If you’ve ever tuned into the HGTV channel, you know that their priority is reality television. At HGTV, there is no show bigger than Fixer Upper. Led by hosts Joanna and Chip Gaines, Fixer Upper is all about following one family as they revitalize homes with glamorous and trendy makeovers. Of course, the show is really about how the husband-wife duo works together, and they’ve cultivated quite the following as a result. Now, in the ultimate Fixer Upper twist, we are going to head into the home that Chip and Joanna fixed for themselves!
Meet Joanna and Chip
If you don’t know Chip or Joanna, you’ve come to the right place! The television co-hosts first met each other back in Waco, TX, in 2001. They were both attending the same high-school when they became aware of one another. Chip saw Joanna in a fancy portrait while visiting Joanna’s family business. Two years later, Chip and Joanna would tie the knot. Talk about a romantic story!
Property Loving Family
Being in the fixin’ business, it only makes sense that the Gaines would live in many different homes throughout their life. After Joanna and Chip got married, they would end up living in nine different houses. While they no doubt loved exploring all of these properties, the Gaines always promised to settle down one day. It was this mindset that got them to begin working on their own fixer-upper!
Renovating Their Dream Home
Suffice to say, Joanna and Chip are definitely no strangers to renovating homes. So, when they set their eyes on this decrepit looking farmhouse, they saw the end-product rather than what currently stood before them. It’s the ability to see the potential in a piece of property that has made the stars of Fixer Upper so popular among their fans.
Wide Angle of the Property
Here’s another look at the property before the Gaines family began to work on it. As you can see, there was quite a bit of work to do. Without their television production team behind them, Chip and Joanna would be on their own. Can you imagine what they turned this lunk of wood into? By the end of today’s conversation, you’ll have your mind blown by their fixer-upper skills!
Successful Television Career
Before we dive wholesale into the renovation, let’s take a moment to look back at the careers of Chip and Joanna. Fixer Upper officially premiered in 2013. Since then, the series has gone on for five seasons and 56 episodes. More than just a family entertainment show, Fixer Upper has also scored two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for their work. The show officially went off of the air in 2018, but we’ll explore that topic more at a later time.
Meet The Farmhouse
While it may seem sudden, their renovation took nearly 18 months to complete. Here we can see that the Gaines did as much work on the outside of the home as they did on the inside of the property. When they first purchased the farmhouse in 2012, right before they made it big on HGTV, the place barely looked livable. Now, the farmhouse looks like a miniature mansion!
A Long Journey
While Chip and Joanna can renovate a guest’s property in the space of a single episode, doing the job in real life is a whole heck of a lot tougher. It took a full 18 months in order to turn this property into somewhere that they would want to raise their family. Of course, Chip and Joanna were totally fine taking their time. As you’ll see, the land that the property sits on is just as beautiful.
Finally Moving In
While you might expect Joanna and Chip to go crazy renovating their own house, they were actually relatively constrained. By the end of their renovation, the reality television stars had only added a single extension to the home, and that for the master bedroom. It turns out that the famous couple wanted to retain as much old school charm as possible. Who can blame them?
Perfecting the Color
In order to really perfect the look of the home, Joanna wanted something that was soft and elegant. Joanna decided that they needed to lean into white as one of their core color elements. As you’ll soon see, the gentle white color has helped to totally transform the interior of the house. While a slightly controversial decision, Joanna definitely made the most out of her choice.
Rejuvenating the Kitchen
The kitchen is the beating heart of most homes, so it stands to reason that Chip and Joanna would want a nice kitchen of their own. With a gaggle of children to take care of, Joanna and Chip wanted something functional and aesthetically pleasing. This kitchen incorporates a stainless steel island, a hanging wooden rafter, and stark modern lines. Can you imagine having breakfast here?
A Cozy Entrance
When you walk into the home, you instantly feel at ease. With a ‘G’ adorning the wall, it is hard to forget who owns this house! Again, the Gaines paid a lot of attention to functionality while designing their dream home. You can see the hooks and cubbies for stashing supplies when coming inside. You got to do what you can in order to motivate your children to be clean!
