2017: The Good, The Bad, Would We Do It Again

March 1, 2017

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

read more

What we're                   right now


browse the shop

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.

browse all

browse all

browse all




Popular Posts




Top Categories

Every year we like to revisit a few things in our home – things that we get asked about a lot – and talk about how we feel about them day-to-day. We think it’s a good way to hopefully answer some questions for our readers and keep things real for all of us. So let’s kick it off with one of our more well-known pieces.

CLJ Living Room

Living Room Coffee Table
The Good: We loved the look of this coffee table, and the construction of it is very sturdy and heavy. It’s a classy piece of furniture that would work well with several types of design.
The Bad: Scratches. The  metal top is very scratched up from our girls sliding things across it over the past fifteen months. People without kids may have better luck with it, but the finish was not meant for our home.
Would We Do It Again: Probably not. It’s been great, but had we known how scratched it would become, we probably would have gone with something different.

CLJ Craft Table

Family Room Craft Table
The Good: This table is perfect for crafts, drawing, or even a quick snack break while the girls are playing. The top is smooth, and the table overall is very sturdy, especially for how inexpensive it was. For just over $200, this table was an amazing find.
The Bad: The one possible reservation would be the edges, which may sound silly. But they’re pretty sharp. We’ve had our fair share of worries about kids running into the corners, but no problems so far (knock on laminate particle board).
Would We Do It Again: Definitely. The girls love this table and they spend time at it every day.
Natural finish pictured above – no longer available as of this writing

CLJ Master Bedroom Ceiling Fan

Master Bedroom Ceiling Fan
The Good: Looks and function. We really love how this light looks in our room, and it pushes lots of air without making a sound.
The Bad: The blades are not very durable. The fan was running and one of our girls threw a small plastic toy figure into it and it took some pretty big chunks out of a couple blades. It also doesn’t come with a light (the wiring is there, but you have to buy it separately), so our room is pretty dark now and we’re very dependent on our lamps.
Would We Do It Again: I don’t think so. Even though it looks great, we’re finding that the loss of light is effecting us more than we expected, and the damage to the blades has already made us want to swap it out, either for just a light or another fan with a light. Either way I think we’re going to add some can lights in here sometime this year.

CLJ Toy Storage

Family Room Toy Storage
The Good: Almost everything. The way they look, the amount of storage, and definitely the price (on sale right now for $279!). Each drawer is jammed full of little toys and games that would otherwise be covering our floor. But our girls have gotten used to taking the drawers out to play with whats in them, and putting things away before getting more out. They keep things organized while making our girls feel like they have plenty of play options.
The Bad: I would say the only bad thing is the stability of the unit as a hole, in terms of tipping over. It definitely needs to be anchored to the wall, in studs, because kids will climb on it.
Would We Do It Again: 100% yes.

CLJ Office chair

Downstairs Office Chairs
The Good: They look really great and are the only chairs we found that could adjust as high as we needed them to for this standing desk.
The Bad: You have to wear shoes or something, because the foot rests are just narrow bars that may as well be sharpened knives, as far as my feet are concerned.
Would We Do It Again: Jury is still out on this one. I think I’m going to try and make some foot rests out of some spare wood we have in the garage and see if that helps. As-is, not great. But the height is perfect for what we need in the office, so they’re worth a little DIY to at least try and make them comfortable.

CLJ Master Bed

Master Bedroom Bed
The Good: The style of this bed is really great. Honestly, it’s just a sharp looking bed and we love the design.
The Bad: The construction of this bed is not great, and let me explain what I mean. The holes for the fasteners are way too big, so the boards on the two sides tilt downward over time. As the edges tilt down, the mattress slopes. I always feel like I’m going to roll off the bed, which may sound extreme, but it’s about a 1.5 inch difference from the center of the bed to the edge. That may not seem like much, but it drives me crazy (Chris). One of the legs also gets bent from time to time, which slopes the bed more in that corner.
Would We Do It Again: If you average Jules and I together, we’re probably somewhere around a “No, probably not.” If it’s just me – I would rather put our mattress on the floor, even if I was required to show every person who visits our home that our mattress is on the floor.

