Projects: Hospitality & Entertainment

Vida & The Vault, Knoxville, Tenn.


A basement cocktail bar, The Vault, is located in the bank’s former vault.

ARCHITECT: Johnson Architecture

INTERIOR DESIGNER: SK Ballard Contract Interiors


OWNERS: Jim and Lori Klonaris


The following is a sampling of materials used in the project:

MARBLE: Tennessee Marble Co.


Completed in 1913 as the headquarters of Holston National Bank, the 14-story Holston Building was Knoxville’s tallest building at the time. In the 2000s, the upper floors were converted to high-end condominiums while the commercial floors waited for more than a decade for a concept that would honor its past but offer luxuries of the present.

Vida is a pan-Latin restaurant on the ground floor of the Holston Building.

Johnson Architecture worked with SK Ballard Contract Interiors and Jenkins & Stiles LLC to implement the vision of owners Jim and Lori Klonaris for restaurant Vida in the former bank lobby and a basement cocktail bar, The Vault, located in the bank’s former vault.

“The Holston Building has been a downtown Knoxville landmark for 108 years,” says Daryl Johnson, founder and president of Johnson Architecture. “The bank spaces are so unique and steeped in history, our team designed with preservation in mind. The result nods to history by showcasing special historical elements with all modern comforts. All partners came together to create this special vision.”

Vida is a pan-Latin restaurant on the ground floor of the Holston Building. The marble staircase that descends to cocktail bar, The Vault, was preserved and the original vendor, Tennessee Marble Co., matched and installed new marble to repair areas that had been chipped and broken over time.

The entrance to The Vault boasts an original metal bank-safe door featuring exposed combination gears. Efforts were made to salvage as much of the original relics and hardware as possible, such as Art Deco metal railings.

“The Holston is a symbol of Knoxville’s dynamic history, evolving in step with the times,” Johnson notes. “It has a promising future thanks to careful, loving restoration and preservation that has been addressed with every iteration.”

Vida and The Vault earned a 2021 East Tennessee Preservation Award for their transformations.

Photos: Peter Montanti

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