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Nashville has welcomed all types of architecture throughout its rich history. Today modern residences blend beautifully with historic homes, and the result is a tapestry of bungalows, spacious ’50s ranches, beautiful Georgian-style homes, and 1990s executive-style residences. Local architects and designers demonstrate expertise caring for historic homes and being innovative in creating contemporary living spaces.
This article presents 15 of the top architects and designers in the city that contribute greatly to its continuous architectural evolution. Our team researched and selected the best based on their credentials, their versatility in project types, their work history, their principals, their awards, and the attention they’ve received from the press.
This list includes both licensed architects and residential designers who can both design stunning homes but differ in other services offered. Architects are trained in design, engineering, and project management and have passed a licensing exam. Residential designers typically don’t manage projects and plans will need to be approved by a structural engineer. Whether you choose to hire an architect or a residential designer will depend on your project needs and complexity.
906 Studio Architects
143 Fifth Ave. South, Franklin, TN 37064
Serving Middle Tennessee from its office in Historic Downtown Franklin, 906 Studio Architects is an award-winning, full-service architectural firm that provides design solutions for residential, commercial, academic, and community projects. Named by The Williamson Herald as one of the region’s most respected architecture firms, it has built an impressive portfolio of innumerable projects that incorporate the latest building techniques with the region’s colorful history.
The firm is led by the principal architect and managing partner, Michael Hathaway. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Hathaway has built homes in Dallas, other parts of Texas, and Memphis. Today, he serves on the City of Franklin’s Historic Zoning Commission and its Planning Commission, which he has chaired since 2005. Michael is joined by Michael Katsaitis who leads the residential arm of 906 Studio. Katsaitis worked with Hathaway for nearly three decades before recently joining him in the firm.
906 Studio’s residential designs are often single-family homes inspired by traditional architecture: arts and crafts, Tudor, and colonial. This Leiper Fork custom home features three stories of living space in the farmhouse style. The home boasts an inviting and open space through its vaulted ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and white aesthetic.
1618 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37212
Allard Ward Architects is celebrating 25 years or great design. Michael Ward is the senior partner of the firm and the director of design. Brian Haun and Tyler LeMarinel are also partners in the firm. They design a mix of institutional, commercial, and residential projects. The firm has a heavy emphasis on residential projects in and around Nashville Tennessee. AWA is well known for their renovation work of historic homes and has garnered over 30 awards from the Metropolitan Historical Commission. The firm enjoys designing award winning additions to homes across the city. In addition to several new urban infill houses, AWA has a growing portfolio of high end multi-family projects in Belmont, East Nashville, and Germantown. Allard Ward Architects has designed several custom estate homes in Belle Meade, Forest Hills, and Oak Hill.
The firm’s team of architects and designers are well-versed in every aspect of the design process: from pre-design and programming to construction administration. The consistent result is tastefully designed homes that are functional and efficient. These homes have graced the pages of Nashville Lifestyles, Better Homes and Gardens, Additions, Remodeling Ideas, and the Nashville Scene. Featured here is one of Allard-Ward Architects’ creations. Charming dormers and ivory brick give this Nashville home the feel of a cozy English cottage.
Dryden Architecture and Design
2520 White Ave., Nashville, TN 37204
Third-generation architect Nick Dryden is making creative waves in the architectural scene of Nashville with his studio, Dryden Architecture and Design. Established in 2001, the firm takes a holistic design approach that has made Dryden one of the area’s most in-demand architects and interior designers. DAAD has worked on a variety of projects across Nashville, from restoring Nashville farmhouses and historic landmarks to developing contemporary and sustainable communities. Its client list is just as impressive—it includes Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and Grammy Award-winning country artist Marty Stuart.
Nick’s skill and talent come organically. His grandfather, Allen N. Dryden, Sr., studied in Chicago under Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan. He was the city architect of Kingsport and won the Rome Prize. DAAD has earned its share of awards, including a 2019 AIA Tennessee Design Award for Interior Architectural Design for its work on the historic art deco Noelle Hotel.
