...because home doesn't happen overnight.

tn house

This past weekend Steve and I met up with some friends from college at their home in Nashville. John and Sara happen to have the same disease that plagues Steve and me. It’s called “We Love Old Houses and Want to Save Them All.” Ever heard of it? Symptoms include weight loss (because who has time to eat when there are cabinets to hang, walls to paint and tile to install?), insomnia, shortness of breath, muscle pain and general fatigue. There is no known cure. Haha.

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Anyway, John and Sara bought a lovely 100-year-old home last year and have been working non-stop to update it, doing a lot of the work themselves. (Sara points out that she is very good at holding stuff and telling John how bad his ideas are.) The first major project was a complete kitchen overhaul. The couple’s goal was to optimize the kitchen’s function while merging their modern masculine aesthetic with the home’s age and good bones. As with any renovation of an older home, obstacles were plentiful and included wavy walls, sagging ceilings, uneven floors, ancient electrical wiring and even a case of pneumonia. (That was John. He ran himself ragged working his full-time job and then working on the kitchen until the wee hours of the morning for months.)

But nearly a year later, the couple is enjoying the fruits of their labor. And, fortunately, they were kind enough to let me snap away so I can share their amazing kitchen with you. We spent much of our time catching up and eating our way around the town but I had a few minutes of downtime one evening to set up my tripod. The sun was setting quickly so I apologize for the lack of natural light. Enjoy!

tn kitchen 1

The kitchen sits at the back of the house where the original kitchen once lived. An original door leads to a backyard patio. A wall separating the kitchen from the living room was removed during renovation to open up the space. The original butler’s pantry was closed off from the kitchen. During demolition, John discovered a doorway and transom (seen on the right above) that had once joined the kitchen and butler’s pantry. The couple restored it and plan to set the butler’s pantry up as a bar / coat room.

tn kitchen 2

Looking in from the adjacent living room, the left side of the kitchen houses the stove and refrigerator. The thick baseboard is original but I love how John updated it with a stripe of gray paint. It’s little details like this that had my eye traveling all around the room.

tn stove 1

The stove is Kitchen Aid and features a built-in griddle. I had to wipe the drool from Steve’s chin.

tn stove 2

The backsplash is composed of white subway tile with contrasting grout.

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Between the stove and refrigerator is a tall window that extends down to the countertop. I am so envious of this window! The perimeter countertops are quartz. John wanted the look of marble. Sara wanted something low maintenance. It was a no-brainer.

tn fridge

Built-in cabinetry surrounds the refrigerator. The gray cabinets are from Anderson, a local business that specializes in custom cabinetry. Satin nickel hardware complements the stainless steel appliances.

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The other half of the kitchen houses more cabinetry for storage, including a large pantry. A magnetic side panel painted in chalkboard paint is a fun touch and a great spot for writing down grocery needs or just doodling. (John and Sara’s two-year-old daughter, Avery, is obsessed with Buzz Lightyear.)

tn kitchen pantry 1

This corner of the kitchen functions as a coffee station. The couple doesn’t rely on a microwave most days so a small one sits discreetly on the counter next to the pantry. Glass-fronted upper cabinets hold dishes and glasses. The “eat” and “beer” signs were bought at a local flea market. (And they pretty much sum up what the weekend was all about.)

tn kitchen pantry 2

Avery likes to hide in the pantry. It’s that big!

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A large island in the center of the kitchen is the hub of the house. It’s topped in walnut butcher block and seats six comfortably. (Four farmhouse stools with backs line one side of the island and two backless stools slip under the overhang at each end.)

tn kitchen sink

The island houses a wide, deep undermount sink. The style of the sink is unique and was new to me. It has two basins which are separated by a divider only a few inches tall. It’s conducive to washing large pots but still allows for that separation that many homeowners prefer. I’ve always been a single basin sink lover myself but this sink’s creative design might convert me.

The walnut is unfinished. John oils it regularly but admitted it was due for another oil.

