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Every Day is Spa Day for the Wilson Family

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Story by Megan Venable and photography by Ben Finch, Finch Photo

Heath and Mistye Wilson were living well in Atlanta for more than 20 years when they happened to see a piece of property on the water in Knoxville. They liked what they saw and purchased the land intending to sit on it for several years before building. But, as is their style, they made a spontaneous decision the next day. An architect was consulted and hired, and the family of six and two Boston terriers made the move to Tennessee.

Moving the year of the pandemic held its own unique challenges. The Wilsons loved their Atlanta friends, schools and church, but they knew it would be a better space for the family – also putting them a few hours drive from each set of their parents. But, a 2020 move also meant that the four kids didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to their life in Atlanta, or even get a welcome from new friends in person when they arrived in town. They settled in a house off Northshore while their lake house was being built and moved in to it in 2023. 

“Living on the water was not in our DNA,” Heath said. “It was a surprise for us both that we chose to live here.” Heath had the vision for the house, and wanted it to echo a concrete and steel vibe. Mistye wanted her home to feel serene and quiet, almost like a spa. Most of the furniture and fixtures in the house are built into the architecture, meaning most of what they owned in Atlanta didn’t make the move to Knoxville. “We worked 10 years to decorate with a designer in Georgia, and now we’ve started all over,” joked Mistye.

Many of the pieces of pottery that decorate their home are handmade pieces from Mistye’s grandfather, W.J. Gordy, a wheel throwing potter from Georgia. Heath’s sister, Cortney Eorgan, is an artist too. Additionally, they have sought out Southeast artists to contribute to their spaces. “We have always been so blown away by people who can create with their hands,” said Heath of their art and pottery collection. 

“The teenagers use the movie room the most, and we all love the indoor/outdoor aspect of the house,” Mistye said. She says she trusts Heath with all the things, but teased him about the fact that the house was built without a clear indication on what was the “front door,” and he neglected to have a doorbell installed. 

They both agree that this is probably not their last house, but they love Knoxville and do not plan to leave town. This is their first experience in building a home from the ground up, having only remodeled existing homes several times. They enjoyed the process, and love the resulting structure. They love to entertain in their home, but Mistye indicated she may become more of a recluse because she never wants to leave!

For now, they are enjoying life on the water, despite their claim that they aren’t really “water people.” The kids love the water being on the paddleboard and jet skis and there’s so much wildlife they can see from their home; deer, turkeys, otters, coyotes, bald eagles, hawks – and even a heron the family has monikered “Steadman."

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