How a DM from Joanna Gaines Changed Candis & Andy Meredith's Lives: 'Living Our Dream'

The Utah-based couple star in Magnolia Network's Home Work, which follows their journey renovating a 20,000-square-foot schoolhouse into their family home

joanna gaines and Candis and Andy Meredith
Photo: Brian Ach/Invision/AP/Shutterstock; Courtesy Magnolia Network

Candis and Andy Meredith have been lifelong HGTV fans — but when Joanna Gaines followed their joint Instagram account a couple of years ago, they thought it must be a mistake.

The Utah-based couple had been posting about their renovations of old homes for years, and even had their own limited series on HGTV, but they were still shocked to see one of the network's biggest stars was interested in their work. They were even more surprised when the Fixer Upper host sent them a direct message, asking them to chat — a moment that changed their lives forever.

"It was right before Magnolia Network was officially announced, and she just reached out and said, 'I'd like to talk,'" Andy tells PEOPLE. "We connected, and she said, 'Hey, I have an idea.'"

At the time, Candis and Andy were just about to embark on their biggest project ever: renovating a 20,000-square-foot schoolhouse to turn it into a home for their blended family of nine (they each had three boys from previous relationships before they married and had a girl together).

home work
Courtesy of Magnolia Network

"I love that school," Candis remembers Joanna telling them, before asking if they would consider filming the renovation process for a new show on her and her husband Chip's new Magnolia Network, which has since launched streaming in July 2021, and will debut as a TV channel in January 2022.

"We said we would be honored, and it was a match made in heaven," Candis says, and their show, Home Work, was born. It's now available to stream on Discovery+.

The unscripted series follows the family's journey as they turn the schoolhouse into their dream house. Each episode focuses on a different space in the home, with Candis and Andy speaking directly to viewers and explaining what they're seeing on screen.

Candis, who began renovating old houses when she was 16 and redid her parents' historic home, leads the charge, and her passion shines through.

"I was rearranging my bedroom from the time I was five years old, drawing floor plans and trying to move my furniture," Candis says with a laugh. "I honestly feel like I was always made to do this."

Candis and Andy Meredith's Magnolia Show
Courtesy Magnolia Network

Candis and Andy say they didn't think they were going to work in TV again before Joanna reached out. But, they say, the authenticity of the Magnolia Network is what drew them back into the entertainment business.

"We knew that they would let us tell our story authentically," Candis says, noting that she and Andy helped direct and produce, and generally oversaw each episode from start to finish.

"Chip and Jo and the whole Magnolia team really understood that we wanted to make something different. And so we had the freedom to make the kind of show that felt more documentary, and less formatted," Andy adds. "It's something that I don't know we would have had the freedom to make anywhere else, but they just handed us the reins and said, 'Make your show.' That's something you don't see these days."

Candis and Andy Meredith's Magnolia Show
Courtesy Magnolia Network

In addition to being incredible bosses, Andy says Chip and Joanna have also become great friends because they connect on a deeper level.

"I think the best part of it is that we're just really aligned in what we want to put out into the world and what we want to share," Andy says of the Gaineses. "We just love making things beautiful. Making people feel happy, feel joy and feel like they can make their life better."

He continues: "To have them appreciate what we do and really get excited for us to do it has just been a lot of fun. And they're just really warm, kind people. It's been really nice to work with them."

RELATED VIDEO: Joanna Gaines Reveals How Social Media 'Accusations' Have Hurt Her and Her Family: 'We're Human'

Now, with the entire season of Home Work out for the world to see, the pair are able to look back at the whirlwind of the last year or so and realize how lucky they are.

"It blows my mind every day that I get to do what I love, and something that maybe wasn't necessarily a dream of mine only because it felt so unattainable," Candis says. "But here we are, living our dream, and it's so great to do it together."

And the couple already have another project on the horizon — and they couldn't be more excited.

Says Candis, "Look out, we bought the junior high next door!"

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