Friday, December 18, 2015

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8 Waco Homes That "Fixer Upper" Should Totally Take On

Already renovated? Yes. But this home still needs Joanna's signature touches.

Nearly a decade ago, my husband lived and worked in Waco, Texas, for four months. He uses one word to describe the tiny town: flat. And he means it in every sense of the word: flat landscape, dull nightlife, and unimpressive homes. But Chip and Joanna Gaines, the hosts of HGTV's Fixer Upper, have breathed new life into the place previously put on the map by tragedy, transforming drab (and often dangerously decrepit) homes into total showplaces. 

I have a habit of perusing real estate listings in cities we have a 2% chance of living, and since my husband's company has a Waco division, the Texas town has been added to my Zillow browsing routine. My favorite game: If Frank and I were moving there, and I could wrangle the Gaines' design services, which house would I take a chance on? Here, eight potential Fixer Upper properties currently for sale in Waco:

1024 Greenwood Lane | Waco, TX

3,295 square feet
5 bedrooms | 3 baths
Built in 1986

What caught my eye: This property is a little pricier than many of the homes on Fixer Upper—but it's actually a two-for-one deal. The main home has three bedrooms, and in the backyard, there's a second (and arguably more adorable) two-bedroom cottage. The options for the second space are endless: a guest house, a game room and pool house, or even an artists' studio and office. And the back patio on the main house? That kind of outdoor space is a huge selling point, especially in a warm-weather state like Texas.

The potential here is huge: Paint the exposed brick white or gray, smooth the ceilings, refurbish (or replace) the built-ins, and install funky light fixtures, and this large living room could be an incredible gathering space.

With plentiful cabinet space, a window behind the sink, beautiful wood floors, and an arched entryway, this room has the potential to be a killer kitchen. It's practically asking for one of Joanna's signature marble-topped islands.

This patio gives me serious yard envy! It's the perfect place for kids to play, to hold backyard parties, or just to relax outside and read a book.

Is this backyard cottage not adorable? With this property's oversized lawn (see below), Chip and Joanna could easily add a pool and turn this little building into the perfect pool house.

3708 N. 22nd St. | Waco, TX

1,230 square feet
3 bedrooms | 1 bath
Built in 1947

What caught my eye: This Hansel-and-Gretel cottage is tiny, but packed with character: an arched entryway, oversized windows, and gorgeous wood floors. It has already been updated, but would really shine with Chip and Joanna's decorative touch.

I love the gently arched doorway leading into the living room and the fireplace flanked by large windows, which make the small space seem much bigger.

It's quirky details like these corner windows that could really showcase Joanna's abilities. (I'm clueless as to what she'd do here, but I know it'd be amazing!)

9078 W. Lake Creek Road | Waco, TX

2,500 square feet
3 bedrooms | 2 baths
Built in 1984

What caught my eye: The mature trees are an obvious selling point, as is the mother-in-law suite, complete with a second kitchen. The rooms are large, and with a few minor tear-downs, the layout could be open and airy, making it a perfect candidate for a Joanna Gaines' facelift. 

Yes, this kitchen is a total gut job. But with its pass-through window (see below), the potential for an open concept layout is obvious.

Look past the popcorn ceiling and wall mirrors, and you've got a living space with high ceilings, a beam just begging to be upgraded, and lots of light.

Imagine: white-washed walls, swooshing ceiling fans, and reclaimed wood floors. This could easily become my favorite place in the house.

With just under 18 acres, this place is a horse farm waiting to happen.

319 Crescent Road | Waco, TX

2,552 square feet
4 bedrooms | 2 baths
Built in 1982

What caught my eye: Although this house was built in the '80s, it has all the appeal of a Craftsman bungalow, with quaint architectural detail, a huge tree out front, and a floor-to-ceiling fireplace.

Painted white, and with a statement mantel, this fireplace could become a gorgeous focal point for the room. The updates are entirely cosmetic: install new light fixtures, rip out the dated tile flooring, and do away with the popcorn ceilings.

Galley-style kitchens tend to feel tight, and this one is no exception. But wood flooring would make the room feel larger, while ceiling-height cabinets would capitalize on the wasted space above the current cabinets. The final touch? An attention-grabbing light fixture, turning the boring breakfast nook into a cozy spot for a cup of coffee.

This giant bathroom feels out of place, but you wouldn't catch me complaining! This place deserves the spa treatment: a freestanding clawfoot tub, a stall shower, and cool colors. 

This solarium-like space is well-suited to an herb garden, one of Joanna's go-to solutions for sunrooms.

