Wow, Joanna Gaines Just Validated My Biggest Design Decision (That I’ve Grappled with for Years)

We’re a long way from shiplap, baby

joanna gaines for kilz.

Joanna Gaines is known for a lot of things: Giant clocks, whitewashed shiplap, peach cobbler. But it’s clear that, within the last year or so, there’s been a definite change in her style, away from neutral modern farmhouse and toward a moodier, more eclectic aesthetic. Think: Plaster walls, rich greens and volcanic ash tile.

One thing I never thought I’d see? A Joanna project that looked anything like my actual home.

Some backstory: I live in a craftsman-style townhouse in Brooklyn, built in 1910 to be the cookie-cutter working class abode of its day. Everyone on the block has the same layout, and—assuming nobody installed a drop ceiling—the same crown moldings and coffered dining room details. The house is beautiful (if I do say so myself!) but it’s also dark, ornate and made of up lots of little rooms as opposed to one big one. In other words: It’s a far cry from the sun-drenched Fixer Upper open-concept plans you know and love.

Wood trim in a living room.
Jillian Quint

The biggest design decision I had to make upon moving in? Whether or not to paint all the dark walnut and cherry trim. Where is this trim, you ask? Oh reader, it’s everywhere! Around the windows, along the baseboards, in an intricate criss-coss vis-á-vis a coffered ceiling, you get the idea. Also, remember that I was making this decision back in 2018, when the look du jour was all-white everything with nothing but a worn oriental rug and fiddle leaf fig to liven things up. I almost broke out my bucket of bright white eggshell right then, but my husband wisely stopped me. “You can’t undo this,” he told me. “Live with it and see.”

Over the years, I’ve grown to love my brown woods. They make me feel cozy and safe and like I’m part of history. And now, it seems, Joanna has finally come around to the (ahem) dark side too.

You see, in her just-wrapped Magnolia special Fixer Upper: The Lake House, not only did she not paint everything white, she actually restored all the wooden trim within the 1965 midcentury modern Lake Waco home—including adding pocket doors, walnut baseboards and a custom floating cherry staircase. The overall look is dark, stunning and straight out of a Mad Men-era fever dream.

But most of all from my perspective, it is validating. If Jo is on board, we know we’ve entered a period of natural materials, warm hues and a little less all-gray everything.

Now if only I had the budget to commission a custom-made credenza.

jillian quint

Editor-in-Chief, Avid Reader, Wallpaper Enthusiast

Jillian Quint is the Editor-in-Chief of PureWow, where she oversees the editorial staff and all the fabulous content you read every day. Jillian began her career as a book editor...