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VOL. 37 | NO. 25 | Friday, June 21, 2013

From the dramatic to the understated

‘Little Hollywood’ among this year’s Preservation Awards winners

By Linda Bryant

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No one seems to know exactly why, but about 15 Spanish Colonial Revival homes were built in the 1920s and 30s in a small hilly neighborhood in East Nashville that backs up to the Shelby Golf Course.

The architectural style was popular in the early 20th century, most notably in iconic California neighborhoods such as Hollywood and Beverly Hills. So the East Nashville area picked up the nickname, “Little Hollywood.’’

To add to the historic glamour, former residents include the Everly Brothers, Marty Robbins, Alabama guitarist Larry Hanson and session guitarist Grady Martin.

Nashville’s Metropolitan Historical Commission pays tribute each year to renovations of existing historical structures with its Preservation Awards, but this year the commission also included three completely new buildings in the infill category, including a 2013 infill project constructed in the spirit of Spanish Colonial Revival: a stucco home at 1812 Ordway Place.

Mitch Hodge of S. Mitchell Hodge Architects & Designers calls the Ordway project “a rare opportunity” to work with the owners of a small city lot to replicate and update a new home in the spirit of the Spanish Colonial Revival style.

“It’s such a quiet little area,” Hodge says. “The historical context of the neighborhood is unique, and this really seemed like an unusual chance to build within that context.”

The owners of the lot weren’t initially thinking of building to blend in with the surrounding stucco homes in Little Hollywood, but Hodge’s passion for adding more of the quirky style of architecture to the area’s historical ambiance, persuaded them that it was the right approach.

The commission’s 2013 winners – 16 in all including top prize winners and honorable mentions – are a 1930s grocery store that was converted into a modern restaurant, a New Deal-era building project morphed into office space for several area businesses and a run-down circa-1908 industrial building transformed into an event and office space that has become one of the centerpieces of the redevelopment on the east side of the Cumberland River.

Lillian Street revival

Another winner in the infill category involved a series of seven newly-constructed single-family homes primarily on the 1200 block of Lillian Street in East Nashville.

“It was an almost-forgotten street,” says Jamie Pfeffer of Pfeffer Torode Architects in Nashville. “We had an uncommon opportunity to work on a concentrated redevelopment that changed the fabric of the street.”

Existing homes on this portion of Lillian Street weren’t in good condition, and one had been condemned. Pfeffer, and his building partner Building Masters, demolished those homes, taking great care to save any historical elements that were considered architectural antiques or that could be reused.

They also made sure no two homes were alike, although they were built to resemble typical historical dwellings in the area such as Tudor and Craftsman styles.

“We didn’t want a cookie cutter approach,” says Pfeffer. “We used history’s guidance, but each home is different, all of them have unique aspects.”

Scarlett Miles, historical preservationist the MHC, says the infill and residential categories of the competition are always popular, but added that his year’s pool of applicants were standouts.

“It was great to see a variety of infill project types,” Miles says. “We had terrific single-family, multi-family, multi-property entries, such as Lillian Street, and even a commercial property. The locations also varied: residential neighborhoods, Rolling Mill Hill, and Broadway.”

We always have some amazing examples of adaptive reuse and those are usually the more ambitious projects,” Miles adds. “This year, those projects include The Bridge Building and the Public Works Garages at Rolling Mill Hill.”

Here is a complete list of the winners and honorable mentions

Residential

The Lindseth Residence, 3533 Richland Ave. The home had been converted to apartments several decades earlier and had most recently house Freewill Baptist Bible College (now Welch College) students. The Lindseths converted back to a single-family residence.

A single-family residence at 208 South 11th Street was awarded for its “remarkable transformation.” The home required significant repairs for deterioration and inappropriate alterations.

The rehabilitation of 603 Fatherland Street reversed inappropriate alterations and repaired deteriorated elements.

The Cigarran Residence, 212 Craighead Ave., was cited for the renovation of the original house and new two-story addition.

Educational and Institutional:

Two Rivers Mansion, 3130 McGavock Pike, was awarded for extensive renovations, including repairs of severely water-damaged decorative and structural elements on the exterior of the historic house.

Commercial

Lockeland Table, 1520 Woodland Street, involved adapting a 1930s grocery store into a modern restaurant and rebuilding the altered façade. The former NABRICO building, which was once associated with river barges, now has room for special events, offices and amenities for the nearby Riverfront Park.

Originally constructed through New Deal programming to house various municipal public works departments, the Public Works Garages at Rolling Mill Hill have been adapted into office space for several area businesses. The project retained historical elements such as bowed steel truss roof systems, original metal frame windows, stepped parapet rooflines, and decorative brick detailing.

Built as the first office building for the Nashville Bridge Company, and enlarged over the years, The Bridge Building is now an integral part of the Riverfront Redevelopment initiative for the Cumberland River’s east bank. The rehabilitation project incorporated modern-day infrastructure and life safety features into a sculptural new addition that references the site’s industrial heritage. The space is now used for special events, offices and amenities for the nearby Riverfront Park.

Infill

A new home at 104 Haysboro Ave. was noted as an example of new construction that is compatible with historic neighbors in mass and scale, but is clearly of its time.

A single-residence home at 1812 Ordway Place – and located in a cluster of 1920s Spanish Revival homes called “Little Hollywood” – used modern materials to offer a contemporary take on the historic architectural style.

The infill project primarily on the 1200 block of Lillian Street involved a series of seven newly-constructed single-family homes. The judges awarded the project for its bold approach to neighborhood redevelopment.

Honorable mentions

The Niedermeyer Home, 3717 Woodmont Blvd., was awarded in the residential category for sensitive additions and updates to the original home.

A pair of residences at 3514 and 3516 Gillespie Ave. were cited in the residential category for two equally comprehensive rehabilitation projects.

Amqui Station and Visitors Center in Madison was awarded an honorable mention in the educational/institutional category for the rehabilitation of the station and the newly-constructed platform and visitor’s center.

In the infill category, the judges recognized the multi-family development Ryman Lofts, 100 Middleton St. on Rolling Mill Hill, for its clever combination of old industrial aesthetic with playful artistry.

Special awards

Ann Tidwell was honored for her dedication to the protection, conservation, and promotion of Tennessee’s natural resources, including Radnor Lake and Nashville’s greenways and trails.

Barry Walker and Marathon Village received the Commissioners’ Award for pioneering efforts to rehabilitate and promote the history and continued use of Nashville’s Marathon Motor Works.

George H. Cate, Jr. was presented with the Leadership Award for his commitment to educating the public about the history of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and dedicated service to the Metropolitan Historical Commission.

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