A trip to Nashville, Tennessee would not be complete without a tour of lovely historic homes. These five terrific sites come in many different styles, from Greek Revival to Italianate to Moorish-Gothic and beyond. Visitors can travel back in time to learn about the architecture of some of Nashville’s oldest homes, as well as the lifestyles of those who lived there.
Belle Meade Plantation
110 Leake Ave, Nashville, TN 37205
Belle Meade Plantation is one of the most popular historical sites in Nashville. Founded in 1807 by John Harding, Belle Meade Plantation began as a simple log cabin on 250 acres. Today, the plantation includes 8 historic buildings, including the Dunham Station cabin, which dates from 1790, and the Victorian-style manor house, completed in 1853. The plantation was home to 5 generations of the Harding family. On the columns of the house, bullet scars from the Civil War can still be found. History is preserved and brought back to thousands of visitors when they discover the manor home, now as a museum dedicated to preserving the Harding family’s rich legacy. After the tour, visitors are invited to a free wine tasting at the restaurant and a visit to the gift shop.
1833 Welcome Lane, Nashville, TN 37216
Riverwood Mansion is a Greek Revival-style house that was built in the late 1790s on the original 2,500 acres. Owned and built by Alexander Porter, a powerful member of the Nashville community who owned commercial property, the Riverwood Mansion is one of Nashville’s oldest and largest historic homes that has hosted many lavish parties with famous guests including seven US Presidents. Today, Riverwood Mansion is a wedding and event venue.
1900 Belmont Blvd, Nashville, TN 37212
The Belmont Mansion is a must-visit historical home for those who are interested in Tennessee history, the Civil War, or architecture. Completed in 1853, the Belmont Mansion is an Italianate style building that belonged to Adelicia and Joseph Acklen, who were once among Nashville’s wealthiest citizens. The mansion then served as a temporary headquarters for the Union Army during the Civil War. Later, it was chosen to be the location for an all-girls college and seminary. With 36 rooms, 19,000 sq ft, the house is Tennessee’s largest house museum that features the display of original furnishings, artwork, and statuary.
122 S. 12th St., Nashville, TN 37206
Located in the East End neighborhood, this beautiful Ambrose House is a Victorian charmer with bordeaux bricks, crown molding, and a symbolic tower. The house was designed by Hugh Cathcart Thompson, the talented architect who was most famous for designing the historic Ryman Auditorium. The house looks best at night, when it transforms into a dreamy castle with beautiful lighting. The Ambrose House is available for weddings, receptions and other special events.
1345 Eastern Flank Circle, Franklin, TN 37064
Another historic site to learn about the Civil War and history is the Carnton, a red brick Federal-style house that was built in 1826 by a former mayor of Nashville, Randal McGavock. This 2-story, 11-room home was witness to the Battle of Franklin and then used as a field hospital during the Civil War’s Battle of Franklin in 1864, and the land near the family’s cemetery became the final resting place for 1,500 Confederate soldiers.
Historical Home Renovation Best Practices
Historical homes are the dream houses of many, although they know that owning these houses is not an easy deal. Historic home ownership comes with a specific set of challenges, one of those is renovation. Restoring a historic house requires special techniques and a lot of effort to answer the question of how to renovate it in a way that is respectful of its architecture but also functional for the present use. And we all know, dealing with old structures and building materials can be overwhelming.
The good news is, with smart planning and a few tips from restoration experts listed below, you can start a project of remodeling your old charmer with less hassle:
- It is recommended to have a complete research on the history of the house before buying it. By doing this, you will have a full understanding of what you can and can’t do to the home.
- Hire a home inspector to have your house inspected thoroughly.
- Planning the budget carefully. Renovation project costs vary depending on the condition of the house. Keep in mind, however, that historic homes usually have hidden problems unveiled during work. Allocating some wiggle room in your budget of about 20% for the unknown can save you an unwelcome surprise later.
- Make a list of priorities, as no revamp project can be done all at once. Most important items usually also carry big-ticket costs, for example water damage or electrical work. By starting with the hard things first, you won’t exhaust your budget planning. The other items on the list, such as decorations or interior upgrades, can wait.
- Don’t try to save money by doing it all yourself. Instead, seek out a professional contractor who respects history and craftsmanship to conduct the renovations. Painting the walls or fixing the floor can be DIY projects, but when it comes to major projects such as configuring plumbing or structural repairs, they require experience. It is more important to get the work done right the first time than saving a little, only to risk starting all over again at a higher cost.
Renovating Your Historical Home
Tennessee Craftsmen is an experienced local remodeler. We are proud to serve homeowners in the Franklin, Brentwood, Nolensville, and Nashville areas by providing quality craftsmanship throughout the entire remodeling process and to set a project schedule that fits your schedule. Whether you wish for a new addition, a remodel, or a total historical restoration, you can be certain that Tennessee Craftsmen will bring its considerable experience to bear in preserving the original splendor of your home. The skilled craftsmen at Tennessee Craftsmen have experience in a variety of remodeling and restoration projects and will treat your historic home with the respect it deserves. View our portfolio for examples of our work. Contact Tennessee Craftsmen for your FREE consultation.