Move Over Shiplap, Joanna Gaines Has a New Obsession for Her Walls

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Magnolia Home

In 2016, Joanna Gaines was the queen of modern farmhouse—her name was almost a shorthand for shiplap shelves, neutral gray hues and stark white subway tile. Now, however, it’s clear that her style has come a long way from safe finishes and cookie-cutter colors. In her new HGTV series, “Fixer Upper: The Lakehouse,” she and Chip are redesigning a 1960s lakehouse near Lake Waco, Texas (and it’s a complete 180 from previous flips the couple has tackled in the past). The property juxtaposes Spanish revival and mid-century modern styles—and in the first episode, Joanna makes it abundantly clear that there’s been a shift in her go-to design materials. 

One of the most notable changes—aside from avocado green finishes and fluted details—is Jo’s use of plaster in this project. Gone are the days of rustic shiplap finishes, and instead, she seems to be embracing the warm, inviting textures that bring an organic modern feel (as is evidenced in this stunning bedroom by Portola Paints above). The plaster she uses on a custom shelving unit in the living room is a direct reflection of this pivot, offering a natural, earthy appeal. The textured plaster is complimented by shelves that are rounded on the corners, adding a touch of sophistication and Spanish influence to the space. Unlike the clean, sometimes sterile look of shiplap and neutral tones, plaster brings a tactile and handcrafted quality, one Jo is eager to see more of. Indeed, in the episode, Jo mentions how carrying a plaster finish from the living room to the kitchen will complement “beautiful millwork and cabinetry” and naturally enhance the room's architectural details.

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Fixer Upper/ HBOmax

To that end, it’s worth mentioning that our Waco queen is clearly rethinking shelving as a whole. While her previous designs often featured rectangular wooden shelves, this lakehouse incorporates built-in, rounded units. From the plaster fireplace to the original wooden beams and intricate millwork everything seems to echo a new style that celebrates natural imperfections and slower, more thoughtful design.

“The reason why ‘Fixer’ looks different now [is because] we take it a little slower,” Gaines says in an interview with Variety. “I’ve found that when you do these episodes where it’s one show, [meaning an entire season dedicated to one project], I can actually think as the designer… take it in and enjoy the process. Before, you didn’t get to stop and enjoy anything, you just kept moving.” Translation? While shiplap might’ve been speedy and easy, the Fixer Upper duo is now looking towards design that pays off in a more intentional, personal capacity. 

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Associate Editor

Sydney Meister is PureWow's Associate Editor, covering everything from dating trends and relationship advice (here's looking at you, 'soonicorns') to interior design, beauty...