Joanna Gaines


Joanna Gaines, renowned interior designer and co-star of the hit show “Fixer Upper,” shares her journey from the early days of Magnolia Market to becoming a television sensation. She delves into the importance of balancing work and family life, while sharing advice for aspiring designers and entrepreneurs. Tune in for a thoughtful conversation filled with insight and inspirational stories with Joanna and Jeremiah.

Ideas of Order, the California Closets podcast, is produced by Rob Schulte at SANDOW DESIGN GROUP and is part of the SURROUND Podcast Network. Discover more shows from SURROUND at

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This transcript was generated by an automated service. In some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.

Joanna: [00:00:00] When you talk about home, I don’t even think of it as place. I think of it as feeling. And so why, when I go to Seoul, Korea in April, do I feel at home? I’m thousands of miles away, but there was something in my soul that was like, this is who I am. This is fully who my mother is.

Jeremiah: Welcome everybody to ideas of order, a podcast dedicated to answering the question, what does home mean to you? I’m Jeremiah Brent. As a designer, I’m always inspired by other creatives in this industry, and today’s guest is no exception. A woman who is propelled by boundless vision and creativity, co host of the iconic Fixer Upper and founder of an all encompassing Magnolia entity.

She is a true force of nature, the ultimate entrepreneur. and an inspiration to audiences everywhere. I am so excited and completely delighted to welcome to the podcast, the one and only Joanna Gaines.

I have so many questions for you. It’s like a thousand, but we’ll get into all of it. But just thank you so much for doing this. I’m really, really excited. The last time I saw you, I was Um, at Polo Bar and, um, you guys were so sweet.

Joanna: That was a fun night. Love going there. So it was fun to meet you both.

Jeremiah: Do you come to the city a lot?

Joanna: I would say four or five times a year. Having lived there at one portion of my life, I always tell Chip that it feels like my second home. There’s something about New York City. I didn’t know you lived here. It was when I had the internship and when I was doing broadcast journalism. Wow. Did you like it? I loved it.

Um, and my girls have that same sense when they go there. Just like, oh, this feels like it’s like their favorite place to visit too. So that’s, you know, I, I have an upcoming trip with them where we’ll just take a little girls trip. So definitely love New York city.

Jeremiah: Cause where did you grow up? Joanna, you’re from Wichita, right?

Is that where you grew up? Are you with us where you were [00:02:00] born?

Joanna: Was born in Wichita, um, a little town outside of it. Rose Hill, Kansas, tiny town, Wichita, um, was probably 30 minutes away. So. For about eight years, um, lived in the small town, Rose Hill, Kansas. What was it like growing up there? I’m trying to remember, like, you know, felt big, but it’s a really small town, but, you know, as a seven year old, it felt huge.

Yeah. Um, but a lot of the farming, I think a lot of that is why even here where we’re at now at a, on a farm, even though I, we didn’t know farming growing up, that sense of place and familiarity is because of Rose Hill, like lots of farmland. Um, so. You know, I loved it. The old little roller skating rink around the corner, the small grocery store you could walk to.

I mean, I just, I love small towns. So has a special place in my heart even to this day,

Jeremiah: the older I get and maybe not the older I get, but I definitely find myself. We bought a little, a little farm and it’s like the first time that I’ve ever understood the fact that when you’re on the farm, you’re the least important thing.

It’s all about nurturing and providing and taking care of something. And it’s such a yeah. It’s such a beautiful departure from everything else, like from regular life. So I like a newfound respect for

Joanna: it. I love that chip would, he could talk about that right there. Just that, that gives you a different sense of purpose.

These responsibilities, these things need you. Um, you know, that’s what wakes them up in the morning. So I love that y’all are experiencing that with your own family.

Jeremiah: What was it like growing up in your house? Cause I’m, I mean, obviously I have a million questions about home to now, but I’m always fascinated kind of where home began for people.

Um, can you describe your childhood house and the energy in your home? What did it smell like? What did it look like? What did it feel like?

Joanna: Sometimes I think I’m a weirdo in that I remember, I remember with that one house in particular that I, Um, grew up in, and we lived in multiple homes. We, we’ve [00:04:00] moved, um, quite a few times, but that home, um, in Rose, Rose Hill, I can remember every detail.

Um, the transition from linoleum to carpet, what the carpet looked like. We had flat carpet in the kitchen, every spindle. I just remember so many details that I wonder why, like sometimes I’m like, it’s interesting that I don’t remember a lot of those details in the other home. So there’s something about that home that I can just remember the way it smells.

And there’ll be times where I’m with my sister and I’m like, Oh, that smells like, that smells like Rose Hill. Like, you know, so even the fact that you say, what did it smell like? Um, one of the things I remember most is my mom had one room in the house. That was, I guess, what you would call the formal living room.

We weren’t really allowed to go in there. Of course. Except for like, on special occasions. But of course, that was the room I was drawn to because I wasn’t allowed in there. So I would sneak in there and, and it was really, you know, now I understand what it was and the meaning of that room for her. Growing up, we never got it.

We’re like, why won’t she let us play in this room? This was the room that had all of her Korean furniture in it. It had all of her little mementos, you know, behind the hutch with glass. And I think it was, for her, the only space where she felt like this is my story fully um, displayed here in this house, where every other room was just kind of for us.

