Joanna Gaines and her husband Chip have become television’s home design power couple. On their HGTV show Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna restore, reinvent and renovate homes in the Waco, Texas area. Their huge following has not only led to selling real estate, but a series of shops, a new Bed and Breakfast, and a forthcoming furniture line designed by Joanna. The couple has also been credited with promoting and reinventing Waco as a fun, affordable and desirable city.
Joanna has a strong design sense, but she also showcases her philosophy of work and life. Here are 7 life lessons we can learn from the Magnolia Mom.
1. Make time and space for family.
Chip and Joanna’s four children make regular appearances on the show. We see them at home on the ranch feeding goats, and at work sites when Chip and the kids bring Mom dinner before a late night when she is finishing up the interior of a home. Joanna regularly takes time out to hug and play with her babies. She also creates spaces for children in the homes they design for young families. Often there will be a special table for children’s crafts, and notes or artwork for the children. In all of her work, it is very clear that she is passionate about family.
2. Sometimes you have to let loose and have fun.
The Gaines have a growing empire, and it is highly probable that things get tense and stressful. Most episodes feature some fun and laughter. Chip brings home fireworks for an impromptu display. They celebrate surprise birthday parties and anniversaries. Chip clowns around in antique shops and makes everyone laugh with his antics. If she is the design beauty, he is the comic relief. There is a silliness that makes them enjoy each other just as it makes us enjoy watching them.
3. Find beauty in unexpected places.
Not only does she see potential in rundown properties, Joanna’s mantra seems to be to relish the worn and memory filled. She loves distressed pieces such as old books and candlesticks. She often finds something seemingly useless and makes it new again- maps are framed to become the art work over the fireplace, old signs take center stage above an island made of reclaimed wood. She will find a place of honor for a family heirloom such as a guitar or grandmother’s plates. In this way, her homes have a sense of history and soul.
4. Let the light in.
Joanna is famously known for tearing down walls, adding bigger windows and putting in multiple sets of French doors. What at first seems like an overwhelming construction task always makes the home brighten up and become more livable. Add in her light and soothing color palette, restrained furniture choices and lack of clutter and the result is a calm, light filled space. You will also see Joanna let in the light in a more figurative way as she references a bible verse or scripture reading.
5. Cherish your spouse.
Chip is Joanna’s goofy sidekick, the adventurer, the man with cheesy jokes. They tease, flirt and laugh. Though she has plenty of occasions to roll her eyes at her spouse, she rarely does. She tolerates it when he eats a bug, dances around in front of clients and surprises her with yet another unwanted puppy or baby goat. She praises his work often, regularly in front of her children. If their marriage is ever troubled or antagonistic, we never see it.
6. Take a leap of faith.
When buying distressed properties, you are always taking a chance. Something unexpected will surface. It will cost more money than you expected. You have to spend money to create value in a fixer upper, and that takes faith. You have to have a vision, believe in it, and work toward it. At the end of Season 2, they bought property with rundown buildings and old silos. We see a rusted, old, industrial looking wasteland. It takes a leap of faith to see something else, and their vision is often what keeps us coming back for more.
7. Stay positive.
Joanna focuses on the positive. She sees the fault in things but loves them all the more for it. Design challenges, such as an unusual wall or strange angle in a kitchen are turned into special spots. She doesn’t lose her composure when the water pipe breaks or the HVAC is in the wrong place. She just goes about trying to rethink the plan. She smiles through it all, her positive and optimistic nature draws us to her. Positive people are just more fun to be around, and this quality is no doubt one of the reasons for her success.
Fixer Upper’s popularity is about more than renovating homes. There are plenty of home redesign shows; here we get glimpses into a way of life which speak more powerfully than just information about how to renovate a kitchen. Joanna Gaines let’s us in on her life, and love it or hate it, that is where the magic is.
Do you watch Fixer Upper? Are you a fan? I’d love to hear your comments below.