Chip and Joanna Gaines are obviously pretty good at designing houses. You only have to watch their smash hit HGTV show to know that. But what about their own house? Well, it’s located in Waco, Texas, which is their base of operations. And it’s an absolute must-see if you happen to be a Fixer Upper fan.
Joanna and Chip weren’t always on television, of course, nor did they have the spectacular house. Before HGTV discovered them, the duo were just two more flippers – albeit extremely talented ones. Chip did the technical work while Joanna utilized her skills as an interior designer. She was even able to start up her own shop: Magnolia Market.
It was during this pre-fame period that Chip and Joanna bought their first house. And it was a very impressive one – a farmhouse which dated back to 1895 and came with 40 acres of land. They got it in 2012 and in the years which followed the Fixer-Upper stars, well, fixed it up – to the nines.
Then in 2014 it happened… Chip and Joanna shot to fame with their HGTV show. Audiences loved them because not only were the duo extremely talented at their jobs, they also seemed so down to earth. Joanna and Chip bickered with each other and did silly things, but they clearly had a deep love and respect for one another. Yep, it was a great marriage which made for excellent TV.
Joanna herself told People magazine in 2016, “Early on we had our fair share of fights and figuring out where the boundaries were. [Chip is] good at the big picture, and he’s good at risk.” She added, “If it were just up to me I would stay in a cubicle and file paper. But Chip has always pushed me to be the best me.” Aww.
Now, both Chip and Joanna are massively famous, and people go to them all the time for design tips. Where better to look than in their actual house, though? The couple and their children have made the place their own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a lot of inspiration from it. Fire up those Pinterest boards!
But surely there’s no way that the Gaines family are as close and normal as they come across on Fixer Upper? Well, in this case, the reality TV cameras haven’t lied. Chip and Joanna really do love working together and the results are always spectacular.
The pair have a tremendous talent for taking the most run-down, ugly houses and transforming them into something amazing. By only the second episode of Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna had turned a “not safe for occupancy” building called “the Catastrophe House” into a gorgeous home. Apparently, it’s on Airbnb these days!
So, it’s no wonder their own home came out as good as it did, but they had to work hard to get there. In 2015 Joanna posted an intriguing Instagram photo and wrote beneath it, “Chip and I were going down memory lane today and we stopped at one of our first houses. I remember crying when Chip said we were moving in – it was dumpy and it smelled bad.”
Yet it was there that the couple first began honing their design skills. Joanna wrote, “We fixed it up and fell in love with it. To this day, if you ask us what our favorite house we ever lived in [was], we both go back to this little white 800 square-foot home. We were broke and were forced to be creative with our resources and we were proud as punch about this place.”
Joanna then went on, “Most of what I learned creatively stemmed from this little fixer upper. Small house or big, rich or poor – own the space you live in and love what you have.” And indeed that last statement could sum up the entire ethos of her work – and of Fixer Upper.
But after that, Chip and Joanna were finally able to buy their dream house. It was a passion project – a place their growing family could call home. And that household soon grew to no less than five children. These are Crew, Emmie Kay, Duke, Ella Rose and Drake. It probably goes without saying, then, that the Gaines house needed to be massive.
Chip and Joanna have always been determined that they’ll provide for their family no matter what. In 2018 an apparent insider gave Closer Weekly a look into the couple’s worldview. The person said, “Being good parents is Chip and Joanna’s first priority… They always put their family first, and they both would move heaven and earth for their kids.”
In fact, Joanna and Chip stopped making new episodes of Fixer Upper before their fifth child even came along back in 2017. They released a statement on their website saying, “While we are confident that this is the right choice for us, it has for sure not been an easy one to come to terms with. Our family has grown up alongside yours, and we have felt you rooting us on from the other side of the screen.”
Chip and Joanna’s statement went on, “This has been an amazing adventure! We have poured our blood, sweat and tears into this show. We would be foolish to think we can go and go and fire on all cylinders and never stop to pause. Our family is healthy and our marriage has honestly never been stronger.”
And in fact, it wasn’t long after that the fifth Gaines kid – Crew – came along. The couple announced Joanna’s pregnancy via Instagram in January 2018, and then the baby arrived in June. Chip subsequently hopped onto Twitter to announce the little boy had “ten beautiful toes and ten beautiful fingers all accounted for.”
Joanna and Chip have since set about both raising their children and managing their home-flipping empire. There are rules about what goes on inside the family home, though. Chip and Joanna may be reality TV stars, but the parents explained to People that they don’t want their kids to be attached to screens all day. The children are instead encouraged to create their own entertainment.
And that style of parenting seems to work out very well. In 2018 Joanna told Parade magazine, “I think Chip would agree that we’re both homebodies, and that there’s no place we’d rather be than at home with our kids. Over the years, we’ve managed to create five little homebodies, too.”
And in the same interview, Joanna said, “Home is my favorite place on earth, but I’ve learned that not everyone feels the same way. I’ve realized that it’s not uncommon for some people to feel immobilized when they try to make their home a place that feels significant and unique to them. But I truly believe that this doesn’t have to be the case, and there is something in me that wants everyone to find a way to love the home they’re in.”
Well, Joanna and Chip certainly love the home they’re in. They call it “The Farmhouse,” and it’s perfectly designed for every aspect of their lives. They’re happy to let fans have a look inside, too – albeit via videos and social media. So if you want to get design inspiration, there’s no better place to start.
