Renovating Knoxville: A Chat with Will Beeler

Will Beeler as featured in TSG Knoxville.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAROLINE TROTTER.

With a vibrant cultural landscape, easy access to the Smokies, and a laid-back lifestyle, it is clear why newcomers from across the country are seeking out Knoxville, TN. And while this influx of new residents has posed challenges for Knoxville’s housing market, it has also created new opportunities and — even more excitingly — a bit of a facelift. Enter Will Beeler Homes.

At the forefront of Knoxville’s makeover is real estate agent and renovation expert Will Beeler. Armed with decades of experience in both, our Volume 7 member and local Home & Garden Expert helps Eastern Tennesseans navigate Knoxville’s evolving market and, just as often, navigate updating the homes they purchase. Intrigued by his unique position at the convergence of real estate and design, we chatted with Will about Knoxville’s market, as well as design trends (including those he’d like to see retired).

Will Beeler Renovation
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAROLINE TROTTER.

TSG Knoxville: Let’s start at the beginning… Which came first: real estate or renovation and design? 
Will Beeler: I first took an interest in architectural design when I was in elementary school. I would draw house plans and elevation changes for neighboring homes, revisiting them as my aesthetic evolved. My parents often came home to rooms completely rearranged, repainted, and possibly even repurposed. I loved a big reveal — and still do! I’m grateful for their support of my interest. 

TSG Knoxville: What was your first project? 
Will Beeler: My first renovation was for my parents, who let me design a complete kitchen and bath remodel for our primary residence when I was 17. It was a fun hobby, but I wanted to be a lawyer. I didn’t consider it a career option until my mid-twenties when I started flipping houses on the side. 

TSG Knoxville: What happened next? 
Will Beeler: I discovered that real estate was my true love. The 2008 recession forced people who did not understand the real estate business out, which offered me the opportunity to get involved and help clients buy and sell strategically. 

TSG Knoxville: How has your business evolved? Are there any styles or price points in which you specialize? 
Will Beeler: In real estate I am whatever my clients need me to be, whether that means I work on a $100k investment property or a multi-million dollar estate. I also adapt when renovating, but I’m always guided by the home’s architectural style. It is essential to honor the bones of a home. I believe there’s nothing worse than when the interior and exterior of a home are out of harmony. 

TSG Knoxville: How would you describe your aesthetic? 
Will Beeler: Modern, tailored traditional, eclectic, and calm. 

TSG Knoxville: Let’s talk more about your renovation work. What is it like renovating in Knoxville? 
Will Beeler: It is so exciting! In my opinion, Knoxville’s interior and exterior styling has been overwhelmingly consistent, so I see ample opportunity to elevate our city’s residential aesthetic. I love introducing variety. 

TSG Knoxville: How does that inform the real estate market in Knoxville? What’s it like selling in Knoxville? 
Will Beeler: Selling in Knoxville is great, because the people are great! While I love working with clients I’ve known for years and growing my business through referrals, it has been fun to help welcome all the newcomers to Knoxville.

TSG Knoxville: Functionally, how does your renovation and real estate expertise come together when working with clients? Or, in other words, what’s the true “Will Beeler Experience?”
Will Beeler: The Will Beeler Experience is comprehensive, strategic, and fun! I pride myself on crafting a plan of action that suits the individual client and makes the process as seamless and stress-free as possible. This starts by setting expectations to help the client understand what they may face when buying, selling, or investing, then handling the behind-the-scenes challenges as we navigate the market. My job is to guide, protect, and enhance their experience. Most importantly, I like to get to know my clients personally and really understand how they live, so that I can tailor the process to what suits them best — even if they don’t know it yet themselves!

TSG Knoxville: Where does your design acumen come in? 
Will Beeler: Every time I walk into a house, I see what it could (and in some cases should) be. Usually, I’ll share the hings that could be done to make a space work better for the client functionally and aesthetically. If they can see the vision and want to proceed, they can tap me to craft the space of their dreams or they are free to take the ideas I’ve thrown out and tackled the project on their own. My goal is to elevate their lives. The vehicle I use to achieve that just happens to be real estate. 

TSG Knoxville: What advice do you give to homeowners who choose to tackle renovations on their own.
Will Beeler: Plan! Plan! Plan! And then plan again. The most important aspect of a renovation is the legwork before a single penny is spent or a hammer is swung. Plan the design down to every detail. This will empower you to have the most control over your budget, timeline, and design.

TSG Knoxville: What mistakes do you often see made? 
Will Beeler: I often see people tackle little things here and there, choosing materials or fixtures as they go. When you do this, two things happen. First, you’re going to exceed your budget. Second, the design elements most likely won’t speak to each other, which will result in disjointed spaces that lack cohesion. 

TSG Knoxville: Let’s talk about interior design in Knoxville… 
Will Beeler: Knoxville tends to lag behind in interior design by a decade or so. This, however, is changing, through the proliferation of programming like HGTV and social media platforms. But, the problem with this is that homeowners are typically bombarded with a singular design aesthetic. For example modern farmhouses. It’s become ubiquitous. I get it. It’s clean, easy to execute, and relatively low-cost. But it’s everywhere, which makes it feel lacking in individuality and therefore cold and one-dimensional.

TSG Knoxville: What specific elements of the modern farmhouse would you like to see retired? 
Will Beeler: Unless you are living on the water or in an actual farmhouse, lose the shiplap. Or at least use it minimally in new, inventive ways. I’d also like to see accent walls retired. 

TSG Knoxville: Beyond achieving a specific aesthetic vision, homeowners are concerned with return on investment. What, in your experience, has the highest ROI? 
Will Beeler: The biggest return on your investment will come with solving the biggest problem with the particular property. However, in general, you will see the highest return on your investment in the kitchen and bathrooms. I advise erring on the side of moderation to increase your return here, as the higher-end you opt, the lower your return will typically be. On the other hand, paint — which is often the cheapest thing you can change — can have the biggest impact. 

TSG Knoxville: Finally, in your nearly twenty years of renovating and selling, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned? 
Will Beeler: I have learned that there’s no problem that doesn’t have a solution. No matter what happens, keep your eye on the ball and keep moving forward. Obstacles will be present, mistakes will be made, and unforeseen issues will emerge. But you have to trust yourself to be a problem solver. This is true in renovating, real estate, and life.



Learn more about working with Will Beeler at willbeelerhomes.com and follow along with him on Instagram for ample inspiration. Don’t forget to tell them Scout sent you!