Editor’s Note: “Villa Collina Renewed” is a 15-part blog series detailing owner Dr. Eric W. Barton’s work to restore the largest home in Tennessee to its original Italianate beauty. Each week we will discuss renovation projects across the 40,250-square-foot waterfront mansion, from geothermal upgrades and energy efficiency to state-of-the-art lighting, marble renovations and fountain upgrades. We hope you enjoy this detailed research on the jewel that is Villa Collina.
The Villa Collina features numerous architectural relics from Knoxville buildings and imported materials such as silk wall coverings from Dubai, custom doors from Turkey and Turkish Afyon sugar marble throughout the 40,250-square-foot waterfront mansion.
Staying true to its Italian heritage, Villa Collina is characterized by its beautiful marble features both on its iconic exterior and decadent interior design. Soon after purchasing the home, Eric Barton recognized a need to revamp much of the home’s marble work for safety and restoration purposes. He hired Tennessee Marble Company to complete such repairs.
One of the major undertakings to marble renovations at Villa Collina has been to the Grand Foyer’s grand staircase. The grand stair features a graceful curvilinear and cantilevered marble stair leading to the private family quarters and bedroom suites and wrought iron banisters with a gold leaf dogwood pattern.
The grand staircase is one of the most iconic features of Villa Collina and is frequently featured in national publications. The stair, with its low risers, allows visitors to gracefully walk up with little effort. When it was installed, the stair was transported in one large piece and installed on-site.
Additionally, marble repairs were made to the outdoor terraces and kitchen area. Much of the expansive outdoor marble terraces, particularly the marble’s edging at the rear of the home, was damaged or had fallen off, creating a safety hazard for those taking in views of the Tennessee River. With fundraisers and private events a major focus of Villa Collina under its new ownership, the renovations were necessary, according to Barton. Also, these initial exterior renovations prevented potentially larger, more extensive problems in the future.
The expansive outdoor terraces create a perfect setup for outdoor dining. Barton hand-selected the outside patio furniture, which can accommodate several hundred guests for special occasions, fundraisers and other private events held outdoors. Fundraising is a key purpose of the Villa Collina under Barton.
The marble company in Turkey, which provided the majority of the marble for Villa Collina, was called Dragon Marbles and Fireplaces. Based on the receipts, all the balconies, marble columns, steps and tiles were produced and shipped from Turkey.
Other marble features throughout the home include marble floors, columns, a fireplace, toilets and bidets, the latter of which are outfitted with gold-plated lids and Sherle Wagner basins and fittings. In addition, the luxurious master bathroom suite features a sculpted bathtub located on a platform.
Up next: Within a year of purchasing the Villa Collina, Eric Barton replaced all 24 of the original HVAC units and installed high-efficiency TETCO HVAC systems. The new technology adds another dimension of efficiency to the home, using a geothermal system to heat the home and a two-stage cooling system.