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Secrets from the Set of 'Fixer Upper:' from House Hunting to Repairs

Pedro Marrero
Aug 30, 2019
09:39 A.M.
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Two years after the show cancelation, fans of the Gaines are still fascinated by the stunning transformations the couple has made in the lives of the participants of the reality series. But not everything is as we see it on TV.


Reality TV is still TV, and one cannot believe everything one sees in the little screens. While in the reality series husband and wife Chip and Joanna Gaines actually “fix” properties, some important parts of the show that made them famous were staged.

“Fixer Upper” ran for 5 seasons from 2013 to 2018, and in the process, the Gaines became a symbol of good taste and home improving, apart from the owners of a millionaire business. But there is also its share of secrets and scandals.



While the show makes it appear as if the participants actually go house hunting in front of the cameras and they pick the one they would like to have renovated, the truth is that they either own the home already or are in the process of buying it.

This was actually clarified in the application for the show, where it read that to be eligible you must be in the process of buying or plan on buying a home within 40 miles of Waco, Texas.”



At the end of every episode of the series Chip and Joanna reveal a renovated and almost unrecognizable home to the surprised owners.

But the furniture and decoration we see in the houses are just for show, and they take it back once the filming is done.

Joanna mostly uses items from her own store, Magnolia Market, to dress the rooms, but if the owners want to keep all or some of it, they can purchase it at a discounted price as participant Rachel Whyte revealed.



According to the show, Chip has a very active and physical role in the work done on the properties they fix for participants. But the reality is that when cameras stop rolling, his responsibilities don’t include any major manual labor.

The Gaines’ tried to keep this fact for themselves by different means, but they couldn’t stop participants Lindy and Chris Ermoian from Season 3 to share the truth with us all.



It is not made clear in the show, but only the rooms that are highlighted during each episode get to be redone, while the unseen parts of the property remain untouched. This changes depending on the budget agreed prior to the filming.

But on the other hand, the Gaines do more work in the home that we actually get to see in the series.


“I was completely unaware of how much quality work goes into Magnolia Renovations. There is not a door in my house that isn’t surrounded in beautiful thick wood-trim casing,” participant Jaime Ferguson from Season 3 shared.

They just finish out the entire project (parts you don’t see on the show) to a tee. They even did space planning in our master closet.”



After all is said and done, there are plenty of reactions, interactions, and situations that make it into the episodes that are authentic, even if from time to time the showrunners request people to recreate a particular moment for the cameras.

In the words of Season 3’s participant Rachel Whyte: “It was uncomfortable at times because we, like most people, aren’t used to having cameras around us. But what happens really is real.”

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