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AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Joanna's Look Back on 2016

December 23, 2016

Once again, it’s hard to believe another new year is upon us. I wanted to take the time to sit down and let you all know how thankful we are for your support, prayers, and continued encouragement.

What a whirlwind 2016 has been. We started the New Year with the airing of Season 3 of Fixer Upper – we were honored to be a part of many unique projects that led to great memories and new friends. The idea of home has been the focus of our business from the beginning, so this will always be our favorite part of what we get to do. The experience of restoring and renovating an old home never gets old.

During our break from filming in March, we took the kids on a ski trip to Colorado. Chip was the only one (out of all six of us) that had been skiing before, so let’s just say Chip had his hands full. At one point he told me I was harder to help coach down the mountain than all four of our kids combined. Ouch! I would say most of our “marital debates” of 2016 happened on a mountain in that one week. It was rough and let’s just say if we ever go back, you’ll find me sitting by the fire drinking a warm cup of cocoa. The kids, on the other hand, picked up skiing like it was nothing and are begging to go back. It was a sweet time to just get away and enjoy time together as a family minus the part about fighting on the mountain… I swear he had me start on a slope that was too steep for a beginner. Anyways, moving on…

We started filming Season Four of our show in February, and so began the scheduling of 15 overlapping renovations in the Waco area. We got to top off the season by restoring the tiny building at the Silos which was once a floral shop, now turned bakery! Chip and I loved that the kids were a part of the big reveal.

Chip and I wrapped up the writing of our book, The Magnolia Story, in May. We really enjoyed the opportunity to go down memory lane and revisit all of the good and not so good times that have been a part of our journey. We look back with so much appreciation for the lessons we have learned along the way. We also wrote about some of our more embarrassing moments as a couple… For instance, that one time we both had like 9 warrants out for our arrest for “dogs running at large.” Jail time for one of us was involved. If that’s not click bait news, I’m not sure what is.

Moving on to the summer, what was once a faraway dream became a reality for me when we started to work on the premier issue of our magazine, The Magnolia Journal. An exciting aspect of my work is the opportunity to connect with people from all different places in life. I hope to help people create experiences in their homes and everyday lives that are both meaningful and intentional.  The magazine process has by far been one of my favorite projects to work on because of all of the thought that goes into each story- it’s not just about pretty pictures. My hope is that no matter who picks it up, they will be inspired in a thoughtful way in their own life.

Summer was full of new projects and deadlines for the magazine and the show. The kids loved getting to come to work with us a lot and they also picked up a few new hobbies that kept their creative minds churning.

(Girls learning to weave on a loom. Boys practicing woodworking.)

 As Fall rolled around, and the Fixer Upper projects wrapped up, I knew things were about to get crazy. Fall is typically busy because of the release of my new collections of furniture, accessories, rugs, paint and wallpaper. There is a fresh batch of new product that comes out every year in the Spring and Fall – I love it because it keeps me on my creative toes, to say the least. One thing that has been special in all this is including our kids. Whether it’s setting up a showroom at market, designing wallpaper, or learning the science behind paint – the kids have been with me. When and if we have to travel for work, Chip and I always try to bring one or two of the kids with us so we get special time with each child. It’s something we all look forward to and shifts the focus from being busy, to unique time with the kids.

(The girls got to travel with us to California, Pennsylvania and North Carolina this year.)

This year I had the fun opportunity to collaborate with Matilda Jane, and my girls were particularly fond of that project. They have worn Matilda Jane dresses since they were babies, so the idea of designing clothing for little girls was an easy “yes” for me. The girls loved being a part of the process and I love the sweet, innocent way about this line.

In October, our book and magazine finally hit the shelves. After all that hard work, it was a joy to see the finished product. We owe you guys a big thank you and lots of hugs. We have been so floored by all the support. Thank you for being interested in our story and sharing it with others.

We also celebrated our second year at the Silos with our annual Silobration! The grounds and bakery were finally complete and all the amazing vendors and food trucks made it extra special. We enjoyed celebrating with many of you that weekend.

November brought a month break from filming and we used that time to catch our breath as a family and just be together. It was a good month for us to just slow down and get ready for the holiday season.