I grew up with two sisters and we, you know, we could do anything we wanted in all the other rooms, but that one room was kind of off limits. And, um, but that’s the room that sticks out to me the most when I think back to my memory of home and now it means something to me because what my mom was trying to do was feel known and seen in her own way in this one space, even though she didn’t know how to articulate it then, but just the, the meaning behind that room and what it meant to her is so special.

And if I could just capture that, if I, if there was even a picture of it, you know, I just, in my mind, it was a special [00:06:00] room that. Um, I remember the most so, but everything else was like, she was such a. A wonderful mother in that she, you know, she, she moved here, um, when she was 19. So from

Jeremiah: Korea. Yes. Wow. At 19.

That’s so

Joanna: scary. I know. She had a harder childhood. So now when I look, look at the way that she wanted to create home for us, it was, it was where there is beauty, but there was also that place of safety and rest and, and it, it came out of. Um, something that she was trying to make sure we felt that maybe she didn’t feel so much of as, as she grew up.

So, you know, I love that. I always said my mom’s my favorite decorator because she decorated out a place of just this beautiful intention that created beauty. I didn’t even remember the furniture. It was just more the feeling I felt in the spaces that, that felt really special to me.

Jeremiah: I feel like I’m on a bit of a crusade and it’s an uphill battle because so much of what our design industry is and what we even do on television is it’s very transactional and it can be very temporary.

And you know, I was just saying, I’ve always believed that the most beautiful spaces that I’ve ever been in. I have nothing to do with how much money people have spent, have nothing to do with the rules of design, but everything to do with the personalization and these moments that people have crafted that you can feel the echo of their lives in.

And that’s kind of what I’m longing for. You know, I think about, I’ll never forget the way you described your mother’s house with that living room. Do you have a formal living room now in your house similar to that?

Joanna: No, I don’t. I know, you know, for for me, um, with five kids, it’s like they wouldn’t if I told them there’s a room off limits, that would be the room, you know, they wouldn’t probably listen the way I listened.

I feared that space because I knew my mom, you know, I mean, she was 4 11. But Lord knows, do not go in that space. I don’t have anything like that. Um, you know, it’s just a little [00:08:00] different for me. But yeah.

Jeremiah: What was it like growing up with that Korean heritage in your house? Was it something that your mother was very proud of and kind of implemented things that you’ve passed down to your children?

Because that’s a big transition, you know, from 19 to come to Wichita. Yes.

Joanna: Last year I wrote a book that Where I came to terms with a lot of this, I almost think a lot of it came to light for me in my mid 40s, and when I think about growing up, I think about my mother and the period of, the period she was in, of just wrestling with her own identity as a mother, and so, um, to be completely honest, growing up in that small town, um, because I was half Korean, and, Um, never knew my sense of place in the school, uh, you know, just couldn’t, you know, I wasn’t fully like the kids that went to school, but I wasn’t fully Korean.

So in that half, that middle space, just trying to, I wrestled with identity and. You know, and then, of course, kids, they, they’ll say the things, they call you the names. I, I never felt, uh, like I wanted to bring that to my mom, because I, I think even as a seven, eight year old little girl, I could sense she was wrestling with her own identity in, in a lot of ways, because even though there, she had a room with her furniture in it, Um, she was trying to, you know, she is now in America, and so she was trying to fully embrace that culture.

Um, and so I, I never really went to her with, Mom, why are these kids saying this? I kept it from her because I didn’t, knowing that was fully who she was, I didn’t want to inflict that pain on her as well. So kind of dealt with that a little bit. on my own in, in the quiet. And so I would say, when you say that Korean heritage, it was there in the form of a room, but it wasn’t something that we, you know, we didn’t go to a Korean church, we didn’t eat a ton of Korean food.

It was very more of this American culture. And I think that’s where in some ways I kind of felt like [00:10:00] this interesting resistance to it as a kid that I, you know, obviously I regret now as an adult, but you can’t go back and say, you know, figure that out, kid. I was doing the best I could. But I do feel like as my mom got whole, um, in her later years, like we all do, we come to terms with, you know, some of these realities and realize it’s the most beautiful part of who we are.

The irony is that now, you know, in April, this past April, Chip and I, we took the whole family, my, my parents, my uncle, my sisters, all their kids, 25 of us went to Korea. Oh, and I think for me, it was this beautiful. Um, how do you say this? Like reunion with myself? I don’t know. It was like when you talk about home, not even, I don’t even think of it as place.

I think of it as feeling. And so why, when I go to Seoul, Korea in April, do I feel at home? You know, I’m I’m thousands of miles away, but there was something in my soul that was like, this is who I am. This is fully who my mother is. So just coming to terms with some of that has been the most beautiful thing.

Yeah. In my life, as I look back and I see how my mom was wrestling with it, how I was wrestling with it, how home was our safe place where we felt the most seen, the most valued, the most known there, which is why I think I have those memories and it being the most beautiful place for me because when I would come home from school, I felt safe there, I felt seen there, and that’s why I think a lot of that is truly at the foundation of what I try to do now with design is Yes, we want a beautiful space, but that’s secondary.

