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When we stepped into the space adjacent to this home’s kitchen, we knew we had some work to do. The room served as an informal dining area, but it had lackluster style and was poorly defined. The solution? Create a built-in dining banquette reminiscent of a classic diner. Here’s how to recreate the look in your home.

Vintage Breakfast Nook From HGTV's Fixer Upper

Silva Family Breakfast Nook

Pick a Theme. The banquette’s fun diner theme carries through to the accessories. We grouped bright vintage clocks on the wall to create an unexpected art piece, and filled the table with simple vintage-inspired dishware. The sleek stainless steel chandelier adds a modern touch that keeps the theme from feeling too kitschy.

Vintage Good Eats Sign Featured on HGTV's Fixer Upper

Add Personality. This is a home, not a house — show off your family’s personality with colorful accents and unique artwork. This metal “Good Eats” sign above the breakfast nook is one of two that we had had custom made for the Silva’s new home.

Cookbook Storage From HGTV's Fixer Upper
Don’t Forget the Storage! Leave no wall without a function. Here, the back of the dinette finds a purpose as storage for the family’s favorite cookbooks.

See how we totally transformed the rest of this home in the photo gallery below:

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When we walked into this 1950s house, we gave its lack of style a name: Messy Midcentury Modern. More than messy, though, the bedroom was a blank slate. We filled it up with personality and gave it a retro look to match the rest of the house. Here are three tips to help you achieve this look in your bedroom!

Midcentury Modern Bedroom From HGTV's Fixer Upper

Midcentury Modern Bedroom, After

It’s All About Balance. With the bed placed in the center of the wall, and keeping a modern design style in mind, it was important to create balance with the pieces on either side. Here, we used identical light fixtures and nightstands to create classical symmetry in this space.

Midcentury Modern Bedroom From Fixer Upper

Add Texture on the Walls.  An exposed brick accent wall painted soft gray provides an unexpected textural element in this bedroom. On the opposite wall, a wooden number sign adds even more dimension and personalizes the space for this family of 7.

Look Up to Save Space. In a small bedroom, every inch of bedside table space matters. Try hanging pendant lighting rather than using classic lamps not only to create visual interest, but also to free up valuable space for books, flowers and other nighttime essentials.

See more photos from this makeover:

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smal April cover

Here at HGTV Magazine, we pride ourselves on giving you a look inside some of the coolest homes across the country—HGTV stars’ homes included. We’ve seen Alison Victoria’s kitchen, Vern Yip’s beach house, and Drew and Jonathan Scott’s Las Vegas pad, just to name a few. This time around, in the latest April issue, Anthony Carrino, one half of HGTV’s renovation duo from Cousins Undercover, invited us to his AHH-mazing New Jersey loft.

Pick up a copy of the April issue, on newsstands everywhere tomorrow, to see all the photos of the one-of-a-kind space, as well as Anthony’s top kitchen design tips.

To up the anticipation even more, here’s a sneak peek from behind the scenes of our photo shoot with Anthony and his awesome home.

Carrino loft kitchen

They don’t call Anthony a Kitchen Cousin for nothing

Carrino loft bathtub

Where some R & R happens

Carrino loft decor

A look at what’s on Anthony’s bookshelf

Carrino loft staircase

Industrial stairs and black and white art

Be among the first to get the latest issues of HGTV Magazine by subscribing here. You can find even more great ideas to design, decorate, and update your home by following Anthony (@CarrinoAnthony) and us (@HGTVMag) on Twitter, too.

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Did you watch last night’s Ellen’s Design Challenge finale? Talk about intense. After Tim’s last-minute disqualification,  Katie was named the winner in a surprise interview at Ellen’s studio. The modern furniture designer will take home the $100,000 prize, and be featured in an upcoming issue of HGTV Magazine.

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia DeRossi WIth Ellen's Design Challenge Winner

Portia de Rossi, Ellen DeGeneres, Katie Stout and Karl Champley

Her carpenter Karl was there from the beginning, from the first day on set to the (surprise) winning moment. Click through to watch the video and relive Katie and Karl’s Ellen’s Design Challenge journey. Plus: More photos from the finale.


