Renovate with reason – Cityview
The historic house that has become the focal point of an innovative fundraiser for Lakeshore Park
Veteran Knoxville home designer and real estate agent Stacy Jacobi has always wanted to throw a show home with glamorous tours and parties, but with a twist. All the money goes to charity.
At the end of August 2021, that’s exactly what she did.
It all started with what Jacobi thought was a traditional house flip, which is a type of real estate investment where a person buys a property and sells it for a profit. When a real estate agent friend showed him a special house earlier this year, Jacobi “saw the house and thought it was beautiful.”
The renovation of this 4,200 square foot 1929 home on Cherokee Boulevard was a huge undertaking. “Four and a half months seemed like a record time with COVID,” she says. It was the start of a one-of-a-kind project that would benefit one of Knoxville’s most visited destinations.
My father’s son
As someone who grew up on a farm in Oklahoma, Stacy says her childhood was full of time outdoors and fun projects. “I am my father’s son,” she said with a smile. But this desire to immerse herself in projects that excited and challenged her never left him. When she grew up renovating homes and her flair for interior design became her passion. A licensed real estate agent since 2000 with Keller Williams Signature Real Estate, she has renovated or managed new builds of over 20 homes.
She and her husband David have lived in Knoxville since 2001, raising their family. The couple have three daughters, two in college and one working. David’s job took the family to move “across the country” before landing in Knoxville. They moved into a 1939 “cottage” on Sherwood Drive three years ago. “It’s now in its second renovation,” Stacy says.
Renovate a historic house
“You have to see this house.” Those are the words that got Stacy thinking earlier this year. A friend and colleague told him about a very old house that had never been renovated. When she arrived he turned out to be bigger than she thought. “I fell in love with this old house and wanted to bring it back.”
And that’s what she did. In April, Stacy closed the house and at the end of the summer completed her renovation, working alongside Brian Floyd Construction. Other Knoxville area vendors involved in the project included Smokey Mountain Tops, Integrity Tile, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Dixie Kitchen Distributors and Closets by McKenry.
Leaving her more modern design style, Stacy has kept many traditional features in the house, respecting the woods and lighting. And yet, she completely renovated the main house, her guest house and her maid’s accommodation. It would end up becoming a million dollar project.
“My typical style is that of white brick painted houses and white kitchens, more transitional modern than dark traditional,” she says. “This house had so much character with the clinker brick, the original stained wood door and the slate roof. Painting it and making it white didn’t seem to suit this house.
Stacy has retained the general imprint of the house and its 9 ½ foot ceilings. She embraced its rosewood interiors, terracotta tiles, massive stone fireplace, and plaster walls.
Then there was the brick exterior. “It’s clinker brick, a different texture,” she says. Clinker bricks are produced when wet clay bricks are exposed to excessive heat during the firing process. They have a darker colored glossy coating. Clinker bricks are so named for the metallic sound they make when struck together.
“These bricks also protruded from the exterior of the house as part of its design. I didn’t want to change any of that. I didn’t want to take that away, ”she said. “This house was just so different to me from any house I had worked with.”
The wooden front door would also remain. Stacy contacted Meagan McReynolds of Farm Chic Creations to strip and restore it. She also refinished the original terracotta tiles, giving them a new look.
Harmoniously blending the original with the new, Stacy smartly opted to replace the windows with energy-efficient Pella casement windows in a design that blends well with the old home.
Other stylish upgrades included a new master suite created by combining two bedrooms on the main level, which she thought the new owners would like. She was also able to connect the front and back of the house by opening an arch. From there the kitchen was expanded, with help from Dixie Kitchen, to include a pantry with ample storage space.
The design required a hood over the entire stove, but the ceiling had to be lowered to make everything look symmetrical in the kitchen. “There are a lot of design challenges when working with such an old house,” says Clark Coffey of Dixie Kitchen, “but Stacy and I worked on it and came up with a great plan.” The range hood has become the focal point of the room, with Dura Supreme custom built-in cabinets.
