Chip Wade Off Duty

What happens when super-handy HGTV star Chip Wade renos his own house in Atlanta? It’s a power tool party! Come take a tour with HGTV Magazine.

By: Jessica Dodell-Feder

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Photo By: David A. Land (styled by Courtney De Wet)

Practice What You Preach

On the show Elbow Room, designer and contractor Chip Wade encourages homeowners to pour their sweat equity into drastic renovations. So naturally when he and his wife, Pauli, bought a place in Atlanta, GA, three years ago, he jumped right into a massive redo. “I like to take my own DIY advice,” jokes Chip, who basically started from scratch—only the framing existed when he purchased the house—and did much of the work himself, from cutting beams for the 20-foot ceilings to designing light fixtures.

A Family Home

Of course the house contains a workshop for Chip’s arsenal of tools, but it’s also incredibly family-friendly, with sink-right-in seating, indestructible hardware, and a kitchen-adjacent playroom, where kids Mac, 6; Mara, 4; and JT, 1, hang out. “We wanted a place where family and friends would feel comfortable enough to drop by, stay, eat, and play anytime,” says Chip. That said, his favorite thing about his home may be its location: “We’re just a couple of miles from The Home Depot and a Lowe’s!”


Earth-toned fieldstone, brick, and cedar shingles give the home an old-world look. “Yes, it’s a big house, but it doesn’t seem forced,” says Chip. “It’s the kind of structure that could have been built 200 years ago and will hopefully look great 200 years from now.”


The centerpiece of the kitchen is the 12-foot-long island, which Chip designed with a terrazzo top (a composite material usually made from cement and natural stone or glass). “It’s our entertaining epicenter,” he says. Red stools scored on for about $50 each strike a cheerful note against the all-white custom cabinets and maple hardwood floor. The large chrome pendant is from Circa Lighting.

Butler's Pantry

A transitional spot between the kitchen and the dining room, the pantry features the same style of cabinets as in the kitchen, only painted marine blue. For the stunner of a backsplash, Chip made his own “tiles” by cutting walnut boards, then lacquering them so they’re water-resistant. “This is my morning coffee-making spot,” he says—but the area also functions as a bar for parties with its stocked wine fridge.

Music Room

With a family full of music lovers—Chip himself has been playing the guitar for 25 years—he knew he had to designate part of the great room as a spot for singing and tinkering on the piano. Sheet music blown up and printed onto canvases serves as artwork. Chip wired iron garden ornaments to turn them into one-of-a-kind light fixtures.

Great Room

With its 20-foot vaulted ceiling and 8-foot windows, this room could’ve felt overwhelming. But Chip kept things cozy, creating a seating area in front of the fireplace, which was built from the same fieldstone as the exterior. A Four Hands coffee table and a Karastan rug anchor the space, which includes swivel chairs from Lee Industries and leather sofas from the Wades’ old house. “They’re so perfect for napping, I couldn’t give them up,” Chip says.

Rec Room

“This family is serious about Ping-Pong,” says Chip. “We even have people over for tournaments.” The basement rec room can fit dozens of competitors and has floors padded with spongy, commercial-grade vinyl tiles to make matches kinder on feet. The ceiling is lined with dimpled, light-bouncing aluminum squares typically found in gyms and garages.


At roughly 2,000 square feet, Chip’s basement workshop is the size of a house—and he uses every square inch. “We’ve shot scenes for HGTV here, plus I’m always having friends over so I can help them build things,” he says. Even his son Mac gets in on the action. “He’ll draw up plans for submarines and stuff, and then we make them together.” 

A Chip DIY

Chip laser-cut each piece of this intricate wood art installation, which includes inside jokes and Atlanta references.

Mac's Room

The airplane shelf (another Chip DIY) sets an adventurous tone for Mac’s bedroom that’s also reflected in the Pottery Barn Kids sheets and Tommy Hilfiger license plate pillows. The antique beds may not be “anything beautiful,” says Chip, but they have strong family ties: Chip, his dad, and his uncle allslept on them as kids.

Master Bedroom

Because it’s not uncommon for all five Wades to pile into Chip and Pauli’s bed, he wanted everything to feel plush. A custom double headboard, upholstered in felt and linen, makes a comfy backrest and is tall enough to look substantial in the oversize room. Similarly larger-than-usual furniture—a Lee Industries love seat instead of a bench, 48-inch-long Crate & Barrel tables instead of nightstands—fill the rest of the space.

Master Bath

Carrara marble tiles, sleek chrome Circa Lighting lights, and a hand-applied Venetian plaster accent wall earn this space the title of “most luxurious in the house,” says Chip. But that doesn’t mean everything cost a pretty penny. The X-stool is from an antiques market, and the towel basket is a discount home store find.


Outfitted with cubbies, hooks, and a deep bench, the mudroom helps keep the chaos that comes with three little kids contained. Chip built the setup using tongue-and-groove cypress siding left over from the ceiling of the front porch. “I made almost this entire area from scrap materials,” he says. On the lower shelf, super-durable vinyl-coated bins from hold shoes and sports equipment.


Much of the property’s 2 1/2 acres are wooded, with a creek running through it, “so it feels like we’re in the middle of nowhere even though it’s just a short drive to any store,” says Chip. While the Wades plan to keep much of the land wild, they’ve added a retaining wall as well as a patio and a fire pit. “I want to do more landscaping too,” he says. “The projects never end!”

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