It’s really about how do you feel when you step into this? Do you feel known? Do you feel seen? Do you feel valued? And so that’s what really drives me to create these spaces. And then if you have a pretty coffee table and sofa, great. That’s nice. But that’s not fully why we do this. You know? Everybody

Jeremiah: loves a nice piece of art, but that’s not the Yes.

What did your mom feel like when you guys went back?

Joanna: She, I, I’ve never seen my mother. It was the weirdest thing and it’s hard to explain, but my [00:12:00] mom is now 70 and there was a child likeness to her that whole week. We were there as she was walking the same road. She walked as a little girl, but now with her family present the fullness of life that she’s lived to also say my entire family gets to see where I came from, where I grew up, something just shifted even in her demeanor.

And it’s just, yeah. It’s amazing how a lot of those moments are just healing, how for my entire family, we’ll never forget it. The most memorable trip of our lives where it marked us in a really beautiful way. Um, and so seeing my mother act like a kid again was really the most beautiful thing. And, and my parents met there.

So even same with my dad, like he was stationed there to just see, you know, where he’s, I was stationed here, like just seeing how their love story even came together in soul. Like I’m just telling you that was a once in a lifetime. Trip for us because it just brought everything full circle. And now they’re there with their 13 grandkids, 12, 13 grandkids.

And, you know, it just feels like, ah, it was such a gift.

Jeremiah: It’s fascinating to think about, you know, the ripple of life and how, you know, you take a chance at night, you know, at 19 years old and then to be able to be back standing in that story with all of you there. I can’t even imagine how it felt.

Joanna: I think it was that validation that.

This was the life that was meant for me. And I mean, you talk about years of hardship and just the transition of going from Seoul to Rose Hill, Kansas, you know, um, but that she could finally look up at 70 and go, it was worth all of that. It was worth it. And look at this life that she’s created now.

Jeremiah: What a gift you guys gave each other in that.

You taking her there like it’s a really it’s wow. And then you guys got to find it all at the same time is also really interesting perspective. It was very special. What was the impetus for you wanting to dig in deeper to your culture?

Joanna: I think the wrestling of, you know, [00:14:00] I always laugh where I’m in my mid forties.

You think, wait, what is this a midlife crisis, this thing I’m feeling of like, I really want to like, I need a deeper sense of grounding to why I’m doing what I’m doing and who I am and how understanding that fully will really drive you to more beautiful places when you really wrestle. through all of that.

And I think for me, a couple years ago, I was just really sensing this thing of I, I went to fully embrace all of it, the pain, the beauty, the confusion, all of it. And so for me, it was, I dug in, I asked my mom tons of questions and all the stuff that she answered. I never knew she was going through that as we were growing up because as kids, it’s only what you’re going through is how you’re really fully aware of.

And so. I think for me, the last couple of years has been a journey of You know, I’m now 45, I have five children. I have a wonderful husband. I love the life that I have, but I do want that sense of grounding in my own soul, like to go, this is fully who I am. So that as I work out of that place and I love out of that place, it’s as whole as it can be.


Jeremiah: Explore the roots. Yes.

Joanna: I love

Jeremiah: that. I love that. I have to ask you, five children, first of all, five children is my absolute dream. I wish it would happen, but we ended up with two, which I love, but,

Joanna: and, but how, just two children. Hello. Oh my gosh. You’re one to

Jeremiah: talk. I’m in. You’re kids. I cannot believe.

And your kids are big now, which is really disturbing. Yes. Tell me about it. How, you’ve got five kids. You, you know, it’s interesting when you describe the way you grew up and because it, it sounds like I can see like light pouring in through curtains and warmth and safety. Um, how, um, have you created, um, in your own way, a space that nurtures and [00:16:00] comforts your kids?

You know, what is, what is home now with you and your children? I love

Joanna: that. Um, you know, and you know this and you’ll experience this even more as your children get older. Every season is just different. And so what nurturing looks like in one season, you have to adjust in another season. I have four teenagers now.

So what nurturing was I’m sorry. Here’s a go. I know, which is like them on your lap and, you know, is now them in their rooms and you know, they’re all teenagers, 18, let’s say I got 13 all the way up to 18. And then I have crew who grounds us all on a bus. Um, so every season that, that idea of nurture looks different.

But I think again, when I think about the intention of home and I think about what it meant to me, what my mom now will say is I never knew you noticed, I never knew, you know, the things that you remember about home, you were even noticing. And I, and I have to believe my, my kids, you know, if I were to paint the cabinets of color, they may be like, why’d you do that?

But some of the intentional things I do to. To bring that, that, that sense of nurturing and even belonging. I don’t know if they can put their finger on, but I hope as they get older, they’ve always, they will always say when I came home from school or when I came. Home from, you know, whatever that the second I stepped inside, I did, I felt safe, I felt known and valued all the things that I felt that made me feel at home to want to go to home.

And even as I go to my mom and dad’s home now, like there is something about that, like, how do we nurture that? So. You know, you think design is one thing that intention of nurturing is, if that’s foundational and that’s the first thing, everything kind of falls into place and, and in that, that means everyone’s space is going to look a little different because how I nurture my five children and how, you know, we engage them and try to bring that togetherness alive in our own home.

