The price of one gallon of gas in McKinney: $3.14. The price of an Xbox One: $500. Seeing a photograph taken from the ship on an expedition to study

 MG designnews

The price of one gallon of gas in McKinney: $3.14.
The price of an Xbox One: $500.
Seeing a photograph taken from the ship on an expedition to study the effects of "man-made" global warming while stuck in the ice: Priceless!

It's a crazy winter so far! The week before Christmas break we had an ice storm that also brought in some flurries and shut the schools in our area down for three days. A lot of people lost their power for several days but we were fortunate enough that ours stayed on. Almost all of our trees were bent in half from the weight of the ice - luckily we didn't lose any limbs. Being snowed in can be great but when your office is in the house you still have to work! I can't complain, though, because there's plenty of work to keep my busy.

It was great having the kids home for Christmas vacation and they both managed to keep pretty active with their friends. Janet's brother, his wife, and their five-month-old son drove in from Atlanta to stay for Christmas week and we all had a great time. There was about a week's worth of eating and sharing wonderful Christmas traditions with our family. I hope that the New Year brings everyone safety and prosperity!

For the last ten months I've been working on a three-part lecture series describing the role of Christianity in the settling and founding of this country. The pastor and elders of our church have graciously opened the doors and offered a place for me to present it. I would like to invite each of you, your families, friends, and whoever else may be interested, to attend. I'm sure most people are thinking, "I'd rather run with scissors or put a campfire out with my face than listen to a history series," but I promise you it will be informative and memorable (and free!). See below.


Did you know that...

Washington praying

America was founded to be a Christian nation? I find the story of America to be a fascinating one and I'd love to share it with you. Please join me at V-Life Church, 301 W. Davis Street (southwest corner of Church and Davis Streets) in downtown McKinney.

Thursday, January 23rd, 6:30-7:30 PM
Thursday, January 30th, 6:30-7:30 PM
Thursday, February 6th, 6:30-7:30 PM

Child care will not be available.


Exterior Finishes

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Siding 4

If you live in Texas, as the majority of you do, you'll note that most houses built after the 1940's and 1950's are veneered in brick. I'm not exactly sure what the fascination with this material is because you can't do very much with it other than choose its color; and once you've picked it -that's it!- unless you plan on painting it.

Having lived for many years in Georgia and worked with clients in other states I would say that as a designer it's unfortunate not to be able to design houses using the various types of materials available. Siding comes in all shapes, sizes, and arrangements. Whether it's vertical board and batten, horizontal siding, or staggered cedar shakes, the use of different materials can really open up the possibilities for exterior residential design.

Some cities have minimum brick requirements while many others do not, and if a city doesn't require brick veneer then developers usually do. It's almost as if the mindset is: the less brick the less valuable a home will be. Yet if you compare the historic district of McKinney to many areas built in the newer, west side of town you'll find the price-per-square-foot of home is higher on houses without any brick (or stone) at all.

I guess there's nothing I can do about it, but I just wanted to show that houses can be beautiful and interesting without brick and stone as their main material.

Siding 2

Green Terrace Residence

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Pictured below are the before and after shots of a flip house that I provided design services for one of my clients, Rob Key with Sixteen 92 Investments. This was our first project working together and I think it turned out really great!

This "house of many doors" was typical of ranch-style homes built in the 1960's, with closed-in formal spaces separated from the main living areas by doors and hallways. We split the large formal living and dining room with a wall to create a fully functional study. The area that was the formal living room, separated from the foyer by a door, is now a large and welcoming dining room.

The kitchen had those wonderful soffits (which to this day I can't figure out their purpose) that were torn out to make room for taller cabinetry. The space was separated from the family room with 48" wide entry that we blew open to create more of a "great room" feel. The master bathroom was originally shared with the hallway but we made it a separate en suite complete with a huge walk-in shower. The second full bath had a small, closet-like shower that we reconfigured to have a full-sized bathtub which really opened the space up.

For more photographs of this house visit my website or my YouTube page.

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Front - Before

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Front - After

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Entry/Formals - Before

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Entry/Dining - After

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Kitchen - Before

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Kitchen - After

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Family Room - Before

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Family Room - After

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Master Bath - Before

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Master Bath - After

Before Brochure Plan

Main Level - Before

After Brochure Plan

Main Level - After


On the Lighter Side

Gary Larson's "The Far Side"


Staging vs. Decorating


This is staged and decorated

I am often asked, "What is the difference between staging and decorating?" Well, I came across an article by Kristie Barnett that sums up almost exactly what I explain to people.

Highlights from the article: Selling your home means selling a lifestyle, but not necessarily your own. In home staging you're striving for a look that is fresh and welcoming yet not really taste specific. People with varying tastes need to feel that they can make the home their own if they purchase it.

This is the distinction between decorating your home and staging it to sell. It can be hard to understand at first, but if you don't know the difference, you might not sell your house as quickly as you like.
Although everyone has different tastes in decor and furnishings, most people want a home that is welcoming, functional, peaceful and organized. Tailor your house so that buyers will describe it in those terms rather than by your style of decorating. Getting rid of clutter and having fewer but larger accessories is a great place to start.

Making sure your home isn't taste specific doesn't mean your rooms should be devoid of color. Instead, keep color schemes simple and dose them with an on-trend neutral, like a clean tan, a soft gray or a warm white.

If you have a distinctive decorating style — whether it's Tuscan, shabby chic or modern — you're going to need to scale it back a bit. If you don't, your home will appeal to the small percentage of potential buyers who love your chosen style. Staging is about strategic editing and depersonalizing, rather than decorating and personalizing.

Dated is dreary. Strive to stage your space with a current and fresh feel. Use updated neutrals on the walls and furnishings that are clean-lined and simple. Punches of color are great; just use them sparingly. A room arranged symmetrically and centered on the architecture reads as peaceful — one of those important aesthetics every buyer is drawn to.

The bottom line is that you have to get outside your head and inside the mind of a potential home buyer. It's very difficult to be objective about your own home, but it's crucial if you want to sell it.

If you're planning to sell your home give me a call. I will guide you through the process of preparing your home for sale and create a customized marketing plan to sell your home quickly and for top dollar.

Keisha York
"Your Realtor for Life"
JP and Associates REALTORS


This is staged


This is decorated


Current or former member of the military?


If you or someone you know is a current or former member of the military I would like to offer my design services at a discounted fee in appreciation for your service to our country. I also would like to extend discounted design rates to policemen and firemen.

God bless you for your service!

McReynol'ds OL
Mark head shot