Joanna Gaines Hated Her Waco Farmhouse When Chip First Showed Her — ‘It Was a No For Me Right From the Start’

Chip and Joanna Gaines aren’t just known for their hit HGTV show Fixer Upper — they also became internationally recognized for letting fans get a glimpse of their home life. From their adorable relationship with each other to showing off their kids, the Gaineses have never kept their family hidden from the spotlight.

It’s hard to imagine Chip, Joanna, and their five children living anywhere besides their dreamy white farmhouse on the outskirts of Waco. The renovation experts completely gutted and renovated the 1895 structure, which is set on 40 acres that they’ve turned into a working farm.

But the most shocking part of all? Joanna didn’t want to purchase the farmhouse and fully expected the project to bankrupt them.

Joanna Gaines
Joanna Gaines | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Chip dreams up ambitious plans while Joanna is more practical

Part of the reason Chip and Joanna’s marriage works so well is that they’re polar opposites who are both willing to compromise and learn from each other. Fixer Upper fans are well acquainted with all of Chip’s wild and crazy antics, like bringing home random animals to the farm and wanting to purchase falling-down buildings. Sometimes Joanna says no. But others, she’s willing to take big risks all thanks to her husband’s urging.

In the latest issue of Magnolia Journal, Joanna revealed that she didn’t even want to buy her treasured family farmhouse at first.

Joanna thought the dilapidated farmhouse was a ‘terrible investment’

When Chip and Joanna purchased the farmhouse in 2012, it looked nothing like it does today. “We’d recently finished renovating a house that was intended to be a flip but that I’d come to love, that truly — finally — felt like home for our family, when one day Chip announced a new prospect,” Joanna wrote in the essay titled “Slow Yes,” as Daily Mail reported.

“A client of ours would soon be selling her farmhouse just outside of town,” she continued. “Based on the details Chip had, it sounded like a long shot, and a few days later when we drove out there, I would have said it was a closed case.”

It didn’t seem like a practical purchase

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Me + Crew + Cookie = ❤️

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The farmhouse, besides just being rundown, only had two bedrooms for their family of six (at the time). And Joanna feared it would become a complete money pit and drain their finances trying to turn it into what she wanted.

“It was a no for me right from the start,” Joanna said in the essay. “There was no way we were leaving our comfortable finished family home to potentially go broke fixing up a farmhouse and all the uncertainties it came with.”

Eventually, Joanna fell in love with the idea of the farmhouse

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Strawberries!

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After the tour, Joanna thought the plan was dead. But the more she thought about the house’s potential, the more she was able to see and appreciate Chip’s crazy vision for the life they could live there.

“The kids would run wild while Chip and I sat beneath one of the oak trees that towered over the backyard. The more time we spent out there, I’d catch glimpses of how good it could be for us,” Joanna continued. “Something felt right about our family being there despite all the very good reasons we didn’t belong.”

Now they can’t imagine being anywhere else

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Stargazing ✨

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In a short span of time, Chip and Joanna have transformed the giant project into an idyllic existence where their kids can run free in the yard, swim in the pool, and help collect fresh eggs from the chickens. They nurture baby goats, plant vegetables in the garden, climb trees, and then gather around the table for family meals.

The Gaines family took a huge chance on the farmhouse — but it was all worth it in the end.