Find space to give back
As Stacy mulled over the huge business of remodeling and selling the home, a new idea took hold. “I’ve always wanted to give back and we’ve always tried to do our part,” she says.
But she had never tried the entirely different idea she was about to undertake. “I’ve always wanted to do a show house and do tours with all the money going to charity.”
Lakeshore Park was an easy choice for Stacy. His family has enjoyed the open green spaces and trails in this park for many years. “We’ve loved this place for a long time,” she says.
When Julieanne Foy, Executive Director of Lakeshore Park Conservancy, was contacted about the idea, she was thrilled. The reserve manages the park, one of Knoxville’s best-loved and most visited city parks. And Foy knew about the unusual house growing up in Knoxville. She found the perfect collaboration. “Stacy has worked with Lucas Haun, who is part of our Friends of Lakeshore Park committee this year, and the two also work together at Keller Williams.”
Stacy had a unique vision for this project, says Haun. “Traditionally, you’ll see things like this on new build special homes. It’s very rare that this is done on an old historic house like this.
When the house was fully renovated, Stacy said, “I had about a minute to stage it with Jeannie Bennett,” owner of Bennett in Knoxville. Bennett worked with his lead designer Robert Shipley to transform the house with furniture, preparing it for fundraising. She took the time to make the house “just plain beautiful” at no cost, says Stacy, embracing the dream of donating the profits to charity and furnishing it in four days. “Bennett presented this great house in an incredible way. “
A unique idea, a huge success
Suddenly the planning frenzy had started, starting with Heather Young, Jacobi’s social media planner. In just three weeks they were ready for a special VIP event and a three day tour of the house. Both included fun and lively offerings: food, coffee, donut and pizza trucks, and wine from Ashe’s Wines and Spirits. There was even live music by Joshua Washington from the Community School of the Arts in Knoxville.
Over 1,000 people walked through the vintage house during the three-day tour. In the end, the VIP event and the tours raised almost $ 22,000.
Foy was delighted. “The open house was the first fundraiser of its kind for Lakeshore Park, which typically hosts two to three events per year,” she says. “It’s a totally unique idea and a fantastic idea that has been hugely successful.”
And it has had benefits for the real estate industry as well. “It showed how a historic chalet property could live and how you could be entertained there and how you don’t necessarily need to have a large, sprawling open floor plan to entertain,” Haun said. “It also showed a lot of people how you can take an older house and make it something really special. It has a new feel and an old feel, but is still very functional and practical.
Hard work paid off. “Events like this benefit everyone involved,” Foy said. “Stacy is extremely talented and her whole team put on an amazing event.”
For Stacy, using the houses to benefit the community has become a fulfilling part of a profession and trade that she enjoys throughout her life. And she’s already found the next big project.
And after? “The Boys and Girls Club,” she says. “Yes, it’s next.”
About Lakeshore Park Conservancy and its importance:
Lakeshore Park Conservancy is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation responsible for the operation, management and improvement of Lakeshore Park, a public recreation park located in Knoxville on the banks of the Tennessee River . According to its website, the conservation was established in 1996 with a mission to manage, preserve and improve the park, and to create a community dedicated to conserving the park for the future.
Lakeshore Park opened in 1995 on 60 acres of land leased from the Lakeshore Institute of Mental Health and has grown and evolved over the years to reach 185 acres owned by the City of Knoxville and managed by conservation. Lakeshore Park is the only general recreation park in the City of Knoxville developed through a public-private partnership. With contributions from the public and friends of the park, the reserve manages the day-to-day operations of the park, complements basic services provided by the city, and builds new park improvements.
With approximately 1 million annual visitors, Lakeshore Park is Knoxville’s most visited public park.
Users can walk, cycle or run along extensive greenways, enjoy a youth sporting event, stroll by the river, or take in breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Learn more about www.lakeshoreparkknoxville.org.