Tag Archives: dee bynum

The Story of a Home: 903 Lawrence Ave.

A roof-raising and room reconfiguration–coupled with the addition of a courtyard with a saltwater reflecting pool–revived this 1935 bungalow in 12South. See how Bynum Design made it happen.

Bynum Residential Design Nashville

The Process: More often than not we do new construction homes (which we’ve profiled in detail on the blog here and here), but we get a huge kick out of tackling remodels, too. This 3,623-square-foot home that we finished up and sold last month is great example of a thoughtful response to a classic bungalow, but we still managed to pack it full of Bynum Design hallmarks–custom details that make it feel one-of-kind, inspiring, roomy and cozy all at once. Though we made some pretty massive alterations to the structure, the front exterior retained every bit of its original charm, so that the rhythm of this sweet street goes uninterrupted. Are you in for a surprise? Check out the photos of this home when we acquired it.

Dee Bynum Nashville

Bynum Design

What Stands Out:

The courtyard and pool. We created a courtyard on the sunny side of the backyard—on the west side of the property—and built a wall around it to close it in. On the east side we did a master suite. And in the back, to enclose the courtyard, we added a two-car garage with a bonus room upstairs; the bonus room opens up to a balcony overlooking the pool. This is the first pool Bynum Design has had the opportunity to install. Our options were pretty limited by the courtyard’s small size, but we decided on a rectangular saltwater pool that we wanted to read as a reflecting pool so that it wasn’t about swimming as much as it was about atmosphere and vibe. Enclosing the courtyard with a garage/bonus room had the added benefit of giving the backyard the feeling of a cozy compound.

Backyard courtyard with pool Bynum Residential Design Nashville TN

Courtyard with pool Bynum Design Nashville

The master suite.  This master suite has an especially fabulous layout–the way the spaces come together and function, and the his and hers closets. We also love the big shower filled with natural light, thanks to the frosted window we installed.


Bynum Design master bath

Shower with window - Bynum Design Nashville

The center of the house. A super sweet spot in this home is the dining room, located at the base of the stairs and just opposite the bar. When you look up from the dining table, you see the stairs wrapping on around and a cutout in the ceiling, so that people upstairs can look right in on whatever social activity is happening downstairs. This space ended up defining the whole vibe of this house. We’ve decided that if this house had a personality, it would be extroverted.

Bynum Design Nashville


The lighting. If you know anything about us, you probably know that we’ll always say the lighting package in our homes stand out. We just can’t stress enough the importance of the right fixtures. We did a custom light fixture over the island, done by a local guy, David Phillips, who creates a lot of repurposed fixtures for our Marathon Village neighbors Antique Archaeology. David really helped us make the lighting package special, particularly in that vaulted space.

David Phillips Nashville lighting

Challenges Faced:

Raising the roof. To get the ceiling height and to reconfigure the layout the way we wanted, we had to raise the ceilings, reconfigure the roof, and add on. To do this, we took the dormers and the roof off, took the second floor off, and raised the ceilings so that they were 10 feet high. In the meantime, we kept the brick that was on the front of the home and on the two sides, later choosing to paint it. When rebuilding the roof, we returned its original roof pitch and built back the little dormer that was on the front of it.

dee bynum

Neighbor. This property is directly across the street from a church, which is kind of a hoot. We debated whether or not the proximity to a busy church was a good or bad thing, but we ultimately decided it was a good thing because if you have a party you have a big, built-in parking lot for friends to park, unless it’s on a Wednesday night, when they host their bible study, in which case they will ask you to move your car. The other great thing about it is when church is in session it’s very entertaining because there are lots of big hats, especially on Easter Sunday. So you can sit out on your front porch on Sunday mornings and have bloody marys and be entertained.

903 Lawrence Avenue Nashville

Vaulting the ceiling. One of the things that’s a Bynum Design hallmark is to do two-story spaces with huge windows, which in turn creates the vaulted ceilings that we’re also known for. We were able to accomplish that at the rear of this house, which is only a single story, by following the roofline, making a center line down the kitchen, and mirroring the roof on the other side so we created a tall, vaulted space there without actually making a two-story space.

Bynum Design kitchen

The Happily Ever After:

Funnily enough, this home was sold via a FaceTime session with someone who was out of state at the time. The new owner’s realtor came through on the morning that D. Luxe Home was finalizing the staging prior to the party we hosted to celebrate the completion of this home. While we haven’t spoken with or met the owner, we have always envisioned this being a social space, filled with friends and conversation. In Nashville’s temperate months, we see the master suite’s doors flung open to the courtyard. There will be lots of bare feet and the sounds of splashing water and laughter. This is our hope.

Bynum Design Tennessee


Bynum Design P.S. Check out our post on the D. Luxe Home blog about staging this house and throwing a big party to celebrate its completion. You’ll also find several before photos of this home here.

The Story of a Home: 925B Kirkwood Ave.

