Fixer Upper Fascination

In case you’ve been living under an HGTV sized rock, you may not know about their latest design superstars: Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame.  After watching way too many episodes of House Hunters, Property Brothers and Love It Or List It, I find their fun, quirky humor and cozy design style so refreshing.  For those that don’t know, Chip and Joanna are a husband-wife team that helps Waco, TX area families find, purchase and renovate homes.

Chip & Joanna

Chip & Joanna

Joanna got her start with a small home furnishing shop Magnolia Market (which now has an online presence) and they slowly graduated to more intense design and home renovations.  Their recent skyrocketing success has allowed them to purchase and renovate a whole complex known as The Silos that houses an updated, larger shop for Joanna as well as a place for vendors to sell goods on the weekend and they’re soon opening a bakery on premise!  You can read all about The Silos here.

Original Magnolia Market

Original Market

The exterior of a new location of Magnolia Market at the Silos, owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, on Thursday, October 29, 2015 at Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, Texas. (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)

New & Improved Magnolia Market!

Now in season 3, Fixer Upper showcases Chip and Joanna’s down-to-earth personalities and fun approach to home renovation.  What I find so refreshing is how genuine and honest they come across vs. some of those other HGTV personalities that feel SO scripted.  Fixer Upper is way more docu-series than how-to show.  You see them interact as a couple, a bit of their home life with their 4 adorable kids, their huge farm the family calls home as well as all the fun design stuff.

And Joanna’s style is taking the internet by storm.  Part shabby chic mixed with part rustic industrial, she finds a way to incorporate vintage style in traditional spaces with modern luxuries.  Her expertise is truly finding something old and making it new again in an interesting way.  Think old piping turned funky bookshelf or tobacco factory beams crafted into a beautiful dining table.  Jo’s also fantastic at finding old but interesting architectural pieces and incorporating them in new ways.

Bookshelf

pipe & board shelving

Pantry Doors

I’m OBSESSED with these doors! She turned them into pantry & laundry room entries

On top of their show and the renovations that come with it, The Silos and their family farm, they also have a realty company.  And because she doesn’t have enough to do, Jo has a great blog too (which is where I originally found her before I knew about the show).  All of this in addition to the new B & B they just opened which was featured as season 3’s Christmas episode.  They really have crafted a little Waco empire over the last few years!

So for your eyeballs’ enjoyment, here are just a few of my favorite Fixer Upper moments from season 3:

Stairwell

Knock a wall down, add an interesting iron railing

Bay window

Highlight the traditional beauty of original bay windows by making them a serious focal point

Loft turned library

Extra hallway space = loft turned library Map as art

An old map makes the perfect vintage artwork

Shiplap on shiplap

Jo LOVES her some shiplap.  #shiplap

european inspired entryway

A change of pace for the Gaines: a European-inspired entryway

colonial inspired dining room

Loving this colonial-like dining room.  Reminds me of historic homes in PA!

mantle turned art

Wouldn’t be a Gaines job without some added architectural detail!

Anyone else as obsessed with them as I am?  I find Chip quirky but hysterical and it’s definitely one of the few design shows I’ve got Jefe hooked on too!

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House Tour!

It’s about time I finally took you all on another tour of the place since we’ve done a bit of updating over the last few months. Let’s get right to the photos!

We’ll start with the master bedroom which really sold us on this place as it is a true master with plenty of space and a walk in closet.  It’s definitely a work in progress in terms of design: it needs a floor mirror, lots of artwork and a rug.  But I really do love the space (how did I live for 30 years without black out curtains?!)

Bedroom 1 Bedroom 2 Bedroom 3 Bedroom 4 Bedroom 5 Bedroom 6 Bedroom 7

Next we move down the hallway towards the rest of the apartment.  The door on the right leads to our service porch with washer & dryer (and absolutely NOTHING to see.)

Hallway 1

This little clock gallery wall was inspired by a recent episode of Fixer Upper.  Jefe saw a version in a kitchen Joanna designed and LOVED the idea.  We started with the bottom 3 clocks and are just adding as we find unique and interesting ones to include.  Smaller 3 clocks are from Target, silver one is from Ikea.

Hallway - Clock Gallery Wall

Through the doorway on the left is the second bedroom/office.  This room has changed the most recently and we’re really happy with the way its turned out.  It is a great, comfortable space to work from as both Jefe and I do a fair amount from home.  And despite this really being Jefe’s domaine in terms of aesthetics, I can’t wait to finally get a reading chair in here!  It gets the perfect amount of light all day and is arguably the quietest room in the house.

Office 1 Office 2 Office 3 Office 4 Office 5 Office 6

Continuing down the hallway, on the left is the kitchen.  This room is probably the closest to being done.  There’s a few small tweaks yet, like covering the black cord of our new, much needed pendant light and finding a few small items to hang on the wall.  But otherwise I’m calling this space COMPLETE (or until I find something new and decide to rearrange my open shelving).

Kitchen 1 Kitchen - Island Details Kitchen 2 Kitchen 4 Kitchen 3

We’re going to skip the super pink tiled bathroom for the moment (until I can clean it enough to be presentable for photos!) and move on to the dining room.  We’re still on the hunt for a sideboard under the windows (from this perspective you’re back is facing them), but we really have only been purchasing items to a) replace our worn down Ikea pieces and b) that we plan to keep for the long haul.  Nothing has really struck my fancy so far that I don’t think I’ll hate 5 years from now so there’s no need to rush a large purchase like that; I’ll know it when I see it.  So the space is what it is for now.  Nice, spacious and simple with plenty of room for dinner parties where I can get my Martha on.  Artwork is by my extremely talented cousin!

