Archive | Lifestyle

Home Organization Includes the Pantry

Fall has arrived and we’ll be celebrating the holidays in a few weeks. If you have plans to entertain this holiday, you may need to whip your pantry into shape.

“While newer houses often have a larger pantry space, the size of your pantry doesn’t matter as much as organization,” said Kathryn Norton, co-owner of Tailored Living of Knoxville. “A well-designed small pantry often provides better, more convenient and functional storage than a poorly designed larger pantry.”

No matter its size, today’s pantry should be: 

Convenient – Located at or near the area where food is prepared. 

Visible – Everything in the pantry can be seen at a glance.

Accessible – Every item can be easily reached and removed without having to move anything else out of the way. Heaviest items, like a mixer, close to the floor and least-used items at the highest point.

When designing the layout of your pantry, Tailored Living believes what works best for the homeowner is a design that fits their lifestyle. Their designers will discuss how you want to utilize your pantry. Some of the questions a designer may ask are:

• What will be in the pantry besides food? Do you want to store dishes, serve ware, table linens, grilling items, or cleaning supplies in the space also?

• Do you entertain a lot and need to store party supplies?

• Do you have a specific design style in mind?  

• If you have the space, do you want a counter top – often called a landing area – to put bags of groceries on or, if there’s an outlet in the pantry, everyday items like a coffee maker?   

Other pantry elements to consider are drawers or pullout baskets. Incorporating baskets makes it easy for kids to see and get the food they like to eat or to store large-bulk items like onions or potatoes. Drawers are perfect for linens, grilling utensils, napkins, or any smaller items. Slide-out spice and wine racks add convenience. How much you’re able to customize depends on the size of your pantry.

Whether your pantry provides a walk-in space or is a reach-in, Tailored Living of Knoxville listens to your individual or family needs to design a space that works well for your lifestyle.  Their job is to design and install a well-organized pantry that brings order to chaos.

Tailored Living
featuring Premier Garage<

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Design Your Garage to Save Money and Time

By Carrie McConkey,

Many of us choose the DIY route when it comes to garage storage and organization. We spend a lot of time looking for just the right components that will fit our space and hold everything, and often we come up short. What if all of your garage needs could be solved at once, saving you money and time? It’s possible, with a professionally designed garage from Knoxville’s own Designer Garages. 

Get Slatwall Savvy

If pegboard is the granddaddy of garage storage systems, slatwall is his in-the-know grandson. Attractive and effective, slatwall offers sleek wall storage with dozens of accessories to hold everything big and small.

Toss the Tool Chest

Quality tool storage cabinets can be costly and take up space. Instead, use custom-designed drawers that will keep your valuable tool collection clean, organized, and close at hand. 

Put Your Workbench to Work

Workbenches are perfect for hobbies, but the DIY version is often too basic. Install custom-designed counter space, power outlets, and task lighting with drawers and cabinets underneath for a useful and enjoyable workspace. 

You can spend days putting up pegboard, shopping for shelves, and buying bins for garage storage and organization. What might save you cash will cost you valuable time, and the results, while practical, may not be perfect. Call or visit the Designer Garages showroom in West Knoxville today, and let Chris McKenry and his team show you the attractive and practical options that will supply your dream garage in no time!

Designer Garages

201 Center Park Drive
Knoxville, TN 37922

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Garage Flooring: Facts Before You Invest

For the past several years, homeowners have been investing in garage floor coatings – and the trend continues to grow. A recent industry report showed that consumer demand for garage flooring has increased almost 20% during the past two years.

Since a garage floor takes more daily abuse than any other floor in the home, it should be beautiful, yet tough enough to handle hot tires from cars, trucks, and motorcycles. However, all garage floor coatings are definitely not created equal. Most large home improvement stores sell DIY epoxy garage floor kits. These kits often consist of relatively inexpensive, water-based epoxies, which make a good basecoat. However, they do not include a high-performance urethane topcoat or proper concrete preparation, causing the flooring system to fail prematurely.

PremierGarage of Knoxville, the area’s flooring experts, says your garage floor coating should include these important industry practices:

Grind Preparation, Not Acid Wash
A significant factor in the longevity of a concrete coating is the preparation of the floor. It requires a surface texture that promotes a strong bond between the epoxy and the floor surface. Grinding creates the correct surface texture for the base coat to adhere to the concrete. Some companies try to acid wash floors, which is a less expensive method, but it does not create a good bond, resulting in a much lower bond strength and much higher probability of floor failure.