CLJ Family Room Couch

Family Room Couch
The Good: The quality of this couch is really something special. The fabric has held up amazingly, the design is impeccable, and the comfort is as good as any couch I’ve ever experienced. The cushions have not lost any of their cushion, and the fact that we were able to give Interior Define the exact dimensions we wanted the couch to be, and they did it for us? That’s incredible. And they didn’t just do that because we’re bloggers. That’s what they do. For everyone.
The Bad: That’s a toughie. I guess I find myself sitting on the couch more than I probably have time to? In all seriousness, I can’t think of any negative thing about this couch. It’s the greatest.
Would We Do It Again: Nope. Psyche. Yep. And we plan to. In case you’re wondering, our sectional is the Ainsley, found on

CLJ Tile Floors

Faux Wood Tile Floors
The Good: We’ve talked about this one in the past, but we still get asked about it every day. The things we love most about this flooring are the durability and aesthetics. The tile looks as great as it did the day we finished putting it in, almost 2 years ago. No scuffs, no scratches, and we do not treat those floors kindly. We live on them, as do our daughters and as does Charly.
The Bad: Probably the temperature. We’re lucky that we have heating vents that run through the floor and that keeps them warm in most places, but if you are thinking of putting these floors in a basement or directly on concrete, get an in-floor heating system. Because they will be uncomfortably frigid. They’re also really hard, which, duh. But it’s not like wood. It’s harder on ankle joints, knees, and even backs to spend a lot of time standing and walking on tile vs. wood. We have slippers and rugs that help.
Would We Do It Again: No question. Putting them in was an astronomical amount of work, but that work has paid off, major.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

What do you think?

  1. Diane says:

    Hello! I apologize if this question has already been asked but I didn’t see it. How are you feeling about your wall to wall carpet?? Thinking of going and putting an order in for your exact color and pattern tomorrow at lowe’s but just realized you have the same one and curious now. Do you still love it? Would you have gone lighter if you could choose again? Or darker? Love your style so much and really appreciate your take on things! Thanks so much!! :)

  2. Julie says:

    Just stumbled upon your blog and loving it!! Was wondering if you could share where you found your black and white larger throw pillows and smaller lumbar pillow on your living room couch? I currently have the cb2 ones you used to have. Thanks for the great design ideas!!

  3. Love this honest post! Just wanted you to know the link was broken…it leads to an unknown page…don’t want that to effect a larger affiliate like that! :)

  4. Sheena says:

    Bummer! We just bought the mod bed based on your recommendation in last year’s post and how much you loved it! Hopefully it was just an installation issue but super bummed to hear about your the issues! I really hope we have a different story.

    Also THANK YOU for sharing about the coffee table. I have been wondering/thinking about buying this coffee table for a while now, but wondered about the kid-friendliness of it. So grateful for your review. We have a toddler boy and will definitely be adding more kids in the future – you could not have warned me if you tried about the beatings kids give furniture! Everything is a racetrack, climbing spot, bouncing spot, eating spot – it’s truly remarkable. Finding pieces that can withstand all of that AND still look great is GOLD. I appreciate you sharing from this perspective!

    I was also wondering how the concrete counters are holding up? We are considering new counters as well. Last year you were still in love – have they kept durable? Thanks so much!

    • Sheena says:

      Agh! Also, I had a question if you had had any issues with heavier guests on your molded dining room chairs? We have had issues with our current Target Carlisle Chairs because the arm part doesn’t accommodate our bigger guests well – I love the look and durability of the molded chairs but wasn’t sure about how they have held up under weight. Would love any feedback you might have!

      • Julia says:

        We have had no problems with these chairs holding weight. At our halloween party, we had guests of all sizes, including very large, sit in them and I never even thought about it.

  5. Merry says:

    Hello, I asked a question on March 1 and was wondering if it was skipped being answered? It was about the tone of your fabric on your sectional. Was my question/comment too long?? Or some other reason? I’d love to know your answer on the tone, though. Thank you!

  6. Lisa says:

    We have the same bed and haven’t had any issues with it at all (we’ve had it a couple of years). Shoot – have you contacted West Elm? Perhaps if it was an installation issue they would replace the bed, or give you credit for a new one? (Seems like they would stand behind their product even if it wasn’t an installation issue???)

  7. Dana Lee says:

    I LOVE THAT TABLE SO MUCH! Please tell where you bought it, the one you said you scored for $200! Thanks!!!

