The 13 Home Projects on Our 2023 List

January 4, 2023

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The time has come to share our annual list of home projects we plan to do in 2023. Along with setting family goals, personal goals, and financial goals, Chris and I take the time to get on the same page regarding all the things we’d like to accomplish in the home! In 2022 we took a little detour from the official list but still accomplished so much, and we celebrated every step of the way. So here’s to a brand new year, new intentions, and more ways to learn and grow together!

1. Primary Bathroom and Closet

The project I’m without a doubt the most excited about is our bathroom and closet renovation! We have made the most of this space with organization bins and trays, and turntables, but this is as good as it’s going to get without reconfiguring and restarting. But the time has finally come (almost).

We’re completely giddy about working with Unique Kitchen and Baths to show off their passion and talent for beautiful, functional cabinetry. The design phase is ongoing, but I can’t wait to share more about the process with you.

Since moving in, Chris and I have been drawing up possible floorplan solutions for this ensuite area, but it has been a serious head-scratcher.

It’s tricky to convey through photos how truly narrow these jack-and-jill closets are. I sometimes daydream about the closet in our last house, and I’m hopeful that we can somehow make this space just as good, if not better.

One major lesson we learned (the hard way) in 2022 is NOT to start demo until you have everything you need on hand. There are already too many things that can derail a home renovation, so we’re hoping to avoid major pauses and delays as much as possible! So while this is top of our list, it will take some time before any action occurs.

2. Attic Purge and Organization

Welcome to the attic! I revealed this clutter cave in Love Letter just last night, along with my goal to purge and organize all of this before the month is over. Maybe we’ll have a yard sale by the end if it’s even okay with our HOA!

I’m hoping this purging will give me some momentum to purge the other cluttered areas in the home (ahem the garage).

3. Skylights and beams in the living room

Once upon a time we had big dreams to open up this fireplace wall and put in a big arched window similar to what we did in the modern cottage. In case you missed it, we’ve pivoted and are keeping the fireplace arrangement. It’s really working for us and It’s so full of character and we don’t want to lose the original charm of the house. What we really want is more light, and I think we can accomplish that way better with skylights. We’ve already had a structural engineer talk it through with us and I’m so excited to see it become a reality.

I’ve also found the most incredible colonial beam inspiration that I can’t wait to share with you!

4. Cricket’s Room/Pool Bathroom

This takes the cake for the least photogenic space in our home. Picture a pool bathroom with an entrance to the outside, and a built-in kennel situation. For now it’s just a hobnob of vacuums, brooms, more clutter, and cricket’s stuff (which is more than you think).

There’s already an outside shower so this just be equipped with toilet, sink, and possibly an undercabinet spout for Cricket’s water bowl. Oh, and of course cabinet space for pool towels!

5. Tile the Back Hallway

One realization we have had since bringing Cricket home is that this back hallway gets an outrageous amount of foot and paw traffic. There’s the door to cricket’s room/pool bathroom, two separate garage entrances, a small closet, and the staircase that leads up into the bonus room. It also happens to be the area of the home where the hardwood floors expand and shrink the most (if you look closely you can spot a gap). So to make our lives easier, we plan to extend whichever tile we end up using in the pool bathroom, into this back hallway!

Would also love to paint all the trim back here. Maybe a glossy merlot? I can picture it.

6. Cleaning Closet

This little closet right through the swinging door is in desperate need of attention. For a minute, it was a game closet, but we really needed more space for brooms, vacuums, and cleaning supplies especially since Cricket moved in!

7. Patch the gym floor

I managed to secure just enough FloorPops in the last release to patch up the gym floor after removing the staircase! So we’ll be adding those, and maybe add more mirrors to the now bare walls? I don’t know. There’s already a lot of mirror happening in there so time will tell. Other than that, I feel like removing the stairs opened up even more possibilities in here.

