written by:
April 2, 2014
In a section of Nashville increasingly defined by large high-rise developments and national chains, a new boutique hotel and restaurant stays deliberately small and local.
404 shipping container hotel restaurant exterior
The 404 is a new boutique hotel and restaurant in Nashville’s rapidly changing Gulch neighborhood. Housed in a former auto shop next to the legendary Station Inn music venue, the small space stands in stark contrast to the new, large developments that have recently sprung up. The restaurant in front is partially housed in a shipping container that both extends the entry up to the sidewalk and acts as a visual focal point on an otherwise subdued exterior. Photo by Caroline Allison.
1 / 6
404 Nashville kitchen interior
The restaurant, which opened in late 2013, has already received national attention for its menu. The 404’s local emphasis is carried throughout the both the hotel and the restaurant, which serves dishes made from ingredients that are sourced locally or grown from the rooftop herb garden. The tabletops are repurposed from the original floor of the shipping container. Photo by Caroline Allison.
2 / 6
404 Nashville hotel bedroom interior

The hotel bedrooms are an eclectic mix of local antiques and modern furnishings. Much of the furniture, including beds and wardrobes were designed and manufactured by architect Nick Dryden, allowing them to be customized for the rooms. Lighting in the rooms is by Artemide and Pablo. Photo by Caroline Allison

3 / 6
404 Nashville living room loft interior
Because owner Mark Banks and architect Nick Dryden wanted to preserve as much of the original structure as possible, they faced the challenge of creating a comfortable space within a small footprint. The solution was to take advantage of the existing structure's 23-foot ceilings, and create lofts in the bedrooms. Photo by Caroline Allison.
4 / 6
404 Nashville guest lobby interior

An intimate hotel lobby provides additional relaxation space for guests. Because the hotel has only five rooms, it is not uncommon for large groups or touring bands book the entire hotel, turning the space into a de facto living room. A PIXO desk lamp sits on the lobby desk next to the antique couch. Photo by Caroline Allison.

5 / 6
404 Nashville bathroom interior

The bathrooms are stocked with Malin + Goetz toiletries and towels from the Nashville linen maker Turkish-T. The walk-in showers are lined with white subway tile. Photo by Caroline Allison.

6 / 6
404 shipping container hotel restaurant exterior
The 404 is a new boutique hotel and restaurant in Nashville’s rapidly changing Gulch neighborhood. Housed in a former auto shop next to the legendary Station Inn music venue, the small space stands in stark contrast to the new, large developments that have recently sprung up. The restaurant in front is partially housed in a shipping container that both extends the entry up to the sidewalk and acts as a visual focal point on an otherwise subdued exterior. Photo by Caroline Allison.

The Gulch neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee, has undergone a radical transformation in recent years. Once an industrial rail yard, the area is now more known for its shopping, restaurants, and high-rise luxury condominiums than for the warehouses and train tracks that were long its primary attractions. Despite the change, there remain a few holdouts from neighborhood’s industrial past, such as the Station Inn - a featureless stone building that has been a mainstay in Nashville’s live music scene since the mid-1970s. Next door to this storied venue, the 404, a new restaurant and hotel, has opened its doors. Despite being the new kid on the block, it leans distinctly towards the small-scale industrial temperament of the old neighborhood. 

The 404 emerged out of nearly 20 years of conversations between its owner, Mark Banks, and architect Nick Dryden—discussions on topics ranging from hotel and restaurant management to unusual methods of building. The resulting space is rooted in local history and preservation, while bringing a few modern touches to complement the old with the new. Housed in a former auto garage, the 404 is equal parts hotel, restaurant, and community collaboration, and a physical advocate of preservation amid the surrounding high-rises. Local culture and reuse are reflected in nearly every element of the design, from the rooftop garden, which supplies ingredients for the restaurant’s menu, to the Nashville-sourced products and furnishings that greet visitors to the hotel. 

One notable addition is the orange repurposed shipping container in front—a nod to the industrial past of the Gulch—which brings the entrance to the restaurant up to the street line. The rest of the building retains the original exterior of the auto garage that formerly occupied the space; a plain white box with chipping paint and a few small square windows. And that's precisely how Banks intends for it to stay. When a friend aked if he had plans to repaint the the old garage, Banks responded, “Why would we change it?” It's the worn exterior that reminds people of the old neighborhood when so much else has changed. 

Inside, however, modern touches bring comfort and style. The space inside the old garage was a cavernous volume with 23-foot ceilings, so when designing the hotel, Dryden faced a few unique challenges. “The rooms were an exercise in paring things down,” he says. With limited floor space to work with, Dryden took advantage of the high ceilings to create lofted living spaces above the beds and bathrooms. Finding furniture for such a space was also not a simple matter. While some of the furniture in the hotel was culled from other sources, Dryden, with help from friends at a local co-op workspace, personally designed and built much of the furniture, including the beds dressers, and vanities. 

With only five rooms, the 404 is about as small as a hotel can get, but the resourceful refuge works its small size to its advantage. Grocery stores, restaurants, and entertainment are just a few steps out the front door, so the hotel orients itself to suit the intrepid visitor who is more inclined to go out and experience the city than to stay in and dine on room service. (Not that the restaurant won’t whip up a meal for guests upon request). The hotel's small size also means that it can be nimble in ways that others can’t. Members of a band that is coming to town to record, for instance, might book all 5 rooms, and turn the hotel into a centrally located townhouse for the duration of their stay. 

Dryden sees the 404 as more than just a new destination on the neighborhood map. His hope is that, in addition to all that it brings to the block, the 404 will act as a lifeline to preserve a piece of what remains of the old neighborhood. Next door, the humble Station Inn has received astronomical offers of buyouts from real estate developers, but so far has stayed put. The hope, Dryden says, is “that we can give it at least a few extra years.”

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016