It’s going to look very different. And so how do you value that in every space? Um, so the, the nurture piece is really important. It is, I, I’m [00:18:00] conscious of when they step in to the house and when they step out of the house, do they, when they step out, do they feel filled up and ready to conquer the world?

And when they step in after a long day, do they feel like this is my, this is my place where I’m going to. Um, get filled up again, you know? So I think for me, I want to think through those moments and how can I make that better as a mother, even as parents, chip and I, how can we think through that? And then I think, um, on the other side of just tangible together moments, you know, there’s seasons where I’ll put a green leather card table in the middle of.

The, the, the room that makes no sense from a design standpoint, it actually blocks the flow of traffic. And it’s a bit annoying and I’ll throw a puzzle on that. And I’m telling you the first 10 minutes, everyone’s like, not another puzzle. And then at the end of the week, it’s done. And you’ll see brother and sister sitting together.

You’ll see dad and daughter sitting together. And what you’ve done is intentionally created a moment of togetherness without saying, let’s all get together. And so it’s, how do you create those little moments around the home, even in the way you arrange your furniture, that really celebrates. Being together and um, so even in those small puzzle moments, I think are the sweetest to see how they work together, how they continue to go back to the table that annoyed them a couple days ago and now they’re like determined to finish the puzzle.

So being creative in that way to even nurture that, that beauty of being together, working together, even if it’s in silence and it’s just placing a puzzle piece. How

Jeremiah: do you find a way to show up for five kids? You know, because I imagine they’re all different and and so many ways. But how do you, how do you show up for each of them individually?

Joanna: Gosh, that’s such a good question. I think that’s like the, you know, we’ve got this business over here that, you know, there’s so many different moving parts. And then you bring that here to home and you’re like five kids, so many different moving parts emotionally, physically, all the things, um, and as it is, one thing I’ve just learned [00:20:00] is that parenting is not this blanket statement thing.

It’s truly you have to be a student of your children. You have to, you have to be very aware that all five. Receive love in a different way. They give love in a different way. And so the better, um, student you are to your children, the better you’ll be able to interact with them. And, and that’s hard because a lot of the times when you’re tired, you come home from work, it’s easier to just blanket statement, let’s all get around the table.

Force convert, you know, and it’s not really about that. Some kids need like two hours to open up to me now. Yes. Yeah. Um, and I think that, you know, and, and for me, instead of saying every day, how do I connect deeply, richly with each kid, it’s giving myself moments of, you know, today I was just thinking about my oldest, like, how can I Connect with, you know, it’s kind of like giving yourself a little grace because to say you can do all of it and then have these meaningful conversations every day or these meaningful moments, you know, sometimes that magic happens.

You didn’t have to fight for it. And sometimes you have to be intentional. You have to fight for it. And I’ll call out one of my girls and say, let’s go to the garden. We’re going to go cut flowers. We’re going to make an arrangement. And if we don’t even say a word to each other, it’s just being together.

That’s, that’s the special part in that. So, you know, it’s just, it’s, it’s learning about each kid where I have one, one kid that loves to bake with me. And then I have one kid that wants to cook by themselves. So it’s like, You know, understanding that it’s just different and to allow that space so that it’s not this forced thing.

It’s this real thing that will last longer, that’ll be more meaningful.

Jeremiah: Are you a different parent than you thought you would be? Yes. Yeah. Me too. I’m always interested to know if people, if it’s the same, isn’t that funny? Yeah. I thought I was going to be this, this hard ass and super tough, like tough, you know, I grew up in a really tough family.

And I was like, nothing’s going to happen here. It turns out I’m like, let’s just, I could sit on the floor talking about the [00:22:00] feelings. I’ve never raised my voice. I’m like, I, you know, it’s just all the things I never, you know, it’s just completely

Joanna: different. It’s very different. And I think I’ve surprised myself.

And then sometimes I’m like, Oh, you are. Yeah, you need, you need time out. I mean, so I think it just depends on the day,

Jeremiah: but five kids. I feel like you’re entitled to a time out.

Joanna: Yes, yes. My time out in the garden for teenagers. I know. And there I, I’m about to have three that are driving, which is a whole other level of

Jeremiah: Nope.


Joanna: allowed. I can’t even say it, but God knows three, three kids driving. I mean, that just alone feels like, you know, the, the more you move into those, those shifts, the more you’re like, hold on and, um, it does. Go by fast. And I’m telling you, years and years, women told me this when I was in my shop, Magnolia, when it was just me and Chip and Drake are my oldest.

And they would come in as their kids were going off to college. And they’d say, Joe, it goes by fast. And I’m sitting there kind of going, I don’t know. I didn’t like do anything. I just heard it. And, you know, it’s like once that first kid gets their driver’s license from that point, it just life happens.

Faster. I don’t know what it is about that one moment. And then they’re going to college and then the next one’s going to college. And so, you know, that, that actually Again, with as seasons change, your perspective changes, your goals change. Um, and so that’s what I love is just always being open to every season.

