Nashville Calling

Franklin, Tennessee’s O’More College of Design trumps tradition by holding its annual event in Nashville; painting the exterior a striking black; and including top regional designers on its roster

The o’more college of design may be best known for its nationally ranked fashion and interior design programs, but this year the school will also be known for pushing the boundaries, literally and metaphorically, with its annual Designer Showhouse.

Held outside of its native Franklin, Tennessee, for the first time in Nashville, the showhouse is located at Você, the estate of country music icon Eddy Arnold, and the 4,000-square-foot house strikes a slightly rebellious air with a completely black exterior. In addition, Atlanta designers Robert Brown and Amy Morris, both recipients of ADAC and Veranda’s Southeastern Designer of the Year awards, were invited to participate as designers and Honorary Chairs, adding an air of sophistication to an already stacked deck of designers, most notably Nashville designer Jonathan Savage. Indeed, says Savage of the showhouse dining room he designed, whether “in a formal or informal environment, it is always a good idea to have fun.”And although he was referring to the “O.C.D.” monogrammed on his linens (O’More College of Design, not obsessive compulsive disorder), the sentiment could very much apply to the sophisticated space. While tailored blue draperies envelop the room and add a sense of luxury and intimacy, a trio of handmade ceramic pears on the Maison Jensen-designed table create a sense of whimsy among Suzanne Kasler for Ballard Design’s French bisque lamp slips.

In the living room, Amy Morris allowed the stepped detail of the fireplace surround to inform the design of her space, striking a clean-lined note, but with an elegant mix of antiques and modern elements, as well as velvets, wool, and natural materials. For the covered porch, Robert Brown played up the drama of the black exterior, filling the space with clean-lined furniture, graphic fabrics and contemporary art. Yet, everything is water- and sun-proof in Brown’s inviting, modern-meets traditional space.