The Art of Home
If art is in the eye of the beholder, then Richardson is about to get a lot more beholders. On a quiet street in the Canyon Creek neighborhood, a house recently served as the backdrop for the fall 2017 men’s fashion advertising campaign of Haggar Clothing Co.
Homeowners Julia and Bill Koch have lived at this address for six years, during which they “reconstructed” the house, as Julia says. They moved the master suite downstairs, changed the flow of the first floor to better suit their needs, rewired the house, updated the plumbing and created a wooded paradise in the backyard. They left no stone unturned, so to speak.
Lori Jones, neighbor and freelance fashion stylist, watched as Bill and Julia transformed this older house. Professionally, Lori spends her time dressing, fitting and accessorizing models at client photo shoots. Her work has taken her to shoots all over DFW, including places like Downtown McKinney, Klyde Warren Park, the Bishop Arts District and White Rock Lake. Knowing the beauty of the Koch backyard, Jones wondered, “Why can’t we do it at their house?”
Lori planted the seed with Julia; soon after, the couple hired an agent. Over the course of the past year, the Koch property has hosted the Haggar photo shoot and several private bridal, prom and senior picture portrait shoots.
Photographer for the recent Haggar shoot, Clay Hayner says the size of the Koch home and the backyard make it ideal for this line of work.
“The property was great for shooting,” Clay says. “There are so many great spots to work with—the creek and dock, fire pit, patio and golf course made for beautiful backgrounds and could look like different parts of the country. It doesn’t look like you are in the middle of the city.”
Some may wonder how a fall fashion line—complete with flannel shirts—works in the middle of a Texas summer. Clay says photo editors will retouch the pictures, turning the natural green tones to cooler autumn colors. And photo editors are just a few people involved behind the scenes. Julia says on the day of the latest shoot there were about 50 trucks on their street, a tent set up for refreshments and many people, including models, the crew and even caterers.
“It was pretty invasive,” Julia says. “But they left it exactly how they found it.” She adds that they will continue to serve as the frequent locale for private portrait shoots, but will limit big clients to about three or four a year to be respectful of neighbors.
Respect for neighbors seems to be at the core of Julia’s life. Her love for her neighbors and passion for her neighborhood has long taken root. Julia moved into the neighborhood with her family in 1972 at age 7. She grew up here, and her parents still live in her childhood home, just two doors down.
Before settling into their current home, Julia lived in another house down the street. She reconstructed that home too thinking it would be hers for the long haul—until she met Bill. She and Bill started dating, and as they fell love, he also fell in love with Canyon Creek. They were married seven years ago and together bought their “forever” home.
Throughout the process of making it their own, the couple still wanted the house to resemble its former self. In a sense, they honored the house’s past by ensuring its future. They took the overgrown wooded backyard and created their own personal oasis—an oasis that they certainly do not keep to themselves. They host a neighborhood holiday party every year, have a campout for the neighborhood kids every October and make time weekly to connect with neighbors.
Out of her passion for her neighborhood and with a background in design and construction, their company, Nest Canyon Creek, was born. Together, Bill and Julia buy homes in their neighborhood that need love, attention and yes, reconstruction.
“I renew,” she says. “These are special places where people raise their families.”
Forever an artist, Julia aims to help people see the potential of what they have. “Embrace the architecture; highlight the key features of their home. Run with it,” she advises. “But don’t forget everything it was.”
Embrace what we have. Perhaps that is an idea that goes beyond the frame of a portrait, or a house, and speaks to the heart of contentment.