DAAD’s residential projects are a blend of cosmopolitan chic and authentic Nashville. The firm uses traditional material palettes that include limestone and stucco while exploring dynamic transitional silhouettes and contemporary forms. Featured here is the Tyne Boulevard Residence that DAAD built in 2000 and renovated in 2017.
Fentress Architecture Workshop
112 Craighead Ave., Nashville, TN 37205
Founded in 1989, Fentress Architecture Workshop is a client-centered practice devoted to finding the best design solutions for clients’ specific needs. Headed by James Fentress, this full-service firm embraces diverse architectural approaches, refusing a signature style and mastering both classic and contemporary forms.
The firm’s eclectic knowledge of homes styles can be seen in its portfolio of Nashville residences. Fentress Architecture Workshop has completed Tudor, mountain chalets, farmhouse, and midcentury modern, among other styles. These homes can cost anywhere from $100,000 – $5 million depending on the scope of the project. Aside from custom homes, the firm is also well-versed in historic renovations and new builds in historic districts, as well as commercial spaces.
Four Square Design Studio
1201 4th Ave. South, Suite #109, Nashville, TN 37210
Award-winning firm Four Square Design Studio is known for its versatility in designing residential and commercial projects across Middle Tennessee. The firm provides planning and designing custom homes, builder-spec and market homes, light commercial and multi-family buildings, and additions and renovations. It has also worked on historic renovations and received a 2015 Preservation Award from the Metropolitan Historical Commission of Nashville and Davidson County.
Brad Sayers and Andrew Heideman lead the firm with over 30 years of combined experience in residential and commercial design. The duo fosters open communication and a highly collaborative process between the designer and the client to achieve the best results. Their designs can be seen in Memphis, Nashville, and the rest of Middle Tennessee. Their homes embrace timeless architecture while incorporating modern details and amenities for today’s discerning tastes.
John TeSelle Architecture
405 Fairfax Ave. Nashville, TN 37212
Outstanding client service is at the core of John Teselle’s practice in designing homes. After launching his firm in 2000, he helped hundreds of clients build their dream space, from small residential remodels to complete custom houses as well as hotels, schools, restaurants, and office buildings. Clients praise TeSelle for his high-touch personal approach. As an architect, he believes his job is twofold: to give clients the information and options they need to make good decisions and to communicate those decisions to the contractor. The firm’s service area includes Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and New York.
TeSelle is a member of the AIA and a LEED Accredited Professional of the U.S. Green Building Council. His firm’s portfolio showcases a variety of styles including Spanish Meditteranean, mid-century modern, farmhouse, and Tudor. In this spacious custom home, TeSelle incorporated the homeowner’s stained glass artwork and used green technology to power the home. Energy-efficient design features of the house include deep overhangs on the south-facing side to block summer sun, 2×6 framed walls with water-based spray foam insulation, and a “cool roof” to reflect solar heat.
Marcus DiPietro, Architect
416 Barrywood Dr., Nashville, TN 37211
Tailored architectural plans and dynamic homes define the work of Marcus DiPietro. An alumnus of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, DiPietro specializes in residential work. His full-service architectural firm serves Nashville and nearby areas. Three decades in the business have honed DiPietro’s skill, producing bespoke homes in coveted neighborhoods in Middle Tennessee.
Past clients praise DiPietro’s flexibility in style as well as with working with various clients. He has worked with so many different people with different demands and expectations, and yet he consistently exceeds their expectations as a design architect. By focusing exclusively on the client and learning their lifestyle, he is able to create homes that beautifully reflect each client’s authentic lifestyle and value. A perfect example is this modern farmhouse. He designed the home to have a harmonious connection with the owner and the home’s natural surroundings through the use of clerestory windows and a wide-open layout. The silhouette is farmhouse; the contemporary materials and finishes bring it into the modern era.
Michael Goorevich Architect
95 Whitebridge Pike, Suite #203, Nashville, TN 37205
With a focus on bespoke modern homes and projects, Michael Goorevich has carved a niche for himself in the architecture industry of Nashville. His sleek contemporary lines are present in every project, from new homes to additions to renovations. His signature style is also present in his work on restaurants and multipurpose spaces across Nashville. That style has earned Michael honors, citations, and merit awards from The AIA of Middle Tennessee.
