home tour

A carefully curated home

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One of our favorite friends and clients, Sandy Presley, opened up her home recently for us to share with you. It’s full of one of a kind treasures and collected pieces from antique shops and local Knoxville stores. Sandy’s home is one of those places that always feels like a breath of fresh air and a place where it’s easy to relax and be yourself. With a neutral palate and a warmth that comes from beautiful woods and colors, Sandy’s home is like a retreat. We hope you enjoy this peak into her beautiful space.

How long have you lived in your home?

14 years. When we decided to build, we purchased a house plan and customized it. We opened up the main living area more than the plan called for to make our space work better for hosting large groups of people.

The music room

The music room

Powder Room

Powder Room

Sitting nook in a guest bedroom

Sitting nook in a guest bedroom

What does home mean to you?

It’s a landing place for all my family. A gathering retreat where memories are relived and new ones made.

Living room

Living room

Living room— custom cabinets made from old heart pine that Sandy collected.

Living room— custom cabinets made from old heart pine that Sandy collected.

How would you describe your style of decorating?

Modern- rustic. I hope that it’s comfy and cozy!

Bench: Antique from a shop in Atlanta, watercolors from O.P. Jenkins

Bench: Antique from a shop in Atlanta, watercolors from O.P. Jenkins

Did your style happen organically or was it a process of figuring out what style means to you? Has your style changed over time? Do you have any favorite stores or shops for furniture or home decor?

I try not to be too trendy but always go with pieces I love. I tend to work with the character and nature of the home itself as well. I decorated our previous house differently because that home was a very different style than my current one. For furniture and decor I love the Restoration Hardware outlet and antique and vintage shops. Locally, my go-to’s for pretty things as well as therapy are O.P. Jenkins, Laws Interiors, & Bennett Galleries.

 
The keeping room

The keeping room

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collected books and treasures

collected books and treasures

You have some really amazing pieces in your home, what is your relationship to your belongings?

I’m not super attached to much of anything and offer almost everything to my kids except for my blue velvet chair in the keeping room. Everyone wants that chair!

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

Peaceful and relaxed and so comfortable that they want to come often.

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Do you have a style or home philosophy?

Love what you love. Don’t let magazines dictate what you should love.

Dining room with heart pine wood paneling that Sandy collected.

Dining room with heart pine wood paneling that Sandy collected.

How is your home an extension of yourself or of your family?

This home is too much house for me so I love sharing it with others. I’ve hosted many showers, parties, wedding events, Christmas carol sing along’s, even a wedding itself here. I always want it to feel open to anyone.

Foyer

Foyer

Laundry room details

Laundry room details

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Do you have a favorite room in your home? A favorite piece of art or piece of furniture?

The keeping room. I love the coziness of the fireplace and I love that you are still part of what’s happening in the kitchen.

I have put a lot of thought and care into everything I selected in the original design so each thing is pretty special. It’s hard to pick but I would have to say the wood panels in the foyer and dinging room as well as the cabinetry in the living room are my favorites. Sam Whisman and Bruce Kestrel made them from old heart pine wood that I’d collected over the years. I also collected antique doors for this house and have used them in all different ways.

 
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What do you love most about your home?

I love that it’s a quiet place of refuge for me, my family and my friends. I love that everything has a story behind it.

Sandy and her family. Image by  Texture Photo

Sandy and her family. Image by Texture Photo








Guardian of the Adventurer: A world traveler’s home tour

“Guardian of the Adventurer” protects loved ones on their journeys and guides them safely home. Made by  Mary Ennes Davis  of Crow River Studio. Mixed media made from a cupboard door, banister railings, coat hanger, rulers, letter press, coins, sterling compact, chopsticks, and beach glass beads. Purchased by Susie at the Smithsonian Craft Show.

“Guardian of the Adventurer” protects loved ones on their journeys and guides them safely home. Made by Mary Ennes Davis of Crow River Studio. Mixed media made from a cupboard door, banister railings, coat hanger, rulers, letter press, coins, sterling compact, chopsticks, and beach glass beads. Purchased by Susie at the Smithsonian Craft Show.

