Timeless Renewal

Jonathan Savage transforms one family’s ’80s abode into a retreat as timeless as it is cosmopolitan

There’s something deeply Southern yet simultaneously cosmopolitan about designer Jonathan Savage, a Tennessee native and Kips Bay Decorator Show House alum whose star is quickly rising in the international design arena.

Savage’s know-how was suited perfectly to a pair of Nashvillians who are well known in the local business sector and who naturally had high hopes for his approach to their aging residence—starting with the overhaul of its outdated kitchen.

“Built in the 1980s, it needed an update in the worst kind of way,” the designer says. A prolific cook, the lady of the house wanted a cooking space that was as functional as it was beautiful.

Savage delivered all that and more, with diamond-patterned wire-mesh cabinet fronts constructed in England, Calacatta Borghini marble countertops and Venetian plaster walls stamped for a relief-sculpture effect.

“Once we tackled the kitchen, it became inevitable that we’d work on the rest of the house,” recalls Savage, who handled both the architecture and interior design. “We wanted it to be sort of transitional: clean, simple, but keeping the tradition of the house relevant.”

From there, he focused his efforts foremost on the rooms that sprung out from the cooking space, which serves as both the physical and energetic center of the home: a formal living room with lacquered walls and burl wood accents, a family room full of soft fabrics, a breezy back porch, a convenient laundry, and, of course, a dining room bedecked in Murano glass and diamond-patterned wallpaper—undoubtedly the most dramatic update of all.

“We used the highest of quality throughout . . . all custom millwork, beautiful doors, E.R. Butler hardware, inlaid floors,” Savage says, referring to the Marie Antoinette pattern in walnut and white oak. A quarter turn to the right, a stately library that serves as the frequent site of business meetings is paneled in the same rich wood.

Though the homeowners did not give Savage carte blanche in the literal sense, “I feel like we didn’t skimp; everything was done for a reason, and we stuck to our concept,” explains the designer, who sourced most of the home’s luxurious furnishings and fabrics at ADAC in Atlanta.

“Every room in the house has its own identity with color, but subtly,” says Savage, who also brought in a plethora of animal prints. Even a forlorn space over the garage became a chic and fun game room under Savage’s direction.

“These clients could have moved anywhere if they wished,” Savage says. “So when they decided to stay put, we had just one responsibility: Make it the best it could be.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Jonathan Savage, SAVAGE Interior Design, (615) 244-5674; savageinteriordesign.com