8. Add pocket doors and built-ins to the study

Although we did transform the study as a dining space twice over the Holiday break, we use it many times throughout any given day as a home office. So we want to add pocket doors for some much needed privacy and noise blocking. I’ve got my heart set on finding some vintage wooden doors to use.

To make this possible, we’ll be narrowing the cased opening and while we’re at it…

We might as well add some built-in cabinets and shelving on either side of the opening. We’re desperate for storage to keep the “ugly” office necessities like printer, filing cabinet, paper shredder and more and I think this will be the best way to preserve as much of the mural as possible.

9. Trim in the Entry

I haven’t found the exact trim I want to do yet, but I know I want to add some drama and character to the entry.

10. Music room on the landing

This landing at the top of the grand staircase has so much potential to be the coolest space in the house! We’re actually going to be extending the hallway and adding a cased opening so it feels more like the music-box of the home. I’m picturing grasscloth wallpaper, piano, guitars on the wall, a little table, some chairs… Like a quaint little snug.

11. Faye’s bedroom

We’ve spent some time in both Polly’s room and Greta’s room, but Faye’s room remains pretty untouched. Aside from a new bed and rolling out a rug, I’ve been giving Faye a chance to discover what she might envision for her room. She’s my kid who’s so interested in design and the process so we’re leaning into the process together to make this room special for her. This is her year!

12. Landscape front yard

No explanation needed, especially if you saw the series of unfortunate events that occurred with the sewer line over the Holidays…

13. CLJ Studio

Almost a year has passed since we first announced that we would be leasing an “unfinished” office space for our team. The process hasn’t been smooth and to make a long story short, we ended up switching buildings and are leasing out a different space! We have been busy behind the scenes working on getting it all finished and it should be finished any day now! Here’s a little sneak peak.

Things we might do this year:

The list is lengthy, but I if the budget and time allow, here are a couple of things that would be nice to have done but are lower on the priority list.

Replace the windows and the roof – All of the windows are original to the house and not energy efficient at all. The seals are broken and in the mornings we can see cloudy condensation making its way in. As for the roof–it’s been in rough shape since the day we moved in. We’re hoping we can skate by with a bit more time before replacing both…

Playroom/Game Room – With the newly removed staircase, we’re settling right into this room. It’s working beautifully and we’re not in any rush to make any big changes, but if we end up having more time or budget (unlikely) we might add it to the list!

Things we probably aren’t doing this year:

Besides the fact that I’m never really “finished” with a room, there’s are also some spaces that will likely remain untouched this year. Here’s that list… but also, never say never.

The guest house

Storage Room

Finishing the Attic

Polly and Faye’s “Jack and Jill” bathroom

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What do you think?

  1. Jackie says:

    Just a thought…before you start the attic reno maybe consider and if possible put in a put in an elevator. I work in Healthcare and a client had an elevator put in from the garage to the main floor hall (raised bungalow) as they had 2 children in wheelchairs that attended school and family outings. Also convenient when their elderly parents visit and unable to use stairs. In your case storage in the attic would be easier with an elevator. Worth looking into?

  2. Alison says:

    Julia! That back hallway wallpaper is absolute perfection and what I’ve been dreaming up for our powder room! Do you mind sharing where you found it? So excited for all of your projects to come. CLJ Team, you’re always an inspiration!

  3. Tracy says:

    I admire your beautiful family! Everything you put your hands and minds into turns to magic! Cricket even matches the home décor!!

  4. Annie says:

    Looking forward to seeing the projects on this develop! Also, very heartwarming to see the unfinished spaces and the attic…reminds us that despite perfect looking home, you might be human just like us! Especially excited to see you and Faye take on her room together!

    • Sabrina says:

      I totally agree about the unfinished spaces! And the honesty about the windows and roof. Made CLJ feel so much more relatable.

  5. Sandr says:

    Super excited to see what you guys will do to the bathroom and closet!!!

