Meet the Homeowners Who Masterfully Renovated Their Nashville Townhouse

Price: $1,499,999

Location: 1404 Wedgewood Avenue, Nashville, TN

Presented by: Deb Judson

Homeowners Mark Williams, a renowned architectural and interior designer, and Steve Summers, creative designer for Dolly Parton, discuss their newly renovated home on the market within walking distance of Nashville’s famous “Music Row.”

1. Tell us a little about yourselves and your story!

Mark: We’ve been married for almost 10 years, but were together for years before marriage became legal for us! When it became legal in New York, we jumped at the chance to make it “official” in one of our favorite cities. We are both in design industries, and we both travel quite a bit for our work, so New York always offers us resources and inspiration like no other city on Earth. Because we travel so much, the ease of townhouse living is perfect for us.

Steve: Mark’s architectural and interior design firm, Mark Williams Design, is based in Atlanta, so we have a home there as well. Because we’re on the road so much, we found that keeping up with the yard at our previous home in the suburbs was a bit of a challenge. Our previous home was an Eichler style mid-century California Ranch from the 1960s that we had to completely restore, and we loved it for many years. With our youngest child now about to finish college, it seemed like the right time to make the switch to townhouse living in the middle of the city.

2. How did you come across this house, and what led you to purchase it?

Steve: Mark is a bit of a real estate junkie, so we had our eyes on different in-town neighborhoods in Nashville. After looking at several intriguing properties, this townhouse popped up on our radar. While it didn’t have a lot of individual personality when we first saw it, we knew we could fix that. What it did have was a magnificent roof deck with more potential than anything we’d seen anywhere else in Nashville.

Mark: Like the rest of the home, the roof deck was wildly underutilized in terms of its true potential, but we knew we could fix that too…The walking proximity to Nashville’s most charming neighborhoods like Hillsborough Village, Edgehill, 12th South, and The Gulch really cinched the deal for us. If we’re not eating on our roof deck, we can walk to any number of Nashville’s best restaurants.

3. In what ways have you transformed the home since purchasing it?

Mark: The biggest “interventions” happened in the living room and the roof deck. The kitchen/living/dining space is really quite large, and the original builder put a very ordinary little suburban gas fireplace in the middle of it, which looked ridiculously under-scaled. We knew it would look even more ridiculous when Steve’s prerequisite gigantic TV was mounted above. So the first order of business was re-organizing the main space around a much larger fireplace expression to create some focus, and a center for the living room. The hearth is now 24′ long crafted from leathered black granite and black hand glazed brick tile from Fireclay Tile in San Francisco. We balanced that large scale feature on the opposite side of the living room with a wall mural by Nashville artist Charlotte Terrell. This reproportioning of the living room gave us the opportunity to articulate the dining room a little more effectively, and also discretely tuck in a home office area right by the oversized front window, as part of the main space. A signature light fixture from Artimide and a table to seat eight people comfortably anchor the dining room, and the kitchen is defined by a large scale rustic finish wall tile that gives the room a softer, more interesting texture.

Steve: The roof deck was a complete transformation that began with taking down a wrought iron railing that divided the roof into two equal sections. One half was usable as an occupiable roof deck, and the other half was unusable because the rubber roofing membrane hadn’t been protected with rigid drainage tile. Exposed membranes can puncture if they’re not protected, and a punctured roof is a leaky roof! So, our first order of business was to protect the rest of the roof with rigid drainage tile, and then cover all of the unattractive drainage tile with a high quality green artificial turf. It cheered the place up instantly! Next we built a 20’x24’ canopy structure across the middle of the space to provide shade and define our outdoor living room that includes an 11’ outdoor sofa, four comfortable club chairs, and a TV. We then hung a large ceiling fan and festive string lights from the canopy structure. To finish off the outdoor living room, we defined the edges with a fun black and white canopy stripe outdoor drapery, and a blue eyed, fuchsia, antique carousel ostrich. The roof deck also has a large grill station, dining for six, and a “front porch” with two modern rocking chairs.

4. How do you think this home distinguishes itself from other homes in the Nashville area?

Mark: The short answer is, “This home has the best private skyline view roof deck in all of Nashville”… But truly, Nashville has grown so quickly that much of the available housing lacks character. Builders are building as fast as they can to accommodate all of the people who are moving to town, and sometimes the resultant spaces begin to feel a little homogeneous. There are some amazing architects and interior designers in Nashville creating noteworthy private homes, but the product available to most people who don’t have the time or opportunity to build a custom home, gets a little repetitive and uninteresting. The housing stock is being absorbed quickly and at top dollar in spite of the blandness, so developers aren’t incentivized to branch out of their comfort zone. When design-driven people get a hold of a space that has true potential, and then do the work to realize that potential, you’ll have something that distinguishes itself.

5. Did you have a broad vision for designing the home when you bought it, and if so, have those plans changed at all throughout your time there?

Steve: When we bought the place, we always knew the living room and the roof deck were our two big opportunities to really transform how the space felt and functioned. We didn’t really know what that transformation was going to look like when we signed the papers, but our plan came together pretty quickly.

6. What inspired you to make each specific transformation for the home?

Mark: When I approach home design, I’m always more tuned in to how I want the space to “feel” than the specifics of how I want it to look. The “look” ultimately evolves out of the “feel”.  For the most part, most of my designing these days revolves around creating spaces that calm.  Everything outside our front doors has been so crazy and chaotic for a number of years now, so focusing on creating home spaces that are simple, calm, and create a sense of stability has been our focus. I definitely think that comes through in this townhouse.

7. Will you miss anything about the home or its neighborhood when you leave?

Steve: Without a doubt! The neighborhoods of Edgehill, Hillsborough Village, 12th South, and the Gulch are among Nashville’s most charming and walkable. We’ll miss everything about this location. And honestly, the roof deck is our favorite place to be, that’s what we’ll miss most.

8. What is next for you?

Mark: We never know… This home has been a dream house for us, but so was the one before it, and I’m sure the next one will be as well. We’ll be somewhere in Nashville for sure, and we’ll know the right thing when we see it!

Deb Judson Benchmark Realty

Deb Judson relocated to Nashville in 1987 as the Regional Sales Manager for The Limited retail chain. Having relocated herself, Deb understands the importance of having a relationship with a local realtor who can provide accurate information and value of representation while the transferee concentrates on the immediate need of transitioning into a company or role. Deb has been a licensed, full-time Realtor since 2000. For over fifteen years, she has specialized in concierge-level service for corporate clients relocating to Nashville and surrounding areas, as well as representing sellers and buyers in our ever-changing market in Middle Tennessee.

Whether moving across the city or across the country, Deb’s clients can rest assured that they will be provided a seamless transition with help from the Benchmark team. Mars Petcare, Asurion, Alliance Bernstein, SmileDirect Club, and several medical and IT companies have relied on Deb’s expertise in identifying market trends, interim living options, and skilled negotiations. Deb will assist you with a side-by-side comparison of where you currently call home or where you will call home in the future. A great relocation specialist will not only consider your budget, but the scholastic needs of your children, the proximity of needs (groceries, medical, real-time traffic destination, and your preferred neighborhood type.

Deb provides a diverse and full range of real estate services, including relocation, locating your dream home, or guiding the sale of your current home.

Interested in finding out more? Please contact Deb Judson at 615.417.0821 or