Yes, this is a long read, and yes it’s about the You-Know-Who’s. But it says (verifies?) everything we instinctively don’t like about the Fixer Upper effect. The #shiplap hashtags, the national obsession, the gentrification, the whitewashing (literal and figurative), the rumblings of anti-LGBTQ religious stances, the bougie-ness, the very Instagrammable-ness of it all.
And while it’s all about Waco, Texas, it’s also about our towns. (Well, Beacon, cohost J’s town, at least. How about Milton/Marlboro, Rob?) Many towns. Many downtowns in any American city. How do we improve and build even better communities for everyone who lives there? How can we all come along for the ride? Can we do that while having some personal fun and individuality in design???
BTW, we’ll get over the Gaines eventually. It’s just that they, like this article, seem to sum up a lot of the conversational threads of the middle class home/garden/shelter/real estate sphere. We’ll be back to ogling hot gardeners or obsessing over wallpaper in a hot minute.
This month we make sure you’re a real trendoid by dissecting our most (and least) favorite so-called trends from BHG’s Trend issue. We’re dubious about ’70’s glam (curate it, please), all-in on mural wallpapers, and totally over a certain color–this time, even the #houseplants get in on the action. Rob is only here for the zoodles, while J. does something unconventional and has to get something off his chest. And which of these trends did we totally call in our January live episode? Remember, we’re not shoving trends down your throat–we’re only gently strongly suggesting them. Signature cocktail: “Matchamacallit” inspired by the matcha-mint “shamrock” shake. Recipe taste testing on our YouTube channel: red lentil soup and hen-of-the-woods tart. Music by Bensound.com.
This is the last and final time we’ll tag Chip and Joanna Gaines’ design aesthetic for hate. It’s not that we hate the Magnolia Home aesthetic completely (though it is a bit white on white on white.) To their credit, they have perfected the intersection of farmhouse chic and industrial modern. It’s a look that works in many home and commercial settings. The problem: it’s the ONLY look they offer and its EVERYWHERE.
There’s no doubt about it, “Fixer Upper” was a monstrous hit for HGTV. For many of us, the show had a fresh appeal at its start. By the end of the season one, it was abundantly clear that the Gaines’ would be serving up the same exact look episode after episode. Can you say “shiplap?” The show went on for 4 more seasons! The monotony of Magnolia Home design and décor was mind-numbing. Moreover, “Fixer Upper” came to epitomize the monotonous offerings on home improvement television networks.
Anyone saddened by the end of “Fixer Upper” doesn’t have to go far to get their fix of Magnolia Home. Product lines can be found at Pier 1, Target, and Home Depot just to name a few retailers. (There’s also their higher-end licensing deals (like Loloi carpets). We don’t begrudge them their success (well, maybe a tiny bit.) It is the ubiquitous nature of their design line that’s ripe for hate. Magnolia Home muted off-white tones, galvanized containers, and “salvaged” accents are seemingly everywhere. (And they themselves are everywhere: even the check-out aisles via People and other celebrity news magazines.)
It begs the question: Does a pervasive design aesthetic stifle creativity and individual expression in our personal design choices?
Not too long ago, folks would say “Your living room looks right out of a catalog.” Now, they can say “Your living room looks right out of Magnolia Home.” We don’t think either is a compliment.