Fixer to Fabulous

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Getting to know Dave & Jenny Marrs

Photos courtesy of HGTV’S Fixer to Fabulous

With five kiddos, a farm, and an extremely popular tv show, Jenny and Dave Marrs of HGTV’S Fixer to Fabulous have their hands full. Changing from corporate life to home renovations, this couple has successfully created a life together as a contractor and self-taught interior designer. While life hasn’t always been easy, the spotlight is now shining brightly on this young family.

With Jenny’s recent book launch of House + Love = Home and their visit to Kansas City, the opportunity was presented for a conversation about their unexpected success and what lies on the road ahead.



~ KCH&S 

Our childhood homes hold special memories for us, sometimes feeding into our lives down the road. For you two, was there anything special that directs you now?

~ Jenny 

My mom and I put up wallpaper in my room and I remember I had to take it down myself and that was something I will never forget. So, I’ve now just more recently embraced wallpaper again and I love it, but it took me a long time because it was so hard (laughs). 

My sister and I shared a room and we used to move our furniture around. We always had fun. It was the place where you can express what you love. 

~ Dave

We were always encouraged to go and build stuff out in my Dad’s shop, so that probably started my love of working in the shop. We had a log house, so it was really hard to put wallpaper and that kind of stuff in a log home. But I remember more of building furniture and building stuff. I did help my dad build the house. I was just a little guy, but it was great. I have a lot of great memories from that house, it was a cool place.



~ KCH&S

Dave, since you grew up in that industry, is that what you always wanted to do? 

~ Dave

I think because my dad did it, that was what I didn’t want to do. I went to college and got a degree so I could work in the business world. Luckily, I did that because in my first job out of college, I met Jenny and that was the start of our relationship and our life together. I did corporate America for about 2 1/2 years and then realized I really wanted to do what I had done my whole life growing up. I think sometimes you step away from something and then realize that the grass wasn’t actually greener on the other side. It is a good thing though; it got me some great experiences and allowed me to meet Jenny. 

When I got back into doing what I love, Jenny was just so supportive and right there with me. A few years after I started doing that, she realized that with her creative side, she could make the homes I was good at building beautiful. It grew into a great business and a great relationship of us working together. Everything happens for a reason. 



~ KCH&S

Tell us about your little piece of paradise that you’ve created.

~ Jenny

About 11 years ago, we moved out to the farm, actually moved our house we’re living in. It was in our downtown area and was going to be torn down. We moved it across town and over the years made this farm that was basically a piece of overgrown property, a home. We’ve restored the house, created pastureland and planted a blueberry farm. For me, I love our kitchen. That’s where we spend so much time. It’s where life happens. I love to sit outside on our front porch and watch our animals in the pasture, and that’s kind of where I start and end the day most often. After a long day, I love going out to the pasture and all the animals come running, and they’re happy to see me. Like, nobody’s mad, nobody needs this, they’re just fine – it’s one of my favorite places on our property. 

~ Dave

I love the shop. I love being out on the farm with the animals and our blueberry fields. Our house was built in 1903 and constantly needs love, so there are always projects that we’re doing. Right now we’re renovating it because when we moved into it, our teenage boys weren’t four years old yet and the rooms that worked before don’t work anymore. We’re just trying to make the home work for our family in the season of life where it is. I love dreaming up new ways we can make the space work.



~ KCH&S

You’re living your life and HGTV comes knocking on your door. How did that transpire?

~ Jenny

It started with a network executive at HGTV having a friend who lived in Bentonville and she, Carrie, came to visit and loved the town. It’s a unique place and it’s small but has so much going on. Carrie asked her friend who lived there to start asking around for couples to build and renovate homes. Our name was thrown in the hat and Carrie reached out asking if we wanted to film a sizzle reel and potentially do a pilot for a show. I thought it was spam, so I deleted the e-mail because I was like what is this? Then our friend who had given out our name told me, ohh hey, I gave your name to this HGTV lady. I then responded to her with thank you so much, we appreciate that but we’re not really interested. We had a busy life and business and the idea of being on TV was not something we really wanted and our kids were little at the time. After six months of conversation, we decided to do the sizzle reel and a pilot, thinking that is how far it would go. It’d be kind of a fun one-time thing that we got to do, a cool adventure as a family and then we’d move on. Then it got picked up for a season and here we are five seasons later.


~ KCH&S

How are homes found for the show?

~ Dave

We pretty much stay in Bentonville and surrounding areas with HGTV’s casting producer accepting applications to be on the show. Once approved by the network, Jenny and I will go look at it making sure this is something that we could do within the necessary time frame. We usually start filming the show around the March, April time frame and film until December, with the casting part done in the first part of January.



~ KCH&S

What treasures or surprises have been found in the homes  you’re renovating?

~ Jenny 

In one of our very first houses, we were tearing down a wall and found amazing love letters inside that were written during World War II by a man writing back home to his wife. We gave them to the historic society, hoping they would find the family that they belonged to as they were so special. 

~ Dave

A lot of times when you open up walls, you’re finding stuff that you don’t want to find, things that you didn’t account for. Unfortunately, I have not found a pile of money or gold bars. I’m still looking for that!


~ KCH&S

What episode has really touched your heart? 

~ Jenny

A recent one featured good friends of ours and the husband, Phillip, was deployed during the renovation. We knew he was going to be and timed their renovation so it to be done for the kids, Jodie, and her parents, who were moving in to help her with the kids. A little guest space was added for them along with an update on the whole home. Dave built some cool pieces for each of the family members and Phillip handwrote messages on each one to his wife and the kids, which we engraved in his handwriting. They’re just so special and there for them as he’s thousands of miles away. 

Another was when we renovated my parents’ home during the height of COVID because we were still filming in 2020. It was like moving heaven and Earth to get my whole family in town for the reveal and we did it! It was a lot of work, testing, and quarantining, but we got everyone there and it was such an amazing surprise. It was a great moment for us all to be together in the midst of a really crazy time in the world. What’s really cool is we have it forever preserved on a show that we can watch anytime we want and remember that moment that we had together, which was really special.



~ KCH&S

So what inspired you Jenny to write your new book? 

~ Jenny

I’ve always wanted to write a book – it’s been on my list of things that I wanted to do. I never wanted to have a TV show but I did want to write a book, haha. This one evolved from stories from our life and our family and sharing projects and renovations that we’ve done. But mostly to encourage people because especially after COVID, everyone has been home for so long that people are wanting to make their homes a haven for them and their family. They want it to be real and authentic, and that’s what this book is. It’s about being real, embracing your home for what it is, but planning it out thoughtfully and intentionally so it can be a place where you’re surrounded by the things that you love and the people you love. That’s the most important thing.


~ KCH&S

I hear you’re traveling to Italy soon with an Italian mini spin-off.

~ Dave

We started almost a year ago; going back for our fifth trip in January and should be wrapping it up then. It’s just been wonderful, it’s a lot of travel and a lot of time away and it’s hard not being there for every family moment. The craftsmanship, working with the old architecture, and trying to figure something out that is completely outside of your wheelhouse has been a challenge. It’s something that Jenny and I’ve been able to do together for some friends that we’ve known for almost 20 years with a home they bought. It’s been being able to give our knowledge on what has worked in our business and what hasn’t and our knowledge on how we could layout the home. It’s been a great experience and I hope something that we can do again in Italy or other countries because it’s a challenge that we both love.


~ KCH&S

Any chance Kansas City will have a mini series?

~ Dave

We would love to. Kansas City is a great town, not far from us. 

~ Jenny

And architecture is wonderful. It’s not out of the realm. Who knows?

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