  6. Eileen says:

    This list is like the best table of contents ever proposed for a perfect (but as yet unwritten) book. It’s like a beach read with a long-lost-family + college friends mystery with beautiful descriptions of sunsets and mouthwateringly accurate rants about delicious meals. But YOUR table of contents indicates that the reader won’t be able to take umbrage with the writing, and will only get mad when we maybe, possibly guess the bad guy correctly, or forget about the deadly car accident (from the second chapter that the college roommate’s sister could never forget about and she turns out to be the property manager torturing them with bags of crickets and remote thermostat apps while they try to have a nice little college reunion weekend on Nantucket) just a little too early. I am so excited. Bring on the tile and the wallpaper and all the saturated colors.

  7. Natalie says:

    Hi Julia! I had to gasp that your primary closets and bath are the EXACT SAME layout as ours and I am currently trying to figure out what to do with them. SAME issues! Similar aged home in Brentwood, TN. I would love to know some of your ideas!

  8. Courtney says:

    Excited to see everything the new year will bring! I think flanking the study’s large cased opening with built-ins/bookshelves might give you the perfect workaround for installing pocket doors without hiding or damaging the mural.

  9. Cara says:

    Wowwww the pocket doors is going to be so interesting to see unfold. Cannot wait for that project! So exciting!

  10. Rose Hughes says:

    A waist high dog wash station could be a useful addition to pool bathroom, especially after winter muddy dog walks when the water supply to outside shower is shut off. The area under it could be dedicated dog stuff storage or even an integrated crate for Cricket.

  11. Shawn says:

    So excited about all of this! — Have you thought about removing one of the doors to the garage to help make the back hall seem less door-y?

  12. Brogan says:

    So excited to see the master bath! Any idea if they will release more floorpops? We have one more room to do!!

  13. Teri says:

    Enjoyed reading this post but it could have used some editing. Looking forward to what you do this year!

  14. REK981 says:

    I am excited to see what you can do with the primary bath and closet space! Someday soon you will have an office space again that is functional for your team. Good luck with the HOA and the possible yard sale.

  15. Janice says:

    I’m excited for it all ,but mostly the bath and closet. You accomplish so much in a given year. Can’t wait to get ideas and save some for a future build.

  16. Dawn says:

    I’m LOL at the attic – what is it with lampshades and how they multiply? I have my own collection. :)

    There was a comment recently from a person who seemed disappointed that you were now “aspirational”. While I think that person has muddled the line between major renovations (always pricey) and decorating (many levels to achieve a nice look), it would be fun to see you style a place like your bathroom before it’s renovated. In all your spare time. :D

    • I love a phase one!! We do them all the time. I think if our bathroom was a little more publicly used–I’d probably make more of an effort to “style” it. But it just felt wasteful.

      • Dawn says:

        Ah, makes sense, and I have the junk to prove that trying to bling out something that just isn’t working isn’t always a great idea. :)

  17. Melissa says:

    Lots to look forward to this year! But I guess I never noticed the mirror inside the water closet before…yikes! Hopefully that’s the first thing to go 😂😂😂

  18. Shari says:

    Can’t wait to watch it all unfold. Really interested in the pocket door project. We converted our dining room into my office but it has not doors. Would love some inspiration from what y’all do for privacy’s sake in my space.

  19. Lisa schaper says:

    I’ve been excited to see the landing being transformed into a music room since you first said that was your idea (your last one was amazing). Also liking so forward to the beams/skylights in the living room. Your room is like ours – even with windows on three sides it’s still dark so we put in skylights as well.

  20. Emily says:

    Honestly, I loved seeing the unorganized attic and cleaning closet. Very relatable. Can’t wait to see the progress you make!

  21. Jennifer says:

    I cannot wait for all of these projects this year! Your home is beautiful and you have given me inspiration to try some things in my home!

  22. SR says:

    Beautiful plans for an already beautiful home…It’s a different perspective, but I live near you, and the first thing I would do is the windows and roof, based on my own smaller home , and especially with all the rain we have had in Cary and surrounding areas. I see those as the most necessary change because as you know , replacing water damage isn’t fun. All other things on your list are more fancy aesthetic items .

