My New Old Federal Style House

It’s a new year. And hey, it’s even a new decade! And while many things are continuing along the same path as they have been in my life, one BIG thing is changing. We bought a house. And it’s not JUST a house. It’s an over 200-year-old, history-steeped, federal style house that’s been hiding in plain sight for over a century.

May-Granbery Manor Nashville federal style brick historic home

The house is museum quality, which is practically impossible to find in Nashville. Unfortunately, that also means that the mechanicals are a bit lacking and it is not shall-we-say up to modern comfort standards . . .

The last addition to the house (the kitchen) was likely made in the late 1800s, and the latest remodel was done in 1939. Precious little has changed in this house, owned generationally by the same family for 120 years, since that 1939 remodel. Take a peek at the kitchen:

brick hearth in historic kitchen

One of my greatest passions in life is historical homes. I love nothing more than immersing myself in historical architecture, time-capsule interiors, vintage fabrics and furnishings, anything that evokes nostalgia for a time past.

Mr. Man and I have restored or renovated a handful of historic homes since we married, and neither of us can imagine choosing to live in a “new” house. They don’t make them like they used to, and we’ll take character and architectural interest over walk-in closets and modern bathrooms any day of the week.

Here’s the original key to the front door of the federal style house:

historic home key

Can you imagine carrying this around in your pocket??? Every door and every closet of this house has its own lock and key. There are dozens of them, each different!

This is the front entry of the house. The layout of this space and the shape of the wooden handrail is consistent with the federal style of the building. The floors throughout are original, mostly walnut and poplar.

federal home entry staircase in May-Granbery Manor

One of the most striking things about the house is the WALLPAPER. Most of it appears to be 70-80 years old. I have always loved vintage wallpaper and am always thrilled to see the occasional throwback paper at estate sales or in museum homes.

vintage wallpaper in federal style historic home

 

federal style staircase

 

federal style staircase bannister handrail

While we are preserving much of the old wallpaper, some will need to be replaced because of old water damage. This is the front door with its beautiful transom window above.

federal style transom window door

The wood beams, paneling, and bookcases were added in the 1939 remodel. We are adding more bookcases to make this space a proper library. It’s always been a dream of mine to have a true library!

dark paneling library with wood stain beams

The house has seven fireplaces, but just a few ceiling light fixtures. Last week’s chimney inspection was a punch in the gut – turns out it can be extraordinarily expensive to restore 200-year-old fireplaces to safety standards. We’ve got a lot of research to do before deciding what will happen with those . . .

historic dining room fireplace mantel with crystal chandelier

The original windows are still intact. Large, true divided-light panes, and wavy glass. A different wallpaper animates every room you enter.

magnolia wallpaper

 

vintage floral wallpaper

 

federal style house bedroom vintage wallpaper

There’s more, but today I just wanted to introduce you to this long-hidden gem. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had asbestos abated and all of the plumbing removed and replaced. I’ll be sharing our progress over the coming months, as I have big plans for this historical beauty.

The day after we closed on the house, I snapped this selfie. It seems appropriate that the sun shone so brightly on us both in this photo, as this house is a glorious gift and treasure that I am grateful to be able to be its caretaker in the coming years! It’s one of the oldest remaining brick houses in Nashville, built on land that was granted to one of the cities’ early pioneers following the Revolutionary War. I thank God for this amazing opportunity to live and work in this piece of American history.

federal style May-Granbery Manor

Would you like to take a little tour with me? Here’s my first video – there will be more to come!

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Corrie
Corrie
1 year ago

Yay! Congrats! I am so excited to follow along on your house’s journey. Pleases share lots of pics as you go along–especially progress ones–since so many people like me will be living vicariously!

Lisa W
Lisa W
1 year ago

Oh Kristie it’s GORGEOUS!!!! And so perfect for you! Super excited for you all – can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!

Kelly Bernier
1 year ago

Absolutely gorgeous Kristie! Love the history!! So happy for you my friend! Wallpaper just so cool.

Kristin
Kristin
1 year ago

Amazing home! Congratulations, Kristie! I know this must be a dream come true for you. Can’t wait to see the progress.

