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The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines


Author: Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines

Publisher: Thomas Nelson


Publish Date: October 18, 2016

ISBN-10: 718079183

Pages: 208

File Type: Epub

Language: English

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Book Preface

I have always been one to play it safe. If it were up to me, the less risk involved the better. But this isn’t how the story goes—because I am married to the one, the only, Chip Carter Gaines.

One day back in early 2012, my husband decided to go window-shopping online. That’s always a risky thing to do, but when Chip’s the man behind the mouse it can be downright dangerous. I never know what object—or animal—might show up at my front door on the back of some random delivery truck.

On this particular day, Chip happened to spot a used houseboat for sale.

We’d been living in a house that we were getting ready to flip and we’d just started renovating our farmhouse outside of Waco, Texas, which meant we were on the hunt for a temporary place to live. So Chip clicked through the pictures of that floating two-story shanty with its microscopic kitchen and had a full-blown Chip Gaines epiphany.

I really thought to myself, How cool would it be to move our family onto a houseboat? We can put it on one of the lakes down here, and the kids and I can fish for breakfast from the balcony. Wow! Jo’s gonna love this.

So he bought it. Sight unseen. We just barely had our heads above water at that point, and he went and threw tens of thousands of dollars down on that thing. And then he didn’t say a word. He had it shipped to Waco on a monster tractor-trailer and couldn’t wait to show off his surprise when it finally arrived. After all our years of marriage, he was still clueless about how I might react.

I had no idea any of this was going on, of course. But right around that same time, on some random weeknight, I received a phone call from an out-of-state number I didn’t recognize. I picked it up.

“Hi, I’m Katie Neff, and I work for a television production company,” the woman on the line said. “I saw some of your designs online, and I was wondering . . .”

This Katie had apparently seen photos of our most recent flip house that I’d designed, the one we were living in at the time. A few weeks earlier a friend of mine, Molly, had submitted those photos to a popular blog called, and I’d been excited that a blog with thousands of followers wanted to feature it. It was the first time my work had ever really been featured on a design blog other than my own. I had a loyal local following back then, but no national following to speak of.

“I loved what you did,” Katie continued, “so I looked you up and read your blog too. I see that you and your husband work together, and I was just wondering: Would you ever want to be on a TV show?”

I sat there and thought, Did I just hear that right?

“What about us would you want to show on TV?” I asked.

“Well, we just love how organic it is—that you and your husband work together. Not only do you sell homes, but you also flip and renovate them. We think it’s unique that you’re a husband-and-wife team.” She went on and on, and I finally said, “Well, let me talk to Chip and I’ll get back with you.”

I got with Chip, and he immediately said, “That’s a scam. Don’t call them back.”

I was just skeptical. Back in high school I had some buddies who were always trying to get into modeling. They would go to these “agents” and “casting calls” and then wind up paying some guy $1,000 to take their headshots, and nothing would ever come of it. So, yeah, I thought it was something like that.

Jo really thought we should give them a shot, but I was just like, “Jo, I’m telling you, there’s no way this is legit. We’re gonna meet these people, and they’ll get us all excited thinking they’re gonna make us famous or something, and then say, ‘Oh, by the way, you need to pay us twenty grand.’ ”

I somehow convinced Chip to let me call Katie back. We didn’t have a lot of money just lying around, so I knew there was no way anyone could trick us out of thousands of dollars. (Of course, I knew nothing about that houseboat yet!)

Sure enough, within a couple of weeks Katie sent an entire camera crew to Waco to spend five days filming us for what they called a “sizzle reel”—basically an extended commercial they would put together to try to sell a television series based on the two of us and our little business. They never asked us for any money at all. They were legit, which made us wonder: Why in the world would anyone care to watch us on TV? We don’t even watch TV. These people have to be nuts.

After the crew spent a couple of days with us, they started thinking they might be nuts too. Chip and I were horrible. We were scared of the cameras, which is hilarious because Chip is the most talkative guy I know. But like clockwork, the moment that red light turned on, he froze.

My mouth was all dry and I couldn’t think straight, and Jo was a little dull. They just followed Jo around and tried to make something out of nothing. It was pretty obvious this could not make good television. We were just awful. We really were.


Blessings in (a Big, Ugly) Disguise

Chapter 1 First Dates and Second Chances

Chapter 2 New Directions

Chapter 3 Something Old, Something New

Chapter 4 The Honeymoon’s Over

Chapter 5 Opening Up

Chapter 6 White Picket Fences

Chapter 7 One Door Closes

Chapter 8 Down to Our Roots

Chapter 9 Chipping In

Chapter 10 Flipping Out

Chapter 11 Home-less

Chapter 12 Getting to the Bottom

Chapter 13 Surviving or Thriving

Chapter 14 Heeding the Call

Chapter 15 The Bloom

Q & A with Chip and Joanna

About the Authors


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