Husband-and-wife power couple Chip and Joanna Gaines might be best known to the public as the hosts of HGTV’s hit show Fixer Upper, but at home, the Waco, Texas, twosome are just mom and dad.
When the camera is rolling, they’re constructing, remodeling, and renovating. Outside the small screen, the two find time (on Tuesdays) to spend quality time together (with and without their four kids) not talking shop (well, they try, at least).
After all, merging their personal and professional lives is what’s made them a success. Their show, which debuted in 2013, kicked off its final season this month. We caught up with the awesome duo during their stay in New York City. They flew in to partner with KILZ, the maker of Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines Paint, and host an event focused on paint and color.
“Paint is the biggest tool with what we do — with renovations,” Joanna told Yahoo.
Read our exclusive interview to find out the elements other than décor and design that are important to Joanna and Chip. (Spoiler: it’s family, togetherness, and the holidays — things you can’t buy in stores).
It’s holiday season! Do you have a specific holiday tradition in your home, with your family?
Joanna Gaines: The tree. I have a big, monster tree that I put up which is “Momma’s tree” which means no one has fun with that. It’s silver and it’s all white. The tree that the kids love is the family tree.
Chip Gaines: They decorate it and have all these crazy colors.
JG: Ornaments from every school year. Every handmade Rudolph that doesn’t look like Rudolph. We just laugh.
CG: Getting the tree is a real event for Jo and I. We love that part of the process. It’s hauling it on the car, and it seems like it’s billowing over — the whole experience we recall every year as one of our favorite parts of the season.
What are on the kids’ holiday wish lists?
CG: My boys are so funny. They like these Nerf guns where they’re doing complicated battles and they’re shooting each other with these Nerf guns.
JG: I think the boys want binoculars. The girls want cute little backpacks. We got some here! I knocked that off my list!
What other stuff are you doing with the kids these days?
JG: They’re all self-sufficient now. They’re old enough to make their own thing of hot cocoa. On the [kitchen] island, we have this huge hot cocoa station where there’s cocoa powder, marshmallows, and peppermint, and they’ve got their mugs. They come in and fill up the water and go heat it up, and read their books. This is the first year I’m not having to make it for them. It’s fun to watch.
Do you think any of the kids will follow in your footsteps into design?
JG: They all say they want to. We don’t want to push that.
CG: We’re liberal about it. I like baseball, but we’re not these cheerleader moms vicariously living through these kids. I don’t care if my kids play baseball or not. When I think about the family business, I want our kids to not do the family business unless they sincerely want to do it.
Without the kids, what does a great date night entail?
JG: A good steak. We go to a restaurant and eat steak and then we go to a movie.
CG: We try to outdo ourselves from a spicy standpoint.
JG: We go to Taco Bell. We actually do the stupidest things. We’re like, “Let’s go act like we’re 15.” We try to do date night every Tuesday night, and the kids know that mom and dad are going to do something. We try not to talk business — that’s always the rule. But we’re always like, “What about…”
CG: That’s tough.
JG: We’ve done this since we were dating. We’ve worked together as partners in business. It’s one of those things. On the date, we talk about random stuff and the other half we end up talking about business. That’s kind of how it works.
Is there anything you would have done differently over the past five years?
JG: I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I feel like it was one of those whirlwind experiences where you go, “I don’t know how any of that happened…”
CG: If there is one thing to pick out that I would have done differently, it was the idea of, when things are moving so fast, incredibly, for such a long period of time, you get numb to these once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are happening so fast. It’s really sad to say that out loud because nobody can relate to that. We felt like we were having these once-in-a-lifetime experiences once per month. I think a regret we’ll have in the future is looking back — I flew in an F-16 and jumped out of a plane…
JG: Maybe savoring those moments more instead of thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to do this next…”
What are you looking forward to in 2018?
CG: New starts. Fresh starts. [The show is] ending and it will take us all the way into probably the first and second quarter of 2018, so we’ll still be on the television. It’s really interactive for us. We don’t have a television. We don’t watch a lot of television, but we literally go on these date nights and watch Fixer Upper. The kids once in a while come with us, and we’ll be at a grandparent’s house or a friend’s house. We make an event out of it. I think [for 2018], we’re going to try to figure out what our next steps are going to be. This is a risky deal: You give up a show at essentially the height of its popularity. It took a lot of thought from Jo and my perspective. We’re excited about it and also sad at the same time.
Do you have something in mind for what’s next? Another TV show?
CG: Not really. We want to take a sincere whole six, 12 months off — whatever the time period looks like, and kind of catch our breath. These last five years have been quite a whirlwind, you can imagine. It’s one thing if you’re pursuing life in this genre, it’s sort of like, well, what did you expect? But when it comes in through the back door … it fell into our lap! Years of this has been, “What in the world? What’s going on?” It’s been amazing in every sense of the work, but we’re also looking forward to some downtime and to catch our breath.
JG: The last five years, we’ve had these crazy deadlines, these crazy schedules. Just spontaneous with the kids, not be so scheduled is what I’m excited about.
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