Attending to Little Details
What sets Joanna and Chip apart as designers is their ability to notice the little things. It makes total sense that they would remember to add beautiful little touches to their own home. Here you can see a few of the little design and decor decisions that Chip and Joanna made before finishing their renovation.
Gorgeous Living Room
This is the perfect living room for any family that is always on the go. There’s enough comfortable seating for the family to relax, but nothing feels overwhelming. This living room is beautifully designed, and we love the mixed textures that they chose to pursue. The white board set against the faux wooden windows is just a great look.
Sense of Refined Charm
From a decrepit old building to a refined and upscale farmhouse, Chip and Joanna did one heck of a job. We love the rustic-industrial look that the Gaines family managed to pull off for this renovation. You can see that they care deeply about blending both function and fashion into a cohesive space. With a large dining room table and plenty of space for relaxing, this is a great family area!
Now, this looks like the perfect bedroom to pass out in. We love the windows that straddle the bed as well as all of the delicate decors that they incorporated. The white walls mixed with the natural earthen tones combine to make this a bedroom to dream of. What makes this bedroom even cooler is how much it sprawls, but we’ll get to that in a little bit.
Before we move on, let’s take a moment to peek into the master bathroom. This is the extension that we had mentioned earlier. This free-standing en-suite has its own bathtub as well as white tiling. We love how the old door makes the room more inviting than ever. We almost feel like this is a room pulled straight from The Hobbit.
Turn just to the left of the bed and you’ll find yourself staring at what makes this bedroom truly special. A beautiful fireplace is adorned by two chairs and an antique desk. The windows add a ton of light and the white lace curtains create a sense of vulnerable elegance. With a house full of kids, it can be nice to have an adults’ only escape.
Now that we’ve seen where Chip and Joanna sleep, it’s only fair to check out the boys’ room. You can tell right away that the family wanted a clean and open space for their boys to roughhouse. Two bunk beds set the tone and the steel ladders and rails make them pop off of the walls. We continue to love how the wooden floor and white wooden walls blend together.
In the Girls Room
In the girls’ room, things look just a little bit different. For one, this is probably the softest and most delicate looking bedroom to ever exist. This is where Emmie Kay and Ella Rose sleep. They have their own chandelier as well as, probably, the coolest looking dollhouse in the world. While this is smaller than the boys’ room, it certainly feels complete and cozy.
Master Bathroom Interior
Let’s swing back to the master bathroom for a close-up view of the interior. Once you step through the delightfully Hobbit-esque door, you’ll find yourself in a bathroom that blends class with antique appeal. We absolutely adore the hanging chandelier as well as the free-standing tub. The his-and-her sinks are also a phenomenal choice. What do you think of the way that the tiling blends with the wooden ceiling?
Boys Bedroom Layout
Here’s a wider view of the boy’s bedroom. Your eyes will immediately be drawn to the giant map hanging above the bar. On the far wall, you’ll find an exercise ladder and a pair of pinboards that are perfect for adding family photos. While the Gaines are focused on fancy renovations, they make sure to never leave out what is truly important to them, family.
Remember the Family
Speaking of the family, you can’t walk up or down a flight of steps in this house without being reminded of who lives there. The stairwell has been adorned with family photos set inside of dark black frames. The black frames really help to pop off of the wall. We also love the little light bulb sconces that seem to be all over the house.
Adult Business Room
Considering the fact that Joanna and Chip are two television stars with plenty of work to do, it makes sense that they’d have a meeting room. This giant space has been designed for a number of different tasks. The primary table is great for business meetings while the cabinets and side tables are perfect for storing and working on crafts.
Adorable Coffee Bar
Many people don’t understand what makes an interior designer good at what they do. Here, we can see a clear example as to why Chip and Joanna are the best in the business. This nifty little coffee bar is functional, adorable, and completely effective at filling in this awkward room. Knowing how to work with space is so important when you are a designer.
Kids Crafting Room
When the kids want to flex their creative skills, they are sent to the crafting room. With a gorgeous window, a hanging chandelier, and two mounted baskets, we couldn’t find a more inviting room to relax in. What do you think of the stools that are attached to the table? We thought that was a rather inspired decision!