Sue
Sue
1 year ago

Absolutely beautiful

Nancy
Nancy
1 year ago

So happy for you! We will enjoy following the TLC you give this beautiful home.

Wendy Morrison
Wendy Morrison
1 year ago

I am SO excited for you, Kristie! I feel the same way about historic homes. Someday I want to have another old home to rescue, but I’ll live vicariously through your posts till then. And if you need an extra hand, please reach out. Welcome, welcome, welcome home! Your brick beauty is lucky to have found you.

Janet
Janet
1 year ago

So happy for you! What fun it will be to see the progress! Love to hear the story of how you got this property.

Lynne
Lynne
1 year ago

Congratulations Kristie! Your new/old house is stunning!!!

Debby Rhoads
Debby Rhoads
1 year ago

How very happy I am, , oh so happy, you and yours are caretakers if this precious, historical, beautiful, house. I have said thus before’ She was hiding in plain sight waiting fir YOU!!!!!’ Let me know if I can help you in any way.

peggy wilcox
peggy wilcox
1 year ago

Kristie, I absolutely love your new home! I too, would rather live in an “old” home! I know you will enjoy every moment you spend renovating it! I look forward to your next video!!!

Angela Christian
Angela Christian
1 year ago

I can’t even express how happy I am for you and your family in this purchase! I am also so happy for Nashville that YOU are the person to buy this home! I will be following every detail and I know it will be perfect! I’m just so thrilled!

Karina Aguon
Karina Aguon
1 year ago

Kristie, I am so happy for you!! What an amazing project/adventure!! I know the home will be absolutely beautiful when you are done!!!

Curious… did the family own the land/build the home you are currently living in?

Angela
Angela
1 year ago

Wow! What an amazingly beautiful home. I am so excited to see what you do with it.

Jenn Carr
Jenn Carr
1 year ago

What a treasure of a home! I can’t wait to see what you guys do with it. Eagerly looking forward to more updates. Also, please show some of the landscape when you can. I spotted some enormous Boxwoods in the front yard, so I’m curious about the rest of the property. (I’m a landscape architect, so that part comes naturally. 😉 )

Anne4
Anne4
1 year ago

Can’t think of a better caretaker for this beautiful house. Fantastic to see the patterned wallpaper – I’m so bored with plain walls and colour blocking. You will inspire us!

Gina
1 year ago

This is so exciting! Congratulations, Kristie and family! I’m so excited to be following you throughout this restoration.

Sandy LeRoy
Sandy LeRoy
1 year ago

I love seeing your excitement and enthusiasm for this beautiful historic home. More should be in the hands of people who will treasure and properly care for them.

Caren Kirkpatrick
Caren Kirkpatrick
1 year ago

Congratulations! I am so excited for you and your family! Can’t wait to follow the renovations! Best wishes,
Caren Kirkpatrick
Savvy Home Staging

Pamela
Pamela
1 year ago

Wow! Congratulations.

My favorite home was a pre-civil war stone farmhouse that had some history with the civil war and the underground railroad. I had a huge walk in fireplace in the kitchen and three others in the house. Most of the architectural integrity had been maintained over the years.

I am so excited to see this home come to life again with all of your love.

Kathy Westhoven
1 year ago

This house couldn’t have fallen into better hands! Congratulations!

Beth Lester
1 year ago

I am SO excited for you, Kristie. You are the perfect person to rescue this house & be its caretaker. Some things are just meant to be!!

Barb Carroll
Barb Carroll
1 year ago

I’m so happy for you and your family! I’m sure the previous home owner is thrilled that it’s in your precious care! Love the cross in the key, I love everything thus far about this home! This remodel needs to be a weekly TV show.

Nicole Terry
Nicole Terry
1 year ago
Reply to  Barb Carroll

I agree — especially about the TV show part! Get a camera crew out there — this is an amazing house!

Theresa Ceglio
1 year ago

Congratulations Kristie! It is such a beautiful piece of history and I am so enjoying watching it unfold with you. Very exciting 🥰

Maggie Setler
Maggie Setler
1 year ago

WOW! That is a fantastic house…and fantastic that you bought it. I know that you will bring it back to its former glory!!

ceil tarwater
ceil tarwater
1 year ago

WHEWWIEEE! HOW LOVELY & WONDERFUL! Good luck with reno. So many creative projects in every corner!! LOVE IT!

