Last week I had the rare opportunity to meet Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper. If you don’t know who they are, you are missing out. They are the dynamic duo who see diamonds in some really rough houses. Joanna is the designer with an amazing ability to see beauty in the seemingly helpless ugly duckling homes. And Chip is her humorous husband who loves nothing more than to make Joanna’s vision a reality while trying to make her crack a smile at his antics.
One thing I can tell you about these reality stars is that these two are REAL people. What you see on TV is how they really are, except—you knew there was an except didn’t you—they are even more down-to-earth and human in person. When Chip & Joanna first entered the room they didn’t break into a speech. They stopped and said we want you to go around and introduce yourselves to us. Chip especially had a kind word, joke or story for each person. Honestly!
After the introductions, Joanna and Chip gave us a preview of the Magnolia Home Interior Paints and the newer (yet to be released) Magnolia Home Chalk Style Paint (both created under the KILZ product umbrella.) I’ll be bringing you more about these paints soon.
What I really want to share with you is the words of wisdom Chip & Joanna gave us during the small Q & A session. These are some of the thoughts and advice they shared. (Questions asked by myself, Southern Hospitality, Hallstrom Home, Liz Marie Blog, and Love Grows Wild.)
1. Would you consider expanding your renovations outside the Waco area?
Chip and Jo immediately said “No.” They don’t like being taken away from their home and/or giving up time with the children. Plus, their crew lives locally.
2. We love how you involve your kids in the projects. Do they enjoy it and do they talk about growing up to do what you do?
Yes, they involve their children in a lot of the projects. Now that Chip or Joanna have been going on more business trips, they commit to taking one child on each trip. It’s their opportunity to spend one-on-one with each child and to let the kids see what is involved in running their businesses. It’s a bit too early to tell if any of the Gaines children will take the reins of the Magnolia empire, but Chip and Joanna were adamant that they will give their children the experiences but it’s up to them to listen to their hearts and let that lead where they end up in terms of careers. (Chip and Joanna have followed their hearts through may business ventures, Chip starting out with a lawn care business and Jo began her post-college years by interning for Dan Rather in NYC. Slowly they followed their passions to where they are today.)
3. Balance: You juggle many businesses and responsibilities, how do you balance everything?
For Joanna, she insists that family comes first. “We want to make sure that we are home and spend as much time with our kiddos as we can.” She used to make it a goal to be home to make every meal for them, but over time she’s had to learn to let go of some things. Although she’s a control freak, she has needed to delegate. She also recommends setting time slots for the tasks that need to get done and sticking to that allotted time.
4. Do you ever lose control and have a break down?
Chip, says, “Yes.” He’s the one that might crawl into a corner when things aren’t going right. Joanna rarely gets ruffled. According to Chip, Joanna is affectionately referred to as the cyborg. “We grease her joints and she’s good for another 100,000 miles.”
Joanna, laughs at this comment and claims she doesn’t break down much. Joanna firmly believes she’s been led to do all the things she’s done and will do. “There is a reason for why this is happening to us and I’m accepting of that.” She knows how to take time for herself. This may result a quiet moment or getting outside into nature to appreciate the colors around her. Or she’ll get her hands dirty in the garden. “There is something therapeutic about gardening for me.”
5. Is there anything that is a deal breaker in a fixer upper? Is there something that would make you walk away from a house?
Chip says that he’s more familiar with pier and beam constructed foundations. Broken slabs are out of his expertise (although he doesn’t doubt that they can be fixed by the right professional.)
Interesting enough, Chip likes to equate his marriage with a good foundation. He explains that when your marriage is built on a good foundation, it can thrive and support a healthy marriage. Joanna nods in agreement.
It was truly an honor to be able to talk to Chip and Joanna. I owe a huge thank you to the team at KILZ for making this a reality.
Disclosure: My travel expenses were covered by KILZ. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own.