If you’re an HGTV fan, you’re probably familiar with Jenny and Dave Marrs. The Bentonville pair are the stars of the network’s new show Fixer to Fabulous, which airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. CST. Here, they put their handiwork and design skills to good use while renovating historic properties. Plus, they also operate a berry farm and event venue. Learn more about the couple, the mark they are making on Northwest Arkansas, and how they keep family time with their five children top priority in our exclusive Q&A.
At Home in Arkansas: We read that Jenny is a Florida native and Dave is originally from Colorado. What drew you to Arkansas? What do you love about the state—and Bentonville, in particular?
Jenny and Dave Marrs: We were originally drawn here because of the growing housing market—at the time, it was the perfect place to start a new building business (that was in 2004). We love this area and all that it has to offer. In particular, the outdoor activities and how it’s a great place to raise a family. There’s never a shortage of things to do with the kids. We love the Bentonville Square, the farmers market, the ice rink in the winter, and the splash pad in the summer—as well as the Amazeum, Crystal Bridges, and all of the trails. We joke that it is like living in a modern-day Mayberry or on the set of a Hallmark movie.
AH: You are developers and homebuilders, so people might think that means you only build new, but you seem to love historic properties. What draws you to these types of projects and even these types of design elements throughout your work?
J&D: Historic homes were built with such care and attention to detail. The builders focused on using all available space and local resources to build these homes. They have so much character and each one is unique. Often, new homes are built for productivity and cost efficiency, and they just lack the charm these historic homes have.
AH: Has this always been the style you’re drawn to?
J&D: Yes, we appreciate history and the thoughtfulness that went into these homes. We love to travel to places with robust history and older architecture, and we draw inspiration from places like the New England area as well as European countries. I would say our personal style is a touch Scandinavian with elements of California Coastal—very focused on natural light and beautiful spaces that are functional for modern families.
AH: Have you always had a passion for homes?
J&D: Yes, Dave grew up working with his dad on job sites as his dad built homes in Colorado during Dave’s childhood. I have always been drawn to creativity—writing, photography, and design.
AH: There are 7 in your family! Everyone wants to know how you do it. Would you give us a quick run-down of your day and what this looks like in terms of business and family?
J&D: We typically wake up around 6 and start the day with quiet time and reading the Bible—except now I typically am also feeding the baby at this time, too! We get the kids to school at 7:30, and then the day begins. We meet in the morning to discuss projects, call in to conference calls, or do interviews first thing before we both head out for the day. Dave spends the day checking job sites and meeting with sub-contractors while I typically meet with clients to pick out products, paint colors, etc. I also manage our websites, social media, and blogs. Each day is full and busy, and I have a 5-month-old along for the ride 90 percent of the time, so that always keeps things interesting!
We have a farmhand that comes out to help once a week with the animals and the berry farm, and the kiddos and I also feed the animals every day after school, which is my peaceful and fun time. We also have a friend who helps us manage our event center and calendar for the events there, which is extremely helpful. We prioritize our kids’ activities and school programs on our calendar because while this season of life is extremely busy, our family is our first priority. We have set strict boundaries on our time in the evening and on the weekend in order to protect our time together as a family.
AH: Has being on television changed your life in any way? Do you all sit down to watch the show together on Tuesdays?
J&D: It hasn’t—other than things are busier than usual because there seems to be more communication coming at us. We have been in the process of filming this show for three years so it really just feels somewhat normal and part of our jobs. We do watch the show together—typically with either the homeowners or friends each week.
AH: What’s next up for you?
J&D: We don’t yet know anything about the show but we will continue to build and remodel homes in the area, raise our kiddos, and manage our farm and non-profit. We are honestly just focusing on getting through each day at the moment—ha!