Photo by Theresa Vandis ’22
It was a dreary day in April when I sat down to watch the final episode of “Fixer Upper” with my family. I wondered if I would ever witness another Magnolia tree be planted in the yard of a newly renovated home, or hear a harmless banter between Chip and Joanna Gaines on HGTV. However, in 2021 the Gaines family came to their senses and launched a reboot on Discovery Plus. The reboot, “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” which began on Jan. 29, is a more efficient and purposeful structure of the previous show, and also gives us a more intimate look at the Gaines family.
In the previous “Fixer Upper” streamed on HGTV the entirety of a house’s new design would be previewed on the show, as Joanna went over the theme with the homeowners on her laptop, as well as the intricate details of tiling and the crowd favorite: shiplap. Although it satisfied my cravings for Joanna’s farmhouse designs, it completely spoiled the whole episode, and the reveal at the end was seldom surprising. The wow factor was diminished by these technological abilities to create realistic finished products.
In the reboot, after watching the first two episodes, the previews were less reliant on technology and more on hand drawings of the predicted design for each house. Not only does this set up for a more exciting reveal at the end of each episode, but it gives a more hand-made homey feel which corresponds to the show’s theme.
In the past, Joanna used to go over the design of the house’s interior with the clients outside at a picnic table, but since then she has created an entire office building. This is a more effective way to introduce clients to the possibilities of design by using sample materials like tile and wood paneling. It gives the viewer snippets of what is to come without giving away too much.
The new reboot has also included videos of some Chip and Joanna’s renovations in their own home. It contributes to the homey feel for the fans and gives us a closer look at their family life. Little moments shared with their kids are caught on camera as they lead us through the newly renovated sitting room. We are also shown intimate settings such as an old storage unit that Joanana has used for years to collect antique furniture. This room goes beyond the shows they have done, and as she takes us through all of the old purchases there is a sense of history and belonging in every bookcase and ping pong table. She constantly preaches about a home telling a story, and every piece of furniture in that room has a story to go along with it.
While in the previous “Fixer Upper” the client would search many different neighborhoods and locations for their “perfect home,” they were always irritable and strict about their desires. It also ended up taking exorbitant amounts of time in the episode.
What is smarter about this new series is that the homeowners have already bought the house they wish to renovate, and then Chip and Joanna come in. This saves time, patience and renovation screen time. The Fixer Upper’s whole philosophy is that you can make anywhere home with some tender love and care, and by having the home already picked out, they are sticking to that objective.
It is obvious that HGTV is where “Fixer Upper” gained its start and got recognized worldwide for the innovative designs and the overall theme of the show. However, by creating a new reboot for viewers everywhere, Chip and Joanna are able to tell their stories and show their renovations in a new and improved light that will hopefully continue to shine for years to come. This show is easily a 10/10, and should be watched by all renovation lovers alike.