Take a Virtual Minibreak with a Visit to Ray Booth’s Healing Nashville Home
A partner at the prestigious architecture and interior design studio McAlpine, Ray Booth discovered PAGODA RED online years ago before visiting our Chicago space in person. “I have always felt a spiritual connection to Asian culture and antiques,” he says. “There is a simple, ethereal quality to them.” The same could be said of his own work, which is rooted in the natural world. Grounded by clean lines, tranquil palettes and timeless materials, his interiors radiate calm. A virtual visit to his Nashville home offers welcome inspiration and a breath of fresh air.
For the past 19 years, Booth has split his time between New York City and Nashville, but for the past couple of months he’s been sheltering in place at his Tennessee residence, a hilltop home he designed from the ground up. The rooms flow seamlessly from the indoors out, while windows strategically frame views of leafy cedars, oak trees, and the distant Nashville skyline.
Bringing Beauty Home
As a designer, Booth is always thinking about how people move through a home, and where the best vistas and perspectives might emerge. His own home is a case study in designing with sensitivity to the local landscape, from furniture arrangements to color choices.
“We are set on top of a ridge in Nashville,” Booth explains. “Beyond us is the open sky, silver and white clouds in the distance, and beautifully atmospheric purple-blue mountains. These colors all became our interior palette. When you make choices connected to context, they have more meaning, and you create a home that’s engaged in a sense of place. In this way, you transcend the trends.”
Staying close to home—both literally and figuratively—has sustained Booth, as the world outside undergoes global shifts. He sees homes as “emotional vessels” that contain joy, sorrow and the breadth of human feeling. “They’re a lens through which we experience the world around us,” he says.
Seeking Nature’s Medicine
His firm, McAlpine, has long held the belief that homes can be places of healing. Their portfolio is filled with what they call “curative homes,” spaces designed to foster “an outer beauty that reflects the world inside us.” Booth applies this philosophy not only to the homes he designs, but to his own life, as well. For him, simply viewing plants and flowers emerge on the hillside can be a transformative experience.
“It has been such a blessing to bear witness to to the hope and promise of spring blossoming outside our windows,” he says. “Each night, we sit in front of a large window wall of glass and have a cocktail. Finding those types of rituals in your home is key, especially now. To have one spot where you can let go and relax is so important.”
Inviting Old and New In
Another layer of emotional connection comes from the objects one chooses to bring inside. Booth often balances modern forms and materials with antique pieces, creating dialogues between past and present. He likens the design process to a dinner party. “The most exciting parties are the ones that have a diverse collection of invitees, old to young. There’s always something one can learn from the other.”
As someone who splits his time between the fast clip of New York City and the more leisurely pace of Southern life, Booth understands the importance of balance. “It’s funny,” he says. “Each place can be very provincial… It’s really about paying attention and not coming in with any preconceived notions.” Again, environment determines one’s approach. “Acknowledge the spirit of a place,” he advices, “be it city or country. It will tell you what choices to make.”
Thank you to McAlpine and Ray Booth for taking the time to share your work and your words! To learn more, visit McAlpine, check out his beautiful book Evocative Interiors or browse his furniture and decor collections for Hickory Chair and Arteriors.