French Manor Flair

Builder: Bryan Bledsoe, Dwell Designed Construction

Interior designer: Julie Bledsoe, Dwell Designed Construction

Architect: Surface Architecture & Design


When Julie Bledsoe of Dwell Designed Construction first took on this stunning project, there was no set-in-stone vision to work toward. Instead, the end product ebbed and flowed with each decision made. “Out of all the homes I’ve ever worked on from the very beginning alongside an architect and a client, this one was the most fluid in terms of just taking ideas and words and trying to form them into a home,” explains Bledsoe. Even with relatively few visual examples and no set style, this majestic manor turned out to be one of a kind with an array of eclectic characteristics grounded with a French influence that can be traced back to the homeowner’s time spent in the city of New Orleans.


By Christina Cannon

Photography by Philip Slowiak

Ironwork: Beaty Fabricating & Ornamental Iron


foyer of french manor home in chattanooga with double curved staircases


Stunning and Stately Staircase

Entering through a set of French doors centered in between signature turrets, guests find themselves standing in a hallmark area of the home. A mirrored inverted staircase commands the foyer and creates interest with an expertly executed curvature. “At the beginning of the project, we knew that we wanted to do two staircases, but how we were going to do them continued to evolve,” says Bledsoe. “Once we finally settled on the design, the staircases really set the pace for the rest of the home.” To see more from Dwell Designed Construction, visit

The same white oak floors seen in the foyer carry visitors further into the home’s open floor plan and toward the kitchen. Here, handcrafted waxed wood tiles provide a focal point behind the range and served as a starting point when designing the rest of the kitchen. Light quartz countertops with faint gray veining keep the room airy and bright and easily tie in with the white shaker-style perimeter cabinets. Just steps away is a dining area that can seat six. A beam crafted out of the same white oak found in the floors creates an X overhead and is a nod to the placement of the flooring found in the foyer.


Appliances: Ferguson

Backsplash, brick, stone, and fireplace: Acme Brick, Tile & Stone

Cabinetry: Dakota Concepts Inc.

Cabinetry design: John Crawley, Dakota Concepts Inc.; Juliet Braly, Juliet Braly Interior Design

“We decided to make a sort of X shape with the way we laid the hardwood in between the staircases.We loved the feel of that, so we decided to carry it throughout the home, and we just started incorporating that shape in some places.” – Julie Bledsoe, Dwell Designed Construction

The cohesion is carried through into the living room, where a white oak mantel rests just above a fireplace. A leather sofa provides a place to relax, while two herringbone-patterned armchairs round out the seating arrangement. Pops of yellow and gold contribute to a bright and cheery atmosphere and work well with the existing color palette that is full of rich browns and other neutrals. Two sidelights flank each side of a set of French doors and bring in natural light from the back of the home. 

In the bedroom, the warm color palette seen throughout the rest of the home turns a little cooler. Gray textiles and a gray coffered ceiling are livened up with pops of white found in the trim, lamp shades, and bedding. The crown jewel of this room, however, is a large pendant light that hangs overhead. “You can see this light from inside or outside the home, and it’s really beautiful,” explains Bledsoe. “At night is when you really appreciate it. It almost looks like a candle, and it provides a bit of a soft, romantic touch.”

Carrying on into the master bath, an array of luxurious patterns, colors, and shapes emerge. Honed black subway tile in a herringbone pattern creates an accent wall at the back of the shower, while penny tile lines the floor, bench, and inside of the niches. Gray porcelain tile cloaks the floor and runs across the room to a dual vanity surrounded by white custom cabinetry. Another one of the home’s unique features is a freestanding tub, centered in front of French doors that lead to the home’s porch. “This is one of my favorite things about the whole home,” says Bledsoe. “I remember thinking when we first decided to place the tub here that it was so unique, but at the same time sort of ties into some of the French New Orleans influences throughout the rest of the home. The homeowners were afforded a great lot with a certain level of privacy, and it allowed them to do neat things like this.”

Black herringbone tile: Stone Source, Inc.

Cabinetry: Dakota Concepts Inc.

Cabinetry design: John Crawley, Dakota Concepts Inc.; Juliet Braly, Juliet Braly Interior Design

Chandelier: Southern Lighting

Tile: Acme Brick, Tile & Stone


Other Suppliers:

Countertops: Premier Surfaces, Granite and Marble Creations | Flooring: Millwood Specialty Flooring | Furniture: E.F. Brannon | Hardscape: Mystical Stone, LLC | Interior doors, trim, and windows: JB Millworks  |  Outdoor kitchen and fire pit: Southern Hearth & Patio

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