This is going to be more of a photo essay of these two beautiful residences. This will be the final post centered on the City People Downtown Home Tour 2013. The first I’ll spotlight is the Mary Boyce Temple House. I first wrote about this lovely home in September 2010 - just over three years ago. Knox Heritage hosted a tour of what looked like a madman’s dream. The madman was Brian Pittman and he has slowly transformed that crazy dream into a reality. I visited with him three months ago and photographed the progress on the house up to that point.
The hundred-and-six-year-old home made its way onto the City People Tour this year and has changed in the three months since I last saw it. It’s a magical place filled with history and Brian has honored that history to a detail. From the marble porch, past the (soon to be) grand stairwell and through each floor, the spirit of the original home has been honored. Mary Boyce Temple is credited with being Knoxville’s first preservationist and to have her house so honored feels like a nice symmetry.
It’s important to understand that this home was nearly demolished in 2006. Just a few short years ago this home could have been lost forever. It was considered ugly and unsalvageable. Does that sound familiar? Those words are spoken nearly every time someone wants to tear another building down. This home is a testament to what can happen when the wrecking ball is stalled. How long until we learn?
The house is three floors with the first where Brian intends to live. The second floor, which includes its own kitchen, will be home to Brian’s mother. The third floor, which was not previously habitable, will be a thoroughly modern space with a bedroom and kitchen reserved for family. The former attic provides the most spectacular views of the river and the Henley Street Bridge.
The views are one of the biggest attractions to the home as nearly every window frames something spectacular. From different vantages, the Smoky Mountains, the Sunsphere and Church Street United Methodist Church are visible. Brian, an architect, utilized the windos to their fullest extent. The window over the second floor kitchen, for example, frames the Church Street United Meothist Tower perfectly, which isn’t a bad thing to look at as you do dishes.
Also included on the tour was the duplex beside the Mary Boyce Temple Home. Built in 1940, it is now a single-family residence where Brian lives while the construction continues next door. It’s a more modern space, with a few thousand of Brian’s books along with many items awaiting removal to the Mary Boyce Temple House. Thankfully, the new home will offer a library.
The final home I’ll show you is the top floor Glencoe home of Eddie Mannis. Mr. Mannis may be known to you as an assistant Mayor, until his recent resignation, the owner of Prestige Cleaners or as the person who routinely flies WW II vets to D.C. at no cost so they can see the memorial there. Unfortunately, it appears Mr. Mannis will soon move out of downtown as his home, which has recently been listed at $998,500, as it is currently under contract. Don’t you wish you’d read this first and grabbed it up?
It’s actually two units blended into one, which raises its square-footage to over 3500 square feet. It has a wonderful covered balcony overlooking First Presbyterian Church and Cemetery. Two gas fire places, rich wood, a tricked-out kitchen with gas range and a wine cellar make it a very special property. The shower alone is a wonder to behold.
Beyond simply the bones, the home showed wonderfully because of the exquisite furnishings and art spread throughout. The light fixtures surprise throughout as chandeliers hang in unexpected places and scale is used to great effect, with oversized fixtures which never seemed overwhelming. A beautiful grand piano anchored the entertainment room, while paintings and sculptures warmed the space.
Urban Woman was particularly taken with the black baseboards and deep red walls and announced her intention to emulate that feature in our own home. I could have done worse. Some of the features in that home likely cost more than our entire home.
One of my favorite rooms was the study with an arched doorway and a large, leather-covered desk. I could definitely do some blogging in that room. I also couldn’t help but snap a couple of photographs of the closet. One might expect a person who owns a chain of cleaners to have suits and ties at the ready and the walk-in closet was filled with them. I just thought the ties, particularly, screamed, “Photograph me.”
So, that concludes the City People Home Tour 2013. If you didn’t make it this year, I hope you can join us next year, but remember: It’s a gateway drug. You may find yourself walking around the city with an emerging dream in your head. It’s a short leap from there to a signed contract and you become an urban dweller. That’s pretty much how it happened for Urban Woman and me. You may be next.