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The dishwasher is next to the sink, housed within the island as well. I really liked this setup – with the sink and dishwasher in the island. The person washing dishes can interact with those at the island or in the living room instead of turning their back to them.

Marble hexagon tile covers the floor. The oversized scale of the hex is spot on for a room with 12′ ceilings. And speaking of soaring ceilings…

tn kitchen island 2

The coffered ceiling was the icing on the cake for me. It gave the entire room a feeling of grandiosity that suited the historic home. The DIY ceiling is decked out in alternating bead board and decorative tin tiles – all painted white. Steve and John installed the last of the ceiling corbels and bonded over caulk during our visit.

Throughout our stay, John had music streaming in through surround sound speakers in the ceiling. It is Music City after all.

tn kitchen pendant

The pendants, sink and many other fixtures are from Ferguson’s, a local bath, kitchen and lighting gallery.

tn kitchen collage

Even though the kitchen is in all regards “new”, it doesn’t feel contemporary. The color scheme, fixtures and finishes are all classic in style, making the kitchen a perfect fit for this old home. I’m so happy John and Sara found this home and are invested in updating it while respecting the things that make it special.

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With the kitchen reno finished, the couple is slowly plugging away at other projects as time and money allow. They affectionately refer to the home as their “ten year plan.” Their home has amazing bones and potential but they want to be considerate and patient when it comes to renovating. I can’t wait to visit them again and check out their progress.

Thanks to John and Sara for allowing me to share their kitchen. Because it’s just too good not to!

P.S. – Check back later to see the home’s newly constructed mother-in-law suite! Steve and I stayed there during our visit and basically didn’t want to leave.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking, published with the consent of our friends John & Sara


Holy smoky mountains. Their house is absolutely STUNNING!! Those high ceilings, you’re killing me! Can’t wait to see more of this amazing house (thanks for sharing!)


I love it. I reference our house as “the12 year project” and we are already 7 years into it. The kitchen is beautiful. I absolutely love the floor and cabinet color.


Lovely home. They did a great job honoring this beautiful old house. Thank You for your blog, we enjoy tuning in frequently and really appreciate your work, thoughts and ideas.


It’s gorgeous! I love the mix of materials. Those gray cabinets are making me re-think some things. It’s so open and the ceiling treatment is lovely.


Incredible! The floor slayed me. I am in love.


I’m in love with this kitchen. Thank you for sharing this gem. I only wish they had a blog so I could see more !


As a Nashville native, LOVE seeing inside historic homes in my own city.


Also totally in love!! This kitchen is amazing and, you are right, it’s the perfect blend of modern functionality with classic details that fit perfectly with a historic house. I love the thoughtful and unique details like the stripe on the baseboards and the alternating ceiling panels. I suppose with all the work of restoration, there is no time for blogging, but selfishly I wish they had one. I’d love to see more of their amazing work! Thanks for sharing!

Love that hex marble floor! It’s gorgeous!


Absolutely stunning! I was wondering if you (or your friends) happen to know the name of the gray on the cabinets. It’s so welcoming!
Thanks for sharing!


Alright, enough is enough Dana! It’s time for me to comment! I’ve been following your blog for years and never commented, but I absolutely love your style and your home, and then you go and post this! Of course you would have friends with amazing homes! My husband and I bought a 100 year old home 3 years ago and are slowly making our mark on every room. Thank you for all the inspiration you bring to people through your blog and for showing the world that the Midwest has style too! ;)


Having the sink and the dishwasher is an outstanding idea. I wish I had thought of that in our place.

What a nice friends to have–you have tons in common. But I bet you miss each other like mad!


The cabinet color, the wall color, the butcher block, the tile…I love it ALL!!


Stunning! I love the floors, they’re absolutely beautiful. I was curious about the magnetic wall. Did they use magnetic paint or just paint magnetic metal with the chalkboard paint? I’ve wanted to give the magnetic paint a go but have just read terrible reviews. Thanks for sharing!


