Creating Places: A Citizen Observer's Look at Nashville's Built Environment

Writer's Note: William Williams' interest in the manmade environment dates to 1970, at which point the then-young Williams started a collection of postcards of city skylines. The collection now numbers 1,000-plus cards. Among the writer's specific interests are exterior building design, city district planning, demographics, signage, mixed-use development, mass transit and green/sustainable construction and living. Williams began his Creating Places column with The City Paper in February 2005. The column in its original form was discontinued in September 2008 and reinvented via this blog in November 2008. Creating Places can be found on the home page of the website of The City Paper, at which Williams has worked in various capacities since October 2000.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gresham Smith Makes Kendall's Shine

A recent “tour” of East Nashville revealed some interesting manmade environment updates. One in particular is the former Kendall’s Appliances Building, a recently updated version of which — courtesy of the Nashville architectural office of Gresham Smith & Partners — now serves as home to two retail shops.

Walking the perimeter of the building, I noticed a number of nice exterior touches, particularly a clay-tiled cornice-like element near the roof line. To create a more inviting feel, GS&P added windows near the corner of the west side of the building, along which was also added new siding painted a masculine olive. Metal door frames and three metal lights (affixed to curving stems) give the building’s facade a contemporary flare. On that theme, the building’s east side offers two smallish tubular light fixtures (to provide decorative night-time illumination) that are very attractive. Colorful and playful roof-line signage for Hue (the tanning salon/clothing retail business operating from the building’s east space) is very eye-catching, with understated landscaping along the building’s east flank and a brick-surfaced parking pad and wood deck giving the back side a needed facelift.

Developer Mark Sanders is to be credited for sparing this diminutive vintage jewel. And kudos to GS&P for quality work.


  1. I think there's a vietnamese restaurant headed for the other space. Do you know anything about it?

  2. Chad,

    That effort, from what I hear, has either been put on hold or scrapped. But, yes, that was what I originally heard, too.


  3. I spoke to the guy who runs the clothing store next door, Shyne, last night at the East Nashville Merchants mixer. He says they're still moving forward, just waiting on codes for permits which is taking forever.

  4. Chad,

    That's good to hear. Hope it happens.