Chip and Jo Gaines on the importance of outdoor space, their unique color and why they aren’t defined by Shiplap
It’s been nearly a decade since Chip and Joanna Gaines first delighted viewers with dramatic renovations (and husband-wife banter) in their hometown of Waco, Texas on the runaway success Upper fixator. Fans were heartbroken when the couple announced the end of the show in 2017, but since then Waco’s de facto royal family has captivated us with home decor collections, a restaurant, a magazine, books for kids and of course, their ever-expanding empire at silos (to name a few projects). Their biggest project, however, is undoubtedly the launch of their own television network. Magnolia Network, which officially debuts on July 15, will include the couple’s return to the big screen in Upper fixer: Welcome home, as well as the kitchen series by Jo Magnolia Painting, as well as programming featuring a wide range of beloved and rising stars in topics ranging from food to gardening to, of course, home improvement (the series will also be available on Discovery+). Before the premiere, Beautiful house caught up with Chip and Jo to learn more about the scheduled shows, their journey to TV stardom and what life at Gaines was like during the pandemic.
First of all, Chip clarifies: “We don’t want it to be Upper fixator always. We hope this second chapter is about us highlighting stories that touch you like Upper fixator, but it’s about completely different people from all over the world.”
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On their way to success:
“If someone had gone beyond the scenes and revisited our lives in the early days of upper fixer, we were honestly risking it all,” Chip says of the couple’s decision to put it all into their fledgling business and the show that comes with it. “At any of those times, all those things could have collapsed and none of that would exist. But they worked and I think people kind of saw these bets that we were really making in some ways on ourselves, and they saw those bets being cashed in, and we hope people saw that and took think, you know what, I want to do this; I want to bet on me.”
On the spaces they enjoyed the most during lockdown:
“I think creating these more intentional spaces that work for your family is so important,” says Jo. “And I think every season you have to re-evaluate that because as human beings we’re always evolving. We’re always taking on new things, we’re getting rid of old things. If you think of our home as a place that must actually work and work well for us and our family, you are always tweaking or changing to ensure that this home contains the most sacred thing we have, which is our family, and that “It works well. It’s not the pretty things on the walls or the pillows and stuff, it’s those moments in that room that you’ll remember forever.”
On how home layouts have changed over the past year:
She may be known for tearing down walls to transform cramped rooms into open, airy spaces, but this year even Jo saw the limits of the open floor plan. “It shows how design is constantly evolving,” she says. “You go from really open spaces to now, people think, maybe I want to work from home, and if I’m working from home, I need this space carved out here.” Either way, she says, it’s about making it personal: “I think it’s just kind of fun when you start looking at your house and your home as a place that can really work for you and make your life better,” she says. “It’s not just a place where you sleep and eat, it’s a place that prepares you to take on the world.”
On their homes when they first met:
“When Jo and I first met, I really thought of home as a place to go and sleep,” Chip confesses. “I was a workaholic and Jo was a bit too. All I did was work, so I was like, ‘Look, I’m not going to spend a lot of money on this house; I I just needed a place to sleep and then where all the action was outside the house. When Jo and I got together, it took us a minute to realize that this space needs to be a place that gives us energy and fills our tanks. Our house should be like where a Tesla goes to recharge.
On the most valuable item you can add to any house:
Asked about interesting additions, Jo looks beyond the walls of the house: “I like the idea of thinking outside the house,” she says. “Even if you live in New York and only have a small balcony, what can you create on that balcony that feels like a retreat, when you go outside? I think creating those outdoor moments really gives us of life, whether you’re on 40 acres, or you’re in a small apartment. How do you go out and make this extension of your home intentional and beautiful?”
On the favorite colors at the moment:
“I’ve leaned into paint color more than ever because it’s such a subtle way to soothe our souls,” Jo reveals of her design decisions over the past year. “Color really plays a powerful role, and when you look at it more closely, people are using color for therapy. One of the things we’re seeing after the pandemic is that it’s an easy way to getting this therapy at home: How does this room make me feel? Is this color soothing? I was drawn to more saturated and richer colors. They provide stability. And as human beings , what we need is stability. Green is still my favorite color, but at first I always did light greens and now I like deep, rich greens.
On their steadfast affiliation with Shiplap:
Although Jo has achieved web queen status, she swears she’s not as hardware-obsessed as everyone thinks. “The world captured our journey with this farm in 2012 and I had never used felt before,” laughs Jo. “It was authentic on the farm so I used it. And what happened was a lot of people saw the farm and said, “I want strapping in my house,” and ultimately because we’re really doing this for a living, I gives my customers what they asked for. Out of the five seasons we did of Fixer Upper, it was definitely the most requested material.
And once that happened, Jo found it hard to stay away! “In this last season, I tried to use a little less and no one asked for it,” says Jo. “But you know who asked for it?” The viewers. When we released our first four or five episodes of Upper Welcome Home fixer, people were like, ‘Where’s the board, Jo? Go back to your roots!’ So we had to find felt. But it’s funny for me to be stuck in this campaign trend, because I think my style is always changing.
On their hopes for Magnolia Network:
Although the network launched with a solid offer, the Gains tried to stay away from the pressure to finish the series on schedule, instead giving enough time to tell full stories: “There are stories here that won’t be finished by July 15th and that’s okay because that’s not how authenticity works,” Jo says. “There’s no copy-pasting in these stories ; they are all very unique stories and human beings, but the result is great: we can tell the whole story in its most authentic form.”
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