Thrilled you got to explore Nashville, but shocked you were in my ‘hood! I live just a couple blocks away and hope you’ll talk your friends into putting the home on the home tour. I’d love to see what else they do with the green charmer.


Wow, what a beautiful kitchen! and home! That porch!! I think they did an incredible job. I am so envious of the window in the kitchen. I adore old homes with all their character, and I think they really showcased the great features the home has.

My dream kitchen. honest!


Hot damn. Well done.


Looks so much like your own kitchen, Dana! You and Sara have the exact same tastes. Lovely!


Beautiful house! Any chance you could let us know the name of the paint they used on the cabinets as well as the paint for the walls?

Thank you!


Absolutely beautiful!! Any idea where the stools with the backs are from? I’ve been searching for stools – I have a double tier counter top and I’m having trouble finding the right height and style…I think these would be perfect! Thanks:)

Wow. I can’t even imagine waking up to that kitchen. I’d never leave! Just when I was starting to get bummed that this was all we were seeing but then you promised more [yay]. And that sink is a new creature to me too. I will pin it for my far away future dream home!!


This is just so stunning! Those ceilings…. Thanks so much for sharing, can’t wait to see more.


simply beautiful! Craig and I would die for a kitchen like yours! All the details make it so special. You both should be very proud as I know there were probably just a few times when you wondered what the he….l you were doing! Well, it turned out wonderful and I know you love it. Can’t wait to see more as the house progresses along. House tour… Here we come!


So beautiful! I just love all of the details!


That tile flooring. Hold me.


What an awesome kitchen!


Gorgeous home!


Gorgeous kitchen!


[…] our trip to Nashville, Steve and I fully expected to fall head over heels for our friends’ kitchen. John and Sara had emailed us pictures of their renovation and we were so excited to see it in […]


Gorgeous!! Do you happen to know the wall color in the kitchen?


That kitchen is gorgeous! Love the floor, the ceilings, all of it! By chance, do you know what the paint color on the walls is?


I’m in love with so many aspects of this kitchen! I do have a specific question about the walnut top for the island though. We are wanting to do something very similar for an island going in our basement. Is there any way you can find out if they are happy they left it untreated and if they’ve had any issues with moisture getting between the joints and splitting the wood? Did they make this themselves or go through a co. like Boos. Thank you for sharing!


We wanted to post a quick message to say thank you for all the kind words about our house. We are quite flattered. Since you all follow Dana you know she could feature a mud hut and make it look amazing, so we are thrilled to have received the full HT treatment. Plus we got to spend a great weekend with our friends.

To answer some of the questions that have popped up:
-The cabinets are a stock color (slate) from the manufacturer. We did a color match at Sherwin Williams with their Pro Classic paint for the accents.
-The walls are Sherwin Williams ‘Passive Grey’ (I had them do a color match to my personality…).
-The high-back stools are the black Sinclair counter stool from Restoration Hardware (be careful what you order; there is a hefty return/restocking fee).
-The butcher block came from Café Countertops out of Knoxville (via Great Kitchens in Nashville). My only complaint was the lead time. It took more than four weeks so we were living with some makeshift plywood counters for a little bit. Leaving the butcher block untreated was a strategic risk especially in an island with a sink and dishwasher, but we were careful to select materials that wouldn’t remain pristine forever. We wanted everything to age with the house and take on the character of the creaky floors and doors that don’t quite close properly. It has definitely taken on some scratches and water spots but overall we still love it.
-I would also like to name drop Renaissance Tile and Bath here in Nashville who helped with all the tile for all the projects. They are always wonderful to work with and the only ones even willing to entertain a crazy idea like large scale marble hex tiles.

John, Sara and Avery


I don’t know what your friends use to condition their wood counter tops, but I struggled and resealed regularly for years before being referred to the “the best product ever”… seriously. Howard Butcher Block Conditioner – I order it from Amazon – I can’t even estimate how many hours, and grey hairs as I chase down water swells and can-created dark rings, it has saved me in the last year.

