Tumbleweeds Architectural Company in McKinney is currently open by appointment only and during special sales events. Photos courtesy of the Carels.
Aug. 1, 2016
While Edward and Gretchen Carel of McKinney see an abandoned cast iron sink or a fireplace heater that no longer works, they don't see trash, they see treasure. That's why the couple opened Tumbleweeds Architectural Company in March, believing that others shared their love of salvage items and unique antiques.
Edward and Gretchen Carel opened their McKinney store in March.
The retail business grew out of Edward Carel’s 20-year career as a historic home renovator. Over the years, he and his wife have scoured the midwest, midsouth and northeast U.S. looking for items to incorporate into renovations and new buildings. They search through attics, basements, warehouses and condemned buildings looking for mantels, windows, doors, hardware, yardware, bins, old store fronts, columns, farm pieces and a plethora of cabinets from businesses and homes.
“My wife and I have been enjoying buying trips and weekends as a hobby for several years,” he says. “We love the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment when we find the perfect piece for our home or a client.”
The couple snags these architectural treasures through salvage companies and individual homeowners, preserving pieces of historic buildings prior to demolition. They also work with preservation societies to save what in some cases would end up in landfills or waste away in abandoned buildings. Carel said in some communities where renovation is not an option, the material is available in abundance.
“I hope to buy a semi or two next month from a warehouse/store that closed many years ago,” he says. “Items are just sitting waiting to make the journey to North Texas and we just secured a 20,000-square-foot warehouse in a rural area in northeast McKinney to house items before they make the way to the store."
The store is a small showroom located in a commercial building just north of the downtown square in McKinney. The Carels say it is a pilot showroom at the moment and is open by appointment only and for special weekend events.
“The end of the year plan is to expand into a 5,000-plus square-foot storefront space in the same building we currently occupy,” Edward Carel explains.
Even though Tumbleweeds Architectural Supply Company usually features larger and unique statement pieces, the business also offers smaller items. He says they are always on the lookout for the ‘wow’ factor that the older, one of a kind piece offers.
They also repurpose old furniture pieces, make tables and other custom furniture with salvaged wood and turn old hardware pieces into lamps and light fixtures.
“We can mill most any type of custom trim,” Edward Carel says. “Also, working with our clients to source pieces for the houses we renovate and build, like old cabinets, leaded windows and glass.
In addition, they frequently build chicken coops and specialty items for hobby farm enthusiasts as partners with the annual McKinney Tour de Coop and Chestnut Square.
Passionate about preserving the treasures of the past, Carel says the mission of Tumbleweeds Architectural Supply Company is to save the timeless pieces and pass them down to a new generation.
“Unfortunately today many people see things as disposable and only worth holding onto until the next upgrade,” he says. “We are doing our best to disprove such a notion.”
While Tumbleweeds Architectural Company is open by appointment only, the store is located nextdoor to Carel’s custom building firm Integrity Custom so the venue is typically readily available to browsers Monday through Friday 9am-5pm, excluding the lunch hour 12pm-1pm. But call ahead: office 214-982-1340 or cell 214-449-6602.