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854 North Central Street
Knoxville, TN, 37917
United States

(865) 245-9080

Help You Dwell is a home and workspace organizing service based in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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Blog

books, books & more books

taryn mcLean

DECIDING WHICH BOOKS TO KEEP

Photo via bookriot.com 

Photo via bookriot.com 

Consider these questions when sorting through which books you'll keep and which you are willing to part with: 

  • When was the last time I read this book?
  • Will I read it again?
  • If it's a cookbook, do I use it? Hint: the presence of food stains indicates a keeper.
  • Is the book a classic?
  • Does the book have specific value — is it a signed copy, first or collectible edition?
  • Is the book out-of-print or hard to replace?
  • Do you have mulitple copies? (Just keep one)
  • Do you have an electronic version of this book? (Let the paper version go)
  • Is this a book I've borrowed and need to return?

WHAT TO DO WITH BOOKS YOU'RE LETTING GO OF

  • Donate to: Friends of the Knox County Library, KARM, The Salvation Army, local churches
  • Specifically gift relevant books to: family members, neighbors, co-workers, or friends.
  • Recycle: if a book is beyond repair & has seen better days
  • Consign: your books at McKay's Books
 
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WHAT'S ON OUR BOOKSHELVES

STYLED BOOKSHELVES

Photo via designsponge.com 

Photo via designsponge.com 

Photo via designsponge.com

Photo via designsponge.com

Here's a fun video showing a few different ways to style your own bookshelf. And a cute infographic drawing of the different styles! 

It's all in the details: A downtown home tour

taryn mcLean

After having lived in their awesome apartment for about 2 years, Crista and Liam have hit the sweet spot--settling into a space that feels uniquely "them" and easy to enjoy. After living in South Knoxville while in grad school, they made the switch to downtown dwelling and haven't looked back. Crista loves the excitement of downtown living where you can walk or ride your bike to endless shops and restaurants, walk or ride the trolley to work, and can always find something to do in close proximity. After a year and a half living in the Firestreet Lofts, they moved to The JFG building which was home to a former coffee roasting business and feel like it's the perfect fit. Initially, it seemed that not having a yard was the only downside to living downtown but Crista and Liam now have a plot in the Old City Gardens where they are part of an awesome community of downtown dwellers and business owners that grow their own produce and herbs just down the street. Crista and Liam have been very intentional and thoughtful about the purchases they have made over the years and have learned that when you live downtown in a smaller space, you have to get serious about what you love and what is just taking up space. "We've found that buying things for the person you want to become,if you are not in the process of becoming that person, just leads to regretted purchases." Purchasing items that you love and that serve a practical purpose in your current space and life will keep you from the spontaneous buys that clutter up your home.

Crista and Liam's home & style philosophy is based on the quote below:

The details are not the details, they make the design.
— Charles Eames

In reference to the quote, they add that it's honestly a sentiment you can apply across your whole life. Whether in reference to work, attire, or home decor, in each area the details make up the whole. Paying attention to the small things makes the big picture so much better!

Living Room

Living Room

Dining area

Dining area

How would you describe your style of decorating?
I wouldn't necessarily put my style into a category— it's more of an approach. I’ve always been interested in interior decorating. Even as a child I loved looking at decor magazines and always had a file of clippings pulled from various places. I was always dreaming about ideas and re configurations. Functionality of space is really important in decorating— it has to drive how you fill a space. It can be a big challenge living down town with little closet space and small kitchens etc. We are slow to buy things and always take into account the quality of an item. We like to mix and match lots of different styles and era’s of furniture for a more unique look. We want to buy things that are not disposable— things we intend to keep for a long time. One of the things we really pay attention to in order to make sure things stay cohesive is color— we gravitate towards blues and grays with pops of red. We try to buy used or antique furniture and decor except for big investment pieces like our bed. We are always willing to wait longer to save up for items we really love and cherish. A few of Crista and Liams favorite local treasure troves are Mid Mod Collective and Willow Creek Antiques.

Master Bath

Master Bath

You have some really amazing pieces in your home, what is your relationship to your belongings?
Neither of us are super sentimental. The only things that we couldn't part with are family heirlooms. We have tried to do a good job with not attaching too many memories with “stuff”. Everything in our home has a function or a significance and we love it all but we aren’t tied to it in a way that allows it to have control or ownership over us. That being said, we have a few favorite items that would be hard to let go of. When Liam was born he was gifted a set of Silver ware from his grandparents with a really unique "H" monogram. (Liam's last name is Hysjulien) It's a beautiful set that we only use on special occasions. We try and form traditions around the items we love most. Another of our favorite possessions is our marriage certificate. We had everyone in attendance sign it saying that they would support our union and observed our marriage. It's a constant reminder that we have a wonderful community supporting us along the way.

Painting by Earnest Lee

Painting by Earnest Lee

Liam and Crista's marriage certificate

Liam and Crista's marriage certificate

Purchased at Lox at a First Friday Art Sale

Purchased at Lox at a First Friday Art Sale

Do you have any collections?
Baskets, dishes, and trays. We are very into corralling things to so that our surfaces remain clutter free. We definitely aren't minimialists which can sometimes feel sterile but we've found that clutter can be physically and emotionally overwhelming so we try to keep things simple. We love that our home feels lived in and representative of who we are.

