How to Preserve and Display Family Heirlooms in Your Home

Heirlooms

 

Some of your most prized possessions may be items that you’ve acquired from an older family member. This is especially true if it’s been passed down through many generations. Family heirlooms are a great way to remember your origins and honor your ancestors. They are also often delicate due to their age, and therefore must be cared for meticulously.

 

If you have one or several family heirlooms that are especially meaningful, take equally special care to preserve them. There are a number of guidelines to follow when caring for heirlooms or antiques to ensure that they maintain their structural integrity.

 

  • Keep paper, documents and books dry. Any heirlooms made from paper are extremely susceptible to damage from water, so store them in acid-free binder page protectors or in an acid-free archival box that are kept far away from any kind of moisture. In addition, keep any paper heirlooms away from light, as light can cause paper to age and crumble much faster. If you have paper heirlooms you’d like to show off or use as wall art, do so in a darker room of your home with them encased in a protective, acid-free frame.

 

  • Be careful what you use to clean jewelry. Antique and heirloom pieces can tarnish with time, making them tempting to scrub clean. In order to keep your ancestor’s jewels sparkling, you can use a soft toothbrush with warm water and mild soap. For silver pieces, you can use silver cleaner with a soft cloth. If you have heirloom jewelry that you want to display, do so with them sitting in boxes lined in satin to avoid scratches.

 

  • Avoid washing cloth heirlooms. Clothing, dolls, blankets, gowns, uniforms and quilts can all be very sentimental heirlooms if they were made, used or worn by a family member, which is why they shouldn’t be washed or dry-cleaned. Display cloth heirlooms in an area that doesn’t get much natural light in order to protect them from fading, and only hang them on padded hangers that do not contain bleached cotton.

 

  • Toy heirlooms are for looking at. Don’t attempt to pass antique toys or dolls on to your own children to play with. Porcelain dolls, or those made from wood, wax or rags need to be carefully inspected to ensure that they don’t have any type of eggs on them that will result in an insect infestation. Dust your doll heirlooms with cotton balls and distilled water. Do not use any type of cleaning solution on your antique dolls, and store them face side down in archive boxes to prevent their eyes from falling inside their heads.

 

Toys other than dolls can also be cleaned using plain water and a soft cloth or sponge with no cleaning solutions. If you’re storing plastic items, be sure to use boxes with vents, as plastic gives off gases as it decomposes. This can be damaging to some of your other heirlooms. Toys and dolls can definitely be put on display in your home, but be sure to place them on glass shelves rather than wood.

Listing of the Week

LOTWGulch

Located in West End at Mezzo Lofts, this condo is equipped with all of the latest top-of-the-line features. It is walking distance from over 50 bars and restaurants as well as Vanderbilt University and Centennial Park. This unit comes with dual master suites, floor-to-ceiling windows, Viking stainless-steel appliances, 2 spacious outdoor terraces, 2 gated/covered parking spots, granite countertops and walk-in closets. While the features and sleek urban design are more than mind-blowing, the close proximity to almost everything Nashville has to offer at your fingertips is what takes the cake. Listed at $899,900 by Zack Goodyear and Brian Stoltzfus from Parks in the Gulch. You can view this listing here.

Historic Hotels in Nashville

HistoricHotels

Nashville is famous for many things such as music and BBQ, but it is also famous for its rich history. Today, some of Nashville’s most historic places have turned into hotels you can stay in and each of them have a story to tell.

 

The Hermitage Hotel

Serving as the city’s first five-million-dollar hotel, The Hermitage Hotel was built in 1901 in a Beaux Art style by noted architect, J.E.R. Carpenter. It is centrally located downtown and because of that, it quickly became the ‘hot spot’ for Nashville socialites, entertainers and politicians. It even housed notable figures such as Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, William Howard Taft, and even Al Capone. Upon opening, the Hermitage Hotel advertised as “fire-proof, noise-proof, and dust-proof, $2.00 and up.” It was designed after Andrew Jackson’s estate, The Hermitage, hence where the hotel received its name. As the hotel grew popularity with the rich and famous, the term “Meet me at the Hermitage” became a well-known city slogan that is still recognized today. These days, The Hermitage Hotel is a AAA Five Diamond Hotel and is Nashville’s only remaining landmark of such early 1900s grandeur.

