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A Stylish Renovation



BRIAN DEBUSK’S HOME COMBINES CONTEMPORARY STYLE, INDUSTRIAL TOUCHES WITH A WARM MASCULINE FEEL.

STORY BY GAY LYONS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY BEN FINCH

The 18 month renovation at Brian DeBusk’s 11, 200 square foot west Knoxville home is nearing completion.

“It needed a facelift in a big way,” he said.

The project, which involved changing “every wall, every floor, every ceiling,” transformed the home from a traditional house with old world decor to a more open plan with contemporary style, industrial touches and a warm masculine feel.

“It turns out I like industrial design,” he said. “I really like steampunk, but it’d be too much to do a whole house, so we’ve gone with industrial with a steam punk edge.”

Brian’s fondness for industrial design has its roots in his lifelong love of technology.
“I always knew I wanted to be an engineer or a scientist,” he said. “I saw the TRS-80 at Radio Shack and was obsessed.”

Brian earned undergraduate degrees at Vanderbilt in biomedical and electrical engineering. When he earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering, he was the youngest Ph.D. in Vanderbilt’s history--and still may hold that record. He later earned an MBA at Emory University. He’s currently CEO of DeRoyal Industries, the company founded by his father, Pete DeBusk, Vice Chairman at Lincoln Memorial University and one of 17 commissioners on the national Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.

Brian purchased the home in 2006 and completed some renovations.

“We finished the bottom floor and added the pool and gazebo,” he said.

“We intended the basement to be a playroom, but the kids never came down here, so I turned it into a laboratory.

If you’re an engineer or a scientist, it looked interesting. If you were not an engineer or a scientist, it looked terrifying.”

The laboratory was the first casualty of the recent renovation.

“People from DeRoyal came in and packed up my laboratory and moved it to a plant at DeRoyal,” he said.

Brian was undaunted by the prospect of an extensive renovation and never really considered moving.

“I love the location and value the memories,” he said. “I’ve had 13 good years here and can’t imagine leaving it. To me, this is home.”

Brian gives most of the credit for the renovation and the new look to Maryville designer Jennifer Talley of Jennifer Talley Interior Design.

“She did a good job of figuring out what I wanted,” he said. “I knew I wanted industrial. Jennifer did a good job of making it livable. We enjoy the whole house now. The whole point was to look nice but be very livable.”

Brian credits Shaunda Spell, who worked with Talley at the time, with putting antique medical instruments around the house. A collection of antique bottles of medical potions in the master bedroom includes a bottle of snake oil.

Brian himself is decorating his home office, which he says is his favorite room.

“When I’m not with the family, I’m probably going to be in my office reading, so it needs to be a room I’m comfortable with,” he said. “It’s not finished. There’s more industrial lighting coming.

The walls and ceiling are antique walnut that was stored in an old barn for 35 years.”

The kitchen required a complete renovation.

“It was done in traditional golds and tans with a massive island,” said Brian. “The old island was 18 inches wider, which really encroached on the informal dining area and the keeping room. By reducing the size of the island we were were able to comfortably accommodate a round dining table and increase the functionality of the keeping room. It has always been a favorite gathering place for the family, but it’s much less cramped now.”

The family includes Brian’s three older children, Robert, age 28, Lauren, age 25, and Michael age 20, as well as his younger children, London, age 10 and twins Autry and Henry, age 7.

The three younger children live with Brian every other week, and given his work and travel schedules, he’s built a support system.

“I’m a big fan of team-based support,” said Brian. “My mother stays over a lot. Kathy has been the house manager since before the children were born. Toni, our au pair from Germany, manages transportation, meals and homework. The kids have a very seamless experience. There’s continuity of care.”

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