Full Flake Coverage, Not Partial
The amount of flake broadcast into the epoxy not only has a decorative purpose, but it also has a functional purpose.  Decorative flakes actually make the epoxy layer thicker and act as an additional bonding agent. Since the flakes are more flexible, it can help prevent chipping when objects are dropped onto it. Saturating the base coat with the flakes makes it up to three times thicker than if someone “sprinkled” flakes onto a solid epoxy color.   

Commercial-Grade Topcoat
Using a high-quality, commercial-grade polyurethane topcoat is vital so the floor stands up hot tires and dropped tools for many years. Polyurethane provides chemical, slip, UV, and scratch resistance, as well as gloss retention. It also reduces allergens by resisting the growth of microorganisms. The non-porous coating cures to twice as hard as traditional epoxies, making the garage floor resistant to gasoline, auto fluids, paint thinner, pesticides, and other household chemicals that can destroy inferior epoxy finishes.

Call PremierGarage of Knoxville to help you create a long-lasting garage floor. Then add custom garage cabinets and other storage solutions to turn your garage into your favorite spot in the home.

PremierGarage powered by Tailored Living

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Meadow View

August in the Garden

By Lisa Grugin

We are now officially in the “Dog Days.” Did you ever wonder where that term came from? It doesn’t have anything to do with our pets! In ancient Greece and Rome, the Dog Days were believed to be “a time of drought, bad luck, and unrest, when dogs and men alike would be driven mad by the extreme heat.” I got that from The Farmers Almanac. Now we use the term mostly about the time of summer’s peak temperatures and humidity.

That was a long and meandering way of saying it is pretty miserable outside. It is hard to make yourself go out and water or weed or deadhead when the air is swampy and the mosquitoes are trying to suck out every drop of your blood. I’m sorry, but your plants need help. The rain has been erratic, fungus is everywhere, and insects have arrived en masse. If you don’t help your plants get through this stage, be prepared to replace them this fall.

Here are the things you need to do:

• Monitor your yard. 0Do a walk around at least once a week to see what is going on. It is much easier to treat problems when you catch them early. This is also a great time to evaluate what has happened in your yard this year so far. What has done well? What hasn’t? What needs to be moved, removed, cut back, fertilized, treated, or composted? Do you need to add or subtract? It may be too hot for the actual work, but you can dream!

• Can you plant? Yep. It just requires a little more effort. We still have plenty of beautiful annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs. Pull up ugly annuals and replace them with fresh color. Add perennials to sunny or shady locations. Trees and shrubs can also be planted but will take a little more care. That means you will have to water the daylights out of them.

• Since I mentioned water, let’s talk about that. You may believe you are getting plenty of rain, but sometimes it isn’t as much as you think. If you don’t have a rain gauge, you can use plants (like hydrangeas, forsythia, weigela) that droop when they are thirsty to tell you when things are dry. By the time hollies, azaleas, and other evergreens tell you they are dry, it is usually too late. Please remember sprinklers are good for grass and flowers but are NOT adequate for trees and shrubs. Those need a drip system or hand watering.

• Powdery mildew, rust, black spot, and shothole disease are making an appearance everywhere. Your first round of defense is removing infected leaves and making sure they do not remain on the ground. Pruning (carefully) to improve air circulation will help with airborne diseases, and spraying with a fungicide will kill fungal spores. I am also seeing many plants succumbing to root rot. Root diseases are much harder to treat, and it usually involves removing mulch and applying a systemic product. Call us, stop by, email us, or contact us on Facebook if you have questions.

• Check for bugs, but make sure you have bad guys before you start spraying. Overtreatment is causing two serious problems: The “bad” bugs are becoming resistant to the chemicals, and “good” bugs like bees are getting wiped out. Don’t add to the problem.

• Summer is not the time to do major pruning of shrubs and trees. It is simply too stressful. As I mentioned above, you can take off wonky or diseased branches and do some minor shaping, but save the bigger jobs until the plants are dormant. If someone is doing surgery on you, wouldn’t you rather be asleep?

