Karthik Nemmani of McKinney. Photo courtesy of CNN

We get emails from people all the time, asking where the best place to live in North Texas is if you seek a high quality public school.

Tonight, the answer would be McKinney. 

Karthik Nemmani of McKinney is the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion. He won Thursday night, by spelling the word “koinonia” . Media outlets said he survived “arguably the most intense competition in the bee’s 93-year history.”

Karthik is 14 and he beat a record-shattering 515 contestants at the national spelling bee, plus six other Texans. Five of the champion spellers were from the DFW area. Even more, the number of contestants nearly doubled (not exactly, 515 compared to 291 but this is a spelling bee story, not math) after bee organizers expanded eligibility this year.

Along the way, he had to outlast a field of 16 finalists who vanquished words such as “Praxitelean,” “ispaghul” and “telyn” — sometimes without batting an eyelash — in a breathtaking show of spelling skill broadcast live on ESPN.

But Nemmani, who was competing at his first national bee, displayed the poise of a veteran, seeming to sail through his words: “condottiere” (knight or roving soldier available for hire), “miarolitic” (of igneous rock), “cendre” (a moderate blue), “ankyloglossia” (limited normal movement of the tongue), “grognard,” “passus,” “shamir” (tiny worm capable of splitting the hardest stone) and “jagüey” (an East Indian tree).

Dear me, I can even screw up spell-check. (more…)

The inside has been renovated by Crest Custom Homes!

You’ve been looking for a home that is large and well-appointed and absolutely fresh inside, this beautiful home inside McKinney’s Stonebridge Estates will do just the trick. This home is a gorgeous custom property built in 2003 and just renovated by Crest Custom Homes with a brand new heated pool and spa, fresh paint inside, a beautiful kitchen, and a lovely master bathroom.

This brick and stone home is perfect for entertaining this holiday season, too, from the dramatic two-story entrance to the formals to the  butler’s pantry, wine room, and wet bar. Not only that, but you have a two private suites downstairs, one master and another for those VIP guests you wouldn’t dare set up in a hotel!


508 N. Tennessee Front

What if you could have all of the adorable features you find in a traditional 1920s-era Tudor without all of the tiny rooms, claustrophobic water closets, and impossible-to-maintain stained-glass windows? When I tell you that you can have it all and inside one of the best little neighborhoods in McKinney, well I’m sure you’ll just flip your lid.

508 N. Tennessee Dining

Marketed by the Rierder & Hogan Group at Ebby Halliday Realtors for just $330,000 is this adorable gingerbread Tudor at 508 N. Tennessee. It’s in the sought-after Lustig neighborhood near downtown McKinney and you’d totally think it (and its twin next door) were straight out of Lakewood Heights, Gastonwood, or Hollywood/Santa Monica and built in the 1920s, but guys, this cutie was built just this year!

508 N. Tennessee Office

So you get all the benefit of new construction and all of the curb appeal of a classic Tudor. It’s totally win-win! And of course, you get excellent schools, too, and this lovely four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home is just a short walk from the historic McKinney Square. The kitchen, with its two tone cabinets and sage green subway tile backsplash is just the cutest thing ever. It’s also a great opportunity to make the kitchen totally yours by picking out all your own appliances.

508 N. Tennessee LivingtoKitchen

Everything’s new inside, but you don’t have to sacrifice on period details like stained glass, arched doorways, or gorgeous wood floors. What you won’t miss is all the walls you’d have to knock down to open up and renovate a 1920s Tudor, because this home just flows so perfectly thanks to an excellent floorplan and tons of huge windows.

508 N. tennessee master

I love that this master bath is a five-piece bath with a great layout — it flows from the spacious master to a smaller sitting area, and then opens up to this oversized bathroom with fully-enclosed shower. You get to pick out your own mirrors, too!

508 N. Tennessee Master Bath

And speaking of huge, I’ve never seen a 1920s Tudor that was more than 2,000 square feet, but this gorgeous house is 2,450 square feet with a lovely backyard.

508 N. Tennessee Backyard

So what do you think? Is this cutie just as good as the real thing, or better?


519 W. Hunt Front

This place is just too stinking adorable to pass up! Located in McKinney’s W. A. Rhea subdivision, 519 W. Hunt St. was built  in 1901 and has so much of that turn-of-the-century beauty intact.

It’s labeled as a Victorian, but I’d call this more Louisiana French, wouldn’t you? The columns on the expansive front porch are a pretty big giveaway, but there’s a lack of fretwork and trim that usually belies most Victorian architecture.

519 W. Hunt Foyer

Still, I love this little yellow house. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and more than 3,000 square feet under this roof. All bedrooms are upstairs, and there are several living areas downstairs. It’s priced at a very specific $367,750.

519 W. Hunt Parlor

There are at least three fireplaces in this gorgeous home, one of which is in the foyer. They all look to be original, too, which is such a treat! I love the look of older fireplaces, but be sure to have it cleaned and properly inspected before use, because after several years and shifting bricks, they can be a huge fire hazard.

519 W. Hunt Dining

The parlor is just beautiful, and this is where guests would be traditionally received. Again, gorgeous fireplace! And this room really shows off the Louisiana pine wood floors, as well as the effort put into this historic property’s preservation.

519 W. Hunt Living

The kitchen has a definitely modern feel with granite counters and fresh cabinets. While there’s a glass-topped table in the middle of the kitchen, I’m sure you could have a skilled carpenter put in an island that would be a perfect match for your commissary.

519 W. Hunt Kitchen

The master bedroom feels alternately large and small thanks to the vaulted ceilings and recessed windows that form nooks in many places. Of course, considering that it’s a historic property that is more than 110 years old, you have to accept its quirks.

519 W. Hunt Master

The backyard is just perfect for entertaining, with a huge deck that looks out onto a treed lot. There’s also a detached garage with workbench if you’re the handy type! Listed by Ebby’s Riederer and Hogan Group, you can check this lovely home out this Sunday between 2 and 4 p.m. during the open house.

519 W. Hunt Backyard

1505 Montclair Front

Man, was anyone else disappointed by the NFL draft last night? Yikes! If you’re still nursing a football hangover this morning, don’t sweat it — we have an easily lovable Friday Five Hundred for you.

1505 Montclair Living

I am learning to love the suburbs, y’all, and this new listing from Coldwell Banker’s Nikki Butcher is a fantastic value! Built by Huntington Custom Homes in 2005, this five-bedroom, four and a half bath home has some great luxury touches, including a porte cochere with gate, private access mother-in-law suite, and a fabulous outdoor entertaining area.

1505 Montclair Kitchen

On the market for $559,900, 1505 Montclair Circle is a stellar example of how much more you can get in the suburbs for your money. This home is inside Stonebridge Ranch, which feeds into McKinney ISD schools. Really, it’s the perfect house for a family looking to get more room for less.

1505 Montclair Master

The kitchen is perfect for entertaining both kids and adults with an oversized island, double ovens, and upgraded stainless steel appliances featuring brands such as Sub-Zero. Custom tile and granite counters, paired with hardwood cabinets, make this sizable kitchen easy on the eyes, too.

1505 Montclair patio

Other great features include a huge office, five-piece master bathroom, a media room, and a huge pool and spa. There’s also a fantastic stone fireplace with custom mantle in the living room.

1505 Montcliar Pool

What do you think? Would this McKinney home be your first-round draft pick?