When you have a house filled with children, you have to make a space outside for them to enjoy. We can see the sprawling yard that encapsulates their property, just beyond the fence line. We can also see what appears to be a brick oven stove, a barbecue, and the cutest outdoor picnic table of all time. Could you waste an afternoon in this yard?
View of the Land
Here is another angle of the land encircling the farmhouse. Apparently, their farmhouse came with 40 acres of land that is filled with trees, shrubs, and other plants. While renovating 40 acres of land is tough, Chip and Joanna got right to work on a few of their favorite little passion projects. Let’s take a trip around the property in order to see what our favorite Fixer Uppers stars have been up to.
The PERFECT Greenhouse
Let’s take our first stop at the Greenhouse. Joanna is a pretty big gardening fan, and this greenhouse means that she can tend to her plants no matter the time of the year. This greenhouse is more than just functional, it is absolutely breathtaking. Seriously, look at the refined angles of the building itself. This isn’t a prefabricated greenhouse!
Laid Back Afternoon
A home isn’t really a home when you can’t relax in it. Fortunately, the Gaines family doesn’t have any trouble sitting back and letting peace overwhelm them. The deck is just as pretty as the rest of the house, but with a better view for the family dog. Here we see Joanna and Crew taking a moment to admire the life that they have built.
The Home Office
In some ways, this home office is a little bit upsetting. With that being said, the reason that Chip and Joanna don’t need a home office is simple, they are always on the go and working! On the rare occasion that they get to relax at home, this desk looks perfect for grinding out a few emails while taking in the nearby view.
The Family Room
The family room is probably the most important part of the house. When you have as many kids as Chip and Joanna, you want to have a place where everyone can gather. What picture would be more symbolic of a family gathering than this one? Here, we see everyone doing their own thing while the beauty of the house looms over all.
Enjoying the Fireplace
You aren’t often going to be starting up your fireplace in Texas, but on the rare occasion that you want to, it’s nice to have the option! This fireplace is situated right in the heart of the family room. This would be a great view to take in on a cold, wintry morning. We also have to compliment how much green the Gaines managed to showcase in their home!
Before and After
This incredible before and after picture really shows you how far Chip and Joanna have come. Remember, they purchased this home in 2012, before their show had even gone on the air. For seven years, Chip and Joanna have owned this property. They’ve watched their children grow up while renovating the building. While the actual work only took 18 months, the house has cemented itself as a major part of their life.
Excited for the Future
When Fixer Uppers was pulled off of the air in 2018, fans all over the country reacted with concern. After all, Chip and Joanna didn’t have any new show in development when Fixer Uppers came to a close. Would this be it for our favorite remodeling professionals? Well, if you are reading this paragraph right now, you probably already know that this isn’t where their story ends! Instead, they are moving onto something even bigger and more exciting!
Making Big Moves
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Chip and Joanna have partnered with the Discovery Network in order to take over the DIY Network. Chip, Joanna, and Discovery will work together in order to renovate the DIY Network into the television channel of their dreams. We have a feeling that you’ll be seeing much more of Chip and Joanna in the coming months!
The Champion Taco-Eating Pit Bull
My neighbor Jose had just adopted a special pit bull from the local rescue shelter. It had been the faithful companion for five years of Jose’s elderly friend who had passed away a few months earlier. Because pit bulls have a bad rap, nobody wanted the dog, so the shelter planned to put it to sleep. When my neighbor learned that his friend’s faithful companion was about to be killed, he immediately adopted the dog. I don’t know about cats having nine lives, but that dog definitely got a second life.
That dog went everywhere with Jose. The dog’s name was Lucky, but Jose made a point of calling him something like “Lu-key.” Jose even got that large pooch service-dog certified, which meant he could take that dog into the supermarkets and even into the county fair.
Last July, I was assigned to judge the taco eating contest. A few months later the county fair started. Somehow Jose managed to get Lucky into the fair on my judgment day. According to him, the ticket office at first refused to let Lucky the service dog go in, because of all the other animals there. So Jose was sent to the exhibitor’s entrance, where the fair’s president was. After the president argued with Jose a bit, he was left at the gate with Lucky while the fair officials argued about what to do. During that time, exhibitors with other dogs, cats, pigs, and birds of all kinds, came into the fair through that same gate. Lucky looked at those other animals but did not budge from Jose’s side. Not a sound came from him, though other animals sometimes made a racket. The president noticed that and then decided to let Jose and Lucky conditionally come in; Lucky was in no way to disturb the other animals, children, or people.