Life’s going to look a little different. My schedule’s going to look a little different because right now my priority are these four teenage kids, this five year old little toddler. And so how do you make life work where that is the priority? And then everything else falls into place behind that. Um, and so that changes constantly.


Jeremiah: of the things that you, um, wrote in your memoir, which I loved the stories we tell. Thank you. You said, Letting go reveals what else our [00:24:00] arms are made to carry. Um, How do you stay mindful of that every day with everything you have going on?

Joanna: I think it is that, that sense of, Um, grounding that it’s an exercise I do, I have to do daily, because I do feel like if I, if I don’t ground myself, whether that’s in journaling, getting in the garden, um, getting filled up in ways, I do, I could, I could see myself getting overwhelmed if I really look up and think about all the things that we’re trying to, You know, that we have, that’s, it’s a beautiful life that we have, but you know, we’ve got this business in town, we’ve got these amazing employees.

So that alone is, there’s a, there’s a weight to it, a responsibility that’s an honor, but that doesn’t just like leave my brain when I walk in the doors at home, that’s always there. Um, just like when I’m at work, the responsibility of being a mother and a wife is always with me as well. So I think as you move in and out of, um, your day and as like, as you were saying with that quote, the idea that as you let go of things, it is a, for me, a seasonal shedding that I, I allow myself to go through.

Like what in the season, whether that’s just like this quarter, this year, this month, it depends on what it is. I have to look at my life and evaluate. What do I need to leave behind? What do I need to carry with me as I move forward? Because I can’t do it all. And so I have to have these like daily, um, weekly, monthly, would call it a, it’s not an analysis, but a, uh, you know, check in.

Hey, I get that you love this, but if you want to do this as well, like you then. And so I think it is, it’s, it’s okay to shift, it’s okay to change priorities. And so, um, what I have found is, is the more you allow yourself to be okay with that, the more you allow yourself to be aware of it. You’d be quite surprised at what you can carry and carry well, um, and so, but you can’t do it all.

So you do have to have that assessment of like, I loved [00:26:00] this, but in this season, I’m going to let someone else do this, or I’m going to drop it all together. Or, and so constant, like inventory of all of it. Yeah. I feel

Jeremiah: like I’m, I’m trying to learn that lesson. That’s a hard lesson to learn. It

Joanna: is hard because I’m sure like me, it’s like.

Kind of want to do it all and the delegation’s hard for me.

Jeremiah: I can do it. I don’t need to sleep.

Joanna: Who cares? Let’s go. Right. I really, I really do think that. I’m like sleep. Well, whatever. I know. Me too. We’ll both be up at 3am. We can, we can text each other. Do you get up early every day? Chip gets up early every day.

I stay up, I can stay up late. He’s early. So we try to figure out this thing. Cause you know, we, we like to stay on each other’s schedules, but I’m like, I’m not getting up early. He really is like this every morning. I’m like, what times you wake up? Um, he’s like a 4 a. m. Kind of a guy. Yeah, that’s me. I now realize as I get older, that sleep makes you either look really tired or really, you know, fresh.

And so I’m like, I value sleep. And so I don’t, I don’t need to wake up as early as I used to think because. Lord knows I want to look rested and not completely exhausted.

Jeremiah: Yes. We don’t bounce back the way we used to. We sure don’t.

We have something in common, which is we both work. With our spouses, which for most people, um, is very complicated. Um, but I mean, it works for us. I’m interested to hear, um, what it’s been like for you, um, to work with chip because you’ve described, I’ve read about you describing how you’re very different personality wise, um, and that you describe as an yourself as an introvert, which is the same way I do.

And my husband is very much. and extrovert. And so it’s Jeff. So you guys

Joanna: are opposite as well.

Jeremiah: 100%. I’m like the weird guy in a corner, not talking to anybody that my husband could talk to a wall. And yeah, [00:28:00] you and I could just be in the corner just journaling away together.

Joanna: Yes. Reflecting, um, by the punch table ourselves.

Just happy. We’re like, where’s the cake? Thrilled. Thrilled. So I love this because you know, we don’t meet a lot of couples that Work together. I think it is one of those things where when it works, it works and we don’t, you know, don’t recommend it unless it works like it’s not for everybody. And I think for us, it’s it’s a gift that that’s the only thing we’ve ever known when we started when we first got married in 2003.

I mean, we only that’s we just got our hands dirty. We started Magnolia. We’re doing construction like That’s all we knew was our life together as partners, not only, um, as a couple, but also in business. And so, um, I think because of that opposite thing, there’s a strength to that when you value each other’s.

Differences. Um, instead of me trying to make chip a little more introverted or chip trying to make me a little more extroverted, it was really, there is a value to who I was. And when you respect that, I think you come together and work together really well. Um, so, you know, for me, chip is he, I would call him like the visionary, big picture, internal optimist.

He sees opportunity everywhere and Even if I see it as like something where, okay, that’s a fail, he sees it as a, well, we still won because what we learned, I mean, it’s just his outlook on life where mine is like, you fail, that’s why you stay home, you know, I’m like, that’s why I’m never doing this again.

