City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Photo Location With Pizzazz

The Paper House Exudes Creative Energy

Whatever mood or look desired for a photography or videography project, one of the rooms at The Paper House is bound to meet the needs. This charming, mid-century East Nashville ranch home off Mitchell Road is full of gorgeous wallpaper, eclectic decor and bright colors, honoring the vibrant palettes of the 1950s.

Homeowner and business hostess Tracy Allison is often lauded for her design prowess in that the place 'seriously looks straight out of a Pinterest board' with props, including pillows, furniture, books, plants, lamps, vintage TVs or radios, and through windows to an adjoining suite, even a live, black and white feline named Tux, short for Tuxedo Allison Paws. As a former neighborhood stray, Tux now from afar oversees quality control. 

There's a good reason the ambiance is viewed as authentic. Much of the furniture and props are actual antiques passed down from Tracy's grandparents. 

After Tracy moved to Nashville from New York about eight years ago, she purchased the house in 2017, which was built in the 1950s and has always served as a residence. "My initial thought was to turn certain portions of it into an Airbnb. So, it needed some updates. But when I stripped the first room down to the studs so I could wallpaper, I learned whoever built it decades ago wasn't concerned about keeping everything level," she recalls. 

As a burgeoning DIYer, Tracy remembers trying to cover the inch gaps with wallpaper, which quickly fell down. So, she studied online sources, earnestly devouring renovation-specific tips, and realized remaking the house might be an ongoing journey.

Stemming from working with Penske Media Corporation/PMC Media (Rolling Stone and Billboard), Tracy's background was in handling concert photography and editing images. "I had gotten out of photography, however, even selling my Nikon. But then a few people (in Nashville) asked me to do some portraits, and I thought I could hang some smaller pieces of wallpaper as background, or set design. That led to needing to change the color of the wainscot, which led to other updates," she says. 

By October 2020, the art department with which she worked disbanded due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, The Paper House was launched to the public during April 2021, aptly named after all of Tracy's learning curve with wallpaper. "There was a time when I walked out of Sherwin-Williams that they said, 'See you tomorrow,'" she reveals. 

"The concept took off surprisingly well, and guests seem to have fun, inspiring experiences here," she says. 

Approximately 1,400 square feet of space is available across six different, themed rooms with bountiful natural light. Photographers who have anchored from the location state every room has a unique, vintage, one-of-a-kind feel that inspires.

Project teams also state the house is so tastefully furnished, they're able to get such a variety of images in just one shoot. 

Since opening, Tracy says CMT filmed a clip of Maren Morris at the house, and several older couples have used the house in heart-warming ways to revisit their historic memories. "I've also been finding out recently how many people are getting married here during their sessions, with just an officiant, photographer and a few witnesses." 

Out of respecting guests' privacy, Tracy remains on the property during the sessions but doesn't hover over them. "Sometimes, I do find interesting props left behind, such as fake hundred-dollar bills," she quips. 

Located near Shelby Park, hours of operation for The Paper House are Mondays through Sundays 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fee is $110-$150 per hour, with a 2-hour minimum. Tracy, who actually lives at the residence, invested in ample sound proofing to ensure that scheduled sessions can be conducted correctly from a sound quality perspective. 

Furthermore, Tracy herself became motivated by the location and reinvested in a new Sony camera. Both Rolling Stone and Billboard since have hired her to do photo sessions there. 

Notably, Peerspace named the House the fourth best production space in Nashville for their 2022 Open Door Awards.

Will Tracy keep evolving the beloved Paper House? "Well, if I find the right wallpaper...," she admits with a smile.

or [search Nashville/Paper House]

This beautiful home in East Nashville leaves quite the impression, with gorgeous furnishings, various vintage looks, unique decor and a bright, warm vibe throughout it.

  • Tracy Allison / Photo by Ansley Rushing
  • Tux