Waco couple’s renovation show picked up by HGTV

By Rebecca Fiedler

Waco locals Chip and Joanna Gaines will be lighting up television screens across the nation this coming March 2014 with their new HGTV show, “Fixer Upper,” as they renovate homes in the Waco/Dallas area needing tender loving care.

“The first rule of real estate is location, location, location, but what happens when a buyer’s only option in the right location is a house with dreadful design and a clunky layout?” HGTV asks in its description of the new show on its website, www.hgtv.com.

HGTV said that “Fixer Upper” combines “renovation, design and real estate.”

The Gaines couple walks their clients through multiple house options, and once one is chosen, the house will be re-done on national television, Joanna Gaines said. The Gaineses will tear out walls, gut kitchens, apply new paint, fixtures and more.

“We’re just restoring these old houses and giving them a major face-lift,” Joanna said.

Chip and Joanna both attended Baylor. Chip Gaines lived on Third Street and began “flipping homes,” she said.

“He was one of the first guys out there buying homes, flipping them and renting them to students or selling them to students’ parents,” Joanna said.

The Gaines family has renovated 10 to 15 houses on 3rd Street near Baylor, Joanna said.

“We love Baylor, because that’s where we got our start,” she said.

For the television show, Joanna hopes to renovate a house close to Baylor campus.

“When Chip went to Baylor, Chip’s parents did it where they bought a house and then they rented it to all of Chip’s friends, so it basically paid the mortgage, and when they all were done with college, they sold it and made a profit,” she said.

Baylor families have been following in Chip Gaines’ footsteps and have been buying homes and renting them out in a similar fashion, Joanna said.

Joanna once owned a boutique, but eventually began flipping houses with her husband, she said, incorporating the designs she used in her shop into the renovations. Now her boutique has become the office of couples’ company, Magnolia Homes.

HGTV found out about the couple and the their company and became interested in the Gaines’ situation, Joanna said.

“They liked that we did every facet of real estate in homes, so they called us,” she said.

Christi Proctor, a designer from the television show TLC’s “Trading Spaces” and “Trading Spaces Family,” said that the Gaines’ situation is unusual, as most people on a show like theirs have to apply or audition to be on a show.

Joanna said that what sets their television show apart is that there aren’t any shows with a couple who are involved in so many facets of the home.

“We have the real estate company where we’re helping them find the house, and then we actually work together and have our own remodeling business,” she said.

Proctor mentioned that television networks love to film drama happening on the set. She said she isn’t worried about the Gaineses getting into arguments for drama, though.

“Their show is about them. It’s not about crews of eleven different designers, or anything like that,” Proctor said. “It’s not like that at all.”

Proctor also said that Joanna Gaines’s incorporation of “found things” will set their show apart.

“She had a really cute store, and she would buy old stuff just to incorporate that kind of thing, which I think is something that’s missing,” Proctor said. “A lot of the HGTV stuff is so transitional-modern now that you miss out on all of that.”

Proctor said that she believes Joanna Gaines is not interested in the shock value a television show could bring, but will rather be focused on the renovations.

Joanna mentioned another way she wanted to incorporate Baylor in the show besides working with Waco houses.

“One thing we’re really looking for is interns from Baylor, especially from the interior design department, to help with the series, because I just need as much help as possible,” Joanna said. “I think it would be so much fun for interior design majors to get to do what they are studying and be part of an HGTV show.”