2 Years of Making Our Modern Cottage

April 13, 2021

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




We're Chris + Julia

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Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

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At the beginning of every year, we make a list of all the projects we plan to tackle that year, and in 2020 (even though we had only been in our house for about 6 months) we made a pretty hefty project list. We came to a realization that we don’t want to be renovating this house for 10 years like we originally set out to do. We thought about the last decade and how at the beginning of 2010 we had no kids and now (fast-foward 11 years) we have 3! In another decade our oldest would be 20 going on 21, and maybe we didn’t want our daughters’ entire childhood to be set in a home under construction. Yes we love that they get a front-row seat to seeing their parents hard at work, but we want to create memories at home past the renovation stage.

Home is a feeling and I want them to feel that sense of comfort and calm and peace and solitude and safety and togetherness. So as both, a very scary and very exciting resolution, we decided to see if we could fast track our renovation to two years. Now we’re months into 2021, getting ready to unexpectedly say goodbye to this house and we can’t help but be so grateful that we listened to the feeling and pushed through a really big renovation in a crazy timeline. The house isn’t “done,” and we weren’t ever planning on being “done” with it, but we’re at a stopping point that we feel really at peace with, and honestly we’re excited that somebody else gets to love on it in their own way.

We put together a little montage video of renovating our modern cottage over the last 2 years and it makes me tear up seeing where we started and how far we’ve come. I see that there were so many memories–really happy memories here. Living in a construction zone is not easy, but to me it was all worth it, and almost feels meant to be as we approach the close of a chapter we will hold near and dear.

Last year, when we made that decision to fast track our renovation, I don’t think that was a decision we made all on our own. I think Someone a lot greater, who knew a lot more what we would need this year had a hand in guiding us.

Enjoy the video! And don’t ever forget to document the messy parts of life–I’ll cherish these forever.


Wanna take a trip down project lane? Here are some of the projects featured in the video!
Our Closet Reveal: From Thin Air to Dressing Room (the ultimate IKEA hack!)
Our Modern Kitchen Makeover (on the cheap!)
How to Paint Your Cabinets in a Weekend (without sanding them)
All the Details of Our Large Arched Window From Pella
All the Details on Our New Composite Shake Roof!
A Fireplace Update – It’s so close to being done!
All the Details About the Stone Checkerboard Floors in the Dining Room – they’re finished!
How to: DIY Over-Grouted Stone Fireplace! (For Under $200!)
How We Completely Updated our Stair Railings by Only Swapping out the Balusters
Studio McGee’s Design Plan for our Exterior!
Painting the Guest Room Dark + My Paint Formula for Walls and Trim!
The Painted Music Room
The Playroom is Finished!
Before and After: The Girls’ Office Reveal!
Modern Cottage Bathroom Reveal!
The Little Girls” Bathroom Phase 1 Reveal!
Our Dramatic Basement Family Room Makeover?
Before and After: Faye’s Real Life Princess Room
Before and After and In Between: The Entry Has Been Through it All! And is Finished!
Before and After: Our Small Changes, Big Impact Laundry Room Redo
The Evolution of our Living Room!
Polly’s (Big Girl) Modern Cottage Bedroom Reveal
The Exterior of Our Home, Today

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What do you think?

  1. Katie says:

    The door close at the end mixed with the song got me. It has been a true joy watching you transform this home! Crazy how you have poured years into it but can show it all in a 4 minute video. You should be proud!

  2. Deb Dutta says:

    Chris & Julia – freaking stunning! it was almost therapeutic to watch the first window go up through snow outside, the Arch door – to the pain going on the walls! Stunnning work as always!!

