The Style Council

By Hollie Deese
Photography by Pamela Monaghan

In a city of neighborhoods that seem to be carving out new cultures and niches for themselves, one part of town has been unwavering for years as the go-to spot for interior designers and design-savvy homeowners looking for every manner of fabric and fixture.

Nashville’s Design District, radiating out from the intersection of Sidco Drive and Powell Avenue, is filled with dozens of showrooms, designers and storefronts devoted to commercial and residential design.

It’s definitely a lot of what there is to love about old Nashville – industrial buildings and longtime family businesses. It’s mixed with what is exciting and new – namely, an invigoration of personal style and the courage to express it in home design.

There’s no way we could hit them all, but here are some of our favorite businesses to visit when we decide to hit the district.

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

By Olivia McClure

In 1953, three men shared a dream of opening the greatest interior design store imaginable. Ralph Lenz, Johnny Smither and Charles Ferguson began their design enterprise with two supply stores, and very quickly, their business grew — more so than they ever expected.

Today, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery boasts more than 27,000 associates, nearly 1,400 locations in North and Central America and $16.7 billion in annual sales.

For 45 years, Ferguson has operated a showroom in Nashville’s Design District, where visitors can see all that the company has to offer in a uniquely interactive setting.

“Our state-of-the-art showrooms take the experience even further,” says Carla Medlin of Ferguson Design Sales and Marketing. “We have working showerheads, working appliances and a fully functional kitchen in the showroom. This allows you to touch and feel the products in a welcoming, hands-on environment.”

The store features a diverse designer lighting area, which showcases top brands, including Hinkley, Famination and Progress Lighting — but that’s not the only specialized setting visitors can find at the showroom.

“In addition to lighting and traditional plumbing products, Ferguson also offers appliances from top manufacturers like Sub-Zero, Wolf, Cove, Thermador and JennAir,” Medlin says. “They are displayed beautifully within kitchen vignettes so homeowners can assess the design, size and functionality.”

While Medlin says it’s important for customers to bring professionally calculated measurements to the showroom, she also urges people to demonstrate their design style so they can receive the most custom-tailored consultation experience possible.

“We encourage homeowners to bring elements that represent their style to the showroom,” Medlin says. “Bring along magazine photographs, color swatches, paint chips, rug patterns, Houzz Ideabooks or anything else that reflects your vision for your home. Our product experts can pair these with product samples in the showroom. This helps the homeowner gain a better understanding of how all the elements will come together.”

In Medlin’s mind, Ferguson is an integral aspect of Nashville’s burgeoning design scene, helping builders and designers cultivate their creativity and discover new, groundbreaking approaches to design.

“When designers feel supported and have resources — for both inspiration and execution — their ability to innovate expands,” Medlin says. “We’re excited to be a part of their network as an extension of their team. In fact, over the last few years, we’ve been excited to see the Nashville design scene playing a major role in the national design, art and architect landscape … We love knowing that we are part of a neighborhood that is a true asset to local design, art and architect enthusiasts.”

While Ferguson’s presence in the Design District is undoubtedly desirable for generating business, Medlin says the company’s real aim is to foster the city’s growing ingenuity and support the local design community.

“To us, being a part of the Nashville Design District is more than just our storefront,” Medlin says. “We want to use our knowledge and products to further the district’s goal to inspire creativity. We welcome people to come and look at the latest in smart appliance technology or witness the artistry that distinguishes the Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.”