A Retired Couple Moved to the Nashville Area to Create Their Dream: a Home for Jam Sessions

After moving to the Nashville area, Richard Broming was inspired to turn his love of music up a notch by transforming his new property’s no-frills barn, once used to sell antiques, into a space for jam sessions.

Mr. Broming and his wife, Gloria Broming, retirees from Laguna Beach, Calif., purchased the barn in 2016 as part of a 21-acre, five-building property in the village of Leiper’s Fork, Tenn., about a 30-minute drive from Nashville. They paid about $1 million. A year later, they sought to revamp the 2005 structure while keeping its original footprint.

“We wanted it to look farmhouse-industrial, with a little bit of modern flair,” says Mr. Broming of the renovation, completed in 2017 at a cost of $400,000.

The stand-alone barn is set alongside the Bromings’ half-acre pond.

Photo: Andi Whiskey

They had paid the asking price for the property, Moonshine Hill, which included a bed-and-breakfast, the barn, a treehouse, a pavilion and a cedar-log cabin.

The Bromings are still in the process of building a new home on their land, at a cost of $1.6 million, and plan to use the B&B as a guesthouse. The home will be 4,000 square feet with two bedrooms and three bathrooms. It will occupy mostly one floor; the second bedroom and a bathroom are above an attached garage.

Richard and Gloria Broming

Photo: Richard and Gloria Broming

Having a space for music was a longstanding goal. Mr. Broming has been in a rock ’n’ roll band since his college days, playing for decades with friends in weekly band practices. Even before retirement, Mr. Broming and his bandmates hosted an annual Beachstock concert on the front lawn of his California home.

Moving near Nashville made it easier to watch and play live music, says Mr. Broming. “Everything functions with a pickle jar,” he says. “It’s a treat.”

After an online search, the Bromings hired architect Jim Rill, based in Bethesda, Md., for the renovation. They were drawn to the aesthetic of his completed projects. To start, Mr. Rill spent three days with the couple to help them flesh out plans for a music barn that could double as an intimate entertaining space.

“They wanted to keep the aura of this barn, but we made it even more barnlike,” says Mr. Rill.

Materials were kept simple, including an interior of reclaimed barnwood that the couple handpicked from East Tennessee, a metal roof, cedar board and batten for the outside, and stone for interior and exterior fireplaces. Mr. Rill added exposed timber beams to the ceiling, and installed oversized black aluminum-frame windows and doors that enhance water and valley views.

Upon entering, guests see the Americana Music Triangle mural that local artist John Turner Jr. painted for the original barn to highlight nearby music attractions. The area has long been popular with celebrities and musicians. The artwork was taken down and stored during construction. It is now a focal point.

Glass doors open to a wraparound terrace. The mural on the back wall was part of the original barn, which was used to sell antiques.

Photo: Andi Whiskey

The mural room, kitchenette and bathroom are adjacent to the large interior space, separated by a barn door. The main space houses a display of Mr. Broming’s guitars, amplifiers, drums and other instruments he has collected over the past 50 years.

“Anybody can grab a guitar or mandolin and start playing,” says Mr. Broming, 67, a retired community planner who enjoys playing roots rock.


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A set of glass doors slide open from the music area to a wraparound, unpolished-concrete terrace. Guests can look out onto a half-acre pond that the couple fills with bluegill and largemouth bass for fishing. Upstairs, they added a bedroom for overnight guests.

For now, there are few staying the night. Plumbing will come later this year, when the couple completes the new main home. It connects to the music barn via a covered walkway.

Ms. Broming, 55, says she wanted the barn space to be comfortable and flexible, even for those like herself who are unlikely to pick up a guitar. Her gardening club comes over regularly. Recently, she hosted friends for an afternoon of strudel-making, a recipe she learned after a visit to Austria.

Next, Ms. Broming is planning to invite a yoga instructor. “Bringing the community to the barn—that was one of the things we wanted,” says the retired urban-farming educator.

The barn has a kitchenette and bathroom, plus a stone fireplace. There is a second stone fireplace outside.

Photo: Andi Whiskey

The outdoor fireplace is a favorite evening backdrop for the couple’s cribbage games.

The two kept the music going despite the pandemic. As venues closed, they invited area musicians to play on their property, setting up speakers outside to allow guests to social distance while listening to performances.

For big events, the Bromings open the sliding doors and let guests onto the deck and lawn areas that overlook the pond. “Everyone out here plays guitar,” says Mr. Broming, who owns custom-made Collings guitars from Austin, Texas. “I’m surrounded by superior talent; it’s great inspiration.”

The couple spent years trying to relocate to the area. After attending a friend’s daughter’s wedding in Tennessee in 2011, they were eager to find a property where they could retire and fulfill their longstanding dream. “We wanted to have a music barn as part of our retirement for as long as I can remember,” Mr. Broming says, adding that they were inspired by musician Daryl Hall, who had a music barn as part of his rural retreat. Three other couples from the wedding have since also relocated to the area.

The two have staggered their renovations on the property. They gifted the treehouse to friends and revamped the barn. They are working with Mr. Rill to finish their main home by early 2022, meanwhile living in the B&B. The log cabin is used for storage.

The music barn has helped the couple become part of a thriving community. They have made friends with local musicians and others in the industry. “The whole Southern hospitality is a real thing,” Mr. Broming says.

Write to Alina Dizik at alina.dizik@wsj.com

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