  8. Tirzah says:

    Just wanted to give a “Job Well Done!” on your incredible blog and house! You are so helpful and informative all throughout your posts! and it is so much fun to read!!! Thanks for doing such a wonderful job!

  9. Jennifer says:

    Could you comment on your ovens? brand? are you happy with? why you didn’t get a range? I’m on the hunt for new appliances. thanks

  10. Stephanie says:

    We have an upholstered bed from West Elm (tall nailhead bed) and have not had this issue (had about 18m) – now I’m worried – when did you start noticing the problems you are experiencing?

  11. Brenda Hodges says:

    As weird as this might sound, have you thought about plastic pipe insulation on the foot rests of your office stools? It’s black, can be easily cut to length, slipped right over the uncomfortable bars and is cheap. Might be worth a try, at least temporarily.

  12. Hope says:

    I love the storage shelves, but I worry they might scratch our dining room table with the way kids might tend to slam or drag the boxes across the surface. I know that’s not really an issue with the table you have there…would you not recommend using them next to an expensive table instead of a “play” one?

  13. Merry says:

    Very thankful to the both of you for the reviews and updates. About the Ainsley in Dove that you have, would you say it comes across as more on the warm beige side overall as in the photo’s or more like a definite light gray as the swatch? Sometimes when you wrap a large piece of furniture in the color of a small swatch, the tone comes out visually different. Any help you can throw out regarding the color would be so appreciated. I’m dealing with more of a milk chocolate tone in my flooring and can’t decide on the swatches. Your photos seem to make Dove look more of a linen tone than a gray.

  14. Shannon says:

    Is it possible that the bed frame sloping issues are contributing to the T&N mattress issues? Perhaps it would be worth a shot to plop it on the floor for a week to see if there is any improvement.

    • Chris says:

      It’s possible, though the bed issues weren’t happening when my back started hurting again. It’s gotten worse as the bed has gotten worse, so that makes me think it’s a combination of the two. Who knows though, really.

  15. Laurene says:

    Chris – I am SO stopping by to see your mattress on the floor. Ha! Sounds just like something you’d do. And then you’d find some awesome music to enjoy while lying there. ;)
    Are you still loving your concrete counters? If money wasn’t an issue, would you use concrete again? (Friendship with Preston aside…)

    • Chris says:

      I honestly love the concrete. Money no object, who knows what I’d do, but since money is an object it’s a great option. AND, the thing I love about it that you can’t get with any stone, is it’s all one solid piece. Our counters are so long, there’s no way we’d be able to just it as one solid piece – there would always be a seam. The concrete feels cool to the touch, like stone, and has held up really well. :)

  16. Eda says:

    Love this post! I would definitely recommend a fan with a light or to add a light to the existing fan. We just added a very cool modern looking light fixture to the fan in our boys’ bedroom and what a difference it made in terms of brightening up the whole space.

  17. Laura says:

    Love the reviews. It is very telling how a piece of furniture lasts over everyday use. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Lindy says:

    I would love to hear how your back deck furniture is holding up. I’m thinking about purchasing the same sofas this year.

    • Chris says:

      They’re holding up really well. Of course we have really harsh winters, so all of our outdoor stuff is in a storage unit right now. That helps. But even during the summer, they did really well and we never worried about them getting rained on etc..

      • Danielle says:

        I was wondering the same but more about the ikea table and black chairs. i would love a really long table for our deck but don’t want to break the bank – i guess for 150$ it’s worth replacing every couple years though :) but wondering about the chairs too. i don’t want to have to worry about covering anything anytime it rains. i like that they stack so could store in the winter but in the nicer months i would just keep out. we do get full sun on our deck though.

      • Julia says:

        The chairs we used are not outdoor chairs, so be aware of that. They did fine out for us, but we did go out and tip them so water wouldn’t set on the surface after a rain.

  19. Tanya says:

    Our mattress is currently on the floor. We upgraded to a California King and haven’t updated the bed yet. My son loves it because he can jump on the bed and rolling out of bed in the morning is pretty easy haha! Thanks for the review on your bed. Still on the hunt for our next frame!

  20. Amy says:

    I love these posts so much and find them to be incredibly helpful.

    On the fan front, so sorry it didn’t work out! I just installed this sexy, matte-black fan in five rooms of my house because it is GORGEOUS, INEXPENSIVE, AND ACTUALLY WORKS. You should check it out. It’s a similar look to what you currently have, so it would be a seamless swap.

