The first season of the breakout HGTV show, “Fixer to Fabulous,” is coming to a close. The show features Arkansas’ latest “it” couple, Jenny and Dave Marrs, and is set in Bentonville, the city where the couple resides and has established national attention and recognition for home restorations.
AY About You was fortunate to have the opportunity to sit down with the Marrses recently, as our longtime writer Angela Forsyth talked with the couple about their journey to television stardom, their big family and some behind the scenes details that you will not want to miss. This is the first part of that interview, and the full article will be featured in the January issue of AY Magazine.
Catch each of the final episodes of “Fixer to Fabulous” on HGTV every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. CST through January 14.
AY: Dave and Jenny, how did the two of you land this type of work? Did you study in this field or do you just have a natural-born talent?
Dave: I’ve worked in Arkansas as general contractor since 2004, but I grew up in Colorado, where my dad was a builder, and I’ve been around the business my whole life.
Jenny: I studied advertising and [public relations] in college, and I’ve done marketing and sales. I’ve been creative all my life. Dave started this building business when we moved here, and I started helping him along the way. I was also working in the vendor world. We were broke, and I had a real job. He was just starting, so I was the “sugar mama.” After eight years, I left my job and joined him full-time in 2012.
AY: How would you describe your design style?
Jenny: We love having projects on our own where we have our own style, but when we work with clients it’s so important to make sure it’s their style. I want it to be for them and reflect who they are. It’s so important that your home reflects who you are.
With our own [style], it evolves. For now, with more kids and being older, our style has become more minimalist. I’m constantly feeling this need for simplicity. I really love natural light when possible, natural elements like natural stone and wood. Trying to make things feel very calming is important, and that our home — any home we design — is comfortable and cozy.
AY: Why historic downtown homes?
Dave: The style and designs of these older homes have always appealed to us. We kind of started downtown after everything slowed down in 2008. I like working on the exterior the most. Jen really loves the interior. So, I’m a huge front porch person. In our area, downtown Bentonville, it’s a very inviting, open community. I think the best way you can enjoy that is with a big front porch, and so that just fit for the downtown area. We’re just fortunate we hit it at the right time, remodeling these downtown homes. We’ve just got an itch for it.
Jenny: And I think the downtown homes also have so much character and quirkiness that you don’t find as often in new homes. When we build new homes, we try to incorporate old things because they’re important to us. The older homes are fun to work on.
Dave: We are so fortunate in this community. We have a lot of people moving to our downtown from places like San Francisco or New York, you know – areas where they could sell a condo or townhouse and then they can actually spend the money in Bentonville or around this area to be creative and do some really fun things that maybe can’t be done in other communities. We’re so fortunate to have people coming here all the time from such great areas.
AY: Why did HGTV want to feature Northwest Arkansas on its network?
Betsy Ayala, SVP of Programming and Development at HGTV: Northwest Arkansas is an untapped destination for HGTV, and we wanted to celebrate the homes and the people who live there.
AY: What made you choose the Marrs couple?
Ayala: Jenny and Dave are incredibly talented home renovators who care deeply about their clients. The skill and scope of their projects is immense and the results are breathtaking. They also live an incredible and aspirational life raising their kids and living on their beautiful farm — for many Americans they are living the dream.
AY: You filmed 10 shows in season one. Do you know yet if you’re coming back for season two?
Jenny: No we don’t know yet. It all depends on how the ratings go. I don’t know when we’ll know.
To learn more about what it’s like behind the scenes, be sure to grab a copy of the January issue of AY Magazine. To see more of the Marrs family, don’t miss “Fixer to Fabulous” every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on HGTV. For a full list of episodes and air dates, visit the “Fixer to Fabulous” page on the HGTV website.