Exclusive Interview with Fixer Upper Client Jaime Ferguson

About a year ago, I had not just one person, but two people, on two separate occasions stop me and tell me that I looked like Joanna Gaines on the new HGTV show Fixer Upper. I don't have cable, though when we did eons ago, I loved watching anything on HGTV.  I had no idea who Joanna Gaines was but since I kept hearing this, I googled her.

source HGTV

Of course when I did, not only did her image come up {I will agree, it does seem like we have similar clothes in our closet and we both have long dark hair...}, but images of her home and work that she's done came up. Holy cow!

Me and Jojo side by side
Long lost sisters?  You decide

I instantly loved her style and I watched illegal YouTube videos of the first season. You know, the videos that people take with their phones of them watching their TV. I kid you not, one of them had a parrot squawking through the.entire.episode. And yet, I powered through because what's not to love about the hit show Fixer Upper.  {if watching illegal episodes isn't your thing you can find episodes here, legit and everything}

When my oldest son started looking for colleges, Baylor University caught his eye. I knew very little about Waco other than David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, but it seemed like Chip and Joanna were making fairly good work sprucing that town up so it was a location that stayed on my radar. Just a few weeks ago, with an acceptance letter in hand, we made our way to Texas for the first time making a stop in Waco. You can read more about our visit to Magnolia Farms and the Silos and five things you need to know before you visit.

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about today's post! Are you ready Fixer Upper fans?

fixer upper clients exclusive interview

It seems like everyone is talking about Fixer Upper, and while I can't say I've seen every episode I do enjoy the show when I can catch it.  I was able to get in contact with Jaime Ferguson from the episode "A Big Fix for a House in the Woods" and she was kind enough to give me the inside scoop on what it was like to be a client of Chip and Joanna Gaines and share her experience on Fixer Upper after her family's move back to Waco, Texas.

Ferguson home on Fixer upper

What made you apply for the show and what was the application process like?

Our family made the big move to Waco from Austin when my husband, through a lot of thought and prayer, decided to partner up with his childhood friend, "Shorty", of Shorty's Pizza Shack and help run the restaurant. We picked up and moved our family in the middle of the school year which was exciting yet challenging. We moved into a nice duplex with the intent to figure things out once there. While living in the duplex, Kyle was working every day from morning until late night, and I was overwhelmed on the entire house process. 

I applied to HGTV and heard from the casting agency the next day. After that it was a quick, big, exciting blur consisting of a Skype interview, written questionnaire and some phone calls and meetings.  I think things might be different now that it's gotten so big!

You are a fan of the show. As a fan turned client, what was the one thing that surprised you about the whole Fixer Upper process?

How they had delicious food trucks for us at lunch time the last day of filming (reveal day)!  Just kidding! Honestly I already knew that Joanna and her team were immensely talented which is why I can't imagine anyone else renovating our home, but I was completely unaware of how much quality work goes into Magnolia Renovations. 

There is not a door in my house that isn't surrounded in beautiful thick wood trim casing. They just finish out the entire project (parts you don't see on the show) to a tee. They even did space planning in our master closet.  Basically they rock at their jobs!  Another crazy thing is that we filmed from approximately 8 am to around 4 pm for the reveal...and it lasted about 2 minutes on TV. It's crazy to see it condensed down!

What was it like working with Chip and Joanna? Is Chip really that big of a goofball?

They are great to work with. Chip is 100% a goofball. In fact he had us laughing the entire time to the point that it was all edited out. They must really have a hard time figuring out which funny thing to use in each episode because he doesn't quit! Joanna is a lot more reserved, but very thoughtful when she talks. I was in awe of her during our real estate filming day because she was constantly thinking about different cool things about each house. For example she was quiet for awhile during a tour in one home, and then turned and asked how many trees were in the front yard. She had been counting the trees! I think she's just immensely gifted at what she does.

What rooms did you have renovated by Chip and Joanna and which rooms did you decide to tackle on your own?

They actually renovated our entire home. The rooms you didn't see were just cosmetic--carpet, paint, new fixtures. 

Joanna does an amazing job staging the home before the big reveal. Many viewers don't realize that the furnishings aren't all part of the end project. What items did you keep and how were you able to incorporate your own furnishings?

She does do an amazing job! She was wonderful and incorporated some of our favorite pieces that we already owned. I have a big blue buffet that's special to me! We bought it when we were first married. It was cherry wood. One day in Austin I decided I wanted to jazz it up so I painted it blue, antiqued it and added gold gilding. So when Joanna wanted to use that piece in our final design it made me giddy! 

Fixer Upper client home tour

She also used our antique gray and black dresser that I scored in Round Top many years ago from some fabulous men in Iowa, and our old sofa in the music room. She hung a few of our things up as well like a mirror and some framed music sheets in the music room. 

music room

When it came time to pack up all their beautiful staging furniture Kyle and I had to decide what we really loved because our budget at that point was pretty spent. We decided to keep the coffee table from Wayfair.com, two striped chairs from Wayfair and the dining table. Joanna gifted some of the music room items that she had custom made for Kyle. So special!

sun room with wayfair chair

Speaking of the big reveal...tell me about that massive before picture they roll in front of the house. I hear you get to keep it.  What did you do with it?

The picture was very large and really fun. When I saw it I basically knew that behind it was what we'd been waiting on for several months--aughh!  I haven't seen the poster since that day...I have no clue where they go!  Even if we did get to keep it, I'm not sure what you'd do with it because it's taller than a room! 

