The germantown inn blends luxe sophistication and historic preservation
Vision and appreciation for history were the inspiration for the creation of the Germantown Inn. Located in one of the oldest buildings in the historic Nashville neighborhood of Germantown, the Germantown Inn is a two-story, Federal-style house that was constructed in 1865 and has been turned into a six-bedroom luxury boutique inn while maintaining its original charm. The building had been known as “The Wallman House” for the building’s first owner, H. H. Wallman, a prominent shoemaker for the city’s elite at the time. The property features a charming red brick exterior, tall ceilings, large picture windows, a lush outdoor courtyard and a chic, private rooftop terrace with downtown and neighborhood views.
“My business partner, Phil Hyde, had the original vision for the Inn. He negotiated the purchase of the historic structure in mid-2015. After getting it under contract, he worked with an architect in taking what was a personal residence and re-imagining it into a six-room boutique hotel. He approached me in late October of 2015 with the idea and house under contract. He needed some assistance with the funding side of things and getting the historic residence to the closing table. After considering his proposal, I loved the idea and jumped right in to raise private equity and navigate the remodeling and construction financing. We closed on the residence in late December 2015 and started the remodeling and addition project in April 2016,” says Jim Creason, Principle of Trust Development, LLC.
Germantown is a quaint neighborhood just blocks from downtown Nashville and the Germantown Inn is within walking distance from some of Music City’s best restaurants, high-end shopping and more. The property’s proximity to the city’s main interstates also makes it ideal for business travelers and tourists alike. “Germantown had become a major destination for visitors of Nashville, both for business and pleasure. Germantown did not have a hotel option much less a boutique hotel to select from. Since opening, we have held several neighborhood functions from the Germantown Historic Candlelight Holiday Tour to a pop-up Easter brunch to a graduation party to the Germantown Garden Guzzle. This is a quaint location for residents to host functions and enjoy the splendor of a remodeled historic gem,” says Jim. “Phil and I love Germantown. He found the property available and thought Germantown would be a perfect area of Nashville to have a boutique hotel given its historic charm and proximity to several restaurants. The fact that the property was one of Germantown’s oldest structures, we thought it was the perfect location with its storied history to house a boutique hotel experience for Nashville visitors,” he says.
The building underwent many changes in order to bring the vision of the Inn together. “The house was in dire need of major renovations. Given it was a residence, in order to modify its layout to house six boutique rooms, required some interior wall adjustments. Also, we demolished a two-story side porch that was no longer usable and rebuilt it to serve as the primary hallway to enter each room in addition to adding a social parlor for a gathering spot for our guests. We also included a roof top terrace on the addition so our guests could enjoy Germantown from atop the parlor. We replaced all the electrical, plumbing, HVAC and windows of the historic structure as all were in really bad shape. Fortunately, we were able to keep the original hardwood floors and repair all the original fireplaces and brick of the structure giving the Inn the best of both worlds; the necessity of upgraded mechanicals along with maintaining the charm of the interior,” explains Jim.
Chic sophistication meets traditional style at the Germantown Inn. The design, led by Nashville-based interior designer McLean Barbieri, includes modern textures and updated amenities to balance the original character of the 1860s building for a contemporary and functional space. Throughout the Inn, custom pieces were commissioned from local artists to highlight the vast creative talent in the city. History guides the inspiration and design, as each of the six light-filled suites is named for a former United States president who have had some connection to Tennessee or whose name is a street name in Germantown. The suites are named after former president, Jackson, Monroe, Taft, Madison, Polk and Buchanan. Local artist and graphic designer, Caitlin Mello, created the colorful presidential portraits that hang in each suite. The original artwork emulates the unique and quirky characteristics of each president and weaves in elements that reflect their respective connections to the region.
Phil and Veda Garner are the property innkeepers and handle the day-to-day operations, but Jim also enjoys being a part of the operations. “From time to time, I stop over for our daily wine hour to meet and greet our guests. I really enjoy this part of involvement as we have folks from all over the world staying with us. This gives me an opportunity to learn how they heard about us and also thank them for their stay. It is amazing to interact with our guests and we learn a lot about how to make our services the best boutique experience possible,” he says.
Jim and Phil both have ideas to continue to grow the vision of bringing historical inspired inns to other areas in the South. “Phil and I are looking at the potential of other historic areas of other southern cities to replicate the Germantown Inn. However, we want to fully appreciate the experience of perfecting the Germantown Inn first before moving into other markets. The boutique hotel industry is very unique and each market has its own individual opportunities and challenges,” Jim says.
To learn more about the Germantown Inn and to book your stay in this historical gem of middle Tennessee, visit:
218 6th Avenue North | Nashville, TN 37208
615.581.1218 | germantowninn.com
This bright and airy suite is in the front of the Inn – easy for James Buchanan, who was known for his nighttime gallivanting, to have snuck in and out. Large widows, a roomy sitting area and a sleek, contemporary design make the Buchanan a guest favorite.
Named after Tennessee native James Polk, “the most important president you know nothing about,” this suite features original hardwood floors, a queen bed and a comfy lounge chair.
Right off the parlor, the Jackson has the original fireplace and hardwood floors with all the character of Jackson’s nickname, “Old Hickory.” Sleek and modern, it’s the perfect balance to the character of this 1860s Inn.
On the second floor and at the front of the Inn, the Monroe has huge windows, original hardwood floors and plenty of sunlight. The antique chandelier and mantle offer a charming contrast to the pink tiles surrounding the fireplace, the large, sleek bed and open layout of the room.
A nod to Thomas Jefferson, third president and inventor of the swivel chair, the Jefferson has the perfect workspace for the business traveler, complete with a desk and swivel chair. The windows allow the morning light to stream into the generous bathroom and large bed.
James Madison was the smallest United States president, yet a public speaking heavyweight. Accordingly, this room, which is upstairs to the back of the Inn away from the hustle and bustle of the day, may be the quaintest but features a king bed, original hardwood floors and carries the Inn’s charm throughout.