Rider Home, Old North Knoxville Victorian Holiday Home Tour, Knoxville, December 2023 (Photo by Amelia Bartlett)
(Ed. Note: Today’s and yesterday’s articles — a two part feature — represent the contribution of guest writer Amelia Bartlett. Amelia is a screenwriter, blogger, and staff writer for Blank Newspaper. Read her first installment here.)
229 E. Scott
There’s something so cozy about a family home, with personal artifacts lining every surface and the occasional teenager playing bass in the attic studio (yes, that did happen!). It’s incredible to see how far this house has come, given that it was a primary concern for the Mayor’s Task Force on Historic Preservation and was so far gone to once be described as having a “Volkswagen-sized hole in the roof.” It was a team effort that involved architects, the current owners, and many helpers along the way. What stood out to me were the precious details, like the mosaic tile slip around the owner’s bedroom’s fireplace.
204 E. Scott
“Wow,” was the sentiment I heard in most in the Kloss house, a recently restored Queen Anne cottage with a deep plum exterior and an interior to make the West Elm catalog take notes. Though billed as a 1.5-story home, the restoration saw a staircase added to convert the attic into a living space. The upstairs guest bedroom and nursery are serene and stunningly colorful, with a mauve-tiled bathroom you’d have to see to believe. The showstopper in this home, however, is the kitchen. Enormous, considering the home’s age and traditional style, with an all-window and French-door integration with the back porch. Keeping my fingers crossed for a dinner party invitation!
205 E. Oklahoma
You can feel the spirit of Knoxville in this quaint Queen Anne cottage, as you walk through the threshold over the porch tiled with East Tennessee marble. The homeowners framed their exposed brick chimneys in a way that created a warm contrast with a sage green paintscape throughout. The 1950s-style kitchen with its checkerboard floors and (what seem to be) original cabinets was the only departure from the restored matchstick oak flooring. Notably, this home set out a charcuterie board and bowls of red and green M&Ms throughout the home, a delightful snack on this neighborhood trek.
321 E. Oklahoma
Who can resist that Craftsman-style sweeping porch? It feels like the perfect place to rest a while. The homeowners must be plant people, as there were complimenting bonsai gardens at the front, plants in every room, and a packed greenhouse in the expansive backyard. Bright teals and blues made for a charming color pallet, diverging from the more traditional earth-toned colors of Craftsman-style homes. The cutest part of this house was the youngster’s rooms, including a slanted ceiling bathroom with matching whimsical wallpaper and linens.
523 E. Oklahoma
Neighbors flocked to the open doors of this still-in-progress restoration. This stunning Eastlake Victorian had its guts on display, and the owners rather ingeniously distributed the house’s history on papers stapled to the exposed studs. Built in 1889, much of the iconic aesthetic elements have been preserved, including stained glass windows, Eastlake hardware, woodwork, tiles, and mantels. This is not the first historic restoration for Sean Bolen and Alison Hardy, and they plan to retain the home’s original doors, tubs, and hardware. Visitors were encouraged to sign the home’s “time capsule,” a series of large sheets of paper covered in Sharpie-scrawled well-wishes. Keep your eye on this project, targeting completion in Summer 2024.
If you’ve ever wondered, “I bet the inside of that house is [gorgeous] [historic] [insert curiosity here],” don’t miss the next North Knoxville Victorian Homes tour. Homeowners were gracious and accommodating, the properties were stunning and inspiring, and Knoxville’s charm was at the heart of every interaction. You can learn more about these homes and Old North Knoxville at oldnorthknoxville.org. Mark your calendar for next year’s tour, December 3 & 4, 2024!