Magnolia Network pulls ‘Home Work’ following allegations of shoddy renovations from frustrated homeowners

Entertainment

The Magnolia Network, a joint venture between Discovery, Inc., and “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines (seen here in 2015), has pulled the show “Home Work” from its lineup, the network’s president has confirmed. (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP, File)

(NEXSTAR) – “Home Work,” an original series produced for Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network, has been pulled from the schedule after homeowners who were featured on the show complained of frustrating experiences with the hosts and shoddy workmanship on behalf of the production’s contractors.

Several homeowners have come forward in recent days to claim that they were either misled about the renovation projects, some of which ended up over budget, unfinished or poorly executed.

Aubry Bennion, one of the homeowners who participated in the show, said she first spoke with the “Home Work” hosts Candis and Andy Meredith after submitting an audition tape in 2019. She was ultimately chosen to be featured on the show, with kitchen renovations to begin a few months later.

From the start, Bennion claimed that “communication was disastrous” with the show’s team. She also alleged that Candis suggested making unneeded and ultimately detrimental choices, like removing an egress point that was required by code, and creating a drainage problem by attempting to install a deck (to fix the egress problem). She also claims they hired uninsured and unlicensed workers.

Bennion further alleged that she repeatedly asked for updates on the budget, and was reassured by Candis that the costs wouldn’t exceed what the two had discussed prior to filming. Nearly four months into the project, Bennion claims Candis told her that the $25,000 budget wasn’t enough, and that she would need an additional $15,000.

Bennion said she’s finally sharing her side of the story because, “after two years, they’re being celebrated and promoted while the people they hurt along the way have gotten nowhere.”

“People, bank accounts, livelihoods, families, our health, sanity … all of us have been left on the cutting room floor,” Bennion wrote on Instagram. “I’m speaking up to protect potential future victims from their dangerous pattern of behavior.”

At least two other clients have come forward with less-than-flattering accounts of their time filming “Home Work,” including Teisha Hawley, who claims she and her husband were told the work to their home would only take three to four weeks. The work instead lasted for months, during which time a contractor fell through the floor into the basement of the home, where Teisha and her family were living during renovations. After around eight or ten weeks, Hawley said they were told their $45,000 budget wasn’t enough, and an additional $35,000 to $40,000 was needed to finish the work.

“To say it was awful and emotional would be an understatement,” Hawley wrote on Instagram. “[Two] years later talking about it makes me sick and brings tears to my eyes.”

A third woman, Vienna Goates, also said on Instagram that she and her husband wired $50,000 to the Merediths in Feb. 2020, but requested it back after work was delayed for months. They were ultimately refunded $14,000 of their $50,000 deposit, and have hired an attorney to collect the rest.

The Merediths have since shared a lengthy response to the allegations on social media, claiming there’s more to these stories that the homeowners are sharing.

“We’ve seen stories that [have] been circulating, and although we cannot speak for anyone but ourselves, we can say that we have always tried to give everything we have to make anyone we work with happy,” the pair wrote. “We will never take away their truth and how they are feeling. We can only say that there are two sides to every story and while we chose not to go public with our truth, because we know how hurtful this feels, we understand that only hearing one side can paint a negative picture.”

The full statement posted to their Instagram account can be found here.

Allison Page, the president of the Magnolia Network, has since confirmed that “Home Work” will be removed from Magnolia’s schedule amid an investigation.

“Magnolia Network is aware that certain homeowners have expressed concerns about renovation projects undertaken by Candis and Andy Meredith,” wrote Page in an emailed statement provided to Nexstar. “Within the last few days, we have learned additional information about the scope of these issues, and we have decided to remove ‘Home Work’ from the Magnolia Network line up pending a review of the claims that have been made.”

It’s worth noting, however, that not everyone who came forward this week was critical of Candis and Andy’s work. On Instagram, another woman gushed about the job they did building her a “reading cottage.” They did “beautiful work” on the project, she said, despite it taking longer than expected.

The Magnolia Network, a rebranding of the DIY Network, is a joint venture between Discovery, Inc., and Chip and Joanna Gaines.

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