Chip Gaines is familiar to most people. From his HGTV days, the house-flipper-turned-entrepreneur-turned-network executive has charmed viewers with his fun-loving nature and entertaining exploits. Chip, Joanna Gaines’ husband, was her demolition guy and helped her build her home ideas with Shorty. “Fixer Upper,” the couple’s hit HGTV show, launched their careers in ways they didn’t expect. The couple, the unofficial king and queen of Waco, Texas, have dominated real estate, business, home flipping, and entertainment.
How did Chip get started, who inspired him to enter the housing market, and where did he meet Jo? Why Baylor University, why did he want to renovate? Does he ever want fame? We have all the answers to your many inquiries. Read Chip Gaines’ amazing makeover.
Chip Gaines conjures Texas. He and his wife, Joanna Gaines, have made Waco, Texas a tourist destination, so many assume he was born and raised there. Chip’s birthplace, Albuquerque, New Mexico, may surprise you. While Chip wasn’t born in Texas, he was reared there.
Chip and Jo’s book “The Magnolia Story” describes Chip’s childhood at his grandfather’s ranch. Chip “become a true cowboy at heart” at the North Texas ranch. In the book, Chip was portrayed as the youngster who “liked digging ditches” to reading a textbook. He “was meant for hard labor,” as any “Fixer Upper” episode shows.
A firefighter, a ballet dancer, a baseball star, an astronaut—boy, girl, non-binary, you name it—are common childhood idols. Chip Gaines wanted to play baseball and did better than you think.
Gaines played second base on his high school team and was recruited by North Lake Junior College, according to Baylor University’s alumni magazine. Mickey Sullivan, Baylor’s baseball coach, scouted Gaines, sealing his baseball career at the Texas university. “My first true introduction to Baylor was baseball,” Gaines said. Gaines’ retirement coincided with Sullivan’s, although he seemed fine with it. “I was intended to appreciate Baylor University and the dear people that I met there,” he stated.
Chip and Joanna Gaines attended Baylor University. The show centered on the Waco, Texas university. Chip told Baylor’s alumni magazine that he became a fan in middle school. He started wearing Baylor gear—the baseball cap—for no apparent reason.
“I grew up, for no logical reason, as a Baylor fan,” Chip stated. “I’ve got pictures of myself about 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 planted and nurtured, as Baylor has become a defining chapter for the pair. Chip and Jo worked with Baylor parents and the football team chaplain in “Fixer Upper” episodes.
Chip Gaines had another woman before Joanna. Since she had two years left at Baylor University, the mystery ex-girlfriend kept Chip in Waco, Texas, after he graduated in 1998. He informed the university’s alumni magazine that the connection wasn’t sustainable. Chip would soon meet his future wife and business partner in Waco, so he had to stay.
“Honestly, it’s really similar to the baseball narrative,” 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, but Chip and Jo’s paths might have never crossed, which would have been disastrous for so many home renovation lovers. Chip and Jo are probably glad they met, too.
Chip Gaines knew he’d met his soulmate from her photo. Chip entered Joanna Gaines’ father’s tire store in 2001 and saw Jo’s photo on the wall. Chip “knew I’d marry her one day” after seeing the photo, and when he returned to the store, Jo was working.
“We hit it off immediately in the waiting area,” Jo remarked. “He was very engaging and he had such a lovely smile,” yet Chip almost botched their first date. The pair revealed in “The Magnolia Story” that Chip was an hour and a half late and Jo was prepared to write him off. “He didn’t even have a plan for our date. He said, ‘Well, Joanna, where do you want to go eat?’ He didn’t apologize for being late, either. He had so much confidence. I don’t know. I can’t explain it,” Jo said.
Chip Gaines proposed to Joanna in 2002, proving he hadn’t messed up. Chip arranged everything, including involving Joanna’s relatives, Brides said. In “The Magnolia Story,” Chip told Joanna he had arranged a private performance for them, which sounds lovely. He proposed, then took Joanna to a jeweler to design her engagement ring. Any bride will say yes to designing her own ring.
After the jeweler, Chip and Jo went to supper with both sets of parents, Jo’s sister, and Chip’s sister to congratulate the happy couple. Next year, they married at the Earle Harrison House in Waco, Texas. They chose the spot because it reminded Jo of her and Chip’s first date, and the images from the day are magical.
Chip and Joanna Gaines are synonymous with Magnolia. Chip and Jo married with only Chip’s pocket money. Chip was an impoverished entrepreneur. Chip and Jo told People about their early marriage and what her folks thought of it.
