The Magnolia Story, by Chip and Joanna Gaines

magnolia-storyFixer Upper is my favorite HGTV show. I’ve watched Chip and JoJo take some absolute dumps and turn them into dream homes. They have been the inspiration for a lot of the plans for my own renovation, even though Joanna’s design taste does not always coordinate with mine. If I moved into her farmhouse, for example, I’d immediately start sanding and painting some of her more rustic woodwork. However, since I am blessed with a husband who really enjoys watching with me (he is a realtor, after all), it has given him a vehicle to say, “Hey, I like that,” to designs that I would otherwise never have considered. We now deliberately plan for both rustic (his) and formal (hers).

When I heard about the Gaines’ new book, I put a hold on it without knowing anything about it. It is not a decorating book, but rather a memoir of their lives together and how they came to be television stars. On the show, Chip is always goofing around, and Joanna is quiet and serious. One is left with the impression that she is the brains and he is the brawn. While she is smart, and he does lots of heavy lifting, I was surprised to find out that Chip is the business guy! Before they even met, he had owned and sold several businesses, and Joanna knew nothing at all about design! She was a broadcast journalist in New York, but was planning to take over her father’s Firestone dealership when he retired. Their lives have been filled with twists and turns, and many years have been really, really difficult. While I applaud Chip for his entrepreneurial spirit, I applaud Joanna for staying married to him. Even though Chip and JoJo have been my close friends—unbeknownst to them—for several years, there were some real surprises in these pages.

If you are a Fixer Upper fan, you will truly enjoy The Magnolia Story. It’s a fairly quick read, and will set you up for new episodes coming up soon. And if you were disappointed that it was not an interior design guide, no worries. Joanna’s Design Book is already in production.

Disclaimer: I read a library copy of this book. Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.

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