Stepping foot inside the Pughs’ home, it’s hard to know where to look first; but we have a suggestion: Glance to the left to see a one-of-a-kind hot air balloon chandelier. “It’s a rustic antique we found in Nashville and had powder coated,” says Kristie. “Then my daughters and I painted the sashes on it, and the electrician rewired it.”
The living room is a study in tasteful glamour, with charcoal-colored walls, a tufted velvet sofa, pops of red, fur pillows and brass and Lucite accents.
Covering the kitchen walls, cabinetry, window trim and doors in gray created a quiet backdrop for the room’s natural and luxe elements to pop. Shimmering black Moroccan tiles, a crystal chandelier and stainless-steel vent hood combine with oak timbers, sandstone rock and reclaimed black walnut floors for a rustic-glam finish.
A rich shade of dark chocolate brown on the dining room’s walls, ceiling and trim allow the dramatic chandelier, white velvet chairs and handmade Mennonite table to take center stage.
Kristie ditched the cookie-cutter home office look for a jaw-dropping space coated in black with whimsical elements, like the sailing-ship crystal light fixture. “It was the first purchase we made, even before we started building. It set the tone for the house and was our guiding ship, literally,” says Kristie.
The home’s luxe master suite is like a mini modern Versailles, with its oversized gold and crystal chandelier and upholstered headboard with mirrored accents. Tactile linens, velvets and hints of fur complete the plush surroundings, while unexpected touches like mismatched nightstands and an undulating patterned rug keep the space from feeling stuffy.
The Pughs added a full kitchen, living areas and walk-out access to the home’s basement, allowing the lower level to act as a private area for guests now and a potential living space for them in the future.
The second-story deck and downstairs patio live like indoor rooms, with comfy seating and interior-style accents, like wall sconces and floor lamps.
A lively crackle. Snap. Then more popping. As night settles in, these are the sounds you’ll hear at the home of Marshall and Kristie Pugh. Here, evenings always begin the same way: friends, family and neighbors gathered around a massive sandstone hearth in their outdoor living room. As flames dance above glowing embers, more sounds fill the air — the couple’s infamous playlists that include everything from The Eagles to Dean Martin to Southern gospel. “Our music can give you whiplash if you’re not careful,” laughs Marshall.
Jokes aside, the eclectic playlist works. And the way it combines different elements into a single experience and brings everyone together is a clue to how the couple approaches life — and how they approached the creation of their outside-the-box timber home in the quiet east Tennessee town where they both were raised.
The couple took a no-holds-barred approach to the family home, melding Marshall’s life-long love of timber frame design (rooted in his boyhood summers spent in a hunting lodge) with Kristie’s flair for bold, glamorous style. The quiet permanence of the white oak timbers provides a solid counterpoint to Kristie’s fearless taste, which runs the gamut from Victorian to modern, and is revealed in the home’s finishings, furnishings, artwork and accessories, which include everything from a hot air balloon-shaped crystal chandelier to a patchwork Moroccan rug woven from old textiles.
But it’s not just the home’s decor that’s eye-catching. From top to bottom, the interior spaces are a study in drama. Wrapped in saturated hues from navy and charcoal to jet black and chocolate brown, the walls, ceilings and trim are stand-alone works of art that take this timber home to another level.
“Going with dark paint colors everywhere in the house was a bold move for us, but I think that’s what makes everything pop,” Kristie explains. The darker hues have a secondary purpose, too. Adds Marshall: “They give the rooms a feeling of warmth, even with the large spaces and tall ceilings. You never feel like a mouse in a cathedral.”
Considering the couple’s penchant for blazing their own way, it’s no surprise stock plans didn’t apply here. Marshall drew up the home’s layout on a scratch piece of paper, then delivered his drawings to an architect friend for the finishing touches. The plan revolves around single-level living, including everything the couple needs on the 3,400-square-foot main floor, with elevator access to a 3,000-square-foot fully-finished basement complete with three bedrooms and bathrooms, a craft room, a full kitchen and living areas. On the main floor, an oversized kitchen and dining room beg for large gatherings, as does the spacious second-floor deck and lower-level stone patio, each with a fireplace, a swing and living-room-style furnishings.
Like the interior design, the outside aesthetic is anything but ordinary for the setting. “The house looks like it was plucked from the mountains of Colorado and set in the middle of Tennessee,” says builder Kelly Herman. “The coolest part of that is we used as much local product as possible, starting with the timber frame by local Homestead Timber Frames and the natural rock, which was sourced from a local quarry.”
The hybrid structure is a combination of a traditional timber frame using mortise-and-tenon joinery with wooden pegs combined with insulated concrete forms (ICFs). “The whole thing was a challenge. The timbers were hand hewn when they were wet because if you wait until white oak is dry, it’s harder to work with,” explains Kelly. “The walls had to be notched in the right places for the concrete, but because we knew there would be twisting and checking there were some challenges in all of that.”
In the end, the timbers and concrete forms came together as seamlessly as the mix of styles inside the house and the couple’s evening play-lists, providing a good reminder that taking a chance isn’t always as risky as it seems. “A lot of people come in and say, ‘I don’t know that I would have had the guts to try this,’” says Marshall. Kristie adds: “At the end of the day, if something makes your heart skip a beat, go for it.”
Square footage: 3,400 (with an additional 3,000 sq. ft. basement)
Timber provider: Homestead Timber Frames
Builder: Kelly Herman