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AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Episode 10 - The Copp House

February 5, 2018

It was so evident that we were in the right place at the right time for this project. We had just started the process of launching our Magnolia Foundation when our director, Lyle, met the Copp family—who lived right in the heart of Waco. Jody and Melissa Copp are parents to two boys, Calan (9) and Lawson (5), who were born with an extremely rare genetic condition that affects the mitochondria in the body. It is life-threatening and hinders their ability to stand and walk on their own, causing them to rely on wheelchairs for their mobility. The condition is so rare, that there are no other known cases with their exact presentation and no known cure or treatment.

Lyle was immediately impacted by their story and kept them in the back of his mind while we sorted out the logistics of our foundation. A couple of months later, Tim Tebow reached out on behalf of his foundation, hoping to join forces to fix up a home for a local family—specifically, the Copps. We immediately jumped on board.

This is one of those homes that sincerely came together as a labor of love and as a true team effort. The Tim Tebow Foundation, Make-a-Wish, the American Residential Services, members of the Waco community, and the Magnolia Foundation all came together to design and renovate a home that was 100% wheelchair accessible for these two boys.


The inspiration materials I used to interpret the style of the family’s home

When I asked Jody and Melissa to explain their personal style, they focused primarily on functionality for the boys. With this in mind, I wanted every design choice we made to create peace of mind for them so that they would know their kids would be able to thrive independently in this home. They loved the traditional style and colors in the blue, green and gray family which gave me a great starting point to create this traditional-style home with calming colors and thoughtful functionality.


Objective | Create a bright and functional entrance into the home and give the boys a place to do homework


Objective | Carve out a place where Melissa and Jody can cook, while Calan and Lawson are comfortably in the same space


Objective | Create an inviting space for the whole family to be able to spend time together


Objective | Give Jody an office space that looks out into the backyard and into the living area


Objective | Create functional rooms that encourage independence, learning and creativity


Objective | Combine inspiring design and useful functionality for a wheelchair-accessible bathroom


Objective | Work with the Make-a-Wish Foundation to grant the Copp family’s wish of having a handicap-accessible backyard


Objective | Create a warm, welcoming exterior with traditional elements and subtle ramps for wheelchair accessibility

During the reveal Melissa Copp commented that the boys had already connected with this house—and we couldn’t have been happier to hear that. From start to finish Chip and I had so much fun designing this home with them in mind and imagining little ways that we could surprise them. Thank you so much to everyone who came together to make this happen. And, of course, welcome home Copp family!

Photo courtesy of HGTV

Interview With Homeowner

Q: What was something that surprised you about the design process?

A: We were most surprised by how easy it was for accessibility to be incorporated into the design, something others had told us would be difficult. The attention to detail with every single component that was discussed really blew us away. The questions asked by Chip and Jo let us know they were as concerned about the function of the home as we were, but also wanted to bring out the hidden beauty of the home, something we had not been able to focus on before.

Q: What is your favorite room in the house, and why?

A: While we love every room in our home, the open living area that leads into the kitchen is our favorite. We had a laundry list of items to make this space extremely functional for our family and the room exceeded all of our expectations! So much thought was put into the design, like an accessible kitchen dining table, lowered microwave and most importantly, an accessible sink with an automatic faucet so the boys can just wheel up to it and wash their own hands! Not only is it large enough for the boys to move around in, it will ultimately give them the freedom and independence to cook their own meals as they grow older. It’s definitely a dream kitchen for our entire family.

Q: What is your favorite feature in the house, and why?

A: Our favorite features in the home are definitely the areas that allow our boys the ability to roll up to and access like never before. The exterior ramps going into the front and rear doors allow them to come and go as they please for the first time ever in a home. The ramps were blended into the design of the home so beautifully that you would never even consider them as an accessibility feature. We also love that the pocket doors allow for more room inside the home for their wheelchairs and easier access to every room! The roll-under sinks and the “locker room” style roll-in shower is absolutely fantastic. It will allow them the independence they have longed for. The grab bars inside their bedrooms were perfectly placed to allow the boys to transition themselves more safely while they draw and play their favorite activity – building with legos!

Q: How did your home balance design and functionality?

