Controversial ‘Fixer Upper’ Barndominium Rental In Hot Water Again

The controversial Barndominium – which was featured during Season 3 of Fixer Upper– is in hot water once again.

As Country Living reminds Fixer Upper fans, the Barndominium – a Texas home featured during Season 3 of the HGTV series – was shut down in October of last year by the Lacy Lakeview City Council.

With the Barndominium, Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper was able to fulfill her dream of transforming a barn into a living space. County Living speculates that the Fixer Upper star probably had no idea the living space would have created so much controversy. When the Barndominium first aired on the HGTV series, a lot of viewers were very critical of the atypical layout which included a second-story kitchen. The real controversy, however, struck when this Fixer Upper home showed up as a rental property.

Those who were against the idea of a Fixer Upper renovation being used as a rental property were elated when the Lacy Lakeview City Council denied the owner the necessary permit to use the home as a vacation rental. As such, Kristi Bass, the current owner of the property, was forced to cease operation.


According to The Waco Tribune, a second request by Kristi Bass to operate the Fixer Upper Barndominium as a vacation rental home was also denied by the City Council last week. Even though the meeting was over and her request was denied, Kristi Bass claimed the fight was not over. Bass claims the ordinances the City Council is using to deny her request for the permit did not exist when she first purchased the property.

“You can’t change the rules of the game in the middle of the game. I find it a misuse of fiduciary and judicial responsibility. None of these issues were even brought to the council until a resident was on the council and made issue of it.”

A neighbor who had recently resigned from the council which denied the request claimed Bass has “plenty of options,” but did not elaborate on what those options were. Kristi stands by the fact that she will not be going down without a fight.

“Unfortunately, when I’m called to a fight, I’ll show up. I didn’t want to go this direction. I tried to give an olive branch.”

Several members of the council have expressed concerns for Kristi’s complete “disregard” for the city ordinances and claim she continued to operate the renovated Fixer Upper home as a rental property even though she was told she wasn’t allowed.

Mayor Calvin Hodde was the only member of the council to vote to approve her new application to operate the Barndominium as a vacation rental property. County Living notes that other bed and breakfasts in the area have recently acquired necessary permits though they have been in business for years. The council members claim they approved the permits because the owners of the other bed and breakfasts in the area lived on the property they were applying for the permits for.

Patrick Bell, another member of the City Council, claims the permit Kristi Bass is requesting to be granted is an exception to a rule. The rule in question being zoning. The Fixer Upper Barndominium is currently zoned as a residential property and Bass wants to use it as a commercial property.

“The citizens have come forward and made it quite clear they are against it and have not wavered from that. I feel like we need to stick with the standard.”

Mayor Pro Tem Denise Cogliati revealed that she was initially fine with the idea of the Texas renovated home being used as a vacation rental. She pointed out the fact that most of the neighbors – even some of those who were against it – didn’t even know Bass was continuing to operate as a vacation rental property even though she was told not to.

Mayor Calvin Hodde, on the other hand, thought it was a shame that the City Council couldn’t come to a common ground and give the Barndominium a chance.

“I just kind of felt like it’s a shame we couldn’t find a common ground here. I think given a chance the Barndominium could be a really good thing. I think once everybody kind of settled down a little and it was given a chance, it would have been fine and people might meet some interesting folks.”

Kristi Bass made the decision to purchase the property from Todd and Lexia Meek after it was made popular by being on the HGTV show Fixer Upper. In her application, Bass mentioned the home being a vacation rental home would be beneficial to the city too as they would make $7,400 a year in taxes if the home were rented just two nights per week. Unfortunately for Bass, most of the residents who lived near the property asked the City Council to deny the permit.

Resident Lester Beaird urged the council to either deny the claim or wait until April. April being when Bass will go to trial for the two Class C misdemeanor citations she received for allegedly operating the property as a business without having the proper permit.

Theresa Plsek, a resident who shares a small lake with the Barndominium, noted that the council approving the permit could open a can of worms they don’t want opened as other residents in the area could decide they want to do the same thing with their property.

What are your thoughts on the Barndominium? Should Bass be allowed to use it as a vacation rental property?

[Featured Image by Brian Ach/Invision/AP Images]