Part of Chip Gaines‘ appeal is that down-home, aw-shucks country charm, but in the latest episode of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” Joanna throws her husband’s old-fashioned ways for a huge loop. How? Allow us to explain.
Chip and Joanna Gaines, as you probably know, are famed for their farmhouse chic, yet the clients confronting them in the most recent episode, “The Pick a Door House,” prefer an industrial look. Brittany Wixsom, who’s mom to an 18-month-old, admits, “Our style is pretty modern, and we’re hoping Chip and Joanna can complete that vision for us.”
Hey, that’s a tall order in this neck of Texas, where the country aesthetic rules. And doubts are raised even higher when Chip shows Brittany and her husband, Dean, a house with flooring made of dated checkerboard tile and asks, “This could be modern, isn’t it?”
“It’s not modern!” Joanna cries, horrified.
“I’m not modern,” Chip confesses. “I don’t even know what modern is.”
Does Joanna know, for that matter? It’s time to find out.
The Wixsoms zero in on a dated four-bedroom, two-bath ranch house of about 2,700 feet, and they get it for $230,000. Since their all-in budget is $450,000, that leaves $227,000 for renovation-and that ain’t chicken feed. Here’s how Joanna uses that cash to modernize this woefully outdated home (and how you can follow in her footsteps).
Lesson No. 1: Replace brick with faux concrete
The brick fireplace is crumbling, so Chip tells Joanna to go ahead and create a whole new statement fireplace. She uses plaster that looks like cement to “give it a little edge.” That concrete appearance could have felt a little too industrial, so Joanna creates a firewood stacking space that lends a warm effect that makes Chip happy. So far, so good.
Lesson No. 2: Add cement countertops
They replace the existing marble countertops with warm gray cement, and this actually tickles Chip. “I like where this project is going,” he says. “Tons and tons of cement accents.” (Literally! That stuff is heavy!)
Lesson No. 3: Add windows and sliding glass doors
Joanna knows the space needs more light, so she divides the office and dining room from the rest of the house with custom-made, sliding-glass barn doors. To maintain an industrial vibe, she gives them black frames. The only thing Chip didn’t like about all this is it becomes his job to clean them.
Lesson No. 4: Give the house a black metal roof
Not only do they recover the roof with a new material, they also extend the pitch. Chip thinks the visual effect is interesting, but he doesn’t like working with metal because it could easily slice off a finger, and since it’s black, it absorbs heat. He has to get up early in the morning to install it. Let the grumbling begin!
Lesson No. 5: Paint the shiplap black, too
It wouldn’t be a Gaines house if there weren’t shiplap somewhere on the premises. “I want to prove to people that even shiplap can go modern, so I’m going to paint it matte black,” Joanna says. This is where Chip finally puts his foot down.
“Heck no! No way,” he yells when he hears her plans. “I like it when you want to paint the shiplap white. That makes me feel happy and safe.”
“You didn’t think you’d like the black roof, and you like the black roof now, right?” she asks. “So I think we should just go with my gut on this one, and see what happens, OK?”
Chip never really gives in on this one. “OK,” he says. “But think about other colors, too. Anything but black!” But Joanna wins.
They went with minimalist decor
Chip pretty much leaves the decorating up to Joanna and the kids, and they were challenged.
Joanna explains, “It’s tricky, because it’s a lot easier to fill up a space with a bunch of ‘stuff’ than it is to scale back and minimize, so in this house I’m trying to find that balance of simplicity, but still making it really feel like home.”
In the end, regardless of what Chip and Joanna think, it’s the homeowners’ opinion that really matters. Were the Wixsoms pleased?
The Wixsoms weren’t just pleased. They were ecstatic.
“The first place we called home as a married couple was an industrial loft in downtown Denver,” says Brittany. “It utilized a lot of raw elements like concrete. Ever since, we’ve dreamed of incorporating industrial features into a home for our family. It’s been supercool to see that dream become a reality.”
We have to say, it’s also thrilling to see Chip and Jo push past their farmhouse-chic comfort zone-even if it does make Chip more ornery than usual.
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