We all love a vibrant, colorful house, but there is something to be said about the soothing nature of an all-white interior. A Nashville couple took this to the test when they moved from their comparatively colorful home to a new 6500-square-foot house with a traditional exterior but a decidedly modern vibe inside. The house begged for an airy and light interior. Large French doors and floor-to-ceiling windows punctuate every room, flooding the various spaces in natural light.
To help with the task of transforming this space into a calm and collected neutral haven, the homeowners called on two designers, Clare Kennedy and Mitzi Maynard. "Our goal was to make the minimal architecture feel livable, inviting, and collected," says Kennedy. "The homeowners really wanted a fresh start. We were building their forever home, and they were ready to get exactly what they wanted," adds Maynard. The project, which began with a ground-up construction in the fall of 2015, was ready in spring 2017 when the couple moved in. Think you could live in an all-white space? Take a few tips from this stately, light-filled home.
A pair of antique English doors greets guests in this stately Nashville home. "Jenn found some gorgeous arched vintage doors from an antique dealer in England, and she knew she had to have them," explains Maynard. "The doors are now one of the defining architectural elements in the house." The designers found themselves lucky to collaborate with such design enthusiasts, as clients like these are few and far between. "Between his attention to architectural detail and her energetic creativity, their skills helped us achieve the gorgeous end result."
Throughout the rest of the house, architectural styles intermix but not in a jarring way—the strict color palette helps paint a coherent thread from room to room. "The exterior is a fresh take on a traditional home, which works well in their established neighborhood in Nashville. The interior of the home has a more modern Mediterranean style."
In the large open-plan kitchen, a double Wolf range and antique rug bring a little color into an otherwise neutral color scheme. "The kitchen is defined by its clean lines, concrete countertops, and hand-forged hardware," says Kennedy. "The European hardware added architecture and substance to the modern custom cabinetry."
The large island is balanced with an oversize brass pendant that casts a soft light over kitchen gatherings. "Our client really pushed for the single pendant over their custom concrete island," explains Kennedy. "She wanted something minimal and large scale that added a modern-glam element to the room. The rattan stools and vintage Oushak rug add texture and age to the space."
"At the center of the home is the warm and inviting living space, punctuated by three large French doors. The towering steel doors give the perfect view to the pristinely landscaped backyard and pool," says Maynard. "The modern concrete fireplace wall is the centerpiece of the room and features custom designed wood push-paneled doors (that cleverly hide clutter)." The room's large sectional is accented with a pair of Borge Mogensen Spanish chairs and an African senofu stool, which was uncovered during an antiquing trip in Michigan. "It's now one of the homeowners' favorite pieces in the room."
In addition to the living room, a large sunroom with wall-to-wall windows features a set of all-white Cisco Brothers linen chairs and large custom pendants—giving the space an airy feel. "We designed the sunroom to be the perfect multifunctional space for a family that loves to entertain," explains Kennedy. "The four chairs in the center of the room and the huge fabric pendants make the room feel cozy enough for intimate gatherings. The built-in reading bench is their favorite place to read a book or take a nap in the sunshine. And when they host large-scale events, they simply clear out the chairs and the room transitions to create a caterer's dream."
The homeowners wanted their primary suite to be defined by comfort. "From the plush upholstered bed, shag rug, and layered, knitted textures, the room is indulgently cozy," says Maynard. "We fell in love with these beehive pendant lights from Australia and bought them before we knew where they were going to go. We quickly found a home for them as the lighting over the nightstands."
The term “Primary Suite” is now widely used to describe the largest bedroom in the home with an en suite bath, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term “Master.” Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.
"We also searched high and low for an original upholstered bed that felt modern but cozy," adds Kennedy. "While shopping at a market, we had an emergency FaceTime with our client to show her the dream bed we had been looking for for months." The low headboard sits under an original Addie Chapin painting.
The primary bathroom is decidedly modern, but the warmth carries through the space with solid wood and an indoor-outdoor feel. "Cary and Jenn are minimalists in style but are full of energy and playfulness," explains Kennedy. "We had to strike a balance between comfort and livability for their family while carefully curating a beautiful, minimal space."
The term “Primary Bathroom” is now widely used to describe the largest bathroom in the home, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term “Master.” Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.
Though their previous home was more colorful, they purposefully stuck to a strict neutral color palette for this space. "We were trying to leave the colorful palette of their previous home behind us," adds Maynard. They were ready to go neutral, so we used natural elements, texture, and mixed metals to bring layers and warmth to the space."
The best thing about this home, according to the designers: "The way the house feels when you walk in," says Kennedy. "It is nestled in a well-established Nashville neighborhood, but when you wall in, you feel as if you have been transported to a villa in the Mediterranean. The walls of windows that connect the beautiful outdoor space with the interior create an invitation to relax and enjoy."