What's Up With Those Famous 'Fixer Upper' Homes Now?
It's still kind of hard to take in: The wildly popular HGTV series "Fixer Upper" will be ending soon. Yes, just as it seems that our collective obsession with its hosts, Chip and Joanna Gaines, knows no bounds—we'll be cut off. Many fans, no doubt, are awaiting the show's fifth and final season with heavy hearts, while others may wistfully reminisce about the homes Chip and Jo have already slathered in shiplap and farmhouse chic in seasons past.
And that got us wondering: What's up with that good old Barndominium these days, anyway? Or the Shotgun House? Or any of the other homes that gained fame on the show?
Curious, we did some digging down memory lane ... and were surprised to find that the plot twists just kept coming for many of these places. Here are five homes whose fates continued to unfold long after their episodes aired, proving that "Fixer Upper" cachet comes with a whole lot of surprises.
The Three Little Pigs House
What's up with it now? It's undergoing repairs after a car crashed into it.
During Season 3, Ken and Kelly Downs bought a 100-year-old Craftsman that Chip nicknamed the "Three Little Pigs House" because it looked so fragile that a strong wind (or wolf) might have been able to blow it down. After Chip and Jo fixed it up, the place looked great—and far less delicate. Nonetheless, no building other than Fort Knox could have withstood what happened next.
One night in July of this year, a drunk driver crashed into the home, smashing through an exterior wall. Luckily, no one was hurt, but the incident soured how the Downses felt about their new digs.
“This is a 'Fixer Upper' gone bad," Kelly told the Tribune-Herald. “It’s like the Wild West here. There’s been a lot of commotion coming from the bars and the store across the street. ... It’s been a problem from the beginning.”
Yet many defended the Gaineses, and argued that the Downses should have done their due diligence on the neighborhood before making this purchase. Let's just say they learned a hard lesson: No matter how much you love a house, take a look at what's around it, too.
What's up with it now? It's the centerpiece of a heated court case.
During Season 3, Chip and Joanna renovated the Barndominium for theMeek family, who eventually sold it to Kristi Bass. Sensing an opportunity, Bass began renting out the Lacy Lakeview, TX, five-bedroom on Airbnb, making anywhere from $600 to $1,500 per night, depending on how many people crashed there (the listing claims it can sleep 16-plus).
Since then, it's been booked almost continuously, but all that tourist traffic ruffled the neighbors, who complained that Bass was running a business without a permit. The city tried to shut the short-term rentals down, but the case got tied up in court. It's anybody's guess what will happen, but for now, at least, the place is still rentable, and odds are that Bass can more than cover all of the attorney fees.
The Shotgun House
What's up with it now? It's for sale at a shockingly high price.
In Season 3, Cameron and Jessica Bell paid $28,000 for the 1,050-square-foot, one-bedroom Shotgun House. It was in a sorry state, but Chip and Jo worked their magic on the place, turning it into a small, yet modern masterpiece.
You'd expect that all that work would give some boost to the home's value, but many a jaw dropped when the couple put the tiny place on the market in June 2017 for a whopping $950,000. That's precisely $905 per square foot, when the average price in the area is only $99 per square foot!
Granted, location may have played a role; the home is incredibly close to Chip and Joanna's Magnolia Market shopping and entertainment complex, which has driven up property prices nearby. Still, will anyone really cough up this much cash? Only time will tell.
The Plain Gray Ranch
What's up with it now? It's languishing on the market after several price cuts.
But not all homes featured on "Fixer Upper" end up listed for a million bucks. One case in point is Season 4's "Plain Gray House" in Woodway, TX. Back in May 2015, Melissa and Matthew Yielding bought this 60-year-old, three-bedroom ranch for $134,000. Once the Gaineses had their way with it, "plain" is the last thing you'd think of its brand-new open floor plan, and the kitchen island with built-in seating designed by Joanna. They even added a fireplace!
So when the Yieldings put this house on the market in May of this year, for the relatively modest price of $325,000, you'd think someone would have snapped it up. Yet after a few weeks, the couple cut the price to $310,000. This did attract an offer, but that deal fell through, so, as of August, it's back on the market, this time for $290,000.
Granted, the couple is selling the place for more than twice what they paid ... but in the "Fixer Upper" universe, that's peanuts. What happened? Perhaps it's because the home's location isn't all that close to Magnolia Market, making those "Fixer Upper" fan vacations more of a hassle. In any case, it suggests that not all of Chip and Jo's homes turn to solid gold.
The Hilltop House
What's up with it now? Although rejected on "Fixer Upper," it's Airbnb-able anyway!
If the "Hilltop House" doesn't sound familiar to you, you're not alone. The current owner, Michelle Butler, didn't even realize her house had been featured on "Fixer Upper" until her friend called her, saying, "Your house is on TV! Turn it on!"
Sure enough, there was Chip standing inside her house. How did this happen? Well, you may recall that most of the home buyers on the show shop a few properties before picking, and the Hilltop House was one of the rejects. Soon after that, Butler came by and bought it for $207,000, not knowing of the home's brief flirtation with fame.
Only once Butler saw her place on TV, she decided she might as well see if she could make a buck, too. She listed one of her bedrooms on Airbnb, claiming that it had been "featured on 'Fixer Upper'" (which is technically correct).
And guess what? The room basically booked right up, every night it's available (weekends only). Which may seem like a head-scratcher, given that Chip and Jo didn't do anything to the home. To be fair, the room costs only $48 per night, is close to Magnolia Market, and is dog-friendly to boot. Plus, it goes to show just how small a dose of "Fixer Upper" fame a home needs to stand out.
Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning writer who covers lifestyle, entertainment, real estate, design, and travel. Find her on AtHomeInHollywood.com.