Are you as obsessed with your bathroom and kitchen as I am? What are your favorite features of your new home?

open kitchen

Yes! My kitchen is my dream kitchen! It is more than I could have ever dreamed to have one day. It is so efficient that it took me two months to learn it. Seriously there is a place for everything from dishtowel hangers to hidden spice racks to pan dividers to huge drawers for pots and pans. I LOVE IT. Plus when I cook I am able to still visit with my kids because they're usually on a bar stool doing homework, visiting or eating or in the living room during that time. It's my fave!

spa bathroom

As for that bathroom that everyone loves...yes, we love it, but I have to say that Kyle and I felt like we were in a very fancy hotel for a good three months living here. We would joke that we haven't even ever been to a hotel as nice as our bathroom!  We love it...it's lived in now but still beautiful! 

bathroom vanity

The antique dresser was such a beautiful touch that did not go unnoticed by me--I think it just makes an already beautiful bathroom unique with character. They added shelving in the water closet behind the door that is finished out with beautiful knobs...they seriously leave nothing undone.

The Gaines' are such sweet people and it seems like they become fast friends with their clients. Are you guys hanging out at their Farmhouse and having pizza dates at your pizza shop now?

shorty's pizza
photo courtesy of Jaime Ferguson

Oh that would be so cool! They do get Shorty's from time to time, but we don't really hang out. I think life is pretty busy for them with all this new found success and adventures, and their first priority is obviously their family.  

The one thing I hear the most from viewers of the show is about cost. The cost of living, the cost of renovations and the cost of labor are all so darn cheap it seems in Waco, Texas! In fact, some people I've heard from don't want to watch the show because the budgets just seem so unrealistic. As a client using your real money, how do you answer these questions?

I can only speak for our experience but the budget is definitely real. We had several meetings with the Magnolia team prior to the renovation that centered around a proposed plan and budget. As for real estate costs, it definitely depends where you look in Waco. I have never seen a town with such beautiful houses all over with such charm and history, however so many of them have been neglected for years or are in areas that are needing overhauls. We went for school district, so we're more out in the burbs. Coming from a thriving Austin market we had a good budget to work with. 

The home that eventually became Magnolia House bed and breakfast was a home that you toured potentially to buy. Joanna actually fell in love with the home and later purchased it. Why didn't you buy that house and do you regret it, especially now that you have seen her vision completed?

The "Wild West house" as it was called on the episode obviously became the beautiful Magnolia Bed and Breakfast.  

The Wild West house was a beautiful Victorian style house right in the center of the cute town of McGregor. While we loved the idea of the house, it just wasn't going to work for our family for several reasons. It is 7 miles past the house we chose, making it that much farther away from Waco where Kyle works.

It also sits on a great corner lot in the middle of the town, about a block or two off of one of the main roads in McGregor, making it absolutely perfection for Joanna's vision of a bed and breakfast, however we were really craving a neighborhood setting for our children to be able to bike and play in with friends. Lastly, we really wanted a guest room for family. This is the first time we've lived away from family, and since a lot of our family are also Baylor Bears and avid sports fans, we knew we'd have company often. The "Wild West House" only had 3 bedrooms upstairs with not much space to spare. 

All in all it was an absolute gem of a house with so many historical touches that we loved, but some of the key things we wanted in our home weren't there. It is honestly in the perfect place for a bed and breakfast with a great set-up. McGregor has that quaint, small town charm with some great places to eat and enjoy. The Magnolia house is in the best location to enjoy the cute town, while being only a hop, skip and jump from Waco to enjoy the Waco experience as well. Joanna's vision is another home run! 

Fixer Upper clients
photo courtesy of Jaime Ferguson

Anything else you want to add?

The experience was wonderful and worth it. We feel like we're living in our dream house that was renovated to perfection by the Magnolia team. We will forever be grateful! 

I simply cannot thank Jaime enough. We have spent countless hours e-mailing back and forth and it feels like I have made a fast friend. If I make it to Waco again {fingers crossed} I'm hoping we can meet up over some Shorty's pizza!

If you have plans for a visit to Waco, here are 5 things you need to know before you visit Magnolia Market

Magnolia Market

I have a few inside details that I have saved exclusively for my e-mail subscribers. If you want to know some juicy tid bits from the inside, and see some behind the scenes photos you can subscribe here.  You can also binge watch old episodes of Fixer Upper.

You will not only receive the inside scoop {complete with pictures!}, you will also get a detailed list of finishes and paint colors the Ferguson family has in their home. You guys are going to want this information! You can't get this inside scoop any where else!

Not to worry Fixer Upper Fans! There is more inside scoop to be had. Jaime has been kind enough to take some photos of her home so that we can see side by side what her home looks like now that her family has been living there for six months. {update! Inside a Fixer Upper Client's Home After the Show}

I have also put together a post so that you can get the Fixer Upper look for your home. Subscribe to my e-mail to get the first glance as soon as those posts go live. I know you won't want to miss a thing!

Like peeking inside homes? Check out the latest on how a young couple is rehabbing this historic mansion. You won't believe the changes they have made to it. You can follow along on their journey!

dislaimer: there are affiliate links included in this post. If you purchase from them, I may get a percentage of the sale that will help support my blog. Thank you.

**copyright February 17, 2016 Rachel Teodoro @holycraft.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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