Well, friends. If you’ve been around here for a bit, you’ve likely heard many references to The Sister Grove Farmhouse. This is a project, or more accurately a series of projects, that we’ve been working on since 2017. This isn’t your average Interior Design project. Typically we just work on one house, or part of one house, on a normal .25 acre lot and call it a day.
This is an entire settlement of buildings on 150 acres.
It began with the historical restoration of The Little House, an adorable pre-Civil War farmhouse. If you’re local, this property was owned by Collin McKinney. That would be the fella that Collin County and the City of McKinney were named after. He built the home for his son, Younger Scott McKinney. Is there an older Scott McKinney? Darned if I know.
This gem of a project was a delight to work on alongside the architect, Architexas. We worked hard to fill it with items that were as true to the home as we could be. Some artistic liberties were taken since when the house was built, indoor plumbing and electricity weren’t a thing yet. It even has a full-fledged wood burning pizza oven in the kitchen!
Since The Little House only has one bedroom and a loft, we needed some more sleeping quarters. Next up came the Bunkhouses – two buildings with 4 bedrooms each - to sleep a crowd. Each has a cozy living space and bathrooms. Great for sleeping, but not big enough for a gathering. So….
Then the Pavilion to host large gatherings. Here there is a commercial style kitchen and seating for 50 people. Now we’ve got a party.
The goal for all of these buildings is hospitality. To host friends, family, church groups, and the restorative farming community. After all of that building was complete, it finally came time for our homeowners to finally create their dream home. That’s where we find ourselves today, at the culmination of all of these projects – The Main House.
It’s a beauty you guys! And while the home isn’t quite 100% finished – we are still waiting on furniture and some other lingering items – it was just too good not to share. We snuck in just ahead of moving day to snag these photos. If you follow on Instagram you’ve seen some of the furniture and artwork coming in, but I like that we have these photos ahead of that because there are SO MANY architectural and design details that are more easily appreciated while the space is empty. But first…
If you’ve been alive longer than 12 minutes, you know that the post-pandemic world brought with it an increase in the cost of, well, pretty much everything. Building materials were definitely at the top of that list.
We actually designed this house twice. Initially the home was quite a bit larger and had a den, a study, an additional bathroom (and at one point even a game room and a basement level). When the price tag came in with a few more zeros than anyone was hoping for, we had to make some changes.
When faced with a budget challenge, you really have two levers you can pull – quality and quantity. You can either cut scope (remove a bathroom) or cut quality (subway tile instead of marble). Sometimes you have to do a little (or a lot) of both.
We shaved the home down, leaving the parts that were the most critical (kitchen / living / dining layout) and condensing it down to the essential elements. Cutting square footage allowed us to be able to keep the charm and details we had planned for these key spaces. We did swap out a few finishes and fixtures, but by and large, we kept the integrity of the design in this smaller footprint.
The goal of this home was to be the masterpiece, so to speak, of the property, but not in an ostentatious way. Our clients have beaucoup family heirloom pieces that needed to feel at home here, but also wanted a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Fancy without being fussy. Farmhouse without being rustic. It needs to fit in with the ecosystem of the other buildings, but also be distinct and different.
THE FINISHED(ISH) PRODUCT
We’re thrilled to walk you through a tour of this incredible home! This project has some of the most amazing details; the little architectural touches that we don’t always get to incorporate on a project. Plus there are a lot of great family and heirloom pieces built in.
The outside of the home is a cute, classic white farmhouse. It has similar architectural features and colors as The Little House, and is meant to look like the big brother (or sister).
A sweet little front porch that looks out onto the main road.
This stained glass is salvaged from a church. It deserved a place of honor, so we tucked it right into the entryway. Tucking a stained glass window in an exterior wall is pretty tricky (doesn’t come close to meeting any sort of energy code), so we had our contractor and electrician build a frame for it and backlight it with LED light.
The ceiling in this space is also special. The wood on the ceiling is actually wood paneling salvaged from a prior family home in nearby Plano, Texas. Here it was before:
And here it is reimagined as a ceiling:
We knew from the beginning that we wanted to incorporate transom windows into this home. We had some salvaged windows from The Little House restoration that we were able to incorporate. Where the salvaged windows wouldn’t fit, we created new transom windows to match the old.
