As promised, here’s a return to some of the beautiful homes included in this year’s tour of Victorian homes in Old North. It’s interesting how every home has a back story which is often as interesting as the home itself. The two homes I’ve included today certainly fit that description. Neither are what they seem!
The first home included is 115 E. Scott Avenue. It sits right at the entrance to the Old North community and would appear to be an anchor home for the neighborhood. As it turns out, it wasn’t even originally built in what is considered to be Old North, but was just outside the boundary at 118 W. Scott Avenue where it was built by Margaret Stuart in 1889.
When the home was slated for demolition in 2006, it was purchased by its current owner and moved to this location just a few blocks away. The short, very expensive journey also necessitated the removal of an old oak tree which was milled onsite and converted to trim-work for the home.
Once settled, all that remained of the original home was the shell and the heart-pine staircase. Everything else pictured in the home has been re-built as near as possible to the way it might have originally appeared with allowances made for modern necessities.
One of the coolest parts of the story is that when Margaret Stuart died in 1903, one of her pall bearers was W.H.H. Clements. He lived at 115 E. Scott Avenue at the time, but his home would burn in subsequent years, leaving a vacant lot at that address for Margaret’s home to be able to live on today. Pretty cool.
The next home is also not what it might seem. To a casual (or uninformed one, such as myself), the home at 318 Oklahoma Avenue might appear to be another in the large stock of Victorian era homes built in the area as Knoxville expanded northward. As it turns out, this particular home is new construction. The zoning requirements for the neighborhood require that “new construction must be differentiable form its historic neighbors, but also must be compatible” with the structures around it. I’m sure to a trained eye it must be “differentiable,” but not so much to me.
The home is unique in many ways and important for neighborhoods such as this one. It filled a gap which had once contained a turn-of-the-century home, but that home was long gone, leaving a gash in the neighborhood. New construction like this helps the neighborhood maintain both its integrity and its character. Built by Andie Ray and Noel Hudson, the home won a design award this year from Knox Heritage for “Compatible Infill.
Andie and Noel had lived on Market Square above Andie’s store, Vagabondia. When they decided to move off Market Square, they agreed their new home had to be within walking distance of downtown. Also interested in historic homes, they decided to build a home that appeared historic, but also was built to the highest energy standards.
It also had to fit their antiques and art collections which, as you can see from the photographs are extensive. Particularly, you might note the Cynthia Markert paintings. Cynthia is the best known working artist downtown and her vintage ladies have been a part of that landscape for years as she often paints them in surprising outdoor settings in the city. Her work is currently available for sale at Andie’s booth at Nostalgia on McCalla, at RALA on Union Avenue and at the Daily Grind on Gay Street where you might find Cynthia working behind the counter.
Urban Woman and I really loved all the art: We’ve got Cynthia’s art in our home as well. But there were features of the home that we really liked, as well. The massive ceiling fan in the front room, the sun porch and the hurricane shutters all stood out to us. I particularly loved the tall hurricane shutters which they use in place of curtains, closing the house down at night by pulling the shutters closed. It made me think of home on the Gulf Coast, of course.
One final thing I’ll mention in this round: I got a very cool email from Frank, a new friend in Germany, who happened to be in Knoxville the weekend of the tour. He calls himself a “hobby photographer,” but the photographs look more professional to me. He offered to allow me to link to his gallery from the tour on the blog and you will find both excellent photographs there and also photographs of the one home we were unable to make it to. Check his gallery out here and let him know how much you enjoyed his work. There’s a cool facet of the Internet, no?