A local guy named Walt came to the taco eating contest as a participant, not letting his wife know. We had TV-like tables set up with fifteen Mama Juanita’s Taqueria soft-shelled chicken tacos on each one, the best tacos for hundreds of miles. The contestant who at them the fastest won the contest. It happened that Jose and Lucky were the closest to Walt’s table.
Well, no sooner had I blown the start whistle than Walt’s wife screamed out his name, “Walter Higgins! Get over here!” At that shout, he jumped up and bumped over his table filled with tacos, in front of Lucky. Walt then bolted away from that area as fast as a rooster with its tail feathers aflame. Well, Lucky apparently felt lucky, so he jumped the few feet needed to get at all those tacos on the ground in front of him and started gobbling them down. It wasn’t long before all the contest spectators were watching Lucky, some aiming their Instagram-linked iPhone cameras at him. It was only later we discovered that CNN also had a cameraman at that event. Not only did Lucky eat all the tacos, but he was also the first to finish them as well!
Since the top two human taco eating contest champions were state-level champs, it didn’t take the local folk much time to declare, over the protest of those two guys, Lucky the 2015 taco eating contest winner. CNN national news and its website showed scenes of Lucky gobbling up the last of the tacos. The fair’s Facebook page ended up with the greatest number of views in local history. The social media sensation Lucky would become the “picture boy” for the next state fair.
Bizarre Starfish Found in Palm Beach
A person visiting Palm Beach, Florida witnessed a huge starfish gliding across the sand after low tide. While dislodging itself out of the sand, the creature slowly crawled across the sand, almost looking like it was floating on the surface. The video’s unloader says that he was amazed to watch the bizarre-looking creature embarked on his journey.
The National Geographic notes that starfish are invertebrate and that they are part of the family that consists of sand dollars and sea urchins. The majority of starfish live in tidal pools and coral reefs.
Most starfish have spiny skin and consist of five arms. However, some species can grow to have as many as 50 arms. The one in the video that is going viral has nine arms. Underneath the arms, you can see small little suckers that are used to allow the animal to slowly creep along the ocean floor — in this case along the sand. On the ends of its arms are eye-spots that are light-sensitive and are used for hunting food. They attack prey by attaching themselves and spreading its stomach out through its mouth, essentially vomiting onto its prey, with enzymes breaking down the prey so that the starfish can digest it. While we usually have a pleasant mental image of a beautiful starfish, what’s underneath it is surprisingly terrifying
About The Starfish Species
While it is difficult to determine the type of species in the viral video, it is most likely a Luidia senegalensis. These starfish are known for their unique nine arm formation. Once fully grown, they’ll have a diameter of about 16 inches, with some specimen growing even larger. They could be found in depths of up to 130 feet around the coast of Florida.
Why Are Starfish Found At The Beach?
Most starfish are found in deep waters or in small pools along the beach called tidal pools. During low tide, the ocean pulls back from the beach, revealing small sea animals.
Sometimes starfish are found in beaches because of age or because they are dying. Thankfully the starfish in the viral video looks very robust and healthy, slowly dislodging itself from the sand and crawling to a safe spot in the water or a nearby tidal pool.
What To Do If You Find A Starfish
Joey did the right thing — he kept his distance, and did not disturb the starfish or its environment. Never harvest live starfish for several reasons — unless you can explicitly identify the starfish, you might be handling one that is venomous to human beings. While starfish do not attack humans, they can intentionally or accidentally inflict painful stings with a release of venom when they are handled.
Unfortunately, there’s also the chance of fatally damaging the starfish. Starfish not only sensitive, but they can only breathe while in the water. Some might instantly die when lifted out of the water or touched by a human.
The Day I Met a Baby Gray Whale
In addition to being one of the most curious and intelligent creatures in Earth’s oceans, due to their great size and the fact that they travel vast distances, gray whales are also host to a wealth of scientific data about the health of our oceans. Gray whales have a long history of unique interactions with humans. Most of the time they appear indifferent to us. Sometimes they behave in a friendly way. But during a few points in history, in a small number of locations, legends of gray whales flipping small boats and dragging men beneath the waves have cropped up.
