The 10 Most Brilliant Kitchen Ideas Chip and Joanna Ever Had on “Fixer Upper”

updated May 24, 2019
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Chip and Jo’s designs are nothing if not, well, a little expected. At least, that’s what I had convinced myself of. Having been an avid watcher of the beloved Texan renovating duo for the first few seasons, I admit that seeing the same white kitchen with the same white subway tile and the same distressed decor got pretty tired pretty fast. So, I tuned out and assumed their style stayed back in 2015 — along with my interest.

That is, until I got this assignment and did my due diligence, and guess what? I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.

Sure, the last few seasons still served up several white-on-white cookeries, but there was also a generous helping of spaces with some sauce (had enough kitchen puns yet? I’m just getting started) and some smart ideas worth considering in your own home. Let’s take a look.

(Image credit: Magnolia)

1. The stove nook.

Okay, Chip & Jo-Jo, you got me on this one. How charming and regal is this stove nook? If you have the space and are renovating, nothing gives a kitchen a heavy European nod quite like an inset cooking station (with a killer patterned backsplash tile). Equally great are the built-in cubby shelves on the side walls to hold spices and oils that would ordinarily add counter clutter.

See more pics: The Club House at Magnolia

(Image credit: Magnolia)

2. The creative way they made a pattern with simple tiles.

Speaking of stellar stove areas, here’s a smart, simple, and far less costly way to put your range in the limelight: Take the tile you’re already using (like the glazed slender subway tile Chip & Joanna used in this kitchen) and shift the pattern on the wall directly above your cooktop to draw the eye instantly.

See more picks: The Americana House at Magnolia

(Image credit: Magnolia)

3. The way they balance glam accents with casual touches.

When putting together the design plan for this kitchen, Joanna knew her client had a serious affinity for classic black-and-white checkered floors. She rounded out the look with simple Shaker cabinetry, a custom plaster hood, heavily veined stone slab backsplash and countertops, and lots of brass hardware and fixtures. While the look is pretty decadent, she toned down the glam quotient with an inviting, informal wood banquette in a tone to match the cabinets. Had the seating been upholstered, it would have taken on an equally ritzy vibe, but as-is — with a few throw pillows tossed in for good measure — she created a casual breakfast nook that instantly makes the whole space feel more family-friendly.

See more pics: The Scrivano House at Magnolia

(Image credit: Magnolia)

4. The multi-purpose island.

While we’re on the subject of banquette seating, let’s talk about this concept: the dining island. I was on the fence about whether or not to include this, as I’m not entirely sure where I stand on it. Ultimately, it made the cut because, when it comes right down to it, it’s a pretty innovative idea. Only have room for a dining area or an island-slash-breakfast bar? Well, if you’re Chip and Joanna, you innovate a solution to make both work. If you typically use your island for heavy prep (rolling out doughs and such), this might not be the move for your kitchen, but if what you need is really some extra storage and seating for six, you’ll want to hang on to this idea.

See more picks: The Mid Century Modestly Priced House at Magnolia

(Image credit: Magnolia)

5. The matching islands.

Honestly, thinking about having two large islands when I don’t even have one in my current kitchen setup is a fantasy. One can be used for prep (and in fact, probably is in this home, considering the left island has a faucet and — I’m guessing — sink), while the other can be used for serving or homework or hanging around. A-plus, Chip and Jo, A-plus.

See more pics: The ‘A Lot of Options’ House at Magnolia

(Image credit: Magnolia)

6. The open (but not too open) floor plan.

You know what the problem with open floor plans is? There are fewer walls. And, for a kitchen, fewer walls means limited upper storage, which is why this is a very smart idea. A glass partition with open shelving is a solution we don’t often see, but it makes so much sense. Instead of blocking off the room (and light) with a full wall just for the sake of surface area and added cabinetry, an architectural feature like this one solves a key problem without sacrificing style.

See more pics: The Safe Gamble House at Magnolia

(Image credit: Magnolia)

7. The suspending shelving.

And the storage solutions keep coming. What could have just ended up as open air above the large floating island, Chip and Joanna cooked up this suspended shelving unit to squeeze in even more room for (likely) lesser-used items like serving bowls and pitchers. I do wonder, though, how easily accessible all of that up there is, but I guess that’s the homeowner’s business.

See more pics: Our Favorite Fixer Upper Storage Solutions at Magnolia

(Image credit: Magnolia)

8. The window breakfast bar.

Galley kitchens make it basically impossible to fit in counter seating. That is, unless you get creative with your space. Here, a live-edge wood breakfast bar against the windows creates casual seating for four without commandeering any functional kitchen space or eating into the square footage.

See more pics: Lunar Landing at Magnolia

(Image credit: Magnolia)

9. The island on wheels.

Okay, this is by no means a small kitchen — I could see that from a foot away without my high prescription contacts in. Likely, no one using this room is struggling to figure out where to put their Pyrex containers or serving platters, however, let’s pretend this is in fact an apartment-sized kitchen with scant cabinetry and almost non-existent counter space. One of the most efficient and budget-friendly ways to make your cooking life easier is to bring in a kitchen cart or moveable island like the Fixer Upper couple did here. The steel version they used adds a cool industrial flavor to the room, and is typically far less expensive than a wood and stone-topped option.

See more pics: The Home Sweet Home Loft at Magnolia

(Image credit: Magnolia)

10. The built-in cookbook and flatware storage.

And finally, a compact way to display (and stash) your favorite cookbooks, dinnerware, and flatware. On-the-counter cabinetry was a huge trend this past year, but I’ve yet to see it used in the way Chip and Joanna did for this kitchen reno; I have to admit, it’s pretty special. The throwback plate slots feel nostalgic while adding a decorative flair, the book cubbies keep your beloved recipes at arm’s reach, and stacked dedicated silverware drawers make great use of vertical space without hijacking all your perimeter drawers. Smart and great looking.

What do you think? Are other ingenious design ideas we missed calling out? Which is your favorite? Chime in in the comments and let us know!

(Image credit: The Kitchn)