One of the many beautiful things adorning the walls of Susie’s home is a special piece of art titled “Guardian of the Adventurer”. I can’t think of a better way to describe the entirety of her home. Walking in, I immediately felt safe and welcome and like I had just stepped into a treasure trove. Susie herself is quite the adventurer, and her home is a perfect capsule of the many places she has been, the loved ones she has experienced life with, and the beautiful art she has both collected and created herself along the way.

An antique wedding chest from Germany circa 1815.

An antique wedding chest from Germany circa 1815.

Formal dining room with an AMAZING German folk art cupboard circa 1843 at the head of the table

Formal dining room with an AMAZING German folk art cupboard circa 1843 at the head of the table

Susie’s collection of Gaudy Welsh

Susie’s collection of Gaudy Welsh

Antique samplers and another beautiful German folk art cupboard circa 1806

Antique samplers and another beautiful German folk art cupboard circa 1806

A native of Oak Ridge, Susie spent many years with her husband, Carl, living abroad and in the D.C. area. When she returned to Tennessee in 2015, she settled into her home and has transformed her space into a wonderful collection of stories and past and present memories. With a fondness for where she’s come from and an excitement for what the future holds, her sense of adventure is contagious.

Copper Luster from England and treasured books

Copper Luster from England and treasured books

Collection of Ink wells and  Turnbridge ware  collected from England

Collection of Ink wells and Turnbridge ware collected from England

 
A German wedding box which says “When two hands are joined as one”.

A German wedding box which says “When two hands are joined as one”.

“Mother and Child”by  Jacque Parsley  of Louisville

“Mother and Child”by Jacque Parsley of Louisville

A collection of Dala horses and other treasures from Sweden passed down from Carl’s side of the family

A collection of Dala horses and other treasures from Sweden passed down from Carl’s side of the family

When I asked Susie what home means to her she described it as her nest, her safe haven-- and one that she can open up and extend to others as well. Home is her happy place, and it’s filled with the stories of her life. When people come into Susie’s home, her desire is that they feel loved and welcome. She loves creating a comfortable place that evokes curiosity and invites questions and storytelling.

Susie had the wonderful idea of replacing the panels of several of her upper cabinets with glass fronts to lighten up her kitchen.

Susie had the wonderful idea of replacing the panels of several of her upper cabinets with glass fronts to lighten up her kitchen.

A wonderful sun room that Susie converted from a screened in porch to be able to use year round.

A wonderful sun room that Susie converted from a screened in porch to be able to use year round.

Antique stained glass collected from a church in Aberdeen Scotland and framed to fit her space. We love the creative ways that Susie has customized her home.

Antique stained glass collected from a church in Aberdeen Scotland and framed to fit her space. We love the creative ways that Susie has customized her home.

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Susie’s decor leans toward traditional with a deep love for antiques (including some incredible European pieces) and a bit of quirkiness thrown in. One of her go-to spots for furniture and home decor was Westwood Antiques of Knoxville, which closed in 2018. The owner, Scott Bishop, now has a booth at Bearden Antique Mall. A self-proclaimed lover of all things hand made, she has a special love for created items. Artwork of all sorts graces her home, including carvings, sculptures, quilts, paintings, antique samplers, lithographs, and mixed media pieces. Susie shares that she’s had a good sense of her design leanings for as long as she can remember. She’s always loved antiques and folk art and has always gravitated towards certain colors.

Round Robin  quilt made by Susie and 5 friends from England

Round Robin quilt made by Susie and 5 friends from England

Hydrangea guest bedroom

Hydrangea guest bedroom

Antique depression era quilt hanging on wall. Quilts on bed are  Lone Star  variations made by Susie

Antique depression era quilt hanging on wall. Quilts on bed are Lone Star variations made by Susie

I was intrigued by how travel had influenced Susie’s decorating, and she shared that early on in her marriage, while they were living in Europe, they would purchase a piece of artwork in each place they visited. Sometimes it was a print or a lithograph and sometimes it was an original painting, but they always brought back a memory. As an Army wife, she was heavily influenced by the people she met and the places she visited in their travels.

