East Tennessee's Mountain Views

East Tennessee's Mountain Views

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Vonore, TN 37885


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Introducing The Tailored Closet: An Old Friend with a New Name – Same Great People, Same Great Quality

Monday, March 6th, 2023 | Uncategorized | No Comments

Disorganization.  It causes stress, wastes your time and energy, and can even cost you money!

Have you ever purchased an item you were pretty sure you already had, but just couldn’t find it?  How many hours do you spend searching for those less often used tools?  Do you have to move piles or boxes of stuff in order to get to the one in the back?  You may have lots of shelves, but are they the right size for your needs?

Okay.  I think that just about everyone would admit that organization is critical to a well-run home or business.  But for some of us, the mere thought of trying to tame the jungle that is our stuff is overwhelming.

So where do you start?  What better way, than to call a professional.  Not only do they know the products and trends available to help you organize your life, but they can help you determine the options that best fit your specific needs and challenges.   

One such company that has developed a well-earned reputation for quality and service, organizing just about any area of the home, is Tailored Living of West Knoxville, which includes their garage division: PremierGarage. We recently learned of some exciting developments for our friends at Tailored Living – the most important of which is their new name:  The Tailored Closet.  Not only do they have a new name, but they have also acquired new expanded office space for both The Tailored Closet and PremierGarage in West Knoxville.

East Tennessee’s Mountain Views recently met up with Kathryn Norton and Brian Falls, two of the co-owners who manage the day-to-day operations, at their well-appointed showroom to find out more about their relocation, new name, and high-quality services.

MV: Let’s start at the beginning – what is the background and history of ownership of your company?

Kathryn: Dan Morgan, who owned his own food brokerage company prior to our business, bought PremierGarage in 2010 and added Tailored Living very soon after. Dennis Falls, a retired manager from Alcoa, and myself, a former communications executive with Coca-Cola, joined Dan as co-owners in 2012. A short time later, Dennis’s son, Brian, joined the company.

Brian: I became a co-owner in 2016 and was initially focused on the garage floor coating process, developing the best techniques and using the latest technology to make sure we installed the best garage floor in East Tennessee. This led us into opening Premier Concrete Surfaces, which serves concrete coating needs outside the garage, such as basements, retail spaces, industrial settings, and restaurants.

Kathryn: With our four diverse backgrounds and skills, we continue to work well together for our growing companies. From day one, our business philosophy was clear: maintain a sharp focus on providing great customer service with the best products at a reasonable price.

MV: Why the name change to The Tailored Closet?

Kathryn: Home styles have evolved over time, and so has Tailored Living. Last November, Tailored Living became The Tailored Closet. The name change better reflects our services and makes it easier for potential customers to recognize what we do. We remain the same great company with the same great people – just with a more brandspecific new name.

Brian: The name change happened to coincide with moving our offices to 10301 Cogdill Road, Suite 305. Located off Lovell Road, our larger office, warehouse, and workshop area includes a showroom with comfortable meeting spaces for customers. The move to West Knoxville puts us closer to our core market and makes it easy for clients to visit our office to meet with designers and see our products firsthand.

MV: Besides The Tailored Closet, you also operate PremierGarage. How do these companies complement each other?

Kathryn: More than 12 years ago, we saw a growing demand for high-quality flooring and cabinetry for the garage, so we purchased PremierGarage, which had been in business in Knoxville since 2007. Tailored Living, part of a national franchise specializing in the design and installation of closets, home offices, pantries, and other spaces inside the house, came next. Whether inside the home or in the garage, combining the two businesses gives us the ability to help homeowners who want to organize their lives, not just a closet. We can help to “calm the chaos” in all areas of the home.

Brian: You won’t find any two designs from The Tailored Closet or PremierGarage that are exactly alike, because we tailor a design to meet each individual’s needs. The high percentage of repeat customers and referrals we receive is a continued testimony to our successfully being able to help homeowners in all aspects of organization.

MV: Can you walk us through a typical customer interaction?

Brian: We know from long-term experience that a new closet, pantry, or a renovated garage will change a person’s everyday life for the better. By developing a relationship and learning about our clients’ organizational obstacles, we can help solve problem areas in their home.

