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Old World Holidays: Holiday decor complements Tim and Therese Ann Matthews’ English manor style home

Story by Gay Lyons | Photography by Ben Finch/Finch Photo

Tim and Therese Ann Matthews didn’t worry about finding a home when they moved to Knoxville in April 2008. 

“Coming to Knoxville was a walk of faith,” said Therese Ann. “This is where the Lord led us.”

Tim Matthews had been a corporate lawyer in Cincinnati, Ohio, for 27 years. He had invested in Jewelry TV and later served as a technical consultant for the company. Becoming JTV’s president and CEO was not part of the plan, but that’s what brought the family to Knoxville. 
Their housing needs were specific. They wanted to be on the lake and not too far from JTV, and they needed at least six bedrooms for their family: five daughters and one son. Only the son, the youngest, still lived at home in 2008, but the close knit family enjoys getting together, so space for all was a priority.

“We were in no rush to find a place,” said Therese Ann. “We said ‘We’ll know when we’re supposed to move.’” They rented a home in Gettysvue for 10 years.

They were drawn to their current West Knoxville home from a photo in a brochure. It seemed perfect: on the lake, some acreage, plenty of bedrooms, a short commute for Tim. They loved its style and character.

“It’s a 10-year old house, but it was built to look like an 18th century English manor house,” said Therese Ann. “We loved the attention to detail, the incorporation of the antiques, and the care with which it was built. It has a lot of modern technology but with Old World character.”
But it was not for sale.

The Matthews reached out to the owners and learned they were planning to sell the home in three or four years, but after meeting Tim and Therese Ann, they changed their minds. “They said, ‘OK. This seems right,’” recalled Therese Ann. “They said, ‘Let’s close quickly, but give us six months to find a place to live.’”

The Matthews moved into the home on April 1, 2020. As the first Christmas in their new home approached, two things became clear. 

First, Therese Ann realized she needed help decorating. “I had bought all of the previous owners’ Christmas decorations,” she said, “I had brought some from Cincinnati, and I had purchased some for the Gettysvue house.”

She contacted Wolfgang Schaber of Wolfgang Interiors. “He said he was through with holiday decorating for the year, but he agreed to come and look at it,” she said. “Wolfgang is from Austria, and he loved the Old World character. He looked at everything and pulled it all together.”
The second thing that became apparent was that a large six bedroom house was not large enough. Four of their five daughters have gotten married, and each of those four families has four children. As of now, there are five daughters, one son, four sons-in-law and 16 grandchildren, ages 14 years to three months.

To accommodate their current family–and future additions–the Matthews are constructing a large guest house adjacent to their home. 

The guest house will have four master suites and another bunkhouse. “There will be more than enough room for everyone and open space for entertaining,” said Therese Ann. “We are using the same granite, the same slate roof, the same windows, and the same random width wide plank floor. We want it to look like one cohesive whole. We want to create an environment of comfort and beauty surrounded by natural beauty.”

As soon as Thanksgiving is over, Therese Ann starts planning for Christmas.

“My and Tim’s goal is to make it magical for the grandkids,” said Therese Ann. “We had a Harry Potter-themed breakfast when they were into that. On Christmas Eve we all wear Christmas pajamas. On Christmas morning everyone gathers on the stairs until everybody’s up. We have a champagne and caviar night. Christmas Eve dinner is standing rib roast, stuffed potatoes and chocolate eclairs. We love to sing carols around the piano. Starting in 2020 when we couldn’t attend Christmas Eve servicesbecause of covid, the grandchildren started writing and doing a Christmas service. Actually, I started planning it, and the kids took it over.”

“Everybody comes together at Christmas,” she continued. “It’s just really special and fun. One of the greatest blessings is having them all here together.”

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