• Cut back perennials and annuals that have gotten leggy. Many will have new growth at the base, so be careful not to cut that off.

• Keep deadheading those annuals! Some of them could use a haircut and a good shot of fertilizer. Many will perk back up as the temperatures cool, so don’t give up. One the other hand, don’t be afraid to compost them and replace them with new plants.

• Did you plant vegetables? How did they do? If you didn’t enjoy the success you had hoped for, come in and talk to us and let’s see if we can figure out what went wrong. Sometimes the solution is very simple, like plant rotation or installing drip irrigation. If you have an overabundance, consider donating some to a food pantry.

• Isn’t it amazing how fast the weeds can take over? Keep pulling and spraying them, and don’t forget to apply a pre-emergent. There are some really nasty plants like Smilax (an awful, thorny vine that can have roots 20 feet long) that are really difficult to eradicate, so don’t give up!

• The fall bird migration will start soon. Keep your bird feeders and birdbaths clean and full so visiting birds can have an Airbnb at your house!

Our fall merchandise has started arriving, so stop in and see what is new!

Meadow View Greenhouses & Garden Center
9885 Highway 11E
Lenoir City, TN 37772

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Surface Doc

Surface Doc is Growing!

Now Available in Oak Ridge and Clinton

By Leif Kolach, Surface Doc Area Manager

One day, my wonderful, loving wife and I decided that we needed to make a move. A move away from the place we both grew up but now found unsuitable to raise our children. Through prayer and guidance, we made the trek from California to our new home in Tennessee!

What we found here was more than we expected. I opened a small cleaning business, Servant’s Heart, and we enrolled our kids in a great school. We found a wonderful church and found peace knowing we could be certain in a bright future for our children.

My wife, Jessica, who makes friends with everyone she meets, struck up a conversation with a woman at the store one day. Her name was Christina, and her husband was in the same profession! Fast forward a year, and I gave up Servant’s Heart to open a new service area for Surface Doc. I wasn’t too proud to say that Surface Doc had developed better processes for doing the same job. As I thoroughly enjoy what I do, having the best equipment and knowledge for each cleaning task makes every day on the job an absolute treat.

Our small family is thriving here, and we are incredibly blessed and grateful. Jessica is busy at home taking care of her dad and the kids. She is active in her prayer group, enjoys home improvement shows, and is absolutely my best friend. Our daughter, Bella, is an avid cook who also excels at baking, enjoys reading, and is an honor roll student. She loves serving in the church nursery. Our son, Silas, is a champion speller, who also loves to read, has a skill for drawing, and is a straight A student. Both children have a love for the Lord and continue to make their parents proud.

When I do take time off, I enjoy spending it with my family, always finding new, fun experiences to make lasting memories. I also find joy in facilitating a men’s group called “Maximized Manhood.”

Seeing surfaces restored to their original luster is what makes me happy during the week, and seeing my smiling wife and kids is what I look forward to every evening. I can’t wait to meet you and be of service!

Surface Doc

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Closets by McKenry

Notes from the Closets Conference & Expo

By Carrie McConkey,

Virtual conferences were a great way to keep industry professionals connected during the pandemic, but there’s nothing like the networking, education, and fresh ideas that spark from an in-person gathering. The 2021 Closets Conference & Expo, a national event for closet, garage, and organized storage professionals, gave hundreds of attendees from across the country the chance to meet face-to-face for three days in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Knoxville’s own Chris McKenry, President and Storage Design Specialist at Closets by McKenry and Designer Garages, was there.

“While we are a locally owned independent closet business, that doesn’t mean we’re isolated,” said McKenry. “These conferences bring us to a national level through networking with colleagues and exchanging ideas with some of the most successful leaders in the closet industry.”

McKenry established new relationships with major manufacturers in the closet and storage business and caught up with representatives from many of the current manufacturers of doors, garage cabinets, designer hardware, and accessories for Closets by McKenry and Designer Garages.

Along with keynote speeches, panels, and workshops discussing storage design trends and best business practices, three plant tours of locally based manufacturers gave conference attendees an inside look at the products they bring to their clients every day. “The tours were the highlight of the first day,” said McKenry. “The Closets Company gave showroom tours, Ultrapan Modern Finishes showed their process for manufacturing high gloss panels for closets and cabinets, and Doormark shared their production of what goes into making door and drawer fronts.”

