Almost a year ago, Chip and Joanna Gaines — the couple who after several seasons of their hit home renovation show Fixer Upper became America’s golden couple — announced that their series was coming to an end. Since that tragic announcement was published on the pair’s blog, fans have been desperately searching for another show to fill the void the Gaines left behind. Tomorrow, those folks may finally be able to stop looking because HGTV is airing the pilot of a show called Home To Last starring Brett and Kara Phillip.
Brett and Kara are a married couple living in Texas with their three young children. Long before ever considering working in TV, the couple started their own boutique real estate and design company, High Street Homes, and an online store of curated home pieces, Phillips Home Co. Clearly, there are plenty of parallels that can be drawn between Chip and Joanna and Brett and Kara. More specifically, though, the Phillips offer a wholesomeness that’s similar to what many people found so captivating about HGTV’s former first couple. Pictures on the couple’s shared Instagram account, @brettandkara, not only show off the beautiful rooms they’ve designed and homes they’ve built but also the journey of raising their three kids. Many of the photos effortlessly display both the couple's aesthetic and honest snapshots of what daily life is like for the young family.
This is our favorite place to be: all together and at home. We are embracing a life that is full of strong opinions, endless correction and a whole lot of grace. It's perfectly imperfect, simple and we love almost every minute. #brettandkara #designyoureveryday #thecollectedcountryhouse 📷 @sabrinagebhardtphotography
Just like Chip and Joanna, whose relationship and family life inform their entire brand, Brett and Kara say their history is what inspired the shared “California Southern Style” that drives much of their design work. “Basically, it really comes from our histories, our roots, and how we grew up. Brett and I met at a wedding in Texas. He’s a California boy and I am a Texas girl,” Kara tells Refinery29. Their professional work together has been all about merging their individual identities. “What we’ve tried to do in our marriage is really draw on our pasts, so that’s really where ‘California Southern’ comes from. The things that I tend to lean toward in design are heirlooms, and Brett often times brings in the natural light, the dining al fresco, and that kind of layered, casual, beachy feel to the space.”
Elements of this California Southern aesthetic certainly pop up in most of their projects, but the couple says they also collaborate with their clients to make sure each home and each room serves them and their style. “Our design process starts with a discovery meeting that helps us get a sense of what helps their family function and live out their best lives. Through the discovery meetings, we learn the things that they’re drawn to, and then we curate a design that’s really informed by who they are as a family,” Kara says. “We always say that all of our projects are based on the people. It’s never a budget, it’s never a style... When we get connected to great people, and we feel like we can create a home that they will love and that will fit them, then we take a project.”
It sounds like we can expect the Home To Last pilot to show a lot of that process. When asked about how renovating a home on-camera compared to what they’ve been doing together off-camera for the past six years, Kara tells us, “For us and our experience, surprisingly, there really wasn’t a huge difference... There were just cameras and new people.” Brett agrees and adds, “I think the whole experience is just expedited so the process is a little bit faster, which is nice. But otherwise, it was just a docu-follow, which was fun and made it easier on everyone to not be forced to do something weird or different.”
In the pilot, which premieres Saturday, July 14 at 2 p.m. EST, Kara and Brett will do “the exact same things we spend all our days doing” on camera for a couple who found the place they want to turn into their “home to last.” “For this particular show, it was a couple who bought a house on this amazing piece of property, and they bought it knowing this is where we want to stay forever...but it was built in the 1980s, and it just was not a reflection of who their family is and who they want their family to grow to be,” says Kara. “We were able to do things to the exterior and to a lot of their rooms. We loved the transformation of the master [bedroom]. The kitchen is incredible and just the flow of the space was enhanced. So, it’s about taking those classic finish outs of color and textiles and all those things that will grow with the house and allow it to live.” Brett tells us.
With their emphasis on connecting with individual families and the fact that they work together as a family themselves, Kara and Brett Phillips seem a lot like the much-beloved Chip and Joanna Gaines. Though they can see that there are comparisons to be made, the couple doesn’t want to get ahead of themselves on a whole wild journey to becoming major stars. “For us, we are very inspired by those that have gone before us and encouraged by people that are able to love family well and be excellent entrepreneurs. Those are some of the things that we hope to model and continue to do... We’re just learning and smiling and having a good time as far as the TV front goes, and we’ve been grateful for an incredible team around us.”
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.