Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the last seven-ish years, you know precisely who Chip Gaines is. The house-flipper-turned-entrepreneur-turned-network executive has been on people’s radars since his early days on HGTV, capturing the hearts of viewers everywhere due to his fun-loving personality and hilarious stunts.
Husband of designer extraordinaire Joanna Gaines, Chip served as her resident demolition guy, and he would often (with the help of sidekick Shorty) turn Jo’s home designs into realities. With time, the couple’s hit HGTV show, “Fixer Upper,” launched their careers in a way that even they probably didn’t expect.
Now the unofficial king and queen of Waco, Texas, the couple have taken the real estate, business, home flipping, and entertainment industries by storm.
But how did Chip get his start in life, who inspired him to get into the housing market, and where did he meet Jo? What motivated him to go to Baylor University, and did he see himself going into the renovation business? Was fame ever something he expected for his life? There are many questions, and luckily, we have all the answers. Read all about the stunning transformation of Chip Gaines.
If you think of Chip Gaines, you probably think of Texas. He and his wife, Joanna Gaines, have made their town of Waco, Texas a must-see tourist destination, and naturally, many of us assume that he was born and raised in the Lone Star State.
However, it may come as a surprise to learn that Chip was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Chip moved to Dallas, Texas as a kid and was raised in the area, so while he wasn’t born in the great state of Texas, it is undoubtedly part of his childhood.
As noted in the book “The Magnolia Story,” by Chip and Jo, Chip spent much time growing up at his grandfather’s ranch. Located in North Texas, the farm served a great purpose to Chip, and he “became a true cowboy at heart” as a result.
While he did go on to have a fruitful academic life (more on that later), Chip was described in the book as the boy who often “preferred digging ditches” to cracking open a textbook. To put it bluntly, he “was made for hard labor,” and any episode of “Fixer Upper” will support that.
When you ask any little kid what they want to be when they grow up, a lot of the answers are universal — a firefighter, a ballet dancer, a baseball player, an astronaut — boy, girl, non-binary, you name it; so many of us have the same heroes when we’re little. Chip Gaines aspired to become a baseball player and got much further in the sport than you might know.
As noted by Baylor University’s alumni magazine, Gaines was the second baseman for his high school’s team and then was recruited to play ball at North Lake Junior College. He was then scouted by Baylor’s then-baseball coach, Mickey Sullivan, and Gaines’ baseball career at the Texas university was sealed.
“I transferred my sophomore year to Baylor. My first real introduction to Baylor was basically from a baseball standpoint,” Gaines shared. But, with Sullivan’s retirement also came Gaines’ exit from the sport; however, it was a reality he seemed pretty okay with. “I was not destined to be the next great baseball player, but I was destined to enjoy Baylor University and the dear friends I met there,” he said.
You only had to watch one “Fixer Upper” episode to know that Chip and Joanna Gaines attended Baylor University. Located in Waco, Texas, the university became a cornerstone of the show. But Chip was a Baylor fan way back in the day and admitted to the school’s alumni magazine that he became a university supporter in middle school. Specifically, he started wearing Baylor gear — i.e., the baseball cap — and there was no clear reason.
“I grew up, for no logical reason, as a Baylor fan,” Chip said, even though he didn’t grow up near the university. “I’ve got pictures of me around junior-high age — all of a sudden I started wearing Baylor caps. Somehow, I had this thing for Baylor University. I have no idea what planted that seed.”
The seed was clearly planted and cared for because Baylor has since become a defining chapter for the couple. In episodes of “Fixer Upper,” Chip and Jo even incorporated the school — working for parents of students and the school’s football team chaplain, just to name a few Baylor connections.
Believe it or not, there was once another woman in Chip Gaines’ life who wasn’t Joanna Gaines. The mystery ex-girlfriend kept Chip in Waco, Texas, even after he had graduated from Baylor University in 1998, as she still had two years remaining at the school.
He told the university’s alumni magazine that the relationship wasn’t built to last. However, it was clear that Chip was meant to stay in Waco because he would meet his future wife and business partner shortly after that.
“It’s very similar to the baseball story, to be honest with you,” Chip told the magazine. “I look back on it from what might have been God’s perspective, and he knew he had to handcuff me at least short-term. What would have happened had I not had a serious relationship that kept me in Waco?”
We don’t know precisely what would have happened, but we do know that Chip and Jo’s paths might have never crossed, which would have just been catastrophic for the home renovation lovers in so many of us. Plus, we’re sure Chip and Jo are happy they met, too.