But gray whales can even be dangerous when they do not mean to be. Weighing in at nearly 40 tons, with massive flippers and a huge, powerful tail, gray whales have downed many small boats either accidentally or otherwise. But these fascinating creatures still have a powerful draw for us. They are mysterious, massive, and have eyes which reflect a strangely familiar intelligence.
So when Cheryl and David Kipling set out in hopes of meetings these creatures face to face, it was no small task overcoming their trepidation. Cheryl and David are biologists and run a lab where they study the remains of whales that have been killed prematurely by the actions of humans.
Cheryl explained, “I’ve autopsied the brains of half a dozen gray whales and the one thing that stands out is the size and sophistication of their limbic brain.”
We asked for more clarification on why having a big limbic brain is such a big deal.
She replied, “The limbic brain, in mammals, is the part of the brain that renders emotions. It’s sandwiched between the fore-brain- which is big in humans, and the hindbrain- which controls all of our cravings and reflex instincts. The limbic brain motivates us with feelings. When you look at a puppy and say ‘ahh’ at his big brown eyes, or when you miss a loved one and want to see them, that’s the limbic brain. Judging by the size of their’s, these animals are deeply emotional. They are primarily emotional, in fact- whereas people might be said to be primarily intellect oriented. That’s why it’s such a crime to keep orcas in captivity, separate them from their pods- their families. They suffer intensely.”
Equipped with this new and strange knowledge, going out with Dave and Cheryl to meet the whales felt all the more momentous. Getting out on the water to the right spot where the whale sightings were happening took most of the day. But the weather was beautiful, the water was calm, and we would have been happy even if no whales had shown up. But they did.
The couple spotted a mother and calf breaching the surface some distance off. They were headed in our direction. For several minutes, wonder, anticipation, and- we’ll admit, a little bit of dread were palpable. All I could think about is what I would do if one of these animals accidentally flipped our boat.
But eventually, the mother and calf reached us. They were careening off to the south. But then the baby spotted us and approached our boat. It came right up to the boat and held its long snout out of the water right next to the boat. It just sort of “stood” there. Cheryl and David reached out and stroked the animal’s nose while the mother looked on.
The baby whale turned and looked us over with its oddly small eye, calmly, almost serenely as Cheryl and David stroked her. Then the whales passed as quietly as they came. I’ll never forget the lucidity and the depth of feeling in the eye of that baby whale.
World’s Smallest McDonald’s Restaurant Draws Attention to Important Issue
McDonald’s is one of the world’s leading fast food restaurant chains, with Statista noting that they had as many as 37,855 restaurants open across the globe as of the end of last year. Given the sheer number of McDonald’s restaurants currently operation, one would think that the opening of another one would barely register on an international level, but that was not the case.
That’s due in large part to this particular restaurant being dedicated to serving customers of a different species.
The Remarkable McHive
In partnership with the advertising agency NORD DDB, McDonald’s created a miniature replica of one of their restaurants. The small restaurant, known as the McHive, features many of the same elements that people will see if they visit one of the McDonald’s branches in their area.
There are drive-thru windows present on the McHive, large windows, and outdoor seating for guests who may prefer to dine in an open-air environment. One can even see some posters advertising the restaurant chain’s offerings plastered on the walls of the “World’s Smallest McDonald’s.”
Of course, it cannot be called a McDonald’s restaurant without those iconic golden arches serving as its crowning glory.
This restaurant isn’t designed for people to dine in though. Instead, the McHive, as its name already hints at, is meant to house bees.
The Meaning behind the McHive
The McHive is actually a nod to a movement initiated by branches of the fast food chain in Sweden. Some of the McDonald’s restaurants in the aforementioned country have started to house beehives on their rooftops.
Also of note, the McHive features beehives on top of its roof and inside of it as well.
Via AdWeek, McDonald’s Sweden marketing director Christoffer Rönnblad said that the restaurant chain is happy to spread the message of sustainability. McDonald’s has gotten behind the practice of hosting beehives on the rooftops of their restaurants.
