John Knight

John Knight
Founder of KNIGHTDesign, Atlanta, GA


Bachelor of Architecture, UNC Charlotte (1977)

John Knight founded KNIGHTDesign in 1982 "working out of my loft office in the house I restored in the historic district in Charlotte's Fourth Ward," he recalls.

Specializing in residential architecture and design, KNIGHTDesign provides full architectural services that include zoning analysis, code review, design, and construction documents for residential, renovation, adaptive use, and preservation projects. Knight has acquired numerous awards and recognitions involving his work throughout his career. His own home made a featured story in the Southern Living magazine. John Knight is a prominent local architect and community member.

John is now based in Atlanta, GA, and continues to focus his work on custom residential projects in urban neighborhoods. KNIGHTDesign's process includes a pre-planning phase, a design phase, and a construction phase. 

Work Samples

Helms Mullis and Johnston
Date Completed: 1/3/1985 | Credit: Reg Narmour, The Architectural Group

In 1982, I had just started Knight Design and had recently renovated a house in the historic district. A neighbor, who was an attorney was aware of the work I had done on my house and many others in the district and asked if I would be interested in renovating the former Haverty's furniture store on North Tryon Street. He asked that I work under the purview of Reg Narmour who was an acquaintance but did multifamily work. The building was of the late 1890's vintage and highly detailed at the time, but while Haverty's occupied it they stripped the exterior of every classic detail stuccoed over it and painted it white. With my heavy experience on my own with projects in the district and as a member of the Charlotte Historic District Commission I had numerous resources for obtaining architectural elements for both the interior and exterior of the building. But because of the damage Haverty's had done to the exterior, the brick could not be restored. I took my client to New York City and sites in Connecticut where he purchased brass entry doors, exterior light fixture, and period millwork for offices and conference rooms. My design included removing the walls at the entry to the building to create a three story lobby with a monumental stair and false stained glass skylight to illuminate the area. The project one many awards including an Award of Excellence from the Georgia AIA and was published in various trade magazines.

Date Completed: 7/10/1988 | Credit: Knight Hepler + Hall Architects, PA

The project owner and his partner wanted to upgrade their retail establishment with a more custom look and one that better displayed their merchandise. The result was that of custom cabinetry and a display area done solely out of solid cherry wood. The centerpiece of the store was a light fixture the owner and I selected while on a trip to New York City. The project won a Gold Award from the Institute of Business Designers (IBD) in the category of Shops, Stores, and Showrooms.

Knight Residence
Date Completed: 8/22/1979 | Credit: SELF


Prior to graduation in 1977 my wife and I purchased a house in Charlotte's historic district. The few remaining historic houses in the district were being renovated, but no one wanted this one due to it's appearance. The house had been converted to eight one bedroom apartments and the tenants shared one toilet facility on each floor. The original mantels, doors and casings had been removed as well as the newel post and railing. With a "how hard could it be" attitude and the skills to do most of the work myself I started by stripping the house to the framing and it's original footprint. I removed the siding, roof, horsehair plaster walls, and took the chimney to the ground. Left with only 2x framing which showed no rot or damage, and the original heart pine floors I began the nights and weekends two -year odyssey of the restoration. I sourced all of the period trim, mantels, and doors from houses in Lexington and some designated for demolition in the First Ward in Charlotte. My wife and I moved in in August of 1979. A few months later the Italianate house next door that had been moved in from Lincolnton and which was well underway with it's own renovation, was set on fire by a homeless person and my house was heavily damaged. My insurance covered the total renovation and we moved back in a year later. While in the neighborhood one day some folks from Southern Living Magazine stopped by while I was in the front yard. The short version is that it was featured in the magazine a few months later. I consider this project the greatest achievement of my career.

Georgia State Capitol Reroof
Date Completed: 6/20/2006 | Credit: Lord Aeck Sargent

I researched roofing materials that were appropriate for an 1890’s building that would last for 100 years. After studying several materials I presented lead to the review board and it was unanimously approved by all 18 members. However, the new director of the Georgia Building Authority who was not a part of the original decision to use lead said he wouldn’t allow it. Instead, he wanted a built-up roof which is not a historic building and not allowed by the Board. So, I redesigned the roof with custom interlocking concrete shingles colored to look like copper.

Young Architects Award for the South Atlantic Region of the AIA
Date Completed: 6/30/1986 | Credit: Knight Hepler + Hall Architects, PA

This submitted project was for design consideration. Our Charlotte-based firm was encouraged by an architect in Atlanta to submit three projects to be judged by a jury headed by Robert A.M. Stern for Young Architect of the Year for the South Atlantic Region of the AIA. The requirements were a project in design, under construction, and finished. We won the competition and were personally presented the award by Mr. Stern at the annual convention in Charleston, South Carolina.