HGTV’s Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines have quickly become a household name across America, inspiring millions since their show began in 2013. They’ve become the cable channel’s biggest stars noted for their incredible talent and quirky personalities, and Joanna’s trendsetting design skills, in particular, have even caught the eye of the top international design authority. Architectural Digest describes Joanna as, “[She] has made a name for herself by taking the worst houses in the best neighborhoods and giving them foundation-to-roof overhauls.”
We can’t agree more, as we tune in to watch Fixer Upper, which is about to enter into its fourth season, Joanna uses her keen eye, warmth and attentiveness to each family and their needs [along with her other half, Chip, and lots of humor] to bring forth their special dream home on reveal day.
Architectural Digest recently sat down with Joanna where she revealed some of the secrets to her success in her expert tips: from choosing a home’s layout and design scheme, decorating with antiques to improving curb appeal. It’s news we didn’t see coming. I never expected she’d share her secrets cause they could be game changers for people like you and I if we implemented them in our homes! But in typical Joanna form, she’s as generous as they come — even with information!
Here Are Some Of Joanna’s Secrets To Her Magic!
Where do you encourage clients to look for inspiration?
“When we’re in the beginning stages of discussing the client’s style and what design elements they want to incorporate, I always tell them to build an inspiration board on Pinterest to get a feel for what they want in their space,” Gaines explains. “Both Pinterest and Houzz are great starting places when searching for inspiration and nailing down your style.”
How do you create the optimal layout for a home?
“I think about the family and their unique needs,” says Gaines. “Having young children lends itself to adopting more of an open floor plan. If you’re an empty nester, you may want to transform a spare bedroom into a workout room or an office. It all depends on your season of life—that is the biggest thing to take into consideration when drawing up a floor plan.”
How do you keep a space organized but still looking chic?
“A great way to stay organized is to create intentional spaces for toys, craft supplies, and odds and ends,” Gaines advises. “I think storage is the most undervalued part of a home. Adequate storage can make every room feel more peaceful and beautiful simply by removing clutter and freeing up visual space. I like to purchase unique pieces that offer a lot of practical organizational space. For example, I bought an old wood chicken feeder at an antiques store that I love, and it lives upstairs in the playroom. It’s the perfect ‘built-in’ organizational area for the kids, and it matches the style of the farmhouse. If you don’t have room for a piece of furniture, use unique baskets, bins, and crates that help organize the mess. Look for practical pieces that tell a story and fit your style. These may take longer to find, but they’ll be worth the wait.”
What are some easy fixes—let’s call them weekend projects—that can refresh a home?
“For the interior, simple changes like new light fixtures, a new backsplash, or a fresh coat of paint can go a long way,” Gaines says.
What are your top three tips for improving curb appeal?
“Freshening up the landscape, adding new shutters, and wrapping dated columns with redwood or cedar wood,” Gaines shares. “These are all things you can tackle over the weekend and without killing your budget.”
What are the most important design elements to tie together a room or home?
“I can’t say it enough—don’t design your home with meaningless elements simply to get it decorated,” Gaines recommends. “Take your time and gather pieces that mean something to you, whether they’re framed family photos, a beautiful antique clock that speaks to you, or a knickknack that reminds you of your grandmother. Take care in the process, and don’t rush. These elements are what make a house feel like home. Throw the idea that your house has to look a certain way right out the window. In my opinion, what sets a home apart is when you focus on your family’s story, rather than a style ideal. Find pieces that speak to you, and give yourself the freedom to tell your story in your own unique way.”
What are the important things to look for in a fixer-upper home?
“One thing I want to stress is that every home has potential,” Gaines says. “But ultimately the potential has to meet the total renovation budget realistically. Always get an inspection to make sure the home is structurally sound; we’ve seen foundation issues that will cost up to $20,000. If the cost of the structural issues is cutting too much into the total renovation budget, we know it’s not ‘the one’ and encourage our clients to keep looking.”
We appreciate Joanna’s valuable expert tips! Amazingly, what many don’t know is that Joanna had no formal training in interior design!
However, she and her husband Chip have been flipping, remodeling and fixing up homes as a team before they were engaged, and the last 12 years as owners of Magnolia Homes in Waco, Texas.
Chip said, “When she started watching me do what I did, which was flip these investment properties, she got kind of curious and interested. I love what I do from a construction standpoint, but in regards to interior design and colors, forget it. I would lean on her — ‘What color do we do this wall? How can we do this floor plan?’ So it didn’t take very long in our career for her to really evolve into a dominant reality in my business. Next thing you know we are years into this thing and the design part of the equation became noticeably different from our competition.”
Joanna’s done her due diligence, with hard work, her family, and her faith, she has seen her own dreams unfold before her.
She shared, “I was actually a communications major and had never done design. I had always had a dream to open up a boutique of some sort. I didn’t know what kind of boutique, but we found this little fixer upper building and tackled that project together in the first year of marriage, and that’s when Magnolia opened, our retail location. I sold a bunch of products that would go in the home.”
And Joanna knows that all of this would not be possible without trusting God in His plan for her life.
Joanna shared, “God taught me to study the Word and believe it, even when it hadn’t been fulfilled yet. I really had to cultivate a place of faith that I never had before. I had to trust Him as He would speak His promise to me. This trust brought peace, although my circumstance hadn’t yet reflected His promise. His Word doesn’t return void, and God was working in my heart to establish deeper levels of trust that I now look back on and am thankful for.”
As further strings of successes continued to follow both Joanna and her husband Chip, the couple – widely recognized for their bold profession of faith in Jesus Christ – attribute all of it to God.
The Gaines explained:
“Our family has made a commitment to put Christ first, a lifestyle our parents modeled for us very well. They showed us how to keep our marriage and family centered around God. As for “Fixer Upper”, we have been surprised at the impact of our faith through the show. We haven’t been overtly evangelical, but the rich feedback we have received on family and love all source from our faith. Jesus said the world would know His disciples by their love for one another, and we’ve glimpsed this in practice and strive for it every day.”
America has fallen in love with both Chip and Joanna Gaines, and there’s no wonder, while we’ve watched the lovely couple work hard to enrich and fulfill the dreams of other families, we come to greatly respect them – even for their faith – and admire a couple who are truly living the American Dream.
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
Proverbs 31: 17-18