Comfortable Riverside Retreat

The Hartman Home

For Janet and Ricky Hartman, nothing quite beats a day on the water. After spending decades in other homes in and around the city, Ricky, who grew up on the lake, was ready for a change of scenery, and his family couldn’t have been more supportive.


By Christina Cannon / Photography by Tretheway Media


“Instead of looking for a lake house property that we would only enjoy on the weekends, we decided we wanted to move where we could enjoy being on the water year-round,” explains Janet. And just like that, a three-year process of looking for the perfect property began.

“We also were very mindful of location,” adds Janet. “We wanted to be somewhere convenient for everyone in our family, which made it even tougher to find what we were looking for.”

After coming across a home situated right on the banks of the Tennessee River, the Hartmans immediately knew it was what their family needed, and they put in an offer that same night. Not only did the purchase of the home move fast, but the renovation did too. The day after closing, Janet and Ricky got to work laying out a plan to transform the house into their home, and within a few months, the family was already mostly settled in.

After traversing through dense native hardwoods, guests arrive at the front of the home, which features a small but stunning stone porch. Cut firewood at one side of the porch rests under an overhang supported by a wooden gable bracket in order to keep dry, and a potted fern nearby beckons visitors to enter the home through a speakeasy-style front door shrouded in old-world charm. 

Once inside, a small foyer space immediately gives way to the great room and commanding views of the river outside. A sofa and two accent armchairs rest on either side of a wooden coffee table, but the real crown jewel of the space is the natural stone fireplace, which stretches beyond the custom built-ins to meet the ceiling.

The built-ins have shiplap backing for a down-to-earth aesthetic, and a painting that adorns the mantel is a family favorite. “I took a photo looking downriver toward the gorge from the top of the dock and worked with an Atlanta artist to create a custom one-of-a-kind painting that fits our space perfectly,” explains Ricky. “I gave it to Janet the day before our daughter went off to college last year, and it’s been a treasure ever since then.”

The hardwoods found in the living room are replaced with slate tile in the neighboring kitchen and dining area. This material is paired with leathered granite that pays homage to the natural elements just outside. Overlay cream-colored shaker cabinetry and glossy white subway tiles comprise the majority of the space and achieve their goal of not distracting from the waterfront views. 

An apron-front sink and stainless-steel appliances round out the space, and dual-height countertops accommodate a five-person bar setup. Here, three silver pendant lights illuminate the room and tie in with the appliances in the kitchen.

Nearby, a bowl of velvety blue hydrangeas sits atop a round dining table that is surrounded by six Queen Anne chairs. Patterned red upholstered seats provide a pop of color, while a brushed brass candle-style chandelier adds additional character and warmth to the space.

Stepping through one of the glass doors that lines the back of the home grants access to the back porch and the nearby river.

“Even though it’s nice to have, we didn’t buy this home for the acreage, and we didn’t buy it for its location – we bought it to be on the water full-time,” explains Ricky. “Living here makes it so easy to boat downtown to dinner or brunch on the weekends, and we love going out on weekday evenings with the kids to surf and ski when the river is quiet.”

Even if the Hartmans are not out on the water, their deck has everything one needs for an evening full of relaxation. A live-edge wooden picnic table provides the ideal setting to enjoy a meal outdoors, and three lounge chairs are the perfect place to soak in the sun. 

This area of the property also caters to all seasons by incorporating a partially shaded hammock, while just feet away, a fire pit is surrounded with white Adirondack chairs. Perhaps the best part of the Hartmans’ outdoor area is that the view of Williams Island, which is protected by the Tennessee River Gorge Trust, will remain virtually unchanged for generations to come. 

Back inside the home, a wing to one side of the foyer contains the master suite. The same soft yellows, blues, and reds seen in select areas throughout the home are also present in this room and work to provide a lively atmosphere. Butter-yellow floor-length drapes repeat a color found in a patterned winged headboard, which also features a prominent muted red that matches the bed skirt and throw pillows. 

These bright colors work in tandem with plenty of natural light to make this a fun and airy space. Matching green glass lamps with cream-colored drum shades top two wooden nightstands that vary in size and style. 

Passing by the master closet takes guests to the bathroom. Large format, neutral-colored tiles with specks of white cloak the floor and the shower walls. A recessed, arch-top niche sports a diagonal basket weave pattern for added visual interest, and an adjacent soaking tub adds another bathing option.

Above the tub hang four framed illustrations of Kingfishers. “Ricky’s favorite bird is the Kingfisher, and they are abundant on the Tennessee River,” says Janet. “Ricky has seen Kingfishers from Alaska to Cuba, and they remind him of the water and help tie the fact that this is a river home into the décor.”

A granite countertop covers the vanity, which features a tower bisecting his-and-hers sinks. Wall sconces on either side of a thick-framed mirror reflect warm light back into the room and help create a feeling of coziness.

Traveling back toward the heart of the home, guests will find a quaint powder room at the base of a staircase leading to the home’s second floor. Hexagon-patterned wallpaper is a show-stopper and incorporates the muted yellow color found elsewhere in the home. A gold bamboo frame encloses a narrow mirror, which is accompanied by gold sconces and a gold towel rack. A copper-colored vessel sink with a side-mounted faucet is yet another fun touch and is an unexpected element in this craftsman-style river home.

By utilizing the staircase just outside the powder room, visitors can access an additional seating arrangement. Perfect for curling up with a good book, the landing at the top of the stairs features two armchairs and a tufted sofa covered in a bluish-gray fabric. Two-toned globe lamp bases rest on matching wooden side tables and support oversized drum shades. 

This room, much like every other one in the Hartman home, is meant to evoke a sense of relaxation. The comfortable couture throughout the home aims to bring the outdoors in and allow guests to focus on the feelings and sensations that only a day on the water can provide.

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