Creating French Country in the Texas Suburbs

Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV's Fixer Upper help a family that wants to downsize to a casual country home that offers European flair with easy access to Lake Waco. Will their sizable $650,000 budget be enough to find French Country in Waco, Texas?

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Location, Location, Location

Jeff and Michelle Sanders loved the home they raised their two children in but were tired of being so far from friends and work. They called upon the hosts of HGTV's Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines, to help them get their perfect home in the perfect location.

Initial Impressions

When home-seekers Jeff an Michelle pulled up to this suburban '60s rancher, they were both apprehensive. Jeff didn't like anything about the home's traditional style and awkward bay windows. Chip and Joanna felt that the size and location were right and, with some creative modifications, this home could suit the family's needs — and then some.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

The Possibilities

Before: While the Sanders weren't going for the home's existing 1960s look, they were intrigued by Joanna's plans to transform it in the fashion of a French country estate. The less than $500,000 asking price of the home left plenty of room to make Jeff and Michelle's dream a reality.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Surreal Reveal

After: "Unreal" was the first word out of new homeowner Jeff Sander's mouth as he saw their newly transformed home. A quaint French country theme was achieved by painting the exterior brick in eggshell white and the shutters a calming blue. The dormers and driveway were also rounded out to add an old-world cottage feel.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Extra Character

Show hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines knew that a front porch would really make this house a home. By extending the roofline, they were able to create this breezeway porch with vintage light sconces and an ornate wrought-iron bench.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Brand New View

For the Sanders, the deciding factor for buying the home was the view. Jeff and Michelle were awed by the home's close proximity and arresting view of the lake. The refinished deck and custom-made French country railing gives the family lots of space to enjoy the view.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

A Private Space

Jeff and Michelle needed a private space to enjoy their new lake scene. Chip and Joanna decided to refinish the master balcony and install more of the railing a family friend had made custom for the home.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Unassuming Entryway

Before: The existing entryway did little to welcome visitors into the home. The single solid door blocked out natural light and didn't fit the scale of the home, or the Sanders' desired aesthetic.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Contemporary Contempt

Before: Neither Jeff or Michelle were pleased with the contemporary built-ins and brass fireplace. Joanna relieved their worries yet again by promising to replace the existing fixtures with old-world charm.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

The Wine Room

After: In what Joanna now calls the "Wine Room," the plain built-ins and brassy fireplace were removed and replaced with white painted brick and floating natural wood mantel beams for more of that old-world wonder.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

French Doors Galore

The single, original door didn't seem to fit in the with the large home. Chip replaced it, as well as a window where the kitchen is, with large French doors that fit the large home and allow plenty of natural light to fill the space.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Obstructed and Cramped

Before: Originally, a formal dining room separated the kitchen from the entryway living room. The dining room and extra living space were unnecessary for the Sanders, but also left the kitchen feeling cramped and dark.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Unharnessed Potential

The home's original layout and restrictive walls did not do justice to this large picture window. Chip and Joanna knew they had to design the kitchen in a way that allowed the window to provide light for the entire space.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Making Room for More

After: Eliminating the formal dining room and knocking down the separating wall allowed Chip and Joanna to create a kitchen perfect for holidays, entertaining and celebrations — something Michelle had always dreamed of.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Let There Be Light

New light fixtures bring rustic flair of French country to the sleek, traditional kitchen. The commercial grade gas-burning stove and large vent hood give Michelle the chance to cook and entertain for years to come.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Eat-In Kitchen

The new eat-in area gives the Sanders family a picturesque frame for their lake view as well as an informal space for family meals. The distressed farm table and vintage lantern sconces compliment the Sanders' French Country style.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Luxurious Touches

While the lantern pendants stay true to the Sanders' French country aesthetic, the kitchen has been updated with sleek white marble countertops, a brand new apron sink and modern fixtures. The island also provides a spacious serving surface for parties.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Needed Storage Space

A family of four needs as much storage as possible. Joanna repurposed the old office, which was right off of the kitchen, into this attractive mudroom so that the Sanders' can keep coats, shoes and bags organized and out of the way.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Outdated, But With Potential

Before: The existing living room was already on the road to Jeff and Michelle's dream. The painted white brick fireplace fit right into their French country style and actually inspired the new dining room's fireplace facelift.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

An Extension of the Kitchen

After: The separating wall between the kitchen and living room was removed, allowing the living space to flow right into the kitchen. Joanna painted the window and door trim white, but left the ceiling beams dark to tie in with the natural wood mantel.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Creating Space

A white couch cover and neutral decorative accents add more of the French flair that Michelle loves. The existing large window and doors let in plenty of natural light but now that the wall is gone and the trim is updated, the room looks far larger than before.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Personal Accents

Jeff had been holding onto a set of old leather chairs for years. Joanna thought they would be great in the living room but their manly, leather upholstery wouldn't fit. Gray fabric and a floral backing did the job and Jeff loves their new look.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

The Fun-in-the-Sunroom

The sunroom now provides the Sanders' family a comfortable, stylish place to view the lake during winter. Brand new brick pavers and a large couch are complimented by a vintage desk and accents to bring this space the cozy, French cottage feel it needed.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

The Real Challenge

This bonus room looked more like a dungeon when Jeff and Michelle first saw the home. The dark paneling and lack of windows made this room look depressing and small. However, Chip promised Jeff that it had great potential as a game room.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Family-Friendly Bonus

The promise of a game room sounded better to the Sanders kids than it did to their parents. However, the new built-in entertainment center and pool table give the entire family an excuse to enjoy this newly reclaimed space.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines