If you’ve ever driven through downtown Kingsport and longed to take a sneak peak inside one of its loft homes, now’s your chance.
The Downtown Kingsport Association’s inaugural Holiday Loft Tour on Sunday, Dec. 8 will give area residents a chance to visit a total of nine loft apartments, which will be decked out in their holiday finest for the occasion.
“Several years back, this is one of the things I did as a former Main Street manager in London, Ky.,” said DKA Executive Director Sherri Mosley. “That was a great fund-raising opportunity and also showcased a lot of the beautiful homes downtown. Then when I moved here I met [loft owner] Beverly [Perdue], saw her home and was very inspired to show the community what gems we have in the loft department. There are over 110 residences in downtown Kingsport, and people don’t realize that.”
Tickets to the tour, sponsored by Preaching Christ Church, are $20 and will be available at the DKA office at 229 Broad St. from 1:30 to 3 p.m. the day of the tour. They can also be purchased in advance at the DKA as well as at Bloom Boutique, 329 Commerce St., and Charmed Southern, 117 E. Market St. Addresses for the tour stops will be provided with the tickets.
From 2 to 5 p.m. that Sunday, ticket holders can visit the participating lofts — located along Broad, Market and Main streets — in any order and at their own pace.
Among the stops on the self-guided tour are John and Beverly Perdue’s home on West Main Street, which they transformed from an empty brick shell into a stunning contemporary living space.
“We lived at the lake for 15 years and were tired of the drive and the isolation of the lake, in the winter especially,” Beverly Perdue said. “Our nephew lives in a loft in Greenville, S.C., and we loved his. Kingsport was really picking up, and downtown living was picking up, so this building became available and we bought it.”
Participants will see a variety of architectural and decorating styles showcased on the tour.
“Urban, contemporary, traditional — you’ll see a little bit of everything,” Mosley said. “The Lofts on Main are more traditional, with hardwoods and chunky furniture, then the lofts on Broad are very contemporary, with open ceilings and exposed beams.”
Perdue and the other participating loft owners were happy to open their homes for the tour, Mosley said, especially since proceeds benefit the Downtown Kingsport Association and its work in the community.
“It’s a lot to ask of someone — hey, could you please decorate your home and let all these people come through? — but I’ve done it before in the past, and everyone has been so participatory,” Mosley said. “When we told them that the proceeds would benefit the Downtown Kingsport Association and give back to the community, then everybody was willing to do it.
“[Proceeds] contribute to marketing and advertising for downtown. We try to match merchants’ advertising dollars — that makes their advertising budget go a little bit further.”
If interest warrants, Mosley said she would like to bring back the event next year — and add even more stops to the tour.
“Actually there’s several more lofts being built right now that would be nice to showcase,” she said.
In addition to its holiday loft tour on Dec. 8, the DKA is gearing up for a holiday open house beginning at 5:30 p.m., Dec. 3 as well as its annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Celebration on Dec. 7.
For more information on any of these events, call the DKA at (423) 246-6550.