Chip and Joanna Gaines Admit Buying a Castle Could Have ‘Bankrupted’ Them

Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines’ work on renovating a castle started with one major hurdle — how to afford to buy the historic property. According to Chip, the purchase could have “bankrupted” them.

Chip and Joanna Gaines smile while seated together.
Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines | Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Chip Gaines wanted to buy the castle for 20 years

During an October 2022 interview with ET, Chip and Joanna discussed what was involved in buying the castle, with Chip explaining he wanted to buy it for two decades.

When asked, “Was there ever a point where you were like, ‘Chip, why do we need a castle?’” Joanna responded, “For the last 20 years he’s been trying to buy the castle,” she explained.

The Cottonland Castle was on the market four or five times over those 20 years. “He got to the point where he wouldn’t tell me anymore when he was putting an offer in because I said, ‘I don’t want the castle. Don’t buy the castle,'” she recalled.

Chip added, “The irony is that the only time I could have actually afforded it was the time it actually was accepted. And now here we are. But the other three opportunities probably would’ve bankrupted us. And I mean that literally. We would have immediately sunk the entire ship.”

Chip and Joanna Gaines’ castle is the ‘longest project’ they’ve worked on

Once Chip bought the castle, the couple had their work cut out for them. Chip and Joanna said the time and budget involved were beyond anything they’ve taken on in the past.

“This was our longest project by a long shot,” Chip explained. “It was fascinating. This thing took on a life of its own and it took longer, it took more money. I would say that’s partly why we’re so proud of it now that it’s in the rearview mirror.”

He added, “But during the project, it was exhausting and tiring and complicated.”

The whole project took three years. “We bought it, we planned a year of design, research, figuring out where we needed to get the materials, and then once we finally pushed go it was almost a year of construction,” Joanna explained.

The project proved to be very challenging. “Jo and I are wildly efficient. We’re typically on really tight budgets, tight timelines. This house would not allow for that. It wouldn’t allow for the budget that we created for it,” Chip said.

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Chip and Joanna aren’t sure they want to sell the castle

When asked what’s next for their renovated castle, Chip and Joanna said they aren’t sure. Joanna said, “I think we sell it.”

Chip added, “We bought it to sell it — that was the intention.”

That said, he has some reservations. “When I think about owning a piece of history … I mean, this is a project that I was pursuing for 20 years,” Chip explained. “The reality is we need to sell it and we should sell it.”

He added, “But I wonder if it’s not one of those things 10 years from now you don’t look back and wonder, ‘Gosh, should we have kept it? What if somebody in the family wanted it?’”