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Elegant Comfort: Chandra and Stephen Becker Have Created A Welcoming Home



Story by Gay Lyons | Photography by Ben Finch

Stephen and Chandra Becker had their eyes on their current neighborhood long before moving there. “We lived in Rocky Hill and wanted to be on the water,” said Chandra. “We had bought a lot in the neighborhood and were going to build and then this came on the market, and we thought ‘Rather than build, we’ll just renovate.’”

That decision in November 2016 kicked off a massive renovation, all of which took place before the Beckers and their children, Maleney age 10 and Rhodes age 8, moved into the home in January 2018. Stephen Becker is a physician doing plastic reconstruction at Blount Memorial Hospital; Chandra is a nurse at Children’s West Surgery Center. The home’s West Knoxville location is convenient for both of them.

“We completely changed the footprint,” said Chandra. “It was small and very dark. The whole kitchen is new and much more functional. Rachel Addicks helped with the layout of the kitchen and the bathrooms.”

The kitchen is the center of a hub that contains a mud room, grilling porch and laundry room that doubles as Chandra’s office. Another change was the addition of a large master suite on the main floor. The former master became a guest room. The children’s rooms, the family room and Stephen’s office are downstairs, a less formal area than the main floor.

Chandra says she has a “no running upstairs” rule.

Two large paintings in the open stairwell are the home’s focal points. The works by Michael Doig depict the Thomas Concert Band and Front Street in Chandra’s hometown, Thomas, West Virginia, “We bought these before we bought the house,” said Chandra. “We didn’t know what we were going to do with them. We just knew we loved them. They set the palette for the house.”

Color brought interior designer Todd Richesin to the home.”We knew Todd socially,” said Chandra. “We got to the point where we were going to paint, and we called Todd who came up with a paint plan. It snowballed from there.”

“They’ve been great to work with,” said Richesin. “They’ve been receptive to my thoughts and willing to take a risk. They don’t play it safe. It feels homey. That’s my signature: the feel of comfort. It’s important to me that it looks like them and not me.”

“Stephen and I have different tastes and styles, so Todd has been a godsend,” said Chandra. “Stephen likes ornate. I like more scaled back. We both like blues and greens. We like color, but I like more muted colors for sleeping.”

The dark green used in the dining room, the first room entered from the foyer, is Veridian from a division of Benjamin Moore. The room, which contains great grandmother’s china hutch and several glass pieces, mixes old and new, a look Chandra likes.

Except for the china hutch, “everything else is new,” said Chandra. “I acquired things over the course of the year we were renovating.” Some pieces have been repurposed. The bed in the guest room was used in the previous master bedroom. The green bureau, dresser and bedside tables in Maleny’s pink bedroom belonged to Stephen’s grandmother.

Some of the new things are old. The vintage barn doors that separate the master bedroom from the closets and bath are from France and were purchased at Willow Creek Interiors.

“I wanted it to look like a French bedroom,” said Chandra. “I found the overhead light fixtures and the barn doors first, and Todd took it from there.”

Chandra loves the peacock wallpaper in the master bath and the vintage chandelier in the foyer between the master bedroom, closets and bathroom. She had the chandelier repaired and rewired at Calloway’s.

Downstairs in the colorful family room, it’s all about comfort. “This is where we hang out 90 percent of the time,” said Chandra. “The rug is the best, and I love the table. The sofa is big enough for the whole family.”

Chandra has the same goal for the entire house--the more formal main floor and the more informal bottom floor. “We want our home to be comfortable and welcoming for guests,” she said.

“There’s no place I’d rather be than home.”

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