Kathryn: The showroom allows us to share with clients the various wood finishes that are available, styles and colors can be discussed, and accessories for the pantry, closet, or garage, along with our concrete coating options, can be chosen. A 3D design is then presented on a large monitor, where we can adjust elements to arrive at exactly what our client is hoping to accomplish.

MV: How can your services aid homeowners in ways they may not be aware of?

Brian: We are experienced in modifying any size of closet and pantry to utilize every inch of available space – laundry room efficiency upgrades, mudroom or entryway organization, and home office optimization (including guest bedroom features, if needed) inside the home, as well as the perfect storage options and flooring to make your garage into exactly what you want to use it for.

Kathryn: We had a “vertically challenged” client who really needed to be able to reach her everyday closet items. With lower rods for hanging clothes and a top rod that folded down with a flip of a switch, we solved a very real and basic need for her. She actually cried when she saw the finished closet!

A popular but little-known item is a fold-out ironing board. It is magically hidden behind a drawer front! Simply flip the “drawer” front down, and the ironing board unfolds and swivels to any angle – perfect for closets and laundry rooms. Another closet accessory we often install are slide-out panels that hold necklaces and bracelets. The panels keep jewelry protected and make it easy to see each piece – no more tangled chains!

Brian: And should you ever decide to put your house on the market, custom-designed closets and an upgraded garage will add value and appeal for potential buyers.

MV: Anything else you would like to share?

Kathryn: If you need better home organization or your garage needs remodeling, give us a call and let us prove that we can help make your life easier and less stressful. From our owners to each member of our team, we are passionate about what we do. Our trained team does all the design work and installation.

Brian: When we talk about designs to specifically meet a customer’s needs, that’s not an exaggeration. Every person is different in terms of their lifestyle and what will make their lives easier and more organized. And, most importantly, we want our relationship with clients to last as long as they’re in their home. We will be here to make any future additions or revisions that need to be made. They’ve got us for life!

The Tailored Closet/PremierGarage
10301 Cogdill Road, Suite 305
Knoxville, TN 37932

The Lakeside Renovations You’ve Been Looking For

Monday, March 6th, 2023 | Uncategorized | No Comments

Does your home match your vision for what it should be? If it falls short, as is so often the case, have you considered renovating your home, only to push the thought aside because the project either seemed too small to warrant it, or too big to be realistic? Perhaps you’ve struggled to find renovators you can trust to make your dream a reality. If this describes you right now, then it’s our pleasure to introduce you to Mike and Lisa Tapola and their local, family-run business, Lakeside Renovations.

MV: Lakeside Renovations has recently celebrated your 1-year anniversary in Tennessee.  Is there anything you would like to tell our readers about your first year here in east Tennessee?

Lisa and Mike: Our first year has been amazing! We have been blessed with great clients, some of whom we are still in touch with. We really do treat people like we would want to be treated and they, in return, have treated us like family.  Our business has been a success thanks to our trusting clients and our commitment to treating our clients right. We only take on one client at a time so each can get all of our attention and we can serve them better. Lisa offers a free design consultation to walk our clients through available options. If they are struggling with designing their new areas, she will even give them ideas. We are just so grateful and thank God for making our business such a success. We really look forward to helping everyone with their renovation needs and can’t wait to make their dream a reality.

MV: So, tell us a little about yourselves and what inspired you to move your family out to Tennessee?

Lisa: We are from Southern California, born and raised. Mike and I got married as high school sweethearts and are now blessed with 3 amazing children and our wonderful niece. As for what led us to move out to Tennessee, we really felt like God was leading us out of our home state due to the wrong direction California was headed. We traveled to 33 different states before we found beautiful Tennessee, and Tellico Village, and have been proud to call it home ever since.

MV: What do you feel sets you apart from other home renovators?

Mike: I believe what makes us different is we are a family-owned business that understands the importance of being honest and reliable. We have a passion for home renovation and take great pride in our quality of workmanship, from my own manual labor to my wife’s skills in design and giving clients the greatest range of options and ideas. Our business philosophy has and will always be to treat our clients the way we would want to be treated.

MV: What sorts of things have you heard from your customers?

