Chip and Joanna Gaines on Making the Impossible Possible
The couples' designs know no limit.
Published Feb 27, 2017 5:00 AM
If you’ve ever watched Chip and Joanna Gaines’ HGTV show Fixer Upper, you know that the husband and wife design duo are serious about turning sorry spaces into dream homes. While packing for a recent trip to Waco, Texas to meet the couple for a KILZ Master Class (where a new chalk-style paint was announced!), I rewatched old episodes to prepare. What struck me was that no matter the construction obstacle discovered by Chip or the room rearrangement requested by Joanna, the Gaines’ always make magic happen.
Though I have never completed a redesign on my own home, I have spoken to many who have. The general consensus seems to be that there are almost always requests that cannot be fulfilled by a contractor. Whether the reasoning is rooted in water lines or electrical wiring, there is always sound logic as to why your dream design element is impossible… That is, unless you’re Chip and Joanna.
Do you remember Season 4’s “Big Country Farmhouse” episode? Joanna turns the master bedroom into the kitchen and dining area and essentially turns every space into something completely different than what it was before.
When I asked how she envisioned these larger projects, she said, “I think that’s just my favorite part… I see these things in my mind and actually how they get implemented is more his deal.”
She continued, “For me, I do better the worse it is… I love the dramatic, there’s just something about that renovation story. So I think part of it is just doing this 15 years, just the trial and error, but now you know what can and can’t be done. And when you work with someone like Chip who never really says no, and I’m like hey I want to flip the kitchen from the left side of the house to the right, there’s never really any push back. It’s like okay, let’s get the plans! So I feel like he’s created a monster, in that now I look at things and I just think, I don’t even care what the deal is, let’s just make this, this. And obviously, if the budget is right and it makes sense from a construction standpoint, we get after it.”
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Chip chimed in, “When we got started 15 plus years ago, we would buy these little thirty to fifty thousand dollar houses and she would always walk in and envision these grandiose scenarios. And back then, I wasn’t really an expert in construction. I was more like a willing husband that had a little bit of basic talent, you know? So she would cast this vision, I didn’t know that some of these things were somewhat “impossible”. So we would do these things, and we would sort of surprise each other along the way. And then once the construction expertise sort of started settling in, it’s really been fun.”
He continued, “For us, our business was always driven by design and then the construction implemented the design ideas. Where most contractors think exactly opposite. They’re old school guys that build things a certain way.”
One final thought? Chip said, “Impossible is never an option for us.”