Design & Décor, Living with Style, Travel Notes

48 Hours with Gen Sohr in Nashville

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I’ve loved Nashville since I lived in Atlanta many years ago, so returning this fall was an event I’ve long been anticipating. Particularly after recently meeting some of the town’s stellar design talent in the likes of Gen Sohr and Sara Bartholomew — (here to support former Nashvillian Mark D. Sikes as he took on his Coastal Living Idea House project).

So what better way to present my traditional travel blog, “48 Hours in Nashville”, than tapping these two designers to do the honors! Starting today with Gen Sohr, I’m going to look forward to their insider’s view — “go to” boutiques, fashionable hangouts and treasured to-dos.

Pencil & Paper Co.’s co-founder (with husband Benjamin), Gen is a major design force behind Nashville’s booming creative scene. Named as one of Southern Living’s Most Stylish Southerners, she’s known for her bright, bold aesthetic—effortlessly mixing new with vintage, and creating spaces that are both personal and pretty. Gen honed her skills as VP of Visual Merchandising and Marketing for Gap and Victoria’s Secret brands, and now uses her knack for design in interiors and lifestyle. Vogue named her an Interior Designer to follow on Instagram, where she shares daily inspiration with her 90,000+ followers (yes, ninety-thousand)! With her fresh, collected style, Gen brings modern Southern living to life.

Photo Credit: Tec Petaja

Where to Stay

The Thompson 
How’s this for a view  to bring the spirit of Nashville to life?

Photo Credit: Two Roads Hospitality

When traveling, I’ve been most inspired by… the architecture, landscape, and color palette of a new city!
My perfect meal consists of… pasta.
You’ll never see me… in head to toe black.


Henrietta Red
A pretty, airy, and chic spot for oysters and seafood small plates, with a separate bar for cocktails.

Photo Credit: Nathan Morgan

Mas Tacos
Speaks for itself; super casual.

Rolf and Daughters
An industrial-chic dinner location with clever New American dishes, communal tables and inventive cocktails.


In the 12 South Neighborhood

White’s Mercantile
Seek out gifts for others or treat yourself to something special.

Photo Credit: Amy Nicole Photography

Ceri Hoover
A not-to-miss boutique focusing on leather clutches, tote bags and shoes designed by the owner.

Draper James
Reese Witherspoon’s emporium of contemporary, timeless Southern style.

Photo Credit: Leslee Mitchell

Imogene and Willie
Denim, denim and denim.

Something that other people worry about but I don’t is… Only designing with “pedigreed” or expensive pieces! I believe in buying what you “love and we appreciate the art of a good “high/low” mix!
Favorite piece of furniture/object in my house/why? A pair of black and white vintage abstract paintings that Benjamin and I picked up at the Lincoln Road Flea Market. I love that each time we look at them, we have the memory of that day!


Live music at the Station Inn
A well attended concert venue in Nashville, Tennessee that Frommers touted as “one of the best bluegrass venues around.”

Drive through Belle Meade 
Nashville’s exclusive residential area with dreamy homes capturing the best of true southern architecture.

One of my current obsessions… forever and always beautiful vintage textiles.
Whenever I travel, I come back with… a vintage treasure from a local flea market.
What is your interpretation of “Newport Style”? Grand, classic, perfectly manicured gardens!
 Your 1st style icon is… The boldness of Diana Vreeland mixed with classic Grace Kelly.

Don’t Miss

Visit Robert’s Western World
A prototypical honky-tonk where live country music bands on Saturday afternoons have become a Nashville tradition.

More from the Designer

The best design advice I ever received came from… my mom!
The top city for design is… New York, Antwerp, Paris.
With design, the most common mistake is… to buy everything new!
The most versatile color is… whatever you love! But of course, blue is a “FOREVER” classic!
My secret design trick is… always include a vintage treasure!

Thank you, Gen, for joining us today! And on October 3, designer Sarah Bartholomew will provide her insider’s view of  Nashville, Tennessee.

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

4 thoughts on “48 Hours with Gen Sohr in Nashville

  1. Love this post Bettie!! Thank you for the inside look at the energetic and exploding market of design and spots to eat in Nashville! So jealous of your time with the design divas of Tennessee!!

    1. Hi Cynthia, the fun started last night on the rooftop at the Thompson and dinner downstairs at Marsh. Now I’m up bright and early for a full day ahead. Can’t wait!

  2. Bettie
    I was so excited to read your post today.
    As u know we love Nashville.
    We will be heading down in either November or January .
    Love all the tips. I actually contacted Sarah barthelmeow .

    1. Hi, loving this gorgeous weather and high energy. Sarah’s blog posts next week. Be on the lookout!

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