Tag Archives: D. Luxe Home

Story of a Home: Our Twelve Twelve Condo

When we were asked to be one of a handful of Nashville interior design teams to stage one of the new Twelve Twelve condos in the Gulch, the builders wanted our help amping up the design drama to help these things sell.

Twelve Twelve Nashville

It’s worked, as Twelve Twelve is forecasted to be sold out by year’s end. So while we’re happy that we accomplished what we were asked to do, we’re mostly happy that we have this gorgeous space to show for it. And we’re grateful to have had photographers StudiObuell to capture it.

Bynum Design TwelveTwelve condo

A couple of months back, we shared our inspiration boards with you. Now, here’s the real deal:

Bynum Design Nashville

It ended up being liberating to not have much square footage to work with (we had two bedrooms, the tiniest of which we repurposed into a Music City-appropriate music room, and two bathrooms). And of course it was helpful that they didn’t just hand us the keys to the castle; they handed us the castle and let us go for it. There were a few things already done, but for the most part we got to select everything from the unit itself to the finish scheme.

Nashville interior design

We were even able to choose a Sonos music system and the TVs. We picked out the rolling window shades, paint colors, and of course all of the furniture and accessories. If you’re curious about any of the above, we sourced most of it from our shop, D. Luxe Home (and we’ve dedicated a separate blog post detailing where everything came from). This project was very much a group effort—with insights and ideas coming from those on-staff at Bynum Design as well as from the fabulous Sally Kyle.

Island in Kitchen Island in Condo in Nashville, Tennessee

We knew from the get-go that it was sophistication we were after. But my overall approach was, at the end of the day, to create a unit where I would want to live. (Speaking of the end of the day, it’s especially sexy up there at night.) Mission accomplished; I could move right in. Had I bought this unit, I would have probably done exactly what we did to it.

Street sweeper brushes as art

I think the biggest ah-ha! moment for us in tackling this space was to do the opposite of what most people do when designing a high-rise unit—that is, to center everything around the view. We came to understand that while the view is important—and dazzling—it’s not everything, and we don’t want to be facing it the entire time, so we placed a lot of furniture against the window wall and created several zones in the one main room. Creating a cozy, flexible space was what was most important.

Bynum Design Twelve Twelve condo Nashville, TN

We even moved the original location of the TV from the wall they had it on to an inward wall because we wanted you to be looking in, not out.

We created a space to watch TV …

Bynum Design Nashville interior

We created a space to eat…

Twelve Twelve The Gulch Nashville

… and then we created a separate space with these fab swivel chairs. You can be in one and talking to whoever’s cooking or looking out at THAT VIEW. It is just perfect.

Bynum Design Nashville

Our other prevailing way of thinking about this project was to bring details from the exterior of the building and reference them in our design. For instance, we identified a detail on the building that we really liked above the freight dock; there’s a giant, three-story wall of wood slats, all different widths. At one pint, when we were feeling like the space was just so long and needed to be broken up a bit, we looked to the narrow mullion in the center of the windows and decided that was the prefect place to take that wood slat element and introduce it into the interior. We had this made by a carpenter who specializes in high-rises; who knew that was a specialty?! It turns out that the fact that everything that goes in and out of a high-rise building has to fit inside an elevator requires some extra creative thinking.

Bynum Design wood slat wall

There was another room—technically a guest bedroom—that didn’t have a door on it. (Since it’s in Nashville we wanted to give the condo a music theme, so we envisioned the second bedroom as a music studio where you would write and play guitar. We’ve got little music motifs everywhere in this condo.) For the music room, we had another one of these wood-slat “thingies” made and hung it on a barn door track. You can see through it, but it gives you the feeling of privacy, and it adds texture in a space that really didn’t have any texture.

Interior barn door Nashville

Another challenge we faced is that this unit didn’t yet have an island or a kitchen table, but it did have soffit on the ceiling that designated where the island was supposed to go, even though we didn’t want to put our island there. We ended up moving the lighting away from where it was originally supposed to be to tighten up the kitchen work area and to give us space to do the thing with the swivel chairs.

Bynum Design kitchen island condo Nashville

In the master bathroom all we really had to do is paint the walls super dark, and it popped.

Twelve Twelve Nashville, TN

So it all flowed, we used the same color throughout the condo, even on the trim, where we used an oil-based paint so that there’s some sheen.

Bynum Design Nashville interior designer Twelve Twelve The Gulch

The guest bath gave me one of my first opportunities to play with wallpaper, and we selected one made of recycled newspaper shreds.

Weitzner Newsworthy wallpaper

We also used a gorgeous grasscloth wallpaper in the master bedroom on the bed wall. It’s a silk-looking thing that’s the same color of the walls.

Bynum Design Nashville interior design

Bynum Design Nashville design

Finally, in the foyer, we again introduced an element from elsewhere in the building. There’s a lot of aged mirror in the interior design of the building, and we wanted to fully invite the vibe of this building into the unit. Rather than mirroring that whole wall we found these two fabulous screens with three panels each. We mounted them to the wall in the foyer, and put this glam white piece of furniture with gold handles in the alcove opposite it. And of course the crystal chandelier deserves mention. We wanted to wow when you walk in the door, so we swapped out one of the existing can lights for this one.

