Dear Chip and Joanna Gaines,
I think you guys are awesome. I really do. I also think your show is awesome. It's so well done and you come up with fantastic and gorgeous home design ideas. Whenever your clients are choosing between 3 houses, I am always rooting for the true ‘fixer upper', the house that needs a TON of work. Seeing the transformation is always incredible.
I think it was the very first episode that had me hooked… you guys took an old house that was a complete dump, and using that shiplap voodoo magic, turned it in to a home that I would love to live in. And then I made it halfway through season one…
But I had to stop watching your show.
It's not you, it's me.
You see I have had issues in the past being Pinterest Depressed.
If I am being honest with myself, after every show, I look at my foyer. It's kinda closed off, has the most hideous gray berber carpet, and painted paneling walls that aren't fooling anyone (it's still paneling – however, I did find a way to paint over wood paneling). I know that new floors, removing the closet and opening it to the kitchen, getting rid of the paneling and putting up drywall (or maybe shiplap?) would make it look so good.
I then look at my dining room and kitchen. Why is there such a huge wall between those rooms? I'd love to see that wall demo'd and open up the space between them. And some new floors making the dining room and kitchen match would tie the two rooms together to one beautiful, open, seamless cooking/eating area.
Then, if the dining room was open with the kitchen, there would be no need for the eat-in area currently in my kitchen. Finally, the kitchen would have space to be the large kitchen it was meant to be. Some new counters, cabinets, and probably appliances would be all that it would take.
Oh and my oven? My wall oven isn't a true 30″ oven. It's like 25″. I can't fit most roasting pans in there. Very frustrating. And I have an electric cook top without a hood… I would definitely prefer natural gas.
Ok I'll stop now… these are all the things I'd LOVE to do to my house. Especially since we've embraced the charm of our smallish home and decided not to move, we might as well make it the best we can, right?
In time, maybe I will get to those projects. In fact, there are many projects that I can do myself to increase my home's value. But when I watch Fixer Upper, I become unsatisfied with what I already have. I look at my house and instead of being thankful, I find all of the flaws and imperfections with it. I suddenly want to do all of those expensive home renovations NOW. I mean the whole point of NOT moving was so that I could be content with what I had, but watching Fixer Upper is making me discontent.
Many of my friends watch the show and LOVE it. And I love it too… but they don't have these creeping feelings of discontentment like I do – it's pure entertainment mixed in with some great decorating ideas for them. And of course you two – you are entertaining and seem to have a fantastic marriage and family. All great things that I value.
But I also have a history of placing value on material possession. I've had to re-adjust my values to be aligned with the things that really matter in my life. And anything – even if it is has many amazing qualities (like Fixer Upper) – if it threatens to take me back to a mindset of misaligned values, I have to avoid it.
Like I said earlier, it's not the show's fault. It's mine.
In fact, I wrote an entire book about my struggles with discontentment and spending issues called The Recovering Spender. Since I know what my struggles are, I also know what my boundaries are. There are certain things I can put in my brain and certain things that I have to stay away from. And sorry Chip and Joanna, but your show doesn't make the cut.
And here's the thing, I know I'm not alone. I look around… I know so many people who are in a constant state of home improvement – sinking lots of money into their homes to get each little detail just right. And look – there's nothing wrong with taking pride in your home. I think my home is beautiful (just had it painted last summer) and I'm not afraid to make improvements to it.
But am I content with it? Yes. I really am. And that's a big deal for me. But when I watch Fixer Upper, it draws me towards discontentment. And that leads me down a dangerous and expensive path that I've traveled one too many times.
I've learned that I just have to stay away from shows like that. Maybe even the entire HGTV channel. It's just not good for my soul… or my bank account.
I'm sorry to break up with you and your show… It's not you, it's me.
The Recovering Spender