Mike and Lisa: We have had numerous testimonials.  Here are a couple:

“Need renovations done?  Ranging from small to large?  Lakeside Renovations (661-992-6333) is the company you need to call! Michael Tapola and his crew renovated and enlarged our bathroom.  They had to tear down partitions, build new ones, put in an oversized tub.  Took up old tile and laid beautiful new tile.  Anything and everything we asked them to do, they did perfectly….and cleaned up after themselves, leaving no materials for us to deal with.  They gave us a reasonable free estimate before hand and held true to it. I can’t recommend them highly enough.” J. Blackman – Tellico Village

“My husband and I used Lakeside Renovations for the design and remodeling of our outdated kitchen. Mike Tapola is very professional, efficient, and a master tiler. We were so impressed with the quality of the work, along with his ability to get the job completed quickly, that we hired Lakeside Renovations to update our guest bathroom. Once again, the quality of the tile work was outstanding, so we immediately hired them again to remodel our master bathroom. We are very pleased with all three remodels and highly recommend Lakeside Renovations.”

D. Solis – Kahite

“Lakeside Renovations is an amazing company to work with. Michael was professional, respectful, and easy to work with. Definitely give them a call to talk about your renovations.” B. Manifold – Tellico Village

MV: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

Mike: Our goal is not to have quantity, but to strive for quality and the utmost satisfaction from our customers. So, we hope to hear from you soon for all your renovation projects, both big and small.

Don’t wait any longer. Take the first step in making your home renovation a reality, and call Lakeside Renovations at 661-992-6333. Allow them to wow you with their excellent customer service and commitment to top-notch, quality results.

Lakeside Renovations
Mike Tapola

Custom Glide-Out Shelves for More Space, More Access, and More Joy

Monday, March 6th, 2023 | Uncategorized | No Comments

Custom Solutions

ShelfGenie custom Glide-Out shelves are the best way to eliminate common frustrations in the kitchen, pantry, and bath. Our design will help fully utilize your space and our shelves pull out the full depth of your cabinets so you can see, reach and retrieve items with ease.

Custom design, sturdy wood construction, quiet rails that hold up to 100 pounds per shelf, and professional installation- all backed by a transferable, lifetime guarantee- will ensure your satisfaction.   

Your Experience

Getting personalized attention from the ShelfGenie team is easy. Here’s what you can expect from our custom design process.

  • Free Design Consultation:  Work with a ShelfGenie Designer to create a custom solution to solve your home pain points, eyesores, and trouble areas.
  • Custom Solution: Your personal Designer will present a design plan built just for you and your needs and show you a 3D-rendered plan of what your future home will look like.
  • Professional Installation:  We handle it all. After measurements are taken and your products are hand-crafted, your Installer comes to your home and installs everything for you in one day.

Schedule Your Free Design Consultation Today!

One of our talented ShelfGenie Designers will come to your home and create a design plan, customized just for you – no obligation required.


Biltmore Looks Ahead to 2023 with Favorite Seasonal Activities and New Experiences

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 | Uncategorized | No Comments

2023 Biltmore Events

From seasonal events to the art of masterminds presented in multisensory form, Biltmore is offering the following exciting events in 2023.

Now – Feb. 20, 2023: Leonardo da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius

Inventor, artist, scientist, engineer, sculptor, anatomist, musician, architect, philosopher—Leonardo da Vinci was all of these things. His brilliance and many extraordinary achievements are brought to vivid life in Leonardo da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius, the world’s most comprehensive and thrilling Leonardo da Vinci experience. Leonardo da Vinci is exhibited in Biltmore’s event center, Amherst at Deerpark.

Now – Feb. 20, 2023: Biltmore Gardens Railway – Wonders of the World

Visit the estate’s Antler Hill Village for a popular large-scale model railroad display with structures that chronicle the Wonders of the World. Railcars move around handmade botanical replicas of iconic structures from around the world. The display is made up of architectural wonders that were well-known during the Vanderbilt era including the Taj Mahal, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu and more. The Vanderbilt family traveled the world to see many of these architectural masterpieces in person. Visit Biltmore Gardens Railway and be transported to a whimsical place that is sure to delight all ages.

