Joanna Gaines Says Renovating Her 100-Year-Old Castle 'Felt Daunting' in New 'Magnolia Journal' Essay

The renovation was featured on the latest season of the HGTV personality's new spinoff, Fixer Upper: The Castle

Hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines pick out floor stains and fit imported furnace, as seen on Fixer Upper: The Castle. QXPK 100

Joanna Gaines wasn't always sold on buying the 100-year-old Cottonland Castle with her husband Chip.

The spring issue of the couple's magazine, The Magnolia Journal, was released on Thursday and includes an essay written by Joanna about flipping the 1913 castle in their hometown of Waco, Texas. The renovation was also featured on the latest season of her spinoff, Fixer Upper: The Castle.

In the essay, Joanna, 44, details how Chip, 47, always saw the property's potential.

"For years the castle sat empty. Graffiti coated the walls. Animals found a new home. If you've followed our story, then you know that none of this scared Chip. It fueled him," the Fixer Upper star wrote.

"Every time we drove past the castle, his eyes grew wider, his imagination wilder—it was more than 6,000 square feet of potential, waiting to be unearthed and restored to its former glory," she said of her husband's interest in the estate. "During the 20 years that the castle went on and off the market, Chip consistently put in offers for a shot at bringing it back to life."

Joanna Gaines
Magnolia Journal

It turns out that Joanna was more than happy that the timing worked out the way it did, given her apprehension about the project.

"Meanwhile, with every offer that wasn't accepted, I took a breath of relief," she revealed. "Not because I didn't want Chip's dream to come true or because I didn't want to step into this castle's legacy and write our own chapter in its unfolding story. That's the kind of work Chip and I live for."

"But tackling a project like this—one at that scale with 130 years worth of history—felt daunting. Until one day in 2019 when Chip surprised me with a call—his offer had been accepted, and the castle was ours," she confessed.

Chip and Joanna Gaines Castle Renovation
Courtesy of Magnolia Network

When the castle was officially theirs, Joanna and Chip got to work on how they envisioned the castle's comeback.

"During the year-long renovation process, we kept coming back to the building's roots, studying the German castle that inspired its original design and trying to find ways to either restore or replicate its stunning details—its crown molding, wood paneling, and narrow-plank floors. At the same time, we wanted to create an updated home that could, one day, serve a family well and feel current," Joanna wrote.

She wasn't renovating the castle for any one family, like her typical fixer uppers, "so, I made one up," she said. "I imagined an older couple who love to play cards, sip wine, and host friends and family. Maybe that sounds funny, but I couldn't shake the feeling that crafting a story would help guide our final decisions."

Hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines pick out floor stains and fit imported furnace, as seen on Fixer Upper: The Castle. QXPK 100

Throughout the process the couple learned an important lesson.

"The castle taught us that sometimes the forgotten things in life don't need a reinvention but just a little dusting off. And the deep-seated dreams within you and me are worth holding on to. Yes, even the ones 20 years in the making," she wrote.

In May 2022, it was announced that the home improvement duo would be tackling the total renovation in their latest eight-episode limited series, Fixer Upper: The Castle, which premiered in October.

The spring issue of Magnolia Journal is available online now and on newsstands starting February 10.

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