Chip and Joanna Gaines are known for their signature modern farmhouse style, but lately, they’re exploring different looks in their new show “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home.”
In the Season 1 episode “Modern Take on Old-World Charm,” Chip and Joanna meet Nicole, a young woman who’s just returned to Waco, TX, after years of missionary work. She’s ready to settle down—but after all her experience traveling, she wants her American abode to have a more worldly design.
She’s hoping to give her midcentury farmhouse a European cottage makeover—but this may prove to be a bigger challenge than she realizes. While Chip and Jo have a $100,000 budget to play with, they’ll need to use every dollar wisely if they’re going to bring some European charm to every room.
Read on to see how Chip and Joanna completely change this home’s style, and find out which old-world looks are coming back—which might inspire a few changes around your own abode, too.
Use copper gutters for an elevated exterior look
When Chip and Joanna first see Nicole’s new home, they know the exterior needs some freshening up. The exposed brick is a little too midcentury for Nicole’s taste, so Joanna decides to paint the brick a creamy white, add some wood-tone shutters, and refresh the blue door.
Still, there’s something missing from this old-world look. Joanna decides to add copper gutters to give the house an extra touch of color.
“When I think about this cream exterior, with these antique shutters, a Frenchy blue door, copper gutters is, like, perfect,” Joanna says.
While Chip says that typical vinyl gutters would be less expensive and look great, Joanna knows that this copper upgrade will make a big difference for this home. When the work is done, the house looks perfect. The gutters add a bit more color to the exterior, and give the house a classic, elegant look.
Update the flooring with terra cotta
While the exterior of Nicole’s home needs only a few upgrades, the dated interior needs lots of work.
Chip and Joanna know right away that the old carpet and tile floors will have to go, which is perfect, because Nicole says she has her heart set on terra-cotta floors.
While terra cotta may not be as popular as hardwood, it’s a great flooring choice because of its warm color and unique texture. Plus, while these floors would be new, she knows that terra cotta will make the space feel aged, helping to accomplish that old-world vibe.
“Great material,” Chip says. “Definitely it’s going to give her a European feel.”
Chip lays the terra-cotta bricks in a basket-weave pattern, giving the home an extra special, custom look. Then, to finish it, they put down lots of cozy rug accents to bring the design together.
Arches are back—and defy everything we’ve been told to do
Arches are sometimes seen as a dated style that makes a room feel closed off. Time and again, we’ve been told to break down walls to make a space feel open. But for this renovation, Joanna eats those words by saying she wants to put an archway in.
“Chip would say I’m, like, the worst in that when there’s walls I want to take ’em out. When there’s not walls I want to put ’em in,” Joanna jokes as she shows Nicole her design ideas. “It’s confusing, I get that. But for this space, your style, it needed more character.”
While adding a wall may seem like a strange idea, Joanna explains that adding this archway will bring some character to the long living and dining space, giving them definition so the area doesn’t look like one long box.
This feature ends up being an “overarching” success as it gives the house that cottage feel Nicole loves.
Use a rounded kitchen island for a more classic look
With plain white cabinets and dated tile floors, Chip and Joanna are wholly unimpressed with Nicole’s kitchen. However, they’re interested in the curved design of the upper cabinets. In fact, they love the detail so much they decide to re-create that feel in the new design.
“I loved the curved cabinets that you had, so the island will be a nod back to that,” Joanna explains.
This curved island has the European look Nicole wants, and the rounded edges work well with the archway in the dining room. Together, these curves give the house a soft, romantic charm.
Use wallpaper on the ceiling to bring the eye up
When it comes to the bedroom, Joanna wants to give Nicole a cozy space filled with lots of cottage-inspired charm. She uses soft textures and light colors in this space. Then, to add some style, she chooses a floral wallpaper for the ceiling.
“It just feels like there’s a lot of visual interest kind of everywhere you look, but it is still subtle and simple,” Joanna says of the wallpaper accent.
The wallpaper design is a great choice, and Joanna does well deciding to put it on the ceiling, rather than the walls. The pattern brings the eye up and gives the room a unique look.
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