lawn begs for bare feet and handstands at dusk, and the expertly designed landscape (by Michael Baldwin of Outdoor Ink) lends a polished yet welcoming feel. This French manor-style home, designed by Castle Homes, is sophisticated and transitional — an elegant balance that the team executed beautifully.
“The client contacted us about the property and building a custom home on it. We sat down with them and came up with a plan for how they wanted to live in it, as well as a cohesive style for inside and out,” Alan Looney, president of Castle Homes, tells us. They were a young couple looking to have kids one day, so that helped guide design decisions. Additionally, they love to entertain. So they made a plan to best showcase the house, intentionally planning and leaving space for future projects or additions. Together, the client and the team created a plan that would give them the home of their dreams without exceeding their budget.
Enter through the grand solid mahogany front door, custom-made by Vintage Millworks, and into the magnificent foyer that looks through the family room and out to the backyard. A perspective designed with intention, this is one of Alan’s signature touches. “We don’t like guests to open the door into a central staircase,” Alan explains. Instead, the stairs are tucked to the left and naturally illuminated by one long window at the front of the home. This detail adds to the exterior (and subsequently, interior) charm of the home.
“The kitchens are always a statement. This one doesn’t just look pretty, it is also very functional,” Alan explains. The Castle Homes team implements the kitchen work triangle, ensuring efficiency in the kitchen. They use materials and finishes that will stand the test of time. The marble countertops and the backsplash that reaches to the ceiling are both beautiful and high-quality. The cabinets are custom-made and designed in-house, and the Castle Homes in-house design team selected finishes on everything attached to the home.
A beautiful limestone fireplace is centered in the family room, flanked by two custom bookshelves that are thoughtfully styled with family photos and treasures. The custom trim profile in the family room carries throughout the home, lending cohesion as well as its own unique style. Cohesion is a theme in all Castle Homes projects.
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Throughout the home, you’ll notice a consistent sturdiness and scale. “Our clients often tell us, ‘When we walk into one of your rooms, it feels warm and comfortable.’ That’s because we use quality material — long-term, it holds up.” The scale of the entire home feels balanced. The furniture fills the rooms comfortably — not too large and crowded or small and sparse. It’s truly just right.
Alan adds, “We want to make sure that, with all of the homes we build, you can look at it and tell it’s a certain style. We want to avoid tacking on additional elements and losing the initial style.” That style, determined by the client and the design team, is developed by the architectural elements and choices. It is rounded out by the interior designer’s selections, but it begins in the bones of the home.
- Building and Design: Castle Homes
- Landscape Design: Michael Baldwin of Outdoor Ink
- Interior Design: Meg White Interiors and Emily Haraf Interiors
- Photography: Reed Brown Photography
All photos by Reed Brown Photography
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