The Historic Hacienda

Built in 1905, this iconic home is one of Chattanooga’s most recognizable abodes. Its Spanish-mission flair makes for a memorable landmark, while its symmetry and old-world craftsmanship signify the home’s sophistication.


By Katie Faulkner | Photography by Philip Slowiak


Paula and David Shuford are only the fourth owners of this home in 114 years. They’ve lived in it for nearly 30 years and have shared many happy memories here. “We had two sons and when we got pregnant with our daughter, Savannah, we decided it was time to find a larger home that could accommodate our growing family,” Paula explains. “We were looking in this area because it’s the perfect location. It’s within walking distance to our church and so many of our family and friends.”

After deciding to make the house their home, Paula and David set out to restore many of the home’s features to their original glory. “A lot of the woodwork and several of the fireplaces had been painted over the years. We just wanted to take them back to how they would’ve been originally. We had all the woodwork stripped, sanded, and refinished, had several of the fireplaces stripped, and organized the rooms as close to what they had been originally as possible.” With help from Jimmy Adams of Nell’s Home, Gift, & Interior Design, Paula and David transformed the style of their historic home into an updated and contemporary take on the elegantly traditional aesthetics.

Walking in the sparkling cut-glass front door, the foyer is incredibly impressive. The restored wood paneling, banister, and beams stretch and twist upward, drawing the eye toward the dazzling crystal and gold chandelier.

To the left of the foyer, the sitting parlor is visible through Mediterranean-style archways. This room features one of the home’s most stunning original fireplaces, fully restored to showcase its beautiful wood carving. Antique brass frames the firebox, while the red tile surround points subtly back to the home’s Spanish style. A contemporary light fixture and coffee table balance this room’s elegantly traditional aesthetic. Soft shades of blue, tan, and ecru maintain a serene setting.

From the sitting parlor, the piano room is visible just across the hall. Paula uses this room frequently. As she shares, “I love to sing, and this is where I practice. I’ll play the piano, just as an accompaniment to my singing. But it’s also nice to have a pianist during parties, especially around the holidays.” Paula also shares that the first homeowners, who had the house built, used this as a piano room in the original layout. “He loved golf, which is why they built on the golf course, and she was a concert pianist from Palm Beach. That’s probably what influenced the Spanish style of the home as well.”

Through an extra-large door casing is the formal living room. The furnishings in this room and most of the house are an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary pieces with European influences. A backless settee keeps sightlines clear to the sunporch, while a contemporary coffee table offsets the room’s other antique pieces.

Hints of the home’s intricate craftsmanship, including the Mediterranean-style trim of the custom wall paneling, surround this room. A triple-stacked baseboard arrangement pairs with the extra-wide crown molding to elevate this room’s custom cosmetics.

Another lovely example of the home’s quality craftsmanship is the pocket door leading from the living room to the sunroom. Leaded glass windows add historic charm to these solid sliding doors. When closed, they help define the rooms’ individual spaces while stealing some of the fantastic natural light from the sunroom. When open, they help tie the two spaces together for extended living space and easy traffic flow for entertaining.

This kitchen is situated toward the back of the house, tucked out of the way of the living spaces. This room received a major renovation a little over 10 years ago. “We moved the stove out of the middle countertop to open up the room, and it made a huge difference,” Paula says. Natural stone countertops complement the rust-red color of the cabinets and backsplash tile. The limestone floor is a stunning feature that grounds the space in old-world elegance. Shuttered windows and glass-front upper cabinets add charm to this rustic area.

The extended countertop has extra seating with four bobbin twist stools tucked underneath. And in the nearby nook, a round table adds even more seating. “Even though this kitchen is toward the back of the house and we try to keep all entertaining in the front rooms, inevitably everyone always ends up hanging out back here!” Paula says. Replete with a wine bar and hammered copper sinks, this rustic European kitchen has a heartwarming essence that draws visitors in.

Another well-loved hangout area is on the front porch. The sitting nook to the side of the front door is a favorite of David and Paula’s. “We sit here almost every evening and just talk and enjoy the view. David will sometimes have a cigar, and I’ll enjoy a glass of wine. We love to relax out here,” Paula says.

Photo Courtesy of W. Abercrombie Real Estate Photography
David and Paula Shuford with their dog, Bella

The exteriors of this home are definitive of its Spanish-mission style. Symmetrical and wrapped in stucco with a red terra cotta clay tile roof, all the arches and details add to a distinctive home front. The wrap-around porch is deep with a low knee wall perfect for perching on a warm afternoon to enjoy conversation. Around the right side is a beautiful loggia with an outdoor fireplace and pergola roof. And many of the garden beds are as old as the home itself. “Our peonies in the back, our hedges, and several other beds are all original to the home,” Paula confirms.

The Shufords have enjoyed years of hosting Independence Day, Christmas, and Thanksgiving celebrations, as well as birthdays and showers, and simply enjoying the closeness of their family and friends. CS

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