Chip Gaines knew he’d met the love of his life simply by looking at her picture. It was 2001, and Chip entered the tire shop belonging to Joanna Gaines’ father and saw a photo of Jo hanging on the wall. As Parade noted, Chip looked at the picture and “knew I’d marry her one day.” As fate would have it, Chip returned to the store, and Jo just happened to be working.
“We met in the waiting area and hit it off immediately,” Jo said. “He was genuinely engaging and had such a sincere smile.” But Chip almost blew it when it came to their first date. In their book, “The Magnolia Story,” the couple revealed that Chip was an hour and a half late, and Jo was just about ready to write him off.
“He didn’t even have a plan for our date. He said, ‘So, Joanna, where do you want to eat?’ He didn’t apologize for being late, either. He had so much confidence. I don’t know. I can’t explain it,” Jo recalled.
Chip Gaines didn’t blow things after all with Joanna because he went from boyfriend to fiancé in 2002 when he popped the question. As noted by Brides, Chip had the whole thing planned out and even went as far as involving Joanna’s family in the process.
As recalled in their book, “The Magnolia Story,” Chip told Joanna that he had set up a private concert for them to go to, which sounded romantic. But, in a surprising twist, he proposed and then took Joanna to a jeweler so that they could design her engagement ring to be exactly what she wanted. Ask any bride if they want to create their ring; the answer will almost always be yes.
When we think about Chip and Joanna Gaines, we think about the Magnolia empire. But, when Chip and Jo first got married, all they had to their name was the money in Chip’s possession — the money in his literal pocket. Yes, Chip was a struggling entrepreneur just trying to make ends meet. In an interview with People, Chip, and Jo opened up about what those early days were like and what her parents thought of their marriage in its infancy.
When it came to one of the biggest flips of his career, Chip Gaines decided to take on his family’s home. When watching episodes of “Fixer Upper,” past or present, viewers are taken to the farmhouse, Chip and Joanna Gaines’ gorgeous property.
But, the house didn’t always look like the shiplap dream that it is today. As noted by Country Living, Chip took on the project in 2012 when he and Jo bought the house. Its charm took them, but they were set on transforming it into the home of their dreams.
Renovating the farmhouse took over a year and a half and, if you’ve watched episodes of “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” then you know that Jo recently renovated even more of the farmhouse to reflect her ever-evolving design style.
The farmhouse was built in 1895, about 1,700 square feet (although it could easily be more thanks to Jo’s additions), and it sits on approximately 40 acres of land in Crawford, Texas. So, once again, Chip’s life took him on an ever-changing road, from house flipper to father to renovator, and the farmhouse called on all of his hats to make his family’s dream a reality.
So, we all know that “Fixer Upper” became a hit overnight, mainly because Chip and Joanna Gaines provided excellent, feel-good television. But, with their ever-increasing popularity (at the time) came terrific opportunities, and Chip quickly found himself transforming from a formerly-broke house flipper to a full-fledged businessman.
As noted by Country Living, Chip solidified his presence in Waco, Texas, by purchasing the Silos — a lot situated around the old Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Company. There, he and Jo began the process of building the Magnolia Market and, with its expansion over time, came immense success.
What started as their retail store quickly transformed into a bakery, a hangout spot for food trucks, a concert venue, a garden store, and a tourist destination.
After the Silos had been open for a year, Chip told the Dallas News that he was hopeful that the space would continue to grow. Calling the feeling of walking into the available structures on the lot “like being an ant inside a Coke can,” Chip said he was hopeful that the businesses would continue to expand. If only he knew what was coming his way.
When Chip and Joanna Gaines announced that they were ending their hit show, “Fixer Upper,” at what seemed like the height of their success, people were stunned.
But, in 2018, the couple made it known that they’d be launching their own network, full of original programming, and since its launch on July 15, 2021, the Magnolia Network has been nothing but successful.
Turning Chip essentially into a program executive, the Magnolia Network boasts shows like “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” “Restoration Road with Clint Harp,” and “Super Dad,” and it’s welcomed a huge audience. In fact, as noted by Variety, just a preview of the Magnolia Network on the DIY channel back in August 2020 raked in an impressive 2.5 million viewers.
That doesn’t mean that becoming an executive has been all rainbows and unicorns, though. Chip revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he was nervous about taking on the role, as he didn’t want to face the “harsh inevitability” that some shows on the network wouldn’t take off.
“Post-success, post-fame, however you want to articulate it, we haven’t experienced much failure,” he said, but given that everything he and Jo touches basically turns to gold, we predict that the Magnolia Network and name will continue to thrive.