A: The balance between design and functionality is absolutely beautiful and totally blew us away. When we first sat down with Joanna at our design meeting to see the plan for the very first time, we couldn’t believe how well the functional components were incorporated into the design. In fact, the design was so well done that we initially didn’t even realize ALL the wheelchair accessible components were even there! When we finally got to see it in person, we couldn’t believe our eyes. All the barriers that have always been issues for us were completely removed. No more steps or thresholds to deal with. Even the light switches were lowered in every room to give the boys the chance to be even more independent. It brings tears to our eyes just thinking about how beautiful accessibility can be, all thanks to everyone that made this possible.

Q: How was getting to work with the Tim Tebow foundation through the process?

A: Getting to meet Tim Tebow and those that support his foundation was an absolute dream come true. His foundation’s purpose is all about spreading “Faith, Hope and Love” which mirrors how we live our life. We couldn’t think of a better role model for our boys and the special needs community as a whole. The Tim Tebow Foundation is doing great things highlighting those with special needs on a global level so we are honored that they supported our mission to bring accessibility and independence to our boys. Tim Tebow and his foundation have impacted our lives forever so we can truly start living life as a family. Not only was Tim a joy to be around, but all those that supported his mission of inclusion and we can never thank them enough for what they have done for our family.

Q: How did you decide on the design of the house? What inspired the choice?

A: We started out just focusing on the function of the home and what tasks we wanted the boys to learn on their own. Before now, they had never been able to be independent due to severe barriers in previous homes, so it was important to us that it be extremely functional. We knew we wanted ramps incorporated so they could access the front and back doors, roll-under sinks so they could wash their hands and brush their teeth…all things they had never been able to do independently before. Our style is simple, clean and traditional, but we completely left the actual design up to Joanna. We knew the home was in good hands and we loved that we didn’t have to worry about every detail because they are amazing! When we finally got to see it in person it was perfect in every way.

Q: Did you get the rest of the house renovated, or what was shown on the show?

A: With the support of Chip and Joanna and their Magnolia Foundation, as well as Tim Tebow and his foundation, every square inch of the home was not only renovated but made to be 100% accessible. Every single functional element we wanted incorporated was installed, and so much more. Not only was the inside of the home renovated, but the front and backyard was also redone. Many months before we even knew we were going to be on Fixer Upper, we were collaborating with Make-A-Wish for our son’s wish, which was a play area in his backyard for friends of all abilities to play together. We knew going into this project that Make-A-Wish was going to facilitate having his dream wish come true. Just like we did for the home, we suggested functional and play ideas for the backyard but we never saw the end result until reveal day. We were totally blown away by the design of the backyard and how the boys reacted when they first saw it. They immediately began to race around the track, play soccer and wrestle in the play area just like any other kid. It was a dream come true to see them finally enjoying their first backyard!

Q: How was your own personal style revealed in your home?

A: Our personal style is classic with traditional and rustic elements that can stand the test of time as well as be functional for our needs. Up until now, we haven’t been able to focus on home design because our focus was raising two medically fragile boys. When we first started having discussions about what we wanted to see in the home, we were at a complete loss! It was amazing how our functional needs turned into a beautifully crafted design. It helped to start with a color palette we knew we liked which was blues, greens, and grays. The entryway, kitchen and living room is exactly a reflection of us with the neutral color palette, classic design and touches of rustic. We love that the boys rooms and their amazing locker room bathroom is an exact representation of them. With pops of color representing their bold personalities and the phrase “I Can and I Will” on the bathroom wall, it was perfect. Our home is a direct representation of us and we couldn’t be happier.



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  • Laura Ellen Lord
    6:42 pm, February 20, 2018
    Would love to know the names of the exterior paint colors!
  • Shauna
    10:05 pm, February 18, 2018
    Why have more children when you know you have a mitochondrial condition??? Really?? Then make it into a tv show???
  • Jenny
    1:26 pm, February 16, 2018
    How can we get the names of the paint colors used??
  • Linda
    12:13 pm, February 12, 2018
    Is there any place to find out the paint colors on the inside and outside of the house? So beautiful I would like to use them.
  • Amanda
    11:26 pm, February 11, 2018
    Do any of the questions ever get answered about paint colors, products etc ????
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