When Atlanta architectural and interior designer Mark Williams headed to see Dolly Parton perform at the Fox Theatre 12 years ago, he had no idea that a chance meeting with Dolly’s creative director, Steve Summers, would change his life. Five years later, the two married, and Mark now splits his time between Atlanta (where he has a home in Midtown and an office at ADAC) and the country music capital.
When the pair spotted the circa-1969 home just outside of Nashville, it was a mess but had obvious potential. “We loved the very original midcentury feel to it,” says Mark. “It’s more of a ‘California Style’ ranch, which is not common in the Nashville area, so we jumped on it.” They stripped the structure down to the studs and rebuilt the back, doubling the size of the house. The former garage is now a sleek kitchen, with a custom stainless-steel wall for appliances and storage and white Silestone countertops. The view took center stage: The U-shaped house looks onto a creek and the couple’s acre-plus woodland setting, with a string of parks beyond their property.
Steve started as a singer and dancer at Dollywood 25 years ago. He now oversees everything visual for the superstar, including her sets, album covers, and iconic fashions—but he largely deferred to Mark for the design at their own house. “I thought I had great style until I married him,” he jokes, adding that he may have had a hand in upgrading Mark’s wardrobe. A special gallery wall of artwork reflects both of their tastes.
Mark loves that the house evokes a golden age of entertaining; Dolly herself is a sometime guest. “The time this style of house was made popular—an optimistic postwar America—was when families and neighbors socialized a lot, before mobile phones,” he says. “It was an era of cocktail parties and backyard barbecues. We wanted to be sure the house maintained that spirit.”
Resources | Interior Designer: Mark Williams, Mark Williams Design Associates, mw-da.com; Living room Wall color: Sherwin-Williams “Pure White,”
sherwin-williams.com. Sofas: Donghia, donghia.com. Side chairs: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, mgbwhome.com. Ottoman: Custom through Bjork Studio, bjorkstudio.com. Coffee table: Custom through Skylar Morgan Furniture, skylarmorganfurniture.com. Floor lamp: West Elm, westelm.com. Rug: Moattar, moattar.com. Bird painting: Paige Harvey, paigeharveyart.com. Dining room Table: Oly Studio, olystudio.com. Chairs: Knoll, knoll.com. Light fixture: Jonathan Adler, jonathanadler.com. Kitchen Cabinetry: Ikea, ikea.com. Countertops: Silestone, silestone.com. Floor and wall tiles: Crossville, crossvilleinc.com. Appliances: Sub-Zero Wolf, subzero-wolf.com. Stools: Modernica, modernica.net. Sign: Bobo Intriguing Objects, bobointriguingobjects.com. Porch Accessories: West Elm. Chairs and table: Ikea with custom stain. Master bedroom Wooden chest: Restoration Hardware, rh.com. Bedding: West Elm. Lamp and art: Bobo Intriguing Objects. Master bath Cabinetry: Ikea. Porcelain tiles: Crossville.
This article appears in our Spring 2020 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.