A Fixer Upper Holiday

HGTV hosts Joanna and Chip Gaines celebrate the season at home in Texas. They show HGTV Magazine around how to decorate with the casual charm they’ve trademarked on their show.
By: Kathleen Renda and Styled by: Elizabeth Demos

Photo By: Zach DeSart

Photo By: Zach DeSart

Photo By: Zach DeSart

Photo By: Zach DeSart

Photo By: Zach DeSart

Photo By: Zach DeSart

Photo By: Zach DeSart

Photo By: Zach DeSart

Photo By: Zach DeSart

Photo By: Zach DeSart

Photo By: Zach DeSart

Photo By: Zach DeSart

The Holiday Spirit

Joanna and Chip Gaines get their Kriss Kringle on early. Each year by December 1, the <i>Fixer Upper</i> stars’ 1895 farmhouse on the outskirts of Waco, TX, is holiday-ready, complete with a trimmed tree and a wreath on the side of the barn. “This season warms my heart,” says Joanna. “I want to celebrate it as long—and as simply—as I can.” 

A Family Farmhouse

A homespun yule comes naturally to Joanna, who’s decorated the four-bedroom farmhouse in her pared-down, rustic style. It’s the couple’s ninth home in 10 years and one of a series they’ve renovated and sold as part of their fix-it-and-flip-it business. While they’ve lived in everything from a cottage to a rancher, the farm and its 40 rambling acres—complete with cows, chickens, horses, and goats—is where they plan to stay. “It’s a great place for raising a family,” she says. “And making Christmas memories.” 

Exterior

Dotted with leafy oak trees, “the land captured my heart first, even before the house,” says Joanna. Although updated by the previous owner, the home wasn’t sized for a family of six. To boost the square footage from 1,700 to 3,600 square feet, the Gaines turned the unfinished attic into a guest bedroom, bathroom, multipurpose room, and crafts room, and added a first-floor master suite. Completing the transformation into a modern farmhouse: a new metal roof and crisp white paint (Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams).

Living Room

Candy-cane-stripe stockings bring a festive feel to the room, which is anchored by neutral classics—deconstructed wing chairs and a linen-blend-upholstered sofa—that Joanna sells at her home decor store, Magnolia Market, in town. The rough-hewn metal and wood coffee table was a steal—less than $100 at an antiques shop.  

Kitchen

When the metal Christmas Trees sign—$50 at an antiques store—comes out of storage, the family’s holiday season officially kicks off. In its past life, the kitchen island was a late-1800s church altar; Joanna topped it with stainless steel. It’s her favorite piece in the house: “I stalked it for two years before a local shopkeeper agreed to sell it to me.” Concrete counters, white rectangular tiles, and black pendant lamps make the room more industrial than country. 

Kitchen

Joanna maximized every inch of wall space by squeezing in 3-inch-thick cedar shelves on both sides of the window, below. A large-scale Super Market sign emphasizes the height of the farmhouse’s 13-foot ceilings. Dark gray grout with white tiles looks crisp. 

Master Bedroom

The priority for the first-floor master bedroom was making it look like an original part of the farmhouse, even though it was an add-on. Joanna’s instant-aging strategy: Relocate the attic’s battered hardwood floors here and leave them untouched—no staining or sanding, just sealing. A carpenter built the custom headboard based on a design Joanna sketched. The IKEA chairs, vintage-looking Shades of Light chandelier, and tufted Four Hands ottoman are all pieces the Gaineses had in their previous homes.

Master Bathroom

A freestanding tub is the star of the newly renovated gray-and-white bathroom. “I wanted a clean, classic look,” says Joanna. Her design for the vanity includes a pair of raised Kohler sinks, Carrara marble counters, and chrome fixtures. A Shades of Light chandelier echoes the lighting in the master bedroom. 

Boys' Bedroom

For Drake and Duke’s shared room, Joanna designed bunkhouse-style beds, constructed with metal piping and cables. The dotty rug is from The Land of Nod, and the bedding is from Target. Outdoor sconces serve as bedside lights.

Boys' Bedroom

A sleek wood suspension desk, left, painted slate gray, doesn’t take up precious floor space and has enough room for the brothers to do homework side by side. Not a fan of typical window treatments, Joanna designed a custom awning crafted from old corrugated tin. The ladder is made from metal piping. “I wanted to give the boys something like an indoor jungle gym to climb on in their room,” says Joanna. 

Boys' Bedroom

Battered metal letters and numbers, below, are transformed into graphic artwork when they’re screwed together—overlapping slightly—and hung above a reproduction factory-bin dresser. 

Girls' Bedroom

Ella Rose and little sis Emmie Kay sleep in identical antique French beds Joanna had reupholstered in flax-color linen. Dangling from ceiling-secured ropes are round galvanized trays that serve as fun nightstands—when they aren’t showing off miniature snow-dusted Christmas houses. The room’s focal point: a vintage mantel. The girls’ version of a bulletin board, the salvaged garden gate is their favorite place to put notes and holiday decorations. The drapes are from IKEA, and the white bedding is from Pine Cone Hill.