Set designer Nicklas Nilsson was responsible for the creation of the McHive. Since the release of the video showing off the McHive, the gorgeous structure has been auctioned off and the proceeds from it have gone to Ronald McDonald House charities.
While McDonald’s efforts to promote sustainable and to help the bee population are laudable, they will need more help to succeed.
The Concerning Status of the Bee Population
According to a recent report from ABC News, the bee population is continuing to decrease at an alarming rate. Research notes that 37.7 percent of the managed bee population declined from Oct. 1, 2018 to April 1 of this year.
That’s a noticeable decline in the managed bee population and it represents the largest winter losses since surveys were first conducted back in 2006. Accounting for a larger of window of time that goes from April 1, 2018 to April 1, 2019, the reported losses in the managed bee population totaled 40.7 percent.
Scott McArt, the assistant professor of pollinator health at Cornell University, described the aforementioned losses in the managed bee population as “unsustainably high.” McArt also mentioned that the losses can be explained in part by the presence of the varroa mite parasite that has been known to carry and spread diseases inside beehives.
According to EarthDay.org, other factors contributing to the decline of the bee population include climate change, habitat fragmentation, and the use of certain pesticides.
The decline of the population is not something to be taken lightly. Bees play an important role in the world’s ecosystem as they are excellent pollinators. Plants pollinated by bees are said to make up 35 percent of the world’s food production.
Furthermore, the loss of bees could indirectly affect other animals that sustain themselves on the products that come about as a result of pollination.
Should the bee population continue to drop at an unsustainable rate, the effects on food production for all creatures that inhabit the Earth could be quite severe.
Your Older Brother Meets You Everday After School …In a Different Costume.
Siblings have been well known for doing weird things to each other. It’s the kind of experience that can shape memories and their opinions of each other for a lifetime and be brought up well into their senior years with either laughter, anger or both. So, it’s no surprise that Noah Tingle, as an older brother, would likely leave an impression on his younger sibling. However, it’s the way that Noah went about this time-honored behavior between brothers that stands out as so different.
The fact is, Noah is a persistent fellow. And he wanted to make an impression on his younger brother, Max, that would last a lifetime. This intentional act took planning, and a lot of different resources. Because, as Noah figured out, it takes a lot of creativity to stay with the program that he came up with.
The first day Noah’s plan went into effect, his younger brother had no idea what was in store for him. It was a normal day of going to school, getting on the bus, sitting all day in class, yearning for those midday breaks, and then the bus ride home. Except that’s where things went different. When Max got off the schoolbus at his stop only to find his older brother standing at the stop waiting for him, in a full costume, his senses went into def-con 5 mode. The 12-year-old didn’t know whether to laugh or get back on the bus. Worse, the costumed goof came running at him with arms wide open for a big hug. Scary!
This wonderful, crazy, insane, scary, funny experience continued every school day. And while Noah’s younger brother got used to the idea of his older sibling waiting for him, each day was a new costume. From the obvious and easy ones like Santa Claus, a football player and a dinosaur to the more complicated ones like Star Wars’ Chewbacca, Noah was diligently at the bus stop to make his brother’s day.
Not only did Noah completely make his brother embarrassed by the whole affair, he also made Max the talk of his own school. The younger brother wasn’t the only kid on the bus every afternoon, after all. So Along with Max, every other kid on the bus got to see the costumes as well, something the younger brother wasn’t going to live down anytime soon. And, over time, Max started looking forward to the surprise each day and what new costume Noah could come up with a day’s time.
Their mom got in on the act and began posting photos of the outfits on social media. No surprise, it gained a quick audience and big following, making Max’s “ordeal” now a bit of a national even and story of life on the Internet. Folks even got in on the act helping Noah out by sending him costumes they came up with or procured, so the older brother would haven’t to be entirely on his own keeping the gig going. There have been some real knock-outs as a result, enough to be contenders for a future Burning Man trip probably.
Once Noah goes away to college the costume parade will end, but Max’s memory of the entire affair won’t. It’s the kind of thing siblings talk about for decades to come. And that’s what Noah wanted for his brother to remember him by.
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