Leslie
1 year ago

What a beautiful home!! I love the wallpaper too 😉 Congratulations!!

Ann Pereira
Ann Pereira
1 year ago

What a dream come true for you Kristie and I’m so excited about your new endeavor. This special property deserves an owner who truly values its rich history and there couldn’t be a more fitting curator than you!

Elizabeth
1 year ago

Oh my friend, this home is so you! It’s beautiful and I can’t wait to see what you do with it- and it’s huge! You’ve got to take me on a tour. And I can only imagine what the chimney inspection revealed. True masonry fireplaces can be costly if there are repairs, but there is nothing like a real wood-burning fireplace in a home. It’s glorious, and I’m so happy for you!

Nicole Terry
Nicole Terry
1 year ago

Wow, this is soooo exciting — congratulations! Looking forward to following along!

Emily
Emily
1 year ago

SO amazing! Thank you for sharing your journey. I will be living vicariously through you!

Lindy Crain
Lindy Crain
1 year ago

That house is amazing, can’t wait to see what you do!

Joanne
Joanne
1 year ago

Congratulations on becoming the new “caretakers” of this gem! I’m looking forward to following your restoration of this gorgeous home!

Dianne Tant
Dianne Tant
1 year ago

How wonderful! I love it!

Dianne Tant
Dianne Tant
1 year ago

lovely

Shelley
Shelley
1 year ago

Oh wow! What a beautiful home already! I know you must be overjoyed to put your personal touch on it. I can’t wait to see what all you do.

Isabel
Isabel
1 year ago

Wow, I’d love to live in a house like this one if I were in the USA! Congratulations on this achievement and I will follow the remodel with much interest. I love Historic Homes!

Pat Bowlby
Pat Bowlby
1 year ago

Wow Kristie! How exciting! I look forward to following the progress!

Katie Baxter
Katie Baxter
1 year ago

Kristie! I am so excited that you are taking on the preservation of this beautiful historic home! I went to elementary school with the children who once lived in this house and I have the fondest memories of playing there as a child. I distinctly remember the fireplace in the kitchen and the upstairs bedrooms. What a gem of a property! I cannot wait to follow along and see what you do with the place. Congratulations!

Catherine Lewis-Brown

Wow!! This is awesome Kristie, I can’t wait to see what you do… are you planning to live here? What a dream!

Jennifer Smith
1 year ago

I am looking forward to following along in your journey! Definitely a treasure and the process will be a labor of love. Congrats!

Elena Espy
Elena Espy
1 year ago

How amazing for you and Mr. Man and exciting for us to be able to follow you on this journey! This is your house soul mate! I stayed in a 1910 B&B this weekend and thought of you several times but this is even better! Can’t wait to see the results!! Congratulations, Kristie. It’s absolutely beautiful.

Rachel Johnson
1 year ago

Hi! This home belonged to an elementary school friend of mine. I grew up going over there for sleepovers. It is such a cool and enchanting place! I’m sure you will enjoy it!

Maria Killam
1 year ago

Kristie, how exciting! I love this house and wow what a kitchen, so fun! There’s nothing remotely this old where I live! xoxo Maria

Amy
Amy
1 year ago

So happy for you, Kristie! I have been following you for many years and am excited to see how you transform this historic house into your home!

Jeannie Casey
Jeannie Casey
1 year ago

oh what a fun adventure, a house to love.

Jeannie Casey
Jeannie Casey
1 year ago

oh, what a fun adventure …a house to love.

Kay Wells
Kay Wells
1 year ago

Thank you so much for the video tour. It is a wonderful house. And I love hearing all the history. And yes what a coincidence of the 1939 build and remodel. Keep the videos and pics coming. So excited for y’all.

Kay Wells
Kay Wells
1 year ago

Great video.

Molly
Molly
1 year ago

That house is amazing! Congratulations on getting such a gem. I’m looking forward to seeing how things go because I know from following you that you will maintain the charm and character of the home while making the necessary updates. If I were a jealous person, I’d be having serious issues with not just the house but the library you’re making! I hope there’s an old house with a room for a library in my future.

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