The Restoration House Story

The Restoration House began with one question: “If you could do anything in life, what would you do?” In the summer of 2005, God gave Daniel and Mandy Watson a vision of a ministry for single mothers that provided transitional housing in an environment that was family oriented and reconciling in nature.

Where It All Started

Where It All StartedJust two months later, the couple purchased a home off of Robinson Rd in Knoxville, Tennessee. The 3.5-acre property contained a four-bedroom farmhouse that included a second-story apartment with its own kitchen and outside entrance. There was also a one-bedroom home on the property.

Both the apartment and the one-bedroom house served as the transitional housing units for single-mothers and their children coming into The Restoration House.

Doors Open

Rebekah & MandyAfter more than two years of research and development, The Restoration House opened its doors to its first single-mother family on November 5, 2007. Rebekah and Averie moved in to the second-story apartment in the farmhouse.

A few months later a second family moved into the one-bedroom house. These two residences were home for many single mother families up until 2012.

More Doors

More DoorsIn June of 2008, The Restoration House developed a partnership with a local property owner for the use of a four-plex in the Mechanicsville area to serve as a second site. The property was home for three additional families, bringing the total capacity to five single-mother families at any given time.

In January of 2011, The Restoration House ended its contract with the owners of the four-plex and began leasing three units at a West Knoxville apartment complex in order to have the five families in the program closer together geographically.

Beyond Our Walls

In April of 2011, The Restoration House began assisting churches to more effectively come alongside single mothers and their children.  Over the years several local churches have been able to develop ally teams to walk with single mother families through the ups and downs of life.

Extreme Makeover

Extreme MakeoverIn January of 2012, the Watson family was the recipient of an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build that demolished the dangerously dilapidated farmhouse and replaced it with a new home for the Watsons and two small bungalows for single-mother families.

Over 4500 volunteers gathered from the greater Knoxville community and across the country to change the future for the Watson family and to grow the work of The Restoration House.

The Village

The VillageIn June of 2012, The Restoration House purchased the land adjacent to the Watsons’ home for The Village, a community in which single-mother families will develop supportive relationships and find healing, stability and restoration as they build a brighter future. Phase I of The Village (including 6 units and the Community Center) was completed a month ahead of schedule, under budget, and completed paid for in June of 2015. The Restoration House is now working to developing Phase II of The Village, which will include and 18 more units.  With this expanded capacity, The Village can have an impact on 140–160 single mothers and 280–320 children over the next 10 years.

From the Ground Up

fromgroundupThe Restoration House launched From the Ground Up in 2012 to help increase the capacity of those organizations across the country who are walking alongside low-income single mothers and their children in their communities.  We know the value of learning from others.  It’s how we got our start.  We have had the pleasure of walking alongside a number of tremendous organizations over the years.

The Restoration House strives to be known as a nonprofit organization that is an agent of change and restoration for women and children in Knoxville and beyond.

Leap of Faith

August, 2005

The Watsons purchased the property at 2329 Robinson Road to start what would become The Restoration House.

Planting the Seed

October, 2006

The Restoration House became an official organization chartered in the state of Tennessee.

Structural Roots

January, 2007

The first Board of Directors of The Restoration House was appointed. Daniel Watson was approved as the Executive Director and Mandy Watson transitioned to the part-time Program Coordinator position.

501(c)(3) Status

August, 2007

The Restoration House became an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

First Family

November, 2007

After two years of tireless research to find out how they could best serve single-mother families in Knoxville, The Restoration House welcomed its first single-mother family into the program.

A Day in the Life

August, 2008

“A Day in the Life,” a free monthly event that gives people an opportunity to see the day-to-day struggles of a low-income single-mother family, was inaugurated.


February, 2009

The Knoxville Mentoring Initiative was founded in cooperation with TRH and five other local nonprofits to increase mentoring capacity and community involvement in mentoring programs.

Roots for Expansion

November, 2009

The Restoration House officially announced a new partnership, with Central Baptist Church of Bearden (CBCB), in the development of an expansion project for The Restoration House.

Strong Alliances

September, 2010

The Restoration House held its first partners’ luncheon with 60 people in attendance including 16 churches, 4 foundations, 10 board members and 20 other significant stakeholders.

40 Under 40

October, 2010

Daniel Watson was honored as one of Knoxville’s 40 Under 40 by the Greater Knoxville Business Journal.
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Extreme Makeover

January, 2012

The Restoration House, including the Watson family residence and The Restoration House residences at Robinson Road, were the beneficiaries of a makeover from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

The Village

May, 2012

The Restoration House purchased six acres on Robinson Road adjacent to the Watson residence to build The Village.

5 Year Anniversary

November, 2012

The Restoration House celebrates five years of serving single mothers and their children in Knoxville.

Village Groundbreaking

August 2013

The Restoration House breaks ground on The Village, a 24 unit community for single mother families.

Village Ribbon Cutting

June 2015

The Restoration House cuts the ribbon on Phase I of The Village, a community for single mother families.

Village Community Building Completion

June 2015

Staff from TRH, A Hand Up for Women, and Emerald Youth Foundation’s on-site Just Lead program move into their offices.

First families move into The Village

July 2015

Six families move into the first residential building at The Village and begin The Restoration house program.