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Pride Of Place—Barbara Worton Applauds Restoration

Pride Of Place — Barbara Worton Applauds Restoration

Chip and Joanna Gaines had me in their thrall the first time I watched them demo and rebuild a home on Fixer Upper. Then I was smitten by Erin and Ben Napier and Hometown. Now, I’m fixated on Restoration Road and Clint Hart. Before HGTV and The Magnolia Network, I watched, and still, do George Oliphant on NBC’s George To The Rescue—always with a box of tissues by my side. 

Renovating a run-down house into a forever home is great entertainment and proof change is possible, even when it seems all is crumbling to the ground around you. Bringing together volunteers and donations to help homeowners in need makes me believe in the goodness of people again. And working to bring restore an historic building or transform a town and wipe the slate clean on its political and economic legacy is an act of love. 

Geoff and I want to visit The Silos, a dilapidated and now refurbished mill, and Hotel 1928, two of Chip and Joanna’s projects, in Waco, Texas. We want to stroll down Main Street and shop in The Scent Library and Farmer’s Market Erin and Ben brought to Laurel, Mississippi and to stop off at some of Clint’s ambitious restorations. 

We have grown enamored of shiplap and drive through rural New Jersey and New York fantasizing about salvaging wood from abandoned barns to use in our home — never mind we have no place to put it. And we have talked about taking a road trip to the towns featured in our favorite home renovation and restoration shows. George To The Rescue would be an easy drive. Most of those shows are filmed in the Tri-State area in towns we know. Mississippi and Texas are a lot further away in miles and mindset. 

The May 2024 Travel + Leisure features a story about and big thumbs up for the public makeover” the Gaines’ gave Waco and their Hotel 1928. The rust on the mill’s two 120-foot silos is now a beauty mark,” writes Jeff Chu, and he quotes from Magnolia’s mission statement, We believe in unearthing beauty however hidden and subtle it might be.” Our itch to see what Chip, Joanna, Erin, Ben, Clint and George built is getting harder not to scratch. We are moved by and think we want to see how a couple of reality-TV shows have reversed years of neglect, softened the scars of disaster and brought people home. I believe there are lessons to be learned here.