March 3, 2023 – Jan. 7, 2024: World Premiere of Italian Renaissance Alive

Making its world premiere at Biltmore, Italian Renaissance Alive is an all-new multi-sensory experience created and produced by Grande Experiences. This fitting tribute to George Vanderbilt’s lifelong passion for fine art invites you to enjoy some of his favorite works in an entirely new way: immersed in the beauty and brilliance of the greatest artistic period in history as it comes to life all around you. Large-scale projections with 360-degree views set to a powerful operatic score tell the story of artists and the time periods within which they lived. Italian Renaissance Alive features Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, Caravaggio and more.

April 1, 2023 – Feb. 19, 2024: Ciao! From Italy Sculptural Postcards

Complementing the Italian Renaissance Alive exhibition, a series of sculptural postcards that were inspired by George Vanderbilt’s travels have been created in partnership with Applied Imagination. Located in Antler Hill Village, Ciao! From Italy combines botanical designs with authentic greetings from the Vanderbilts in a large-scale format that’s sure to charm all ages.

April 1 – May 25, 2023: Biltmore Blooms

A long-time spring tradition, Biltmore Blooms celebrates Biltmore’s historic gardens and grounds and the return of warm weather, featuring a progression of thousands of spring flowers growing across the property. Starting with daffodils, followed by the tulips, wisteria, azaleas, rhododendron, and roses, the estate offers something new on a near-daily basis. Easter activities on the estate on April 8 and 9 will feature an Easter Scavenger Hunt.

Biltmore Blooms honors the genius of Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision for George Vanderbilt’s western North Carolina home. Vanderbilt approached Olmsted in 1888 to create a design for his land. Under Olmsted’s guidance, Biltmore became the first place where anyone had combined French and English landscape designs.

Nov. 3, 2023 – Jan. 7, 2024: Christmas at Biltmore

Two enchanting experiences are available to enjoy Biltmore during the holiday season — the Christmas at Biltmore daytime house tour experience, and the Candlelight Christmas Evenings nighttime house tour experience.

Nov. 3, 2023 – Jan. 7, 2024: Christmas at Biltmore Daytime Celebration

This beloved tradition includes a daytime tour of Biltmore House while the estate is adorned with holiday decorations that number in the thousands. A daytime visit to Biltmore is a feast for the senses, featuring wreaths, garlands, and the sparkle of ornaments. From Biltmore House to the Winery and Antler Hill Village, guests will want to linger on the estate to experience all that Christmas at Biltmore has to offer.

Nov. 3, 2023 – Jan.6, 2024: Candlelight Christmas Evenings

Biltmore House glows with candlelight and firelight during this nighttime tour, changing the daytime visit’s mood and experience. Candlelight Christmas Evenings in Biltmore House allows guests to step back in time with an experience reminiscent of the Vanderbilt’s first Christmas spent in Biltmore House in 1895. Musicians stationed throughout the house perform seasonal favorites. Setting the scene is a 55-foot Norway spruce encircled by illuminated evergreens and shrubs sparkling in the center of the front lawn. Luminaries line the walkway to Biltmore House.

More information about these events, and how to purchase tickets, is available at Biltmore.com or by calling (800) 411-3812.

About Biltmore

Located in Asheville, N.C., Biltmore was the vision of George W. Vanderbilt. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, America’s largest home is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau, exhibiting the Vanderbilt family’s original collection of furnishings, art and antiques. Biltmore estate encompasses more than 8,000 acres including renowned gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture. Today, Biltmore includes Antler Hill Village, which features the award-winning Winery and Antler Hill Farm; The Inn on Biltmore Estate, a four-star property; Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate; Equestrian Center; numerous restaurants; event and meeting venues; and Biltmore For Your Home, the company’s licensed products division. To learn more about Biltmore, go to Biltmore.com or call 877-BILTMORE.

Mabry Hill Catering

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 | Uncategorized | No Comments

New Tax Planning Ideas with Secure Act 2.0

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 | Uncategorized | No Comments

By Yvonne Marsh, CFP®, CPA

You’ve probably been reading about the retirement savings changes brought about by the passage of the Secure Act 2.0 in late December, so I won’t recap them all again here. Instead, let’s look for tax planning opportunities. How can we put this new law to your best use?

