Photo courtesy of Kilz
Chip and Joanna Gaines have created an empire that sprawls over Waco, TX and beyond, including a hit HGTV show, a construction company, a home furnishing store, a bakery, a gardening store, a restaurant, three books, and countless product collaborations. With all the work and wealth that accompanies their many ventures, they remain incredibly humble and friendly, insisting that their lives are still very surreal. I got the chance to sit down with Joanna and ask her some questions I’ve been dying to get answers for, at the launch of her new cookbook, Magnolia Table. And if you’re wondering, the couple is exactly like you’d hope: warm, sweet, and southern.
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How has your design style evolved since the start of the show, and do you feel like you’re adapting to current trends, or that you’re true to your own style?
I’d say the one thing that’s changed the most is that when I first started I thought, everyone has a specific style, so it’d kind be based off these one-worded answers. But what I’ve realized over the years from working with clients is that it’s okay to have several different styles, and the more styles you can incorporate, the more it feels personal to that family. So, I’d say the evolvement has been just including more and not being so specific, so that it really feels like that client’s home rather than, “oh that’s traditional, or that’s modern.” I’ve had a lot more fun kind of digging in deeper and trying to figure out what the story is more than the style because when they walk in that house I want them to truly feel like it’s home and not a magazine.
What are your favorite ways to bring life to a room?
I like to put all the layers in first, whether it be the rugs, the pillows, the throws, the books… you know you do your basic, simple layers. But what I think adds movement and life is definitely greenery, whether it’s faux or real. Even right now here in New York, everything is blooming, and I think if you can get any of that in your house it will add life. Right now, I have cherry blossoms in a vase and the kids love them, and yes, they make a little bit of a mess, but they’re gorgeous.
Related: You CAN Take Care of Plants at Home
Photo by Modern Farmhouse
What is it like to have people all over replicating your design style, the “modern farmhouse” look has exploded, and a lot of that is definitely owed to you, what does that feel like?
Oh, I don’t know, I don’t think you can attribute that to me! I think I still feel like my style is evolving, so for me it still doesn’t seem real, like that’s not me, they all just like it right now! The biggest thing I think people want is their home to be comfortable and livable, and for the kids and parents feel like they’ve got a spot – the house needs to work for you. Obviously, it’s a bonus if your house looks beautiful, but it’s about how to create a home that works for you. When it’s just beautiful you don’t know what to do with it. For me, it’s just great that people have these comfortable, casual spaces that real life can happen in.
Related: How to Master Painting Your Home
Do you find yourself changing things up in your own home all the time? Or do you look around and feel satisfied with the way it is?
Maybe it’s because I get to decorate client’s houses, but I don’t usually feel that need to change things up in my own house, otherwise I’d be going crazy. If I change anything it’s pillows, seasonally, like I said I add branches in. But for the most part my house is the same because I’m having to change everyone else’s, and I don’t want to work at home!
What is one project you’ve been wanting to do in your own home that you finally got to do?
The garden shed and the garden were a big deal, I think because gardening is something I’ve come to love so much, so we just finished putting that in the backyard. I think my next project is to make my pantry a little more functional, it’s under the stairs and it’s small, so I’m trying to figure out ways to really make that work for me since I’m always in the kitchen. Oh, and actually the baby room! I haven’t done that yet, I’m still trying to figure out where in the world to put the baby… right now that room will probably be my office/study, so I have to figure out the logistics of that. It’s funny, I’m excited about doing it but I’m definitely putting that one off.
Also See: Why You Should Make Time for Gardening