3104 Mitchell Ave. | Waco, TX

2,315 square feet
3 bedrooms | 3 baths
Built in 1950

What caught my eye: The outdoor space is what sold me: huge trees, brick sidewalk, and a secret garden-style backyard. But even the inside has its appeal, if you can look past the 1950s-era wallpaper. The kitchen has tons of cabinet space, the fireplace has a beautiful, traditional-style mantle, and there are windows everywhere.

It looks like someone has been smoking in here for the last half-century, but the bones of the room are solid, with a surplus of windows, crown molding, and lots of square footage. The fireplace just needs a fresh coat of paint and a new tile surround, and the carpet could easily be replaced with wood flooring.

I'm not sure if this is a sunroom or a dining room, but I love the bay window. Even the beadboard walls could stay put if you applied a fresh coat of paint.

Welcome to the Mad Men-era 'burbs! The kitschy wallpaper dates the space, but this maze of a kitchen has no shortage of storage, a rarity in a 1950s home. 

Seriously, does this kitchen ever end??

This bathroom could easily accommodate a double'd just need to knock out the urinal.

The yard looks straight out of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Bust up some of that concrete, and you'd have an incredible outdoor room.

1016 N. 30th St. | Waco, TX

914 square feet
2 bedrooms | 1 bath
Built in 1940

What caught my eye: Talk about tiny house living! At just under 1,000 square feet, there's denying this place is small, but with its 1940s detailsgleaming wood floors, arched doorways, and solid wood doorsthere's no shortage of character. I would love to see the exterior painted gray, with white trim and bright yellow door. Oh, and some grass would be nice.

I love the dark-stained floors, which pair nicely with the cool color palette Joanna often uses.

I'm not a fan of black cabinetry or tile countertops. And...this kitchen is tiny. But if you sacrificed some space in the dining room, you could easily open up the wall, install a small island, and make these cramped quarters feel more open.

2518 Colcord Ave. | Waco, TX

3,856 square feet
4 bedrooms | 3 baths
Built in 1914

What caught my eye: What's not to love about this early-20th century stunner? A massive porch, a Craftsman-style front door with a window surround, a gorgeous staircase with carved newel posts, French doorsthis house has everything I adore in an old home. It appears to have already been renovated, but it's missing the signature Gaines style: an immaculate kitchen (and attention-grabbing backsplash), a grand chandelier, and wood floors throughout.

The spot between the windows would be perfect for a faux fireplace focal point. 

I love the weathered French doors! With one of Joanna's oversized farm tables, instead of this tiny pedestal table, this could be an amazing space for entertaining.

My one complaint: I hate when homes don't have a foyer. (It feels awkward walking straight into the living room.) I'd be inclined to reconfigure the living space to allow room for a foyer, perhaps stealing a little square footage from the adjacent dining room.

This room already has many Fixer Upper-style elements: white cabinets, half-moon drawer pulls, a farmhouse sink, and interesting pendant lights. But with its cheap wooden countertops, small upper cabinets, lack of a backsplash, and an island that's too tiny for the space (not to mention bright red), it unfortunately misses the mark. 

The staircase is stunning, but the juxtaposition of the ceiling fan and pendant light is odd.

And last, but not least, a house that requires a total Chip-and-Joanna overhaul...

518 N. 11th St. | Waco, TX

Foreclosure estimate: $170,593
4,096 square feet
4 bedrooms, 3 baths
Built in 1915

What caught my eye: My favorite episodes of Fixer Upper are the ones where Chip and Joanna take a house that's ready for the wrecking ball and bring it back to its former glory. This is one of those houses. Based on my high-tech Google street view investigation, the whole neighborhood, which is part of Waco's historic district, seems to be in distress. But perhaps Fixer Upper could start the gentrification process!

I could totally see myself sipping lemonade on this elevated front porch. The combination of the brick foundation and stately columns is gorgeous!

The inside is admittedly terrifying. But has that ever stopped Joanna Gaines? Nope!

This house is worth saving for the fireplace alone!

So what is the staircase is missing a few spindles and the light fixture is straight out of the 1990s...this place has potential with a capital "P"!


  1. You realize that gentrification destroys entire communities, right? Please don't make it sound like a good thing.

    GENTRIFICATION: When a bunch of rich white people buy plots and decrepit buildings near poor folks' homes and turn them into expensive houses and specialty restaurants. Once gentrified, the previously affordable lots/buildings become overpriced cafes, specialty restaurants, high-end apartments, etc. This forces the locals (usually poor, often marginalized groups of people) out due to rising expenses and cost of living.

    Person 1: I love all the great new shopping districts here! Isn't it simply divine? Gentrification made this place so great!

    Person 2: No, I lost the home I've lived in my entire life because gentrification means I can no longer pay my rent or afford to buy groceries in my own neighborhood.