How would you like to live where two of American music's greatest icons made their home for 35 years? Johnny and June Carter Cash's three-story home in Hendersonville, Tenn., could be yours for $2.9 million.
Photo Credit: Marilu White
Nestled on 4.6 acres of land on the outskirts of Nashville, the contemporary house at 200 Caudill Dr. was the couple's home until their deaths in 2003. It's located near the late Roy Orbison's former home that's now owned by another famous country couple -- Marty Stuart (Cash's former son-in-law) and wife Connie Smith.
Tommy Cash, Johnny's younger brother who scored three Top 10 singles of his own in 1969 and 1970, recently gave CMT News a private tour of the premises. A Hendersonville realtor, Tommy is showing the property to a carefully-screened list of potential buyers.
A security shack is at the front of the blacktop driveway leading to the Cash home.
"Most people respected his [Johnny's] privacy," his Tommy told CMT News. "When John was in good health, he and June would go out to the gates and say hello to the fans and sometimes even get up on the tour buses out there."
To the left of the house, there's a small pool and a bell garden where June once tended to her roses. It's the same area where a then-struggling songwriter named Kris Kristofferson landed his helicopter in a desperate attempt to get Cash's attention.
"Kris was trying to get him the song ["Sunday Morning Coming Down"] back in '69 and early '70, and Johnny never could get the song to listen to it," Tommy said. "Kris flew his helicopter out here ... brought Johnny the tape, and John said 'Well, if you would risk your life around these highline wires to come bring me a song, come on, and let's listen to it."
Built in 1967, the house boasts 13,880 square feet of living space featuring seven bedrooms, five full baths and two half baths.
"John and June moved into it in the early part of '68," Tommy said. "June had it beautifully decorated, and John loved it here."
Tennessee builder Braxton Dixon had been constructing the home for his family, but when the Man in Black saw it, he laid claim to the place.
"One day, Johnny happened along and said, 'I like this place. I like the round rooms, and I like the looks of his whole area,' and said, 'I want to buy it,'" Tommy said.
One of the four round rooms was June's chosen spot to entertain family and famous friends, including former President Jimmy Carter.
Johnny's favorite spot, however, was called the Lake Room, which sports a beautiful view of Old Hickory Lake. Tommy says his brother's muse was often inspired there.
"He wrote a lot of hit songs in this room and entertained family and friends, and Mom and Dad all the grandchildren," he explained. "This was a happy room, and we had all the Christmas parties in here over the years, every year for about 30 years in a row."
It was the same room where Johnny Cash sat at the piano for his last music video, "Hurt," and where many impromptu musical performances took place.
"Guitars were passed around, and people would sing their favorite song or a song they'd just written or maybe a hit record they were having at the time," Tommy said. "I remember nights when there were guests like Carl Perkins and Brooks & Dunn and Bob Dylan [and] Billy Graham."
Up the adjacent steps and above the Lake Room is a spot they called the Orange Room for its color of lights and bedspread. It served as the main guest room where many famous friends spent the night.
"My brother spent a lot of time in this room as he grew older," Tommy said. "He liked to be here with the great view of the lake. I think that he felt the presence of all the people that had been here in the house."
Red carpet walls and portholes in the shower stall prompted the Cashes nicknaming one room as the Elvis bathroom. The side of the door contains markings of height that measured Cash's nieces, nephews, son John Carter Cash (the tallest member of the family now) and the legend himself.
The most popular room in the house for the family was the 20-by-27-foot great room that contained a beautiful fireplace, in addition to an elevator that was installed in early 2003 because the performers' frail condition made climbing the stairs difficult. It traveled from the master bedroom suite to the family room.
Behind the great room is a 12-by-24-foot kitchen where the Cash brothers spent a lot of time.
"He'd get up and make his own coffee, and he always had lots of fruit bowls sitting around," Cash recalls. "I'd come up here, and we'd cook peanuts -- parched peanuts -- in the oven. He loved parched peanuts and Breyer's ice cream."
A huge chandelier hangs from the couple's master bedroom that is painted a shade of "June blue." The room still contains the couple's antique bed they used since 1988. The bed and six other pieces of furniture are part of the property's asking price.
Three types of people have been surveying the home for possible purchase.
"Some people would want to turn it into a museum," Tommy said. "Others would want to renovate it and make it their own beautiful home. ... Others want to just completely restore it and make it look like it did when it was originally new."
However, he has his own profile for the potential buyer.
"We're looking for that one person that will enjoy the house and respect the integrity of my brother and June Carter Cash," he said. "Just make it a wonderful home."