Tickled Pink

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A happy hue makes for a happy home

Photography by MICHAEL HRIZUK

THE STARLAND DISTRICT’S RENAISSANCE isn’t limited to restaurants and businesses. In 2019, homeowners Kim and Christoph Knoess purchased an 1896 home from Historic Savannah Foundation, kicking off a remarkable renovation (during a pandemic, no less) and a standout exterior color to gild the lily. 

“Every time I would think about colors, I ran them by Ryan Arvay at HSF,” Kim recalls, noting that the foundation must approve exterior paint choices (there were no color photographs of the home to provide a clue to its original shade). Although Arvay himself had completed a drawing using a similar pinky-purple hue, the final selection came from an unexpected source.

The couple regularly enjoys the property’s charming front porch, which offers “a little bit of life and neighborly interactions,” says Christoph Knoess. // BEFORE IMAGES: Courtesy of CHRISTOPH KNOESS

“Kim had worked out at least a dozen variations of pink,” says Christoph, “but then one day she was wearing a T-shirt, and we both said, ‘None of these 12 options look as good as this T-shirt.’” They color-matched the dreamy, pale lilac color, which gives the home a fairytale quality. “Whenever I walk up to the house, I think, ‘That’s such a pretty color,’” Kim says.

“ I know I’m not a proper Savannahian because I wasn’t born here, but I just feel very comfortable. It feels like home.”  — Kim Knoess, homeowner

Inside, the home’s admirable trim-work and crisp, clean look are the result of lots of love — and elbow grease. “When we moved here [in November 2019], we couldn’t start work on the house because there’s a detailed process of architectural drawings and support,” Christoph explains. “For about six months we couldn’t do much more than sweep the floors and scrape paint.” By then, pandemic lockdowns had delayed the project even further. “Since we didn’t know what was coming, we thought, ‘Let’s do this ourselves,’” he says. The two acted as the main contractors, bringing in local talent like Ward Architecture + Preservation, Rover Construction and Coastal Wood Design to finish the project. Technically, the Knoesses say, it’s not quite complete (with historic homes, there’s always something left to tend to), but it’s “more than 90 percent.”


Although no windows or doors could be changed, closed or relocated in an effort to keep the house as close to its original floor plan as possible, HSF ultimately let the Knoesses add a screened-in porch on the second floor. “We were very relieved that they allowed that to be built out, but then when we moved in, we actually discovered that the front porch is a fantastic place to sit. After all this anxiety and effort to get the back porch built, we find ourselves out front a lot more. It’s a fantastic place to sit, with a little bit of life and neighborly interactions,” says Christoph, who is originally from Germany. “It’s very relaxed, and it strikes me as very Southern.”

Kim agrees: “I know I’m not a proper Savannahian because I wasn’t born here,” she says, “but I just feel very comfortable. It feels like home.”