The Magnolia Network is set to take over the DIY network on July 15th.
The Magnolia Network is run by Chip and Joanna Gaines. The former HGTV house flippers turned superstars, turned Walt Disney of domesticity. They’ve parlayed their incredible popularity and Pinterest perfection aesthetic into curating an entire network of shows.
It’s a big moment for an HGTV/Food Network fan like me. I’m ready to drool over a whole new universe of dream kitchens and food that will most definitely be counter to my current cholesterol goals.
Subscribers to Discovery+ had access to previews, and I’ve spent the last few weeks sampling the shows Magnolia plans to offer.
To anchor the new network, the Gaines have rebooted Fixer Upper. Fans of the original show will love the reboot. It’s the same deal, with a few tweaks. And you’re hearing it here; first, my prediction: You’ll see fewer barn doors and more black-framed grid-style windows separating offices from kitchens. Black framed interior windows as room dividers will be the rage and replace the faux barn door. Gaines uses the design element in three of the four new episodes I’ve watched. She also shifted to a cleaner, more mid-century modern style. All and all, though, Fixer Upper is back, and fans will enjoy the new incarnation.
A favorite of mine of the available previews is a show called, Homegrown, hosted by Jamila Norman. Norman is an environmental engineer who has a passion for farming. Not only does she run a one-acre farm in the heart of the city of Atlanta, but she’s also a garden whisperer. Homegrown follows Norman as she rescues backyards from all manner of garden mistakes. Norman, more than anything, is a teacher. Anyone who’s failed at gardening can learn from her and be inspired by her. To me, the heart of a great home, garden, or cooking show, is the ability of the host to teach. In one episode, I learned what I was doing wrong in my own veggie garden.
For those who love interior design, don’t miss the Magnolia Network’s Designer Profile. It’s a docuseries that highlights a different designer every week. The pilot episode features Jean Stoffer, out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was in love instantly. Jean’s a grandmother and a designer with 35 years of experience. Kitchens she designed decades ago still look fresh today. Stoffer is also set to have her own show on the network. I’m all in.
Not to be missed is The Lost Kitchen, this show is immediately mesmerizing. It profiles the restaurant of the same name. The Lost Kitchen is so popular that you must win a lottery to secure a reservation. It's easy to see why. The Chef and proprietor, Erin French, is compelling, beautiful, talented, and passionate about her mission of creating memories around the dining experience. And then the real-life drama kicks in. The restaurant is forced to deal with the pandemic, just like restaurants all over the world. The cameras are there as a plucky band of women fight to not only stay in business but thrive in adverse conditions. The Lost Kitchen is instantly Emmy-worthy.
And of course, Joanna and Chip are all over the place with Fixer Upper, a documentary starring Chip, and Magnolia Table with Joanna. Joanna Gaines has a lot to teach about home décor. As a cook, though, she’s still learning. I’d recommend you catch the show about the making of her cooking show. In which we see an unsure Joanna Gaines learning to be a cooking show host. It offers a rare glimpse of Joanna being less than perfect. For all of us trying to measure up to Pinterest, Gaines shows that even she gets it wrong now and then.
I fear my Magnolia viewing is getting into Inception territory here, but in for a penny in for a pound cake.
A condensed version of this column was originally printed in the Monroe News.