We’ll start the second half of the revue of the tour with one of my favorite homes in the city, in one of my favorite buildings. The Holston was one of the first to be converted to condos in the most recent wave. Built in 1913 as a bank building and representing Knoxville’s tallest building at that time, two additional floors were added in 1928. It now serves as home to 42 residences.
The home on this years’ tour is on the 14th floor and is completely stunning throughout. Featuring some of the best views in the city, it has large windows on two sides and a balcony on the third. Views of the mountains, the river, perfect views of Gay Street in each direction, Krutch Park and the western portion of downtown are all visible from one spot or another. The view from over the sink is enough to make a body not mind washing dishes.
The owners have lived at this address since 2010 and note that they feel downtown living keeps them young. They say when they lived in West Knoxville they came home each day and watched television whereas now they spend their spare time on the street enjoying everything downtown has to offer. They were attracted to this particular condo because they didn’t want a loft, but rather a home that felt more like a New York condo.
The art and decor are also impeccable and reflect a lifetime of tasteful collecting. I love the painting pictured here of the two men. Rather than a traditional dining table, the front room features a grand piano. I’ve got to ask how they got a grand piano to the 14th floor. Built-in cabinetry, art and a television in the master-bath – which itself features a view most of us would love to have of the mountains, river and Federal Courthouse.
I thought I would be nervous on a balcony that high, but the views are so good, I found myself forgetting just how high I stood. The gorgeous tile, beautiful floors and small touches throughout make the unit one to see. With the upper floor condos in the Holston selling for over a million dollars, they aren’t for everyone, but they are spectacular – and units further down in the building, while also excellent bring a smaller price, so there is hope for the rest of us who might one day like to live there.
The unit in the Phoenix offers a long hallway off which the primary rooms of the home open. The main bedroom is open, loft-style into the largest common room in the condo. The kitchen, living space and bedroom all benefit from the beautiful windows looking east. The light is exceptional, which is a good thing, as the current resident is an artist.
The building, constructed in 1899 to replace one that burned in the 1897 fire, has long been held to be one of the most beautiful in the city. It also may be the most convenient in that it currently includes a coffee shop, bank and cleaners. It will soon be home to downtown’s first pharmacy in a generation, which will also include a patient care center.
The couple in this home have lived there for three years after moving from Sequoyah Hills and they say the love the convenience and the social life. Like so many of us, they had attended City People Home Tours prior to their move. They park just behind the building in the Promenade Garage. They have three grown children who love visiting their parents’ “cool home.”
The efficiency apartment in the White Lily Flats building was one I visited before it was completed. The first to be rented when the building opened in January, it is located just a few yards from the train track, though the owner said that isn’t an issue for him and he loved the layout of the unit, which was more important to him. While the unit is small, it is so efficiently arranged that the well-lighted open living space feels comfortably large.
The building was originally a factory for the production of White Lily Flour. Built in 1889 and closed in 2008, the building was converted to apartments and opened to residents in January of this year.
This resident’s story is a little different, in that he moved from his parents’ home into this apartment – and they live downtown on State Street. He also is one of the rare (though growing in number) people who scores the trifecta: he lives, works and plays downtown, commuting a few blocks to Marc Nelson Denim. He parks his car in the dedicated lot across the street.
A lovely couple opened their loft in JFG Flats. Facing West Jackson Avenue in what is becoming one of the hottest streets in the city, the home features an open lay-out and massive windows. Like the home in the White Lily Flats, this one is built for function, but seems to have a large amount of space in the primary living area for entertaining friends. With concrete floors and ceiling it has an industrial feel. The ceiling is actually stained with coffee, a reminder of the time coffee was manufactured in the building – and that’s a feature the couple really likes.
Built in 1924 for Bowman Hat Company, it became the primary production center for JFG coffee beginning in 1926 and remained in operation until 2005. I remember enjoying the coffee shop on the first floor prior to the closure. The building remained empty for four years before being developed into apartments in 2009.
The residents moved to Knoxville from Charlotte, North Carolina. They love the ready accessibility of restaurants and bars and they like the fact that when they step out onto the street something will likely be happening. They have two dogs and are happy to live close to the dog park. And for parking – they park their car just up the street in the Jackson Avenue lot without charge.
Built in 1902, the Emporium served as home to Sterchi Furniture for much of its history. It now includes not only residences, but numerous arts-related non-profits and artist studios, as well as an entertainment space and James Freeman Interiors.
Two units were open in the Emporium and they reflect the range of residential options available in that building. The first overlooks the private courtyard shared by the residents and is a simple, two-room, one bedroom home. It’s a perfect home for the minimalist lifestyle which is increasingly popular in urban living, particularly. The owner has lived downtown for seven months, having moved from Bearden, and enjoys the people. He parks his car on the Gay Street Viaduct.
The other unit in the building was toward the top of the building and overlooks the 100 block of Gay Street – which I’ve said before may be the prettiest row of buildings in the city. Like so many units, it features the large open space with massive windows and a great view. Two bedrooms open off a narrow corridor and the emphasis is clearly on the living space – which makes sense.
The owner moved downtown from Bearden/Farragut and was pleased to find the generous square footage. She parks in a private garage behind the building and is raising a daughter in the city. Her daughter loves downtown life, playing with other children in the city and ready access to gelato, movies and restaurants.
I ended my tour in Commerce Lofts and Urban Woman fell in love with the unit there. Lots of rich wood and warm colors abound in this unit which has been completely redecorated and updated. The owners have lived there for a year, but they owned it for about a year prior to moving in, using that time to get the work done. The beautiful lighting, tile, quartz counter-tops and built-in bar are all highlights.
The owner moved from Hardin Valley and finds downtown convenient to work and to play. He loved the historical building, the location and the architecture. He has two cars, but may soon move to one. He currently parks them in nearby garages. He notes that his dogs love living downtown, as well.
For additional photographs of these homes as well as the homes from yesterday’s article, please go to the Inside of Knoxville Facebook Page.