Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Chip and JoJo: The Joanna Gaines Phenomenon

via Country Living

A few years back, Lucas came to me and said, "I watched this show last night, and I think you'll really like it. There's a girl on it you'll like. I recorded it for you." It was a show called "Fixer Upper" and it was only a couple of episodes into its first season. Like many of you, the love was instant. In the first episode I watched, Joanna had given a piece-of-junk house an herb garden/green space in the middle of the it. I met a cast of characters. There was Chip, the slightly out-of-shape goof ball who reminded me of a cheesy youth pastor. But he is endearing. Plus, you can tell he knows what he is doing. He gives a lot of credit to his wife, but you can tell he does (or hires done/oversees) a lot. Then, there is Joanna. She is a strikingly beautiful design genius. In the fashion game, she reminds us that true beauty can pull off a t-shirt, jeans and a baseball hat any day. I call it "Waco Chic." In fact, she has influenced fashion as well. She sells Waco shirts! There's an appeal to her simplicity that sticks with you. Then you meet them as parents. They have four cute kids that are involved in the show if only to remind you that old family values matter. Chip might be showing them how to milk a cow at the farm house. Joanna might be letting them help bake cookies. In the beginning, the family scenes were minimal. Lucas and I pointed out that as the seasons progressed, you could tell the producers said something like, "Listen, they like you guys. Your personalities. Your family. Your humor. Your goofy antics. Do more of that." As a result, we see way more of the Gaines family and a little less of the home demolitions.

Chip and JoJo have become household names. If you're a loyal viewer, which I am sure you are, you started to pick up on themes of Joanna's design aesthetic. Knock out that wall. Let's keep the original shiplap. Add subway tile. Clint, make a farm table. Paint the walls gray, sea foam green or ice blue. Make the cabinets white (until this season wherein they used way more color in the kitchens with cabinets or backsplashes. You could kind of tell when a house had been "Joanna Gaines-ed." So, naturally, that's what we all want now. We have a newfound confidence that we can make a piece of junk a home (how about those Waco home prices?!) or just do one or two little updates to our existing homes.

It doesn't take too much looking to see how pervasive the Joanna Gaines phenomenon has reached. Just look at how her own entrepreneurial realm has expanded to a giant store, a book, a furniture store, a line of furniture at Great American Home Store, etc. Many of us follow her on Instagram to see what the latest is in the life of Joanna Gaines. Lucas and I cannot walk through Target without finding things in their home section that are very clearly the farmhouse aesthetic that Fixer Upper has exposed to the world. Would you ever have bought 5,000 mason jars otherwise? What about that pressed metal chalkboard? We've definitely made some purchases that we felt were "Joanna approved."

All of this came up as I was reading the CNN Money section yesterday morning. Home Depot was reporting an awesome quarter and attributing it to more Americans "nesting." I'm not sure I really even know what that means, but I think they owe a good bit of that to HGTV's Fixer Upper. We may not know the extent of the help that Chip and Joanna get to turn an eyesore into a house any of us would die to live in, but we walk away feeling like we can do it. Maybe it is little-by-little in your existing space or it influenced your decision to buy old and cheap in order to flex your own Chip and Joanna muscles. I strongly believe that trend is sweeping the country, affecting DIY in a big way. Hence, Home Depot is having a field day supplying the renovators and flippers.

Check out some visual Joanna-ness:

via HGTV
via Country Living magazine

via The Harper House

via HGTV

via Magnolia Market

via Etsy

source unknown

One of the Gaines' Many Sources of Income:

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