A Fixer Upper-Inspired Christmas in Florida

A fan couple gave their Sunshine State cottage a look that’s unmistakably Chip and Jo. HGTV Magazine takes you inside.

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

The House

Bright white walls, vintage signs, open shelves, shiplap galore: It’s all straight out of a Fixer Upper episode. Except Jenna and Za Alexander’s home redo was all their own, inspired by binge-watching their favorite show. The obsession began after the Alexanders bought a 1950s cottage in St. Augustine, FL, that needed a major reno. While the work was being done, they stayed with friends nearby. “Our friends were really into Fixer Upper, and once the kids went to bed, we’d watch episode after episode,” says Jenna.

She and Za desperately needed ideas: The 1,200-square-foot house they were moving into had a cramped layout and dated interiors with an eau-de-cat-pee scent. “Chip would have called it the ‘Hold Your Breath House,’ ” says Za, laughing. “It was inspiring to see him and Joanna tackle some of the same challenges we faced.” Jenna’s mom and stepdad, in the remodeling business, opened up the floor plan; then the couple added cozy, modern-rustic touches. “I think we’d make the Fixer Upper fam proud!” says Jenna.

Dining Room

Metal chairs at an old pine table are 100% farmhouse fab. Plucked from Joanna’s playbook, an oversize clock doubles as art. Displaying dishes and books in a vintage bookcase: classic Fixer Upper.

Living Room

First on the reno list: tearing down the walls that separated the living room from the kitchen and dining room to create one large, open hangout space. “I always like the vaulted ceilings in Fixer Upper houses,” says Za. So the Alexanders pushed their ceilings up too, and painted the walls and trim white (Wedding Veil by Benjamin Moore). A chunky woven jute and wool-blend rug from Serena & Lily defines the living space, which includes a white slipcovered sofa from IKEA and a pair of wide leather seats from West Elm. The trunk — which serves as both coffee table and gift wrap storage — is from Boston Interiors.

The Family

Jenna and Za with Navy, 7 months, and Jensen, 3


WWCAJD? All white, with lots of shiplap, of course! Yet unlike in the houses on the show, where shiplap often lies beneath decayed drywall like buried treasure, this couple added it to the walls and island. For even more Florida-meets-Fixer-Upper airiness, the Alexanders went with open shelves and a downdraft range instead of a vent hood. Jenna further channeled her inner Joanna with a brass gooseneck faucet from Delta and brass-lined pendants from The Land of Nod above the island.

Jensen's Room

The bedroom’s centerpiece, a painted wrought iron bed, is a relic from Jenna’s childhood room. “We managed to copy that rustic look Joanna adds to homes without buying a lot of new things, since we have so many great hand-me-downs,” says Jenna. She pumped up the playfulness with glow-in-the-dark rocket ship bedding from Garnet Hill and a cardboard elephant head from a local stationery store. The tree on the wall is made with washi tape and a pom-pom garland.

Navy's Room

That’s not wallpaper: Jenna, a professional artist, painted those magnolia flowers and loquat branches, both native to the neighborhood. (The base color is Gentleman’s Gray by Benjamin Moore.) To offset the feminine florals, she paired them with a mod orange-and-cream polypropylene rug by Safavieh and blue-and-white-striped blackout curtains from The Land of Nod.

Master Bedroom

Jenna and Za plumbed and finished the bare-bones art studio in the back of the house to morph it into a master suite, which connects to the kitchen via a long hallway. “We’re glad it’s a bit secluded,” says Jenna. Taking yet another tip from her HGTV muse, she DIYed the cushy headboard using fabric, batting and wood. The black-and-white cotton and wool blanket is from Pendleton, and the pom-pom throw pillows are from Target. A walnut-toned mid-century-style nightstand warms up the space. Both lamps are from West Elm.


Penny tile on the floor and subway tile on the walls upgraded a plain tub in the kids’ bathroom. “One thing I love about Joanna’s style is that it’s so simple and clean — there’s never any clutter,” Jenna says. “Having a big vanity with lots of drawers helps.” Above it, she hung a mirror that she scored at a garage sale for $10 and painted distressed white for that timeworn Fixer Upper look. The botanical shower curtain is from Danica Studio.

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