For this stunning new 6,000 square foot Tuscan Villa inspired home in the beautiful Belle Meade area of Nashville, Tennessee, the owners, who often visit Italy both for pleasure and to acquire antiques for their shop, were adamant that the new house to possess the proportions and massing of a classical Italian villa. With that directive, Brian O'Keefe Architect immediately set about researching villa precedents of Tuscany and the Veneto regions, in particular famed sixteenth-century architect Andrea Palladio’s Villa Saraceno.
As in the historic villas, the floor plan of the home maximizes space by eliminating unnecessary hallways. This allows the major rooms to open onto one another creating wonderful flow for the owner’s parties and entertaining. The tall ceilings of the first floor and large windows and doors provide great light and magnificent property views from the beautifully proportioned rooms. The main entry hall is a large space with a groin-vaulted ceiling that opens onto the library, living room and stair hall. The spacious living room has a gorgeous hand applied plaster finish on the walls and the antique coffered ceiling. The library walls and vaulted ceiling are both finished in the same hand applied plaster. A large custom-made skylight fits over the solarium as if it were enclosing a former outdoor courtyard. The design and detailing of the various moldings and paneling, based on traditional examples, create a visual hierarchy of formal, semi-formal and private areas of the home. All of the wood flooring is antique herringbone.
The interior architecture also makes use of other remarkable materials such as natural limestone and marble, including a kitchen floor constructed from reclaimed antique terra cotta pavers. Beautifully patinated custom stains and decorative paint treatments are used as wood finishes throughout the home. In the end, the overall effect is that the house feels like an historical villa that has been updated to a wonderfully comfortable home for modern daily living, entertaining, and the display of the owner’s many collections of modern art, antiques and objets d’art.
The homeowner, renowned interior designer Mary Spalding, decorated the exquisite interiors. The designs feature a mix of wonderfully comfortable furniture, discerning antique selections, and luxurious fabrics and accessories, along with custom decorative paint treatments carried out by an expert Belgian artisan.