Waco fixer upper

The Shotgun House was renovated on HGTV’s Fixer Upper, and is for rent on AirBnB for $325 a night. It was featured in season 3, episode 12 of the show. Photo: AirBnb

If you’re a fan of Chip and Joanna Gaines on HGTV’s Fixer Upper, then you know their renovated homes are all near Waco, Texas. It turns out several of the owners of these monuments to shiplap and style showing up on popular rental services AirBnb and VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) as celebrity-designed spaces available by the night.

The cable television stars have made their name creating rustic chic homes in this town about 95 miles south of Dallas. And people from Dallas and around the country are flocking to these homes, according to The Waco Tribune. People come to Waco in part to see the Gaines’ Magnolia Market and take part in the celebrity culture.

As the Tribune notes, “the Gaineses themselves tapped into the potent combination of Fixer Upper popularity and the convenience of online booking when they renovated a McGregor house into a bed and breakfast named the Magnolia House. Mere hours after online reservations were made available to fans in February, the Magnolia House had booked customers throughout 2016.”

At least six of the Fixer Upper houses were for rent in the Waco area, according to the Tribune, with a seventh joining that number next month. Most were listed as renting from between $200 to $350 a night.

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It’s no surprise that Hawaii captures the imagination of people dreaming of a getaway. Tropical breezes, the deep blue Pacific, technicolor sunsets, and lush greenery set the stage for a dream vacation or the ultimate home away from home.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio International have announced the winners of the HGTV Ultimate House Hunt, a month-long online contest held on HGTV.com each year.

The contest highlights exceptional homes from across the globe in eight exciting categories: Waterfront Homes, Master Retreats, International Homes, Living Large in Small Spaces, Bringing The Outside In, Kids’ Spaces, Classic Living and Making an Entrance. All featured homes are represented by members of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio International. Consumers vote for their favorite, and a winner is chosen at the end.

This year, Hawaii cleaned up, winning honors in three categories as well as the overall winner. Massachusetts homes won in two categories, as did Florida homes and the International award winner is located in Lugano, Switzerland.

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The cold weather means we’re watching more TV under piles of blankets, and our flatscreen in the living room has three settings: MLB channel (husband), Nick Jr. (son), and HGTV (me). I had control of the remote last night, and on came Beachfront Bargain Hunt, a relatively new show following much the same premise as House Hunters.

The episode that had me hooked was where a family (presumably from the Houston area) wanted to find a Galveston vacation home where they could jaunt off to on weekends and still rent part of the time. They employed Realtor Cheryl Smith to find a beachfront home under $350,000. And guess what, folks? They found a great beachfront home for around $340,000!

I had no idea that such amazing deals could be found in Galveston, and not only that, but how gorgeous beachfront properties are. I definitely don’t remember the beach rentals from my childhood looking that great!

The best thing about the show, though, was that it took the chill right out of the weather. Just what I needed! And it’s making me want to shop for the perfect summer getaway, too, like, this great beachfront bungalow!

Where would you go searching for your beachfront bargain?

If you never believe me when I tell you that life revolves around real estate, you should have been up in McKinney on Saturday afternoon. Home and Garden Television chose Meritage Homes  for an episode of it’s new competition reality show, “Showhouse Showdown,”  featuring two designers duking it out for the chance to win the “best design” award. The setting was  two new Meritage model homes in McKinney off Virginia Parkway, and despite the heat, the throngs were out — even infants! The designers, Aaron Duke and Ashley Astleford,  were chosen from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and given eight weeks and buckets of cash, then told to go to town on two identical Collin county glammed up $300,000 ISH builder homes. And glam they did. Five rooms, 3200 square foot four bedroom homes with master down, living, two and a half baths, kids rooms and a gameroom up.

Meritage Homes is the only large national homebuilder to be 100 percent Energy Star-qualified in every home since January 2010, and plans to open six more new communities in Texas. Meritage, like Darling and other builders, are also busy building and selling homes, one reason why the area caught the eye of HGTV:

“Building is going on in the state of Texas,” Dawn Stroupe, executive producer of “Showhouse Showdown” told Star Local News. “Your economy is doing well. We found by reaching out to builders throughout the nation that there is a lot of building going on in the state. ”

(Would someone maybe ring up Bob Shiller?)

The designers for the showcase homes are carefully selected, do their thingee, and then the public troops through the homes like they did today, voting on who they like the best. And though we were there today, basking in the glory of TV, melting in the 4:00 pm sun — I swear it was 99 degrees — we are not sure who the winner is. HG is so tricky, they shoot two endings (after many takes but I think I lost 10lbs of water weight!) and then use the one with the actual winner for the show when they edit. So we cheered for both designers, whose tastes could not have been more different

Stroupe says it’s all the public’s choice and taste. The schtick is that in each show episode, two designers with  differing design aesthetics create a vision and then, the public says “this is the one I would buy” or like or whatever. HGTV was on hand interviewing people for their thoughts on the homes, real estate, and home buying in general. Like I said: life revolves around real estate, especially here in Texas!

The Gold Envelope

David Call, Ashley Astleford, Glen Boudreaux, me, Aaron Duke

 

You guys, get the popcorn ready: HGTV is coming to town to erase our city forever of bad design!

First, it’s Real Estate Intervention. Cora Sue Anthony is coming home to her native Texas — she was born in South Dallas during Christmas — to get Dallas properties in ship-shape and show the world how she did it. The show is called Real Estate Intervention. Cora Sue is now a resident of San Fran.

“Paying for a staging will always cost you much less than your first price reduction,” says Anthony, the new host of HGTV’s revamped Real Estate Intervention. It’s not exactly an ‘I told you so!’ coming from the sugar-voiced real estate expert, it’s more of a mother-knows-best line. After all, says Anthony, “I got a TV show, didn’t I?”

And some other HGTV folks are circling our ‘hood, so stay tuned!