Amy and Rick Cottle first noticed the house at 401 E. Lytle St. when they were living in a small bungalow, which they had renovated and moved into, just across the street. They had moved away from Murfreesboro for a couple years and upon returning in 2012 had decided life downtown was what they wanted for the next phase of life.
The house across the street was for sale almost a year before they finally bit the bullet and purchased it. They knew it needed a lot of work but Amy says they couldn’t stand the thought of someone else buying it and it possibly being turned into apartments.
“We enjoyed living in the cute, brick bungalow on Maney,” Amy said. “We had never thought about moving across the street, however, after the house was on the market for several months we began to think.”
Could the Cottles possibly restore the house at 401 E. Lytle Street?
Turns out they could, and they did. And now, instead of living on the corner of Maney and Lytle, they’re on the corner of Lytle and Maney. They are the fourth owners of the home.
Built by the Dunaway family in 1902 as a four square, 401 E. Lytle had its first addition put on in the 1930s. The Cottles know this to be true because, during their demo, they actually found a wooden sign in the walls indicating this.
“Until the 1930s, there was no plumbing in the house,” Amy said. “Currently, any room that requires plumbing is in the back of the house.”
Rick and Amy approached the restoration project with the goal of making the home historically modern.
“I like that about our home,” Amy said. “It has modern amenities but maintains the character of the early 1900s.”
The wood floors are the original floors; the tile and brick pavers are new, however the Cottles tried to select tile and brick that would look like it had been there all along.
“It took a lot of work to get the wood floors to their original condition, but our floor guy did a great job. I love the small burn marks on the hardwood in front of the dining room fire place. I imagine years ago the embers popping out and the scrambling that went on trying to put the fire out.”
The house was built with eight coal-burning fireplaces. Though they no longer work, the Cottles hope to eventually add gas coal to the downstairs fire places.
A big part of the renovation process has involved taking down some walls in order to open things up, most noticeably in the kitchen and the space that adjoin it.
“Our kitchen is the hub of our home, and it is open to our great room,” Amy said. “It makes for a great space to enjoy family and friends, and a little bit of alone time.”
The renovation is not quite complete, with a few tweaks to be made downstairs, including some trim work, caulk and paint. Upstairs, there are three rooms they have just begun work on.
The backyard is also slowly being reconstructed, with an upstairs enclosed deck overlooking it that holds serious potential in Amy’s creative mind. When its complete, it could possibly the best part of all.
Meet the Cottles
Rick and Amy Cottle moved to Murfreesboro from their home state of Georgia in the early 1990s for Rick’s job with an international flooring company. They have lived here for the most part since 1994, having raised their now-grown children, Adam and Madison, in Murfreesboro.
“The reason I say ‘we’ve lived here most of the time’ is because after 18 years of working in the corporate world Rick decided he was ready for a change,” Amy explained. “He applied and received a fellowship from Auburn University to obtain his PhD in consumer sciences.
For a while, Rick would go to school during the week while Amy stayed in Murfreesboro raising the kids and also working as an occupational health nurse at State Farm. Once both the kids were on their own Amy decided to move to be with Rick full-time.
“We sold our beloved home of 17 years, which was on the north side of Murfreesboro and moved to Greensboro, North Carolina,” Amy said.
Rick had taken a temporary position at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, where the couple enjoyed a short stay until Rick took a permanent position at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.
“Although we like Kansas State and Manhattan we were thrilled to be able to return to Murfreesboro when MTSU offered Rick a position,” Amy said.
Rick and Amy’s oldest child Adam and his fiancé Amanda have recently moved to Murfreesboro to work in the family’s business, which fittingly involves renovating and selling homes, Ellis Road Interiors. Prior to this Adam was a librarian at Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia.
Madison, their youngest, is an interior designer, real estate agent, and a big part of Ellis Road Interiors. She and her husband Bo live in Nashville.
“Between work, dogs, friends, remodeling our house and our children stopping by at least three to four days a week, our home is a hub of activity.”
Amy says it was their daughter who initially convinced she and Rick to move downtown.
“I’d always talked about how I thought I’d like it and one day Madison told me, “Put your money where your mouth is,’” Amy laughed. “I love it here . . . this is the most community-friendly neighborhood I’ve ever lived.”