But our love of Nashville homes extends to our creative pursuits too, so from time to time, we take on a renovation project, with an aim of bringing new life to a historic home in need of love.
Our latest labor of love:
The realization of a dream, with the renovation of a classic foursquare that was built in the early 1900s, right in the heart of Belmont.
We knew this’d be a special project as soon as we walked up. The home sits on a double lot in one of Nashville’s most appealing neighborhoods, with a span of gorgeous, mature trees. Even if the curb appeal wasn’t quite there, the potential was undeniable.
The same could be said for the interior. Bits of historic charm jumped out of every corner — beams, fireplaces, doors — even if the necessary attention that comes with a century-plus-old building did too.
Homes like these — long-loved and sparingly touched — are tough to find, and exciting to work on. The previous owners had lived there for 44 years, and little had changed there over those decades.
While we were about to jump in and bring a lot of changes, we had and have a guiding intent that’s rooted in a love of historic properties.
We had no interest in taking a historic gem and
shoehorning in a modern aesthetic.
The goal, start to finish, was to keep as much of the original character of the home as possible, but to update and upgrade functionality and finishes.
Every choice we’re making is meant to pay homage to the time. We exposed brick fireplaces. We saved original pocket doors. We resisted suggestions to paint the exterior brick, because the original red brick was just too pretty and classic to let go.
And as we’re choosing new fixtures and tiles, we’re trained on a classic aesthetic that suits the original era.
When it’s complete, we hope the transition from old to new will feel seamless, with original details flowing into our timeless additions.
Of course, old homes all have idiosyncrasies, too.
And this home was no exception.
Among the quirks we tasked ourselves with tackling:
There were two staircases side by side. One was the original servants’ stairwell, climbing four floors from the basement to the attic; the second is the main stairwell leading from the first to second floor. It looked… odd, and functioned… oddly.
Under the stairs: easily Nashville’s smallest bathroom (maybe 3 feet by 5 feet). When a 5’4” woman can’t stand in a tub without hitting her head, you know a space isn’t quite working.
To top it off, busy wallpaper closed the tiny space even more. Everyone on our team has an appreciation for historic prints, but the context has to be right, and a Lilliputian bathroom definitely isn’t the ideal context.
The cool surprises that you only find in an old home popped up too — like basement walls built out of two-foot-thick, solid stone. Imagine the skill and craftsmanship it took to build that without modern-day equipment. These are the kinds of things that make historic homes irresistible.
As with any project like this, we knew we were in for a long haul.
Work began on this Nashville renovation in November of 2016. If we had to predict a timeframe for our final walk-through, we’d say August. But anyone who’s worked on a home knows the one guarantee: There are no guarantees, when it comes to time and budget.
All told, the 6100-square-foot home will have 4 bedrooms, 4 full baths, 2 half baths, a sitting room, bar, dining room that seats 20, media room, screened porch, full basement and more.
We expect to see an appraisal that’s about $1.7 million above the purchase price. It’s a lot of house, and a lot of work.
But the goal we might be looking forward to the most: inviting the previous owners back to share a meal in the new dining room. They loved to entertain, and we’re hoping they’ll raise a glass to a job well done, and a new future for a beautiful Nashville home.
We’ll share more photos when everything is complete. Hope you’ve enjoyed the in-progress peek.
Are you looking for your own historic Nashville home to reimagine? We’d be thrilled to help you find it. Give ACRE a call or send us an email.