Rich in natural beauty, historical architecture, and home to popular names such as Kenny Chesney, Peyton Manning, and Quentin Tarantino, Knoxville Tennessee has been described as a hidden gem with breathtaking views that are a picturesque backdrop to a low key country lifestyle only minutes from active Downtown and the Old City.
The history of Knoxville architecture stems back to the 1800’s with the arrival of George Barber, an American architect best known for his residential designs, which he marketed worldwide through a series of mail-order catalogs. Similar to Barber’s reputation as an award-winning architect, Knoxville was also the residence of a legendary home and commercial mid-century modern architecture designer; Bruce McCarty.
Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, and having been identified as one of East Tennessee’s most influential architects, Bruce McCarty had a career that spanned more than five decades, and is credited with designing some of Knoxville’s most iconic landmarks. Well known buildings such as the Clarence Brown Theatre, the World’s Fair, and the University of Tennessee Art and Architecture were just a handful of locations among the list of well-known structures with the easily recognizable McCarty stamp.
In 1953 McCarty designed the preeminent “concrete house”, which to this day is still associated with his name and a well known design around the greater Knox area. A glimpse at a later project though allows one to see his devotion to designing the modernist-style home that he shared with his family, which was said to be his personal masterpiece, and is a piece of history that can be appreciated for both it’s aesthetic and engineering configuration.
With breathtaking views captivated by floor to ceiling windows, original craftsmanship throughout the house, and an abundance of beauty which seems to radiate from the outside in, this home has the ability to effortlessly blur the lines of defined home space and outdoor enjoyment.
Located a mere seven minutes from Downtown Knoxville the convenience of locality can be deceiving when you turn on to the sequestered path that alters your senses and delivers you into a countryside feel. With three acres and one hundred fifty feet of water frontage the property delivers awe-inspiring panoramic views that allow you to enjoy natures gifts such as the Northwest sunrise, making it seem as if it were purposely placed picturesquely over the sprawling fields that surround the home, embellished with gardens of Virginia Bluebells as well as Lenten Roses (both favorites of Elizabeth McCarty), and a charming barn placed perfectly just beyond the pictorial fence located at the front of the property.
Upon arrival, one will begin to take note of the trademark concepts traditionally found in McCarty designed homes, like the strip of gravel found in the carport to catch oil and grease, and the T-like structure of the grid separating entertaining and living space, highlighting his fondness of mathematical and engineering design purposes. McCarty’s practical approach to linear design compliments this grid- like pattern with the living space measuring a twenty-foot span, and all other spaces measuring 10 feet, confirming his dedication to consistency.
As you move through the house, you will notice the spaces transforms from public, to semi-private, to private in this tri-level home. An open room with cathedral ceilings serves as the main living area on the lower level. Custom built seating and cabinetry compliment the vintage parquet flooring, which is instantly recognizable for its repeating geometric patterns and historically valued for upscale appearance.
Adjacent to the living area, sits a quaint inglenook, adorned by a wood burning fireplace and sanctioned with stunning brick tile flooring. Access to two optional verandas is offered from this room, with the ability to sit under a covered roof and enjoy the serene settings, or relax on the brick terrace with the warm sun on your face as you stare across Lake Loudon, admiring the birds dancing across the water, or an occasion boat sail by.
Subsequently these same views can be enjoyed from the second level in the kitchen, where one will find the original wood and countertops, as well as rattan cabinets that reveal the brick structure barrier wall that Bruce McCarty left uncovered, allowing true appreciation for the architectural mastermind, and the much sought after cork flooring, known for being a natural thermal and acoustic insulator.
Running opposite of the main floor grid, all living quarters can be located on the upper level, neighboring an open space once used as Mr. McCarty’s personal office, permitting open access to the lower gathering areas, as well as unobstructed views through both the front and rear windows. Spacious bedrooms completed with sky lights, upper patio access, and vintage jalousie levered windows provide generous space with the historic feel that radiates the consistency of the mid-century modern residence.
As you tour the home, the transparency of the architectural design that moves you from public to personal space will become apparent, with the living area seamlessly transitioning to the dining and kitchen area, separate from the private space of each sleeping room. Simple details such as textured wallpaper in the hallway, steel beams covered by wood that run across the living room ceiling, and consistency in design and appeal emphasize that attention and deliberation to each aspect of the home was eminent.
To own a home with features such as these, is immeasurable. To own this same home, having been designed by one of East Tennessee’s most influential architects, Bruce McCarty, and take in the nostalgic feel that the home encompasses with these features and aesthetics, is brilliant.