A Tale of Two Styles: Country
When most people think of design in the Music City, contemporary rarely comes to mind. Enter a new style in the New South, where country and city looks often meld.
Case in point is the latest project from designer Ray Booth and the team at McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors. Developed as both a weekend retreat and gentlemen’s farm, the property was chosen for its proximity to Nashville, as well as for its ability to be both a haven and a holiday destination.
Founder and principal Bobby McAlpine designed the barn and guesthouse. The architect poetically notes, “The barn draws most intuitively from Dutch influences in that it is of submissive posture and glad face. Naive and strong, Dutch immigrants’ barns could not hide their grateful hearts. Pond side, the guesthouse wades in, one wing up as in a birdbath.” A lake stocked with trout, an outdoor shower, and a terrace with fireplace and swing ensure full enjoyment of Tennessee’s moderate climate.
Chief partner and designer Ray Booth along with studio manager Peter Fleming spearheaded the interiors, with entertaining as a major consideration. Generous spaces for large gatherings were important, so a loft bunk room was included, as were a hot tub, skeet-shooting facilities, and grilling areas.
Like many a McAlpine Booth & Ferrier project, the house juxtaposes materials ranging from raw burlap draperies and a custom zinc-top vanity to a warm and sophisticated modern kitchen.
Furnishings in varying shades of celadon and taupe, and a mixture of fine antiques, custom pieces designed by Booth, and “barn loft dusty finds” imbue the interiors with a color palette taken from the surrounding land and nearby lake. “The patterns were all plaids, checks, stripes, and solids,” explains Booth, “and all were meant to reference a down-on-the-farm aesthetic with a sophistication of color that indicated that Grandma had spent some time in the city, too!”
A Tale of Two Styles: City
When a health-care executive decided to forgo the rolling hills of Franklin, Tennessee, for city digs in Nashville, he enlisted design firm McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors. Chief partner and designer Ray Booth created a refuge in a luxurious midcentury condominium in an area known as The Gulch—a vibrant urban district.
Booth took his design cues from the client, who wanted a look that was contemporary yet serene and comfortable—a place to get away from it all. “He really offered us a glimpse into where he had been, the things he loved, and the life he wanted to evolve and engage in,” notes Booth. “These, as with all of our clients, are the seeds that feed any ideas.”
Booth and studio manager Peter Fleming aimed for a masculine yet neutral color scheme. “We tried to get a palette that would hold up to the strength of the city just outside the windows,” explains Booth, “yet neutral enough to allow the client’s art to really tell the color story in the space.
“Nothing had to be touched or amended with the condo’s structure, and the existing concrete columns were used to anchor the room’s furnishings,” Booth adds. Wood- paneled walls “offer interest and relief” and cover traditional drywall. To resolve the issue of a prefab fireplace, limestone was added to existing black steel.
Floor-to-ceiling sheers flank expansive views of the Nashville skyline—the perfect backdrop for the cool contemporary furnishings and neutral palette.
Besides comfort, the client had another consideration—a place for his vast wine collection. To overcome the limited space that plagues most condo owners, Booth inventively turned a walk-in closet into the ultimate urban wine cellar that houses 2,400 bottles. The designers also gave the executive an office that serves as both a command center and—with its four wall-hung TV screens—a great place to watch football on weekends. All in all, the ultimate urban bachelor pad.
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