Creativity Through Constraint In An Historic Cottage

"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.

 

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The trim pieces covering the gaps in the original shiplap were added for practical purposes. The texture and finished look was an added surprise. 

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After exposing the brick, we fashioned a spice rack, using salvage wood. 

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My favorite part is the kitchen. It’s a great place to cook, bake and gather.
— Cynthia W. (homeowner & out of the box thinker)

Houses into Homes in McKinney's Historic District

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.

An Historic Cottage's Playful Exterior in McKinney, Texas.

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!

Historic Home Renovation & Restoration in downtown McKinney, TX.

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.

 An iconic home right as you hit the downtown McKinney square.

An iconic home right as you hit the downtown McKinney square.

 This archway detail around the inset windows is amazing. Details!

This archway detail around the inset windows is amazing. Details!

 I think the plan right now is for the stairwell shiplap to remain as a feature wall.

I think the plan right now is for the stairwell shiplap to remain as a feature wall.

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 We are combining a few closets and rooms upstairs to design the master suite. The shiplap on the ceiling will stay exposed.

We are combining a few closets and rooms upstairs to design the master suite. The shiplap on the ceiling will stay exposed.

 Back downstairs, this is the room you walk into from the front door.

Back downstairs, this is the room you walk into from the front door.

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 Color testing!

Color testing!