When people hear the word “feast”, they typically think of food and wine. Of course, that type of feast still applies to what we are sharing with you in photos, but it was also the most incredible visual feast. The food, the wine, the architecture and design details at Bloomsbury Farm for the Hestan Harvest Party all won everyone over with the way they hit multiple senses at once.
Awestruck is the perfect word to describe this experience. The beautiful Architecture and blend of local’s style with prestigious Williams Sonoma and Hestan was an absolute delight.
Southern Athena owner Liz Gatlin, and husband/managing partner Tom Gatlin, had the opportunity to attend this amazing autumn party a week ago. It was a typical November evening in Tennessee – chilly with the promise of rain in the air – enough so that the party was moved indoors last minute. More on that magical part later…
This dinner was a collaboration between Williams Sonoma and NanoBond and instead of calling it “farm-to-table”, it could be coined “farm-to-NanoBond”. The dinner featured a special menu developed by Chef Julia Sullivan (Chef & Owner of Nashville’s Henrietta Red) to showcase farm-fresh ingredients of the season and our area. Each dish was prepared in NanoBond molecular titanium cookware, perfectly searing in those fresh flavors with revolutionary heat conduction and culinary performance. (Sounds delicious, right?)
To make it even better: The family style dinner also featured pairings of limited-release wines from Hestan Vineyards. Guests were able to test drive Hestan’s CueTM Smart Cooking System. Friends from Enzo Olive Oil were also on hand. And you guys….each guest went home with a Hestan NanoBond pan! (What?! Everybody got a pan!)
The vignettes & displays were perfectly executed.
But that’s not where it ended.
Liz said that when she first arrived at the farmhouse she was teary-eyed at how beautiful all of the details were. The architecture details of the farmhouse were spectacular.and the decor vignettes were perfectly placed. The gorgeous photos tell the story and Liz will share some of her insights…
Creating Comfort with Repetitive Design Elements
When Tom invited me out for this special dinner, all I knew was that we were going to a Wine event (with Wines we can’t get in Tennessee) on a farm in Smyrna. We had just been to another farm to table event the month prior for my birthday, so I grabbed my boots and a warm jacket ready to take in nature and a beautiful evening date. We arrived while the sun was beginning to set, just before dusk when you could still see the beautiful hills and fall colors.
Walking into the main home, I was immediately taken by surprise by how well the Architecture set within the site. Day in and day out I am inundated with buildings masquerading as Architecture. They are not the same.
To be considered Architecture, a building has to be one of a kind. It has to be unique. Otherwise it is just another Building.
The home was nestled into a hill and home grown pumpkins were scattered everywhere. It reminded me of East Tennessee, my second home growing up and as a Vol in college. I was immediately moved as I noticed walking in that under the front porch canopy you felt like you were walking into a celebratory tent. Let the magic commence.
The simple details of curving the truss work overhand on the entrance set the stage for a beautiful inviting sequence. When you enter a space, where does it start? On the sidewalk outside of your home? Through your garage perhaps? When you get into the foyer and finally say, “Ahhh, I have arrived.” Here, you were greeted to an open entry with natural stone and wood. Then as you passed under the porch, your view opened up and through to a view of delicate patterns, and trees as far as you could see. It was beautiful.
Farmhouse Style – Architecture Details
As I walked around and was introduced to the hosts, I began to wonder how such a stunning place was created to give me this amazing feeling of comfort and belonging. I started to notice the incredible attention to details that the Architect had put into the design – the repetitive swoop I saw in the entry was also on a single rail of the stair, and again on the end of the beams and trusses exposed overhead.
I even noticed the ironwork mimicked the natural setting throughout in different ways. Even the roof detail on the top porch incorporated Copper to highlight the warmth of the home and the design. I began to notice all of the other soft natural earthy shapes, and around every corner the entire home responded to the views, the nature, and the site.
Because of the cold weather and lots of rain, the tables had been set up in the hosts’ garage. You would never know it was a garage. I walked in and that is when the tears started to flow. The space was warm and cozy like being on the inside of a hearth. They had taken golden leaf fall branches from the grounds and hung them from the rafters to create another layer of magic lit by candlelight pillars and open flame heaters. Natural wooden elements and golden place settings reflected the warmth onto the ceiling which then showered back down on you as if you were totally immersed into everything that fall can be. Moving from the cold to the contrasting ambiance melted my heart.
Many times, our places and spaces will impact us, but we can’t necessarily put a finger on how or why. Through extensive training, I am always looks for the how, so that I can create places that positively impact the lives I touch #BuildingABeautifulSouth. Without designing the atmosphere and the Architecture, the conversations we have, the feelings of joy, and comfort felt at different places are just happenstance. They become meaningless without intention.
The family hosting the event has lived on this land since the mother was a baby. Their daughter runs the farm and has a daughter of her own. The father reminded me of my uncle, humbly accepting my praise with grace and passive nods. (He wasn’t into my gushing.) But when was the last time you were invited as a stranger with open arms into someone’s home to join in homemade food, wine, and culinary art? How vulnerable and humble does one have to be? These themes sometimes seem lost in our daily grind and social media culture, but not here. I was transported to my roots.
Architecture with Intention
When was the last time you worked to create something that takes people’s breathe away? That is what I am working towards everyday at Southern Athena. Every property we design is with intention, thoughtfulness, and heart to make the lives of those we touch better.
Tom could tell you all about the amazing food, the Hestan cookware, how they produce their wine and why he loves it. He could tell you about the notes of each wine and how they complemented the dishes prepared. I can only tell you that I love studying the spaces that make me happy being an Architect.
Incredible design is done with Intention. The story, the narrative, the feelings of a space are all created as one. They are a reflection of the creators. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of so many people’s stories creating what I love and having amazing experiences like this to share through my designs.