Fixer Upper Season 4 started airing this month.  We can’t wait for you to see the houses we’ve worked all year on, and the amazing clients that now call these projects home. There were quite a few tear jerkers for us in Season 4 and some really special stories that made this one of the best seasons yet.

Here we are now in December, and I’m scrambling to get all of my last minute Christmas shopping done, and trying to figure out the holiday menu for this weekend. As I reflect back on this past year, it was a really good one. Of course in life and in all the busyness, there will always be those up and down moments. Our life looks very different than it did five years ago, but we still feel like two small business owners placed in the middle of a small but beautiful town called Waco, TX. Our main focus from the beginning has always been our family and then tending to our local business here. We want to be the best partners for each other and the best parents we can be to our four children – that is and always will be our main priority. We plan to continue to run our business here in Waco the same way we have for over 15 years. We’ve always strived to serve and love people from all walks of life, regardless of who you are or what you do. We are in the restoration business. Our job is to find beauty in all things, whether it’s an old house or someone’s story.

Annnnd now for the New Year. We have some cool new projects coming that we will keep you updated on as we make progress. Our new restaurant is opening in 2017 which will serve breakfast, brunch and lunch. Chip has wanted a breakfast joint for years and he finally found the perfect spot for it, and I’m not going to lie, he is also super excited about serving ham sandwiches and bacon. The Elite Cafe was one of the oldest restaurants in Waco, but it closed down last year and we are excited about bringing it back to life.

Photo credit: Elite Café archives

We are going to finally tackle the renovation of the actual Silos! We are finalizing all the architectural details and are planning to start in the next couple of months.  If you have been to the Silos you’ve probably seen Chip’s tiny little corner or you may have missed it because it’s that small. He will finally get his hardware/general store that is going into one of the Silos. Our goal is to have that project completed by the end of next year.

Well, that was long winded! Before I wrap up, I wanted to say that we couldn’t do any of this without our amazing Magnolia family. We are so grateful for their dedication and hard work. In a nutshell, we are thankful for this ride of a lifetime- we feel God has been with us on every mountain top and in every valley. Grace upon grace He has given us.

We sincerely hope and pray that this New Year brings you new hopes, new dreams, and new beginnings. May this truly be your best year yet.

Merry Christmas from Chip, Jo and the kids!

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  • Pat Haukka
    1:18 pm, October 18, 2017
    We are planning to record all your show this last season. Having fun watching you two. Thank you again.
  • Dorothy
    12:58 pm, October 7, 2017
    Chip and Jo, I love watching your show and the family. You are the best show on HGTV. You inspire me to do be a better me. I am going to miss you. I look forward to seeing your next project.
  • Gidget Crisafulli
    1:58 pm, September 6, 2017
    We are selling our home in Illinois . Down sizing and moving to DePere Wisconsin. It is al small town right next to Green Bay , WI. My husband and I are retired. You And Chip have inspired me. I have decided to go back to work. Taking my real estate test the end of September. Going to find an older home and reno it with all the wonderful ideas you have came me from your show. Wish you all the best. I so love and miss the show. Can not wait for the new season. .
  • Tina Goetzka
    1:58 am, September 2, 2017
    is fixer uppers going to continue I hope so ur the best show on the station that is why I started watching it hope non of the rumors are true
  • Kathy Bailey
    8:44 am, July 19, 2017
    Dear Chip and Jo. I am so happy for the blessings that God has bestowed on your family and those lives you all have brought into the fold of the Magnolia Family. I love watching all the creativity that gets my juices rolling. This is the only show on HGTV I can get my husband to watch because of the reality of it. The love and sincerity you show to everyone and that you have in your family sold him. We love the season 4 episode 12 show. We are buying a little ranch home at Clator Lake in VA and a lot of the inside and outside reno was what we had talked about doing. It gave us a blueprint we could see. Tell Chip the German Shmere (Did I spell it right lol) was a hit with my husband, and not to encourage Chip, he loves his antics lol. This is going to be our retirement home and I am looking forward to bringing a little Chip and Jo into the design. When we come back out to Houston to see my brother, we plan to come and see your big venture, the Silos and maybe be lucky enough to see you guys on site. Maybe eat a ham sandwich with chip in the restaurant and a cupcake with you in the bakery, you never know. May God continue to bless you and yours. Keep radiating the Son in your lives for all to see. Thank you all for all you do!!
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