The Castle That Inspired me in Waco, TX

Interior Education with Tori Sikkema, Interior | Brand Photographer + Stylist

What inspires YOU? Well, on my recent trip to Waco, TX, to visit Magnolia, I can tell what inspires me…The Castle!

The Castle doors are now closed, but my sister-in-law, Terri, and I were some of the luckiest people who toured The Castle for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into its past and present.

Chip and Jo breathed new life into an abandoned, century-old castle in the heart of Waco, TX. We explored this one-of-a-kind home that inspired me with a renewed vision as an interior photographer + stylist. There is beauty to be found in everything.

The Castle Through the Years

1849 – Waco, TX, was established and named after the local Native American Hueco tribe.

1890 – Stone contractor and original property owner John Tennant started building the castle and only completed the basement and first floor.

1906 – Tennant sold the home to Ripley Hanrick but continued to do the stonework on the house. The financial struggle led them both to abandon the house in 1908.

1913 – Captain Alfred Abeel bought the castle and partnered with Roy E. Lane to finish construction. Lane was one of the architects for Waco’s iconic ALICO building and the Grand Karem Shrine Building, which are currently renovating into a hotel.

1941 – Ownership went to the Pipkin family, founders of W.P. Pipkin Drugs, who purchased the castle. Their daughter, Pauline Popkin Garrett, later inherited the home. It was eventually donated to a local church.

1977 – After buying the castle from the church, Jack Schwan received the permanent historical designation for the home.

1991-2018 – Ownership of the castle changed several times, with few improvements being made, causing it to suffer damage.

2019 – After 20 years of accepting unaccepted offers, Chip finally bought the castle…and surprised Jo.

2022 – After dreaming about what the castle could become, Chip and Jo felt like the best way to honor the property was to make it a home again – and renovation began.

2022 – the castle is complete, and its doors opened once again for a moment to a lucky few who toured it, like Terri and me!

Fun Facts

  • The second owner, Ripley Hanrick, wanted to model the home after a small castle along the Rhine River in Germany.
  • The castle sits in a neighborhood called Castle Heights – named in its honor.
  • Abeel’s family crest in the dining room is engraved with the Latin phrase, “the divine guidance of God sustains me.”
  • The Abeel family used the Drawing Room to entertain guests and as a courting room for their eldest son, William, who later built and lived in the house next door.
  • The castle is 6,176 sq. ft.
  • It has 3 floors
  • 4 bedrooms
  • 3.5 baths
  • 7 fireplaces
  • 1 tower

Past Meets Present

Chip and Jo didn’t rush their renovation but instead visited the castle and dreamed of all the life that could be breathed back into it. during the renovation process, Chip and Jo continued to be drawn to the castle’s roots in Germany.

If you, like me, have been following the renovation of Fixer Upper, A Castle, you know what lengths they both went to maintain original floors, fixtures, fireplaces, and charm. The Castle blends the old and the new, which was an incredible accomplishment. Seeing the castle firsthand, I can tell you that they were excellent stewards of this significant renovation. Chip and Jo revisioned some parts of the castle and gave others new purposes to create a home that blends past and present, beauty and functionality, sophistication, and charm.

Design Elements

All the materials and furnishings were selected to reflect the castle’s original character and complement its grand, moody, and traditional style.

Paint Colors were selected from Magnolia Home’s new line of paint crafted by KILZ, and will be available at and ACE.

Featured colors:

The Castle Source Book

The Castle will be on the market. The tours are closed to the public, but Terri and I feel blessed that we both saw it together!

I draw on so much inspiration around me, and I channel that passion into my work as an Interior | Brand Photographer + Stylist for my clients. I would love to chat about your next project and help your vision come to life through my photography.

Let’s have a virtual cup of coffee together so I can learn all about YOU!

The Journal


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