Published on June 14, 2019

Saints, sinners, and everyone in between is welcome at the Russell, a new boutique hotel in East Nashville. The 23-room destination, which opened its doors earlier this month, isn’t just another cookie-cutter box. Once upon a time, this quirky, colorful space was a church. If the confessional-style call rooms weren’t a dead giveaway, the 16-foot-round stained-glass window in the lobby will make you a believer.

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photo by andrea behrends

“The stained-glass windows were the focal point,” says Katie Vance, interior design director at Powell Architecture + Building Studio. The local firm led the concept, design, and construction of the Russell. “As an homage to the church’s beginnings and an homage to the neighborhood, we really wanted to showcase color,” she adds.

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The stained-glass windows inspired each of the four main color schemes used for the guest rooms: pink and red, purple and aqua, blue and orange, and green and yellow. The designers elevated the high-contrast hues by taking a tone-on-tone approach. “You’ve got the base color and then a darker jewel tone,” says Vance. “To give it a pop, we took the boldest color in that scheme and used it in the bathroom.”

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Both a design firm and boutique construction company, Powell was able to gather inspiration under one roof. “It really allows us to bring our precise vision to life, rather than handing it off to someone who hasn’t seen the design process play out,” says Luke Tidwell, partner and head of business development.  

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Cheeky references to the building’s storied past can be found throughout. The numbered markers that announce each guest room, for instance, are divided by a colon, like biblical scripture. Other ecclesiastical nods include double-arched decorative mirrors, wood pews for headboards, and a neon sign that reads “#Blessed.”

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