Fixer Upper: California Dreamin' in the Waco, Texas Suburbs

Chip and Joanna Gaines help a California couple, looking to settle in Waco, create a distinctive home with lots of space, light and a creative cottage vibe.

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Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

The Severn Project

How to take a run-of-the mill ‘80s-era home in the Waco suburbs and turn it into something that will fulfill the needs and expectations of a pair of southern Californians with two energetic, soon-to-be-teenage kids. That’s the challenge facing Chip and Jo in this Fixer Upper episode titled “Space in the Suburbs.” Spoiler alert: Several walls come down and a formerly cramped kitchen gets greatly expanded.

'80s House; New Classic Exterior

The look of the house was completely transformed with the addition of a new entrance and a special mortar wash technique that gives the brick classic, old-world look.

You're Welcome

An inviting new kitchen becomes a focal point in the home and now opens onto the adjacent living room.

Think Visual

Joanna's vintage-meets-contemporary design aesthetic is in evidence in the new home office featuring custom built-in shelves, white shiplap and this stylized architectural accent.

Expansive Kitchen

By removing a wall and taking over what had been an adjacent breakfast room, the kitchen has nearly doubled in size.

Dining Light

Having the entry open directly onto the new dining space offers a definitive welcome to guests entering the home while bay windows and French doors bring in tons of light, giving the dining area an almost outdoor feel.

Balance and Symmetry

The fireplace was visually reworked to help give the living room a greater sense of balannce. New hardwood floors throughout unify the spaces in the kitchen, dining and living rooms.

BEFORE

The Prickly Pear House, so named by Chip in honor of a large cactus shrub that originally stood in the front yard, was built in 1980 and came with four bedrooms, three baths and was about 3400 square feet. The list price was $235,000, which would leave the buyers a renovation budget of around $145,000. The house met the clients' basic criteria in terms of space and features, but it offered little visual appeal on the outside. And the inside require some reworking to make it family friendly and functional.

AFTER

The exterior was radically transformed with the addition of an open patio, front pergola, dormers and new siding. The brick exterior was given a special treatment using a mortar wash technique known as German Schmear, giving the house a classic look and greater visual appeal.

Foyer, BEFORE

Foyer, AFTER

A wall that had separated the stairwell and foyer from the adjacent room has been removed and replaced with open railing and natural wood bannisters with a more classic look.

Foyer, BEFORE

Prior to the renovation, the foyer felt enclosed, dark and stuffy.

Foyer, AFTER

New French doors and the bay windows in the adjacent office and dining room allow lots of natural light to spill into the entryway.

Foyer, Detail

Foyer, AFTER

The entry is updated with a new wood flooring, stair case and crown molding.

Dining Room, BEFORE

Dining Room, AFTER

In what had been the formal dining room, two walls were removed, opening the space up to the entry and eliminating a hallway that had run behind.

Dining Room, BEFORE

Dining Room, AFTER

French doors added on either side of the kitchen and dining room allow lots of natural light into the dining space.

Dining Room, Detail

Dining Room, Detail

Dining Room, Detail

Dining Room, Detail

An antique church pew provides additional seating in front of the dining-room bay window.

Dining Room, AFTER

Two doors, which had provided access to storage and mechanical space were eliminated and replaced with a wall, making room for a large hutch with a vintage look. A third entry was left, but the standard door replaced with an antique door with mirror panes.

Kitchen, BEFORE

Kitchen, AFTER

The original kitchen was gutted. All of the old cabinets were removed and a wall taken out to allow the kitchen's footprint to be extended, taking in what had been an adjacent breakfast room. French doors were added and open out onto the new front patio with additional seating. 

Kitchen, BEFORE

The Severns home before renovations, as seen on Fixer Upper. (Before #17)

Kitchen, AFTER

The new kitchen features a new, large kitchen island, twin schoolhouse pendant lights, subway tile backsplash and gray stone countertops.

Kitchen, BEFORE

Kitchen, AFTER

"I love to implement pieces or design elements that have a story, that have history," says Joanna. The kitchen island incorporates a wood top that was made using wood from an old bowling alley that had belonged to Mary's parents. Furniture designer and woodworker Clint Harp refinished and installed the unique piece.

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Wood accents and custom wood range hood offer a warm counterbalance against the white tile and gray stone countertops.

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Open Areas, Defined Spaces

The kitchen now opens directly onto the living room, but care was taken to make certain that the each individual space was distinct and defined.

Living Room, BEFORE

The living room, prior to the renovation, was long, narrow and felt dark and confining. 

Living Room, AFTER

A living room window was replaced with a second set of French doors, and the room – including the brick fireplace – painted in bright white, giving the space a more open and airy feel.

Living Room, BEFORE

One aspect that the client disliked was the asymmetry of the brick fireplace which caused the entire space to feel off balance.

Living Room, AFTER

Reworking the fireplace, adding built-ins on one side, helps restore balance and symmetry to the space and provides additional shelf display space for the client's book collection.

Living Room, BEFORE

Living Room, AFTER

Where the old living room had been plain and uninteresting, Joanna wanted to add elements to give the new space additional character and appeal. New recessed lighting was added, as well as a contemporary light fixture. The two sets of French doors not only let in additional light, but also add an architectural detail that help define and warm the space.

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

BEFORE

AFTER

Living Room, Detail

Antique corbels used as mantel supports, and the natural wood of the mantel, help soften the overall look in the room and makes for a nice contrast against the white brick.

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

AFTER

Perhaps the most distinctive new feature in the living room is this reading nook with bench seat. "What's great about this addition is that we basically took a room with four walls and added a feature that offers a little more depth and character," says Joanna. "That really adds to the space."

Living Room, Detail

"My favorite thing to do with spaces is to really make each room work for the family and their needs ... Originally [in this room] there were two closets. What we ended up doing was taking out the internal wall that separated the storage closet and coat closet, and now it's one open space [making] a fun space for the kids to sit, curl up, read a book." 
—Joanna

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, AFTER

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

Home Office, BEFORE

This is one of the two main rooms just off the home's front entrance.

Home Office, AFTER

The clients needed a home office or study that would allow them to work from home. Mary also specifically requested bookshelves to accommodate a sizable collection of classic books. This functional space, with work desk and built-in shelving, fills both needs.

Home Office, BEFORE

Home Office, AFTER

A wall between the entry and this room was removed and replaced with open railing. Now there's a sight line from the dining room and foyer into the office allowing for lots of natural light to flow throughout and for there to be an open flow that unifies the spaces.

Home Office, AFTER

The built-in units warm the space and tie in with other elements within the space including the shiplap and natural wood features. 

Home Office, Detail

Home Office, BEFORE

Home Office, AFTER

The bay window provides an ideal setting for a small seating area and accent table.

Home Office, Detail

Home Office, Detail

Front Exterior, AFTER

A new patio and pergola just off the kitchen provides a distinctive accent to the home's exterior and, during warm weather, offers a space for outdoor dining and entertaining.

BEFORE

AFTER

The German Schmear finish helps give the home's exterior an old-world look, addng visual interest with the variegation between the natural shades of the brick and the lighter mortar. 

Finis

And if you enjoyed this Fixer Upper project, we think you might also like this one: Plain Gray Ranch Made Bright and Spectacular.