Fresh Ideas
Full-size displays of modern home offices, practical mudrooms, and LED-lit dream closets provided creative inspiration as the design professionals wandered through the exhibit hall of the conference. More than 80 companies were in attendance, showcasing hundreds of products and accessories that attendees could see, touch, and watch being demonstrated.

McKenry will be bringing many of these new innovations to Knoxville, such as pull-out wire pantry baskets for storing wine, spices, and dry goods; “smart” safes for your valuables that secure through your thumb print or cell phone; and a customizable carousel that quadruples your storage in a small footprint of space.

“We’ll also be offering the winner of ‘Most Innovative Product’: An angled shelf bracket that allows rods and shelving to be installed on sloped ceilings or slanted walls,” said McKenry, “as well as expanding our wine cellar options with an award-winning line from the show.”

Backstage tours, new and familiar faces, and innovative products all point toward a bright future in the world of storage and closet design.

“It has been a challenging year, and we are not back to ‘normal,’ but the mood is very positive in our industry,” reported McKenry. “I’m pleased to bring connections, knowledge, and products back to Knoxville, and I welcome folks to visit the Closets by McKenry and Designer Garages showrooms to see how they can bring these exciting new national closet and storage trends into their own homes.”

Closets by McKenry
201 Center Park Drive, #1070
Knoxville, TN 37922

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Shelf Help

Celebrating 5 Years Serving Knoxville

Shelf Help would like to thank all our wonderful customers for allowing our business to grow! We continue to add new products and ideas to enhance function and convenience for every kitchen, pantry, and bathroom. Whether you’ve wished your home’s existing kitchen and bath storage were more efficient, or if you’ve experienced difficulty in reaching items due to a health or mobility issue, Shelf Help offers the perfect solution for your home.

At Shelf Help, we work with homeowners to evaluate, design, and install custom rollout shelving and organizers that fit right into your home’s existing kitchen and bath cabinets or pantries, providing you with easier access, better organization, and maximum use of your available storage space.

And for those who may experience challenges reaching cabinets that are too low, too high, or too deep, Shelf Help allows you to make full and far more efficient use of your storage space.

With our built to order roll-out shelving, cabinet organizers, and pantry storage systems, tasks are made simpler with easier access to kitchen and bath items and with the added advantage of optimal usage of your
existing storage space – at last, creating a place for everything and everything in its place!

Homeowners also appreciate how affordable Shelf Help is, saving 50% or more when compared to national brands.

Our clients are so pleased with the results, they say “We should have done this years ago!”

As experienced Knoxville-area kitchen and bath design consultants and a locally owned business, Shelf Help has the understanding and know-how to evaluate, design, measure, and professionally install solutions tailored to your needs and budget.

To learn how you can better organize your kitchen, bath, or pantry, call today to request your free, no-obligation, in-home consultation. Mention this article and receive up to $250 off with a minimum purchase.

Locally owned and operated, let Shelf Help make the most of your home’s kitchen, bath, or pantry storage space.

Shelf Help

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Undercover Systems

A Summertime of Family Fun Out-of-Doors

While many family events move outside for the summer, the professionals at Undercover Systems can actually offer you unlimited out-of-door events, free from rain and the searing summertime sun, that your entire family can enjoy all year-round.

Now is the perfect time to install the totally unique underdeck ceiling system from Undercover Systems under your home’s existing raised decks. This underdeck system will ensure that this year’s events will be protected from unexpected and unwanted rain and the sizzling summertime sun.

“This is a great time to weatherproof all of your out-of-door family events,” said Jim Conn, owner of Undercover Systems. “Throughout the entire process, our skilled craftsmen work with you, each step of the way, until your project is completed to your satisfaction. And because your project will be completed this summer, your family can begin enjoying your new outdoor living spaces while this year’s barbeque season is in full swing.”

Undercover’s patented underdecking system helps extend your outdoor season of enjoyment by protecting your family from August’s relentless sun, autumn rains, winter snow and ice, and next year’s springtime showers. You’ll also appreciate Undercover Systems’ attention to detail, which comes from years of experience, as they help you craft a seamless transition from your home’s interior to your new out-of-door living spaces. They use their own patented, fully customizable underdecking system designed specifically for your home and not the one-size-fits-all, big box store components used by the competition.

