HGTV Builds a Local Urban Oasis With a Little Help From Our Friends

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

This past week, HGTV offered local news outlets and bloggers an opportunity to see what has been a closely kept secret for about a year. HGTV began in 2010 giving away an Urban Oasis spot which was meant to complement their Dream Home and Smart Homes giveaways.

 

For each of the first five years, the giveaway had featured a home in an urban core. Starting in 2015, noting a hot trend in housing, the featured homes shifted to “ring” or neighborhoods bordering or near an urban core. Previous locations have included New York, Chicago, Miami, Boston and Atlanta.

The front exterior before renovations to HGTV Urban Oasis 2017 located in Knoxville, TN. (Photo Courtesy HGTV)

The kitchen before renovations to HGTV Urban Oasis 2017 located in Knoxville, TN. (Photo Courtesy HGTV)

The covered patio and storage area before renovations to HGTV Urban Oasis 2017 located in Knoxville, TN. (Photo Courtesy HGTV)

The rear exterior before renovations to HGTV Urban Oasis 2017 located in Knoxville, TN. (Photo Courtesy HGTV)

The backyard before renovations to HGTV Urban Oasis 2017 located in Knoxville, TN.(Photo Courtesy HGTV)

After the shift to “ring” neighborhoods, the show featured Ann Arbor, Michigan and Asheville, North Carolina and then shifted to Knoxville for this year’s home. Entries in the sweepstakes have grown from about 15 million the first year to about 52 million last year.

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

Here’s how HGTV described our town (and the location of its home offices) and this year’s home:

Located in the historic Fourth & Gill neighborhood close to vibrant downtown Knoxville and the University of Tennessee campus, the renovated 1925 bungalow features an all-new interior and exterior with eye-catching design touches and aptly lends itself to sustainable urban living in one of Knoxville’s hottest neighborhoods. Home to HGTV for over two decades, Knoxville is a thriving metropolis that boasts an urban feel infused with trademark southern hospitality. The Fourth & Gill neighborhood was selected for HGTV Urban Oasis 2017 based on its unique vibe and proximity to the heart of downtown, which features a wealth of restaurants, shopping, bars, outdoor concerts and other year-round activities.

 

The approximately 1,850-square-foot Craftsman home features three bedrooms and two bathrooms centered around an open and airy living concept. The feel of the home is best described as casual modernist with artistic style, and the clever use of space makes it exceptionally practical for the modern-day family. Natural materials in a muted color palette highlight the Smoky Mountain inspiration throughout, and details like a grand hallway complete with period-correct millwork paneling pay homage to the historical Craftsman style.

 

The interior gives way to a beautifully landscaped outdoor space featuring a large screened-in porch, an asymmetrical freestanding garage and a fire pit that are designed to give the lucky winner ample opportunities for entertaining and enjoying the fresh air. The end result is a home that exudes easy living with a laid back urban elegance that fits perfectly with the Fourth & Gill neighborhood.

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

Some of the team responsible for the project were on site to discuss their work. Atlanta-based interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn, Knoxville architects from Open Door Architecture (and Fourth and Gill residents themselves), Sarah and Sean Martin, Scott Branscom of local Grace Construction (project manager) and Tillman Companies, LLC (construction), also based in Knoxville, collaborated to produce the final product.

The home, prior to purchase by HGTV had long been divided into a large apartment on the front of the house and an efficiency apartment on the rear. In addition to upgrades inside and out, one kitchen was removed, the interior was opened up a bit and both front and rear porches were enhanced. Landscaping from front to rear also improved the property.

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

I spoke to Sara and Sean who said it was difficult not to tell anyone – they didn’t even tell their parents – for the year the project has been bubbling. Sara said they had a certain look they wanted to attain that was modern, but respectful of the era in which the house was built.

Noting there is an identical house in the Island Home neighborhood, they wanted to take the home which grew progressively darker toward the rear and add light and grand spaces. They were pleased to be able to keep all original windows, but they added stunning skylight windows above the master bath, both illuminating the space and making it feel like an exterior space.

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

Allen Tillman (of Tillman Companies) told me the entire rear of the house had to be removed because it was leaning outward and was not stable. Noting that he enjoys projects like this one, more than ground up, he said these projects always offer challenges and demand creativity. He said, “always have a contingency plan.” His company has done many of these projects and he says, “there are always suprises. He likened it to, “juggling balls while riding a unicycle.”

He pointed out that the home was completely re-wired and all plumbing is new. In addition to the replacement of the rear exterior wall, all interior walls were removed and replaced to make them straight. He said this project brought the additional challenge of not only scheduling sub-contractors to get the job done in a timely manner, but also accounting for the needs of the film crew.

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

Given the sponsors and others involved he said the project simply had, “a lot more players.” The project also used the latest electronics and furnishings from the sponsoring manufacturers which made for some interesting installations when the subcontractors had never seen the products before they were expected to deal with them. Some of the products used still haven’t hit the market. An entire room under the master bath was constructed to house the electronics to operate what is above it. (This room is mocked up as an art studio in the photographs.)