Featured here is one of his Goorevich’s award-winning residences: a gable house in Belle Meade. This project was done in collaboration with Hudson Builders as the general contractors and Clay Trabue as the landscape architect. The plan was for the house to be simultaneously open and closed, modern and traditional, timeless and current. Goorevich rose to the challenge by creating a contemporary home that fits perfectly among its neighbors. The residence features three gable roofs filled with natural light. The stunning project has been featured by Dwell and Nashville Lifestyles Magazine. It has also earned awards such as a 2016 AIA Middle Tennessee, Merit Design Award and was a finalist at the 2017 Subzero Wolf Kitchen Design Contest.
Nancy Hayden Architect
6545 Rolling Fork Dr., Nashville, TN 37205
Nancy Hayden’s unique understanding of the built environment enables her to create exceptional homes for Nashville residents. She has over 28 years of experience in commercial and residential architecture, historic renovations, interior design, space planning, and master planning. Her forte in historic work and renovation can be seen in her list of awards from the Metropolitan Nashville Historical Commission. Hayden is a member of the AIA and is NCARB-certified.
Meticulous attention to detail is evident in Nancy Hayden’s work. She is able to bring out the best in every style, whether its a plantation-style home or a mid-century modern abode. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as the Tennessean, The Nashville Scene, Today’s Homes Upscale Living in Nashville, Southern Living Magazine, and Southern Living Easy Decorating. She has also been featured in Dori Howard’s The Smart Woman’s Guide to Homebuilding.
Noble Johnson Architects
PO Box 121613, Nashville, TN 37212
Noble Johnson Architects is a small, full service architectural and interior design firm that has made a big name in Nashville for its sustainable green designs and highly detailed projects. The firm’s petite size provides time: time for the hands-on involvement of principal architect William ‘Bill’ Johnson. An architect since 1985, Bill has designed everything from churches to cookie stores; private residences to restaurants; and bathrooms to horse barns. He captains a team of skilled architects, interior designers, consultants, and contractors that have a thorough understanding of programming, site and environmental conditions, budget, and construction requirements. Together, the collaborative team makes every project a success for the client.
As a residential architectural firm, Noble Johnson Architects’ work includes custom residences, vacation homes, renovations/additions, and multifamily projects. It also has outstanding expertise in historic structures and has received the Metropolitan Historic Commission Preservation Award for Infill Construction in a Historic District. As a member of the US Green Building Council and as a LEED for Homes Accredited Professional, it has designed LEED Platinum and LEED Silver Certified homes in Middle Tennessee.
Pfeffer Torode Architecture
921 B Woodland St., Nashville, TN 37206
Pfeffer Torode Architecture is a boutique residential, commercial, and community architecture firm with studios in Nashville and Montgomery, Alabama. Since its inception in 2010, it has created innovative design solutions for an array of project types, scales, and styles in multiple states. The firm has been featured on The Wall Street Journal, Good Grit, Vogue, Elle Décor, Veranda, Elegant Homes, Traditional Home, Country Living, Sophisticated Living, NFocus, and various other publications.
The firm is headed by partners Jamie Pfeffer and brothers Jonathan and Scott Torode. Pfeffer began his architectural study at the Rural Studio under the direction of the renowned architect Sambo Mockbee, a winner of the MacArthur Fellowship and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal. After earning his degree, he spent internships in New York and Boston. He began his practice in Uruguay before setting up shop in his native Nashville. The Torode brothers have been practicing architecture for more than a decade and are affiliated with the NCARB.
One of Pfeffer Torode Architecture’s claim to fame is its residential work found across Nashville and the rest of Tennessee. It blends old-world elements and whimsical details to create modern translations of classic architecture. Their uncommon take on everything from lake houses to party barns appeals to their clients from all over the South. One such unique project is a 6,000-square-foot home in Highland Park. An eye-catching blend of Dutch Colonial and Cape Dutch makes it truly stand out.