Do you have a favorite piece in your home? Does our cat;Panda count? Favorite Room? Our bedroom. We have these amazing giant windows that make our room feel like an urban tree house.

Panda the cat in the master bedroom

Panda the cat in the master bedroom

Crista and Liam in front of the avocado tree that they grew from a sprouted pit 11 years ago when they first started dating.

Crista and Liam in front of the avocado tree that they grew from a sprouted pit 11 years ago when they first started dating.

What is your favorite thing about your home/why do you love your home?
 Truely--Who we share it with! Aside from that, It feels like the right space for our needs. The windows and the natural light are pretty incredible as well. We also love the high ceilings and the openness of the floor plan.

Guest Room

Guest Room

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

What does home mean to you?
We are home bodies so we spend a lot of time here. It has always been important to us that our home feels comfortable and happy to be in.

When people come into your home, what do you hope they feel?
I hope they feel how we feel— relaxed, cozy, and calm. We want the space to be used and enjoyed; comfortable. We love that our space is easy to rearrange and make conducive for all kinds of events.

Entryway

Entryway

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How is your home an extension of yourself or of your family?
Our home is definitely a collaborative outcome. We’ve thought about everything that occupies space here and both have really enjoyed the process of curating an apartment that feels true to us. A lot of our belongings are representative of specific trips and memories. It’s a space that we genuinely feel satisfied with.

Floor plan: 1100sq ft (2bd/2bth) Source

Floor plan: 1100sq ft (2bd/2bth) Source

Interested in where certain items are from? See the purchase list below. A big thank you to Crista and Liam for opening up their home and sharing their journey!

Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom

  • Chicken Art by Ernest Lee, folk artist in Columbia, SC

Spare Bedroom/Bike Room

Iron Bed: Goodwill (modified for structural support at Ironwood Studios)

  • Lamps: Rivermill Antique Mall in Townsend (rewired and shades from Calloway’s)

  • Square Table: Also from Rivermill Antique Mall

  • Martha Washington Sewing Cabinet: Blair House Antiques

  • Blue Pillow: Citizen Supply in Atlanta, GA

  • Wooden Shelf: Salvaged, as in literally picked up from the side of the road

  • Black and White Photo: Kudzu Antiques in Decatur, GA

  • Dolly Parton Print: Haypeep (was part of the SGC International printmaking conference held in Knoxville in 2015)

Entryway

  • Metal Cabinet: Salvaged

  • Yellow Dresser: IKEA

  • Bookshelves: IKEA

  • Rug: Antique Hand-Me-Down

  • Chicken Art by Ernest Lee, folk artist in Columbia, SC

Living Room/Kitchen

  • Couch: Room and Board

  • Record Holder: Mid Mod Collective

  • Rug: IKEA (similar here)

  • Coffee Table: Abode (used to be on Market Square)

  • Side Table and Long-Armed Lamp: Design By Conran Line at JC Penney

  • Lamp with Beige Shade: Etsy

  • Red Book Shelf: Antique

  • Bar Cart: Friends Antiques

  • Cat house: Amazon

  • Table and Chairs: West Elm

  • Beige Chair: West Elm (similar here)

  • Basket: Max Studio

  • Navy Floral Chair: Retrospective Vintage Store

  • Black and White Print: UT Print Sale, Allegedly by Jack Neely

  • Bergen Print: Antique

  • Hutch: Antique Hand-Me-Down

  • Kitchen Side Shelf: West Elm

  • Kitchen Island: Coldstream Market

  • Tablecloth: Etsy

  • Semi-Circle Wooden Cabinet: Uptown Market Antiques, Wilmington, NC

 

 

Let's school this...

taryn mcLean

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Such a bittersweet time of summer for all the mamas and papas of school-age kids out there. It's gone by so fast in some ways and in others, we cannot wait to get back into the rhythm of school. We totally get it. In an effort to make the next couple weeks move in the right direction with the least amount of stress, we've put together a few ways to get yourself and your kids ready to roll come that first day of school.

1. Get online and find the supply list.... today!
Most schools now post these on school websites, school Facebook pages/groups, etc.
And in Tennessee, this upcoming weekend, July 28-30 is tax-free weekend! While on the school website, check for meet-the-teacher dates and orientations too!

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2. Pull backpacks, lunch boxes, water bottles, and lunch box containers out now to assess their status. Lots of these items are already on sale during the "back to school" season and can be great to purchase on tax-free weekend if needed.

3. Spend 15-20 minutes with your child in their room and take a quick assessment of clothes for the early fall and shoes. So often our kids are in sandals or barefoot all summer and we don't realize they've outgrown all their close-toed shoes, which many schools require kids to wear.

4. If you haven't already, be sure your kids immunizations are up to date. Most pediatricians and family physicians know what is required for each school in your area. If you're not sure, you can always call the school to confirm.

5. Take your kiddo(s) on a "date" sometime between now and the first day of school. Try to be intentional with them and give them the opportunity to talk about what they're looking forward to in the upcoming year and what they may be anxious about. This 1-2 hours could mean the world to them as you prepare as a family for what lies ahead.

It's not rocket science to get our kids ready to get back in the classroom but it is good to have a few reminders, especially for us who have older school-age kids and might be slippin' a bit (like me :).
Hope this list helps you and if you have any tips to share, we'd love to hear them and so would our readers! Comment below...