 

Union Station Hotel

Union Station was once the largest, unsupported train shed in America, holding up to 10 full trains at once. Opened in 1900, this railroad station was a very popular travel stop for elite passengers and had large terminals with soaring Victorian architecture and Italian marble. The building had a Gothic design and was considered a testament to U.S energy and Ingenuity. The track level of the station even held two alligator ponds! In 1986, Union Station began its new phase in life as a Boutique Hotel. Today, the hotel has 125 uniquely decorated guest rooms, a four-star restaurant, and an event space that glorifies the station’s colorful past. The Union Station Hotel has unique features that keep it true to its name such as a lobby filled with gold-leaf medallions and 100-year-old original Luminous Prism stained glass, marble floors, three limestone fireplaces and a steam locomotive and horse-drawn chariot in the lobby. Located just steps away from Broadway in downtown Nashville, it makes for a great experience along with convenience.

 

Hotel Indigo Nashville

Hotel Indigo is located in Printer’s Alley right in the middle of downtown. The historic buildings that the hotel is in now used to serve as the American Trust Building and the Nashville Trust Building. In 1923, The American Trust Building used to be the tallest building in Nashville, until the building next door, Nashville Trust, decided to add 4 more floors to top it. In 2010, the Hotel Indigo moved into both buildings and decided to keep some of the original heritage, like the original Travertine floors and U.S post drops in the hallways. The lobby is “printer themed” due to the rich history that lies outside (Printers Alley) where back in the day 36 printers and publishers existed. Today, this hotel pays tribute to the history of the bank and printers alley, but also serves as one of the top hotels in Nashville and does not disappoint.

 

Homewood Suites Downtown Nashville

The Homewood Suites is located in what used to be known as “The Doctors Building” which is a historic landmark. Built in 1916, a professor of surgery at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Matthew McGannon, saw the need for the city to have a large building for the rapidly expanding medical community. The building has a renaissance revival theme and the exterior of the building is a show stopper. The most notable features of the exterior are the sheathing of glazed terra cotta wreaths, garlands, urns and lion leads. There are shields along the third story that are based on the Medici family coat of arms which are known as Doctors. The building became a hotel in 2008 and still has the original outside glory today, located on Church St.

Preserving Your Historic Home

PreservingYourHistoricHome

If you’re lucky enough to live in a character-filled historic American home, by now you realize the importance of ensuring that it remains preserved in its historic condition so as to accurately represent the historic period in which it was built.
Many historic homes of significant age have been left to wilt in disrepair for decades, requiring a complete renovation in order to restore their grandeur and beauty. However, if your historic home has been well-maintained, it obviously won’t need a total overhaul to fall in line with its proper design time period.
Regular care, upkeep and repairs (as needed) will guarantee that your historic home holds onto its historic character and curb appeal. What follows is a list of features on the exteriors of historic homes that make the biggest impression. Pay close attention to these areas of your historic home:
  • Shutters – From the late 1700s into the early 1900s, proper shutters were used functionally in order to offer protection from the elements (usually rain or hail) while still allowing the homeowner to enjoy the outside air through the shutters’ vented slots. Although shutters are still found on many homes today, they often don’t have the same size dimensions that traditional historic shutters had. Today’s imitation/non-functional shutters are purely decorative; in order to stay in line with your home’s historic period, the shutters should be large enough to cover the entirety of the window(s) they surround when pulled closed (if it were possible to do so).

 

  • Exterior doors – If your historic home’s exterior doors are currently painted white, take a closer look around the edges or in any nicks in the paint. Many historic homes still standing today originally had dark-colored outside doors as well as window sashes. If your home was built in the 1800s or early 1900s, select an extremely dark green or black for at least the front entry door. The window sashes should be painted to match.

