Hear ye, hear ye
Royal renovators Chip and Joanna Gaines reopen their Waco castle for tours
A year after closing the 400-pound, solid-oak door to their Waco castle, Texas' Fixer Upper king and queen Chip and Joanna Gaines are reopening it to the public.
According to a release, tours of the century-old "Cottonland Castle" will resume November 1. One-hour, guided walking tours that explore its design and history will be offered Mondays through Saturdays, for a limited time.
The regal three-story, 6,700-square-foot residence in the heart of Waco was modeled after a Rhine River castle in Germany. Construction was started in 1890 and finished in 1913. The Gaineses purchased the structure in disrepair in 2019 and spent three years planning and executing a renovation, which they made the focus of a special Fixer Upper series on Magnolia Network in fall 2022.
The four-bedroom castle opened for tours for three months before the TV special aired — the first and only time a Chip-and-Jo TV fixer upper has been opened to the public. Hour-long expeditions took visitors through every room, nook, and cranny — from turret to toilettes and all seven fireplaces.
CultureMap was among the first media outlets to step inside, and revealed seven spectacular surprises behind the castle walls.
Last year's tours were also an open house of sorts. The Gainses had planned to sell the property after the TV special aired. In June 2023, it was listed through their Magnolia Realty for $2.9 million and was also offered on auction.
But they kept the keys to their castle, and it's now part of the Magnolia portfolio.
"After restoration, the property went to auction where the buyer and Magnolia mutually agreed not to close," a release says. "The Castle's story continues with Magnolia through limited-time home tours."
According to theWaco Tribune-Herald, Magnolia obtained a special permit from the city of Waco in late September to resume operations as a "house museum" for at least six months, until April 17, 2024.
The release from Magnolia does not specify when tours will end or what will happen next with the castle. But an FAQ on the tour website still says, "Chip and Jo plan to sell this home to someone looking to live in Waco’s beautiful Castle Heights neighborhood."
The home is still staged exactly how it was on the show, they say.
Tour tickets are now available online, in timed intervals from 9 am to 12:30 pm, Monday to Saturday, November 1, 2023 through January 31, 2024. Tickets are $50 (children under 4 free), with a 10 percent discount for groups of six or more. A portion of sales will be donated to The Cove, a Waco nonprofit that supports homeless youth.
The castle's official address is 161 S. 33rd Street, in the historic Castle Heights neighborhood of Waco, about 2.5 miles southwest of the Magnolia Silos complex.
By pure coincidence or genius marketing (and with Magnolia, it's always the latter), the Gaineses' fixed-up Hotel 1928 also officially opens for reservations on November 1. The 33-room, luxe boutique hotel sits in the historic Grand Karem Shrine Building in downtown Waco and is named for the year in which it was completed. Rates start at $375 per night.