Adrianne and I were sitting at home in front of the television on January 26, settled in to watch a new episode of one of our most favorite programs — when, almost simultaneously, our jaws dropped and our eyes opened wide in total astonishment.
The show was Fixer Upper on the HGTV network, hosted by the engagingly talented husband-and-wife duo Chip and Joanna Gaines. We have been fans of the series since we first heard about this wonderful pair of Waco home renovators, both graduates of Baylor University. (Adrianne, like her father before her, is an alum of Baylor. And I confess to have fallen in love with both the school and the city during our trips there.)
In case you are one of the five or six people in the country who have not seen the show, the premise is that Chip and Joanna show prospective home buyers three possible houses (inside and out) that need varying degrees of work. All three are within the purchaser’s budget, with enough money left over for the needed renovations. The home buyers select one of them, and for the rest of the show we get to see contractor Chip and designer Joanna work their collective magic.
In this episode, Adrianne’s grandparents’ house, which was given (for obvious reasons) the nickname “The Red Door House,” was the third among those shown to the young couple. Searching for their first home, the couple ultimately did not choose “Adrianne’s” house, but we thoroughly enjoyed seeing their walk-through.
Adrianne and her family visited there when she was about six years old, and she says she remembers the fan light over the front door and the space under the stairs in the entry hall, where she sat to do embroidery. It also brought back memories of playing the card game War with her older brother in the living room, and helping to polish apples that were in a bowl on the coffee table. (See photos below. There are not, alas, any of a six-year-old Adrianne embroidering.)
Each time during our various trips back to Waco in the last several years, we drove by and spent time looking at the exterior of the house. Those visits were special for Adrianne, and were also the reason that we were able to recognize the house immediately when it came on the screen.
This episode’s buyers, Jeff and Sara Jones, are Baylor graduates and newlyweds, returning to Waco to buy their first house. When they drove up to the Red Door House, Sara exclaimed, “Cute! Oh, I’m happy about this! I love it!” Jeff’s first comment was “Huge!” and both were impressed by the house’s character and curb appeal. Joanna said she felt “there are pretty lines on this house that just need to be highlighted a little.” Here are the specifics:
4 bedrooms, 3 baths
2862 sq. ft.
List Price: $185,000
These are photos of Adrianne’s family, starting with her grandparents at the top. Her grandfather Joseph McClanahan Cornett died much too young at age 36 in 1924 in Fort Worth, Texas. He was an executive for Consumers’ Cotton Oil Mill, and his obituary (with this photo) appeared on the front page of the Ft. Worth newspaper. After Joseph’s death, his widow Louie Beaumont Cornett and her three sons moved to Waco, her home town. There she married William H. Parsons, and we believe they had this house built for them in 1931. Adrianne’s father Sanford Cornett (bottom right) was twelve that year, and he grew up there and ultimately graduated from Baylor.
Joe, Jr., (left) became a physician; and John (middle) retired with the rank of Colonel from the Air Force, after heroic service as a decorated pilot and POW in World War II. Sanford became the Director of Budget and Finance for the U.S. General Accounting Office (now unfortunately renamed the Government Accountability Office).
So, thank you Chip and Joanna, for opening the doors of this home of memories for Adrianne and her family!