Bandywood has always been a prime place for local merchants to hang out a shingle. In the early days of Bandywood’s commercial development, merchants like Amanda Sue’s Tea Room, The Prep Shop, Harrington’s Chocolates, Pappagallo, Ciao, Dan Burton Interiors and Lyzon Art Gallery graced the street. Nancy Saturn, who owned the American Artisan, set up shop under the name of the Craft Cranny. And Botanica, owned by Stephen Wells and Kenny Leediker, flourished where The Food Co. is currently located. Believe me, there were tons more of these charming boutiques. Most of the businesses in Bandywood were housed in quaint bungalows.
Still home to so many of our local merchants, Bandywood is full of entrepreneurial spirit. And thriving retail establishments, constantly mentioned on StyleBlueprint, are part of what makes our city great. These businesses represent the spirit of America, where hopes and dreams, with hard work and community support, make for a better place to live.
For the sake of this discussion, let’s imagine an aesthetically better Bandywood. A more cohesive, more unified and defined shopping area. Imagine taking a quick turn onto Bandywood and seeing a completely shop-lined street that gives you the sense from its sophisticated look and feel that, yes, you are in one of Nashville’s most fashionable retail districts.
With this same thought in mind, I asked one of Nashville’s most sought after decorators (and my friend) Roger Higgins of R. Higgins Interiors to take on the Imagine a Better Bandywood project. I gave Roger no budget and no restrictions to his design plans-just a request for a streetscape and “look” for a new Bandywood. While I didn’t give him any real limitations, there are some formidable challenges to consider: a huge brick wall at the entrance owned by Kroger, an electrical station owned by the city of Nashville, a variety of different architectural styles and storefronts and FINALLY, the big one–no organized merchant association. Budget restrictions aside, here is what he came up with envisioning an improved Bandywood.
Inspired by the book, Coming Home: The Southern Vernacular House, by James Lowell Strickland, Roger suggests a look that draws from the familiar feel of our beloved Southern heritage. By combining the casual grace of the way we live, the new re-invented Bandywood offers a sense of refinement to the street. If you flip through any issue of Garden & Gun Magazine, you’ll see examples of this type of architectural style everywhere.
What does Southern vernacular mean? By looking in the past for inspiration, it pays homage to the South’s deep sense of place. Materials used in the design include galvanized metal, wood lap siding, shutters, rock walls, industrial lighting, board and batton siding and cedar shake shingles. If one strolls through Bandywood now, you’ll see there are elements of this style of architecture already in place–the feel of the Greenhouse bar, the courtyard where the Perfect Pair is located, and even the Crow’s Nest. One of the most redeeming designs on the street is the new Hillsboro Animal hospital. Wouldn’t it be great to have a place to eat with a large screened in porch, fans and a gorgeous entryway, too?
In this writer’s humble opinion, the benefits truly outweigh the costs. Nashville is, in some ways, is a city that grew too fast with regard to zoning and streetscapes. You can make the argument that the refurbishing of 12 Ave. South not only made the street a sought after retail destination, but dramatically impacted the neighborhoods surrounding the street. Time after time, we see that a sense of purpose and design enhances business and the property values in the area.
It’s no secret to any of our readers that Bandywood is one of our favorite places to shop in Nashville. One could say it is the Buckhead of Nashville, only more charming. We continually hear from the merchants that they want to see the potential realized.
We all know sales would boom with this type of renovation. Everyone, get on board. This could be amazing.