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Magnolia Network founders Chip and Joanna Gaines have taken on unusual restoration projects. But Joanna said one home was Chip’s dream renovation, though it was hard for her to see it through the same lens at first.

Read on to learn more about that “incredibly daunting” project and what eventually changed Joanna’s mind.

Chip and Joanna Gaines, shown in 2021, took on a restoration project that was his dream come true
Chip and Joanna Gaines | Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Chip and Joanna Gaines took on a Texas castle for restoration

In 2019, Chip and Joanna purchased a castle in Waco, Texas. Though the home’s build started way back in 1890, it wasn’t completed until 1913. That’s when it was transformed and modeled after a real castle.

It had “three stories and a basement, eight fireplaces, servants’ quarters, and a tower. Modeled after a small German castle along the Rhine River, white sandstone and small amounts of limestone composed the exterior of the house. The interior accents varied by room and floor, including imported materials such as Caen stone from France, Carrara marble from Italy, and Honduran mahogany paneling” (per Waco History).

Despite the extravagance, it fell into disrepair over decades of being passed from one owner to another. And Joanna revealed when they bought it that Chip had always seen something beautiful in what could be, which was something even she couldn’t visualize at first.

Cottonland Castle was Chip Gaines’ restoration dream project

In a 2019 note from the Magnolia Journal, Joanna wrote, “Chip and I have a long history of taking on unusual projects.”

“Since early in our marriage, Chip has dreamed of restoring one place in particular near downtown Waco,” she added. “Around town, it’s known as Cottonland Castle.”

Joanna recalled the first time she saw it, and how her husband lit up. She noted, “I knew in that instant that this place had found its way into his heart.”

She shared it’s “as if, once upon a time, somebody in Europe packed up a fairy-tale fortress and shipped it off to begin a new life in the American West.”

“It’s the kind of place that prompts people passing by to stop and stare, exchanging thoughts about all the stories it could tell,” she offered.

Joanna Gaines didn’t initially see the potential in Chip’s restoration dream

Chip refused to give up his dream, but Joanna had a hard time seeing it through his eyes initially. “… When I looked up at the downtrodden castle, all I could see was an incredibly daunting project,” she shared, “not to mention the place looked haunted.”

She said, “Despite its condition, Chip couldn’t help imagining what Cottonland Castle could be. ‘Someday,’ he’d tell me. But all those years, I never could see the old house through the same lens as Chip.”

However, Chip’s perspective started to grow on Joanna, slowly but surely. So, when the castle went on the market in 2019 and they had the option to make it theirs, she knew it was time.

“Chip saw the beauty and potential in this place years earlier than I did, but he never gave up, and because of that, we now get to make this castle beautiful again,” Joanna shared.

It’s now open for ticketed walking tours, allowing fans a first-hand view of the renovation before its reveal on Fixer Upper: Welcome Home.