So, um, it’s just, it’s where some of my, uh, safety and, you know, where chip is like, doesn’t want any day to look alike. He wants every day to be different and like, what are we exploring? What are we curious about? I’m like every day. I would love to look the same. That’s how I thrive And so it’s funny when you see that life together How you have to find that middle place [00:30:00] and how sometimes chip will win and we’ll go do the spontaneous thing And in the end i’ll be like thank god we did that And then sometimes chip will see on my side how maybe the way that I operate was best for that moment.

So I think it is just seeing the value in that. What I’ve learned though, I think there’s more value I’ve seen than what obviously was someone who lives life, who is consistently curious, stays a learner, loves anything that’s different than what he’s doing. Cause he sees that there’s value in that, that, that perspective, all of it.

Like, I think there’s more to gain from that life. And what Chip has taught me is. Um, that I’m a no person, um, even chip will be halfway into a sentence and an ask and I’ll say no, actually, before I even know what it is, because I just know naturally comes out of my mouth where I’ve realized living with chip and seeing how he lives life that the moments and the memories are in the yeses.

And so anytime you say yes to something, even though it may hurt because it gets you out of your comfort zone or it’s going to screw up your schedule, that that’s where life really is. And so it’s just been really. This has been a fun partnership. Um, I feel like i’ve grown a lot. I don’t know if i’ve stifled chips Crush because i’m like you weren’t doing that but I think we figured out this It’s really beautiful, magical middle place where, you know, the life that we get to do together is really, we see it as a gift and hopefully our children see that, that it’s possible to work with your spouse, even though you’re very different, that when you respect each other and value that, that gosh, Chip has always said, one plus one doesn’t equal two in those situations.

One plus one actually can equal a hundred or a thousand when you figure out how to do those things together.

Jeremiah: And it’s funny, people are always like, what’s the secret? And, and I don’t have a secret. I think at the end of the day, you know, I, I really like my husband, like as a person. Yes. You know, I love that.

I love him. I obviously, I never imagined that I would [00:32:00] have a love story. I never have imagined that I would have a family and I’m, and, but I never also imagined that I would. I, I really like him, you know, he makes me laugh. Enjoy being with him. Yes. Yes. So much joy. And to your point, we are very different in this scenario.

I am the chip. I am the eternal optimist. I want, but I’m, I’m so good at failing. I don’t care if we fail a million times. I’m fine with it. Nate is a Virgo. He likes things this way. He likes consistency. Um, we’re very different in that sense. Okay.

Joanna: Oh, yeah. Amazing. How in that way it kind of shifts on that, on that side.

But I, I love how you say that. I’m an introverted optimist. Okay. That’s, which is very unique and beautiful. Fascinating. I, I, that is, you need to write a book just about that right there. Um, but I love that. I mean, that’s the key. What you said is, is that you truly enjoy being together. And then it’s like the work that.

Yeah. We get to tackle together, even though it’s hard work at times, at least we get to do together and we enjoy each other. And, you know, it’s not like I look at him as the main and complicated sometimes for sure. But it’s truly like I do this life with my best friend who I really like. I like I prefer to be with you as often as possible versus the other way around.

Jeremiah: How did you find a way to maintain like a sense of self?

Joanna: Um, well, he, I think because of who he is and how he is, he actually kind of Make sure that that is at the forefront of my mind because he thinks that’s the most valuable thing about me versus Yeah, like if I can understand that fully own it and in this morning I was working through something with him and Of course, kind of being hard on myself about it and I think I don’t think I handle this well.

And then he starts telling me about all the, you know, getting me back to that moment of, but this is who you [00:34:00] are. And this is, you know, and I, at the time, in the moment, I just wanted him to kind of complain with me. I was like, I don’t want to hear all that, you know, so I think, I think the sense that he knows that that is.

The most important thing that me thinking like him actually isn’t going to make any of us better. It’s for me to be whole and who I am by myself is actually going to be the best thing for us. Just like Chip being fully who he is apart from me, it’s going to be the best thing for me. Not that I, you know, that idea of I complete him, he completes me.

It’s like, this is who I am grounded fully. Who I am and who I know this is who I was created to be. Then I bring my best self to him. And then that’s what actually makes it where I think a lot of times you can maybe depend on that and feel like, you know, that, that codependent thing of not knowing who you are apart from something or someone.

And I feel like one thing he’s really nurtured is that strong sense of self and purpose. And so, you know, with both of us, he, he, he understands like my. For me, when I journal and when I ground myself, it is when you say self, deep sense of self, it’s, it’s who I am in, in God and who I feel like God has created me to be.

And I feel like that’s where Chip is always like, when he senses that I’m spiraling, he’s like, go, go in the room, you get with God, let him tell you who you are, because I can’t do that. Go with, and, and so I even love that he even understands that, that

Jeremiah: the permission to disconnect

Joanna: almost. There’s that sacred place of knowing that is apart from anything else, um, that is really special to me, that grounds me.

And so he’s always pointing me back to that, which I, I truly appreciate.

Jeremiah: That’s beautiful. Do you have any other rituals for yourself besides journaling that you do that are, that you, that are sacred?

Joanna: I go to the garden every day. Um, and if I could just write a book on what I learn in the garden every day, 365 [00:36:00] days of lessons in the garden.

