Known as one of the gateways to the Smoky Mountains, Knoxville is an exceptional city just thirty-four miles from the 500k acre national park that surrounds the stunning mountains. It’s the third-largest city in Tennessee and one of the largest cities in the Appalachian region, and with its striking vistas, it attracts considerable foot traffic from people looking to hike the trails. Many people desire to settle down in the area because of its low cost of living, nice schools, and unique neighborhoods.
Whether you’re a young professional looking to build a name for yourself in the city or a family looking to plant your roots here, the list below includes the best residential architects in Knoxville, Tennessee. This list was compiled based on the architects’ background, their design process, the quality and complexity of their projects, and their recognition in the business. On the other hand, if you want to learn more about the cost of building a custom home in Knoxville, check out our cost guide article.
Sanders Pace Architecture
514 West Jackson Ave., Knoxville, Tennessee 37902
Sanders Pace Architecture is an award-winning architecture firm that creates built environments of various types, scales, and complexity. With nearly two decades of experience actively serving the diverse landscape of East Tennessee, Sanders Pace Architecture has established a strong reputation when it comes to providing high-quality full-service architecture, planning, and design services to their clients that look for thoughtful and progressive solutions.
Pictured above is the Calloway Ridge House, a unique property located on an eight-acre ridgetop overlooking the Smoky Mountains. It was once a 1950s suburban ranch house that Sanders Pace Architecture preserved the original shell of and added in new spaces above and outside of its existing footprint. The result is this stunning modern home with an exterior that blends the original stucco base and IPE inserts with the upper level’s reverse board and batten siding, creating a unique contrasting pattern. Inside, the same lovely blend of materials can be found with the white oak flooring, walnut millwork, and built-ins that complement the white walls and trim. This 4,680 square foot home won the AIA Tennessee Award of Excellence back in 2019.
Jonathan Miller Architecture & Design
4814 Old Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919
With a great passion for classic design, Jonathan Miller Architecture & Design is best known for creating traditional, timeless homes in the area. The team believes that the homes they build offer a lifetime of enjoyment, built for creating memories. It always strives to create homes that prove visually striking and keep the needs of the end-users and the safety of the environment in mind at all times.
For its fantastic work in creating timeless homes, it was awarded the Knox Heritage Preservation Award back in 2019. It was also named as one of the Best of Knoxville by Cityview Magazine for three years in a row. One example of its proven ability in designing classic homes is the Classic French Paradise project featured above. It embodies the French paradise atmosphere with its elegant stonework and layout. Large windows and arching wooden beams can be found lining the home as well, giving the exterior character that translates well into the lovely, expansive interior.
Barber McMurry Architects
505 Market Street, Suite 300, Knoxville, TN 37902
With a rich history of 106 years, Barber McMurry Architects is a firm that has devoted itself to superb design. The team believes this is born from how it continually works to improve its best practices across different markets, bringing a fresh new perspective to each project. As a result, the firm has been recognized with various awards, including the East Tennessee Preservation Award and AIA East Tennessee Design Award.
Featured above is one of Barber McMurry’s award-winning works, the Boetger Residence. It’s a passion project residence designed and owned by the company’s Chad Boetger. This 2,789 square-foot home embraces the neighborhood’s abundance of natural light with its floor-to-ceiling windows in all the living and sleeping spaces that look over the Holston River. It’s also designed for maximum energy efficiency, as it’s positioned to allow the winter sun to passively heat the house during the cold months while overhangs provide shade during the warmer seasons. This home makes excellent use of innovative framing and a continuous insulation wrap, as well as energy-efficient, LED lighting and an HVAC system.
Elizabeth Eason Architecture
524 S Gay St., Suite 301, Knoxville, TN 37902
Sustainability is at the heart of Elizabeth Eason Architecture. With an AIA member and a LEED Fellow at the helm of the business, its team takes the time to find the perfect design solution to satisfy clients’ needs through sustainable means. Its impressive portfolio is filled with houses that take advantage of what each site has to offer, which is evident in the home featured below.
The Azalea Lakehouse, a charming abode, is enveloped by the large trees in the area. Since the clients love the outdoors, the home was designed to utilize as much of it as possible, from its location near the waters to the view from its large corner windows. Inside, cathedral ceilings top off the main level, kitchen, and dining and living spaces, while a partial second floor has additional bedrooms and a full bath under a gable roof. Outside, the family can enjoy the sun and the views from their large deck that runs around the full length of the house and garage with unobstructed views of the lake.
2240 Sutherland Ave., Suite 105, Knoxville, TN 37919
Established in 1994, Johnson Architecture is a well-established design firm that provides architecture, planning, and full in-house interior design services to a wide array of markets. Throughout these ventures, its team has remained steadfast in its philosophy that great design combined with strong client service and attention to detail is what makes a home designing process stand out. Through the years, it has continuously held itself to high standards in all of its projects, which have been recognized with awards like the AIA Tennessee Merit Award, the Keep Knoxville Beautiful Award, the East Tennessee Historical Society Award of Distinction, and the East Tennessee Preservation Award.
