A Knoxville Couple Bought Their House Off Craigslist Based Solely on the Dog Door

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A couple and two dogs sitting on their front porch

Name: Amanda Wilson Carter; husband, Justin; and pups, Dakota and Maisey
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Type of home: House
Size: 1100 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years, owned

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: The short version: We bought our house sight unseen off Craigslist because it had a dog door.

The long version is that we moved into what we thought was a temporary rental home fresh out of graduate school and accidentally fell in love with a tiny cottage in Southern Appalachia. We bought our home from our landlord a few months after moving in as renters. It is a 1950s cottage with original hardwood floors, plaster walls, arches, crystal doorknobs, wavy glass windows, built-ins, and chunky baseboards all nestled within a cozy two-bedroom, one-bathroom footprint.

I, Amanda (wildlife biologist and professor), live here with my husband, Justin (engineer), and rescue pups, Dakota (lab-pit mix), and Maisey (pit-hound-chatty Kathy mix). Over the last five years we have painted every wall and ceiling, switched out dated light fixtures, commissioned a handmade bathroom vanity, grew a native wildflower garden, laid tile with my dad, and slowly filled our home with thrifted treasures that amplify our love for nature and global travel. We have poured our hearts into this home knowing full well that we are temporary stewards of its history, one chapter of her story. And as we prepare to put our beloved home on the market, we feel so thankful that this chapter lasted longer than we planned.

As I write this, we have a “For Sale” sign in the front yard and a signed rental contract for a home we’ve never seen in a state we’ve never been. Are we nervous? Of course. But the new home has a dog door.

I identify as a wildlife conservationist, an educator, a global traveler, and a dog mom. Sustainability is at the core of our family ethos, and our home reflects that with vintage and secondhand items and natural materials that will biodegrade when we are gone. Our home is filled with objects bargained for in international markets, scavenged from the side of the trail, and thrifted from local treasure troves.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or fewer: Thrift store, National Geographic.

What is your favorite room and why? Since working from home full-time, my favorite room has been the second bedroom/office. Morning light crashes into this room, as if to congratulate you for rising and getting to work. In the afternoon it’s a greenhouse where my houseplants bask. The dogs have a daybed fashioned from old map drawers from the geography department where they nap and watch birds. The sunlight radiates the warm tones from the Moroccan rug around the space so that by the afternoon, the room glows.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I found a vintage swing arm desk lamp in avocado on Etsy that I couldn’t resist.

Any advice for creating a home you love? There isn’t one rule or single piece of advice for creating a home you love. For me, I only bring home pieces that I love. This means slowly collecting objects for my home that have soul — a lot of thrifted, vintage, and secondhand items.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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