"Boosting Creativity Through Constraints and Creative Constraint: Why Tighter Boundaries Propel Greater Results are the names of two articles in a sea of many that are popping up in media outlets ranging from business to fashion. It seems there is a creativity boost when the "sky ISN'T the limit". Environments with restraints, restrictions, rules, and boundaries (what ever names they happen to go by) are catalysts for creativity. In other words, thinking "within a box", spurs "out of the box" thinking. When boundaries are movable, there's simply no reason to crush through them.
Potential clients walk into our office and say "We've talked to a few people, heard it's not possible, but they've said to reach out to you anyway." Or we walk a delapidated property with a potential buyers for the first time and after sharing their vision, look at us sheepily and say "Are we crazy....can this even be done?" Those conversations end up being the first steps in our most satisfying projects.
Historic properties, and really all renovations or restorations for that matter, have their own playbook, a set of rules pre-determined by the hands that built them or the bank account that's funding them. Granted, items like plumbing and electrical can be moved, but isn't your focus more intense when your chess opponent has your king in check? "GAME ON", right?
We have a special place in our heart for the dreamers that take on that playbook, crumple it up, and free throw it right in the garbage pail. This historic McKinney cottage, built in 1935, has been featured in Country Living Magazine and more recently on Oprah.com. It's inspiration is far more reaching than the walls of our office or our town.
The replacement of a burnt out furnace sparked the remodel. Then, can we add another bathroom? Why not a fireplace, too, and a master bedroom upstairs? Before any of us knew it, we were in a full blown remodel, and simply amazed at what could be achieved within the confines of this beautiful, 1538 square foot cottage.
Enjoy the home tour below. The homeowner, Cynthia, has a love for all things vintage and antique and an absolute gift for putting it all together! We've also added links for more articles discussing creativity through constraints at the bottom of this page if you'd like to learn more.
If you've been told that it can't be done, or if you're guilty of telling YOURSELF that you'll never have your dream home, give us a call. We welcome the opportunity to work within your constraints, whatever they may be, to give you the home of your design and dreams.
The trim pieces covering the gaps in the original shiplap were added for practical purposes. The texture and finished look was an added surprise.
After exposing the brick, we fashioned a spice rack, using salvage wood.
This is our first blog post of this kind, in essence, a home tour and spotlight. We did not perform any work here or consult in any way shape or form, however, that's where our differences end, because this house, these homeowners, well, they are kindred spirits and embody our style and philosophy here at Integrity Custom.
Such as happened to many of us before, it seems that we don't choose the house..the house chooses us, and the marriage of Old Quail Run Farm to Rick and Jennifer Taylor follows suit. Not quite at all what they had in mind, but after just being on the property momentarily, they knew it was home.
A perfect blend of old and new, Jennifer and Rick restored the original homestead, exposing a good portion of the shiplap, and expanding the footprint by adding a modern living/master bedroom space through a linear addition. The space is brought to life with vintage and antique finds carted home from Jennifer's many antiquing trips. Her love of treasure hunting spawned the idea of hosting a barn sale, and thus the Vintage Barn Sales at Old Quail Run Farm were born.
A power house in the Texoma region, Jennifer owns and operates Bon Appetit Ya'll, a wildly successful catering business which has expanded to host Farm-To-Table Dinners on her beloved farm. In the intimate setting of her backyard, she highlights local flavor and pairs coursed meals with organic, sustainable wines.
A house is a material, worldly possession. It's a thing. We get that. But there is a change that occurs to the person that sets out to resurrect a tattered space. Pieces of it's past life rub off and awaken. For Old Quail Run Farm that means Farm To Table Dinners and Vintage Barn Sales are on the menu.
Who knows what's next? The house and land wants what it wants. And if the homeowners are open, listen, and allow the physical transformation of the space to spill over, new experiences and dreams begin to take shape. As usual, we are feeling rather fortunate that we get to come along for the ride!
Photography and words by Melinda Ortley.
See Old Quail Run Farm for yourself at Rick and Jennifer's Vintage Barn Sale in October. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS! We'll be there shopping and eating right along with you!
My daughter and I entered in a discussion recently regarding the difference between the words "save" and "restore". We agreed that those words yielded two very different definitions. Without even opening up a dictionary, we inherently feel that to SAVE means to stop something from further degradation. To RESTORE means to bring it back to life. It's an active word, and much more laborious of a verb than just "to save". Restoration happens after the "saving" has been done and we start moving (carefully and slowly) back up the ladder so to speak, and into what that thing was before it started to become, well, less.