When you see pictures of just the exterior of the house, it really hits home just how much work Chip and Joanna must have had to put in. Joanna posted before-and-after pictures on her Instagram in 2015, captioning them, “And my personal favorite from season one… Our home sweet home.” Yes, it had gone from practically a ruin to something lovely.
Obviously, the first part of the house a visitor would see is the entryway. Joanna is apparently very big on those. In her 2018 book Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, she wrote, “The entryway sets the tone for your entire home. An old front door can really date a house. Update your entry with a new door or paint your existing door a color that better suits your style.”
And then… you get to go inside. The first floor of the Farmhouse is open layout – just the way Chip and Joanna like it. This means that the kitchen, living room and dining room are all thrown in together with no walls between them. And for the kids, that means more room to run around and less doors to slam.
But did you know that Joanna’s kitchen island actually came from a church? Yes, in a 2013 YouTube video she explained that it had been sitting in an antique store before she’d picked it up, and under the main panel there was even a little sink which had once contained holy water. In the clip, she tells the camera happily that “this is a great piece, that’s a great story.”
The living room area is just as important, and Joanna believes it should always be a comfortable, family-centric space. And the designer talked about this in her book Homebody. She remembered, “I spent many hours a day tidying up couch pillows and immediately picking up any messes my children made – sometimes while they were still making them. And then one day, I looked around our living room that I had so carefully assembled and realized it didn’t look anything like our family.”
Joanna went on, “Not one of us was represented in this space that was supposed to be central to us living life together. On top of that, I had spent so much of my time cleaning up any trace of my kids that this room had become a place they didn’t even feel comfortable in.” So, she immediately set about fixing that.
Now, a lot of the house is apparently designed around what the children want – rather than the parents. Not only do the kids’ rooms have bathrooms attached – one for boys and another for girls – the little ones even have their own study area themed to look like a coffee bar. Wouldn’t you just love to sit down and have a drink in there?
And Joanna has a plan should the kids make a mess. In the 2013 YouTube video she shows off a huge pair of antique doors she was going to use for her daughters’ room. Joanna says, “… I’m assuming whatever is behind those doors could be messy, so these are going to be great doors to hide what’s really going on in reality.”
Joanna has also created some great storage ideas for the kids. In 2018 she told CountryLiving.com, “Each kid has their own organizational stuff. For the boys, they have a lot of the shared stuff, but the baskets under the bed – half are one boy’s and the other half are the other’s. They have their spot that kind of says ‘this is my stuff,’ and it works for them.”
But of course Joanna has to consider that her childrens’ taste in décor will probably change. In 2019 she wrote on her blog about Ella and Emmie Kay’s bedroom, “I kept the walls a neutral gray so that no matter how the room continues to change over the years, the color can serve as a foundation that’s easy to build on.” Good call.
And don’t forget the nursery – where baby Crew currently lives. Chip told CountryLiving.com in 2018, “Jo has had a ball working on the nursery. It’s been eight years since we’ve done a nursery for ourselves, and she’s really been having fun with picking out details like colors and bedding and the crib.”
Elsewhere, the attic of the Gaines household is a real showstopper. They use every inch of the space on the top floor of their home. There’s a cozy sitting space with a reading nook and two crafting rooms – one for Joanna to do solo projects and another with a long table for the kids to play in.
Obviously, Chip and Joanna’s bedroom is a standout as well. In 2019 the latter wrote on her blog, “Chip and I built the master bedroom as an addition to the original farmhouse, and while the room served its purpose in helping us rest and unwind, I was wanting to add some more color and depth to the space.” And she very much succeeded.
The fireplace in the bedroom also makes the whole space nice and cozy. Joanna mentioned in her blog post, “Since this is the only functioning fireplace in the house, it’s come to serve as a backdrop for many spontaneous family gatherings – especially in the colder months when we can actually use it.”
Ever wondered about that big ol’ clock that pops up in Gaines’ family Instagram photos? Well, that’s a favorite piece of Joanna’s. In her 2019 blog post she wrote, “It took me a good, long while to find our large, antique clock that now sits above the sofa. When I found it at a vintage market, I realized it was missing the hour and minute hands. It was quirky, but I loved it. To me, it symbolizes that time at home is never wasted – a welcomed reminder to see every day.”
And if the huge, gorgeous house isn’t enough for you, there is an equally huge, stunning garden attached to it. Out back there’s an old-fashioned greenhouse, an outside area for big family meals, and enough space to hold sixty animals. Yep, the Gaines farmhouse is an actual farm as well.
So the Gaines family clearly have it all, and they’re not even done yet. In 2019 they made a very exciting announcement. The couple would be back on TV and launching their own channel, too. And the Magnolia Network would be a replacement for Discovery’s DIY Network.
Chip and Joanna told People magazine in 2020, “The day we wrapped our final episode of Fixer Upper, we really believed it was a chapter closed. We knew we needed a break and a moment to catch our breath. But we also knew we weren’t done dreaming about ways to make old things new again.”
It wasn’t just the show and TV channel they were talking about, either. Joanna and Chip took on a brand new restoration project in 2019 – an entire castle! The place is called Cottonland Castle, and it’s located in – where else – Waco, Texas. Apparently, Chip had wanted a crack at restoring it for almost 20 years.
In January 2020 Joanna wrote on her blog about the beautiful old castle. She said, “No doubt about it, this is a fixer-upper unlike any other we’ve ever tackled… though we haven’t the slightest idea of what it will become.” It’s hard to imagine there being two better people for the job, though.