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AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Episode 13 - The 'A Lot of Options' House

February 26, 2018

Dale and Nancy were living in a duplex while they were on the hunt for their forever home here in Waco. Because they have kids and grandkids, the two of them were looking for a large enough house to host family holidays and with room in the floorplan for the grandkids to have a space of their own.

After looking at potential flips, they both decided to build their forever home from the ground up on a lot with a scenic view. With a new build, we really had the opportunity to hit every single line item on their wishlist.


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

A different challenge when working with a new build is having to intentionally think about how to add character to the house, rather than focusing on drawing out the natural character of an established home. So many older houses come with natural quirks and hidden gems from the era they were built in, which is part of the fun in flipping. From the beginning, we decided based on Dale and Nancy’s style, that we would design this home to look like a European cottage. This gave me the foundation to make this new home feel lived in from the start. The key was to add in weathered, storied and old-world elements like natural wood, copper accents, antique corbels, and familiar patterns.


Objective | Create an open kitchen with enough space for hosting family holidays


Objective | Have a set space for getting work done at home


Objective | Provide a dining space that is completely open to the kitchen


Objective | Design a comfortable space open for conversation


Objective | Create a relaxing bedroom and bathroom for Dale and Nancy


Objective | Carve out a designated space for the grandkids to play


Objective | Design an exterior that doesn’t look like a new build and incorporates timeless European elements

Getting to design this house from the ground up with Dale and Nancy was a treat for us. We love that every single part of this forever home was custom designed to be exactly what they wanted, and we hope that they love this home as much as we loved building it. Welcome home, Dale and Nancy!

Interview With Homeowner

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

A: The most surprising thing about the design process was how Joanna and the team turned our concepts into that 3D model and then into reality. It was amazing to get a first-hand look at the interior and exterior design. It gave us something to hang on to and imagine what our home might look like while we waited for the reveal.

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

A: Our favorite room is the family room. It has all the elements we love: a fantastic view, a cozy fireplace, a space for gatherings, an amazing kitchen, and those vaulted beams that make the room feel so large and open.

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

A: Our favorite feature would have to be the indoor gas lights. Those lanterns are so unique and stylish, and we can enjoy them inside our home year-round, because they're not on the outside where we can't see them.

Q: How did your home balance design and functionality?

A: While the bedrooms are adequately sized, the space where we spend the most time and need the greatest function are the combined kitchen/dining/living room, and the Master Bath and Closet. The playroom offers a dedicated space for the grandkids when they come over, and they just love it. Design meets function and fits our lifestyle very well in this home.

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

A: The design of the house was based on the size of the lot, our must-haves and our budget. Joanna showed us an image of a home that inspired her to create a European Cottage look and feel, and they took it from there. We could not be more pleased with the result.

Q: What was your favorite thing about the building process?

A: By far, our most favorite thing about this process was not being involved. We didn't have to make a thousand decisions, negotiate with subcontractors, or respond to the myriad of issues that arise during the building process. We just woke up one morning, and went to see our beautifully designed, newly constructed home. We cannot describe the joy we felt when we saw our home for the first time. It's a dream come true. Our home was completely finished inside and out. We do have plans for a future bath upstairs in the loft room, but that is for a later time.

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

A: Our home feels casual, friendly, warm, and inviting. This so much reflects our personal style and desire to share our beautiful home with family and friends.

Q: What was the deciding factor that attracted you to choosing this home over the other two options?

A: When Chip suggested we build a house from scratch it was exciting. The other options were so limiting, the didn't even compare to a new home that would meet our exact specifications.

Q: Why did you apply to Fixer Upper?

A: We really needed help to get us out of the "rent trap," in Waco, so it just made sense to go ahead and apply.


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  • Katie lerch
    7:57 am, March 20, 2018
    Joanna I need some advice my house was built in 1934 I am trying to up date a lot as I have money too it is a one bedroom I know this little house could look like a doll house but I am not much of a decorator I am a retired school teacher any help would be appreciated
  • Linda Reed
    2:48 pm, March 19, 2018
    What is the master suite’s paint color on walls? “A Lot of Options”. Dale and Nancy’s house. THANK YOU
  • Cheryl
    2:42 pm, March 17, 2018
    Beautiful home! Love the open living/kitchen/dining. What is the square footage of the home? We are toying with the idea of building a new home. We are empty nesters and are getting older and our home(3200sq.ft.) and lot(2acres) are just too big to maintain properly. This new build looks perfect.
  • Doreen
    1:26 pm, March 16, 2018
    Come on! Please share the paint colors used on this build! Why do they make us beg for them? Just tell us please! I’m assuming they are from the Magnolia brand paint line, but gosh there are several greens that seem to match the shade used throughout this home. I would love to know which one - it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for!
  • Deanna Wellman
    4:00 pm, March 15, 2018
    I adore this house! My husband and I are looking to build and fell in love when we saw this house! Is there ANY chance at all you would sell the house plans?!? Pretty please?
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