It never fails me. There is something about nature and you know, this, I feel like a lot of when I see the way you design and you, you, you, you get that connection to nature and somehow I see that in all your spaces and that is why it’s so grounded and beautiful. Um, for me it is, it is that daily journaling, you know, that’s prayer, um, getting it all out.

Then I think at the end of the day, I always end my day in the garden. So no matter what has gone on, um, I kind of complete my thoughts. I ground myself in that space. Um, because I think when you’re in nature or mind you, it’s not about you. I’m not about you at all. You know? In fact, no. All the miracles happening around you.

And that’s what happens to me in the garden. I get in there and then I see the wonder and I see the beauty, and I see the magic. Mm-hmm, . And then I’m. I’m rightfully placed in that moment, which I think is, is, is healthy for me. And so that’s very important as well.

Jeremiah: It’s funny because I, um, I was, I’ve been, I’m fascinated.

I was watching all this stuff and I’ve read about old age and people who live extra long. And the one consistent thing is that everybody has a garden. And I thought that was such an interesting thing because it’s something you take care of and nurture. And you know, for me, I appreciate you saying that about.

How you can see nature reflected in more because I grew up in a religious family and I read every religion and I, you know, I think of religion as a language and everybody’s got to find their own language to get to the, to the source. Yes. And it was nature for me and it was my connection with nature that made me feel connected to more.

It’s beautiful. And I think the garden thing, especially when we’re talking there now, it’s so much more important to me, especially for my children, that I want them to get their hands in dirt and feel connected to something bigger and deeper. And, you know, I definitely feel that pull lately. I have a [00:38:00] random question for you.

Do you like move your house around all the time or does it stay the same?

Joanna: Pretty much stays the same. I used to. Wow. Mainly because the way our house is set up, you don’t really have that. I mean, the room, you know, it’s an old farmhouse. And so I can’t move that piano anywhere else. I can’t.

Jeremiah: No, you sure can’t.

Have you been in the same house since the kids were born?

Joanna: No. Oh, gosh. Poor kids. Um, this is the 12th house. Oh, my God. But we’ve been in this house the longest. And I’ll tell you what’s really fascinating is up until the farmhouse, we lived in maybe eight or nine different homes because Chip and I were flipping houses.

And then we’d be like, let’s put this one for sale. Let’s find out. That was our life. Um, and then we moved to the farm. And that’s when fixer upper entered into our lives. And We haven’t moved since. And I feel like what we didn’t know at the time, but now what we know today is this place was. meant for our family as this beautiful retreat, um, escape, like just being on a farm where all the other nine homes were in neighborhoods, which was beautiful.

We loved our neighbors. We loved, you know, the block parties, but there was something about this season and life that 10 years of a whirlwind of lots of crazy and exciting things happening. We needed this. to ground us here. And so when you say, am I constantly, I will say what I am doing is, you know, in little pockets of rooms where it doesn’t make a big impact for my family and is not super disruptive.

I play around in there. I’m always messing around in the garden, you know, seasonally. So I feel like I’m getting it out in that way, but also just with my work. I feel like when I go to the office, I’m constantly moving things around, whether that’s with the retail side or if it’s a home remodeling when I get home.

I don’t want to do that as much. I just I like the stability of it just being the same. We’ve

Jeremiah: moved 10 times in 10 years and I actually just wrote a [00:40:00] book nothing to do with design but actually just the exploration of like why people never leave their homes because it’s like my dream to like have Like stay somewhere for 20 years that your kids come back to it.

I don’t know if I’m capable of it, but you’re worse than I am. So this is very exciting for me. Maybe I need to just get a garden.

Joanna: You do need that.

Jeremiah: That’s my trick. I just need to get a garden. You do. What is it that transition been like for you? From working on TV to now owning your own network. I’m sure that’s been quite a transition.

Joanna: We filmed for five seasons of Fixer Upper, and Chip and I, we still laugh about the first couple of years, we were still trying to figure out our, you know, construction business. And so then you put that with production. Yeah. You know, it was literally like, how do we run this business and make it? You know, to where it actually works and then we’re filming.

And so for five years, I mean, it just felt like a blur in a lot of ways, but you can understand how, when you’re running an actual business and that’s a, when you have your own business, sometimes it’s a 24 hours thing. Like it just never shuts off. And then you put production into that. It’s just a complicated mix because.

It’s hard to do both really well. And that’s what we tried to figure out. And I think by the end, we, we figured out some things that worked, some things that didn’t, but what a ride that was in that same time period, we had started a magazine, Magnolia Journal. What woke me up every day. Yeah, but I think what I started realizing is when you get the spotlight off of yourselves and you can shine it on someone else, that’s actually a more fun, fulfilling way to live.

And that’s what the magazine was doing for us in our company was we get to highlight people who are passionate about what they do, tell their stories that are totally different than ours and find the beauty in that. And that’s what the magazine was. And so when this network opportunity came about, it really came [00:42:00] from that idea of the magazine of, Hey, every now and then we may want to do a show, but our ultimate passion is how do we tell stories that aren’t our stories and other people’s stories that are so different and That can help you see a different perspective, help you see a different point of view, help you see a different passion that you may not be interested in.

