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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.

Blog

a home by the river

Caroline Smith

If you live in Knoxville you've probably heard of Texture Photo. Carrie is the woman behind the camera! She is full of spunk, creativity, love, and deep thoughts and her home perfectly embodies who she is and who she and Eric are as a couple. They have both poured so much time, thought, and labor into transforming this house into a beautiful home. We are so excited to invite you into see a glimpse of it.  All pictures were taken by TexturePhoto.

How would you describe your style of decorating? 

I guess I would describe it as modern with character. As a photographer, I’m drawn to clean lines and lots of white space. I’m also super nostalgic, so I really enjoy keeping things around the house that remind me of the people and places I love. For example, I’ve learned so much about business from my parents, so I keep a faded (and really cheesy) photo on my desk that my dad used have on his desk years ago. It says “If you act enthusiastic, you’ll be enthusiastic!” Probably not always true, but it makes me laugh every time I see it and reminds me of the positive attitude and outlook that they always encouraged my sisters and I to have. 

Did your style happen organically or was it a process of figuring out what style means to you?

Definitely a process. I’m a fan of honoring the space and working within the container I’m given. For many years that meant curating pieces that went along with the house I was currently renting. Most often, there was a lot of character and really cool wallpaper or painted walls that I just had to accept, and therefore for a while my style leaned more towards colorful character. At that time, I used lots of my grandmother's quilts and other nostalgic pieces.  Now that I own my home, I've had a chance to paint the walls a color I wanted. I opted for as neutral as I could get. All white walls seemed a little boring at first, but I really, really love the empty space that the white (or black) walls give for a few reasons: 1. They create a blank canvas for the pieces I want to put on display and 2. my home feels less chaotic and, as a result, helps my mind feel less cluttered. I know white surfaces probably won’t be great for kids one day, but for now, I’m soaking them up. 

When people come into your home, what do you hope they feel? 

Peacefulness. When I’m near the water (my home sits right across from the Tennessee River) I always feel more peaceful, so I hope others feel that same stillness when they’re in my home. 

Do you have a style or home philosophy?

I often think about the balance between functional and beautiful. If it’s beautiful, but not functional, then it doesn't feel very practical. And if it’s functional, but not very pleasing to look at, then it’s not as enjoyable to have around. I often find myself moving furniture, photos, or other art around until those pieces feel like they've found a balance of functionality and beauty.

Do you have any collections?

Mugs!  In college I started drinking hot tea (never quite developed a love for coffee) and somewhere along the way I fell in love with hand-built pottery mugs. Every time I travel somewhere, I do my best to find a mug with some character. My current favorite is the one my fiance and I purchased the weekend we got engaged. 

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Talk to me about the concept of making your home your canvas?

I want my home to be a blank canvas for those that live in it and for those that visit -- to be a place where life can be lived fully. When we stumbled on this little house and decided to renovate it, I thought a lot about the kinds of spaces that I enjoy the most. Weirdly, I love kitchens that are inviting (especially the ones with couches or breakfast tables in them!) because it seems like, most often, everyone gathers in the kitchen. So why not combine the kitchen, living room & dining room all into one open space?! After knocking out a few walls (and putting up a few others), I now feel like I have a space that I can constantly re-create within. My home feels like a blank canvas that doesn’t force me to create a certain way and it gives me the freedom to rearrange whenever the mood strikes (which is way more often than I’d like to admit). But most importantly, it now feels like a gathering space for shared meals, good conversations and lots and lots of laughter.

What does home mean to you?  How is your home an extension of yourself or of your family?

I grew up on a lake in Georgia, so the river feels like home. One of the biggest reasons why I fell in love with Knoxville is the fact that the river runs through it; it felt like home even though it wasn’t. 

My childhood home had a lot of windows and ever since I moved away, I’ve missed the light flooding into the space like it did there. And now, as a photographer, I’ve learned to look for light even more. While we were renovating, I was really hopeful that we could add windows. These days, I often find myself standing at those added windows, staring at the river, totally blown away that I get to live here. I didn’t do a thing to deserve it, but I’m wildly grateful.