Bynum Design foyer

That about covers it. We’re pretty sure it shows, but we had an absolute ball conceptualizing this condo and bringing it to life.

Nashville home stager

For more details on this space and the things inside it, visit our D. Luxe Home blog post or feel free to reach out to us. We are currently accepting Nashville home staging projects and would love to hear from you.

Easy Ideas for a Beautiful and Interesting Tabletop

D. Luxe Home Bynum Design Nashville, TN

With Bynum Design, my eye is so often trained on the big picture–the bones of a house, the scale, the flooring and wall color. I love every bit of that, but I also enjoy breaking from the big picture to focus on smaller (but still satisfying) projects–like creating a tablescape in my home or putting together a display at D. Luxe Home, our shop at Nashville’s Marathon Village. 

However, I’m giving the floor to D. Luxe Home co-owner Larry Wilkes for this blog post, as the tabletop is primarily his terrain. He’s the one behind the most inspired visual merchandising we do at our shop; you’ll find him constantly tweaking displays so that different items catch and hold our customers’ interest. This is no easy task in a shop that’s short on space and long on merchandise. Here Larry spills his secrets for creating pitch-perfect tabletops in your own home.

I was born into retail and visual merchandising. My family has been in some form of retail my entire life. It’s amazing to me how many people want to open a store and think, “I’m just going to go to market, buy pretty things, put them in my store, and sell them.” It doesn’t work that way. A visual display requires thought and time. It has to tell a cohesive story. It has to grab your attention, but then it also has to hold your attention, provoke you. Every item in a vignette needs to speak to the other; you can’t just pitch everything into a case, stack it up, or lay it on a table, like at a grocery store. Things have to be positioned in such a way that you’re drawn in. Much of this is about trial and error and imagination. I’m always changing things around. Below I’m sharing some of my tricks for busting out of the tabletop blahs, but please don’t take any of my advice too seriously. Above all, have fun with your spaces, always.

D. Luxe Home Nashville

Use contrasts. A great display has to have contrasts—high and low, positive and negative, light and dark, shiny and dull. Instead of just making a grouping of crystal candlesticks, include, for instance, a crusty wood corbel right alongside that glam crystal candlestick. Or stack books to create height but then ground the table with stubby votives and a framed photo. Which brings us to…

D. Luxe Home tabletop

Think dimensionally. If everything on your table is the same height, it’s not going to provoke much interest, and the eye will likely skim over the whole display. In the shop we use various things as risers (cake plates, for instance) so that nothing feels flat. Spaces—tabletops included—are far more interesting when there are highs and lows. That said, if you don’t feel confident creating a layered arrangement, you can always just rely on symmetry—say, two tall items and two short items—to keep things simple. Symmetry always works.

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Break with tradition. The typical tabletop is so traditional and so boring. Every market I go to, I see dining room table displays overdecorated to death with chargers and plates and platters and candlesticks. I don’t like a typical tabletop. I don’t like anything traditional. Instead I keep it simple and adorn a dining table with candles, a mirror laid flat like a tray, or something really cool and crusty, like the balusters we have at D. Luxe Home that have many layers of paint chipping off. I like to use unexpected items (see the burlap horse above) in unexpected ways. For instance, we’ve been known to repurpose antique brackets as bookends and to create groupings of old architectural elements like corbels and balusters. Small, unique collections are always good–think a display of antique paintbrushes or of vintage baby doll heads. Don’t be afraid to go kooky, as long as it speaks to your interests and vibe. Another idea: Make a departure from fresh flowers and instead center a long tray of bright green wheatgrass on your table.

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… And fall back on old faithfuls. There are certain accessories that look classic and great most anywhere you put them. It always works to stack books with candles and a lamp. You also can never go wrong with crystal candlesticks and fresh flowers.

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Consider the tabletop itself. When talking tabletop, it’s worth mentioning that the tabletop itself can be an important part of the vignette. I’m thinking of a mirrored dining table in my home that has a rope-like pattern etched into the backside of the mirror. Because it’s reflective, you don’t have to put a lot of things on it. (I love mirrored furniture, but it’s important to keep in mind that a little mirror goes a long way. You can’t use a mirrored chest and two mirrored bedside tables; that’s overkill.) We have a mirror-topped table in the shop, too, that imparts a Hollywood vibe and throws shards of light around when you put crystal candlesticks or anything shiny on top of it.

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Break out the books. Whatever you do, just don’t stand all of your books straight up. You group some together, you stack some on their side, you put stuff on some. It’s like a puzzle. You just keep playing with it until it’s right.

Do you have any tricks for a beautiful table display? We’re always looking for new ideas.

The Story of a Home: 2900 10th Ave. S

This modern farmhouse stands proud in Nashville’s 12South neighborhood where Paris Ave. meets 10th Ave. S. Inside are 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and 2,977 square feet spanning three charming levels. 

