I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and would recommend the house to “Fixer Upper” fans and non-fans alike.
I recently went on a trip to Austin and decided to simultaneously plan a one-night excursion to Waco, Texas.
The town of Waco has long been associated with the deadly 1993 siege of the Branch Davidians, but since “Fixer Upper” premiered in 2013, the town has undergone a drastic image change, and now Waco is well known for being the location of the show.
When deciding which “Fixer Upper” home I wanted to stay in, I considered a number of factors: price, location, and what was appropriate for one person — there was no sense in booking a four-plus bedroom house when it would only be me staying in it.
I landed upon booking the Shotgun House, which was featured in the third season of the show.
The house is owned by Cameron and Jessie Bell and was renovated in the episode “Tiny House, Big Charm.” The home had positive reviews on Airbnb and fit what I was looking for.
It was close to my budget of around $US300 ($AU406) per night, it was a suitable size for just one person, and it was only a short walking distance from the Silos, where I would be spending a majority of my time. I ended up spending $US390.38 ($AU529) total on the trip, which included a service fee and occupancy taxes and fees.
I traveled by bus from Austin to Waco, which took about two hours.
The Shotgun House was then a short walking distance — just seven minutes — from the Greyhound bus stop.
However, despite the short distance, the journey was a little bit harder as some roads I was walking along had no sidewalks or nearby crosswalks. It definitely would have been much more convenient (and probably safer) to drive or take an Uber from the station.
I ran into the same problem again when walking from the house to the Silos. Though totally doable, you might want to avoid walking at night or you should simply be extra careful because of traffic.
When I arrived at the Shotgun House, I saw that the front was decorated festively for the fall season.
There were about a dozen pumpkins neatly arranged on the steps in front of the house, which definitely put me in a good mood. Given that my stay fell a few days before Halloween, I liked the fact that the house looked ready for the holiday.
After following the check-in instructions to retrieve the key to the front door, it was finally time to explore the “Fixer Upper” house.
When I opened the door, I immediately entered the perfectly tidy and quaint living and kitchen space.
Part of the allure of the 1,050-square-foot Shotgun House is its smaller-than-average size.
The main living space consists of a large couch, two chairs, a TV, and a coffee table.
The furnishings were simple yet comfortable.
I felt at home thanks to the cozy touches included throughout the house.
There was a mix of modern and vintage-inspired decor pieces.
A guestbook allowed visitors to share sweet messages about their trip to Waco and their stay in the house.
Flipping through the book, I saw that guests from all over the country had stayed in the Shotgun House over the years. Some were fans of “Fixer Upper,” while others simply complimented the comfy digs and convenient location.
Just beyond the living room area was the eat-in kitchen, which has barstools for seating.
The kitchen features modern white-oak cabinets, black countertops, and a large island. Even though the kitchen is relatively small and has no upper cabinets, it surprisingly has tons of storage. I found basically all the cooking tools I would need to make a basic meal.
Everything had its place, including the trash can.
It took me a while to figure out where the trash can was hiding, though I guess that’s just one of the design features that makes the house interesting.
One of the things I really loved about the kitchen was the vintage-looking Smeg fridge.
It definitely made the room feel more homey and comfortable. I was also pleased to find that inside the fridge were a few bottles of water and soda for guests to grab.
There were also a few treats laid out under a glass dessert case.
I thought this was a nice touch, especially after a long day of traveling.
The kitchen featured a large farm sink, which is a staple in many “Fixer Upper” renovations.
It might be a little nerdy to freak out over a sink, but I was especially excited to find that the sink had a garbage disposal. Coming from an older apartment in New York City, I really wish I had access to amenities such as this.
The kitchen also featured a variation on another Joanna Gaines favorite: subway tile.
Unlike most subway tile, which tends to be rectangular, this subway tile was square and slightly more modern-looking.
There was also a set of floating shelves for dishes, knick-knacks, and a few commemorative items.
Everything was clean and very neatly placed.
One of the first things I noticed was this framed photo of the owners, Cameron and Jessie, posing in their new home with Chip and Joanna Gaines.
I thought it was a charming touch, especially for a “Fixer Upper” fan like myself.
One of the most interesting features of the Shotgun House was the loft area.
The stairs can be raised to the ceiling and be brought down again by a chain lever.
The loft space featured a desk and fold-down sofa bed.