First, the easy one is that the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) age was increased to age 73 if you’re born in the years of 1951 – 1959, and to age 75 if you’re born in 1960 or later. (If you were already subject to RMD’s, having been born in 1950 or before, there are no changes for you.) How does this help? More time for systematic multi-year Roth IRA conversions, of course? Remember, Roth conversions are how you move money your IRA to a Roth IRA, paying tax on the conversion, but then forever shielding the amount moved in a tax-free Roth account. Roth IRAs insulate you from future tax increases and provide a tax-free legacy for your heirs.

Second, a new beneficiary strategy is available that is advantageous if the surviving spouse is older than the deceased spouse. Starting in 2024, a spouse who inherits an IRA as a primary beneficiary will have the option to be treated AS the deceased spouse. Huh? Usually, most surviving spouses roll over the IRA and take RMD’s based on his/her own age. But by electing to be treated AS the deceased (younger) spouse, it creates a longer delay before RMD’s have to start, and when they do, they’ll be a smaller dollar amount. This could be a major tax savings.

There are more tax planning opportunities that are embedded in the Secure Act 2.0, and this is important stuff, so I’m hosting a Zoom call on Thursday February 9th at 10am EST. We’ll delve deeper into these ideas plus other features such as further “rothification” of 401k’s and an interesting twist on unused college 529 plan money rolling into Roth IRA’s. Join me for a lively conversation about the Secure Act 2.0, and I’ll leave time for questions too. I promise I’ll make it fun. Call or email our office and ask to have the Zoom link emailed to you to register.

Marsh Wealth Management, LLC
Fiduciary Registered Investment Advisor
504 Ebenezer Road
Knoxville, TN 37923

Financial Planning & Investment Advisory Services are offered through Marsh Wealth Management, LLC (“MWM”), an independent investment advisor registered with the state of Tennessee. Yvonne Marsh is an Investment Advisor Representative of MWM in the state of Tennessee. Marsh Professional Group, LLC is a TN registered public accounting firm and a separate legal entity from MWM. For a detailed discussion of MWM and their investment advisory fees, see the firm’s Form ADV on file with the SEC at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov

Mashburn Remodeling

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 | Uncategorized | No Comments

Why Hire an Interior Designer?

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023 | Uncategorized | No Comments

By Sandy Kozar – Owner – Decorating Den Kozar Design Team

That is a great question, and I am glad you asked! To put it simply, hiring a professional interior designer allows clients peace of mind by bringing their aesthetics and needs together in a way that is convenient, curated, and fun.

There are many misconceptions about what an interior designer does. Many assume that the role of a designer is just to make a room pretty, and while that is a part of it, working with an interior designer has many more benefits than that.

“They made the process of furnishing several rooms painless. Everything came together and was installed right on time, and I absolutely love coming home. So thankful for their hard work!” – Laura, Knoxville

Experienced and Trained – With a combined 25 years of experience and degrees in interior design, as well as being Decorating Den Certified Designers, we have the experience and training to make rooms functional and aesthetically pleasing. Oftentimes we do this by creating a different layout, changing the traffic flow, and/or using the proper amount and scale of furniture. We also coordinate fabrics, furniture, flooring, window treatments, artwork, lighting, wallpaper, and wall color together using the elements and principals of design. We aim to create visual interest, along with adding comfort and style. Is there enough variety and texture? Does the space need more lighting? Will additional seating be needed?  Do the window treatments need to provide sun protection or privacy? Would the room need to be easily cleanable for children and pets? These are all some of the many questions we ask when pulling together a design.

Uniquely Curated – We also make sure that each design matches the lifestyle preferences and functional needs of each client. We do this by in-depth interviews during our complimentary consultation with homeowners. This allows us to create and implement a personalized design plan that’s unique for each client. We listen to the emotions they wish their home had, the quality the room should have, and needs of each client. We then sculpt their ideas into their customized design. From the thousands of design options available to us, we narrow the scope of options to a perfectly curated two or three design options for their home, making sure that it fits all of their requirements and desires. Since all of the options we present will be perfect for the finished room, clients can easily choose their favorites.  We save you the stress and wasted time going through solutions that would not work or endless shopping at retail locations trying to bring it all together.

