Dave & Jenny Marrs Talk Renovation Challenges on ‘Fixer to Fabulous’
One thing HGTV fans can be thankful for is another season of Fixer to Fabulous. The hit series sees Dave and Jenny Marrs transforming properties for clients while managing their own household including five children. Not to mention their farm in Bentonville, Arkansas, which isn’t going to take care of itself.
The new 16-episode season kicks off as the home improvement power couple put their construction and design minds together to realize a vision to modernize a 1980s ranch home. Here Dave and Jenny further preview the challenges tackled and catch us up on all the other projects they have going on these days.
Between launching an outdoor furniture line to your HGTV projects, how has it been managing it all this year?
Jenny Marrs: This past year has been really busy with the season and then the products and launching all those projects. Just the fact the kids are getting older and all of them except the three-year-old is in sports. It’s all business, but we try to be intentional about our time and make sure to carve out time to shut it all down.
What do you think stands out this season in regard to your approach to renovations?
Dave Marrs: Every year we get a little better with our processes. The hope is to make it all run more efficiently. We do run into issues where we have a house that didn’t go as planned. We have worked with the same production crew since we started. We know what they want to see. I feel like we work more efficiently. The nicer thing about seasons 3 and 4 is we get to talk more about the things we really care about like the nonprofit work. Reasons we started doing this in the first place. They always say the first two seasons they really care about the projects and not the hosts as much. That changes as they get to know you more. Maybe people are getting to know us more and our family story.
In the premiere episode, you are helping a local business owner and former Olympian. What can you say about this project?
Jenny: Jennifer has a small business that sets up kids’ birthday parties. We have worked with her many times over the years. My kids love her birthday parties. Her husband is an Olympic track athlete originally from Australia. Now they are here and have kids that are similar ages as our own. We’ve seen them around town. It’s fun because they are friends of ours and we know their story a little more in-depth than if we had just met them. The home was a little bit of a challenge. They wanted to add square footage, so we pulled from their garage, which was still huge. We were able to create a new main suite for them. Then we had a couple of different spaces for their kids, which are really fun. We made the house overall more modern and reflective of their style.
With the labor shortages, supply line breaks, and increased cost for materials, how have you weathered those storms?
Jenny: There are huge challenges. In terms of lighting, hardware, and design elements, they are all more expensive and impossible to get. Everything is delayed. I can’t even begin to count the number of times we were at the final deadline and electrical needs to be installed. Then I get an email about why they are not coming. It really is about quickly reacting to find something else that will work. It has been the hardest this season and last. We really were challenged by having one plan and constantly having to change it.
Dave: In terms of construction costs, they are coming down a little bit. But we still have a 20-week lead time on windows. With lighting and appliances, you’re really picking what you can get at the time. There is no guarantee that if you order something it will actually show up and be there. It has created different challenges, but we are lucky that we’ve got warehousing to store stuff. So when we have a big project we can start getting stuff ordered to make sure it is here, if possible even before we start the project.
Do you have a favorite project this time around?
Jenny: One of the fun projects we did this year is also part of our lives as well. We have owned this building in our town, which is 1905 a bank building originally. We had renters there, but they moved out. We just had it sitting there and felt we had to do something with this building. We renovated it and will be opening a mercantile that will be selling all of our favorite things. We included people we work with on a regular basis. A friend of mine who does pottery will have her pottery there, and another friend from Turkey has Turkish rugs she brings in. It’s a chance to have a place for people to visit when they come to town.
How is the Welcome Inn doing?
Jenny: It’s great. We are pretty booked up. It has been awesome. We’ve had amazing guests. We’ve had lots of couples that have come. Lots of girls’ trips have been fun. We’ve had several parties where the wedding party stayed at the Inn. Every time our guests sign the guestbook we love to read what they wrote and their stories. It has been really cool to share that place with everyone.
Jenny: It has been really nice. We’ve known Erin and Ben now for several years. They were doing the TV side before us, so they’ve been really great mentors. It’s fun to do this project with them. It was cool to be a part of it. We were able to go to Hometown Takeover the last time and help on one of the projects. Now we basically partnered with them. We took on all of the residential and commercial projects, and they did the community spaces. That was a huge undertaking down in Fort Morgan. It was a lot because Dave and I were going back and forth every other week.
Dave: The great thing about the show though is it’s all about what we try to do in Bentonville. Show how amazing small towns all across America are. I think there is a big revitalization happening in small towns because people don’t have to live in the city to be closer to work. They can work remotely or in other places. In areas like ours, we are getting such an influx of people from all over the country moving here. That has benefitted our show and our town. It’s a big reason why we went to Fort Morgan. These towns across America are amazing. The main streets, the history, where these towns have come from and gone through. It’s an important story I think people want to watch and deserve to be told.
HGTV is getting into the scripted movie game. The Napiers are part of a movie. Would you be open to this as well?
Jenny: Nobody has asked us yet.
Dave: I think they realized that reality TV is the best sort of acting they are going to get out of us.
I feel like you would be the next ask.
Jenny: My mom watches those Christmas movies year-round. That’s her go-to when she is having a bad day. She puts on a Christmas movie. So she would love that.
Fixer to Fabulous premiere, November 29, 9/8c, HGTV, and same day on Discovery+