Thanks to TV shows, New York Times articles, and a resulting boom in new people moving to the city, Nashville has changed a lot over the last five years. Buildings have gone up — and so has rent — and many Nashville businesses have been forced under in the process. Nashville woodworker Patrick Hayes, of 1767 Designs — a company that uses wood and materials from homes and buildings destroyed in the city — has made it his mission to create furniture and art "from Nashville's urban decay."
"As with most things in my life, I cannot say that I had some grand plan–I more or less fall into things–the same is true about 1767," Hayes explains. "I moved to TN in the winter of 2014 with only my clothes and my laptop. SO when I finally got an apartment situation figured out, I needed to furnish the place. I could have gone the Ikea route and bought a bunch of cheaply made stuff, but I decided that since I had an excess of time, and did not have a job, that I would make the furniture myself. In the midst of sending out tons of applications for potential jobs, I worked on my first piece: a coffee table. Since I had not yet found a job, my budget was small. I started to look for materials I could use that were relatively inexpensive but still had a lot of character. I found a guy who had collected wood from old homes down the street from where I lived, and he just so happened to have a small pile of lath that he was planning to burn. I purchased the small pile of wood and got to work. I had little to no tools when starting out, so I mostly worked with a small handsaw, a hammer, and nails. It took me a while, but I had made a pretty unique piece of furniture that I was proud of."
As development in Nashville has taken off like wildfire, Hayes has had no shortage of materials to work with. "It is a bittersweet situation happening in Nashville right now," he says. "On one hand I am so excited to call Nashville home, and see it grow in the ways that it has being here for as short of a time as I have. On the other hand it is really sad to see some beautiful homes being torn down to make room for shotgun houses with little to no unique qualities. I am trying my best to create a positive from something seemingly negative. Nashville is going to grow, and change whether we like it or not. Homes are going to continue to be torn down to make room for more homes, and there isn't much that can be done to stop it in the immediate future. But, if I can take apart a home, transform it into something new and unique, and let its history live on in another form, I think that is a pretty powerful thing."
Check out a few of our favorite pieces from Hayes.
Wall hanging made from materials found in a 12 South home built in 1926.
Coffee table made from materials found in a West End home built in 1900.
Barn wood wall installed in East Nashville.
Door made from materials from two 12 South homes.
Fireplace cover made from materials from a 1940s home in the Nations.