“I have been working with Sandy and Rachael since September of 2019 and they have done a wonderful job. They truly put the customer needs first, and I can trust that every detail is a well thought out process, things that the non-decorator in me would have never thought of.  I would recommend them to anyone looking for a decorator.” – Judy, Lenoir City

Not sure what your style is? That’s okay! Many of our clients can’t really say what their design style is, but they can often say what isn’t! During the first phone call, as well as during the complimentary consultation, we ask lots of questions and go through an in-depth lifestyle form to narrow down and target your needs and wants, as well as what your style is. We listen closely to what you are saying and take many notes that we continue to review throughout the design process. If there are pieces in the room that will be staying, we will take the style of those pieces into consideration for design as well.

Set Your Investment – Oftentimes when homeowners are furnishing their home by themselves, it is done piece by piece over long periods of time. After it is all said and done, they might be surprised how much they have spent on their room. When we work with clients, we design within an investment range. Once the investment is set, this also lets us determine which of our vendors (from good, better, best, and luxury lines) to design the project with. We can work room by room, entire homes, or bits at a time, but the project will be within an agreed upon investment range. Not sure what things cost at the moment? That’s okay, during our complimentary consultations we walk through what items typically cost, and work with our clients to find an investment range that they and we feel comfortable with. When clients give us an investment amount, we are respectful of that.

Keep What You Love – We happily incorporate family heirlooms, collections, and cherished mementos in our designs – we have even built designs around such pieces. Pieces like this give a home character and help make it uniquely your home. We’d never tell you to get rid of something that you love.

When we have clients bringing pieces from one home to a new one, there’s many times the puzzle pieces just don’t fit the way they did in their home before. We often find that rugs are one of the hardest things to place. The large open floor plans of today need much larger rugs than the sectioned off spaces of older homes, and vice versa. When working together with our clients, we look at all of the pieces to see how they best fit together in the new space, often in ways the client would never have expected.

Avoiding Costly Mistakes – One of the best benefits to hiring a designer is that we save homeowners costly mistakes, as well as the hassle of returning or repairing those mistakes. By using our photo realistic 3D renderings, scaled sketches, physical fabric, wood, and rug swatches we are able to show each client exactly how their new room will look. We analyze all of the pros and cons of each option. Our clients can feel confident their new room will be exactly as we envisioned it for them!

Professional Results – Another benefit of hiring professionals – you get professional results. We help clients from the beginning of their project to the end and beyond. Some of the things that we do for clients they never are aware of.  Our professional design services are all inclusive of:  all plans, drawings, conceptual sketches, and renderings, all presentations, project sourcing of all materials, all finish and fixture selections throughout, all selections to ensure both function and aesthetic fit for all furniture, rugs, lighting, window treatments, art accessories and more selections.

Throughout the project management aspect, we are responsible for: purchasing of all goods approved, tracking and shipping management, professional receiving, inspection of all goods, coordinate schedule with installers, delivery and professional installation of all goods. We also update clients throughout the process to ensure all progress stays on track to meet expected deadline.

We are there for every install, guiding our professional installers to ensure that everything is placed in the perfect spot. We strive for excellence in all that we do, and by doing all of this, we give our clients the reassurance that everything will be handled with dedication and our high-quality standards.

“Sandy Kozar and Rachael helped us to redecorate our “new” home. They listened to our vision and then helped us create a beautiful home that we will enjoy for years to come. They helped us with furniture, lamps, rugs, draperies, and accessories – a lot! A very positive experience from start to finish. We highly recommend them!!” – Melissa, Vonore

Ready to see the difference that hiring a professional can bring? Let’s chat about your next project! We can’t wait to hear from you! So, give us a call at 865-392-6222 or visit our website at www.SandyKozar.DecoratingDen.com to get started today! Remember, the sooner you get started, the sooner you will be enjoying your beautiful new room!

Decorating Den Interiors
Kozar Design Team

Decorating Den Interiors is a franchise with over 230 businesses throughout the United State and Canada. The benefits of working with a franchise are the tried-and-true systems for every project, as well as over 150 trade suppliers that are vetted and quality approved for us to use. Our clients benefit from the combined purchasing power of all of the Decorating Den franchises. We are also continuously informed and educated of all of the latest trends and innovations in the industry. The Decorating Den Certified Designer exam, or DDCD, is a 3-day test to confirm that you are an expert in your field.

