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Chip and Joanna Gaines Tackle Their Riskiest ‘Fixer Upper’ Yet |

Chip and Joanna Gaines Tackle Their Riskiest ‘Fixer Upper’ Yet

“Fixer Upper” fans know that Chip and Joanna Gaines always do the big reveal near the end of their show. But in their latest episode, it happens just 10 minutes in.

Huh? How can this be?


In the episode “From City Life to Farmhouse in Waco,” we learn that Brooke and Charles Ramsey—both graduates of Baylor College in Waco, TX—moved to Pakistan to teach at a Christian college, and have been living there for 17 years. But now that their parents and kids are getting older, “it’s time to move back and rediscover our roots,” says Brooke.

But since they had to house hunt in Waco while still living in Pakistan, they’ve done something very daring: They went online and found a four-bedroom, three-bath, 3,000-square-foot farmhouse—and bought it for $155,000, sight unseen!

“We had to grab it when we could,” says Charles. “We had to take the risk.”

So when the Gaineses and the Ramseys go together to see the place, it’s the first time the Ramseys set foot on the property.

The 1880s farmhouse the Ramseys purchased off the internet,sight unseen. Note that the front door is oddly placed.
The 1880s farmhouse the Ramseys purchased off the internet, sight unseen. Note that the front door is oddly placed.

Jennifer Boomer / HGTV

“I feel like this is the reveal,” says Joanna as she opens the door and ushers the couple in.

To everyone’s relief, the house is rather nice inside, but they still find a whole lot of things that need work, stretching the couple’s $200,000 renovation budget to its limit. Here are the surprises hiding inside, and how the Gaineses handle these curveballs in ways that all homeowners could put to good use.

Center the front door

The renovated farmhouse, now with a centered front door
The renovated farmhouse, now with a centered front door

Jennifer Boomer / HGTV

The house has a generous front porch—it’s one of the things the Ramseys loved most when they saw it online. But oddly enough, the front door is off-center. So the first thing Joanna wants to do is center it. When Chip attempts to do this, he discovers the builders had put pipes and electrical wiring where they want the door to be. This will have to be moved, but the extra expense is worth it to achieve a balanced look.

While renovating, remove stained glass to keep it safe

There are beautiful, colorful leaded-glass panels in the front door. Rather than leave them in place while the door is being removed, refinished, and relocated, Chip has the glass panels carefully extracted so there’s no risk of their breaking.

Get the lead out

By now, everyone has heard about testing for asbestos, but in older houses, it’s important to check for lead paint as well. The Ramseys’ home, built in the 1880s, has a lot of lead, so all the workers are required to wear hazmat suits as they do the demo.

“A lot of guys aren’t crazy about the way these fit,” quips Chip as he pulls on his baggy gear, which looks like a spacesuit. “I don’t know what it is about my figure specifically, but this is actually very flattering in my case.”

Save the fireplace at all costs

The new, double-sided fireplace is made of the old, original brick.
The new, double-sided fireplace is made of the old, original brick.

Jennifer Boomer / HGTV

Chip discovers that the fireplace chimney gives when leaned on, making it dangerously unstable. But he knows that Joanna will have his head if he just topples the whole thing, so he has his workers carefully remove each used brick and put it aside. He’ll use the original brick for accent in the new fireplaces that Joanna must design. It works like a charm.

Balance open shelving with storage space

Everyone knows that open shelving looks great—if you can keep it organized and you have attractive crockery and kitchen accessories to place on it. But if you have ugly appliances, mismatched mugs, and plastic cups (and who doesn’t?), you need a place to hide that. Jo is quick to point out that they’ve provided plenty of closed storage beneath the counters.

Ways to warm up ‘cold’ home decor

Joanna Gaines warms up a cold Scandinavian design with warm colors and textures.
Joanna Gaines warms up a cold Scandinavian design with warm colors and textures.

HGTV

Joanna is charged with creating a Scandinavian farmhouse theme, adding a few touches that will remind the family of Pakistan. But Brooke thinks the place looks a little cold when she sees Joanna’s computer renderings, to which Joanna replies, “If this feels too modern or too cold, that just says to me to warm it up and do a little more texture in there.” So she adds colorful Persian-style rugs, textured pillows, and Moroccan tiles in the kitchen.

Create a family office

Joanna designs a big desk for Mom and Dad, with homework stations for the kids.
Joanna designs a big desk for Mom and Dad, with homework stations for the kids.

Jennifer Boomer / HGTV

Rather than convert an extra room into an office that Charles will use only occasionally, Joanna designs a room with a big desk for Mom and Dad, plus homework stations for the kids. It turns out to be a study/office/library which the whole family will enjoy.

How does this fixer-upper end up?

Chip and Joanna with the Ramseys: another happy family satisfied
Chip and Joanna with the Ramseys: another happy family satisfied

Jennifer Boomer / HGTV

Now it’s time for the true reveal! The Ramseys plan to come over to see their finished home on the very day they fly in from Pakistan. And it turns out they are plenty pleased by the results.

“We can finally sink down roots here and grow for generations,” Brooke says through tears of joy.

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