Off the entryway is the dining room, which is flooded with natural light.
The star of this room (and the home in general) is the incredible woodwork. We incorporated a beautiful coffered ceiling, wainscotting, and the loveliest Arts & Crafts era wallpaper.
Flanking the transom opening into the butlers pantry are a pair of brass sconces, bringing a soft glow to this end of the room.
Inside the Butler’s pantry we have 2 walls of millwork. On one side, a sink and beverage fridge, and the loveliest deep green backsplash tile that plays on the dining wallpaper.
Opposite, a floor to ceiling built in ready to house vintage china and glassware collected from family over time. The walls are a lovely deep blue-green, making this space incredibly luxe and cozy. The simple shaker cabinets keep it from feeling too fussy.
Through the sliding glass pocket doors from the Butler’s pantry is the kitchen. Whoa boy, there is so much to love about this room.
There are almost too many details to count in here, so I’ll settle for our top 3 favorites.
The Dutch door. Off the kitchen is a HUGE screened porch (more on that in a bit). This beauty of a door allows for the breeze to flow through, and thanks to the screened porch, none of the bugs. IT’S PERFECTION. Please ignore the dishwasher that doesn’t have it’s panel front on yet!
The vintage look light fixtures. I’ve been dying to use these for YEARS but we never quite had the right project – until now. They just feel right for the era of the property. Oh, and as a bonus favorite, how great is this butcher block built right into the island?!
The green stove. This is like an emerald engagement ring right in the center of the house. It feels vintage with all the benefits of being brand new. And the gold hardware?! MAN O MAN.
Just off the kitchen is a sweet little breakfast nook. We carried the green from the range and the Dutch door into the wall paneling for this room, helping to connect those spaces.
Opposite the bench seat is the pantry, complete with a salvaged door from the same Plano home as the den ceiling. It could not be cuter if it tried.
Continuing down the hallway through the breakfast area you’ll start to spy the Laundry and Mud Room.
We went non-traditional with the cabinet color in here, opting for a yummy golden mustard tone. To keep it from pulling too warm, we painted the wainscotting a soft gray; the same color we used for the upper portion of the walls in the breakfast area.
On the floor, a herringbone brick in an antique finish is great for catching the mud from work boots before it gets carried further into the house.
Does your grandma have a 1000 year old fridge in her garage? If so, BRING IT IN THE HOUSE! We sized this nook to fit our homeowner’s mom’s former fridge.
Another salvaged item peeking into this shot; a sconce from the Plano family home. It’s sister light fixture is in the Powder bath, which we don’t have a picture of yet as it was still very much under construction when we took these photos!
Now through another set of transom windows and onto the living room.
Your eyes don’t deceive you, this brick fireplace is the same salvaged brick from the old den with the wall paneling that we showed you earlier. After this image was taken, I got my hands dirty with our amazing contractor and we whitewashed the brick to give it an antique finish and soften it up a bit. Also worth a click to that video to see moving day progress! But I digress.
The cabinet doors on the built ins have a metal mesh in lieu of a solid piece of wood. A lovely detail, but also allows for AV equipment to breathe and cool.
A wall of windows and double doors leads you to the gargantuan screened back porch which overlooks the rest of the property. Take a gander.
Back inside, let’s move to the private half of the house.
Bedrooms can sometimes be a little boring to photograph without furniture, but the paint colors in the guest rooms (plus the fantastic door hardware and transoms) were totally worth a photo.
There are no shortage of cabinets in this house! We snuck them into every nook and cranny we could.
In what may go down in history as our favorite guest bathroom, I give you this mint beauty.
These mint green tiles were, you guessed it, salvaged from another family property. Our contractor lovingly removed all the old thinset, grout, and gunk from each individual tile. We added in simple white square tiles to match to fill the remaining walls.
Since there was only going to be one tub in this house, it just had to be a clawfoot tub. The vintage style shower faucet and ceiling mounted shower curtain rod finish out the look.
On the floor, classic black and white hexagons were a graphic compliment to the minty wall tile above without competing.