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Editor’s note: Do you love Fixer Upper star Joanna Gaines’ style as much as we do? She’s offering up her design tips to help you get the Magnolia Homes look. This week, she shares her secrets to the rustic dining room from last week’s all-new episode. Without further ado, here’s Joanna!

When we first walked into this home’s dining room, it lacked interest and character. (See before and after photos here.) The tiles and basic beige made the room feel cold and bland. But, I knew it had potential to hold more than just a table and chairs. Here’s the finished product:

Farmhouse Chic Dining Room From HGTV's Fixer Upper

Dining Room, After

Want to recreate this room at home? Here are 3 tips to get the look.

1. Add Architectural Interest
You don’t need a large-scale art piece to make a big impact. Head to a salvage yard to find an old architectural piece, like the window frame on this wall, for the room’s focal point. I love how this window’s weathered wood stands out in contrast to the freshly-painted wall. The window and wreath add dimension to the wall, which makes the room more warm and inviting.

2. Add Color, Naturally
We kept this room’s palette neutral, adding color through natural accents. We added texture and greenery on the wall with a faux magnolia wreath, filled a white vase with flowers on the mantel and added a pop of color on the table with a wooden tray covered in bright green pears.

Vintage Book Place Setting From HGTV's Fixer Upper

Use a Vintage Book for a Unique Place Setting

3. Try Unexpected Place Settings
Elevate the room’s design by creating custom place settings you can pull out when friends and family are on the way. We topped distressed white wooden chargers with aged books and white plates adding subtle texture.

See more photos of this week’s makeover here:

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Are you watching Ellen’s Design Challenge? We’re going behind the scenes of the show’s fifth episode with carpenter Chip Wade to find out more about what it feels like to travel blindfolded, plus the designs from episode 5. 

HGTV's Chip Wade With Salvaged Metal and Wood Shelf

Chip Wade Poses With the Salvaged Shelf

I Heart HGTV: What was going through the group’s mind when you were blindfolded for this challenge? Did anyone guess where you were really going?

Chip Wade: I guess I have not been blindfolded many times as an adult, because it felt SO strange to be in a moving van and feel no sense of where we were going. The only saving grace was the hilarious banter between all six of us as we traveled to an undisclosed location. We had actually hoped we were being taken to do something fun and relaxing, like ride some go carts to take some of the pressure off, but we were wrong, the next challenge awaited: The salvage yard.

Ellen's Design Challenge Carpenters in Salvage Yard

How did everyone approach the salvaged material challenge differently?  What’s your favorite way to use salvaged materials?

Everyone was somewhat frantic in this challenge.  In reality, we had only about 1.5 hours to look around this expansive location, which was more reminiscent of an ’80s office building graveyard with more garbage cabinets and random useless materials than a treasure trove. However, this exercise was about making something out of nothing, so it was perfect.

The FInal Three Ellen's Design Challenge Teams

The Final Three Teams

All three teams were scrambling to find anything of actual quality to start with. Without a specific design in mind, all three teams were forced to pile anything that might be a possible decent raw material, being forced to figure out how to use it later. Katie and Karl lucked out and found tons of acrylic to keep with her eclectic style. They coupled this acrylic with a bundle of multicolor 14gauge wire for the seat upholstery. Gaspar and Brooks went WAY overboard grabbing anything and everything…to a ridiculous extent. We actually had to ask them to share some of the stuff they selected, as they were wanting to walk away with half the warehouse!! Sometimes having too much is a burden as well.

Ellen's Design Challenge Team in Salvage Yard

Katie and Carl in the Salvage Yard

Tim and I were severely struggling to find anything exciting in the least. With about 20 min left, I found a large round object that had no real redeemable qualities except a vague reflection of an old fan. We liked that there was a real steel housing and that the stature of the fan itself was imposing.

In my opinion, salvaged materials are best utilized when they are not 100 percent transformed from their original state.  I think the key is maintaining the story and figure of the original materials while giving them new practical purpose.

Explain a little about the construction of your team’s piece, the rustic fan bookcase.

