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Fixer Upper Season 3, Episode 1

by Joanna Gaines
Published on December 1, 2015

Wow! I can’t believe season three is finally here! It’s been a fast and furious season of getting all the design and construction complete for the new episodes and we are so excited to get to share these homes with you! We’re starting the season off with the Dansby family in Hillsboro, Texas—about 30 minutes north of Waco. This cute couple wanted a functional family home with plenty of open space and lots of character.


The Dansby family chose this home because they appreciated its 100-year-old history and were passionate about preserving its original architecture and character. I thought it would be helpful to show the original floor plan, along with the new design, so you could get a feel for the home’s layout. As you can see in the original floor plan, the home was choppy and the kitchen was very small. The biggest issues on the Dansbys' list were adding space in the kitchen, creating an open space for the living area, adding a kids play/craft room, and adding a master bathroom upstairs. I couldn’t wait to implement the new design and surprise the Dansbys with their new home reveal.

Here’s a helpful little hint:  If you are re-designing your space, it is always easiest to look at the plans on paper first and use a pencil to start recreating the space. The designs for this remodel began in the master bedroom. Most of the original hardwood floors were able to be saved, so we simply refinished and patched them. This is always a win, as it keeps with the integrity of the original architecture of the home and saves on budget. We also added a fresh coat of paint to the walls and new fixtures.


The master bedroom’s closet was transformed into a private master bathroom, since the previous floor plan provided only one bathroom upstairs. We added a large, spacious shower with carrara marble tile, carrara marble countertops, shiplap for dimension, built-in shelving, new fixtures, and hardware. The original hardwood floors were also able to be saved in this space, so they were refinished and looked good as new.

As an added character feature, Chip relocated a pocket door from the downstairs dining room to the master bathroom’s closet, and re-installed it in a way that would allow the door’s internal hardware to be exposed. This added a unique piece of the home’s history to the space.

The small library area upstairs with built-in shelving was original to the home. We simply sanded it down and painted it white. The rolling ladder seemed like the perfect addition to bring interest to the space, and we added the small sitting area for reading. I had the unique iron staircase railing custom-made for this home and added two separate chandeliers for ample lighting. We also removed the drywall from the chimney and revealed its original brick underneath.

Downstairs I wanted to have fun while keeping with the subtle and traditional vibe throughout the rest of the home. We began in the kitchen, and started with these beautiful custom windows, built to match other leaded glass windows found in the home. We brought in a soft, seafoam green glass backsplash to bring interest to the space while keeping with the traditional theme. We also added a custom island, clear glass pendant lights, and custom cabinets for plenty of storage.

In the dining room, we created a space where this family and their loved ones could comfortably gather around the table and share meals with plenty of elbow room. We installed cabinetry for storage by the back door and a built-in bench seat with additional storage underneath.

My favorite part of this space are the antique pantry doors I found while antique shopping. When I found them, I knew they’d be perfect for this space, and had them installed to add an extra layer of history and dimension to this home. They led into the pantry and the laundry room and believe it or not that space behind those doors was the original footprint of the kitchen.

The Dansbys wanted an open floor plan for their growing family, so we removed the two walls that separated the space and created a large room for the formal dining, entry and living area. We added wainscoting and fresh paint in the living room and entryway to give each space a cohesive and seamless theme. We took down all of the heavy curtains that seemed to suck up the home’s natural light and replaced them with light and airy white linen curtains. We also pulled up the carpet to reveal the original hardwood floors, which were patched and restored.

The front door was original, but the sidelights on both sides of the front door were custom built to match the style of the front door.

In the living room, both the mantle and the unique bay windows were original to the home. The arched doorways and shiplap over the mantle were added to continue the traditional character throughout the home. I wanted to recreate the arched theme that was on the antique doors in the kitchen, so I designed an arch cased opening next to the fireplace.

I had my graphic designer friend, Clayton Thompson, come in and design this map of Hill County, where the home is located, for this main living space. I knew it would be perfect hanging in the home as a nod to the history we worked so hard to preserve for the Dansby family.

Above the eat-in area, I added a hanging pedestal to draw the eyes up and add an extra level of dimension to the space. The area was already flooded with natural light from the bay window, so I decided on this interest-piece rather than a chandelier to simplify the space and keep it light.

The kids play/craft room was created with their three kiddos in mind. It was important to the couple that the kids had a place to call their own, so we transformed it into a clutter-free work environment for them to play and create. The unique black and white flooring kept the same fun, traditional vibe of the home while feeling young and playful. To create this look, we simply added plank flooring and painted it with black and white deck paint. We outfitted the space with industrial-style open shelving for storage, a large table, and plenty of art supplies and inspirational pieces.

Lastly, the exterior of the Dansby home received all new siding and trim, a reconstruct of the home’s original railing and roofline around its porch for a cleaner, more classic look, a new roof, new windows, a traditional brick paver walk-up and steps, a fresh coat of paint, all new landscaping, and new shutters.


Chip and I enjoyed transforming this forgotten, 100-year-old, traditional-style house into a fresh and spacious family home filled with cottage-style character and original history. We loved getting to bring it right back to life, and we hope the best of blessings to the Dansby family and their new home!


Photos by Rachel WhyteOpens in new tab