Story by J.K Devine
Chip Wade, 37, is the owner and lead designer of Wade Works Creative LLC, which is an architecture and design, real estate and production company. He also is the host, designer and executive producer on his Emmy Award-winning series, “Elbow Room,” on HGTV. Through his small business and on the show, both of which are based in Atlanta, Wade helps his clients maximize the space in their home efficiently and effectively.
He plans to share his insights about that during the inaugural North Georgia Home Show, which is Oct. 25-27 in the Ramsey Conference Center at Lanier Technical College in Gainesville. “I’m going to talk to each and every person, because I want them to make educated decisions about their home projects,” he said.
Wade says many family homes have plenty of space, but the space does not function properly, or the rooms are not orchestrated correctly. “So it’s a challenge to get people everything they need with the space they have, and it’s a challenge that I like to take on,” he said.
Undertaking a challenging project has always been part of Wade’s life. He comes from a long line of experienced carpenters and woodcraftsmen and recalls working with his father from an early age. “From as early as I can remember, the men in my family were always doing projects,” Wade said. “And when you are capable of picking up skills, you see things through a different lens and your creative sphere expands.”
Despite this mindset, nothing indicated Wade would follow in his father’s footsteps. “I really had no idea what I wanted to do,” he said. So the young man enrolled at Georgia Institute of Technology to pursue a mechanical engineering degree. Wade said while the university was close to home, it allowed him enough freedom and flexibility to expand his horizons. Although earning his degree was no easy task, Wade said it taught him the valuable lesson of how to solve problems. “Fear of solving the problem is harder than solving the problem,” he said. “Georgia Tech showed me that if I could determine that there was a solution, then I would just have to figure out how hard I had to work to find it.”
He also found the love of his life, wife Pauli, at Georgia Tech. And just like most things at Georgia Tech, he had to work hard to get her attention. “She was always the one,” Wade said, explaining they met as cheerleaders, though they were never partners. “She was always dating someone else.” Pauli, who was a year ahead of Chip, graduated from Georgia Tech and enrolled at the University of Georgia in a master’s degree program. Then the couple finally dated, and the rest is history. “We got married the day I graduated,” he said.
The pair started out on separate career paths. Pauli was an audit manager for one of the largest, independent certified public accountant and advisory firms in Georgia, specializing in real estate, employee benefit plans, financial services, and nonprofit industries. Wade worked for a defense electronics company on fighter plane antennas, and later as a homebuilder. At the first job, Wade realized sitting behind a desk was not for him. At the second job, he learned two crucial facts. “I learned how to build things, and I figured out how to maximize space in a house that I designed,” he said. Then fate intervened. Wade was randomly cast as a carpenter in the HGTV series “Designed to Sell.” From there, his expertise and personality shined. It led to opportunities on other shows such as “Curb Appeal: The Block,” “Showdown” and “Design Star.”
In 2012, Wade started filming his own show “Elbow Room.” In the show, Wade helped families devise ingenious, large-scale renovations, custom remodels or home additions to perfectly suit their needs. “‘Elbow Room’ was the most large scale projects that we took and did the most at each makeover,” he said. “It also gave us the ability to be the most creative. There was a lot of freedom in what I like to do.” The projects he likes are providing custom solutions for families. For example, he creates items with multiple purposes for a multifunctional use, ranging from tabletops and desks to seating and entertainment areas. “The types of things I like to figure out are the best practical uses for small spaces,” Wade said.
Wade has also used his creative problem-solving skills in the business that he and his wife started in 2008. About the same time, they started their family. The couple has two sons, ages 6 and 11, and an 8-year-old daughter, living in Cumming. His latest project for his family is a getaway home at Lake Sinclair in middle Georgia. Wade said he is in the final stretch of renovating a real log cabin. “It will be a place to hang out with my family,” Wade said. “I love to hunt, fish and do water sports. And with my kids being the ages they are, this gives us a place to all do something that we like to do together.” Of course, hanging out with his family — his father in particular — is what started Wade on his path to success. Now he shares those skills and the lessons he’s learned with other families.
For additional information about the North Georgia Home Show, go here.