Brandon Jane's Farmhouse Makeover
Coldwater Jane's Brandon Jane revitalizes a house full of music history.
Written By: Stephanie Stewart-Howard
Photographers: Ashley Hylbert
Brandon Jane is a Mississippi native, but she and her husband, music producer Kevin Kadish, have spent plenty of time in their eight year marriage in New York and Los Angeles. When they moved to Nashville from Manhattan in 2007, they knew they wanted a place that was private (Kevin grew up in such a house), and Brandon very specifically wanted an old farm house and found the home of Dolly Parton.
When the couple bought the house, it had everything they wanted—the perfect size and location. They made an offer and bought the house in less than a month—the first they’d ever owned together. They took serious care remodeling, needing certain things—like built-in closets—but trying to be respectful of the house’s age and footprint. In the ‘70s, Dolly Parton lived here with her husband Carl Dean (there are stories of him pulling up the aged gas pumps with a tractor). Brandon tells me the neighbors say there was even a trailer set up in the spacious yard for Dolly’s mom. And after Dolly, her sister Stella resided here for awhile. In the 1990s, at a point where the now-white home with its gingerbread porches was painted brilliant pink, singer and songwriter Deana Carter was in residence. Hearing all this sealed the deal for Brandon—she’d written with Deana in L.A. recently—and all the music history gave the old place a wonderful energy for songwriting.
“It will never be pink again as long as I own it, though,” she says with a grin.
The Victorian home with adjacent creek and field in Arrington they now occupy fit the bill perfectly, though it required a bit of renovation, especially in the kitchen. The lovely, quiet old place had a history of country music royalty residing there, it had a garage destined to be studio space the couple needed, and it offered everything they might want for comfort and escape. The oldest part of the house is a cabin built in the 1840s, with the rest of the house built four decades later. Much alteration has been done over the years, as the house spent time as everything from an old gas station and store to a farm.
The kitchen was dark and not functional at all; a previous owner had been a coppersmith, and had inlaid the dark wood with metal, but it showed to no advantage. With low ceilings and dark beams, dark brown cabinetry and a kitchen island almost entirely taken up by the range, there was little light and little practical cooking space. For Brandon, who likes to cook, this made entertaining and just preparing dinner difficult. Ultimately, they contacted designer Lori Paranjape of ReDo Home & Design in Franklin. Brandon had seen the work she did in friend Stephanie Chapman’s Brentwood home, and loved the warm and personal nature of her work. The couple met with Lori, and she immediately offered up a host of potential changes, keeping the integrity of the original kitchen, but making it more open, light and useful.
“I’d never used a designer before, but she captured everything I’d envisioned. I’d do it all over again,” says Brandon. Together, the couple and Paranjape planned some major changes, easily within the budget. The couple wanted to add a microwave, get rid of the large double ovens, cover the space under the sink and create more living and working space. Paranjape rose to the challenge. “The kitchen was rustic, and not functional,” she says. “There was a lot that didn’t work, for example a drawer that couldn’t be opened because the dishwasher was in the way. We wanted to fix built-in design flaws.”
The upper cabinetry was removed and replaced with open shelving made from recycled barn wood by Mike Hubbard, with brackets made by a Franklin metalworker. Brandon bought new dishes at IKEA to fill the shelves and keep the look she wanted. Paranjape had Roddy Love of Franklin paint the remaining existing cabinets on the west wall white, along with the doors (newly made by Hubbard), ceiling and door frames, instantly brighting, but maintaining pantry space.
For the under-sink area, she commissioned a warm burlap fabric curtain from Lisa Venable to cover the bare pipes and anything the couple wanted to hide underneath. Franklin ironsmith Kris Nethercutt made the custom rod and rings, and also built the brackets for the open shelving mirroring the century-old brackets on the ceiling beams.
The biggest issue was replacing the kitchen island, which houses a new range. The double ovens were removed, and more counter space was created, with the oven working into the island. Lori and Brandon searched every granite source in the city for the cool, silver-flecked island top, while the new countertops repurposed the butcher block of the old island.
Kris Nethercutt and Mike Hubbard teamed to rebuild the kitchen island, in a charming and usable mix of wood and iron work. Now, it not only contains the range, but also provides bar seating and plenty of usable cooking space. Brandon ordered her bar stools from Overstock.com.
The “great room” is a comfortable living area full of neutral linen furniture and big cushions suited to morning coffee and songwriting (with a seam in the floor connecting the old 1840 cabin with the 1880s portion of the house). The lovely, quiet old place had a history of country music royalty residing there, it had a garage destined to be studio space the couple needed, and it offered everything they might want for comfort and escape.
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