The school year is starting to wind down with less than two weeks remaining, and it's hard to believe that I will no longer have a child in elementary

 MG designnews

The school year is starting to wind down with less than two weeks remaining, and it's hard to believe that I will no longer have a child in elementary school. Hannah will be starting middle school and Ian will be starting high school in the fall. Janet and I are both excited about the new experiences that each of them will undoubtedly have. It's amazing how fast the years go by. When I was a kid my mom used to say that time goes by quicker as you get older, which back then I thought made absolutely no sense. But now as an adult I realize just how true her words are.

Janet's brother and his wife are expecting a baby boy this July and we're all excited about that. My parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Later this summer Janet and I will be taking her mother, Ian, and Hannah back to Atlanta to meet the new baby and to celebrate my parent's life together with the rest of my family. It's been 20 years since Janet and I moved out here with her family, traveling by car. Who knows, maybe Interstate 20 in Mississippi is finally paved!

So far this year has been a busy one for me. I'm very glad to say that a lot of my design work has been for new houses, which means that the market in this area is definitely picking up. I've also been quite busy with remodels and additions. There are several projects I've designed that are either under construction now or are about to start in downtown McKinney and I'm really excited about them. I'm also in the process of working with a graphic designer to come up with a new company logo and signs to be placed in the yards where I have projects going.

As always be sure and visit my website to see some of the new projects that I'm working on.


Former Ray Roberts Residence

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Front Elevation

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Damaged window trim

This home is one of three remodels that I've designed in the historical district of McKinney. Those of you in the Dallas area you may be familiar with Lake Ray Roberts; this house on Tucker Street was his childhood home. Mr. Roberts was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas and was riding four cars behind JFK's in the motorcade when he was assassinated. There are some pretty interesting comments regarding that on Wikipedia.

At some point in the history of the house, which was built in the early 1900's, one of the owners installed vinyl siding which almost exactly matched the last color that the house was painted. During the vinyl installation many of the exterior trim features were ripped out such as the window head trim and sills to make way for the new siding. The new home owners couldn't wait to get the vinyl removed and start the process of restoring the original exterior. As you can see from the photos there's quite a bit of work to be done.

The interior is another story. My client wanted to completely gut and redesign the kitchen. She is one of these people who is gifted with the ability to walk into an antique shop, pick out many separate items, and visualize how they can all come together quite successfully. The couple had some specific pieces of furniture that we designed the kitchen around and I can't wait to see it when it's completed. Upstairs we are turning an over-sized bedroom into a master bath, closet, and home office. We're adding a laundry room to the upper level as well as enlarging one of the bedrooms to be a true master suite.

After I completed the design phase of the project the couple hired Ed Carel, owner of Integrity Custom, as the general contractor. If you live in McKinney or drive through the downtown area frequently you've undoubtedly seen his signs.

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Gas heat register

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Interior column capital

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Original fixture


The Scarborough Residence

If you've ever driven down Hunt Street here in McKinney you've probably seen a red brick house east of College Street. And if you've ever stopped to look at it and said to yourself, "Self, the section on the right side of the house just doesn't look original," I'd say you may now go to the head of the class! Upon visiting the house a few weeks ago to measure parts of it that will be remodeled the previous owners shared a photograph with me that was taken in the early 1920's, and in it you can see that what is now two-story and cedar-shingled was at one time a one-story side porch. It is unknown when the porch was enclosed and a second floor added. The only thing that I know for sure about the front is that it won't be red for very long! The new owner intends to paint it a more subtle color.

The remodel that I'm designing for the Scarboroughs, along with The British Builder, Wayne Goodall, is on the rear of the house. You can see from the photographs where the original brick house ends and where a later framed addition begins. The Scarborough family is wanting to enlarge the present kitchen (somewhat hidden by a tree at the bottom right of the house) and have it open up to a new morning room which will be located at the rear. The existing frame addition will be reworked and expanded to have an updated master suite. We'll also be adding a laundry room and separate powder room in the original portion of the home.

One thing that was interesting about this house was that during World War II it was separated into a two family residence. The central hall was blocked off at the staircase and an upper level porch was built on the back so the family living above could have access without having to go through the downstairs living quarters. The wall blocking off the interior stairs and the exterior staircase were removed when it was returned to a single family home, but the rear upper porch remains (although not for long).

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Rear Elevation

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Rear Elevation


The Pond Residence

The Pond residence is the third historical remodel that I'm working on in McKinney. The house was built in 1894 at a cost of $2,070 for Joe and Eliza Cline, and later sold to Jonas and Lula Bass for $2,850. Jonas Bass was a major cotton buyer and broker in Collin County at the time. In 1913 one of the Bass' daughters, Lura, came home to have her baby. The same day in McKinney a department store collapsed and all of the city's doctors were in attendance; none were available to assist Lura throughout her labor and she tragically died in childbirth. The Bass' raised their grandson and built an addition on the second floor which added another bedroom and bathroom to the home.

During the 1960's (ahh....the 60's!) the house was purchased for a whopping $1,625 (obviously during pre-Carter-inflationary times) and restored. The owners added a family room to the rear as well as a two bedroom guest house in the backyard.

For the new owners the intent is to gut and remodel the kitchen, and demolish the family room addition. We plan on rebuilding a family room again but one that will be more true to the original architecture of the home. A portion of the guest house will be extended into a nice in-law suite while part of that same structure will be converted into an outdoor kitchen area. There's quite a bit of attic available for us to remodel the upstairs bathroom and add a loft at the back of the home's original staircase which features the original continuous, hand-carved stair rail. The original woodwork throughout is in amazing condition and has never seen a paint brush in 119 years.

As soon as these projects are completed I'll feature the before and after photos on subsequent newsletters as well as my website.

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Original Newel Post

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Existing Rear Elevation

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Guest House


On the Lighter Side

Gary Larson's "The Far Side"

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Taking Care of Stainless Steel


Whether you're looking to sell your home or simply spring cleaning, make sure you "detail" your stainless steel to really make it pop!

To keep your stainless steel bright and clean clients have mentioned that they like to use a light mist of wax-based aerosol spray once or twice a week. Don't put on too much - you don't want to soak the surface and make it greasy. Wipe the mist with a clean, lint-free cloth, and never use oils to keep away fingerprints - lint will stick to the oil. Also, don't use cleaners with bleach after you've put on the waxy layer or it will dry out and lose some of the luster. Finally, do not use anything abrasive - not even mild products like Soft Scrub or Scotch-Brite pads. You don't want to scratch or ruin the surface.

For more tips on preparing your home for sale and finding top area Realtors contact Janet McReynolds at


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!

ReStore NCC

Located at 2060 Couch Drive in Southeast McKinney they offer donated merchandise for sale at a discount. The store is open to the public and the proceeds help to fund the various Habitat projects in the area.

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Mark head shot