Fixer Upper: The Downtown Loft Challenge

Chip and Jo branch into new renovation territory, upgrading a downtown loft apartment and embracing modern industrial design -- albeit with distinctive Joanna touches.

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo A

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo A

Neo-Retro Cool

Chip and Joanna created a distinctive midmod-meets-urban-industrial vibe for this third story downtown loft. They developed the design for Catherine Ballas, co-founder of a nationally recognized fitness program with its headquarters in downtown Waco. What Chip and Jo come up with for her is a far cry from what you typically see in Fixer Upper renos.

Urban Pioneers

"We've never had the chance to do a loft apartment to this extent," said Joanna. "This was a huge kind of transformation."

Kitchen/Living Space, Before

Prior to the renovation, the corner-unit loft offered an amazing downtown view, but the interior was rather bland and broken up. The kitchen had dated cabinets and countertops, and dark engineered hardwood flooring was used throughout the spaces. The client wanted something more inventive and welcoming for the kitchen, and prefers visual contrast with interplay of light and dark tones.

Kitchen/Living Space, After

The most dramatic structural change was the raising of the ceilings by about three feet and the removal of some walls, creating a more expansive feel and allowing more natural light to flow throughout the space. Ceiling beams and ductwork were left purposefully exposed to accentuate the industrial underpinnings of the space.

Before

Just off the living room were two bedrooms. Since the client only needed one bedroom, Joanna proposed opening up one of them, making way for a versatile space.

After

Two walls were removed and replaced by a load-bearing metal-and-glass structure that opens the sightline from the main living space into what is now a room that doubles as home office and guest room. 

Living Room, Detail

Midcentury style chairs and a boldly patterned black and white area rug help create a sleek and streamlined look and coordinate with the black accents such as track lighting and window frames.

Living Room, Detail

Furnishings that highlight the living space include an L-shaped sectional sofa and wood pedestal coffee table. Originally Joanna envisioned elaborate wood window trim emulating what might be found in an old factory building, but ultimately opted for maintaining the clean lines of the black metal frames.

Living Room, Detail

Entry, Before

Just inside the front door was a mechanical closet that creates a visual interruption in the space.

Entry, After

Without being able to remove the interior structure, Joanna gave it a more purposeful look, wrapping the exterior in white oak planks and installing a modern styled glass fireplace and integrated foyer bench.

Entry, Detail

The modern fireplace ignites with the flip of a switch, providing a cozy accent for the living space.

Entry, Detail

Entry, Detail

Office, Before

The Ballas apartment before renovations, as seen on Fixer Upper.

Office, After

To create the open feel that Joanna envisioned, a load bearing wall was removed and replaced with a structure that incorporates a glass grid for an open sight line. Glassworks specialist Dustin Anderson helped solve the dilemma with a glass and metal support wall that's both decorative and functional from an engineering standpoint. The metal portions of the structure are powder coated in white.

Office, After

The office space incorporates a built-in book case that forms the support for a raised loft bed, allowing the space to double as a guest room.

Office, Detail

Hardwood floors in a light finish are used throughout the spaces and, in the office, provide visual contrast with accent pieces and the walls painted in black.

Office, Detail

Office, Detail

Office, Detail

Office, Detail

Kitchen, Before

Prior to the renovation, the kitchen had a relatively small footprint and felt cramped and tucked away at the rear of the space. "To make this a more welcoming place to entertain," said Joanna, "I'd open this up by extending the cabinets out and give you a big, extended island."

Kitchen, After

New wood flooring in light finish, white cabinets, a raised ceiling and modern track lighting completely transform the look and feel of the space.

Kitchen, Before

Kitchen, After

The statement piece in the new kitchen is the large moveable kitchen island with galvanized metal work surface and plenty of open shelf storage underneath.

Kitchen, Before

Kitchen, After

"If you look up," said Joanna, "what I love is this play on mixed metal — black, copper, and galvanized."

Kitchen, Before

Kitchen, After

White countertops and cabinets, and mixed metals, are offset by the black tile backsplash and black custom vent hood. Twin pendants with large glass shades illuminate the work space while track lights provide focused accent lighting.

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Master Bedroom, Before

Master Bedroom, After

Rather than using a headboard, Joanna created a accent wall with white oak planks that becomes the visual focal point in the master bedroom.

Master Bedroom, After

Master Bedroom, After

The accent wall provides a visual tie with similar features in the foyer and kitchen, and the ledge provides a space for layering and displaying framed art and photos.

Master Bedroom, Detail

Master Bedroom, Detail

Master Bathroom, Before

Master Bathroom, After

Wood vanity with white countertops, and vessel sink and lighter wood elements tie in with the theme and palette in the kitchen.

Master Bathroom, After

Other highlights in the bathroom include white floor tile and a glass enclosed shower with white tile and black metal trim and black shower fixtures.

Master Bathroom, Detail

Wooden ladder shelving provides a functional and decorative accent in the bathroom.

Finis

If you enjoyed this Fixer Upper renovation, might we suggest that you may also want to have a look at this one: "When a House In the Country Goes Ultra-Modern"... or this one: "A Fixer Upper Take on Midcentury Modern".

And keep checking back here for more exclusive galleries, video and Fixer Upper updates.

Shop This Look