Downsizing in Style: See This Nashville Condo's Charming Second Act
This two-bedroom, two-bath condo is all about rediscovering the charm of small spaces.
"The space looked like it hadn't been touched in years," recalls designer Jeremy Clark of his first tour through this 1980s condo in Nashville's West End. His client, Linda Hummell, was ready to downsize, and something about this spot felt right. "When I walked in, I knew it could be great. It had good bones, like the beautiful high ceiling in the living room and traditional moldings," Hummell says. The home was once a special place, previously belonging to Betty Ann Hadley, sister of legendary designer Albert Hadley—who had decorated the two-bedroom, two-bath space in his iconic style. Although it was a prize in its prime (Clark has seen the photos to prove it), the condo was in need of a fresh look. The designer struck a balance between preserving the home's storied character and incorporating modern upgrades for Hummell's next chapter of life. "I didn't want to do a disservice to Albert Hadley, so our inspiration started with how we could reinvent things he'd done in the past," says Clark. Read on for the Nashville condo's second act.
Find a New Flow
Local contractor Pamela Leonard of Redmont Enterprises stepped in to help with the floor plan. "We worked hard to preserve the feeling of Albert Hadley's original design (like keeping his famous jib doors) while incorporating the homeowner's needs," she says. "The kitchen was closed off from the rest of the house. Opening up the wall to the living room created a more natural flow."
Previously, the living room flaunted pastel walls without much shelf space for storing books and collectibles.
Switching Up the Color Scheme
Swathing the living room (including the floor and ceiling) in Benjamin Moore's creamy White Dove (OC-17) gave the designer a blank canvas. "I wanted to add plenty of pattern but keep a light and airy palette," says Clark, who mixed neutrals (Hummell's request) with prints (the designer's push). Mismatched accents and furniture, a two-tone area rug, and a contemporary painting enliven the space. Adding built-ins to the open walls created a place to display Hummell's many treasures.
Prior to the update, the original splattered wallpaper covered the closed-off galley kitchen.
Borrowing from the Past
Leonard refreshed the kitchen's black-and-white palette by installing new cabinetry, a honed black marble backsplash, and checkerboard tile flooring. A modern piece by Catherine Booker Jones hangs in the breakfast nook (which doubles as a bar for entertaining). Clark covered the banquette cushion in a splatterwork fabric as a nod to Hadley.
Clark reworked the painted floor, striped wallpaper, and heavy furniture to brighten the windowless dining room.
"No Southern home is complete without a formal dining room," says Clark, who found the sweet spot between Hadley's design and Hummell's style. Atlanta artist Hayden Gregg of Hayden Paints added a Greek key border on the flooring. A pendant by Christopher Spitzmiller for Circa Lighting is a reinterpretation of the original one hung by Hadley. Pieces from the homeowner's art collection dress up the Farrow & Ball striped wallpaper. The column pedestals open up to store linens, china, and glassware.
Clark turned the former sewing room, where Betty Ann reportedly stitched draperies for her brother, into a cozy reading area for Hummell. Wrapping the snug space in Lee Jofa's Indian Zag wallpaper in Taupe, plus adding creature comforts like the tufted chaise, made this a nice spot for curling up with a book. The desk provides a workspace. Sisal carpeting was a pet-friendly pick, ideal for the homeowner's Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
The guest room called for only a few easy changes, like updating the walls and adding a window treatment and new carpeting.
Bridging Old with New
The homeowner pulled her great-grandmother's cherrywood four-poster spool bed, step stool, and armchair out of storage for the guest room. Clark freshened up the antique pieces with crisp Matouk bedding, patterned throw pillows, and a floral Roman shade. A striped runner adds a cushion for bare feet landing on the sisal carpeting. The textural grass cloth wallpaper by Serena & Lily warms the previously all-white room. In lieu of a nightstand, he picked a Serena & Lily rattan bar cart for its extra storage (plus, it can roll out to the living room for cocktail hour).
A Twist on the Original
The powder bath is set right off the home's entry. Hadley had picked a punchy wallpaper to make a welcoming first impression, so Clark followed suit with an eye-catching aviary pattern by Pierre Frey. A sleek Waterworks washstand lends a modern touch, with a basket underneath for stashing extra towels.