Renovation hits record square footage price for its neighborhood

By Hollie Deese
Photography by Jodi Fialkowski and Hannah Capps

When Marisa and Clint Biddle moved their family of eight from New York to Nashville, they weren’t just changing locations – they were changing careers. Selling their landscape company back home, they knew their real passion was in home renovations. And they were determined to make it in their new city.

“Being so new to the flipping industry and real estate investing, we were not really sure how to acquire properties that were off the market,” she says. They got connected with a real estate wholesaler who found them what seemed like an ideal property.

It was a quick decision to take a chance on a neighborhood they knew nothing about, but it hit her only prerequisite that the house have character, something with personality she could build on. And they both liked that it was across from Cleveland Park, despite that fact it was in complete disrepair when they first saw it.

“Of course I just loved the charm of it,” she says of the 1930s cottage.

They won the bid for the property, and Nashville Design Company was formed. They had experience renovating their first three homes and felt confident in what they could do, even though they knew very little about real estate in Nashville.

Clint handles the construction side of NDC. “He basically helps execute a lot of my ideas that anyone else would give me a hard time about,” she says. “He has worked with me for long enough to trust my design instincts. He also is really good at managing subcontractors and timelines.”

Meanwhile, Marisa takes on the design. For this project, the result was a mix of prints, saturated colors and eclectic fixtures and features.

“I would say this was me, but kind of restrained,” she jokes. “Now on my second one, I might even be pushing the envelope a little bit more, because that was most definitely the part of the house that people just loved, the eye candy of at all.”

It’s not an easy time to flip in Nashville, from finding a property at a price that makes sense to finding the crews and subcontractors who aren’t already busy. And they certainly learned some hard lessons along the way — lessons they can use to avoid mistakes in the future.

Marisa’s strength is in mixing masculine and feminine features, and that is where the focus of this home started. “I don’t follow a lot of rules, and most of what I do is based on gut feeling. And somehow, 99 percent of the time, it works itself out.”

In this case it certainly did. The day it hit the market, it had 17 showings. By noon it was sold at a record-setting price for the square footage in that neighborhood.

“I made a commitment in the beginning of the process that if I was going to flip properties and they were going to look cookie cutter, that wasn’t anything I was interested in doing,” she says.

Their next project is on Blue Ridge Drive not too far from the first, and they are excited about using the experience they gained from this project – and the encouragement of their kids – to do even better.

“I feel like we are ambitious people, and obviously that has been demonstrated in our ambition to have children,” Marisa jokes. After having three children, they were in the process of adopting twins from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2012. It took two years for them to come home, and while waiting they got pregnant with their youngest.

“It ended up working out that the twins came home on a medical visa the day after our baby was born,” she says.

The large family only makes their cheering section that much louder, as the kids were their biggest encouragers throughout the process. “Kids get really excited seeing a design unfold and watching things become beautiful. And they were just ecstatic to come to the house when it was completely designed – they were just beaming with pride.”