  21. lu says:

    I love your honesty… going through a renovation myself, it helps going through your blog… And am also loving your podcast!

  22. Courtney says:

    Thanks for this post! Weird question about the toy storage dresser – do you think a mischievous Siberian Husky could dislodge the drawers and get at the contents? Or does it take a reasonable amount of precision and force to open the drawers? Our dogs love destroying any toys they can get their jaws on. Woven baskets and fabric containers are no match for them, but they do dislike chewing metal, which is why I am thinking of giving this dresser a try!

    • Chris says:

      That’s so funny. I can’t say for sure what your dogs are capable of, or just how interested they would be, but I can’t imagine a dog being able to get into the drawers. There’s only a couple inches between each one and a certain amount of deliberation is required to get them out. Not that it’s hard, but opposable thumbs probably come in handy. Was that a good non-answer to your question? haha. As long as the drawers are tucked in all the way, I think it would be fine. :)

      • Courtney says:

        Thanks so much! If we give it a go I’ll be sure to let you guys know how it works out for us…

  23. Diana says:

    I’ve been enamored with your sofa for months now! I need it asap in our living room, but my husband says that our sofa needs to have holes in it or be rotting before we purchase a new one. I’ve contemplated blaming the cat on some “accidental” tears in our sofa. ;)

    I love the Ainsley because it looks like it’s just designed for ultimate comfort and coziness. What more could you want out of a sofa?? Thanks for the reviews!

    • Julia says:

      You could always say, “If we wait until it has holes in it, there’s no way we could sell it for any amount of money.” Hahaha works like a charm!

  24. Becky says:

    Our new bed started having similar sloping issues. The wood platform slats began to bow from the weight of our mattresses. In my opinion, many beds aren’t made to support the weight of a heavy memory foam mattress. After calling the manufacturer and requesting new slats, I was informed replacement slats would be sent, but they were on a two month back order. In the meantime, my husband and I woke up every morning with a back ache. I looked into a metal frame system on Amazon that fit into the existing wood bed frame. Before I ordered, my husband suggested we try building some supports out of scrap 2 x 4s. He built some “L” shaped supports from scrap wood and screwed them onto the existing slats with extra long screws. Almost six months later, and we aren’t having issues. The new supports are visible if you look under the bed, but because our bedroom is small they aren’t visible from elsewhere in the room. Given Chris’s back issues, I highly suggest you look into some additional support for the bed frame. The sloping issue maybe exasperating his problems.

    • Chris says:

      Yeah I definitely feel like this contributes to my back pain. I’ve added braces on the edges and adjusted the middle so it wasn’t so high, but I think the guy who put the bed together when he delivered it may have also done it wrong or drilled extra holes where there shouldn’t have been any or something. Everything I try helps for a few days, then it starts sagging again. I have a couple more things I’ll try – maybe doing like your husband – and if that doesn’t help I think we’re just gonna get an entirely different bed.

      • Jasmine says:

        I’d agree that your installation may have been bad – we have the same bed and it’s incredibly sturdy. Or maybe I just need to wait longer for it to start to fall apart? :(

      • Erin says:

        I have the same bed as well with no problems. We immediately cut a couple pieces of plywood to put over the slats for extra support when we got the bed. My husband and I both have back issues and I wasn’t trusting those thin slats to support me. Maybe the plywood also helps to distribute the load a little better to the middle support in the bed.
        I hope you figure it out, back pain is not fun…and the bed is so good looking!

  25. Jennifer says:

    What about your master bedroom lights over the nightstands? I am looking at the same ones, but curious about their quality.

    • Julia says:

      They have been great! The only downside is the switch is on the cord, quite far from our beds. But we just plugged them into a push button floor switch right next to our bed and no complaints since!

  26. Charlotte says:

    I purchased the knock off of the West Elm bed on Amazon for $199…and I am floored by the quality. So good, and we definitely aren’t experiencing the sloping issue. I also felt like the same mattress we’ve had for 7 years was somehow more comfortable? Great reviews on everything, I really love the toy storage piece, thanks for the info!

  27. Ashley says:

    Absolutely love your home! The basement is probably my favorite and thank you for the couch info I have always wondered how you guys liked it.