This happy home in 12South at 925B Kirkwood Ave. is inspired by both the function and charm of a farmhouse and the elegance and composure of an old country church. Read about how it came to be.  925B Kirkwood Ave Nashville, TN - Dee Bynum Dream Build Nashville Bynum Design

925 Kirkwood Avenue Nashville Bynum Design

The Process: This house belongs to Pat and Ann Williams, a ridiculously awesome pair who we liked immediately and who we were certifiably in love with once we realized Ann’s Pinterest board mirrored our own. Ann is from Northern California and founded Smart Sprouts (the extremely popular drop-in daycare in Green Hills that she’s since shuttered), and Pat, a Nashville native, is in sales for a healthcare technology company. The two met at The Tin Roof while both were in grad school at Vandy; how “Nashville” is that?! Ann and Pat were some of the easiest, breeziest people we’ve ever worked with. After deciding they wanted one of our homes, they signed the contract for this place before we’d even leveled the ground.

What Stands Out:

Kitchen Bynum Design Nashville, TN

Mixed metals. “Dee and I talked about doing mixed metals—brass mixed with stainless,” says Ann, “and he loved that idea.” We mixed metals in both the downstairs master bath and a guest bath, but they’re perhaps most prominent in the kitchen, where a gorgeous brass accordion-style chandelier is suspended over the island. Meanwhile, the cabinets are outfitted with stainless steel hardware.

Sherwin Williams Cherry Tomato front door

The red front door. If dark reds have too much blue in them they almost look purple. When picking out a red paint, I always go for the color of a red BMW. This one is Sherwin Williams’s “Cherry Tomato.”

Bynum Design kitchen

The windows: We tend to pay a lot of attention to the architectural impact of windows. There are a lot of good examples of that here, most dramatically in that vertical window in the family room. We also installed a casement window on an inside wall just above the bridge walkway, looking into the nursery. I love putting windows inside a house. We’ve done it several times. One thing we hadn’t done before is to put windows in the kitchen right between the wall cabinet and the countertop.

Natural Wood Wall - Bynum Design - Nashville, TN

The big wood wall. It was important to the Williams’ to incorporate natural elements like wood beams and wood walls, but we did so with a chic twist that won’t soon be dated. “A lot of people are doing rustic reclaimed wood walls, but they’re a little more shabby chic or beaten up than ours,” says Ann. “I felt like that trend might be out after a certain amount of years, but Dee took that idea and image, streamlined it, and made it modern.”

Gray Master Bedroom - Bynum Design - Dee Bynum

Two masters: This house is unique in that there’s both an upstairs master bedroom and a downstairs master. “Many older homes in Nashville are redone so that there’s an upstairs master, and the kids are downstairs,” says Ann. “We weren’t really comfortable with that concept so right now we’re downstairs, but in the future we can always change that around.” Ann loves having two masters, too, because when her family comes to visit from California they have a beautiful guest space with their own bathroom. “They feel really comfortable, which is important to me,” she says.

Challenges Faced:

A due date. The Williams’ put a contract on their house before they knew that they were pregnant with their first child, a daughter. “We thought maybe we’d move in and then have a baby,” says Ann, “but we had no idea we’d be moving in with a two-week-old.” To accommodate their impending new addition, we sped up the construction process as much as we possibly could. And even though it was stressful for the Williams to move into their new home with a newborn, Ann says it’s the perfect place to wait out the winter doldrums with a babe in arms. “There’s so much natural light. It’s sort of an indoor/outdoor vibe so you don’t feel like you’re cooped up, which is great with a newborn because I am cooped up, but it doesn’t feel like it.”

The garage door. We’ve done garage doors well in living spaces many times before, but we’ll admit the Williams’ garage door, which opens from their family room to their back deck, didn’t go over quite how we envisioned. We thought that, when opened, the door would just go straight up and stay flush with the wall, but it ended up being sort of cocked out. And because the hardware is really rough, they worried it would end up injuring their daughter. Says Ann, “We love the concept of the garage door, and once we open it up we’re like, ‘How can we not have this?!,’ but the motor and hardware is just really obvious and it kind of takes away from the lighting and the windows.” We’ve worked out a new design that involves a pair of French doors surrounded by windows. We’ll have them installed in time for the 12South Home Tour.

The Happily Ever After: 

This house shares the same ingredients that most all of our homes do—exposed rafter tails, a steep roof pitch, wraparound porch, ceiling beams, and clipped ceilings upstairs—but this one came out of the oven especially delicious. In fact, this is probably my favorite home we’ve finished. It’s striking. The scale of it fits the street, and it looks so happy with that red front door. Plus, the flow of it is great, revealing things to you as you go along. Our floor plans are pretty much open; we don’t have a lot of wasted space with hallways. But that means there’s a danger that you open the front door and immediately see the whole thing. The way we configure our homes we try to make it an experience. As you walk through this home it goes from a two-story space to a compressed space in the kitchen and then back up into a two-story space in the family room. It feels natural.

“Everything is out of the ordinary,” says Ann. “I like to have something different than other people, and I really wanted that to be shown in our house—for our personalities to come through. … This isn’t a home we’ll be in for just a few years. We are planning a long stay here.”

–Dee Bynum


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.