Photography by Quinn Ballard
On occasion, the luxury of space can also be a challenge. In the hands of an unskilled architect, a large house can take on a domineering demeanor. Indoors, large rooms can devour a decorating budget and still end up feeling cold and impersonal. For a new house in Nashville, architect Ron Farris and designer Carolyn Kendall of Alcott Interiors collaborated on a large residence with an expansive flat lot in the Belle Meade neighborhood of Nashville—all the elements a design team could dream of. Their clever solutions for rendering upsized spaces in human scale offer lessons that apply to any residence.
To reduce the mass of the 7,000-square-foot structure, Farris broke the front elevation into wings and played with the roof massing. “We intentionally wanted the house not to read as large as it is,” he says. “We wanted to suggest that there may have been an original structure that was added onto. It’s not a symmetrical arrangement, but it is balanced.” The low garage, which extends off the right of the house, got a flat roof that grounds that side of the house, and the front door was tucked aside the front landing. “It’s a reaction to the suburban tradition of the front door facing the street,” Farris says. “I like for the point of entry to require a bit of looking.” Similarly, the choice of a single building material was a reaction to a ’90s fondness for a hodgepodge of materials: brick, stone, and stucco thrown together in a gratuitous pursuit of visual interest. Here, stucco offers a quiet statement, and a wood shake roof caps off the structure with authority.