A Garden Dwelling in Parkridge

When, exactly, did Appalachia become cool? Don't get me wrong; I appreciate a good fiddle riff as much as the feller. But when I moved to Knoxville at the tail end of the techno era, I'd have been hard-pressed to predict that, almost quarter century on, all the cool kids would be swinging to string bands and spending their Saturday mornings shopping for organic string beans on Market Square. Just the other day, talking to this tattooed guitarist I know, the discussion ranged from his upcoming trip to South by Southwest to how he's thinking of raising his own chickens.

Wherever it came from, the culture's fascination with Americana music, sustainable agriculture, and "authenticity" in general has been good for Knoxville. The cradle of country music, the center of a diverse farming region, and possessed of a certain, shall we say, scruffy charm, the city's about as authentic as it comes. And it's Knoxville's very Knoxville-ness—in all its funky, quirky, occasionally grimy glory—that's helped downtown flourish. Hard to believe that, just a decade ago, downtown "boosters" were pushing gimmicks like "shoppertainment" and tourist trap attractions designed to divert attention away from the city itself (the only thing Knoxville about "Universe Knoxville" was the name...). As it turned out, the raw materials for rebirth were there all along. Dormant and a little rundown, perhaps, but all they needed was a little nurturing...

The same was once true of this house on Jefferson Avenue in Parkridge. The house itself was in pretty good shape when the current owner bought it, but the large double lot was relatively barren, overgrown with bracken and weeds.

Today, these two-thirds of an acre have been lushly landscaped with native species, a plethora of stone and brick patios and walks, plus a large, multi-level deck. There are raised-bed vegetable gardens, cedar fences, and a koi pond with a waterfall (there's even a wetland...). Garden structures range from a detached carport and separate storage sheds to a 750 square-foot greenhouse.

Inside, the upgrades have been just as lavish, building on and enhancing what was there before. There's a newly remodeled, open-concept kitchen with vaulted ceilings and a variety of finishes ranging from limestone and glass tile to stainless steel and cork. The remodeled baths both have claw-foot tubs, mosaic tile, and skylights. And, just like a well-planned garden, there are little surprises everywhere you look: four fireplaces (two with gas logs), clever built-ins that include a window seat, stained glass, and the distinct round window that graces the front façade. m

2524 Jefferson Ave.

1,700 sq. ft. (approx )

3 bdrm/2 bath

$199, 900

Contact: Todd Witcher

Owner: 250-1207

todd@dlia.org