It was cute and comfortable-looking, but I didn’t use this space during my stay.
It felt a little precarious climbing up the stairs, but it felt even more intimidating going down.
The stairs are extremely narrow and steep — I assume in order to save space. I was a little nervous climbing down — especially while holding my camera — and didn’t go up again during my stay.
For anyone looking to utilize the loft space, I would definitely be wary and ensure that small children know to steer clear.
Off the bedroom was a hallway with a set of French doors that open to the backyard.
The floors in the hallway and the bathroom were both a beautiful, teal-colored decorative tile that matched the paint color in the bedroom.
The backyard had a fire pit.
I didn’t plan to use the fire pit during my overnight stay but thought it was a great activity for guests who want to do something special and utilize the outdoor space.
The backyard is on the smaller side, but you can actually see the Silos from it.
Despite being surrounded by other houses, the fence and tall front gate helped the backyard feel a tad more private.
Back inside, I saw that the hallway also had a full-size washer and dryer.
I didn’t need to do any laundry while I was there, but I did like that I had a place to do it if I needed to or was staying there for an extended period of time.
After staying in a slightly below-average hotel bed for six nights during my trip to Austin, I was excited to sleep in an actual bed.
The bed itself is a queen size on a trendy, wooden platform bed. Testing it out, I found it to be super comfortable. I couldn’t wait to crawl in later with a good book.
The bedroom itself also had a few pieces of memorabilia and other decorations.
The chest of drawers was stocked with extra bedding, towels, and anything else guests might need.
After eating some Indian food I ordered from a local restaurant, I decided to relax by watching the Shotgun House’s episode of “Fixer Upper” on my laptop.
It was interesting to see how the house had changed between the final reveal and when I actually stayed in it. For example, most of the furniture pieces shown in the last scenes of the episode were actually still in the house.
This isn’t exactly common for “Fixer Upper” homes, which are staged by Joanna Gaines for the filming of the show. All homeowners are given the opportunity to buy the furniture, which appears to be what the Bells did. I also realized that both the bed and even the actual bedding were the same as shown in the episode.
Watching the episode back was a slightly meta experience, but it was cool to see the process of the house coming together and to see just how similar the house is to what was shown on TV.
Before turning in for the night, I decided to test out the shower.
I believe any hotel or Airbnb stay comes down to the quality of the shower, and boy was I impressed. This was by far one of the nicest showers I’ve ever used.
The warm lighting and concrete sinks made the bathroom cozy, yet modern-feeling.
Everything felt really high-quality — I guess we have Chip and Joanna Gaines’ design sensibilities to thank for that.
There was also a drawer filled with extra toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner.
As someone who often loses their toothbrush at some point while traveling, I thought this was a nice touch.
I dimmed the overhead lights and settled into bed.
After a shower and slipping into my pajamas, curling up in the fresh sheets was a heavenly experience. I read my book for a little bit before turning off the lights.
I slept well, and I think the darker paint color and blinds helped. Both made the room quite dark and cozy in the morning, which allowed me to sleep in comfortably.
When I dragged myself out of bed in the morning, I discovered a fully stocked coffee drawer in the kitchen.
Even though I had early morning breakfast plans, I thought it was a nice touch for guests heading out the door in the morning.
The house was only a few minutes’ walk away from the Silos and about a 10-minute drive from Magnolia Table.
The home was close to most of the popular shops and restaurants in Waco.
The owners, Cameron and Jessie, also left me a list of a few of their favorite places to eat, shop, go out for a date night, and more. That made me feel like I had plenty of local-approved options for how to spend my time in Waco.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed my stay in the Shotgun House from “Fixer Upper.”
After packing up my things and signing the guestbook, it was time to head back to Austin and catch my flight home to New York.
Reflecting on my experience as a “Fixer Upper” fan staying in a home from the show, I really couldn’t have asked for a better experience. My stay was comfortable and convenient. As someone who has watched “Fixer Upper” for years, it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience to spend the night in a home dreamed up by Chip and Joanna Gaines.
However, as much as I love Chip and Jo, it was Cameron and Jessie who made the stay one to remember. From the unique, thoughtful details sprinkled throughout the home to the personally curated guide to Waco, every effort was made to make me feel comfortable and at home. I would definitely come back to Shotgun House again — and recommend it to anyone traveling to the small town.