Nashville’s design scene is bubbling and bustling right now. As the city grows, so does the need for talented designers, creatives and handy people of all sorts as homes are remodeled or built from the ground up. While each professional brings their unique perspective to a project, there are certain trends that seem to be Nashville-specific. There are tall-and-skinny homes popping up all over town, and, of course, we’re used to seeing the houses that sit far back on their lot, but today, we explore more of the trends that some of our most trusted design resources have seen. Some of them might surprise you!
Opportunity for reimagination
Ridley Wills of Wills Company has an exciting outlook on Nashville’s current home design climate. “Nashville is a tapestry of bungalows, spacious ’50s ranches, beautiful Georgian-style homes and, in popular Brentwood, a number of 1990s executive-style residences. As someone who has spent the last 30 years reimagining these spaces, the opportunity to update them for the next generation is exciting,” he tells us. Music City has long been a prosperous city with a diversity of industries, which has welcomed all types of architecture across many periods of time. This encyclopedic variation in styles of houses offers something for every taste. “Nashville’s distinction will be that new construction will blend beautifully with historic homes. Basically, it will prevent us from being a monotone, uninspired-looking community.”
The trend across Nashville right now is to appreciate what’s old and historic but reimagine it for today. “An experienced designer can finesse that,” Ridley explains. Whether it’s a ranch-style home or an addition to a bungalow or opening up a floorplan, there are ways to update these old homes while retaining their charm. “Many of the architectural details are expensive to replicate, so ‘remodeling’ versus ‘remuddling’ is a one-time chance. Getting it right is paramount for Nashville’s future landscape.”
He continues, “We don’t ever want to throw away what makes something unique. But we don’t need to be hostage to the past.” You should work with people who have that sensitivity and appreciation for history but who are able to make those changes that allow it to be functional – and beautiful. “At the end of the day, the function and design of your home should give you joy. In fact, your heart should skip a beat as you walk to the front door each day. That’s the end goal,” Ridley adds.
Marcelle Guilbeau notes that “sensual, glamorous ‘maximalism’ has hit Nashville, but as usual, with a down-to-earth twist.” This style involves lots of layers, pairing of many colors, incorporating metallics and crystals, and decorating with all kinds of animal prints. Marcelle shares, “For instance, in one dining room, we have paired organically shaped crystal chandeliers with a rustic wood dining table and embraced it with a rich, tonal gold and cream animal print faux finish.” This balance of textures, styles and finishes embraces “maximalism” but maintains a nature-inspired feel in the wood dining table bringing it back down to earth. “In another dining room, we have traditional crystal chandeliers, a pearly damask wallpaper with silver metallic wainscot below, a soft metallic flame stitch on the backs of the end chairs, and all that shimmer balanced with a soft antelope patterned rug below.” Again, the natural elements balance the bold and bright design details, which illustrates one of Marcelle’s greatest strengths.
Classic design with modern finishes
Kathleen Evers of K. Evers Interiors shares a handful of the trends she consistently implements in new construction and renovation. First, it’s kitchens with white quartz countertops. “These give that beautiful marble look without the maintenance,” she explains. When paired with modern trends like brass plumbing fixtures and cabinet hardware, a room, especially a kitchen, feels updated and chic. Kathleen frequently uses neutral paint colors and light hardwood floors in her design and renovation work, producing a luxuriously light and bright feel. Finally, she tells us, “Black steel and glass front doors are also very popular. They add a lot of light to entries and have a fresh, modern look.” All of these design trends have been evident in recent K. Evers projects and continue to be requested in new ones.
White houses and historic characteristics
The Merrill Construction Group team observes a handful of Nashville trends in home design. First, there are a plethora of white and ivory houses. These seem to be popping up all over town, and the painted brick is a refreshing brightness that lines many of Nashville’s streets. Along with the white homes come the exterior gas lanterns. These are placed at driveway entries, on front porches and near parking pads, and they add a homey-ness that is both elevated and welcoming. Additionally, the team notes that contextual overlay is a strong theme in the Nashville home design world right now. Homeowners and designers are “reinforcing and embracing established historical characteristics in particular residential areas,” they tell us. This theme of reinvigorating and remodeling to embrace historic architecture and design details is one that rings loudly and many designers reference (and relish).
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Renovation and color
Off the bat, Beth Haley points out that the color blue is a Nashville favorite. This bold color is a step away from the blacks and greys that we’re used to, but still just neutral enough. She says, “Paint the outside of your house navy blue, your kitchen cabinets blue … blue, blue, blue, (navy) blue!” One of her recent projects features navy blue details on the exterior, adding curb appeal (especially for those who are a fan of this color trend).
Second, renovation. Beth explains, “Usually, when the economy is strong, people buy a new house, and when it isn’t so hot, people stay where they are and update.” In Nashville today, that’s not the case. “The economy is very good, but we’re seeing a ton of people renovate.” Some are making their current houses work better for them with updates that fit their lifestyle, and some purchase a rundown home to renovate it. Renovation can be a headache, but right now, Nashville is willing to take it on. It can be pricey to purchase the home of your dreams in the midst of Nashville’s most popular neighborhoods, so many choose to buy a smaller home that needs a little work to be a part of the areas like 12South, Sylvan Park and other in-town neighborhoods.
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