The restoration of the Gough-Hughston (the name formally used on the National Registry) home on Louisiana Street is a "restoration" in the true sense of the word. The owners fell in love with the home many years ago, and it's taken trial and error for them to find a contractor that shared that same infatuation. And if you follow us even just a smidge, you know that it was a match made in heaven.
When you look at the project from the outside looking in, you might begin to question the time line. But looking at it from the inside out yields an entirely different perspective.
Let's take the story of JUST the windows for example. Every window was taken out, glass removed, frames and jams rebuilt, hardware re-worked, new rope and then original glass re-installed. All of the wood and glass we needed were sourced with the same era and type, which meant that we first needed to locate the exact species of wood and then have it shipped for milling. Once we receive the wood, to continue working on that particular window and to make cuts that match, blades and knives must be custom made. And this is just for the windows!
But....ALL OF THE WINDOWS WORK! How many of us who have ever lived in an older home can say that about historical windows! We are so proud of what our skilled craftsman accomplished here in just that one area.
Other than feeling like we won the lottery that our company gets to take part in and revel in the beauty of this living and breathing space, I'm thankful for the individuals (owners and fellow old house lovers) that are putting their resources and energy into, not just saving, but RESTORING, pieces of our past. Our history is worth it!
Master woodworker, Dru, holds a window header after repair and multiple landings. Every header of EVERY window is having this same treatment.
The day that this particular window was re-installed, the crew said they couldn't sleep the night before, knowing that it is irreplaceable.
Make sure to read up above to learn the vast number of steps and stages that a single window must transition between in order for it be repaired!
A special frame with very specific dimensions and angles was built in order to repair and rebuild this curved window header.
**Please take part in our very own David and Goliath story and cast your vote for Integrity Custom as the Best Builder in McKinney. Give your support to our small, family owned business because it's Quality NOT Quantity that matters, right?!
Click on the image below to cast your vote TODAY!
We just installed beautiful 100 year old ship lap on the master bedroom ceiling of our Modern Farmhouse custom build in historic downtown McKinney, TX. We are offering a version of this floor plan in Gateway Village, and it will have it's own unique touches of farmhouse charm and history.
Scroll down to see where this wood lived in it's previous life.
We love the glimpse you get of the 100 year old banister and stairwell.
The banister and ceiling make a great pair, don't you think?
We thought you might want to see the life it lived before now. It was salvaged from an old grain elevator in Crowley, Texas.
We couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Simon Keizer to the Integrity Custom team. We appreciate and admire his creative spirit and contagious, uplifting attitude. His official title is Investor Relations and Business Administrator, and we're excited for him to work alongside us in furthering our vision in North Texas!
Read below to learn more about Simon and visit our Investment page to see what we have planned and are planning in the future!
1. What gets you pumped about investing in real estate in the North Texas/Texoma region?
Being a long time resident of Texoma, I am fired up about the strength of our economy, the flooding in of new residents from all over the country (and worldwide) that are all looking for real estate in North Texas. The opportunity is thrilling.
2. What is your vision for the greater Texoma region in the next day 10 years?
Texoma is on the precipice of exploding and servicing as a NEW METRO for those that want to be beyond the city, enjoy some wide open spaces, but with all the conveniences of city living, as well as the enjoyment of the largest lake in the State. I envision thousands of new jobs in our varied industries, and a residential and retail boom that will reach every corner of the greater Texoma area.
3. What do you like about being a member of the Integrity Team?
We laugh, we have fun, we encourage, and we challenge each other to live lives of integrity as we serve the vision both of the Company, and the greater mission of being kingdom minded guys and girls who look to consistently put others before ourselves. I love the ever expanding vision of the company, to tell stories, and to turn houses into homes.
4. How do you define "integrity"?
Integrity is a character trait that compels ourselves and others to uphold the highest standards, and a true match of good character in private and public life. It is a rare commodity in our society and in business, and is a reflection of a sincere heart.
5. What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to spend time with my wife and 4 kids. I love to travel, after growing up in the UK. I enjoy a game of soccer and I love to coach. A great date night out would be to go to see a Broadway show and find a quaint place to eat.
When the opportunity to purchase this home became available to us years ago, we jumped at the chance. It was an uninspiring, dark almost one room shotgun house, with a poorly designed addition, but if you squinted, closed one eye, jumped up and down on one foot, and pulled out your thinking cap, you could see the potential. Yep..it needed a little work.
