“I’m a good listener,” says interior designer Frank Ponterio, recounting his first meeting with client and Nashville developer Tony Giarratana and his wife, Lisa, to discuss the possibility of Ponterio designing a wine cellar for the couple.
“He told me his thoughts, and I said I’d get him a sketch,” Ponterio recalls. “He said, ‘I mean now.’” The designer obliged, and from there, he says, “We forged a great working relationship.”
Ponterio’s latest project for Giarratana is the penthouse of the 505 in Nashville, on the 45th and 46th floors of the city’s tallest residential high-rise. Ponterio chatted with Luxe about the penthouse and Nashville, where he’s opening a new office in June.
We love how the space is both polished and playful. Tony and Lisa wanted a warm, comfortable place for their family as well as a sophisticated space for entertaining. Knowing she loves horses, that he’s a sailor…if you look around, you’ll pick up on those elements–like the slab in the guest shower that looks like running water, and other nautical-inspired details.
How did you combine the elements of comfort and sophistication? We took “found” pieces that were more relaxed and put them together with newer, sleeker ones. For example, the dining table is 200 years old and the light fixtures above it are forged wrought-iron; they share space with an uber-slick LED bronze fixture that’s more sculptural. It’s about understanding how things interconnect.
What are some of your favorite aspects of the design? There’s a sitting area for two tucked behind the sectional in the family room that has possibly the best view in the place. Also, we compressed the foyer and upholstered its walls in a great cashmere-wool blend as a small hyphen before you pop into the big space. And the shower in the master bathroom is a glass cube, although you have to be brave to use it–there were drones buzzing around outside while we were working!
Give us your take on Nashville as a design city. There are so many young people doing edgy new things. It’s innovative and cool, but that’s juxtaposed with these great country estates, whether new or restored. Then you have urban high-rise life coming online, like this penthouse–and I’m excited about all of it.