Archive | Lifestyle

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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European Fine Hardwood Floors

“There Was Absolutely No Dust!”

When Tellico Village resident Robert Ericson was asked about his experience using European Fine Hardwood Floors, he responded that he was totally satisfied with the refinishing work that they had performed in his home. His house was built in 2000 and originally had laminate flooring installed. Years later, Robert had the laminate replaced with pre-finished oak hardwood flooring. Unfortunately, the new flooring developed “cupping,” which was not covered by the flooring manufacture’s warranty. Robert was left with the choice of replacing the existing oak flooring or refinishing the flooring. In 2016, Robert decided to refinish, and he selected European Fine Hardwood Floors to perform the work.

European Fine Hardwood Floors offers area homeowners a totally unique experience in hardwood floor refinishing. By combining the skills learned from European craftsmen with the latest technological advances available in the refinishing marketplace, they can easily restore your home’s hardwood floors to their original showroom quality look. If your home’s hardwood floors are faded, cupped, scratched, dented, and gouged, then European Fine Hardwood Floors can help.

The first step for Robert was to contact European Fine Hardwood Floors to request his no-cost, no-obligation, in-home consultation. Robert also decided to change the stain color of his flooring, and the work was performed to his complete satisfaction. European Fine Hardwood Floors’ fully insured and bonded craftsmen also efficiently removed the dust resulting from the refinishing process out-of-doors using high-volume hoses attached to high-capacity vacuums with HEPA filters, which remained outside Robert’s home.

When asked if he was happy with the minimal amount of dust resulting from the refinishing project, Robert was quick to point out that the floor refinishing project resulted in zero dust. “I wiped my hand across our dining room table adjacent to where the floors had been refinished,” said Robert. “There was absolutely no dust!”

Recipient of the much-coveted Bona Certified Craftsman designation, this is your assurance that all work performed by European Fine Hardwood Floors is compliant with the standards set by the number one name and leader in the world’s refinishing marketplace: Bona.

“I’m often hesitant to recommend contractors to friends and neighbors, but I’m not the least bit reluctant to recommend European Fine Hardwood Floors,” said Robert. “In fact, we just recommended them to friends who recently had worked performed by them and that are just as pleased as we were with their finished work.”

Although the floors were refinished five years ago, they look as if they were refinished only yesterday.

European Fine Hardwood Floors

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Cabry Design & Cabinetry

You Have Our Attention

We want to be the best at what we do. Our main goal is to meet the needs of our customers with top-quality cabinetry and functional, innovative designs. By striving to be on the cutting edge of the custom cabinetry industry, Cabry Design & Cabinetry is known for our high level of attention to detail in our designs while providing a quality product and exceptional service.

Cabry Design & Cabinetry has been designing and remodeling kitchens in the Knoxville area for more than 15 years. Think of us as your personal cabinet company – we approach each project with the emphasis on developing a long lasting relationship with our clients. We are passionate about providing a smooth, personal approach to each project by offering one of the most experienced staff in custom cabinetry design.

With every project beginning with our Client Focused Design Process, we ensure the end result will be the vision you have for your space. The experience and knowledge of our custom cabinetry designers can help ease any stress and anxiety you might be feeling about one of your most important purchases. Our firm is not about developing a signature style. We take our cues from you, ask questions to help guide the process, and take the lead with suggestions and direction when appropriate.

We know it sounds simple, but there is a difference. Many designers underestimate the value of listening, hearing, and then acting on behalf of a client’s needs. Some of our projects are driven by a collection of images, some by a single “big-picture” idea. Some clients know exactly what they want, while others need help bringing their goals into focus. Since the process yields the result, we remain flexible, and we tailor our creative tools and leadership methods to the unique conditions of each project.

What sets Cabry Design & Cabinetry apart is not only the level of design, but the attention to ALL of the details necessary to ensure your dream kitchen comes true. In collaboration with our interior design partners, we provide comprehensive plans to ensure there are no unknowns or surprises, providing our contractors and installers with the “roadmap” they need to ensure the outcome as you intended.

We are here to make your dream kitchen a reality.

Cabry Design & Cabinetry
8705 Unicorn Drive, Suite 114
Knoxville, TN 37923

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Designer Garages

Step Into Style On Your Garage Floor

By Carrie McConkey,

Who would have thought your garage could make a fashion statement? Now more than ever, garages are sporting their own style with designer upgrades that are attractive, durable, and add value to your home. Make your garage one-of-a-kind by installing a custom, hand-laid modular or epoxy floor. With endless color and pattern combinations available, in just a matter of hours, you’ll have a long-lasting floor that you – and your car – will love.

Epoxy Floors
Create a gorgeous garage from the ground up with a stain and chemical-resistant epoxy floor. Preparation is key to create a stable foundation and includes a professional moisture test, degreasing, crack fill and repair, and grinding. A colored epoxy base coat is applied, using a proprietary formula that wicks deep into the concrete for a bond three times stronger than ordinary epoxy. Hand-tossed vinyl flakes provide the granite-like appearance, and a long-wearing, UV-resistant Polyurea top coat seals with a high-gloss touch. Installation takes just one to two days, and your new, smooth, and attractive floor has its own 10-year limited warranty.

Swisstrax Modular Tiles
Swiss engineered and manufactured in the USA, the unique and versatile Swisstrax has earned a reputation as “The World’s Finest Modular Flooring.” Used everywhere from airplane hangars to health clubs, the durable and colorful floors can give your garage sharp and functional style in less than a day. The tiles are resistant to slips, fading, and stains and feature a channeled design which keeps the surface dry by allowing dirt, debris, and liquids to flow through. Quick tidying is a snap with a shop vac or pressure washer, or use a mop and degreaser for deeper cleanings. In the rare case that a tile may become damaged, it can simply be replaced, and if you decide to move, pop them apart and take them along!

Creative Possibilities
Let your imagination run wild when it comes to customizing your epoxy or Swisstrax floor, and take your garage to the next level. Swisstrax tiles come in 18 different colors that can be mixed and matched to create designs, monograms, borders, or checkered floors that match your home’s décor or represent your favorite sports team. The epoxy floor base coat is available in a variety of colors, along with the flakes that mimic beautiful natural finishes such as quartz and marble, and come in a range of sizes from a chunky 1″ to a tiny 1/16″.

Just like a designer accessory or piece of clothing can dress up an outfit, a beautiful floor can make your entire garage appear clean and attractive. Chris McKenry and his team at Designer Garages in West Knoxville are ready to help you choose the right flooring for your needs and make the most of the endless design options. Visit their showroom to see the full variety of epoxy and Swisstrax modular tile colors, and touch and walk on the floors themselves. Then, get your car ready for the red carpet!

Designer Garages
201 Center Park Drive #1070
Knoxville, TN 37922

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