An example of Johnson Architecture’s work on residential projects is the Lakefront Stone Cottage featured above. This private residence can be found in a lovely planned community along Fort Loudon Lake in Knoxville. The home was designed with lake views and hosting family gatherings in mind. Upon entering the charming, stone-clad cottage, people are welcomed by immediate views of the water. Inside, the home is light and airy, with an inviting open layout.
Dollar & Ewers Architecture
11 E Jackson Ave., Suite 101 Knoxville, TN 37915
With over two decades of experience in design, Dollar & Ewers Architecture has an established reputation of being a hands-on firm, regardless of the project size or the market. It adds vibrance and life to each space it works on by combining form and function in the smallest details. This sort of practice is what has earned it its great reputation, which is backed by its AIA Tennessee Design Award back in 2017.
At the helm of this detail-oriented firm is Brian Ewers, AIA, LEEP AP, who has led the firm since 2001. He is backed by more than three decades of experience and has remained committed to progress in terms of architecture and in serving his community. This is proven by his past leadership roles in AIA East Tennessee and the East Tennessee Community Design Center and his work in revitalizing his community by having the firm provide pro bono services for nonprofit and disadvantaged clients. With his continual push for growth while remaining firmly grounded in the community, the firm has earned an exceptional reputation.
Above is the Residence on Norris Lake project designed by Dollar & Ewers Architecture. It’s a 4,500 square foot home that takes advantage of its location with its huge windows that line each part of the home. This modern design also features open spaces and natural materials, bringing in the natural light that the area of Norris Lake offers.
Rosser Design Studio
306 Creekmoor Dr., Jefferson City, TN 37760
Established by David William Rosser back in 2016, Rosser Design Studio is a promising design firm that specializes in residential and small commercial renovations, additions, and new construction. Rosser’s passion for creating things in a meaningful way translates into his design practice within the firm. The firm’s work revolves around defining the scope and scale of each project and finding creative solutions to meet the practical needs of each client, to produce a stunning final product.
Rosser Design Studio’s talent for creating residential projects shines in the Westmoreland Blvd. Renovation featured above. For this 4,900 square foot project, the firm was hired to create dramatic changes to an outdated brick house in a great corner location. The work included upgrading the exterior with new windows, painted brick, and a new front portico, as well as the addition of an exterior sunroom and deck that connects the home to the backyard and pool. Inside, the new look consists of newly painted eggshell white walls, refinished floors, a new kitchen and bathrooms, and a complete overhaul of the living area that can now accommodate more guests in its welcoming atmosphere.
401 North Forest Park Blvd Knoxville, TN 37919
For thirty-eight years, WystWynd Designs has remained steadfast in its commitment to designing homes that are refreshing and approachable, sparked by the founder Ric Mixon’s inspiring trip to the West Coast. Ric, a member of the AIA and a LEED AP certified architect, is an award-winning professional who has served on several national and regional boards of the AIA, and he completed Earthcraft training. This provided him with a skillset that combines building science with regional know-how to create buildings that are designed specifically for the communities they serve.
Above is an example of WystWynd’s work on single-family residentials which shows a home that was built for the needs of Tennessee. Dubbed as their Best Residence project, this cozy home features classic elements found inside its lovely monochrome brown exterior. Inside, people are welcomed by wooden details that are complemented well by the beige walls throughout the house, mimicking the woods that surround the exterior of this home.
George Armour Ewart Architect
404 Bearden Park Circle, Knoxville, TN 37919
Since its establishment in 1996, George Armour Ewart Architects has designed a wide variety of projects while remaining consistent in its high standards for each building. It works with the most knowledgeable and responsive industry professionals to ensure each detail of the project is up to standard. The firm is also accredited with the AIA East Tennessee, AIA Tennessee, AIA National, US Green Building Council, NCIDQ, ABC East Tennessee, Knoxville Chamber, and the East Tennessee Building Officials, which demonstrate the firm’s extensive knowledge and strong track record.
The Private Residence 3 project featured above is a fine example of George Armour Ewart Architect’s exceptional skills. It’s a unique modern home that utilizes clean, angular lines on its exterior, which translates well into its interior that shows the same symmetry and balance in design. It’s a striking home with a unique, showstopper element.
2575 Willow Point Way, Suite 105, Knoxville, TN 37931
R2R Studio is best known for being an architecture firm that embraces an open environment and that welcomes ideas from both staff and clients. To ensure a home is truly designed for the client, it takes their ideas into a customized development process to ensure that every need is addressed, no matter the size of the project. It is important to the team that every voice is heard, and it strives to maintain a streamlined process that places a premium on collaboration. Through this strong foundation of teamwork and communication, each project receives the attention that it deserves.
Above is R2R Studio’s work on the Henderson Residence, a 7,400 square foot modern home in West Knoxville. This home is the embodiment of how the studio can translate the homeowners’ vision into a reality. The client wanted a home that was dictated by the principles of Vastu Shastra and the Indian culture and centered around the wellness of the family and community. The design process integrated these principles in the building’s orientation and layout. The home also has energy-efficient features like strategically placed windows that take in natural lighting, water filtration, LED lighting, and HVAC systems.