Clinic Transformation

Rehabilitated Rockwall House set for Grand Opening

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By Jeanne S. Guerra; photos by Karen D. Pate
(Story originally published in the Rockwall County Herald Banner, October 16th, 2015)

Their purchase just prior to Labor Day 2014 became a year of hard labor for Rockwall residents Nancy and Oscar Cano. You may have been witness to that year-long work of rehabilitation if you have driven south around the infamous curve of N. Alamo Rd. in the last several months, just north of old downtown Rockwall — the faded yellow/now pale-green Craftsman- style house on the corner of N. Alamo and Interurban.

The transformation has been remarkable—a dilapidated neglected falling-down eyesore masterfully remade into a tribute to the history of Rockwall. “We love what the city is doing with its old buildings,” said Nancy Cano. “Restoring so many of the old structures to honor the past while mingling them with the modern and efficient. We reworked our building to reflect both. Its rehabilitation gives homage to the past and its renovation makes it efficient for the future.”

Over the course of the last year, at least twenty friends and family, along with a slew of contractors, have worked to reimagine the residence into a Wellness Center. The lower-floor rusty kitchen was ripped out, the narrowing stairs to the second floor storage room rebuilt to meet current code, a few walls repositioned, bathrooms enlarged and modernized, and the floor plan now perfect for three businesses to occupy.

Licensed physical therapist Nancy Cano moved her established practice into the largest of the treatment rooms, in what she believes was the living room (or parlor) of the old house. N-Balance Physical Therapy was previously located farther south on Kenway. Cano said, “For most businesses, it’s location, location, location that brings success. For my business, though, it’s word-of-mouth, word-of-mouth, word-of-mouth. Patients will find us wherever we move, but it just so happens the perfect house for us has a fabulous location, too.”

“I wanted a quieter, calmer place for my patients and the renovated house with the homey atmosphere and soothing colors has turned into a perfect fit,” said Nancy. “After all, where are you most comfortable? In your home… so this wellness center is reminiscent of home.” Cano’s physical therapy practice is based on one-on-one contact with all patients. “We’re not a gym where someone puts you on a machine and leaves,” she said. “I am with my patients throughout their entire appointment. Their confidence in the fact I care about them and can help them is important to their treatment. So, the calmness, serenity and love that I provide are enhanced by the serenity of the facility. It works for the benefit of both patient and therapist.”

“Our idea is to make it a complete wellness center,” Cano continued. “If you know Rockwall, though, you know N. Alamo is one of the busiest roads in the city. The noise of thousands of cars rushing by each day can be overwhelming, so we took extra care to add thick layers of insulation and double-paned windows… everything possible to abate the roar of traffic. When you walk in the building, I think you will be amazed at the serenity we have been able to provide.”

Although city records only go back to the 1940s existence of the house, evidence inside points to it being much older. Craftsman-style homes were built beginning in the late 1800s, and under the dilapidated sheetrock, the old house on N. Alamo had thick wood plank walls and cloth wallpaper on cheesecloth backing. The original  foundation is made of bois d’arc wood, and old porcelain electric components and hundreds if not thousands of square nails were found… all used in construction at the turn of the 20th century. A check with the Rockwall County Library shows several houses of a similar style built in the 1890s and early 1900s.

“We were careful to preserve as much of the integrity of the house as we could,” Cano said. “We reused the wall boards, kept the old stone and bricks from the fireplace we had to tear down, and tried to match moldings and wood. The old oak wood floor was too damaged, but we did use new hardwoods on the first floor similar to what was there before, just more durable.”

With the help of her artist sister, Cano chose period pieces to tastefully decorate, while artwork reflective of her strong beliefs compliment the interior. “I hope my clients understand that all I do for them comes from the core of my faith. It is a blessing to me to be able to help them, and an honor to serve through healing.” The Cano’s are longtime members of Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall and many of their hardworking volunteers throughout the year are friends from there.

The heavy limestone mantle of the old home’s fireplace was carefully removed and will be repurposed as a sturdy bench under the huge tree outside behind the house. “We will repurpose all the stone and old bricks for walkways, too. They were part of the house for decades and deserve to be part of its future.”

Any treasures found during the rehab? “We kept looking for gold or something really valuable to help us with the costs of the renovations,” Nancy said. “But no such luck. We did find an old empty whisky bottle hidden in the wall next to the chimney. We’re planning a place of honor for it.” They are also looking for any old photos of the house that might help them understand its history.

Nancy Cano smiles with satisfaction when she says, “We rehabilitated a house so we can better rehabilitate bodies. A perfect use for this old house — now a home for wellness.”
(Story originally published in the Rockwall County Herald Banner, October 16th, 2015)

“We rehabilitated a house so we can better rehabilitate bodies. A perfect use for this old house — now a home for wellness.”
Nancy Cano, PT, DPT; Owner of N-Balance Physical Therapy

See the Transformation

Front of the Clinic

Back of the Clinic

Treatment Room

Waiting Room

Treatment Room

Reception Area

Treatment Room