Our fan console was constructed out of only 2 materials: the fan and some douglas fir timbers.  We started by removing the 1-inch–thick coating of old paint and dust from the housing and blades. This fan was apparently used as an exhaust fan where they were painting… a lot. The greatest part about the fan is the somewhat realistic wear it had, without hurting its structural integrity. This ended up being the perfect platform to start from, because you could build off of it.

Reclaimed Wood Shelf  From Ellen's Design Challenge

Tim and Chip’s Fan Shelf, Under Construction

After removing all the old layers of paint and debris, we noticed that the fan blades themselves were cast aluminum!  This was so lucky, as the fine luster of the cleaned up blades fit perfectly into the desired aesthetic. We plasma-cut out slots to fit the wood timbers through, then joined another timber to the previous to lock them in place and give the entire piece the feeling that the wood had been pressed through the steel, or somehow molded together.

We created a new propeller mount with a more finished disposition, as the original mound blocked too much visual space.  A fun detail about the inside of the fan is the way we finished it. The fan originally had a green paint on it.  We spread some acetone with a sponge over the entire thing to bring down the high contrast spots and normalize the color. We then sprayed the entire inside with flat black paint and sanded it radially with sandpaper wrapped around a long wooden dowel to give it the appearance that it had been scored and scraped by a spinning object.  The wood was coated with a tinted Briwax to give it its final luster, followed by a satin lacquer on the fan body itself.

Can you tell us anything about the construction of Katie and Karl’s design?

The acrylic desk was made by creating a mortised slot halfway through the legs to capture and support the horizontal planes without the need for excessive fasteners, which would have ruined the look. The 1 1/4″ acrylic is so finicky to work with, since it gets so hot and can crack when machined.  The chair, also from acrylic, was drilled with holes to accommodate the electrical wire mesh. The weaving process of stringing thick gauge wire tightly was beyond challenging.

Woven Acrylic Chair Seat - Ellen's Design Challenge on HGTV

Tell us about a funny or behind-the-scenes moment from episode 5 we didn’t see on TV.

There was a lot of bickering between teams and team members at this salvage yard. Everyone was so confused about what they were actually going to use. I think Katie and Karl were the only ones at all confident with what they found initially. Tim and I actually spent the most time outside with some of the huge metal salvage scraps. We wanted so badly to get this enormous electric motor housing to make a giant chair out of, but it didn’t work out. The thing weighed a couple of thousand pounds…at least. At the end of all these challenges, all members of every team were willing to help the others get their finished pieces ready to show the judges, great team effort.

Final Teams in HGTV's Ellen's Design Challenge

A Champagne Toast Before the Finale

See more photos of the episode 5 designs here:

Tune in tonight at 9/8c to see the season finale of Ellen’s Design Challenge.  Join Chip, Ellen, HGTV and more fans of the show on Twitter with #EllenDesignonHGTV.

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Are you watching Ellen’s Design Challenge? We’re going behind the scenes of the show’s third episode with carpenter Chip Wade to find out more about the winning piece — Tim and Chip’s modern wood-and-metal dining table. 

The Ellen's Design Challenge Carpenters With Ellen DeGeneres

The Ellen’s Design Challenge Carpenters With Ellen DeGeneres

Read on for Chip’s commentary on the winning design: For this challenge, each designer got to pick a chair. Little did they know that we would have to build a dining table that perfectly complemented a full set of 6 of the chairs. In this challenge, Tim chose an iconic Panton chair in white.

Ellen's Design Challenge Season 1 Contestants

The Designers and Their Chairs

With such a statement chair, you can only imagine the difficulty creating a dining table that complements such an iconic piece without being completely overtaken by it. We certainly did not hold back our boldness with materials and style. Tim loves the art of hot rod building as well, so we decided to make a table more reminiscent of a sports car, picking up on some of the subtle movement lines of the Panton chair. Ellen's Design Challenge - Metal Base Construction The table started with a statement monolithic base crafted from hand bent 5/8-inch steel rods.  The table foot, as we called it, had to be positioned correctly of the tables center of mass and still give the feeling of balance while eluding to forward movement.  The balancing point of this table was a wildcard given the unknown of the specific live edge timber we would eventually find.

