I love HGTV. It’s like white noise in our apartment. I watch for hours at a time (give or take a few particular shows). The network as a whole seems to really strive to represent families and family-friendly content. I’ve been watching the network for years, but after moving into my husband’s apartment after our wedding, I, of course, became obsessed with decorating, and now see HGTV in a completely new light. And in comes Joanna and Chip Gaines to feed my love for interior design.
“Joanna Gaines is magic,” says one of the infinitely grateful couple-clients of Joanna and Chip Gaines, who haven’t yet begun the renovation. “Fixer Upper” has become my favorite show on HGTV. The show has become increasingly popular and really brings a freshness to the network. I remember the first time I saw one of the show’s ads and thought, wow—that woman is gorgeous. And she’s got great casual nuvo-country “mom” style. And her husband seems so in love! They were so charming. I’m going to love that show. I knew I would love it, even though it probably took me a month to actually catch an episode.
The Gaines’ live in Waco, Texas and have renovated over a hundred homes. They live on an adorable farm with 4 cute little kids, and an array of house pets they’ve adopted. They also own a country chic furniture store, and Joanna frequently lets clients into their own country-chic farmhouse to gauge their reaction to the rustic interior or propose counter-stone options. I LOVE the Gaines’ warm, southern hospitality toward clients and calm disposition.
What I enjoy most is that Joanna and Chip are truly a team. They feed off of each other and truly enjoy each other’s company. They never seem to be in a rush. Most importantly, they seem really care about the well-being of their clients. And they work so well together as husband and wife. Many shows on HGTV have followed the flip/sell model, and “Fixer Upper” is a fresh take on the “Property Brothers” – esque angle. First, Chip and Joanna take their clients to see fixer uppers (some minor and some major overhauls, which usually become the couple’s favorites), and then, once the new home is chosen, Chip builds Joanna’s structural vision for the home and Joanna manages the overall build and stages the home.
In just one episode, you’ll notice a few things: 1) the client’s complete, unmoving trust in the Gaines’ expertise, 2) Chip’s quirky personality balanced by Joanna’s calm, patient demeanor, 3) a peek into their family life, one that blends perfectly and seamlessly into their professional life, and 4) what feels like a true, genuine desire to give clients their dream home and be a part of ushering them into the next phase in their life.
The Gaines consistently and willingly eat costs for unforeseen structural issues that could take clients’ tight budgets slightly over (I’ve never seen a renovation show do this as frequently)—and finish solid, beautiful renovations within budgets constraints that many of the other shows just can’t beat. Joanna and Chip will redo an entire house (including exterior AND cutting down tree branches AND adding curb appeal, from paving driveways, adding porches, building furniture….the list goes on) for what I’ve seen other design teams have quoted for just ONE or two rooms. Maybe three. The Gaines’ clients frequently cry at some point in the reveal. They seem surprised at the fact that they could afford such a house, and seem to simultaneously gain a new sense of pride.
And of course, there’s Joanna Gaines herself. Mother of four. Designer after my own heart. Supporting wife of a loving husband. Her vision is immaculate. She finds really great properties and as someone who can appreciate urban, uber-modern, or mid-century modern as much as I can gothic and ornate interior design styles, I find Joanna Gaines to be a breath of fresh air. She’s sweet, but leads her team efficiently, all while letting us into what seems like a really inspiring accepting friendship that she shares with her husband.
Go HGTV for letting the purity of this family’s dynamic shine and for maintaining the integrity of what feels like the true passion of this couple being realized. All the best for the Gaines family. I’ve TiVoed the entire series. I sometimes almost want them to come to New York to do renovations. But then I remember the purity of the modesty in the Texas homes they renovate and I decide I don’t want the show to become tainted. It’s HGTV magic.