This 1918 House Is a Masterclass in Mixing Florals

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Eclectic living room

Ellen Mallernee, owner of Ellen Clark Interiors, has lived in this house for six months, and shares it with her daughters, 13-year-old Tessa and 10-year-old Livvy, and dog, Grayton: This house sits near Old Hickory Lake in historic Old Hickory Village. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was built in 1918, along with most of the homes in this picturesque neighborhood about 25 minutes outside of downtown Nashville.

Shortly after I got divorced, I bought this home for myself and my two daughters, Tessa and Livvy, who are 13 and 10. I’d lived in a rental for the year prior and was anxious to make a house my own. I impulsively made an offer on this house the day I first saw it. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into with renovations, and I could have let them take me under.

But instead, I handled one problem at a time — including ripping out the old cast iron pipes to address the fact that water ran brown from all of the faucets. I also soon learned I needed a new HVAC, water heater, and the list goes on. However, I also had a ton of fun decorating this, with all the wallpaper and Facebook Marketplace treasures I could find.

My house is a direct representation of who I am. Look around and you see all the things I love — from floral patterns to scallop trim to nautical accessories, and antiques and textiles I’ve collected over the years.

Describe your home’s style in five words or fewer: Historic and collected home with stories to tell.

What is your favorite room and why? The sunroom on the back of the house is my favorite. It was a junk room when I bought the house, but I had a vision to make it my office (I work from home full-time) and a hang space for morning coffee-drinking and reading, and evening TV-watching. I also wanted to give it some moody library vibes, so I added a lot of shelving and put most of my books back here. I spend the most amount of time in this room. It looks out into my sweet backyard.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I went on an antique shopping spree when I went to a wedding recently in Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, and came home with a print of an old ship, a brass ashtray shaped like an airplane, and a weird vase that’s shaped like a London palace guard. I really get a kick out of weird, whimsical things.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Only buy things you absolutely love and don’t worry about them not “going together.” If you love everything in your home, that will be the glue that gives the whole space cohesion. Plus, everywhere you look your eyes will land on things that bring you joy.

Thanks, Ellen!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.

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