Why I won’t ever watch Fixer Upper again….

By Lauren
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    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.

    Paint Paneling FB

    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?

    5-home-improvement-projects-fb

    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 valueBut 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.

    Sincerely,

    The Recovering Spender

    Lauren

    COMMENTS

  • Lauren, I can relate, when I watch their show or any other show that does improvements, I’m green with envy, but I also know that I have a beautiful home, and as my husband says, one project at a time when the funds are there. Unfortunately sometimes life just does not let you do them, and the funds go to something that is much more pressing. Love the article. Lisa

      • You put in to words EXACTLY how I feel about this show. I thought something was wrong with me and I was just a moron because I couldn’t watch past season 2. Great show. Great people. I just simply can’t!

  • Really, upon deeper thought…you are sensing a problem you still have deep within yourself. It could be anything…a newer better car, expensive clothes, spa visits…you struggle with materialism. As I was reading your article that became clearly unearthed. If you go to the core of those feelings your path may lead you back to childhood…and perhaps feelings of not being enough based upon material things your family couldn’t afford. The beauty in it all is that you’ve recognized and taken steps to diminish those nagging feelings. Everyone has a struggle…don’t feel too bad.

    • These are all great points and yes I feel like there may be something deeper. I talked about my upbringing in my book and how from an early age I always loved nice things. I am thankful that I can set boundaries like this, and even though I LOVE the, the show makes me want to start taking walls down in my house, lol.

  • Lauren, love that you shared this perspective. I think it’s wise to avoid influences that move us towards discontentment or prevent us from seeing the good in what we have. I felt this way about Pinterest for a while and took a long break from using it for personal reasons. I felt like I was just accumulating a giant board of
    “things I don’t have.”

  • YES!! I have broken up with all nearly all my magazine subscriptions because that is the entire point. They are filled with beautiful, non-messy home settings. Totally impractical. And filled with ads for totally cool stuff I never knew I needed. The subscription only $5 a year but totally ruining my life. I had to stop it. I. Get. It.

  • Hmm, it does suck that we’re seeing all kinds of beautiful, spendy images. It’s all about being content with what you have, and if Fixer Upper makes you feel differently, you’re better off without it. 🙂 I do think it’s healthy to upgrade your home to improve your value–but most people aren’t going to do a full-on Gaines renovation. I’m less than thrilled about Fixer Upper because I feel that it’s encouraged people to start flipping houses for a living–when they have no business flipping houses at all!

  • Great article Lauren! I occasionally watch HGTV but everytime I start feeling discontent, I just stop watching for a few weeks/months and the feeling is gone.

    You could probably do an additional post on Facebook having the same effect on people.

  • I also stopped watching but for more reasons than you discussed. First of all Joanna is cool, she’s pretty, she has a great life and tons of money. But I am not Joanna and you’re not either. What works for her is not necessarily what works for everyone. I see way too many posts on Pinterest showing us how to do exactly what she does, to furnish our homes to look like farm houses even if they’re Spanish style homes in the suburbs. While doing a room in shiplap on the cheap sounds appealing, and you think “oh its just $150″…that stuff adds up. Your $20 DIY farmhouse sign, the baskets, the paint, supplies, hardware, etc etc really add up. And what about the other cost? What happens when all of that goes out of style? You’ll have to find a new design guru and buy all new stuff. Its an emotional cost, always chasing whats current, whats hot, whats new. I have learned over the years that its so important to decorate however the heck you want!! If yellow is the “it color” this year and you love yellow go for it. But dont just use a color because someone tells you its amazing. Looking at Pinterest can be inspiring but it can also be very discouraging when you realize you dont have the time or the money to duplicate rooms you love. Do what you like, do what feels good, do what will last.

  • TV shows always make it seem SO easy to profit from house flipping when in reality, this is a really really hard business.

    I just find it a shame that so many people fall for it and guess their way through house flipping.

  • Can’t we watch anything anymore just for entertainment? Can’t we just watch this show and sit back and share in the joy of the people being blessed? I love this program and am thrilled for those that benefit from the Gainees … two very talented people.

  • It’s All About Gratitude

    The houses in Wacho, TX are very very inexpensive & fixing them up in Joanna & Chip style is still a whole lot less than what an average home (and with acreage) costs most of us & without all that ‘stuff’ & seems a $150K fixer upper can get you what you are seeing. Could your envy be the result of the lack of gratitude for what you do have?

    • I certainly don’t have a lack of gratitude. I think everyone has their weaknesses – some can’t do sweets, some can’t drink, I can’t watch fixer upper. I think it is a brave thing to say what your weaknesses on, because it can help others with the same struggles.

  • I think it’s awesome that you are so self-aware, and know where you are in your life and home.
    Personally I’m still in the “move every few years and live on military bases” so the idea and dreams of a forever home are fulfilled by Fixer-Upper. But I bet that I too will stop watching once I have my home, so as not to become unsatisfied with what I have.

  • I love the show, but like you, I get excited about projects I want to do and then it just overwhelms me and I get depressed. I am always so shocked at the budgets these people have, but I will say I appreciate how they do utilize old stuff, paint it, stain it, whatever it needs and save a little money that way…..also gives me ideas. I drive my husband crazy with all my DIY projects, but I say be glad I’m doing it, right? I am currently doing the dreaded painting of the paneling!

