Shortly before Fixer Upper's 2013 premiere, Clint Harp tells Closer Weekly that he bonded with Chip Gaines over ham sandwiches. "We sat on my shop floor eating them, wondering what the heck we were doing," Clint says. He'd boldly just given up a six-figure salary to pursue his dream of creating furniture when Chip and Joanna Gaines asked him to make some appearances on their TV pilot.

"We had no idea what was ahead of us," Clint confides to Closer. The Gaines' show, of course, became HGTV's top-rated program and the dynamic duo have built a media and branding empire thanks to its popularity over the past five years. Now, Clint, 40, is hoping it’s his and wife Kelly’s turn with Wood Work, which premiered in May on the DIY Network.

"Kelly and I are excited about the possibilities, so we'll see what happens," he says of the daunting challenge of headlining their own series. Wood Work showcases how Clint and Kelly's Harp Design Co. delivers "when clients request cool and different pieces," Clint says, but the show "doesn't just focus on me," he insists. Thanks to the exposure the shop got on HGTV, "We have 25 to 30 employees working for us these days. We're a team: me, my wife, and 25 of our good friends, basically!"

Clint's experience in front of Fixer Upper's cameras bodes well for Wood Work's success, as does his close ties to some potential A-list guest stars. "Chip and Joanna are welcome on my show anytime," quips the dad of-three, who is genuinely thankful to his pals for the TV training ground they've provided. "I have a regular chocolate delivery to their house every Friday to thank them!"

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