I realize that the sale of the mansion known as Bella Luce (Italian translation is ‘beautiful light’) is old news, but I need to congratulate the builder who spec built this world class Tuscan estate, Jimmy Franks. Most of you know Jimmy Franks as the co-founder of Tennessee Valley Homes, but most do not know that he spec builds such massive works of art…and risky works of art at that. Jimmy’s custom home building business is Old South Construction, separate from Tennessee Valley Homes.
Kenny Chesney Buys Bella Luce for $9.2 Million
A month ago, the local press confirmed that country music mega-star Kenny Chesney purchased the 11,1143 square foot 30 acre Tuscan mansion for $9.2 million. They also confirmed that Mr. Chesney purchased an adjoining 7 acres for $755,000. The home itself features 5 bedroom suites, 7 full bathroom, 2 half bedrooms and 6 car garage. The home had been under construction for several years and is located at the very back of the Legends Ridge subdivision in Franklin, TN.
Belle Luce is not Just Another Franklin Mansion
Several times during construction I had the privilege of walking through Bella Luce with Jimmy Franks and it was clear after just the first few steps that this home was not only spectacular, but also utterly unique. Details like mining limestone and engaging stone masons for months on end to create the custom stone work seen throughout the home and utilizing hundred year old forested trees for interior beams make this home worthy of architectural digest. Actually, that’s just the beginning.
This Santa Fe clay barrel tile-roofed Tuscan style villa was designed by notable architect Brad Norris and was constructed with 150-year old brick, reclaimed walnut wood floors, Mesquite hand-carved doors, hand-crafted iron light fixtures, hand-painted tiles, labor intensive Venetian plaster walls, and a Crestron full home automation system.
The main rooms of Bella Luce include a castle sized living/dining room combination with wood floors, a soaring ceiling with exposed Douglas Fir wood beams and trusses, two massive custom chandeliers, a glass wall of windows and French doors that open to the pool terrace and two 25-foot high limestone fireplaces bookending each side of the room. Other main rooms include a den, billiard room, exercise room, and an immense kitchen with double glazed cabinetry with three dishwashers.
Some of the additional uber-celebrity style amenities include: a gated driveway nearly a mile long, a hydraulic elevator that services all 4 floors, three of the most expensive spiral staircases in Tennessee, a home theater with stadium seating, a sewing/gift wrapping room, a lookout tower with phenomenal 360 degree views, an infinity edged salt water swimming pool and spa, over 3,000 square feet of covered terraces and walkways, several outdoor entertaining areas, an outdoor catering kitchen, private pond and dock, a 6-car garage equipped with heat and air-conditioning and, a helipad, which is just hella-cool.
Congratulations Jimmy Franks
In closing, I’ve done business with Jimmy for close to 5 years now and I want to offer him more than a congratulations on the sale. I could care less if Kenny Chesney bought the house or Bernie Madoff did, it makes no difference. My congratulations is on the vision, execution and fortitude it takes to not just build an estate, but to erect a piece of architecture that has the significance to be relevant decades from now. Anyone can build a giant house in Brentwood, you see them all over Princeton Hills and Governors Club, but it takes a true craftsman to build Bella Luce. Congratulations Jimmy, well done Sir.
[Pictures removed at owners request]