Friday, April 15, 2016

Home inspiration!

Fixer Upper - HGTV 2014 - ongoing

I've recently caught on to the TV series "Fixer Upper" where a Texan couple whose business is to renovate and restore dumps of houses. I stumbled across it on Netflix around 3 weeks ago and have been hooked every since. Interior decorating is a small passion of mine, and I thought that watching this show would give me a little inspiration.

We're introduced to Chip and Joanna (JoJo) Gaines and their business Magnolia designs. They have 4 kids who you meet through out the series, mainly on their farm which they are also building and renovating their own house through out the first series. What I love about this show is the fact that the Waco couples who come to Chip and JoJo have some kind of idea what they want, but then get the choice of usually 3 houses (mainly dumps or weirdly out-dated homes in the Waco area) and then they place their trust in both of them to spruce the place up. When I watched the first series, houses were going for a song! $80K - $150K. It looks like $200K + in Waco gets you some kind of mini mansion so I don't even want to know what $600K would buy you (considering that's the median house price range here in San Jose California and also back home in Perth Australia the Texan's have it pretty darn good!)

I came across this funny Mashable article on what 21 things you can expect from every episode of watching this series and it pretty much hits the nail on the head so to speak hehe.
You realise that Chip is a bit of a goofball in the first series but then his dorkiness really takes off in the second series, along with many reveals of his rotund belly lol. He's really cheesy, but get's away with it because JoJo just thinks he's hilarious. There is also always the dreaded phone call to the prospective new owners on something that has potentially "thrown" the budget out by a bit of money. It seems to be the added "suspense" theme on every episode and after almost 2 seasons becomes quite predictable. 

There are a few things that I love about JoJo's design style and a few which grate on me a little. 
I love is her ability to take furniture junk and transform it into gorgeous rustic pieces of gold. I really like her idea's on removing walls and raising ceilings, adding windows etc. Those are all difficult things to do back in Australia as we build our houses with brick and concrete so it's more difficult to effect the overall houses structure and support. She also likes to simplify things to make translating changes to her customers easy to understand. Some of the husbands in the couples they do work for simply don't have the imagination to picture JoJo's updates, and watching her express these with her expert computer design software and their delight, is always entertaining to watch. Another enjoyment is seeing some "left over budget" options and then trying to predict which one the home owners will go with. Sometimes I found their decisions not ideal but Magnolia's finished end product really never lets the viewer or the home owner down.

The downsides to JoJo's style: I find her rustic and somewhat antique vintage style doesn't sway or vary away from the same kinds of colour palette's, room layouts, kitchen layouts and styles. There is always a metal plaque here, crown mouldings in the ceilings and hard wood floors. Where I understand it must be "the in thing" to want a fireplace, dark wood floors, mint green or grey everything on the walls and those large roman clocks / rustic and victorian up-cycled furniture, we are yet to see her transform a house using some modern flare, primary bold colours and modern furniture. I think my favourite 2 episodes emerged in season 2 where JoJo's home buyers pick a very awesome 1960's mod house which looks like a trailer from outside and inside is like an open shell. Even Chip and her expressed how they never had taken on something so retro future modern before and the final reveal was pretty awesome. The other favourite for me (which I think was episode 12 season 2) was the large 2 story house with entry on the second floor, being made into a "beach house" look and feel, with modern wrought iron stairwell and wiring, more modern furniture and kitchen. That house even had my husband gasping on the re-work they did.

It's also obvious that the "customers" coming to them are people they know, whether friends or families from schools their kids go to, I don't see a variation away from couples. I saw one episode where it was a mother and her older daughter, but how about throwing in a gay couple or friends who may be buying the property as an investment. Those would be interesting to see and also the couples offering more to do with the overall colour template. And those farmhouse sinks. Really? Every house needs one? Or a kitchen isle bench? Black counter tops? All starting to look the same as the episodes roll on. 

I look forward though to watching the last few episodes I have of season 2 on Netflix and look forward to season 3 this year. Hopefully there will be some sway in the styles they use to keep all of us home decor nuts inspired :)

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