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HGTV’s Clint Harp sharing his path to ‘Fixer Upper’ fame at Capital Remodel and Garden Show

Clint Harp, the craftsman who became well known through the popular HGTV show, "Fixer Upper" is the guest speaker at the Capital Home and Garden Show at the Dulles Expo Center. (Courtesy Clint Harp)

WASHINGTON — Clint Harp wasn’t sure if he would have enough money to fill up his gas tank in 2012 when he ran into a man who would make him a household name — Chip Gaines, co-star of the mega-popular HGTV show “Fixer Upper.” Chip introduced Harp to his home designer wife, Joanna and when the show debuted in 2013, Harp’s woodworking talents were on display to a worldwide audience.

Harp is sharing details about his past, opening up about the exposure he got through “Fixer Upper” and working to inspire others to do their own home-improvement projects at the Capital Remodel and Garden Show, which runs Feb. 22 to Feb. 24 at the Dulles Expo Center. The first season of his show “Wood Work” aired on HGTV and the DIY Network last year and his book, “Handcrafted: A Woodworker’s Story” is out now.

Harp said he wants people to read his book and think, “you know what, that was a guy that I saw on TV that I thought had it all together … instead I read his book and realized he’s someone just like me. He just tried and he was honest and he failed and he got back up and I can do that too.”

In his book, Harp is brutally honest about his struggles with money and faith. The child of divorced parents, he moved constantly, splitting his childhood between North Carolina and Georgia. He wandered to Europe and back, pursuing the ministry while balancing his passions with his pocketbook.

“I don’t think I’m alone … I don’t think I’m weird for struggling with the things I’ve struggled with or for having the failures I’ve had. I think I’m much like everyone else,” he said. “I think the more that we share those things, the more that we all feel OK with ourselves.”

And in today’s divisive political atmosphere, Harp added, “when we tell our stories to each other and we get to know each other and we’re honest, we actually learn that we have a lot more in common than not.”

Harp, who learned carpentry from his grandfather at a young age, works mostly with reclaimed wood. Bringing the old back to life is a theme in Waco, Texas, which he made his home after leaving a six-figure corporate job to open up his own woodworking company.

“What’s so amazing about the work being done [in Waco] is it goes beyond a television show, it goes beyond all the cameras and everything,” he said. “What it really is, is this passion for the city.”

The company, which started as a passion project with his wife, Kelly, now employs 30 people and delivers furniture and home goods around the country. But the future is still uncertain. The last episode of “Fixer Upper” aired on HGTV last April. When Discovery bought Scripps, which owns HGTV, in a $11.9 billion deal last year, it raised questions about the next season of “Wood Work.” But Harp remains optimistic.

“I’m finding that as you root deeper into a place, you actually create a launching pad,” he said.

Harp will be on the main stage of the Capital Remodel and Garden show at 5 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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