Finished Metal Table Base on HGTV's Ellen's Design Challenge

The Finished Table Base

We then created cardboard templates for the side metal panels and cut the s shaped pieces with a hand held plasma cutter.  We shaped the piece to the frame with an English wheel, a tool often used to form metal contours like that of a motorcycle gas tank.  The fun detail here is we welded the side metal panels of the leg from the inside, leaving the 5/8″ frame rod exposed creating a rounded edge.  This gave the table base the feeling of a cast metal chunk rather than a welded piece, a critical design element that I loved creating. Behind the Scenes of Ellen's Design Challenge Episode 3 The argument over the specific piece of material with Carly and Jeff was completely real; in fact,we actually redesigned the table (for real) because we had to change the piece of wood at the last minute. Tim and I figured it would be better to just give them the slab they wanted and we could come up with something just as good again. Ellen's Design Challenge Table Design Detail The center of the table was created from the same metal as the base to make the final live edge wooden detail feel as though it is being split into like a racing stripe by the metal base. Welded Design Detail on Tim and Chip's Table A fun detail I created on the corner of the table is a steel butterfly joint.  This joint echoed the material of the base onto the table top and provided a creative alternative to the classic wood butterfly used to keep deep cracks from splitting any further in large solid stock wooden pieces. The final product was pretty striking, with sleek lines and sexy curves.  With only 2 materials showcased, this table is arguably as beautifully artful as it is functional.

Thanks, Chip! See more of the finished piece in episode three’s behind-the-scenes gallery. And don’t forget to watch an all-new episode of Ellen’s Design Challenge, tonight at 9/8c. Tweet live with the cast (including Chip) using #EllenDesignonHGTV.

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We all know that designer David Bromstad can mix and match color like a pro, but did you know he can also mix up a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies? He shared his secret recipe with HGTV Magazine — now you can try it, too!

HGTV's David Bromstad Shares His Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

David Bromstad in the Kitchen; Image Courtesy HGTV Magazine

Growing up in Minnesota, David caught the baking bug from his mom, but these salty-sweet cookies are all his own. I mean, just look at them:

Chocolate Chip Sea Salt Cookies Recipes


These oversized treats are fancy enough to give as a Valentine’s Day gift…to yourself or someone you love.


Hungry for more Valentine’s Day dessert inspiration? Head over to Design Happens to see Camille’s Valentine’s Day dessert recipes for the whole family, from sugar cookies for the kids…

Valentine's Day Cookie Decorating How-Tos
…to crunchy iced bones for your pup.

Bone Shaped Dog Treats for Valentine's Day


What are you baking (or making) for your Valentine? Tell us in the comments below.

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Are you watching Ellen’s Design Challenge? We’re going behind the scenes of the show’s second episode with carpenter Chip Wade to find out what you didn’t see on TV. Read on to see Chip’s surprising answers, and ask him all your EDC questions.

HGTV's Chip Wade

HGTV’s Chip Wade

The judges mentioned that the piece you and Tim created was very masculine. Did you guys talk through that challenge during the design process at all?

The judges did comment that are piece was masculine. Saying it was “too” masculine would not really make any sense, as our goal as designers/builders and competitors is not make ever piece gender neutral and safe. In fact, what you don’t see in the cut of the show is that very conversation. The piece did have a bend toward weight and warmer tones, but it was thematic for the piece we were making (a bar).  The judges had a comment in the show about knocking the glasses with you knees when you sit.  What did not get covered for everyone to see was our rebuttal, the glasses are stored on the service side where you stand, not the bar side where you will likely pull up a chair.  Tim and I were overwhelmingly on the same page for this piece, we both loved it and believed it showed innovation and craftsmanship, especially fro the 2 day build time. We were very confident about the form of our piece against all the other designs.

Chip + Tim's Checkerboard Tabletop in Progress - Ellen's Design Challenge

Chip + Tim’s Checkerboard Tabletop in Progress

Can you tell us anything more about the construction of Katie and Karl’s winning piece?

