Knoxville By Design

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Cumming-Craig Residence

Friday, February 28th, 2020

Homeowners: Frances Craig and Denise Cumming
Architect: Cooper & Perry Architects
Year: 1955
Location: Bearden, TN

The home was originally designed by Cooper & Perry Architects for Ernest M. Barnes, manager of Knoxville Concrete Products. 

The home’s floor, ceiling exterior walls and roof slabs are of Dox System construction using Shalite blocks, a type of concrete block that was manufactured by Mr. Barnes’ company.  This block is made of Shalite, an expanded shale aggregate, manufactured from shale taken locally from Sharp’s Ridge at Mill Road. The resulting material is a hard, strong cellular aggregate which combines high crushing strength with lightweight, low absorptive and high insulating values. Multiple Shalite block sizes are used throughout the home.

The new homeowners have renovated the house, giving it the originally intended modern design and feel, making many discoveries during the home’s transition, such as a concrete trellis buried under decades of vines at the front entrance to the house and breeze blocks hidden behind overgrown shrubs along the back of the house and terrace walls. Their extensive work has paid off with a beautiful home and an outstanding example of the beauty of concrete masonry construction.

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