Now that we’ve watched every episode of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, we have to admit, we have a lot of questions. How did this couple get on the show? What about the rest of the rooms in the house? What are Chip and Joanna like in real life? Do the homeowners get to keep the furniture? After all, there are a whole lot of camera men hiding behind those shiplap walls.
So we chatted with Rachel Whyte, a Waco-based photographer and mom of two who appeared on Fixer Upper season 3, about what really happened behind the scenes as Chip and Joanna renovated her home.
While we often see surprise expenses pop up during renovations (cue Chip trying to avoid calling the clients!), the Whytes weren’t in for any costly surprises.
“Joanna actually called us along the way to ask if we would like an iron railing on the staircase, which was normal wood at the time,” says Rachel. “It was essentially an upgrade, because [Chip and Joanna] decided they wanted to try something different.”
For reveal day, Rachel and Luke were asked to meet Chip and Joanna at a location near their house. Then, they got into Chip and Joanna’s Chevy Suburban, and were driven to the home—just like we see on the show. Homeowners are always instructed to close their eyes when they’re nearby, says Rachel. “But I snuck a peek to see if the house was white and I was able to see that it was, so I could rest easy and the rest would be smooth sailing,” she admits.
Chip and Joanna then pulled back the giant canvas poster to allow Rachel and Luke to finally see their new home. “How it happens on TV is how it happens in real life!” says Rachel.
The entire reveal lasted from 10 a.m. to around 1 p.m. “Magnolia only renovated the parts of our house that were seen on the show, as well as one additional bedroom,” Rachel explains. “We did the other two bedrooms and bathrooms ourselves after moving in, in an effort to save money. In hindsight, we should have had Chip and Joanna do it all. Remodeling a house you live in is not very fun!”
Rachel says the makeover surprised her—in a good way. “I thought Joanna would implement her style but she really pays attention to what the homeowner wants,” she says, adding that she was most excited by the gold hardware in the kitchen. “I requested to have it, but I didn’t think I was going to get it because there was some discussion that it might be too feminine to go with the ruggedness of our home,” says Rachel.
While it wasn’t Rachel’s first Fixer Upper reveal day given her relationship with the Gaineses, she says the experience was totally different as the homeowner.
“It was a cool switch to go from being somewhat of a behind-the-scenes presence on the set of the show to then being one of Chip and Jo’s clients,” she says. “I obviously knew them because of working with them, and Luke and I had known of them from our church, too. We were able to have lunch with them several times during filming, so it was fun to get to know them on a more personal level.”
Now for the big question: Do they get to keep the furniture? Rachel says this is one of the most common questions she gets from Fixer Upper fans who have seen her episode.”I think it’s so funny because you wouldn’t want to get rid of all your furniture,” she says. After the cameras stop rolling, any furniture that was used to stage the home is taken away, unless the homeowners have an additional budget for it. However, anything custom that Clint makes, as well as any custom design work, gets to stay (whew!).
“They give you an itemized list of how much everything costs at the end to see if you want to purchase things at a discounted price,” explains Rachel, who has since started a tour company, along with her husband and another past Fixer Upper client, called Waco Tours.
In some cases, as you see on the show, Joanna works the pieces homeowners already own into her designs. “I wasn’t really sad to see the staged decorations go,” says Rachel. “We did buy some of the decor, but I was excited to fill our home with our things and make it ours.”
See What the Whyte House Looks Like Now
So what’s life like after the cameras stop rolling? “It has been a lot of fun to make it feel like home,” says Rachel. “I’m the type of person who likes to get things done quickly and all at once rather than doing a little here and there over time. So within six months of living here, our house was completely decorated!”
Original article found at: https://www.countryliving.com/life/entertainment/a18652613/what-its-really-like-to-be-on-fixer-upper/