Chip and Joanna Gaines are largely responsible for making "modern farmhouse" decor all the rage. And in the latest episode of "Fixer Upper: Behind the Design," we get a master class in how to pull it off!
In the "Herrera House" episode, we meet punk rocker Mike Herrera, of the MxPx band, and his wife, Holli, who are moving from Washington state back to Holli's native Waco, TX, to be closer to her family. They've found a sweet three-bedroom, two-bath home built in 1910 located in the historic district, and they're in love.
When chatting with the Herreras about the style they want for their new home, Holli says the first thing that "spoke to her" when they entered was the vintage farmhouse feel. So Joanna makes sure to keep that theme alive while redecorating, while giving it a fresh, modern vibe.
To pull that off, Chip and Jo pass along some killer tips that we can all use in our own abodes to add a little modern farmhouse style ... or a lot.
Most people didn't even know what shiplap was until Joanna made it her signature design move, using the horizontally (or vertically) interlocking boards liberally in nearly every home she and Chip touched in "Fixer Upper." And this time, Joanna takes it to a whole new level, recycling the original shiplap in the 108-year-old house and adding lots of new wood, putting it in almost every room. It even goes on the ceiling—the vintage wood shiplap overhead warms up the black-and-white room like nothing else can, she explains.
Don't ignore history
In their effort to modernize the old farmhouse, Joanna recognizes a few features that should be preserved rather than removed. They include the moldings, the fireplaces, and even "that built-in in the kitchen." She's referring to a dish hutch made of oak, with glass doors. They will refinish it and keep it exactly where it is, but she'll add patterned floor tile from elsewhere in the home as a backsplash. Genius!
Blend old with new
This is easy for Joanna. She's done it a hundred times.
"The ways we've done that in the past is to complement classic farmhouse features like shiplap and neutral colors but also add modern features like black iron, slick light features, and maybe some concrete." (More on concrete next...)
Try concrete rather than tile in the bathroom
Who says bathrooms have to be all tile, all the time? Joanna has her crew pour a concrete shower floor, and gives the shower walls of glass. They also create concrete countertops. She warms up the room with blond wood cabinets. We're thinking the lack of grouting will make it easy to clean, and since this bathroom will be mostly used by the kids, it's about as practical as you can get.
Add rugs and paint over concrete to warm up the floor
Yet concrete, though modern, can soak up stains—as Chip and Joanna find out while turning the home's detached garage into Mike's studio so he can rehearse all he wants without disturbing the family. Even an acid wash won't remove the oil stains from generations of cars, so Chip and Jo simply paint over it, using a warm gray color, and make it even cozier with an area rug. Perfection!
Multiply lights for free
This is so simple, yet so genius, you'll wonder why you didn't think of it before. Joanna hangs two modern pendant lights in the bathroom, right in front of the wall-to-wall mirror. Surprise! The reflection makes it look like she's hung four lights, and doubles the amount of illumination.
Pick a number
You've seen Joanna use family initials many times in her designs, but this may be the first time she's incorporated a lucky number. The number 9 has a special significance to the Herreras; it shows up in the birthdays of their two children, and in many other instances throughout their lives together. So Joanna uses it as a recurring design feature, making the home even more personal for the Herreras.