Old North Knoxville

A historic home tour

Our latest home tour is full of history and heritage. We had the privilege of touring the lovely home of Megan and Caesar Stair in Old North Knoxville last week. The Stair's moved in, in 2010 and have wasted no time making it home and bringing it to life in new ways.

The home design is by famous architect George Barber and was built in 1898. It's original owner; W.T. Lang, was the foreman at Brookside Mills a textile mill that was one of Knoxville's largest employers in the early 1900's.  The home was christened "Pinecrest" when it was built and the name block still remains in the yard. The guest house behind the home was added later and was originally built to house the 100+ cats that belonged to Mrs. Lang who ran a cat orphanage of sorts. The home was at one point split into 4 apartments but has now been lovingly restored back to it's original use--a family home.

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In February of 2010 with snow covering the grounds, the Stairs had their first walk through and immediately fell in love. Megan says she was drawn in by the beautiful woodwork, character, and the hallway/landing in the upstairs which she immediately pictured her family making use of. Another thing Megan loves about the home is how the kitchen and tv room are tucked away towards the back of the house. While the front of the home is very open and conducive to large gatherings, it's nice to have the more functional/every day use spaces tucked in their own corners.

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One of my favorite things that Megan said during the home tour was that each house has it's own style and when you move into a home, you have to be intentional about "honoring the house". Megan has done a great job of blending both antique and modern pieces throughout her home in a way that feels seamless but eclectic at the same time. When I asked Megan about her style of decorating she shared that a lot of her furniture pieces have been passed down from family members or are items that have been brought back from travels. She has several really neat pieces from Morocco.

That wallpaper!!! all the heart eyes

That wallpaper!!! all the heart eyes

These beautiful built in's covered the master bathroom and closet.

These beautiful built in's covered the master bathroom and closet.

Megan's favorite kind of decor is art. The house is full of paintings, sculptures, mixed media and sketches. When I asked if she had a favorite piece of art she pointed out a piece by her brother, local artist Ryan Blair . (pictured below) She has several of his paintings and mixed media displayed but this one is her current favorite.

Megan's favorite piece of art. Mixed media by Ryan Blair

Megan's favorite piece of art. Mixed media by Ryan Blair

The Stair's recently renovated the kitchen and did an incredible job! The kitchen is Megans favorite room and she noted that she spends a lot of her time there. The kitchen is a great example of how Megan has blended modern,updated looks with the age and style of the home itself.

I asked Megan what "home" means to her and her response was simple- "a place where I can be comfortable". Her hope is that others feel the same way when they come into her home. Megan's home is a really great representation of so many people that she loves, from her brothers art to furniture that other family members have made, to projects that Megan has taken on herself, the Stair home is truly a work of love and one that has turned out beautifully!

One of the things that we (at HYD) get asked often is "How do you go about decorating a home?" Megan had some great advice to speak to that. Megan's philosophy is that she has to love an item to purchase it. When it comes to art, she looks for things that move her deeply. She thinks creatively and saves up to invest in pieces of furniture that are quality and will stand the test of time. There are seasons of life where you use what you have, you make things on your own, you gladly accept hand me downs and then over time you figure out what you love and replace the things that were place holders for the time being. Megan is a big proponent for finding your own style and while sometimes you need the help of a designer, at the end of the day she recommends settling with what feels most natural to your own taste.

Thank you Megan for opening up your beautiful home and sharing your style tips with us!

Old North Knoxville Home Tour

Image from  Victorian Holiday Home Tour  505 East Scott Ave.

Image from Victorian Holiday Home Tour 505 East Scott Ave.

Each month we try to feature a home tour on our blog. We love being able to hear about what "home" means to different people and we treasure the relational aspect of being invited into someones house. This month we offer you something a little different. If you have never attended the Old North Knoxville Home Tour, we highly recommend it. We attended this past weekend and have pictures and ideas to share with you. Although each of these homes was built around the same time period, in the same Victorian style, it was neat to see how each homeowner's personal taste and style came out in the decor.

303 Oklahoma Ave

303 Oklahoma Ave

302 E. Scott Ave

302 E. Scott Ave

We asked each home owner two questions,  "What do you love about your home?" and "What makes your home unique?". We got a wide variety of answers and loved hearing about the many renovation experiences and processes of restoring historic homes. Below are a few of our favorite responses. Enjoy!

"What we love most about our home is that we were able to take something neglected and dirty that most people would turn away from and rehab it into the gorgeous home it was intended to be. " (Leslie M.)

Photo by Alan Sims : Inside Knoxville 204 E. Oklahoma St.

Photo by Alan Sims : Inside Knoxville 204 E. Oklahoma St.

"Our home is unique because it has a distinct juxtaposition of modern and traditional features. We kept the rooms in our house segmented (vs. an hgtv-esque open concept) because each room in our house serves a specific purpose. All of our doorways are very tall and wide, so our rooms still feel open without sacrificing purpose. We believe that old homes should be maintained to serve their original purpose, and at the time of construction, our home would have been very modern and featured the best of the best. We tried to echo this in our renovations and do a modern interpretation of a Victorian home- we put new light fixtures where original light fixtures were placed, moved walls and doorways to original locations, and designed the home so that the purpose of each room was consistent with the original design. Maintaining historical features was very important to us, and we kept this in mind as we gave modern interpretations and new life to our home." (Leslie M.)

"We rarely ever turn a light on during the day. The huge windows let natural light abound and breathe such life into these old walls and hardwoods. That's what I love most." (Jenna V.)

302 E. Scott Ave

302 E. Scott Ave

302 E. Scott Ave

302 E. Scott Ave

302 E. Scott Ave.

302 E. Scott Ave.

"The thing we love most about our home is the neighborhood! Old North, with its gracious front porches and proximity to Happy Holler businesses means that you are always meeting a friend or neighbor as you walk down the street. Everyone here is so friendly and we love having impromptu dinner and drinks on our front porch with friends.  (Cat S.)

221 E. Oklahoma

221 E. Oklahoma

221 E Oklahoma

221 E Oklahoma

221 E. Oklahoma

221 E. Oklahoma

"Our house is filled with art and antiques, made by and gifted by family and friends. We also have many souvenirs of our travels together as a family. We think that these personal touches bring warmth to the space, and remind us of our favorite people and places every day. Our house is unique in that it hasn't been "remuddled" like some Victorians--we enjoy the original fireplaces and woodwork of the home and all of its original bones. We are also lucky to have an unusually wide front porch, which means that it can function as an extra room in our home--we have a "living room" with a sectional and a dining area out there that we use all the time when the weather is nice!" (Cat S.)

225 E. Oklahoma St

225 E. Oklahoma St

225 E. Oklahoma St

225 E. Oklahoma St

225 E. Oklahoma St.

225 E. Oklahoma St.

We loved seeing how creative people were able to get with their space. Some of our favorite ideas were using old mantels to create faux fireplaces, making great use out of porches and outdoor areas to extend living spaces, using a ladder as vertical (and pretty) storage to hang blankets, and utilizing architectural salvage as art and decor.

If you would like a home by home review of the tour, check out Inside of Knoxville's blog. Pt. 1Pt.2