Bynum Design

Impossibly adorable semi-newlyweds Chris and Lauren Whitsett both had big ideas about what they wanted from their first home. In their early thirties, the Whitsetts, now brand new parents to a bouncing baby boy, came to me looking to create a fabulous nest before starting a family. Chris works in web design (and is responsible for our beautiful site) and Lauren in healthcare. Both have exquisite taste. Both have great, big laughs. Both are things that made the process of building this home a true joy.

Another contributing factor to the ease with which we constructed 2900 10th Ave. S: The homeowners’ tastes were blessedly in sync with mine. “We saw houses all over 12South that we really loved and had no idea that they were all built by the same exact guy,” says Chris. “I found Dee on Facebook and realized that he did every single house that I’m obsessed with. I got his number and called him just because I just wanted to talk to him. It was almost like going to the Porsche dealership and pretending like you’re going to buy a Porsche. You’re not. You’re just curious.” Upon finding out that Lauren and Chris wanted a white house with dark floors, vaulted ceilings, and a cool industrial-slash-rustic vibe, I was equally as sold on them.

Bynum Design 10th Avenue

The Process: Lauren and Chris initially wanted to renovate a 12th South house into a farmhouse-style home. We spent a number of weekends ducking into potential fixer-uppers, running into several dead ends before getting the opportunity to buy the lot where their house sits now. Chris admits, “We could not visualize it at all. It just looked like this dumpy, overgrown, awful little mess of a yard. And it didn’t look like much space either. But Dee was so excited about it and really sold us on it, especially when he started showing us the plans.”

Together we developed a plan that the Whitsetts and I both loved. We didn’t really treat this house like we do with most other custom clients; we treated it more like it was a spec house because what I wanted to provide and what the Whitsetts wanted were mirror images. This made the process the simplest thing. I always love seeing one of my houses go up, but the Whitsetts’ excitement about the construction process was especially contagious. Every day Chris would take a picture from the same spot, which yielded this awesome time-lapse video:

What Stands Out: There are definitely some notables about 2900 10th Ave. S, including:

The garage door in the dining room… We hadn’t done a roll-up garage door in a living space until the Whitsetts’ house, and now it’s become a staple at Bynum Design. They wanted to be able to walk out on their deck without going through a set of doors. They wanted it to feel more commercial, almost like you’re in a restaurant. We liked the effect so much that we’ve been working lots of these garage doors into our clients’ budgets. Now we do them all the time.

garage door in dining room

The lighting… We looked at lots of lighting for the Whitsetts, going together through manufacturer’s catalogs and websites and assembling a collage mood board. In the Whitsetts’ pantry there’s a great example of how lighting can create texture; the light fixture is a wire mesh dome, and there’s a clear bulb in it so it makes these killer patterns on the walls. It’s a texture that you feel when you’re in the kitchen that you wouldn’t had you just stuck a regular old fixture there. The chandelier in their family room does the same thing; it’s got long arms that reflect the lines on the tall surrounding walls. It’s so sexy. It’s worth noting that almost all the fixtures for our clients’ homes now come from D. Luxe Home, my shop at Marathon Village.

living room chandelier

Challenges Faced:  We almost always face obstacles that we didn’t anticipate when building a house. During the year-long process of constructing their dream house, the Whitsetts had to camp out in an East Nashville condo owned by Lauren’s parents, biding their time until move-in day. Other challenges included:

The size of the lot … The very narrow front-to-back footprint was not easy to work around because of the way it fell off. We had to apply for a variance at the Board of Zoning Appeals because there was an easement across the back of the lot. They basically had to grant us additional depth to be able to put a usable house on the lot. Putting a garage on the first floor became a logical approach, so we were able to put the garage on the basement level and the living space on the second and third levels and then grade the front yard up so that it felt like it was on the street instead of down in a hole. Then, really, the trick was creating another house to attach to it that didn’t look just like it. Which leads us to …

The zero lot conundrum… At exactly the same time we had to build a house that conjoined with the Whitsetts. The connection for this type of structure is normally done on the main floor, but because we wanted to be able to park the cars in the garage beneath the house, we did the connector on the second floor. In other words, Lauren’s delicious walk-in closet backs up to the other homeowner’s laundry room. We also decided to paint the connector a different color than either house. I felt like that was the trick to make the connector seem to disappear; I think it worked so well.

Bynum Design Nashville

The Happily Ever After: 2900 10th Ave. S is not only beautiful but very functional. What the Whitsetts appreciate most about their home is the specific purpose that each room and floor serves. The bottom floor is home to the garage as well as a mudroom and bonus room, which doubles as an office and, one day soon, the perfect place for rowdy kiddo sleepovers. The middle floor joins a bright and open living area and kitchen with a cozy master suite, making it ground zero for Chris and Lauren and their visitors. The top floor holds two bedrooms and a jack-and-jill bath; this is where the Whitsetts’ children will play and sleep. This house–every lovely square foot of it–is a testament to a shared vision from kindred spirits of design. It was a joy to conceive it, and I hope it will continue to be a joy for Chris and Lauren to live in it. –Dee Bynum

Dee Bynum

See more photos of 2900 10th Ave. S here.