Katie and Karl’s piece was certainly iconic looking (and quite feminine looking) if that is a criteria, haha. I think Karl did an amazing job of putting this piece together with the materials he had to work with. Katie was adamant about using acrylic again in challenge 2. Acrylic is a very difficult material to machine very cleanly in compressed time frames.  Difficult machinability, coupled with being a large scale and an irregular geometry made this piece more of a “prototype” piece, like a concept car, than a full production piece.  They did get it to a point that was good enough to wow the judges and take home the win on challenge two. Well done!

Designs From HGTV's Ellen's Design Challenge - Katie's Wardrobe

Katie and Karl’s Winning Wardrobe

Leslie’s piece had one big design flaw — no rails on the changing table. Did others on the set try to warn her before judging?

There was definitely discussion about this matter prior to judging.  Having a piece that functions well for its purpose was the core of this challenge.  The designers are always having to weigh the balance between form and function.


Ellen's Design Challenge Judge Christiane Lemieux

Judge Christiane Lemieux Critiques Leslie’s Piece

There must have been a lot of waiting on elimination days! What were some of the favorite ways to pass the time among the carpenters and the contestants?

You have no idea! The judging time and other times when the designers and carpenters were separated on set often reached periods of multiple hours in a row.  The carpenters got to know each other very well. We told jokes and tried to be creative in order to pass the time, time we wished we could be working on the next challenge.

Ellen's Design Challenge on HGTV - The Carpenters

The Carpenters Wait for Judging

How many cameras were typically filming each scene? How many crew members were there on set?

It would really blow your mind to feel what is was like to experience all the cameras and crew that were present for 3 weeks. On a typical HGTV show, most shooting days are just 1 camera or possibly 2 camera days with occasional extra production horsepower at a reveal.  The Ellen’s Design Challenge set, we could go nowhere without being seen and heard by multiple cameras! If I had to guess, the most production crew and executives I saw on set must have easily reached 75 to 100 people beyond the contestants and carpenters.


Do you have a question for Chip about Ellen’s Design Challenge? Leave a comment below — and don’t forget to watch a new episode tonight at 9 pm | 8c.

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In case you’ve lost count, I’m proud to share that HGTV recently celebrated 20 years of being on the air.  And it’s no exaggeration to say this ‘home’ was literally built from the ground up, by a handful of people with an incredible vision.  One of those HGTV pioneers was Susan Packard.  Susan was the second person hired at HGTV, after founder Ken Lowe.  A co-founder of the network, Susan left an influential mark on HGTV’s history and a legacy of excellence in the cable programming industry.

Now Susan brings her wealth of knowledge and experience to a brand new publication, New Rules of the Game: 10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace.  A DIY guide of sorts, New Rules sets forth a series of principles that women in any business environment can apply to their own career paths.

Susan recently took a break from a promotional tour to chat with me about the book (plus I had the priviledge of getting a sneak peek before it hit stands). In New Rules of the Game, Susan compares the workplace to team sports:

“You get a sense that the workplace is much larger than just you and your boss. If you see it as men typically do-a big playing field- you see at times you’re collaborating and other times you’re competing. There are a lot of people that can impact your career, not just your boss.”

New Rules of the Game is rich with stories from Susan’s life and that of 10 other executives she’s interviewed, including Ken Lowe and another co-founder, Frank Gardner. The book provides tips to create better self-awareness and perception, form your fan club, rediscover passions, and build a game plan to succeed. Plus, Susan suggests simple ways to deal with the higher standards that women are often held to (yes, meditation can help you keep your game face on).

And if you’d like to know what it was like to work here in the early days, Susan has included some great inspirational stories from her many years spent helping grow HGTV into a top ten cable network.

But don’t take my word for it, add New Rules of the Game to your reading list now. Whether you’re trying to learn more about how to navigate work and life, or curious to see how one woman helped hit it out the ballpark with the launch of the first (and best) home lifestyle cable channel, you’ll want to get your hands on this book.

New Rules of the Game is on bookstands now, or you can purchase it here.  Susan can also be found at www.susanpackard.com.

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