  3. Kalie says:

    I started following you on You Tube about a year ago. Working from home has allowed you all to be on in the background of my workdays and I have watched (or listened and had to rewatch later) every video you all have posted…I cried with you when your sweet cabin was lost in a fire. I’ve tried recipes and I have just enjoyed everything you all have posted. This last video, I noticed the song lyrics and immediately had to go to your blog to read what was going on. I wish you all the very best as you find your next home and say goodbye to this one. I hope we will still get videos from time to time and I will definitely be checking in on your blog on a regular basis. Cheers to you all as you move on and thank you for sharing your renovations and projects with us. ❤️

  4. Joy says:

    I cried through the whole video and I don’t know why, I’m so happy for you and excited to see your journey. I just adore your family your design style. I love how you handle hard things with such grace. ❤️

  5. Sometimes the universe (or “Someone”) is on our side. I feel like you have done a really good job making your home what it was meant to be. The principal bathroom, the dining room, the living room window, the arches, adding the closet. All of those feel to me like they should have been that way. You have a talent to see the potential in your home and make it real.

  6. Lindsey Bell says:

    Such an inspiration you two! Thank you for sharing your family and another one of your homes. You inspire us all to live and be at home wherever we are! Best of luck on your new adventure. So amazing to see what you did in 2 years!

  7. Mandy says:

    What you have achieved in 2 years is simply amazing. You’ve created the most beautiful home. Whomever moves in will be very lucky indeed. Wishing you all the best as you get ready for viewings. x

  8. Stephanie says:

    Wow.. so incredible

  9. Laurielulu says:


  10. Christina says:


  11. Amanda says:

    Just amazing! It reminded me of some of the risks you took and how people initially responded- like overgrouting the fireplace, and how cool it all turned out!

  12. Olivia says:

    Love this video and I only can imagine how bitter sweet your upcoming move will be – I know I’ll miss seeing this home. But things happen for a reason and you can count on new memories being made with joy and love in your new home. Thanks fir taking us along.

  13. Jenni says:

    Wow!! Talk about a dream home. We all loved watching your journey renovating this home. Lovely memories.

  14. Terry C says:

    What a lovely collection of memories that you have making this home a beautiful place, even if it won’t be *your* place. Wishing you the best for you in your next home. <3

  15. Cara says:

    Wow! It’s amazing what you have accomplished in such a short period of time. Thank you for sharing and bringing your community along your journey. It is truly an honor and so inspiring to witness. 😘

  16. Kate says:

    BRAVO – you are leaving such a beautiful mark on this home, she has been lucky to have you!

  17. Megan G says:

    Well, if that didn’t make me a little teary, too. What an achievement!! Congratulations on a magnificent job of crafting a beautiful house and home for your family. Thank you for sharing!

  18. Lauren Dickey Guel says:

    Is it weird this made me tear up a little too? It’s always hard to close a chapter, even when you’re excited about the next one. Trust that it’s a “god thing”, as we say in our house. We don’t have to understand it, we just have to embrace it and trust it. Excited about your families next adventure.

  19. Melissa says:

    Watching that video really pulls together how awesome you are as individuals and as a team. Julia, you are so creative and brave/bold in your design choices. Together, you both not only appear fearless in making hard decisions, but follow through and persevere despite fallbacks. You are a dreamer and that is the best gift. It is such a pleasure to witness it all unfold. Thank you for taking us along on the journey. 💛

  20. Ashley says:

    Such an incredible transformation!! I can’t wait to see what your next house will look like!

  21. JL says:

    Julia, it’s been a pleasure to watch! If I were to pick my favorites, it would be 1) the big window going in 2) the stone going up on the exterior 3) the dining room doors and flooring 4) the garage organization and 5) the girls’ study and 6) all bathroom reveals. The now completed entry (including the stairs), just tops it all off; as it now conveys the warmth and sophistication of the house as a whole.

    How’s it going with your current to-do list of finishing touches? Have you made adjustments to your list?

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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Here’s the crazy thing about me and inspiration: If you were to go into my bathroom inspiration board on Pinterest, there are bathrooms for sure, but there are also kitchens, there are closets, there are mudrooms, and there are hallways of houses! I’m not looking to copy and paste an inspirational image. I’m taking notes […]

Entry stairwell at the North Carolina House

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