  • Thank you so much for being honest about the reality of this show . When I watch it , not only do I hate the house I have , but I hate the relationship I have with my husband . Why can’t my husband be as willing and able and HAPPY ! to move the walk-in-closet’s entrance ? Or , what’s the big deal about ripping out all the existing slate and carpeted first floor and replace it with a beautiful hardwood . What am I doing or not doing as a wife that clearly does not move my husband of 26 years to improve anything ? I’m so sad . It isn’t getting better . I see the Magnoila magazine and it features how “ Chip made Joanna’s dreams come to life “ with an exquisite and perfect garden shed and arbour and planting station . It is honestly enough to have me considering divorce . I can’t take it . The life I live of complete boredom . Yet , I try to be thankful . I do . And I realize that my problems are first world problems . I do . But is it wrong to have this anger building and building in me because there are buckets in the basement to catch the drip of the upstairs shower with the cracked shower base ? It’s going on two years now . Or , because an actual fireplace was too expensive so I settled with a natural gas wood stove – but guess what ? It hasn’t worked for three years because the switch to turn it on has broken and ,” why did you buy a stove that was discontinued and impossible to repair ?” Impossible ? Really ? I just want a partner . A person with some initiative . Again , just really sad.

  • I really dislike fixer upper. I find the Gaines really annoying. Maybe because I am not from Texas or cannot take their horrible design ideas.

  • I found this blog today April 19th 2018.
    Its a rhursday afternion in suburban Chicago and I was takinf a break and turned on HGTV. Yep….thetes Chip and Joanna Gaines aka Fixer Upper. I sat here asking myself IF Im the o ky obe who does not like Joanna. I have watched their shiw for about a year on and off. Heres my thoughts and I at times dont like that I have them.
    Im 58 and have lived in many hones and places. Different styles and lots of repairs and redoing but i see a trend and I see alot of arrogance i. FIXER UPPER. I tebd to belueve people the first time Im introduced and Joanna is a knock off of narcissism. I begin to feel empathy for Chip but realize is part of this road show. We live in a world of idols and the Gaines so sifned on that contract even as Christians who know its not a good path. Im sure by now they have vested their family but I see Joanna as over the top.
    She wants she gets. Its all about her. They turned me off when we as viewets were led to think they were returing from the camera when in fact we were bei g led like sheep to another thing about Joanna. Her in frobt of the screen.
    I have to stop because its hard to feel played by viewer manipulation. Ive watched enough to get “ideas” on decorating. At this jubction she has over saturated the market. Shes everywhere. I refuse to make her an idol but I can impliment sone of her style without buyi g from her or going bankrupt. I fou d her stuff at Goodwill lol.
    A lot of her line from TARGET that didnt sell.
    So take it in with a grain of salt. Think ahead in 5 years when shes passe bc the general public has the attention span if a worm and budgets will break that cannot assimilate to anything Magnolia.
    Be yourself.
    Love what you love and be creative.
    You dont have to be Joanna Gaines. One is enough!
    Kate
    CHICAGO

  • I found this blog today April 19th 2018.
    Its a thursday afternoon in suburban Chicago and I was taking a break and turned on HGTV. Yep….theres Chip and Joanna Gaines aka Fixer Upper. I sat here asking myself IF Im the only one who does not like Joanna. I have watched their show for about a year on and off. Heres my thoughts and I at times dont like that I have them.
    Im 58 and have lived in many homes and places. Different styles and lots of repairs and redoing but I see a trend and I see alot of arrogance in FIXER UPPER. I tend to believe people the first time Im introduced and Joanna is a knock off of narcissism. I begin to feel empathy for Chip but realize its part of this road show. We live in a world of idols and the Gaines so signed on that contract even as Christians who know its not a good path. Im sure by now they have vested their family but I see Joanna as over the top.
    She wants she gets. Its all about her. They turned me off when we as viewers were led to think they were retiring from the camera when in fact we were being led like sheep to another thing about Joanna. Her in front of the screen.
    I have to stop because its hard to feel played by viewer manipulation. Ive watched enough to get “ideas” on decorating. At this junction she has over saturated the market. Shes everywhere. I refuse to make her an idol but I can impliment some of her style without buying from her or going bankrupt. I found her stuff at Goodwill lol.
    A lot of her line from TARGET that didnt sell.
    So take it in with a grain of salt. Think ahead in 5 years when shes passe bc the general public has the attention span if a worm and budgets will break that cannot assimilate to anything Magnolia.
    Be yourself.
    Love what you love and be creative.
    You dont have to be Joanna Gaines. One is enough!
    Kate
    CHICAGO

  • While I applaud the way the show recycles and repurposes decorative items etc., there is something to be said about having quality furniture that can be handed down from generation to generation. Also much of the decorating is very impersonal. Looks more like neutral staging than something warm and inviting. I also think advertisements for their furniture line are insulting. They say something to the effect that your decorating needs to give the permission to live your best life. What is that supposed to mean?

  • I live in an old craftsman style center staircase farmhouse. My grandfather built it. I love watching the HGTV shows but the reality is…I do not have the finances to completely change this house around. Nor do I want to. I find DIY ideas that renovate what I have to be the most encouraging. I have a pink tile bathroom upstairs the size of a postage stamp. I replaced the toilet and vanity to maximize space..( I did not go with pedestal because the narrow vanity is the only storage. ) I took the door off because 3 doors at the top of the narrow stairs was impossible and dangerous. A pocket door would be ideal but walls did not allow…sooooo an accordion door works and doesn’t look too tacky. I am starting to paint the dropped ceiling tiles and the paneling that cover every wall. The exterior is cedar shakes weathered and changing them is like opening a can of worms so I am using DIY techniques from Pinterest to make a swiss chalet look with red accents (shutters and flower boxes.) I really try to go slow and do what I can as money allows. I usually pick a project that will improve livability. We live here. Its going to be messy. Not picture perfect. Models do the same thing to women and self esteem…Reality tv is NOT real Don’t get me started on Property Brothers….Life is good. just the way it is just the way it looks. It’s only cosmetic after all.

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