HGTV power couple Dave and Jenny Marrs have been revitalizing the older homes of Northwest Arkansas, taking them from Fixer to Fabulous. For this dynamic duo, no client story or job is the same on their hit series.
The episodes to come in Season 3 bring more transformations, but first comes the holiday special Fixer to Fabulous Holiday Surprise. Airing December 14, the hour sees the Marrs put their design and construction skills to use for the local Bella Vista Animal Shelter. They join others who donate their time to reopen the space with new kennels and a custom cat playroom just in time for a festive pet adoption event.
We caught up with the busy parents of five to talk about their projects to come.
Fixer to Fabulous continues to build its audience—the most recent season reached a new high on HGTV. To what do you attribute the show’s growing success?
Dave Marrs: Even if they don’t live in a small town, people just like the idea we live in this small-town Americana. The relationships we create with the homeowners—I think that is appealing. Also, the fact anyone can watch it. We get so many messages from families who watch it with their kids.
What would you say are some of the most challenging projects you take on this season?
Jenny Marrs: My sister and her husband and boys recently moved here. When it’s someone really close to you and you’re renovating their house, there is an added pressure. But also it’s a really really big renovation—the biggest one we’ve done on the show. It was a big challenge because of the time constraints, the size, and that it was a personal one to us. There is another that is a hard story. Her husband had passed away. It was just her and her boys. We tried to honor her husband in every aspect of the renovation because this was a home they bought together and one they wanted to renovate together.
Your energy is also being put into renovating a neighborhood animal shelter for the holidays. As animal lovers, how much did that one mean to you?
Dave: It was a community-led project. So many of our subcontractors we normally work with said, “All my labor will be free on this.” The Bella View Animal Shelter is near and dear because we’ve adopted animals from there. It’s a no-kill shelter and will take any animal at any time. It’s a nonprofit. The people who are working there are the best kind of people. We wanted to make beautiful spaces for the animals but also for the people that work there. Trying to get them to tell us what they needed and what they would like was pulling teeth because they were thinking, “What can we do to help the animals?” They are all the best of us.
What are the holidays like at the house as the kids are getting older and your family grows?
Jenny: We are very much Christmas people. Our adoption story was a long journey. Christmas seemed to be extra hard while we were waiting for Sylvie because it was hard being here celebrating while she was so far away. Now [ we’ve got her home] and Charlotte was born and now we have Luke. It has become a great time we love, and [it’s] chaos Christmas morning. The boys [twins Nathan and Ben] are older. Luke is 2, so we have the little kid magic in the house, which has been nice to have over 11 years. It’s such a fun, magical day.
You’re part of the upcoming season of Rock the Block. How was it competing?
Jenny: It was really different for us. We have never done anything like this. It was very vulnerable to work so hard on spaces and put it out there to be judged. We do that anyway for our clients and hope they love it. We go into a renovation knowing what the homeowner wants. We do prework. We know what they are looking for. Here, when the judges came to each space, we didn’t know what they were looking for. It was really nerve-racking and stressful.
Dave: I agree one hundred percent. These houses become your babies. You put so much work and effort into them; you are proud of what you’ve done. Going into it, we didn’t know the competitors. We went into it with three other teams working just as hard, putting in a lot of time. It was a great competition.
If that weren’t enough, you also have the four-episode Fixer to Fabulous: Welcome Inn coming to Discovery+ in 2022.
Jenny: This one has been a really fun project for us because it’s our personal project. It’s nice because we can do these things we haven’t done before. We got this old home, [and] we’re trying to persevere and bring it back to what it was—keep the integrity of the home. We ran into a lot of issues because it is from the late 1800s. You’ll see some of those issues.
Dave: It brings a hot mess, but it’s something we have to overcome. Most of the time we have a smile on our face while we’re doing it. Sometimes we’re frustrated. It will be great when it’s done. It’s one I’m excited for.
You have a farm, kids, and all this filming. How do you find the balance? What do you do to destress?
Dave: I don’t know if we are any busier than any parent trying to manage kids [and] everything going on. It is just life for us. The farm and all the other things we have going on are all things we want to do. When it’s something you enjoy doing, it goes from being work to something you enjoy. Same for our building business. I love what I do every day. It’s busy and our days are full, but we get to come home and family is No. 1 for us. If my kids have a soccer game or baseball game, the production company and HGTV are great to say, “This is the time we will be done.” They understand that and schedule around things like that. Unwinding, the one show the two of us really love is Yellowstone. That’s one thing we watch together.
Jenny: I do think we try to build in pockets of time where we decompress as a family, whether it‘s leaving our phone inside and feeding the animals together or just unplugging. I think trying to find time to unplug is really important.
Fixer to Fabulous Holiday Surprise, Tuesday, December 14, 9/8c, HGTV