Fixer To Fabulous Stars Admit Their Italian Reno Adventure Had Some Major Hiccups

Dave and Jenny Marrs are known for renovating gorgeous houses in their hometown of Arkansas on their HGTV show "Fixer to Fabulous." The pair work together — Dave as a contractor/builder and Jenny as a designer — to give locals and those moving to the area a space they can truly love. Recently, though, the pair took on a project that took them far away from their small town. The couple embarked on a journey to Italy to renovate a historic villa, taking their production crew along with them for their international spinoff called "Fixer to Fabulous: Italiano."

While the Marrses are no strangers to Italy — the pair has traveled to the country many times as far back as 2008 – this trip proved to be a more challenging one than they were used to. Beyond leaving the comfort of their Arkansas farmhouse, the Marrses also struggled with things like the language barrier, pulling permits, and even the weather. But, as they often do, the couple overcame the obstacles to end up on top.

Their biggest struggle was the language

Even the biggest experts in renovation can find themselves in too deep. When it comes to undergoing home makeovers, no matter how big or small, you need to make sure you are ready for potential problems. If you are overly worried about the cost or have a tight schedule, for example, you may want to rethink your planned renovation. While Dave and Jenny Marrs of "Fixer to Fabulous: Italiano" may have thought they were as ready as possible to face the reno's challenges, one thing they didn't have time to fully prepare for was the language barrier. 

"We were in a country where we didn't fluently speak the language, working with construction practices that I had never worked with," Dave Marrs told Country Living. In an interview with Collider, Jenny revealed that while they tried to learn Italian before the reno started, they just didn't have the time to dedicate to it. "We had apps and those kinds of things, but there's nothing like being there and hearing conversations and being a part of conversations and learning that way," she said. "We even had a tutor at one point, but we kept forgetting to do our homework because we were so busy. So, we have a long way to go." In the end, not knowing the language meant extra work translating instructions for the crew, leading to time wasted and added pressure.

The Marrses also struggled with the Italian way of doing things

In addition to issues with not speaking the language, the Marrses also ran into a lot of differences in the way Italian culture approaches work, specifically on construction projects. Not only did Dave struggle to find a place to do his construction prep, but they were also working on a historic home, which meant getting permission for every aspect of the project from the Italian government.

Once the construction began, Dave had to learn how to build with materials he wasn't used to, like three-foot-thick stone walls. Plus, his Italian-based team, unlike his American crews, refused to work on holidays. "I mean [Italians]– you can't offer them double or triple time to work on a holiday because they're going to spend it with their family," Dave told Collider. "It's just not the priority, and I think we could learn something from that. But it makes it really hard when you're trying to get a project done."

The Marrses also had to deal with unpredictable weather patterns and pulling the proper permits to do the renovation, not to mention traveling back and forth between Italy and their home in Arkansas. "So, literally every turn was a challenge," Dave said about their Italian villa reno. But even with all of the hiccups they faced, the pair still loved every minute of their overseas adventure. ​​As Jenny told Country Living, "It feels like a second home to us now."