From the Kozar Design Team

– My favorite spot to put family photos is in a hallway leading to the bedrooms. Hallways are usually long and have room for expansion as the family grows and has more adventures through the years. Start in the middle with a focal image, a wedding, your last name, or a large family photo with everyone in it, and expand outward as the picture gallery grows.
– Another favorite tip is to use books! Many of today’s homes do not have many books left, but there is something really comforting and inviting about a small stack of poignant or themed books on a nightstand or coffee table in the living room. 
– When it comes to accessorizing, we like to go with a few big focal items, rather than a lot of little ones. This gives a greater visual impact and lets your eye rest to really absorb the beauty of those few pieces, without adding visual clutter. Another bonus is that there is less to clean, too!

Confused About Reverse Mortgages?

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023 | Uncategorized | No Comments

Reverse mortgages can seem difficult to understand.  With both pro and con opinions stated in very strong terms by knowledgeable people, its hard to decide if they are a tool that you should use or avoid.

This month, we interviewed Scott Chamberlain, Retirement Mortgage Specialist with Mutual of Omaha Mortgage, to delve into information about reverse mortgages and when they might or might not be an appropriate choice for senior homeowners.  Scott lives in Tellico Village, is an expert in the mortgage industry, and specializes in working individually with people in the area on reverse mortgages.

MV: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself and why you started your reverse mortgage business.

Scott: I started in the mortgage industry in 1982. When I retired, I moved to Tellico Village. After a short time, I flunked retirement and decided to get back into the business world. Now that I am a senior citizen myself with so many years in the mortgage industry, the Reverse Mortgage program was a natural progression. This is a powerful program that has evolved over the years, and my goal is to be an ambassador to get the facts to my fellow neighbors.

MV: Tell us about your business philosophy and why people in this area might want to do business with you?

Scott: I like to work with my customers face to face to make sure they completely understand all aspects of this important retirement tool. I’m not big on technology for communicating information to people.  I also attend every one of my closings to make sure what the customer requested is delivered, so I always assist the closing agent in explaining this unique mortgage.  I am also a Retirement Mortgage Specialist with Mutual of Omaha Mortgage, one of the most established and trusted companies in the industry.

MV: Can you tell us about reverse mortgages and how they work?

Scott: Sure; they seem to be a bit complex!  But like anything, when explained in simple terms, it’s not hard to figure out if it would be of benefit to you as a homeowner.  The reverse mortgage was originally developed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and signed into law by then President Ronald Reagan in 1988, to assist senior citizens that were living on a fixed income that had their homes paid but were struggling with extra living expenses.

The only options for seniors up until this time were to get a loan, which was impossible to repay on a limited income, or sell their home and relocate. The reverse mortgage is a program that advances a portion, not all, of the equity in your home with no monthly payment required for as long as you live in the property, pay property taxes, keep homeowner’s insurance on it, and maintain the home in generally good condition. You can access your money in four ways: cash at closing, a line of credit, monthly disbursements, or select a combination of the previous three.

Now, the program has added a purchase program for those that want to downsize for a more accessible living space. There have been many positive changes through the years since 1988.

MV: Tell us about why people should consider a reverse mortgage.

Scott: The reverse mortgage, at one time, was considered as a last resort type loan, however with the constant evolution of this product, it has become a very important retirement tool.  It is no longer just for refinancing your existing home, but currently offers a purchase option as well as providing a vehicle to manage retirement funds during a down market.

For homeowners with medical issues, it can provide a line of credit option that allows people to stay in their home as long as possible.  For homeowners with cash flow issues, this option releases funds that can be accessed in monthly payments or available with a line of credit that can be received when needed. The term house rich but cash poor better defines this type of homeowner.

With people living longer than ever, the older generation is concerned with, “Will I outlive my retirement funds?” A reverse mortgage can allow you to convert equity for a practical use.

MV: Can you give us some sample situations where a reverse mortgage has helped some of your clients?

Scott: Absolutely.

One good example is that of a widowed woman. With the loss of her husband’s income, she was starting to fall behind on her mortgage and other bills.  Fortunately, she had enough equity in her house to get a reverse mortgage.  It paid off her old mortgage and her other fixed monthly debts with a little extra cash to have in the bank for emergencies.  For her, it was a great option to have at her disposal.