Price Harrison Architect and Associates
2415 Crestmoor Rd., Nashville, TN 37215
Nashville-native Price Harrison is a well-seasoned architect whose expertise comes from his 35 years of experience. Harrison possesses a background in English and the Fine arts as well as an architectural degree and a master’s degree from Yale. Towards the end of the ’80s, he apprenticed in New York under the late Paul Rudolph—one of the nation’s leading architects in modernism and widely known for his use of concrete and complex floor plans. Using his learnings from the famed architect, he went on to work with other well-known architects such as Richard Meier and Partners, Pei Cobb, and George Ranalli. In 1998, he returned to Nashville and founded his firm, Price Harrison Architect and Associates.
The firm specializes in modern residential and commercial architecture, and it offers interior design, graphic design, and branding services. Its sleek contemporary plans have won accolades from the AIA Middle Tennessee and have been featured in publications like Dwell, Houston Modern Luxury, Metropolitan Home, and Elle Decor. One such project is the Hearn Residence. Situated in Belle Meade, the modern residence is a refreshing sight nestled among the more traditional homes of the neighborhood. The home’s unique design still fits in with its neighbors due to its large front lawn and natural stone detail on the exterior. The project earned a Merit award at the 2017 Middle Tennessee AIA Awards.
Ryan Thewes Architect
165 Lelawood Circle, Nashville, TN 37209
Ryan Thewes aims to provide Nashville residents organic, modern design. Heavily influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, Thewes’ early work in Chicago, Atlanta, and New Mexico—where he worked with Don Erickson and Robert Green, both former apprentices to Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as Bart Prince, a former Bruce Goff apprentice—still resonates. Ryan continued to develop his practice in Nashville, earning recognition not only in the U.S. but in Europe as well. He has been recognized widely for his advancements in green construction and the green building industry. Thewes is a licensed architect in the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia and is a member of the National Council of Architects Registration Board.
© Chad Mellon
Although the firm caters to a wide range of clients, it limits clients and has a waiting list so that Thewes can personally work on each project. He believes that a personal connection with each design generates unique, creative solutions for each site, for each client. A great example is a modern hillside home in Nashville. Located on a steep hillside south of Nashville, Thewes successfully designed the home to reflect the contour of the hill. Large amounts of glass let in natural light and create a feeling of indoor-outdoor permeability. Projects like these helped the firm earn awards such as the Build Magazine’s Modern Design Firm of the Year – Southern USA in 2016.
Scott Wilson Architects
317 Main St. Suite #202, Franklin, TN 37064
For more than three decades, Scott Wilson Architect, LLC has been helping clients achieve their visions. Using their God given gifts and timeless principles of design they deliver to their clients a valued experience and design that evokes meaning and brings great joy. The company’s portfolio includes custom residential, historic restoration, and unique commercial projects. SWA’s projects can be found throughout Middle Tennessee and Southeastern United States.
The firm’s experience in residential design is evident in its impressive list of more than 80 design awards since it started in 1986. Its list of Chrysalis Awards, AIA Awards, and Aurora Awards evince its mastery of design and its immense attention to detail. We were especially impressed by the recent design of a Franklin residence. SWA responded to their Client’s request for an intimate home that would accommodate large family gatherings inside, as well as extend the home’s interiors seamlessly into a variety of outdoor spaces and activities.
Studio 8 Design
56 Lindsley Ave., Nashville, TN 37210
Studio 8 Design serves Nashville and Franklin with sustainable architecture for residential and commercial markets. Despite being a young firm, its collective of architects have decades of experience between them that assure clients that every project is in expert hands. Principal and owner Matt Taylor specializes in community design and planning, having dedicated 15 years of his career working on civic projects for Florida and Tennessee. He is joined by Anna Ruth Kimbrough whose background in art, art history, and architecture led her to work in New York designing high-end residential, restaurant, and retail design projects.
The firm is a member of the USGBC and strives to implement responsible design strategies in every project. Fostering good stewardship of the natural and built environment is one of the Studio 8 Design’s priorities, along with clear and open communication with clients and harmonious teamwork.
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