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LUXE Magazine: Beyond This New Nashville Home’s Stately Front Door Are Collected Interiors That Honor The Past


If a general contractor’s own home is any indication of the level of detail delivered to clients, Nathan Lyons’ may be Nashville’s best example. From the beginning, he and his wife, Keri, knew they didn’t want their new residence to feel, well, new. Building in the traditional enclave of Belle Meade would mean responding to the neighborhood’s classic touches, but, “when it came time to plan the house, we decided we wanted something a little different,” Lyons says. “So, we looked for a team that would share our vision and help us push the envelope a bit.”

That search led Lyons to residential designer Richard Long and designer Rachel Halvorson—talents he viewed as fellow risk-takers. In joining the project, Long says, he felt a similar sense of alignment: “Nathan was very open to trying new things and wanted to create something special that would honor the history of the neighborhood while looking forward at the same time.”

As homeowner and general contractor, Lyons was naturally very involved in specification of materials and architectural elements, wanting each to feel storied and special. “I’ve always been drawn to revitalization, whether restoring a home or commercial project,” he says, pointing to his penchants for classicism and quality. So, the hallmarks Long specified for the home transcend any single discipline, ranging from vaulted ceiling beams and Shaker-style millwork to Roman columns, leaded-glass windows and a Tudor-influenced front door that set the tone for the entire residence. “It looks like it could be 150 years old,” Lyons says, “but set against stark white stucco and blackened steel windows, it takes on a more contemporary feel.”

Just beyond that stately front door, antique Spanish marble tiles laid in a checkerboard pattern make a case for patina against a sweeping staircase with a wrought iron and unlacquered bronze railing. “The tile itself feels like a form of art,” Lyons says. “Keri and I love reclaimed as much as we do sleek, modern touches, and when we saw this, we knew it was the right fit for this house.”

Lyons’ expertise also was instrumental when liaising with Long and landscape architect Gavin Duke—along with project manager Mamie Finch—on the home’s private interior terrace and pool. Opening the doors permits seasonably mild breezes to pass all the way through, prompting Long’s comparison of the home to a Bahamian retreat. The addition of casement windows underscores this resort-like quality. “The pool is centered on our master bedroom and directly under the windows,” Lyons says. “You could jump right in.”

Balancing elegance with restraint, Halvorson was happy to let Long’s architecture act as protagonist, selecting well-edited furnishings and art that are high impact yet never scene-stealing. Responding to the couple’s love for historic, she chose pieces that would read as romantic and old world—but with modern twists. “The only way for a new house to feel old and timeless is for it to look collected over time,” the designer says. “We pulled in layers—vintage elements for patina; art that appears to have been gathered over the years.” Referencing an array of works culled across the Southeast, Lyons adds: “Rachel really opened our eyes to the whole art world; a majority of the pieces you see were selected by her.”

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Photography: Paige Rumore

Architecture: Richard Long, Long & Long Design

Interior Design: Rachel Halvorson, Rachel Halvorson Designs

Home Builder: Nathan Lyons, Vintage South Development

Landscape Architecture: Gavin Duke, Page Duke Landscape Architects