Fans of the HGTV show “Fixer Upper” can rent the Barndominium renovated during season 3, as the barn’s new owner has made the site a vacation rental, pending approval from Lacy Lakeview City Council.
Kristi Bass, the new owner, said she’s highlighting all the work done on the location by Joanna Gaines, while also adding her own personal touch.
Bass, who flips properties and owns other rentals, said when the property went up for sale she thought it would be great to turn it into a vacation rental.
After creating a listing on VRBO and posting to Facebook, it was only a few hours before the calls came flooding in. The first caller lived in New Mexico.
“I didn’t know how famous the barn was,” Bass said. “It’s cool. It’s weird. I don’t really get it, but I’m so thankful I can be a part of it.”
Waiting for a permit
The 2,700-square-foot former horse barn in Lacy Lakeview was originally transformed by Chip and Joanna Gaines for Todd and Lexia Meek in season 3, episode 11.
Sitting on 16 acres, the barn has five bedrooms, a “Grand Dining Hall” that seats 18, a sitting area and den, kitchen, living room, breakfast area, two full bathrooms and outdoor balcony with a gas grill. The property is alongside a 20-acre bass-filled lake.
Lacy Lakeview City Council still has to approve a permit to allow the business to operate in a largely residential area, Lacy Lakeview City Manager Keith Bond said.
Bond said the prospect of the Barndominium operating in the city is exciting because it’s famous. Bond said he expects the property to receive a lot of attention.
Lacy Lakeview already has one bed and breakfast.
Traffic down the quaint road leading to the Barndominium could make travel difficult for surrounding residents, he said. Residents in the surrounding area own the private lakes on their properties and are extremely protective of their land, he said.
Bass submitted an application for a specific use permit to operate a business in that area. The council will meet at 6 p.m. Aug. 25 at city hall and hold a public hearing for surrounding residents and allow Bass to present her ideas, Bond said.
Bond said he’s aware Bass is already renting out to visitors prior to receiving a permit. He said it’s probably not a big deal that she’s doing so as long as Bass doesn’t book a large party.
According to the VRBO — Vacation Rentals by Owner — listing, the Barndominium is booked in parts of August through November.
Bond said he understands how so many people are riding the wave of the popularity of “Fixer Upper.”
“I’ll be quite honest with you, any time you have something of that caliber in your city, you’re bound to draw some additional guests,” he said. “I see it like going to Tennessee: You don’t go to Nashville and see simply Nashville. You go to see the sites in Nashville and what made it famous.”
Heidi Harms, 44, of Pearland, said she’d been trying to plan a getaway weekend for her, her two sisters and her mother, who is in Corsicana. Harms was looking for someplace serene, but close to home, with plenty to do, while still feeling far from everything.
She said she initially thought of the Magnolia House in McGregor, which opened in February, but it was booked. The Gaineses themselves turned the home into a rental property about 15 miles outside of Waco.
She said she was on VRBO when she came across a listing for the Barndominium.
“I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? Is this real? Is this a joke?’ ” she said with a laugh. “I told my husband, ‘This has to happen.’ ”
Harms then booked a four-day stay and told her sisters and mother this was their birthday, Christmas and Mother’s Day gift.
Depending on the time of year, rental runs from $1,200 a night and a two-night minimum stay is required.
Having watched “Fixer Upper” since its premiere, Harms said she was already familiar with the Barndominium project. She said her 12-year-old son even watches the show.
‘Every day’ watch
“He thinks Chip is hilarious and can’t wait for demo day,” she said. “Every day we watch it.”
She said staying at the barn was serene and comforting and well worth the trip.
“The seclusion of the place made it so nice, to where we didn’t have any neighbors we felt like we were transported to a different place altogether,” she said.
But the trip wasn’t all about relaxation.
Harms said the first stop they made upon arriving in McLennan County was bypassing the barn and heading straight to the Gaineses’ Magnolia Market in downtown Waco. The Silos were also the last stop on the way out of town. She said they also visited Spice Village and Harp Design, among other locations in Waco, and was pleasantly surprised by what the city had to offer.
Harms said she is coordinating another trip to the Barndominium with her women’s ministry team.
The property is one mile off Interstate 35, nine miles from McLane Stadium and 10 miles from Magnolia Market.
Bass said she had always kept her eye out for a location that could potentially serve as a wedding venue, and this property might do just that.
Bass said the land is as spectacular as the barn itself. She said she grew up in the country and has tried to make the stay at the barn feel as country as possible. She said she plans on bringing horses, goats and chickens out to the property at some point. Bass said she envisions visitors making s’mores over a fire pit, playing the guitar beneath the night’s stars, all while enjoying their stay. Bass said she wants to help re-create that feeling of country living for visitors who may have never experienced it.
Purchasing the Barndominium from the Meeks wasn’t the only move Bass made. She purchased all three of the couple’s properties. She said she likely will flip one of the properties, but as long-term plans for a piece of land in Cameron Park in Waco.
Two cottages and a swimming pool sit on three acres in Cameron Park now belonging to Bass. She said the property is so majestic and unique she couldn’t pass up the purchase.
Bass said once the Barndominium takes off, she will turn her attention to the cottages to prepare as rentals.
“It’s really just as amazing as the Barndominium,” she said. “It’s just not famous.”