AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Episode 11 - The Prickly Pear House

February 24, 2017

For this beautiful Colonial Cottage we brought back the fan favorite “german smear” technique from season 3! This home was originally very traditional looking with red brick, white trim and dark shutters. We brought it back to life by updating the exterior and filling it with beautiful nooks and spaces for this family to relax together.

Objective: Extend the footprint of the kitchen to make it larger and more practical.

Objective: Carve out a space in the heart of the home for the family to gather for meals.

Objective: Create a comfortable and cozy living room and reading nook for the family to gather together and enjoy.

Objective: Set aside a special place for the Severns family to get away and work from the comfort of their home.

Objective: Build a wooden pergola on the front of the house, and add french doors leading out onto it for easy outdoor access from the entire bottom floor of the home.

Q. What are some ways that you’ve used your cozy book nook off of the living room? 
A. All of us love to read in it, but we also play games in there. My mom was just here for a visit, and her dogs loved to nap up there (on a blanket, of course). It’s a great nap spot!
Q. What was something that surprised you about the design process?
A. I was nervous in the beginning that we wouldn’t get much of a say in how the ultimate design turned out, but Joanna and her team really listened and took our preferences into consideration. The Magnolia designs were obviously above and beyond what we could dream up, but I was so happy to see so many of the details like the stainless farm sink, the fireplace, and the island pendant lights turn out exactly how we’d hoped.
Q. Fans often ask us how your things fit in with the design of the home once you’re all moved in. How did you incorporate your personal things into the home without losing the style that Joanna has set?
A. It hasn’t been hard at all! My husband has commented that he feels like the furnishings we’ve collected and built and repainted over our 20 plus years of marriage belong in this house. Joanna set the backdrop and we couldn’t wait to fill the built-in shelves with our books and the rest of the spaces with our own personal items.
Q. What was the deciding factor that attracted you to choosing this home over your other two options?
A. We chose this house because it had the most potential for what we wanted in a home. It had the location and size, and we knew that the space could be transformed to work for our family.
Q. What was your favorite part of this process?
A. I think the peak of this entire process was finally sitting down for our design meeting with Joanna. I loved seeing all the small ideas come together in a way that was going to make our mess of a house into our custom renovated home! It made waiting to see the final outcome more tolerable. I am not normally a patient person, but it was worth the wait to see the way Clint turned my family’s bowling lane wood into our amazing kitchen island and Joanna’s beautifully designed built-ins for the office!


Chip and I loved designing this home for the Severns family and dreaming up little places for them to retreat and enjoy. This may be the first home we’ve done where the focus was specifically on creating these little hiding spaces for the family to sneak away and read a good book or get a little extra work done. Thank you, Severns, for letting us fix up your beautiful colonial cottage!


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  • Barb Cowdery
    12:25 pm, July 13, 2017
    Where did you find the round dining room table? I have been looking for a 60" round table like that.
  • Debra
    8:05 am, July 9, 2017
    What color did you paint the kitchen island? The blue base is perfect.
  • stacy
    6:39 am, June 29, 2017
    I would be interested in what material and the steps are involved in the "German Smere". the look is beautiful and i would like to try it on my home.
  • Litia
    10:07 pm, June 26, 2017
    I love that you showed the dining table with five chairs. I love to use odd numbers in groupings to add an edgy quality to the style.
  • Myriam leoni
    2:52 pm, June 26, 2017
    buongiorno mi chiamo Myriam Leoni e e volevamo comprare una casa a Waco Texas abitiamo in Svizzera e ci piace moltissimo l sile di Joanna e chips non riusciamo a prendere contatto con loro.
    ci potete aiutare .
    Restiamo a vostra disposizione e aspettiamo vostre notizie. Distinti saluti Myriam
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