Guests on the HGTV television show Fixer Upper say they feel deceived by the city of Waco and the show’s real estate agency after a car crashed into their two-story home, offering what the couple says is proof the neighborhood is significantly more dangerous than they were led to believe.
At approximately 1:30 a.m. the morning of July 8, a suspected drunk driver plowed a Hyundai Accent into the front of Kelly and Ken Downs’ home in Waco, according to People, taking out the front porch railing and part of the front wall, and possibly crashing into a load-bearing wall inside the house, according to Waco Assistant Fire Chief Don Yeager.
Yeager’s report says that the car skipped the curb, launching into the air and enabling the car to fly through the front of the house, despite the fact that the home’s foundation is built up off the ground. The couple were sleeping in their bedroom, and were uninjured by the crash.
The driver, 31-year old Allen Wayne Miller, was arrested for driving while intoxicated after being discovered wedged in the car after the crash.
The couple’s decision to purchase the home, nicknamed the “Three Little Pigs” house, was featured in Season 3 Episode 10 of Fixer Upper, which they said they were long-time fans of. They paid $215,000 to renovate the house, and said they moved to Waco specifically looking for the opportunity to live in one of Magnolia Realty’s renovated houses.
However, since they moved in, the Downs said, the neighborhood has been plagued with crime and drunk people causing public disturbances.
“It’s like the Wild West here,” said Kelly. “There’s been a lot of commotion coming from the bars and the store across the street. It’s been a problem from the beginning. We’ve lived here a year and a half and we feel deceived by the city of Waco and Magnolia Realty.”
Magnolia Realty is owned by married couple and renovators Chip and Joanne Gaines, who star in Fixer Upper and lead the renovation projects on new houses for clients on the show.
“We have been intimidated and harassed. People have complained about their taxes going up because we moved here. Store owners have complained about taxes,” Kelly told the Waco Herald-Tribune.
“This is what we’ve been saying. There’s a big problem here. It’s not safe. This is a ‘Fixer Upper’ gone bad,” she said. The Downs told the newspaper they were uncertain whether they would stay in the house and renovate it again or move out.
The city of Waco has seen a boom in its population growth partially thanks to the popularity of the show, according to People magazine.
The Downs’ home has been listed on Airbnb, where they advertise that it was a Fixer Upper-renovated house completed by the Gaines family. In 2016, the Gaines said they didn’t outright object to any homes they remodel being posted on Airbnb, but they wanted to make sure they were building family homes rather than Airbnb units.
“We want to honor our national viewing audience. We want to do remodels for clients’ homes. That’s the true intent of our show, and we want to ensure that does not get lost in this new vacation rental trend,” Chip said in August 2016.
The house’s electricity, foundation, roof, and plumbing were all remodeled in the project, according to the Magnolia Realty website, and received an entirely new paint job. One feature of the design, a newly built fireplace in the living room, may have saved the couples’ lives: Kelly said the fireplace, moved to the front room, likely blocked the car from entering the next room in the house, their own bedroom.
[Featured Image by Anna Webber/Getty Images]