Father's Day Tribute

In this issue of Everything Knoxville, we are excited to feature Luxe Homes & Design founder and president, Jenny Blalock. Jenny has successfully combined the entrepreneurial skills she developed early in her life while working alongside her father, Jim Blalock, in his plumbing supply business with both her skills as a general contractor and talents as an interior designer. A highly recognized and award-winning company, Luxe Homes & Design offers its clients a truly unique, one-of-a-kind experience in new home construction. They design and create a new home that not only meets the existing needs of each and every family member, but also the future needs of these same family members as they experience the changing seasons of their lives.

We will also introduce you to Plantation Reclaimed, a newly launched company dedicated to the preservation of our nation’s remaining old growth forests by promoting the environmentally responsible practice of recycling antique lumber that might otherwise have been discarded.

In this interview, it is also hoped that in addition to introducing or reintroducing you, whichever the case, to Luxe Homes & Design and Plantation Reclaimed, that the entrepreneurial spirits that exist within so many of our readers might be reawakened by this interview.

EK: To complete the narrative we began, please tell our readers about the very special team that you have with your father, Jim, and how you benefitted personally from working with him at an early age in his company.

Jenny: I worked for my dad while attending University of Tennessee. During those years I watched how dad interacted with his employees and customers. He treated them all with great respect and always went out of his way to help any of them. It wasn’t just business with my dad, he took it personal. As a result of this, I also take pride in our work not only on a business level, but also a very personal level.

EK: How do you feel that your clients benefit from your expertise as both a general contractor and interior designer?

Jenny: I think that it certainly helps give my clients a since of comfort going into a project knowing that they have me to walk them thru the progress and guiding them design a home that fits their lifestyle. Most homeowners need help putting their ideas and designs together, and as a design builder, I help them achieve that as an end result.

EK: Why is it important to thoroughly understand a homeowner’s lifestyle prior to the design phase of new home construction?

Jenny: This is one of the most important aspects to building a custom home. I want to get to know my clients on a personal level to understand what things are important to them, how their lifestyle is, and what styles they like. This helps me design their home that is completely custom to them.

EK: You encourage a homeowner to visualize not only how they plan to use their new home today, but also 10 or 20 years in the future. How does this benefit the homeowner?

Jenny: Although trends and styles change over the years, I try to encourage my clients to incorporate designs that are more timeless. More importantly, you do need to build looking into the future as the family grows and as lifestyles change. Incorporating in-law suites is popular with a lot of my clients as they think about their parents getting older. One story living is popular for all age groups as well. Also, building a home that is as less maintenance and energy efficient as possible is important for a lot of my clients.

EK: Describe your hands-on approach to construction.

Jenny: I’m very hands on as all of my previous homeowners know. I’m not your typical “cell phone” contractor. Not only do I do all of the design work, but I am on the jobsite doing whatever it takes to keep the construction process going. I also build a lot of the kitchen hoods in my homes, and custom clay tile backsplashes. I like to build unique things and incorporate them into the home. I feel like it’s a way to put a part of “me” into their home. Also, communication is also very important, and I try to be available as possible to my clients.

EK: Like so many of our readers who are considering building a new home, you share their cost-conscious approach, yet your homes include unique features often offered only as options elsewhere. How is that possible?

Jenny: I think that is one of the things that make me unique. I think that is one of the things I’m known for. I want people to walk into one of our houses and think “Wow, I haven’t seen that before, and I love it.”

EK: Does Luxe Homes & Design also offer renovation or remodeling services?

Jenny: New construction has picked up so much lately that I really haven’t had the time to do remodeling. That isn’t saying that we do not, it’s just a matter if it’s something that can fit into our schedule at the time.

EK: Tell us how Luxe Homes & Design gave rise to Plantation Reclaimed.

Jenny: I have always loved to incorporate antiques or reclaimed materials into our homes. Several years ago I fell in love with reclaimed wood flooring. After extensive research, I found that the price for it was out of my client’s budget. I wanted it so badly in our homes, and I actually love the process of it, so we started milling it ourselves. We started selling it Nationwide since then. I’m very proud of the success it has become so far and where it will be in the up and coming years.

EK: Plantation Reclaimed actually harvests antique lumber as much as 200 years old and performs all the millwork required for its re-use, correct?

Jenny: Yes, correct. Our barn wood comes from local barns, and most with a history and story behind it. A lot of clients love to hear the story behind their floors. It’s exciting to see some old wood that you would normally strike a match to, turn into such beautiful and unique flooring. I like to say it’s like reclaiming history one floor at time.

EK: What type of projects has Plantation Reclaimed been involved in recently?

Jenny: We obviously include our flooring into all our homes. We do not just mill reclaimed wood; we also have old growth series as well. We mill a lot of black walnut, hickory, oak, maple, etc. We have designers in L.A. that love using our original face barn siding. Our clientele list ranges from California to New York. The great thing about our product lines is that it can be used in both a rustic design and even modern. It’s very versatile.

EK: Your websites are packed with useful information and galleries. What is the best way for our readers to reach you?

Jenny: The best way to reach me is either by email or phone. I’m finding most people prefer to email.

EK: In closing, is there anything you would like to add? Perhaps a Father’s Day Wish?

Jenny: Yes, I would love to take the time to tell my dad how much I love and appreciate him. Not many people can say they can work with their parents or any family member for that matter and get along. The fact is we work together very well together. He taught me at a young age to be independent, and to work hard for things that I want. Being self-employed isn’t easy. It’s like being on a roller coaster at times, going through the good times as well as the bad. I’m just glad over the years I’ve gotten to experience all of it with him. I can’t imagine it any other way. Thank you for being supportive of me over the years, all your hard work, your love for me, and here’s too many more years ahead. Happy Father’s Day!