But still that underlying thread is that it’s what those people were meant to do, which is why it’s so beautiful to watch and so fulfilling to watch. So the network shifted from spotlight on ship and Joe and that fixer thing to we get to highlight other people’s amazing stories and cheer them on.

That’s amazing. And we love that all of the things that are so different and diverse and beautiful and interesting. It’s just like, we’re one big family that just tells a beautiful story of. You know, do what you, you specifically were meant to do. And in that it’s going to inspire so many other people. So it, there, there was a definite shift.

Um, but I feel like it’s, it’s just been so much more fulfilling and rewarding when you get to shine that light on other people.

Jeremiah: Is there a part of renovating his homes on TV that you love and part that you don’t love so much?

Joanna: The part I love is I will always be a sucker for a before and after, and that’s what drives me to, even if it’s just hard work and grueling, it’s just like, we’ve got to get to that after because I can see it in my head.

All the things in between, that’s the complicated part, but just that vision of bringing something to life and telling You know, a deeper story behind it is, is something that I love so much. The hard part is the, you know, the, the logistics to get there along the way, whether that’s production, the construction, you know, I, I, I kind of operate out of like, how do I stay high efficient, get it done.

And I think sometimes with production and all the things, you know, it kind of slows some things down, construction problems, and so. I just, you know, if I could just snap my fingers and it just be a [00:44:00] beautiful before and after like a Cinderella story, that’s pretty quick. That’s what I love. But it’s, you know, it’s the in between stuff that obviously where you’re learning, you’re getting better every time.

But I will say my favorite thing about it is that reveal moment, which you can understand.

Jeremiah: I say it all the time. There’s no way to describe what it feels like to just kind of walk somebody into a new life and to show them sometimes parts of themselves in a life that they didn’t even imagine for themselves.

It’s a really unique experience that’s unlike any other I’ve ever, I’ve ever had.

Joanna: It’s like helping them articulate their story and what an honor that we get to do

Jeremiah: that. It’s just a beautiful, a really beautiful exercise in humanity. These shows, when they’re done the right way, because at the end of the day, everybody’s just looking for connection, um, either with people.

or their home or their family. Um, and I think, you know, I always think of it and I always tell Nate, you know, he’s not naturally as curious as I am, but, but fun. And I’m always interested in the why of everything, you know, I could sit down and talk to the homeowners. I’m like, why this, why that what’s going on.

But that’s the beautiful part of television. Like you can. You can learn so much about yourself and the world and people and cultures and differences and the safety of your living room. When TV’s done well, it’s so good. Yes. Amen. Um, broad question, but are there one or two things that you’ve kind of learned over the course of your career in design and working with people, um, that you think really makes a house a home?

Joanna: I feel like it always starts with. Intention and story. And what I always tell my clients is, Hey, I love to see, you know, they’ll do the tear sheets of their inspo picks. And I, it’s always helpful to see what they’re resonating with. Um, but I feel like the key to unlocking that. Sense of home is instead of what do you want it to look like?

The question is, what do you want it to [00:46:00] feel like? Because you remember, um, as you grow up and you, you start your own family and you have your own home is that feeling. And so I always like to start there. I think that is really the differentiator and also the more unique, the more individual, the better, right?

I think the culture we’re in today with just beauty and all the pictures we see all over the internet and in magazines, it’s like easy to say copy and paste. But then you don’t feel that soul in that space, you feel that replication or that trend and it’s really important to be inspired by it, but also set it aside and say, what do I want it to feel like and what matters to me and my family and let’s be quirky, let’s be weird if it’s not going to, and I just think like you kind of said in the beginning, it’s like this passion to just say it’s not about copy paste anymore, it really is about individuality and yeah.

This expression of your family and your story that makes a home the most beautiful place on earth when you do that. Um, and so that’s the key.

Jeremiah: I have one last very important question for you. When do you feel the most at home? I would

Joanna: say around the dinner table with my five children and Chip. There’s something about that moment that I think is what I work towards every day.

Whether we get it or not. And that is saying, you know, the opposite of kind of some of what I was saying is that sometimes it doesn’t have to be in the home to feel at home, but for me personally, I feel the most at home around the table with my precious family, just around a meal that I’ve got to prepare for them, sit down and I can just be quiet and just listen and watch the life that’s unfolding in front of me and just go, this is home.


Jeremiah: so perfect. You’re the best. Thank you for doing this, Joanna. I really appreciate

Joanna: it. Well, I now need an hour with you, maybe next week. Let’s do it. You call me. And I got questions for you, Jeremiah.

Jeremiah: It’s fine. You call me on a Sunday. We will spill all the tea.

Jeremiah: I just want to thank again, Joanna, for joining me. It’s funny, when I [00:48:00] meet people, I always associate a word with them. For her, she just exudes a warmth. There is a generosity of spirit. She is authentic and real and open and honest and vulnerable. And it’s no surprise that’s why all of us have fallen in love with her.

I’d like to hear more about the special places in your life that maybe you’ve shared with a loved one. So be sure to post, comment, or tag us on Instagram at CAClosets. Ideas of Order is a California Closets podcast. Thanks to the team behind the scenes, this episode is produced by Samantha Sager and Rob Schulte at Surround Podcast Network by Sandow Design Group.