Chip and Joanna Gaines renovate many homes to have a farmhouse style, but on the latest “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” they show what it takes to turn an actual barn into a house!

In the episode “Scrappy Barn to Modern Charm,” Chip and Joanna help Waco, TX, couple Eddie and Lili turn an old horse barn into an apartment for their oldest son, Alex. He’ll live there during college; but in the future, Eddie and Lili also want it to work as a guesthouse and a home-schooling space.

Right away, Chip and Joanna know this barn project will be a challenge, but it becomes even trickier when their clients ask for a design that mixes industrial modern and English countryside—two very different styles.

Here’s how they combine these designs and create a flex space the whole family can use.

In a small space, bring attention to the ceiling

Before: This old horse barn needed a lot of work.

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This old horse barn may not be very large, but Joanna still wants it to feel roomy. She decides to pitch the roof and create a stunning feature with wood and metal trusses. She knows that ceiling trusses can give off a cozy cottage vibe in any home, while the black metal and the painted black wood will play off the industrial look Eddie and Lili are hoping for.

Once the trusses arrive, Joanna is impressed.

“I like how thin they are,” she says. “I didn’t want a really heavy architectural thing going on ’cause this house is so small.”

After: These trusses are a perfect blend of cottage charm and bold, industrial feel.

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Once the renovation is finished, the trusses make this small barn feel huge. Not only does the dark color bring dimension to the space, but the unique feature also directs attention upward, making the space feel twice its original size.

A flex-space kitchen should have an informal vibe

This kitchen looks clean and comfortable.

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Joanna knows it’s important to include a full-size kitchen in this renovated barn so Alex can make his own meals. Still, since this isn’t the property’s main cooking space, Joanna decides it shouldn’t feel too formal.

Joanna installs rustic wood cabinets that have a casual flair, and finishes the design with imperfectly square backsplash tiles.

“It’s not your typical porcelain or ceramic tile,” Joanna says of the new backsplash. “It’s got a little personality and movement.”

This imperfect tile adds to the rustic charm.


Go with two barn doors for a chic look

These barn doors look fantastic.

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This converted barn is only 1,600 square feet, so Joanna wants to be thoughtful about space usage. She designs the living area with sleek, space-saving pocket doors. However, once construction starts, the doors are framed incorrectly. While she could have the doors reframed, she decides to simply go with the flow, turning these pocket doors into double barn doors.

“I would say a barn door is just an external pocket door,” Chip quips.

Once the doors are installed, Joanna is happy with the look.

“This was the best call because it’s a more modern sliding door,” Joanna says. “I like them a lot.”

The sleek black double-door design certainly looks more modern than the typical barn door, which plays into the industrial cottage style that Lili and Eddie want. It’s a great look that just might change the way Joanna does barn doors in the future.

A small fireplace still makes a statement

living room
The stove looks great in this living room.

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This living room needs a centerpiece, so Joanna installs a wood-burning fireplace with firewood storage. The fireplace gives the room a cozy cottage feel while the black finish plays into that modern industrial theme.

However, Chip says this fireplace wasn’t what he was expecting.

“When I saw it, I thought it was maybe a little bit too small,” he says.

Still, Joanna points out that, with the wood storage beside it and the flue going up to the ceiling, it still feels grand.

This fireplace is small, but it makes a big impression.

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When the space is finished, it’s clear that the black color complements the beams, while the wood storage warms up the space. It’s a great feature and proof that a home doesn’t need a large, traditional brick or stone fireplace to feel homey.

It’s OK to use dark paint in a small room

Before: This room didn’t have a large footprint, but it did have big potential.

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This barn comes with two small rooms, so Chip and Joanna decide to turn one into a bedroom for Alex and the other into an office, perfect for study sessions.

At first, Joanna wants to paint these rooms bright white—but she changes her mind at the last second.

“The two bedrooms are small, and they felt a little boring, so we are adding a really rich color to the wall,” Joanna says.

After: The dark color gives this room some personality.

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She chooses an army green for the office and charcoal for the bedroom, and then adds more character by adding white oak paneling to the ceiling.

While some might think it’s a mistake to use dark paint colors, making these small rooms seem even smaller, these colors end up being a great choice. The green and charcoal give these spaces a cozy, comfortable vibe—the perfect ambiance for studying or sleeping in this gorgeous converted barn.