'Fixer to Fabulous' Stars Jenny and Dave Marrs Waited Over 600 Days to Welcome Daughter Sylvie Home

Kelly Corbett
·8-min read
Photo credit: Jenny Marrs / Instagram
Photo credit: Jenny Marrs / Instagram

From House Beautiful

Fixer to Fabulous is one of our favorite shows on HGTV. The series, currently in its second season, follows Bentonville, Arkansas, husband-and-wife Jenny and Dave Marrs as they overhaul old homes in Northwest Arkansas— all while raising five young children and running their own blueberry farm.

With Jenny’s eye for design, and Dave’s handy craftsmanship and general contracting background, the couple has restored over 300 homes in their area. But besides their work on the show and with their local business Marrs Developing, Jenny and Dave are passionate about numerous causes around the globe including community transformation, family preservation, and orphan care. Their hearts are present in everything they do. Here are 12 things you might not know about HGTV’s Fixer to Fabulous couple Dave and Jenny Marrs.

They met in 2002 at work

After graduating college in 2002, Dave was offered a job at Newell Brands' Rubbermaid, as he told About You. It's through this role at Newell Brands that he met Jenny, who worked in a different department. The two quickly became close; however, Dave’s job profile required him to relocate and travel frequently. The couple dated long distance for a while until they decided to take the next step.

In 2004, Dave left his job at the company and decided to move to Arkansas to pursue building and construction — which held a special place in his heart as he had grown up building log cabins in Colorado with his dad. "So, I did the corporate world for two years, which was enough. It allowed me to meet Jenny… but I just got sick of it," he told the outlet. "When I said I [was] going to start building again, Jenny took a big leap of faith and said we’ll try Arkansas for a couple of years," he recalled.

Fast forward sixteen years later and Dave, a Colorado native, and Jenny, who hails from Florida, never left Arkansas. "I think, like a lot of people do here, we came for a stint and realized how great a place it is, Jenny said. "This is home."

Jenny was Dave's "sugar mama" for a while

After the couple moved to Arkansas in 2004, Dave started his own construction company, Marrs Developing. At the time, Jenny was still pursuing a career in marketing and sales. However, she pitched in as much as she could on the design end. While she had no official background in design (as she had studied marketing and public relations in college), she always loved getting in touch with her creative side.

"We were broke, and I had a real job. He was just starting, so I was the 'sugar mama,'" Jenny jokingly said in 2018. She revealed that in 2012, eight years after Marrs Developing had launched, she officially left her corporate and joined Dave full-time at the company.

They've been married for 15 years

Jenny and Dave got married on April 2nd, 2005. "Thanks for being my main squeeze forever and ever, Mr. Marrs. I'm sure glad I snagged you," she wrote on Instagram in 2017 for their 12 year wedding anniversary.

TV was never on their bucket list

While many HGTV stars have talked about the casting tapes they sent to the network that helped them land their shows (see Erin and Ben Napier's reel here), Jenny and Dave never made one. In a video on their blog, they reveal that HGTV approached them with the prospect of a show after word got out about the couple’s business and their passion for reviving historic homes in a small-town community.

When the couple was approached by HGTV via email, Jenny thought it was a joke. During Fixer to Fabulous season one, she even said that she thought it was spam and deleted the message right away.

They live in a farmhouse from 1906

In a blog post titled "These Walls," Jenny recalled the day in 2012 when Dave took her and their two sons at the time for a walkthrough of an old farmhouse that he had been asked to demolish. The house was an eyesore, yet the couple knew they had to save it.

That being said, they had to physically move the dilapidated farmhouse somewhere else quickly, as it was en route to become a parking lot. Fortunately, Dave had purchased an empty plot of land in the neighborhood a while back. Although he originally bought this land with no vision, it became the starting point for the couple’s first major restoration project as well as where they would raise their budding family.

They have five kids under nine

Currently, the HGTV stars have five children together: one-year-old Luke, 5-year-old Charlotte, 7-year-old Sylvie, and twin boys Nathan and Ben, 9.

They waited 602 days to meet their daughter Sylvie

As you may already know, Jenny and Dave adopted their daughter Sylvie from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa. They knew instantly she was the one on Nov. 12, 2012 — that's the day they came across her adoption profile online and started the process. By August 2013, the paperwork was settled and she was finally their legal child.

Dave and Jenny were hoping to welcome her home within the next month, but ran into a major roadblock. The Congolese government shut down, which meant that no adopted children could leave because as exit letters had been suspended. These letters are required for a child to leave the country.

During this grueling waiting period, Jenny became pregnant with their now-5-year-old daughter Charlotte. Unfortunately, Charlotte was a high-risk pregnancy for Jenny. That being said, Dave took the lead in trying to bring Sylvie home as he was the only one who could travel back and forth to Africa.

"I specifically went over to Congo, waited outside our U.S. embassy to try to get in and plead my case with the U.S. ambassador," Dave told People in 2019. "When I tell you, anything that we could do… we were on the phone with congressmen, with our state representatives—like, the Vatican, we tried."

Finally, on July 8, 2014, Sylvie’s foster mother was given permission to fly her to America, and Jenny and Dave finally welcomed their new daughter home. It was just a little over 600 days after they knew she was the one and started the adoption process. She joined them at age 2.

Jenny is a few months older than Dave

Jenny Marrs was born on January 24, 1979. She is currently 41 years old. Dave Marrs was born on Februrary 26, 1980. He is currently 40 years old.

The show originally wasn't going to be called Fixer to Fabulous

The show’s pilot first aired in November 2017 with the title Almost Home. After a positive response from audiences, HGTV greenlit the series for eight hour-long episodes—or in other words, eight stunning transformations, each with a strict six-week timeline. This was a totally new (and fast-paced) ballgame for Jenny and Dave; however, they quickly adapted. By the time Almost Home was ready for air in October 2019 (after months of delays) the network decided to change the name to Fixer to Fabulous… and the rest is history.

They started their blueberry farm to help kids in Zimbabwe

Jenny and Dave’s berry farm, aptly named The Berry Farm, isn’t just a place for locals to come pick their own fresh berries and/or host special events on the farm's spacious grounds. As Jenny writes on the Marrs Developing blog, they started the berry farm "as a way to provide educational skills and opportunity for orphaned and at-risk teenage boys in Marondera, Zimbabwe."

In particular, the blueberry is very symbolic to the couple as it is a crop that will continue to yield fruit over a long period of time. As the farm's website notes, "if you nurture berries and properly care for them, their investment will span decades." This is similar to "the way we are investing in the lives of the children in our program."

They also raise sheep, goats, donkeys, and more on their farm

The Marrs family has a plethora of animal friends in their backyard. While the animals make a great addition to The Berry Farm, Dave and Jenny never expected they'd have so many mouths to feed.

On Instagram, Jenny opened up about how their barnyard of animals came to be. In 2017, the family started caring for Trixie, a baby lamb, who needed around the clock bottle feeding. She was just too adorable to resist. As Trixie grew up, "we added a couple of friends and she had a baby," Jenny wrote. Now the family is currently caring for a handful of sheep, cows, mini donkeys, chickens, bunnies, llamas, and more.

"Never, ever, ever did I expect to live on a farm with animals that we care for each day and actual food that we produce and eat," Jenny explained. "Yet, here we are. Making it up and learning as we go."

Jenny and Dave place an American flag on every house they renovate

Every Jenny and Dave Marrs renovation project isn't complete without an American flag. As Jenny wrote on Instagram: "It’s important for us to place an American flag on every house in honor of everyone who has served our country; including my amazing Father-in-law and my Papa."

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