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The Overlook: A Vertical Neighborhood

Story by Liz Lyons | Photography by Jason Cantrell, Cadence Captures

Architect Josh Wright purposefully designed the Overlook for easy interaction between neighbors by providing generous balconies that are intended to act as front porches or stoops found in traditional neighborhoods. His design has worked as the residents of the Overlook have become friends as well as neighbors. “We spend a lot of time on the two large balconies. They are a huge part of why we chose this condo. We use both the front and back balconies for eating meals, socializing and exercising,” said Kathie Goldsby. The building has 10 units and the tenants will often hop from one balcony to the next. 

Tom and Kathie Goldsby moved to Knoxville in 2020 from Columbus, Ohio. They picked the Overlook based on its location. “Coming from the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, was a big change for us, but the adjustment was easier than we imagined. Condo living downtown is so low-maintenance and easy. Downtown Knoxville has so much to offer, with everything just minutes by foot. We walk to the farmers’ market, restaurants, the Tennessee Theatre and ice cream outings with the pup. We were pleasantly surprised with how dogfriendly downtown Knoxville is. Free concerts on the World’s Fair Park lawn and Market Square pavilion have become a regular outing in the summer."

When it came to designing their home, they kept it simple. “Our open area has a minimalist feel, by choice. We like clean lines and smooth surfaces. The large wall with a high ceiling just screamed for a massive pop of color. This was solved by befriending and hiring local artist, Heather Whiteside. She created a massive canvas triptych that is the river view from our back balcony. Having a local artist work with us was special, as she even included us walking our dog in one of the panels.” The Goldsbys have truly embraced city living in their little corner of downtown. “Our architects who also live in the building, Josh and Jessica Wright, embrace the idea of the vertical neighborhood. We love that the building is small enough that we all know each other. There is a strong sense of community in the building and along the 600 block of W. Hill. We look out for one another.”

Bill and Gay Lyons had a shorter move to the Overlook. The couple had been living at Kendrick Place since 2004. “We bought what we refer to as our 'starter condo' at Kendrick Place, it was a pied a terre. We loved 'vacationing' downtown from our home in West Hills. We loved the sense of community. It was a real neighborhood. Downtown was smaller in those days: fewer people, fewer places to go. We made so many friends and developed friendships that remain and still mean so much,” said Gay. Bill added, “I especially like the ability to walk to work, to go out to eat or just to people watch.” The couple ended up living in two separate condos in Kendrick Place before discovering the Overlook. “We were not going to leave Kendrick Place until we found a place we loved as much or more. Kendrick Place was my dream, and Bill loved it, too, but when we visited friends in places like the Holston Building, he
loved the views. The Overlook was the first place that checked all our boxes. And Bill got his views.”

“We made a down payment before ground was broken, based on renderings. We are the only ones who chose a galley kitchen. Open floor plans are popular, but I like walls. I think it’s good to have some division of space. Walls are also handy for shelves and art. The galley kitchen allowed us to have an 'extra' wall between the kitchen and the living/dining room. We used that wall for a custom built-in that provided cabinet storage for cooking equipment, open shelves for books and pottery, and a space for Bill’s big screen tv.” The Lyons family have made several moves downtown, but they are in agreement that this one has been truly made their own. “Our home at The Overlook is colorful, but neutral. The walls, finishes, floors, furniture and fabrics are gray, cream, white and black.

The color comes from the paintings, sculptures, prints, books, pottery and rugs. If we moved out, the space would be a blank slate. We love that so many of our paintings, prints, pottery and sculptures were created by people we know. There’s a section in our bookcases reserved for books authored by people we know. I think because we’ve been through two downsizes and have only held onto things that are meaningful to us, it’s our most personal home. Everything in our home has a story.”

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