  28. Brittany says:

    I’ve read so many bad reviews on West Elm’s products. Although the products might look good, it’s shocking how poor the quality seems to be, especially for the price West Elm demands. :-(

  29. So glad to hear you love your ID couch! I just placed an order for ours last night (we went with the Sloan chaise sectional), and it’s always nerve-wracking to make such a large purchase without actually SITTING on the couch.

    Also, in terms of the bed – I’m so glad you shared an update! I loved the style of your bed, but didn’t want to shell out that much $$ for ours. Now, I’m glad I didn’t! We went with the Esme bed from Urban Outfitters, which I liked because it was so similar to the West Elm bed, but cheaper. And we love it! No structural issues to speak of.

    Thanks for sharing, these posts are always so helpful!

  30. Meredith says:

    The family room toy storage is exactly what I’ve been looking for in my entry! I saw it when you originally posted and forgotten about it; I’m SO GLAD you featured this again and that you love it. Ordering! (Now the hard part is waiting until it gets here.)

  31. Patricia says:

    That coffee table looks divine. Can it be refinished with a more durable surface? If not, it’s a waste of space in anybody’s life (unless you’re not putting anything on it scratchier than a magazine).

    And that saggy bed frame. That would completely make me crazy. Can you retro-fit a standard ugly metal frame inside?

    I love it when people tell you the real story about living with things in real life.

    • Julia says:

      Chris has tried to fix and re-fix the bed frame multiple times. I really love the way it looks so we’re trying to exhaust all of our options for sure. As for the coffee table, we haven’t tried to do anything but polish it before company comes over. :) Haha

  32. I was also looking at Clad Home for a custom sofa, but am still on the hunt for reviews. Have you head anything about the comfort of their sectionals? We’re looking to customize the Hewitt.

    I hear you on the office chairs… my art class in elementary school had chairs just like that and the stool tops were always very wobbly! Every time I see them, though, I picture that bright colorful room, finger paints, and clay. :-)

    • Chris says:

      We don’t have any experience with Clad Home, but if that’s what you decide to get, we’d love to hear your feedback on it so we can pass it along if anyone else asks. If you are on the fence, we can’t recommend Interior Define enough. :)

    • Julianne says:

      I was looking at ID for a sectional last year but ended up getting one made from Rowe. Their fabric option are endless. We bought it from a local store that has a great President’s Day sale every year. I have had it for little more for a year now and I am super happy with the quality and how well it has held up. On their Instagram they posted a picture of a Rowe sofa from the 1960’s that someone found at a thrift store that looks brand new.

  33. Mara Smith says:

    I bought the Merwry ceiling fan by Home Decorators in matte black and absolutely love it! So much so, that I bought another for my bedroom and another in white for my sons. I’ve never been a ceiling fan “fan”, but this one is exception to that rule. AND they’re super affordable! I’ve bought mine from eBay for a steal, but you can get them pretty much buy them anywhere like Home Depot or, I believe.

    • Ashley Coulon says:

      I have 3 of the merwry’s in black also- love them!

      • Jasmine says:

        Are either of you bothered by the strobe effect of the LED light? The light messes with my eyes when I’m folding laundry!

      • Mara Smith says:

        I don’t have any issues with the led light putting off strobes. Maybe yours has a bad connection?

  34. Britt says:

    Thanks for doing these posts! So good to get honest feedback on items, and realize that sometimes we don’t always make the best choices on products just because there is no way to know until you’ve lived with it. It makes our mistakes in purchases feel more normal for sure.

    Plus getting honest lived with reviews on products you used is eye opening for our future purchases. Thanks!

all the latest

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. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

read more

Load More

Reader Faves

SHop all

What We're                     Right Now

What We're                 Right Now

Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop. 


looking for inspiration? 

There was a 10-year-period where everyone (including me) was doing black or almost-black rooms or walls. These days, we want something moody and romantic, but we want warmth back in our lives. We want the “grown-up” version of that look. If you are craving a rich, moody paint color that’s a warm, inviting neutral, then […]

Can We Send You Our Love Letter?

Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!

Follow Along on Instagram

Welcome to our online community where we've posted home, DIY, style, renovations, and family since '09. Renovating our #cljmoderncottage in Idaho and headed for new adventures in Raleigh, NC. #cljfam #cljtransformations