It isn’t every day that you find a home for sale whose own history rivals that of the city where it sits. Especially if that city is Nashville, TN. But that’s the case with this 1871 Victorian Italianate–style home in the Germantown section of the city.
The 1,654-square-foot home at 600 Monroe St., Nashville, TN — named Morningside by the owner and now for sale for $825,000 — was originally built as a workers cottage by wealthy Germans settling in the neighborhood. After an illustrious start, the home fell into disrepair and passed through numerous hands before it was condemned to be torn down in 1985.
Thankfully, a Vanderbilt University student purchased the home (and the nearly identical property next door), reviving it just enough to turn it into a commercial space. It could have remained a pottery studio indefinitely if it weren’t for the forethought of a local arts administrator, who considered Monroe Street to be one of the purest historic areas in Nashville. He purchased the home as an investment property in 1995 and spent the next two decades renovating the two-bedroom, two-bathroom house nearly to its original beauty, but with updated amenities.
Given the neighborhood’s unique characteristics, it’s no surprise the home is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Germantown is Nashville’s oldest suburb and has undergone a revitalization of its own. Living in the architecturally diverse neighborhood means you can walk to a farmers market, state park, and a baseball stadium, plus delight in plenty of cafes and shops. Or simply stroll the streets and admire Germantown’s 100-plus species of trees.
The home’s front facade is eye-catching for its arched windows (which are original to the property) and custom shutters, as well as the antique, period-appropriate wrought-iron gate, which came from a cemetery. The front door opens into a long formal entry with a 12-foot ceiling and crown molding, a rarity even in modern homes.
Nashville summers can get hot, no surprise there, so the owner turned part of the porch into an enclosed solarium with six custom French doors. It’s the perfect respite from Nashville’s long months of heat. He retained a small open-air side porch, with a floor fashioned from rescued telephone poles, that leads to the gardens, the potting shed, and the garage. Guests are greeted from the porch to the garden by a small babbling stone fountain.
One of the home’s biggest surprises is its formal Charleston-inspired garden, tucked away behind a private lattice fence and positioned between the home and the two-car garage. The current owner meticulously designed and planted the garden with Japanese boxwoods, Double Knock Out roses, American holly, and Little Gem Magnolia trees. The parterre garden is bordered by a meandering vintage brick walkway that leads from the home to the garage. A stone bench in the middle of the garden allows for a moment of private reflection.
Why build a garage that can be used only for, well, parking cars? This was the owner’s thought when he built the two-car garage with access from the yard as well as the street. The solution? Creating a space that can be used as a private entertaining area — it has electricity and running water.
The star of the kitchen, aside from the statement-making green cabinets and slate floor, is the copper sink. The owner admired the sink so much that the kitchen cabinetry was designed to fit around the stunning piece. The home, and its rooms of hand-selected and custom items, has been featured in publications like Classic American Homes as well as on HGTV’s Homes Across America.
The home’s 12-foot ceilings allow for larger, eye-catching furnishings, especially in the living room, from the period-appropriate chandelier to the ornate breakfront, a custom piece made for the room using 200-year-old Irish pine. The pine floors have been refinished only once since they were laid when the home was built.
Germantown was the first properly laid-out neighborhood in Nashville, and the residential lots were long and narrow to accommodate more homes. This is especially reflected in the dining room, which was originally one of the home’s two bedrooms. The fireplace (one of three in the house that have gas-burning coal embers) and brick wall add decorative texture to the room. Many of the doors were double-wide; the current owner had them split into two.
The listing agent is Barbara Breen of Worth Properties LLC.