It’s 9 PM, the kids are in bed, and you can *finally* return to watching Chip and Joanna Gaines restore broken-down homes on Fixer Upper. Sound familiar? Then we highly recommend you check out this husband-wife design duo from Champaign, Illinois.
Is This Midwest Duo the Next Chip and Joanna Gaines?
Tessa and Guy Kirby have been flipping houses since 2015, and the results are just as captivating (not to mention bingeworthy). Not only is their look totally inspired by the Gaines’, but Jo personally funded the first year of the couple’s Kindred Homestead blog. “If you know me well, you may know that I am incredibly in love with the show Fixer Upper,” Tessa explains. “And if you know me REALLY well...you know that I aspire for Guy and I to one day unite our creative spirits and be just like ‘Chip and Jo!’”
Luckily, the Kirbys seem to be well on their way to HGTV-level home restorations. In a blog post, Tessa explains how she and Guy got started flipping houses: “We were just 23-years old, with two small kids and one on the way, when we bought our first home and began renovating it. Little did we know that our ‘long-shot’ dream of flipping houses (totally inspired by the Gaines’) would become a reality just two short years later.”
They started out by transforming a 100-year-old, 1900-square-foot home in four months, which sold just 36 hours after putting it back on the market. “With Guy being in Real Estate, we were naturally inclined to scour the new listings that hit the market daily…Since then, we have flipped seven homes and are in the process of flipping numbers eight and nine,” she explains. In 2020, the couple launched Kindred Homestead, which is now a successful design and build firm that offers virtual services and DIY how-tos via Instagram.
“Our dream is to bring those east coast, west coast design vibes to the Midwest,” she explains. “As I’ve grown as a designer and we’ve renovated more and more old homes, it’s become this deep desire of mine to see homes restored to their former glory; to customize them but also pick finishes that would have aligned closely to those of their original design.”
And when it comes to Tessa’s vintage meets modern farmhouse style, her design inspiration should come as no surprise. “Chip & Joanna Gaines [have taught us] the art of making spaces beautiful but functional; aesthetically pleasing but affordable through our own experience of raising a family and building spaces on a budget.”