“I remember when we first got married, we only had Chip’s pocket money,” Jo added. “He always had a wad of cash, but we were broke. If I needed to go grocery shopping it’s whatever was in his pocket,” she said, adding that her dad “spent the first two years of our marriage asking [Chip] if [he] was going to get a job.” Sometimes you just have to trust that things will work out.
Chip Gaines became a father while falling in love, flipping houses, and attempting to find his dream job. Drake was born in 2004. Ella Rose and Duke followed two years later. Three kids is enough, right? The Gaines continued. Their second daughter, Emmie Kay, was born in 2010, and the four kids appeared frequently in “Fixer Upper” episodes.
Chip and Jo’s fifth child, Crew, was born in 2018, shocking fans. Chip and Jo honeymooned at New York City’s Drake Hotel, hence Drake’s name. The Gaineses have a large family. Ella likes design like her mom, Emmie and Duke are green thumbs, and Crew is a beautiful toddler who may be seen in the new “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home” episodes.
Chip Gaines is a natural on television, but when “Fixer Upper” debuted in 2013, he and Joanna Gaines were surprised by the show’s overnight success. Chip had been flipping houses since college, but stardom came out of nowhere. Chip told People that he was astonished by the show’s success because he never expected it.
Chip remarked, “That just happened.” “We were just living our life out here in little bitty Waco. We had hopes and aspirations like most folks, but this has really been something else.” While Chip was simply focused on flipping properties, “Fixer Upper” seemed to flourish on its own. With that accomplishment, Chip and Jo released books, autobiographies, Target product lines, and enterprises and real estate in Waco, Texas.
Chip Gaines chose his family’s home for his largest flip. “Fixer Upper” fans visit Chip and Joanna Gaines’ lovely farmhouse. The house wasn’t always shiplap-perfect. Chip and Jo bought the house in 2012 and began the makeover, according to Country Living. Though charmed, they wanted to turn it into their dream home.
If you’ve watched “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” you know Jo recently restored more of the farmhouse to fit her changing design taste. Crawford, Texas’s 1895 farmhouse is around 1,700 square feet (though Jo’s modifications could make it bigger) and lies on about 40 acres. Chip went from house flipper to parent to renovator again, and the farmhouse required all of his skills to fulfill his family’s ambition.
“Fixer Upper” became a hit overnight because Chip and Joanna Gaines made great, feel-good TV. Yet, as their reputation grew, Chip went from poor house flipper to successful businessman. Chip bought the Silos, a site around the former Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Company, to establish his presence in Waco, Texas, according to Country Living. He and Jo started Magnolia Market there, which became a huge success.
Their retail store became a bakery, food truck hangout, concert venue, garden store, and tourist attraction. Chip told the Dallas News that he hoped the Silos will keep growing after a year. Chip called entering into the lot’s structures “like being an ant inside a Coke can” and hoped the enterprises would grow. If only he knew.
In 2018, Chip Gaines upped his “Fixer Upper” flipping game. Chip ran the Silo District marathon in 5:21, according to Runner’s World. Chip collaborated with Gabriele Grunewald, a professional runner. Chip’s marathon fundraising contributed to cancer research because Grunewald survived cancer.
Joanna Gaines, friends, and family cheered Chip on during the race, while Jo drove a golf cart behind him. Chip finished the race with his daughter Emmie Kay for a great cause. Chip called the marathon “a doozy.” Grunewald died in 2019.
So. Chip’s role changed even more when Chip and Joanna Gaines expanded the Silos, their enormous compound. As reported by House Beautiful, Chip managed a $10.4 million makeover of the Silos, and if you’ve seen the “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home” episode about it, you know that Chip drifted in and out of projects with acute attention to detail. He even moved a historic church to the Silos, a difficult task.
The Silos added boutiques, gardens, and a Babe Ruth-themed wiffle ball field to the 1894 chapel. The Waco Tribune said that the refurbished facility would attract more tourists, which is difficult considering the Silos gets roughly 30,000 visits every week. Chip’s rise from poor house flipper to multimillion-dollar project manager is astounding.
Some were shocked when Chip and Joanna Gaines ended “Fixer Upper” at the height of their career. The Magnolia Network launched on July 15, 2021, with original content from the pair. The Magnolia Network has large audiences for programming including “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” “Restoration Road with Clint Harp,” and “Super Dad,” turning Chip into a program executive. According to Variety, a DIY channel preview of the Magnolia Network in August 2020 attracted 2.5 million people.
Yet, becoming an executive hasn’t always been easy. Chip told The Hollywood Reporter that he was worried about taking the part because of the “harsh reality” that some network shows will fail. “Post-success, post-fame, however you want to express it, we haven’t encountered much failure,” he remarked, but since everything he and Jo touch turns to gold, we expect the Magnolia Network and name to endure.