Chip and Joanna Gaines have been everywhere you look lately. Fixer Upper is about to air a new season, they have a new memoir on shelves, they're , and those are just a few of the many projects the Waco, Texas couple is up to. People just can't get enough of the Gaines' farmhouse style and down-home values, and they're not going to stop juggling tons of projects anytime soon.
Chip is also making the rounds to promote a new partnership with KILZ Primers, a product he uses on his properties before painting the walls. (Joanna also has a paint color partnership with the company.) The partnership also comes with a that shows Chip on his farm and on the job, talking about the value of hard work and dedication to your craft. Chip spoke to HouseBeautiful.com about his painting hacks, Joanna's most important décor lesson, and what he's taught his kids about working hard.
Joanna has her own line of paints, and you're partnering on this line of paint primers. What's your favorite paint color?
That is so funny. I was just joking with my buddy, and I was like, "I hope they don't lead with what's my favorite color!" You've already got me out of my comfort zone, which is good. Well, obviously, Jo and I have been doing this for a long time, we work really well together. I have learned very quickly where my strengths are, and color coordination of particular things is not a strong suit.
But I will tell you, and this is a true story, behind the scenes I've always been fairly witty and I've always been fairly thoughtful when it comes to how we describe certain things. Jo essentially was completely responsible for the paint line itself, and thank God for that, because you would have hated if it I had any involvement. But once they got to naming the paint colors, I actually was a very handy resource. , and so by default, my favorite color is definitely shiplap, but I'm not sure that I'm gonna tell you where or when you would need to use that particular paint.
Is that a white paint?
Yes. It's sort of an off-white. I learned that early on also. Every time I would refer to a paint as white, that was really unsettling to Joanna. So make sure you quote me as saying it's an off-white product.
What mistake do people make the most when they paint their walls?
For me, preparation is everything. People hate that. They hate spending time taping off walls and trim and windows. So a lot of people skip steps. When you skip steps, just like with any industry, bad things typically tend to happen.
From my perspective, my family's built on a great foundation, our homes are built on a great foundation, and people don't think of that when you think of wall coverings, when you think about painting, so they skip the step of using a primer thinking it's going to save them time in the end. And in fact it's generally the exact opposite. The prep work on the walls themselves, treating the walls, sanding, getting the walls prepped so that the surface s appropriate, and always a good foundation with your primer. The final coat works a whole lot more soundly when you've spent that little bit of extra time in the front end, and it ends up saving you a lot of time in the back end.
What tricks do you have to make sure the paint job is perfect in the end?
Really it's just a matter of technique. It's sort of funny. It's like an athlete asking a guy how to throw the perfect pass. It has a lot more to do with the technique than the muscle structure or the athleticism of the person throwing it. Take your time, relax, and I'll be honest: there's lots of trial and error. Jo and I have been at this for over 15 years now, and we had fun with it. We've made a lot of mistakes, and a lot of those mistakes have led to a place now where we're extremely confident.
From my experience, I love the process of painting. I tell DIYers on a regular basis, people who get into a complicated scenario about tearing down walls or reconfiguring kitchen floor plans, that's a terrible place to start as a DIYer. But anybody can pick up a paintbrush and practice the technique of painting properly. Typically do a little bit of practice, and the end product should turn out great.
What's the first thing you notice about someone's house when you walk in?
I'm kind of funny. I've got two real hobbies or passions, if you will, and landscape and exterior is a passion of mine, and flooring on the inside of the house is a real passion for me. I joke that if I only had $1,000 to spend on a client's project, I like to surprise them before they've even walked in the front door. A lot of times might look like shutters, or fresh landscape, or one of those simple DIY projects. But when I get in the front door, I'm sort of a flooring snob, so I love to see high-quality products, whether it be tile or hardwood floors. Those are the things that jump off the page when I walk into any project.
In the video you've made with KILZ, you talked about being able to outwork the competition. What have you taught your kids about the value of hard work?
I was told a few years back, we just started getting into the TV side of this business, and this young lady said her dad, who she really respected, always said that hard work beats talent when talent won't work hard. Hard work is the key ingredient. If you're talented and hardworking, great, good for you, you're gonna make it, you're gonna go places. But if you're talented and don't have the work element behind it, the guy that works harder is going to eventually outpace you and outrun you. Jo and I are believers in that. We wake up every morning, we get after it, and we spend good quality time with our kids, but that's usually with some sweat dripping off our brow. We enjoy work as a family, we enjoy work as a couple. So big picture, I would say that we are really advocates to the benefits of a good hard day's work. It certainly helps you sleep better at night, it helps you feel confident about the work that you do. And that means a lot to Jo and I as a couple.
You guys are everywhere these days, with so many different projects going on. How do you balance it all, especially with kids at home?
Jo and I again learned pretty early on that the whole work-balance thing, I don't think it's accurate. I don't think it's a fair way to propose it. For me, I do everything all the way. When I love my wife, I love her all the way. This isn't a sales pitch, this isn't a tagline. You'll see us in our 80s and we'll be sitting together on a rocking chair. That's how it is. That's how it ends for us. I can tell you even 13 years into it, you can put that in the bank. I know lots of country songs have been written about that, and years later it didn't go so well. You can put that in the bank that that's how it ends for she and I.
The idea that when I go to work, I can't have that same passion, or if I have to temper that passion at work, because I have to be one foot in the house and one foot on the job site, just as a society, men don't have to struggle with that quite as desperately as women do. But I know early on, Jo really struggled with that. "When I'm at work, I feel this insecurity. When I'm at the house, I feel this insecurity." I remember pretty quickly, I was just like, "Hey, quit trying to be both those things simultaneously." When you're at the office, go all in, give it your all. When you stop being at the office, come home and do the same with your family. Jo and I have both kind of given up on, if you will, the idea of work-life balance. We're certainly not perfect, I'm not trying to imply that we've got it all figured out. But when we're going for it, we're going for it any category imaginable and we hope that in the end it pays off and proves to be a successful strategy.