An Eastside Resurrection

By: Maggie Ward

A hometown design firm and local makers breathe new life into Nashville’s favorite mission-driven, boutique hotel, The Russell


At the corner of Russell and South Ninth streets in East Nashville, a 1904 Presbyterian church is reborn as a concept-driven hotel that’s as eclectic as the neighborhood it calls home. The Russell was resurrected in 2019, infusing the creative spirit of its eccentric community while preserving its storied architectural history. “We tried to honor the historical references of the church but push it in a modern way, making it a colorful, cheerful space and unique experience,” says Katie Vance of Powell, an award-winning, Nashville-based design-build firm.

What once served as the sanctuary now houses the Russell’s lobby, where two giant stained glass windows are preserved as the focal point, dictating the space’s kaleidoscope color palette. In cheeky nods to the property’s past life, “church banners” featuring iconic Nashvillians Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, by artist Shelby Rodeffer of Finer Signs, adorn the walls, while adjacent “confessional booths” house amenities like a podcast studio and a Smile Booth photo studio. There’s an in-house library curated by local establishment the Bookshop and a dedicated bar area designed to accommodate pony keg hookups, allowing local brewers to host events. And that’s just the lobby—each guest room is outfitted with headboards upcycled from former church pews, custom wardrobes by Holler Design, and illumination from custom-made sconces from Southern Lights Electric. 

The entire ethos of the hotel is community-driven not only in design but also in purpose. The Russell’s Rooms for Rooms program gives a generous portion of each night’s stay away to local nonprofits that help those experiencing homelessness. From their locally focused philanthropic mission to the close network of independent makers and artisans called upon to contribute to the Russell, community is woven into the very fabric of Nashville’s favorite boutique hotel. 

featured in the russell nashville, a Stained Glass Window with flowers and swirls in orange, green, and browns

Get the Look:

Reclaimed Stained Glass

Local vendor Hendricks Stained Glass brought new life to the kaleidoscope focal point in the Russell’s lobby. Mimic the artistry with a reclaimed hand-painted stained glass panel recovered from an English church for a standout installation$2,162;

featured in the Russell nashville: a wooden stool with a backless, mustard yellow seat

Colorful Mid-Century Barstool 

This beautiful reproduction of Erik Bucks design of the 1960s Teak Counter Stool channels the vibrant nature of the Russell’s lobby seating. It comes in assorted colors for a modern palette. $210

featured in the Russell nashville: a big wooden, red lounge chair with a. little pillow

Sculptural Lounge Chair

Shapely club chairs from Blu Dot flank mid-century modern sofas in the Russell’s lounge. Snag the look with their field lounge chair, which comes in a variety of shades and fabrics. $1,995;

featured in the Russell nashville: a multicolored plaid rug with yellows, oranges, pinks, blues, and greens

Multicolored Plaid Rug

A checkboard rug patterned with multiple hues anchors one rooom in the Russell. This multicolored plaid base by Annie Selke provides a similar playful pop of color. $398;

Church Pew Bench

Reminiscent of the antique church pews from the Russell’s former iteration, this high-back bench from Birch Lane can be outfitted with striking cushions for your own religious experience. $635;

: a wooden church pew bench

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