Today we’ll look at a couple other homes from the City People Home Tour. The first is inside the Armature Building and you might think I would skip this one as well. I certainly have gotten to know the building pretty well. I first toured it in March 2012 as part of a Knox Heritage event. At that point it resembled a concrete bunker of some sort. It was difficult for me to see what could happen.
Next I was graciously offered a tour in February 2013 from one of the developers and I got a view of the apartments before they were occupied and before some of them were complete. Then, just last month, I took another look courtesy of friends and saw a sample apartment after completion.
It would seem I’ve pretty well seen it, but I decided to stop in, anyway, and I’m glad I did. I’d forgotten the open units with a large upstairs. The unit made available on this tour, sitting on the back of the building with a third-floor view also reminded me of the views. The massive windows overlook the new courtyard and the forested hillside behind the building. The late afternoon light fell deliciously over the entire interior of the home.
Two interior bedrooms on the bottom floor offer privacy while the kitchen, den and dining area are open on the lower floor. The steps and banister to the upper floor are unfinished wood which seems to be the finish of choice throughout the building. The upstairs portion of this unit was utilized very well with three distinct areas. The first had a raised bed with a cute ladder. The next featured a seating area around the primary television in the home and behind this section an extensive play area stretched to the other side of the unit with a toy stove and much more.
One of the things I noticed both here and in the next unit was the presence of children’s rooms and toys. It’s encouraging to see young children being raised in the city. It’s an overlooked demographic, but one that seems to be growing. With so many child-centered activities downtown it would seem to be a great place for children to grow up enjoying things like Kid Stuff at the Knoxville Visitor’s Center which features the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra this coming Saturday at 10:00, Halloween Story Time (in costume) at Union Avenue Books at 11:00 Saturday or next week’s Halloween Night fun at the Glencoe Courtyard.
My favorite feature in the Armature has to be the light. In addition to the huge windows on the rear, a skylight snakes its way along the eastern side of the building. I have no idea what purpose the opening originally served, but that’s the one thing I could visualize as it would become from the first time I walked through the building. You know it had to have been obvious for me to see it since, as I’ve said many times, I just can’t imagine what the developers see clearly from the beginning.
From the Armature, I walked to 125 West Jackson which is the building with Remedy Coffee at the bottom. I always thought that would be pretty nice given my coffee addiction. I walked down the street with a family from outside the center city who seemed startled that I talked to them. They weren’t quite prepared for the downtown groove. Or I seemed creepy. I think I’ll go with the groove thing. They were one of several families or couples I talked to through the day who acknowledged a little vague fantasy about moving downtown. I also heard quite a few talking about the incredible distances they had walked.
The building at 125 West Jackson was developed by Kyle Testerman as residences and for his efforts he won a preservation award. The former warehouse sits between Jackson and the railroad track. From the back a view of the rail yards and the Southern Depot Building offer a picturesque reminder of the day when Knoxville finally got the railroad and prosperity seemed assured. Of course, it also brings with it very loud whistles. It’s like so many things in the city – for some it’s a non-factor and for others it’s a deal-breaker. We’re all different like that.
The entrance to the building is protected by a key-pad entry and an elevator takes residents and visitors up to the condos. Interestingly, the second floor is also home to a couple of businesses including Moss Creek Designs which seems like the most unlikely of urban businesses: they design log homes. The corridor features lush wood floors, beautiful brick walls – and just so you have the full compliment of materials – a metal entryway to the hallway just outside the condos.
The entry to the actual condo we toured included some Knoxville memorabilia just before a long corridor that ran the length of the unit. I believe there were three small bedrooms and one larger one, though I’m questioning my memory as that seems like a large number for a modest space. More obvious signs of children lay in every direction.
The rear of the unit – facing the tracks – held the bulk of the living space including the kitchen, dining area and den. Massive windows overlook that view I mentioned before. I can imagine myself being drawn so much to watching the trains and the train yard that I’d not often turn around to the television. And as a person who hears the fire engines up close and personal on an irregular but constant basis, I think the noise from the trains wouldn’t really be a problem for me.
So that covers that end of town for the tour. One unit has concrete floors and unfinished wood while the other has lush wood floors and a more finished appearance. I suspect there’s an audience for each and that’s some of the richness of the homes available in the city. Maybe there’s something for you.