The Magnolia Story

I love Chip and Joanna Gaines. I have been watching their HGTV show Fixer Upper for years and was so excited when their book The Magnolia Story came out. On Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna, a husband and wife home renovation team, flip houses for families in their hometown of Waco, Texas. It only took one episode for me to be hooked by their charm and humor, and the classic yet functional design aesthetics they incorporate into their work.

The Magnolia Story is a combination of both Chip and Joanna’s lives growing up in Texas and Kansas respectively, later on after college when they met and began working together, and how Fixer Upper came into existence. When watching the show, it’s hard not to feel like Chip and Joanna lead a charmed life what with how successful their business is, their picture-perfect family with four kids, and their involvement to the community in Waco. But it wasn’t always that way. That things were not always perfect, much like life is not always perfect, was made clear in their book. One of the things that surprised me the most was that they actually didn’t always get along, and they still do not always see eye to eye on everything. Whereas Chip is a go go go kind of guy, Joanna has always been reserved and conservative, so their personalities were conflicting from the start.

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Thanks to Chip’s impulsiveness, they ended up in a lot of sticky situations when they first started out as a couple and as business partners, but Joanna insists that if it weren’t for Chip always pushing her to go outside her comfort zone, she wouldn’t be where she is today, living her dream of being a designer. One of the crazier stories in the book has to be the week that Joanna had her first son, Drake. She and Chip had racked up a few citations with the local police because of Chip’s three dogs that he let run through the neighborhood off leash at odd hours of the day, and just a few days after her son was born the police showed up to arrest her. Chip insisted that he should be the one held responsible since they were his dogs, so they arrested him. Joanna was left standing at the courthouse with her newborn baby, panicked trying to think of how to come up with the $800 it would take to get Chip out of jail. Can you imagine? The book is written from both of their perspectives, mainly Joanna’s but with Chip’s own input here and there. It is as breezy as if you were having a candid conversation with two close friends, just like how they appear on the show.

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Chip and Joanna also have a new quarterly magazine called The Magnolia Journal that features some of what’s on the show like design renovations, before and after stories and a mish mash of tips and tricks, as well new things like easy healthy recipes, and short articles by both Chip and Joanna. Better yet, fashion features (because if you have seen Fixer Upper, you know that Joanna has an amazing wardrobe) and, in issue two, a feature on flower arranging that has a series of beautiful flower classification illustrations. I would say it is like a combination of Real Simple, HGTV Magazine, and Better Homes & Gardens. It’s like your favorite lifestyle blog times ten, and will make you fall in love with the Magnolia story all over again. Both the book and the magazine are so inspiring and uplifting and I would highly recommend both if you have any interest in home design.

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