 

  • Storm doors – The storm doors we see on homes today were added after the home was originally built and don’t fall in line with the historical design of the rest of the home. To improve the look of your home’s entry, select a storm door with very little paneling or design on it. Opt for full-view so that your (now appropriately dark) front door can shine through. It’s best to choose a storm door made from a material that can easily be painted to match the color of your dark front door, like wood or metal.

 

    • Exterior coverings – Many older homes were covered with siding in the mid-1900s. By removing as much artificial siding (aluminum, vinyl, etc) as possible, you’ll literally be exposing your home’s original design. Ideally, you’ll be able to remove siding from all sides of the home; alternatively, remove as much as possible. Expose the original brick or stone that was used to build the home for maximum curb appeal.

 

By keeping your historic home within the design styles used when it was built, you’re performing a very important task in helping us hold onto our valuable American history.

Nashville’s Best Historical Mansions

HistoricalHomes

 

Middle Tennessee had a large part in the Civil-War era, and out of that came beautiful, and now historic, antebellum homes that range back to the mid-1800s.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

Home of the 7th President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, The Hermitage is a beautifully preserved mansion that holds some of the Nations most fascinating stories of the early 19th century. Located only minutes from Downtown Nashville, you can spend the day strolling through the over 1,100 acres of original land owned by Andrew Jackson. There are still preserved, original buildings from Jackson’s time you can tour on the property like The First Hermitage, The Hermitage Garden, Alfred’s Cabin and more. For tickets and to learn about the history, visit www.thehermitage.com.

 

Belle Meade Plantation

This 150-year-old antebellum mansion located in the heart of Belle Meade, tells a tale as old as time. This home takes you through the deep history of the Old South, to slavery prosperity to the Civil War. The grounds host not only the amazing home, but reconstructed slave quarters, a winery, restaurant, a massive carriage house and a shop. Touring the Plantation includes a tour guide dressed in era-appropriate attire to tell the rich history that goes along with Belle Meade. Started at 5,400 acres, now only 30, you can still get a sense of what life was like back in the early 1800s. A tour includes access to all of the grounds and ends with a complimentary wine tasting. Find out more here.

 

Carter House

This is a home that took part in the American Civil War and was caught in the midst of the Battle of Franklin in 1864. This home is unique because it was ran as the Federal Command Post while the family sought refuge in the basement during a battle lasting five hours. There are obvious battle wounds still visible today in the house and outbuildings, one even has 1,000 bullet holes still visible today. This home is part of the Battle of Franklin Trust that includes 2 other homes that you can tour today all part of the same battle.

 

Carnton Plantation

The other home that is part of the Battle of Franklin Trust, the Carnton Plantation was the home of the former Mayor of Nashville, Randal McGavock. This mansion served as the largest field hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers in 1864. The McGavock’s dedicated 2 acres of land on their property to bury the deceased confederate soldiers, and is now the largest privately owned military cemetery in the Nation. Take a tour of this home or all 3 homes (The last is the Lotz House) and visit the military museum and store while you’re there.

 

Sam Davis House

Located in Smyrna, Tennessee on 160 acres, this was the home of the Confederate courier, Sam Davis. This home was built in the early to mid 1800s, and all of the floors, doors and woodwork are the originals from when the home was built. Sam Davis was known for being the mail courier and was accused of being a spy and when asked right before he was hung if he would reveal who gave him the classified battle plans to save his life, he said “I would rather die a thousand deaths than betray a friend.” It is one of Smyrna’s largest historic attractions and hosts approximately 20,000 visitors per year. Find out more here.

 

There are so many other beautiful homes, mansions and Civil War plantations in Middle Tennessee, make sure to learn more about them here.

 

 

Listing of the Week

LISTING OF THE WEEK

Our Listing of the Week comes with 10 acres of land in the heart of Brentwood. A custom home complete with hard wood floors, an elevator, dance studio and even an indoor pool! Cooking will be a delight in the granite island kitchen and the built-ins are just one of the many features that help make this home distinctive. You’ll find 5 bedrooms, 6 full baths and 2 half baths in this home. Great for entertaining and family gatherings and plenty of room outside with all of the acreage. This is listed for $1,295,000 by Stacy Gee from the Parks in Mt. Juliet office and you can find more on this listing here.