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

HGTV’s Urban Oasis Home, Fourth and Gill, Knoxville, August 2017

The show featuring this home will air for the first time on October 4 at 7:00 PM on HGTV and will be repeated afterward. The sweepstakes, which includes the home, all furnishings and $50,000 from Quicken Loans begins on October 2 and runs through November 22. The home is currently featured and entry may be made starting that date here.

Knoxville residents have known for a long time that the Fourth and Gill neighborhood is a very special place. Once the show airs, an international audience will know about our little urban neighborhood. Knoxville is ready for prime time and very soon, that’s exactly where you’ll find us.

Comments

  1. Trisha Page says:

    I’ve been watching the transformation of this lovely old home in the 4th and Gill area and am so excited to see the completion. I grew up in an old home and have always picked older homes to buy and reside. The personality and quirks are so much fun to discover. I think everyone did a wonderful job bringing this home back to life!

  2. Thomas Hills says:

    Great structural changes and fantastic black Walnut center table/island…But the interior furnishings and finishings by Mr. Flynn are unquestionably obnoxious.
    The chairs at the kit. Island look like play school.
    The fake tiles on the porch fireplace, why not use thin cut stone for a 1925 replica/redo?
    The master bedroom:
    Color of the drapes?
    Size of the bed?
    Choice of end table?
    Hideous wall art?
    Garage, oh let’s go hang out in your garage…right? How about tools, garden equipment and automobiles?
    Oh, what the he.. we’re you thinking with Pink doors and what is with you HGTV designers using wall paper?
    T. F. Hills
    35 years in Real Estate and new home designs.

  3. Jim Evans says:

    I have been following urban oasis 2017 on the internet. The change that has taken place is a big plus for the city and the Fourth and Gill area. looking forward to new urban oasis projects.

  4. My wife and I have walked past this house many times and wondered what was going on with the renovation. What a transformation!

  5. Martha Wheeler says:

    Beautiful job on this home!

  6. Awesome

  7. Gladys Kravitz (aka, Brett) says:

    It’s been fun watching the transformation of this home from right across the street. It really is stunning and it seemed obvious from the amount of effort that went into it and from talking to Tillman staff and the subs that they were doing some fine work inside (and I hope I seemed more curious than nosy).

    Sean and Sara deserve all the attention they’re getting – congratulations to them.

  8. Linda Smalley says:

    Urban Guy, do you know if the home will be open for tours by the public? And if so, when would that be? Thx.

  9. I wonder how much it is valued at and if you responsible for the sales tax or whatever.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      The “package” is said to be valued at $600K. $50 K of that is cash which, I’m suspecting, is to cover your taxes. The house is furnished, so dropping that out, I’m guessing 400K? Maybe there is a realtor reading this who can give a better guess, but that’s what I’m thinking.

  10. It’s particularly gratifying to get such a nice shout-out from our favorite blog! Sara and I are big fans of the Urban Couple, so the feeling is mutual! 🙂

    This was a great project team. Everyone from HGTV & Scripps was wonderful to work with… professional and so much fun (especially Brian)! We’ve worked with the Tillman Companies before and they always exceed our expectations – that’s especially true here. We feel extra lucky to be a part of this project since it’s located so close to our own home! Can’t wait till the special airs in October!

  11. Beautiful work by everyone involved. The back porch is terrific.

  12. So proud of Tillman Companies! Allen Tillman and his team did an amazzzzing job renovating. It is a gem of a home now. Someone will be a very lucky winner. And I love it will bring national recognition to our wonderful city. Go Knoxville. Thanks HGTV -Scripps Networks Interactive.

  13. Oren Yarbrough says:

    I love this home and the 4th & Gill neighborhood so much. The renovation is stunning and I am glad that you shared a link to the local design & build team that worked on it. I hope this article and the positive press gives a boost to Open Door Architecture & leads to a more elevated discussion in home design in the city. I really do hope that suburban neighborhoods with their cloned & stamped repetitive designs will be a thing of the past in future decades as Millennials age into homeowners. I am excited to see what the next “4th & Gill” will be for Knoxville. Nashville has a good half dozen older neighborhoods that have become pockets of retail, restaurants, and residential; all within a walkable area. My money is on Central & Broadway. Thanks!

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      Urban Woman and I are big fans of Open Door Architecture, as well. 🙂

    • Agreed. I feel like HGTV’s investment in an older, urban neighborhood is evidence of how much people are starting to like them again.

      My money’s on Oakwood; not far from where you guessed. Really all along Central is the path of least resistance for downtown to reach out and blend with nearby neighborhoods.

  14. Ken Sparks says:

    So nice what they’ve done with this home and so cool it’s in 4th & Gill neighborhood. What an honor to have a Knoxville home chosen as one of the Urban Oasis homes. This will help shine a huge light on Knoxville to show millions that this so-called “scruffy little city” respects old architecture and its history. It’s also an honor for Knoxville to have a successful company like Scripps headquartered here when they could be based wherever they want to be. Thanks for sharing the good news.

  15. Melinda Basler says:

    HGTV, thanks you for choosing this location for the next Urban Oasis. I’m not surprised you found our secret special area at Fourth and Gill. The pictures of the renovations are what I expect from HGTV. I watch every day and look forward to my ‘time with you,’

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