If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris

Susie shares, “The above quote has always been my mantra for creating the 13 homes I’ve lived in as we’ve moved all over the world. As an Army family who had to relocate often, it was very important for Carl and I to make each place special—unique, our own, no matter if it was an Army-furnished set of quarters with generic furniture, a temporary apartment, or our dream home.”

Hydrangea quilt made by a dear friend of Susies. Jenny Harris is a British quilter who won prizes for her creation.

Hydrangea quilt made by a dear friend of Susies. Jenny Harris is a British quilter who won prizes for her creation.

In the same way, Susie’s own creativity and art has influenced her home. She has beautiful quilts, sketches, and other crafted creations throughout her home. She considers her home a large- scale photo album of her life.

Susie’s craft and art room

Susie’s craft and art room

Vintage pencil box

Vintage pencil box

Quilting closet. Every quilter needs a palette

Quilting closet. Every quilter needs a palette

Collection of miniatures from special places and adventures

Collection of miniatures from special places and adventures

Collected vintage and antique toys and children’s books from all over the world

Collected vintage and antique toys and children’s books from all over the world

In the same way that Susie has collected art and artifacts, she’s also collected people and brought them into her clan, blending and connecting beautiful things and friendships in new and synergistic ways. Thank you so much Susie for opening up your amazing home and sharing part of your story with us!

Susie and Carl in Suffolk, VA in December 2012

Susie and Carl in Suffolk, VA in December 2012

Webb Home Tour

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In the 1950's, a government-created flat top house was a hot commodity in Oak Ridge. Hugh Webb, a UT college student in 1952, bought one for a whopping $900 and had it moved to a plot of land in North East Knox County. Our home tour today offers a glimpse into the crafted home of two artists who have created a masterpiece of a home that started as a prefab box. Barbara and Hugh Webb have lived in their home for 60 years and they have redesigned, reconfigured, and revamped their home into a one of a kind oasis. With 10 acres, horses, and incredible vision, they have truly made a home for themselves.

   Early on they decided that, rather than moving around over the years, they would use their money to travel and work on the home they already had. They set a goal to take their children to every state in the US and to travel internationally as often as they were able. Whenever they got the itch to move, they would re-imagine their space and transform it to meet their needs. Barbara would draw up the plan, and Hugh would bring it to life.

   Barbara's mother was Finnish and her Scandinavian style carried over in a natural way. Barbara has always been drawn to clean lines and minimalist decor. With muted tones and lots of neutrals, Hugh claims that if he sat still long enough, Barbara might paint him to match the rest of the house. With a mix of family antiques and carefully curated decor, their home is like a gallery in and of itself. Barbara is one of the founding charter members of the Foot Hills Craft Guild and hasn't missed a show in 50 years! 

   When I asked Barbara what her secret to creating a home was, she said " We enjoy our home and we enjoy each other. That’s the main thing about everything—— enjoying each other." If you spend any time with Hugh and Barbara you quickly realize that they are an incredible team. They love to dream and create together and the results of their teamwork are visible all over their home and in their children and grandchildren who come by the house almost daily to feed the horses or stop in for a chat. Hugh and Barbara enjoy more than making art together, they go dancing every Monday night. She says, "I could Waltz across Texas with Hugh".

Enjoy these scenes from the Webb's home. 

The front door of the Webb Home

The bookcase is a family heirloom from Barbara's grandparents. The birds sitting on top were hand carved by Hugh.

The Living room with a portrait of the Webb's daughters done by Barbara

The Living room with a portrait of the Webb's daughters done by Barbara

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The tea party room.

Kitchen details

Vintage breadbox

Vintage breadbox

Breakfast room and view onto the back porch where Hugh and Barbara take a break from creating every day at 3pm for cake and coffee.

Barbara's studio

Miniature paintings by Barbara Webb

Barbara's studio

Master bedroom

guest bedroom details

guest bedroom

portrait of the Webb's daughters by Barbara