Back From the Brink: A Fixer Upper Story

A dilapidated home gets a second chance thanks to HGTV's Joanna and Chip Gaines, hosts of the new show Fixer Upper. HGTV Magazine just had to see the results.
By: Jaimie Dalessio Clayton

©Zach DeSart

Photo By: HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC

Meet the Family

When Charmaine Hooper and Chuck Codd first saw this Waco, TX home two years ago, it was unlivable: no running water, dangerous wiring, and dirt-covered floors. But the couple took the plunge (with their nine-year-old daughter, Charlie) and purchased the abandoned 1927 house from the city for $24,008. Chuck wasn’t so sure, but his wife convinced him that with its tall ceilings, French doors, and windows galore, the house could one day be a stunner.

Meet the Restoration Pair

Local home remodeling duo Joanna and Chip Gaines of Magnolia Homes, hosts of HGTV's show Fixer Upper, felt the same way. “We’ve fixed up a lot of condemned-looking houses, but this was one of the worst because it had been in such bad shape for so long,” says Joanna. It took the team six weeks working around the clock to restore the home, but it was worth every second. “I know I’m biased, but it’s the best house on the block!” says Charmaine.

Exterior Before

The landscaping was so overgrown that it obscured most of the house, so Chip and Joanna cleared out the unkempt trees and shrubs. Charmaine said, “It was a shame to see such a sturdy, well-built home going to waste.”

Exterior After

They kept all the home’s original windows but ripped off and rebuilt the porches, and painted the siding greenish gray (Messenger Bag) and the front door dark gray (Iron Ore, both by Sherwin-Williams). They painted the trim Dover White by HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams.

Kitchen Before

The kitchen was not only filthy—with tile falling off the walls and vinyl peeling from the floor—but also dark and cramped. Joanna and Chip knocked down a wall to open up the floor plan and added a metal beam to the ceiling for structural support.

Kitchen After

Rerouting the plumbing to put the sink by the windows created a better place for washing dishes but eliminated precious upper cabinet space. For extra storage, Joanna added a custom island in the center of the kitchen.

Living Room Before

The oak floors were barely visible beneath all the dust, but they were in good shape and didn’t need to be replaced. A thorough sanding followed by stain (Dark Walnut by Minwax) made a 180-degree difference. Joanna replaced the dated fireplace tiles with brick pavers.

Living Room After

Wallpaper had fallen off, exposing shiplap—wood boards commonly used as insulation when the house was built. “A lot of people spend money to re-create that look,” Joanna says. “But in this house, it was right there, so we kept it.” The textured linen sofa is from Crate & Barrel, and the pillows are from Pier 1 Imports.