A Fun and Functional Renovation


I’ve done my share of renovations over the years, so you’d think that by now I would have seen everything you can do in a re-do. The thing is, as a designer, I would be involved with the homeowner and the contractor in just about every aspect of the renovation and the construction details. Although I was hired for expertise in wall coverings and fabrics, what I really enjoyed the most was plumbing fixtures and  kitchen appliances.

It’s a pleasure to be sitting in this home we’re renting at the moment, because every time I turn a corner there’s a new “aha!” moment where I see some thoughtful detail that was added when the place was spruced up. This is a 1920s home, and along with all the charm there would have been some considerable design baggage, mostly in the form of limited storage, awkward bathrooms, and a cave-like kitchen. If that was the case here, you’d never know it, because all that historic charm is perfectly blended with fresh and modern design. Most notably, they somehow added a full bathroom to every bedroom.


The home has a “ladies’ sitting room”, which I now call my office. It’s a beautifully wallpapered room; I haven’t lived with wallpaper in a really long time and this made me remember how much I love it. Interestingly enough, it only covers two walls, since the other walls have arched windows and doorways that bring in the most glorious natural light. I brought my own desk with me so I could get work done without figuring out another organizational system, but I confess that I turn the room back to its original use a lot — it has a great sectional sofa to stretch out on, and I find it to be the perfect place to read a book.

That amazing sunlight also shines in the master bedroom, which is spacious by any measure, but especially compared to most homes from the Twenties. There’s a wonderful bathroom and a great closet, and the laundry room is also right off the master (it actually adjoins two of the five guest bedrooms), which is an incredibly convenient thing. I never thought I’d want a laundry room right off my bedroom, but it works so well that I question why people always put them next to the kitchen. Perhaps some people use more kitchen towels than I do.


It is really fun to be able to live in a renovation that someone besides myself did. Let me just say, it was our lucky day when we happened upon this one.

Mary Spalding is a Nashville based interior designer with over 30 years of experience. She has overseen countless home revitalizations, renovations, and restorations. She can be reached with your projects and ideas at mary@spaldingway.com.

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