Another good example is that of a husband and wife who have social security income and a small monthly pension, but the husband still needs a part-time job to live comfortably.  The unexpected happens.  The husband is hurt and cannot continue to work.  They obtained a reverse mortgage and paid off their home loan and bills.   This reduced their monthly debt by $700 and eliminated the need for a part-time job.

A final example is a husband and wife living on both their SSI and their IRAs.  During a bear (down) market, they saw their investment portfolio shrink since much of it was in the stock market.  By accessing the equity in their home, they did not have to liquidate their accounts until after the market recovered.  This kept their investments growing instead of needing to withdraw funds at a loss. Also, another benefit was when they accessed the money from their reverse mortgage, it was tax free. (Always consult your financial advisor for options.)

MV: What are some general things people should know about reverse mortgages?

Scott:  The most important things homeowners should know about this program are:

  • You are not giving your home to the government.
  • You can sell and move should you wish in the future.
  • You dont have to qualify with income and credit scores like traditional mortgages.
  • You can still pass your estate to your family.
  • You do not have to make any mortgage payments ever.
  • The funds you receive do not count as taxable income.
  • Your home does not have to be free & clear.
  • You can never owe more than the value of the home.
  • You need to be at least 62 years old, have enough equity to pay any liens against the home, and currently occupy the home.

MV:  What are some situations where a reverse mortgage might not be a good idea?


  • If you do not have equity in your home, unfortunately, this program won’t work for you.
  • If you are planning on moving in the near future, the closing costs for the reverse mortgage would take away from your equity and you might not have enough time to receive the benefits of the mortgage.
  • If your family has agreed to keep your home for future heirs, you would not want to put this or any type of mortgage on the home.

I know homeowners still have a lot of questions about this program; I am here to answer all of your questions and help you decide if you can benefit from a reverse mortgage.  Give me a call and I will be happy to guide you through this sometimes confusing process.

Call today: Scott Chamberlain
Retirement Mortgage Specialist with Mutual of Omaha Mortgage
Office: 865-364-0566
Cell: 706-474-1101

Mutual of Omaha Mortgage Inc, dba Mutual of Omaha Reverse Mortgage NMLS ID 1025894 3131 Camino Del Rio N 1100. San Diego, CA 92108. Georgia License Registration 46648 / Tennessee Mortgage License 190182. This advertisement is not from HUD or FHA and the document was not approved by HUD< FHA or any Government Agency. Subject to credit approval. For Licensing information go to www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org #990673273

Happy New Year and Happy Savings!

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023 | Uncategorized | No Comments

January is always a great time to reassess your winter wardrobe. There is finally time to go through all of the pieces hanging in your closet that haven’t been worn this season and either donate them or take them to the nearest consignment shop. Whichever you choose, you’ve begun the process of updating your own winter wardrobe while selections are still great and on sale!

At The Lily Pad, our sales are huge semi-annual events which take place in January and July. Our winter merchandise is now 25% off, and on Saturday, January 14th at 10:00 am, every piece that’s left goes to 50% off! We’ve found this method to be quite effective to not only clear out the store, but also to pass tremendous savings on to our customers.

As the winter merchandise goes on sale, our “La Sale Boutique” (the big room at the rear of the store) goes to 70% off! Thus, the clearing out begins as we ready ourselves, and the store, for a brand-new season. Spring fashions have been ordered, fresh looks are arriving, and the holiday decor has been put away for another year.

We’ll look forward to seeing so many of our customers and friends during our unbelievable sale days. If you’ve ever spent a day at Filene’s Basement in Boston, The Lily Pad is almost as wild on the first days of our sale! Plan to spend some time with friends and neighbors, every arm loaded with bargains, and having the time of our lives! What a fun day during a not so fun month. It’s a social event you won’t want to miss!

At The Lily Pad, we reflect on how blessed we have been this year to again be part of your lives. We truly appreciate the vote of confidence you place in us to be your fashion headquarters! Our most sincere wishes for a happy and healthy 2023!

The Lily Pad Boutique
209 N. Main Street
Sweetwater, TN 37874
Mon-Sat: 10am-5:30pm
Sunday, 1/16/22 only, 12:00-5:00pm
Instagram/Facebook: @shopthelilypad

East Tennessee's Mountain Views

P.O. Box 209

Vonore, TN 37885

Email: inquiry@etmv.com

865-657-3077 Local

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