I feel some love of those light fixtures and the large hex floor tiles – deep love.


I love the idea of that sink! I like to have a divided basin but I also love the idea of it being low enough to wash big items. Any idea what it is called or where it came from? I’d love to add one to our upcoming kitchen remodel.


Great post. Love the job they did with the kitchen and I’m glad they’re getting so much use out of everything.


I believe it’s from Ferguson’s, a local company.

[…] gorgeous kitchen! House Tweaking visited friends with this beautifully renovated old house. This kitchen with it’s tall […]


Thanks for sharing this info! Is there a color code for the match you did through SW for the cabinets? The color is perfect! The whole room is beautiful!


I’m not sure how to make sense of the color code, but this is the info on the label on the can:

W1-White — 4 1 1
B1-Black 4 8 1 1
R2-Maroon — 9 — —
Y3-Deep Gold — 41 — —

One Gallon


Hope this helps!


Thank you SO much! That’s exactly the info I needed!


Indeed, the sink came from Ferguson Kitchen and Bath. The manufacturer is Mirabelle.

I definitely suffer from the same affliction. This kitchen is majorly droolworthy. SO SO GORG! Thanks for sharing with us Dana.


[…] first heard about Blue Apron from our friends in Nashville. Sara and I were bonding over our shared dislike for cooking (but love of good food) when she […]


Wondering where the hardware is from? I agree with everyone else stunning kitchen!


[…] using them for blog material. But, earlier this year, I decided to JUST ASK! (That’s how this post came about.) Luckily, James and Kristina were more than happy to share their home with me, my […]


I can only echo what everyone else has said. What a stunning kitchen! I know what a labor of love this must have been. We own an1874 Victorian Italianate home and sometimes it seems like maintaining it is an ongoing task that will never end. We are about to begin a major renovation of the house – including the kitchen. This is just the thing to give me hope that, in the end, it will be beautiful and worth all the work and elbow grease! Huge thanks from one old house lover to another!


[…] also been using Blue Apron regularly for almost a year after our friends recommended the service. It’s helped me get out of the dinner rut of spaghetti and tacos […]


I love the kitchen and the large hexagon tile used on the floor. Do you know what kind of quartz countertop was used?


My Kitchen has been a 3 year project. Just about finished, but trying to decide on the flooring. I have soapstone counters with marble subway tile back splash. I love these oversized hexagon marble flooring. I have considered putting in a marble floor, but have read that marble stains and should not be on a floor. I love to cook and half of my ingredients wind up on the floor. Has John and Sara talked about the up keep?


Obviously, I have saved the pin FOREVER!!! These floors. I can’t even.Like seriously look at this once a day for the last 8 months. Everyone is fighting me to the nail. My husband, friends, and now my own contractor!!! They keep saying marble tiles don’t hold up, not a good investment, cracking, blah blah. I’m close to Nashville and about to make a trip….can you PLEASE let me know how these hold up?!!! If they wear/chip/loose sheen quickly and if you regret it?! Thank youuuuuu :)))))!!!!!


John and Sara,
We fell in love with your floors and decided to replicate it! We have installed the floor (we did it ourselves) and we still love it, but are disapointed that the grouted scratched up the beautiful tiles :( The man at Tile Shop assured us we used the right grout (sanded), but maybe should have used a different tool than the grout float. We were wondering if you had this problem, if so, how did you fix it? What tool was used for your grout? We just want that beautiful shine back after paying all that money for the marble!
Also, for anyone out there wanting to replicate, be careful when you grout! Thanks!


Could you tell me what kind of hinge was used on the pantry door? We are in the midst of our own DIY project where we have installed a similarly arranged pantry adjacent to a cabinet/counter top. But, we cannot find the proper hinge for the pantry door. Every hinge we try causes the pantry door to open into the countertop edge.