We immediately stripped the addition off and waited until the right family, who wore the same rose colored glasses that we did, walked through the door. They had vision and started designing their forever space. It's inspiring (and a little bit addicting) to witness the transformation and see the space rise to it's potential!
Interior designer, Kaci Lyford, owner of Patina Green Home and Market was hired to collaborate with the busy family on design details, but as she states and we agree, the homeowner had incredible taste and made all of our jobs a breeze! I can't say enough about how much we enjoyed this collaboration and the end result...well, it speaks for itself.
There will be open shelves and a four inch marble back splash added this week. The vintage kitchen window was purchased during Antiques Week in Round Top, TX by the homeowner.
The plumbing fixtures in the kitchen are "living brass" which is un-lacquered, so they will only get more beautiful with time!
The flooring is salvage, as is the mantle. The two leaded glass windows flanking the fireplace were purchased from Tumbleweeds Architectural Supply Company in McKinney.
The paneled antique doors that were installed on barn slides were salvaged from a house in Upstate New York, and add tons of character.
We used pieces of the leftover flooring for the laundry room countertop. The brick flooring is also salvaged and was used to brick the fireplace.
We love the use of an antique farm table instead of a traditional vanity cabinet in the powder bath.
This amazing concrete tile was sourced locally from Riad Tile in Dallas, TX.
The shower tile is handmade subway tile, an unusual 3" x 12", and gives a timeless yet custom look.
And our absolute favorite photo of them all. It's a beautiful reminder as to what we actually build; homes where the stories of life unfold. Places where babies will come home for the first time, birthdays will be celebrated, living rooms where backpacks will be strewn across the floor and camp duffel bags unpacked, and front porches where tears are shed as kiddos turn into graduates and spread their wings. Oh, we build so much more than just houses.
Are you interested in joining our story? View our available properties in Collin and Grayson Counties by clicking on the link or above under Available Property. Click to view our Investment Opportunities and Contact Us. We'd love to hear from you!
There is a such a sense of accomplishment when the last walk through is completed and we see moving trucks around the corner. The boxes are checked, little pieces of blue tape removed from the walls and we close the door behind us, leaving the new homeowners eager to resume their former lives, ready to move forward with plans that may have been put on hold and ultimately, curious as to how their new space will settle out and become a home.
On Tuesday, we toured a property that was completed almost 7 months ago. When we last visited, the dust hadn't quite settled. This wonderful antique wine tasting table, purchased at Round Top, was in it's final resting spot then, but bare, without chairs around it to sit and enjoy a meal. Now, it's standing at the ready, humbly awaiting the next clinking of wine glasses or first cup of coffee served on a cold day.
So many personal touches, like the fireplace screen and vintage plates in the dining room, turned the house we built into a family home; into a space where pictures of grand babies are proudly affixed to the refrigerator door and artwork carried home from a family vacation is hung on the wall as a testimony to the memories made.
The accomplishment of building a house makes us proud. Seeing that "house" become a "home" makes us utterly humble.
We love the creativity and playful nature of this cottage in downtown McKinney. The homeowner hit the nail on the head, when choosing the color scheme and architectural accents, and has a gift for finding antique salvage pieces, like that gorgeous front antique door and hardware and cast iron tub-turned-planter.
One of the things we love most about this cottage is that it's a few blocks OUTSIDE of McKinney's historic district. I think sometimes an historical designation line prevents potential homeowners from finding their forever home, when in reality there are some real beauties just outside of the district, too. Exercising the skill to think "outside of the box" and taking a leap of faith can lead to the proverbial pot of gold, as I think this homeowner has found.
And let's be honest, McKinney, TX is just an awesome place to live...east, west, north or south of the downtown square!
We are restoring and renovating the interior as well, so follow along for updates and more images soon!
There are some houses that are iconic. This is one of those homes in McKinney's historic district. It's one of the last homes before the commercial buildings begin on the downtown square, and anyone who drives into McKinney's downtown, goes right past it. Sometimes, when you see something often, you might take it for granted, but never did that happen with this home. It has always had the ability to catch my eye and turn my head...every drive into town.
We were initially commissioned to rework the upstairs into a more functional master suite, and update the back pergola into a luxury outdoor living space. Well, it snowballed from there, as historic homeowners know is usually the way of remodeling! We now have our amazing crew working in almost every corner of the home, uncovering what was original to the home, and planning to make it shine once more.