When 'Fixer Upper' and Skate-Punk Collide
Shiplap and white subway tile meets flannel and black leather when Chip and Joanna help a bona fide punk-rock artist (MxPx bassist and frontman Mike Herrera) and his family find a place to settle down in Waco — and fashion a dedicated space for a home studio.
Here at HGTV it’s not every day that we get to reference musical genres like punk and hardcore in an episode synopsis for Fixer Upper. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure this is the first time it’s ever happened. Perhaps you never expected for those two topics to overlap. Understandable. We were taken a bit off-guard too.
But overlap they did when Mike Herrera, bassist for the incendiary west-coast band MxPx, and his Texas-native wife Holli, decided to up and move from Washington State to Waco. And guess what. When it came time for Mike and Holli to find and fashion their ideal dream home, they ended up in the capable hands of Chip and Joanna Gaines.
For those who skew to the less-punk-rock center of our HGTV demographic, maybe a bit of musical context is in order. Here are some facts you need to know: MxPx formed in the early 1990s and is a band well known among fans of the more frenetic fringes of indie rock – playing in a style with loads of energy and firmly rooted in an authentic DIY ethos. (That’s “DIY” from when that acronym first emerged as a mantra embraced by key influencers in the underground music scene – artists who rejected the compromises of big-business rock in favor of simple artistic integrity and “doing it yourself”. This was before DIY was a TV network, even.)
As a band MxPx draws on influences ranging from Black Flag to Green Day, and their 1996 album “Life In General” earned them a noteworthy spot in Rolling Stone’s list of the all-time greatest pop-punk albums – a list that also includes the likes of Green Day, The Offspring and The Ramones. That, we’d like to point out, is pretty good company.
Okay, rock history lesson’s over. Back to the Fixer Upper connection. The urge to settle down with home and family is something that can happen even to the most dedicated punk rockers. So when Mike and Holli decided to find a landing place suitable for raising their two kids, Holli’s home state seemed like a good choice. "I'm from Texas," said Holli, "and my family's from here. We're ready to bring our kids back home to Texas and raise them up around my family."
The couple's wish list was pretty straightforward. With two kids, they wanted a quiet neighborhood, a house with three bedrooms, two baths and space for the kids to play. Holli and Mike both love old houses, so that was a definitive consideration. Their only semi-novel request was a space that could be a dedicated studio space for Mike’s rehearsing and recording. Their total budget, including renovations, was set at $300,000.
After looking at three options, Chip was able to negotiate a good deal on a modestly sized charmer in an up-and-coming neighborhood characterized by older and historic homes. In terms of the renovation, the exterior just had just a few rough edges, so outside upgrades were were simple and included a freshened-up front porch, new front door and a vintage-brick skirt and entry walkway.
The modifications inside were more ambitious, with walls removed, spaces opened up and a newly configured master suite. Highlights in the newly remodeled living room include a impressive library wall of built-in bookshelves and — a star attraction — a meticulously restored fireplace with original wood mantel and surround.
A tiny kitchen gets a complete overhaul with high-contrast visuals including full-height cabinets in dark charcoal offset by white subway tile and large kitchen island with white stone top. The kitchen renovations were completed while strategically working around an original built-in hutch which Joanna restored and customized with a black-and-white patterned tile backing.
For the musician in the family, a detached garage gets transformed into a spacious home studio with modern styled furnishings and diffuser acoustic wall constructed with wood-block cross sections. The wood blocks cut to varied depths to create a mosaic-like surface that’s both functional as an acoustic diffuser and visually striking.
Those are just a few standouts from the makeover. Moments s to watch for in this episode include Chip’s punk-rock wannabe faux sleeve tattoos and clarification from Mike differentiating punk-style stage thrash from Chip’s heavy-metal headbanging.