Dining Room

Lastly, we move in to the room where we spend the most time – our living room.  It’s really cozy and perfect during the cooler months.  We’ve been working to really incorporate meaningful pieces in to the space – each of our home state flags, photos from my hometown, a few tchotchkes from our trips.  Not much left in here to do design-wise but hang some more artwork, a mirror by the front door and a mirror to hang up blankets on by the floor lamp.

Living Room 1 Living Room 2 Living Room 3 Living Room - Bookcase Detail 1 Living Room - Bookcase Detail 2

So there you have it for now.  Our little home.  Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Ellen’s Design Challenge – Finale Recap

Most of you are probably thinking WTF if you happened to catch this week’s finale episode of Ellen’s Design Challenge.  I admittedly was putting it off (have you noticed my lack of recaps the last two weeks?!) because I honestly have become rather bored with the show.  I was also pretty peeved after they gave Carly the boot for that stellar couch.  But with all the hype about “a shocking final twist” to this week’s episode, I figured I’d better tune in.

First off, the show as so overproduced.  How many times and in how many ways do they have to recap all of the past episodes and our final designer’s past pieces?  I feel like I lost 5 minutes of my life I can’t get back.  Even Jefe noticed.  It was like they didn’t have enough content to fill the 60 minutes of the episode and needed to find something to fill the missing time.  But it’s reality, there’s hundred of hours of footage so I’m sure that wasn’t the case.  So it really boils down to bad editing and final say by the producers.

Now on to the actual episode.  To begin, the intro with our designers visiting The Reef – it seemed so set up and scripted.  It didn’t really make sense to have them travel there and be greeted by an audience (is this the same audience we see 3 days later?  Did they sleep there?  Or did they all just come to the Reef for 15 minutes of applause?  Inquiring minds want to know!)  Also, it seemed weird to travel to the Reef, that contains a plethora of design, and not integrate it in to the show somehow.  What was the purpose of that?  And let’s get real – no on in LA rides in those silly looking limos anymore.  A non-marked black SUV or town car will do.

Limo Ride

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Now on to the construction phase.  I loved Katie’s initial inspiration (her uncle’s trunk and its many uses) and how that evolved in to her design.

Katie Designing

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And her picking the the zebra and purple heart wood?  It was just so HER.

Purple Heart Wood 2

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Now for Tim – I really didn’t feel like they delved in to his inspiration much at all.  Maybe that was intentional editing in post based on the final outcome, but I felt like I wanted to hear more about his inspiration (or is it “inspiration”?)

Tim Designing

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The final judging and deliberation seemed to drag on unnecessarily just to add drama.  It was a nice added touch to bring in the final designers’ families but their interactions all just seemed awkward, like so much of this show (I think next season, if there is one, could benefit from some better casting for more TV friendly personalities).

Family Intros

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For the actual pieces, I thought they were both rather inventive while being multi-faceted.  But they were both console tables with other functions which made it seem like they had a specific challenge to fulfill instead of the wide open “make something original” blanket statement.  Both pieces did scream their designers’ personalities though.

Katie Final Design

Katie’s Final Design (source)

TIm Final Design

Tim’s Final Design (source)

In the end, the judges chose Tim as the overall winner, which I totally disagreed with.  I felt like Katie challenged and stretched herself much more than Tim while creating an innovative, aesthetically pleasing AND functional piece.

Judges

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Tim’s was functional and stunning, but to the judges’ point, you can’t put anything on top of it based on the way it opens up.  But in the end, they thought his piece was more of a standout.  Tim went on to win a $100K cash prize from Wayfair and a spread in HGTV magazine.  Why Wayfair didn’t offer to create a custom collection for the winning designer is beyond me.

Now, on to the controversy.  I’m going to preface this with the knowledge that I work in the entertainment industry and have a lot of experience with the in’s and out’s of reality shows, particularly competition shows.  In the days following Tim’s win, someone (that remained nameless) discovered that his piece was a near identical copy to a piece by a European designer.

Copy Piece

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The show faded to black and cut to one week later where Ellen meets up with Katie and crowns her the winner due to Tim being disqualified.

There’s very little explanation about what happened.  And for a contestant that was clearly a frontrunner from the first episode to be disqualified with no additional information was infurating to many fans.  He was not my favorite but I certainly understand the sentiment that the series really left the viewer hanging.

As for the actual situation, that’s on the producers.  It should have been handled better and then addressed properly in the show.  They bragged about how many designers were in the audience of the finale – how did not ONE of these professionals recognize a copy?  And where was the behind-the-scenes staff during deliberation?  They should have been researching their butts off to ensure that they crowned the true winner who earned that title.

In the end, it seems Tim did replicate an existing piece.  So that’s on him.  However, the show really did a disservice to its viewers and to its self for future seasons by the way they handled all of this.  For a show I was already on the cusp of canceling from my DVR recordings, its left a bad taste in my mouth.  Not to mention you shouldn’t have an A-List celebrity advertise the hell out of something and only show up a handful of times.  Ellen, I love you, but your lack of on-camera contributions was dually noted.

So – what did you all think?  Did you feel gypped and let down by how the show handled the “scandal”?  Were you disappointed in Tim?  Or did you just feel like the last few episodes have been a waste of time that you could have spent watching Fixer Upper (omg, I’m obsessed and want to be Joanna Gaines when I grow up!)

Fixer Upper Joanna

I feel like she & I are kindred spirits 😀 (source)