Labor of Love

Scott and Kim Livorno breathe new life into historic Franklin structure

By Greg Seiter //  Photography by Angela Jackson, Dasee Johnson and Christy Norton

When it was built in 1910, the home that still sits comfortably at 252 E. Monroe St. in Franklin was probably a straightforward farmhouse that resembled other nearby dwellings, both in exterior structure and interior design. However, thanks to recent efforts by history enthusiasts Scott and Kim Livorno, that house is now a uniquely designed representation of traditional country living enhanced by simple yet modern expression.
The home is believed to have been constructed by the Payne family after the division of a large lot in the early 1900s. As time passed, ownership changed a few times, and the building was used not only for apartments but for military housing, as well. It was purchased by the Wildman family in the 1970s and was under their ownership until Bill Miller bought it in 2019. The Livornos purchased the house from Miller in 2022.
Kim Livorno was born and raised in Franklin. It is, to this day, a place she absolutely adores.
“I love downtown Franklin and decided I wanted to live there,” she said. “I had friends who lived on Monroe so at one point, I knocked on the door of this house and asked the owners if they were thinking about selling but they said it would be a while.”
So, Scott and Kim, who had taken on renovation work at their previous home, decided to buy a fixer-upper on nearby Jefferson Street in the downtown Franklin area.
“We bought that home knowing it needed work, but we loved it there,” Kim said. “It had a very small backyard but was close to everything and in the middle of events. We thought ‘this is it.’”
However, that wasn’t the case. Shortly thereafter, Miller, who conveniently served as a heating and air conditioning technician for the Livornos at their new Jefferson Street home, told the couple he was ready to sell the 252 E. Monroe St. property. Without hesitation, Scott and Kim moved once again, despite knowing they would be taking on another major renovation project.
Rich in simplistic curbside appeal, the 3,660-square-foot, four-bedroom, 2.5 bath home softly blends into a quaint, historic neighborhood thanks to a lightly colored exterior finish highlighted by white door and window frames. Even though the front porch’s floor is a deep burgundy/red, it is well-covered and guarded by a slightly-above-knee-high wall barrier and a series of white pillars, all capped with red top covers.
“We really haven’t changed much outside,” Kim said. “There’s beautiful landscaping there and we turned a twin bed into a porch swing. Most of the outside work was done in the backyard.”
A pair of wood plank rope swings hangs from the front porch’s ceiling, allowing for views that overlooks Monroe Street and opens into a public-park area where basketball courts and part of a creek can be seen.
“Back when I was a kid, people would line up to play basketball on those courts,” Kim said. “Rumor has it that Steve Alford played on those courts and that Larry Bird may have even come down here and gotten in line to play.”
The front door leads into a foyer that overlooks a wide-open kitchen area. To the right of the entryway is a family room and stairs. Surrounding walls and even the ceiling is white but the Livorno family offset that light and airy feel with aged, wood flooring, room-defining support beams and exposed-ceiling beams, trim, shelving and light-fixture supports.
“The downstairs flooring is absolutely amazing,” Kim said. “It’s made from different sizes of 100-year-old barn wood. There are knot holes and even splatters of paint. We even used leftover barn wood to create crown molding, a kitchen island and a coat rack.”
Just off the kitchen, there is a private dining room that was a bedroom prior to the Livorno renovation. Nestled between wood-themed walls and a similarly finished ceiling, the quaint space, which can be closed off for privacy thanks to suspended barn doors that hang on rollers, is lit by a suspended ladder that holds six individual bulbs supported by dangling ropes.
A spacious pantry can also be accessed off the kitchen.
Down the hall, guests will now find an office/bedroom and a walk-in laundry room that includes a door for backyard access. Utility room wall coverings mimic those found in the home’s dining room while suspended hooks provide additional storage options beyond the plentiful countertop space.
Most of the walls downstairs are covered in shiplap to accentuate the farmhouse atmosphere, while the incorporation of wrought iron on drawer handles, hanging light fixtures and even the stair railing add a western-themed flavor.
“The barn wood gives color and texture and we softened that with a lot of white,” Kim said. “Combined with some black, there’s just a comfy, cozy farmhouse feel inside.”
On the second floor, there are three bedrooms and two, full-bathrooms, along with what Kim refers to as a sleeping porch.
“It had been changed into something else, but we changed it back,” she said.
The light and wispy theming is continued upstairs with the utilization of white walls and doors along with wooden plank floors. New light fixtures were also installed.
In one of the bedrooms, lockers from Franklin’s former Jefferson Street junior high school have been installed to provide additional storage space.
“We didn’t do a lot up there except for the floors and painting,” Kim said. “It’s the best napping area in town.”
Brick and wood treatments can be found in the spacious basement, along with a newly added bar area.
Outside, the picturesque backyard features an open-air covered section that backs up against an alley-hiding privacy fence.
“The house had some issues when we bought it,” Kim said. “In fact, we had to raise it six inches because the alley was allowing water issues.”
Despite all their hard work, Scott and Kim recently sold their newly renovated home.
“The house is very large. It’s a lot. So the idea to downsize was a big factor for us. But we want to pass this on to another family to love and enjoy downtown Franklin just like we do.
“I think it’s very important to take care of our history. I wish I would have started doing this sort of thing when I was younger.”