Joanna Gaines Says This is Renovation Project ‘Sits in Her Heart’


Joanna Gaines is serious about her work. She says in the fall issue of The Magnolia Journal she approaches her job in a systematic way. Although Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna have done hundreds of renovations, there is one project in particular Joanna holds close to her heart. In the magazine, she talks about the joy this diamond in the rough brings her.

Here’s the renovation project Joanna Gaines says “sits in her heart.”

All the possibilities

When Joanna first saw one of her recent home renovation projects, she had big plans for it, even though the property might not seem ideal to some people. The project is yet to be complete, but Joanna is planning on something that will revive the structure to its former glory.

The renovation project Joanna Gaines holds close to her heart

Joanna tells her readers one project that means a lot to her is the renovation of an abandoned church in Waco, Texas. The church was built in 1894 and it had been closed for more than 30 years. As you can imagine, the property was not in good shape when Chip and Joanna found it. “For more than 30 years the church had been boarded up and left to suffer all the things that vacated buildings experience—rot, mold, rodents, weeds, liquor bottles, graffiti, and vandals,” say the editors of The Magnolia Journal.

Joanna saw potential

Despite the church’s condition, Joanna still found beauty within the decaying walls. She speaks about the potential she saw in the building and how she could still see life peeking through the worn remains. “There are certain projects that sit in my heart. This is one of them. This church has a soul, and I look forward to letting it share its own story. We’re not rushing it; we’ll let it tell us in its own time. That’s what keeps me hanging on to this one,” says Joanna.

How Joanna found the property

The opportunity to renovate the church fell into Joanna’s lap. The Magnolia Journal tells the story of how Joanna stumbled across the old church. Her discovery occurred while she was going about her daily activities. “A few years back, Jo went for a drive to clear her head. As she was weaving her way through the old neighborhoods of Waco hoping to get inspired, she noticed a steeple sticking up in the middle of a residential area, and she set out to find it.”

A welcoming space

Joanna found the church after she drove down the street. The windows were boarded up, the paint was peeling, and the landscaping was overgrown, but she still had a vision for the space. “… She felt welcomed—like it was a beacon on a hill calling to her, offering insight into all the stories it held. In that moment, Jo felt as if its story wasn’t over, like it had more to tell,” says The Magnolia Journal’s description of Joanna’s journey.

What’s next for this old church?

Chip and Joanna haven’t revealed what they hope to do with the church, but it’s sure to be grand, according to the editors of The Magnolia Journal:

Its soaring cathedral ceilings, stained-glass windows, and locally made curved pews are reminders of its past, of all the ways it has served its community—as well as inspiration for its future. Though the building may not be used as a church again, their hope for its new purpose is that it still shines with all the light and life and hope it once had.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!