A complaint-free member of the Better Business Bureau, Undercover Systems offers homeowners the peace of mind that they deserve in a building contractor.

Why not surprise your family with a special out-of-doors gift they can enjoy all year long and rediscover a fun summertime with family and friends at home? Call Jim Conn at 423-267-0091, and start celebrating your home’s great out-of-doors.

Undercover Systems

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Tailored Living

Need a Custom Closet?

5 Questions to Ask Yourself

Are you always sorting through the never-ending amount of garments you have hanging in your closet just to put together the single outfit you had in mind? Can’t find the pants to match the shirt? Or the shoes to match the pants?

While life can be messy and disorganized, a closet should not be. Closets should make life easier. A custom closet that’s designed and organized based on your needs provides much more organization and maximizes storage space, which means less frustration.

Tailored Living of Knoxville professionals will meet with you in your home, listen to your specific needs, and work with you to design a space that fits your everyday lifestyle. Here are some preliminary questions to ask yourself before calling for your in-home consultation:

1. How much space do I have to work with?
This is the primary aspect to factor into your closet planning. Knowing how much space you have will help the professional Tailored Living designer determine the best organizational system for your closet. Also consider ceiling height when you take inventory of the closet space. Making use of every inch can be important if you’re working with a small space.

2. What is my budget?
While the cost really depends on the size of your closet, a basic system with hanging rod and shelves will cost less than including cabinets and drawers. Additionally, the finish color you choose will impact your budget. A white finish will always be less expensive than wood grains and darker finishes.

3. What types of clothing am I storing?

Some people only want to hang shirts, blouses, and pants in their closet and leave other items such as undergarments stored in a bedroom dresser. Think about what types of clothing and accessories you want to store inside your closet and it will help you put together a picture of your organizational needs.

4. Which accessories and organizers do I need?

Convenient accessories like jewelry drawers, fold-out ironing boards, tilt-out hampers, drawer organizers, and pullout belt racks are among the many options that bring more order to the closet and help you easily find items.

5. What do you want to display for convenience?

From ladies’ scarves to men’s ties, for multiple items of the same type of clothing there are closet organizers and designs that provide convenience and style.

These are just a few ideas to keep in mind when thinking about your custom closet design. Once you have considered your budget, what you need to store, and the space you have, Tailored Living of Knoxville will design a custom closet system with features built around you and your lifestyle!

Tailored Living featuring PremierGarage

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Surface Doc

Reclaim Your Tile & Grout Floors

By Christina Fitzwilliam, Co-owner of Surface Doc, Inc.

If your floors are dingy no matter how much you clean them, we can help!

Did you know that the more often you clean your tile and grout floors, the dingier and dirtier they appear? Over time, dirt and contaminants are absorbed into the porous surfaces of your floor. Cleaning chemicals often have the same effect. Your floor acts as a sponge and absorbs all sorts of foreign matter and locks it deep within where no amount of scrubbing will help its appearance. The unsuspecting homeowner will often try all sorts of cleaning chemicals in hopes of success, all the while making it worse. Sadly, traditional cleaning methods simply are not able to extract the grime that is embedded in your surfaces. If you are wondering how dirty your floors really are, simply compare the grout in an unused corner to the rest of the floor. You may be shocked.

It takes a three-step process to extract the grime embedded below the surface. High heat opens the pores in your floor. Powerful suction draws the dirt out to be whisked away. High pressure and a quality emulsifier are also needed to complete the process of removing all the junk below the surface. ONLY the perfect combination of heat, extraction, and pressure will be effective.

Many homeowners opt to have their newly cleaned floors sealed. Surface Doc’s sealer provides the ultimate protection for most hard surfaces, including natural stone floors, tile and grout, and concrete. The sealer’s molecules penetrate deep within and bond permanently together, creating a deep barrier of protection.

John and his crew are experts at cleaning inside and out. They can tackle the biggest jobs, from kitchens and bathrooms to the driveway, pool, and deck. Surface Doc has become the leader in this area for hard surface restoration, as well as carpet restoration. The estimate is free, and the service is affordable and effective. Visit to see before and after photos, as well as streaming videos of John’s cleaning tools in action. Give Surface Doc a call today to request a free, no hassle home demonstration.

Surface Doc

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