    • Karla says:

      I agree, especially the roof should be a priority. If that goes they’ll have huge issues.

      I am super excited to see Faye’s room.

  23. Correy says:

    I asked about trim and doorframes like 4 times on the IG Live yesterday and NOW I KNOW WHY YOU DIDNT ANSWER. Hahah I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to hear your inspiration, process, and the installation. Eeeek !

  24. Kaitlin says:

    Can’t wait to see how everything turns out!! Especially excited for the closets and your new office space! Can’t really understand the wording on #6 though? :)

  25. Silvie says:

    Ooooh this is so exciting! Can’t wait to see what you’ll do with your walk in closet and main bathroom!!!

  26. Amanda says:

    What a list! I’m looking forward to following you along on the journey, as always!

  27. Alyssa says:

    Why is Cricket banished to the pool room? We have a nice furniture-like dog crate in our kitchen for our dog. They like their own spot, but need to to be among their people. Putting her away in a room at the end of a hallway seems so cruel.

    • She has a little dog bed in the dining room, too. But she actually voluntarily goes back to her crate during the day and around 9:30 at night and that’s how we know she’s ready for peace and quiet and rest. We have 3 rambunctious girls that love on her A LOT when she’s up so I think it’s great for her to have her private space just for her.

      • Shari says:

        We have a bernadoodle and it’s the same. She is on the furniture and the center of our lives – but come 930 she has her stuffed puppy in her mouth and she’s ready to be tucked into her crate where she sleeps for 12 hours!

    • Rachel says:

      Check out their new house tour where it shows how close the “pool” room is to everything. It’s still a fully incorporated interior room like 10 feet around a hall corner from the dining room and kitchen. But even if it weren’t, doggos need quiet places too.

  28. Nicole says:

    Eeeee so excited about your project goals!! I can’t wait to see which pocket doors you find for the study. I know they will be fabulous, just like your vintage dining chairs and the armoire in the laundry room. *heart eyes emoji* I love that Faye is into design. She was so cute picking out different wallpapers on IG last year. It will be fun to see what the two of you come up with!

  29. Lara says:

    14 projects? Have you ever considered just leaving something alone? Will you stop making money unless you hire shorty contractors to continue your never ending unnecessary projects?

    • Lindsey says:

      This is unnecessary, Lara. You don’t HAVE to come to their site. Seems like unfollowing would be your best bet as you’re in a bad place with them, and also maybe in a bad place in general. Go find what brings you joy. Doesn’t have to be here.

    • Alyssa says:

      It’s a goal list. No need to criticize someone for how many projects are on a list that they may or may not get to in 2023. If it bothers you so much just unfollow and bring yourself peace!

    • Allison says:

      I like reading about their projects and have found inspiration for my own home in some of them, just like I did from reading BHG back in the day.

      I see their business like an online magazine that needs content to engage readers and followers. That content is mostly provided by doing projects in their own home, which most people enjoy (including me).

      As for funding the projects, I’m guessing there is some mix of using business expenses and personal funds/income. I would be interested to hear how they manage that with it being their own home as well as creating content for their business, but I’m sure they have accountants that have that all figured out.

      Keep up the good work CLJ team!

    • Nicole says:

      Lara, why are you here? Genuine question

    • Karen T says:

      This is their business, and moreover, it’s their home, so they’re free to do what they like. Why would you even bother reading this post if you feel so strongly about “leaving things alone?” Maybe consider leaving creators alone.

    • Emma says:

      Lara do people criticize your career the way you have criticized theirs? No one’s pulling your leg to be here.

      Keep it up Julia!! Can’t wait to see!

    • Nicole kristen says:

      Laura, perhaps you have a stick in your ass ?

  30. Leah says:

    Wow, wow, WOW!!! I’m excited for all of it (especially your bathroom)!!! It’s inspiring me to get organized with our projects, too. I feel like we’re always fly by the seat of our pants, but I totally agree with you on getting the supplies/pieces before you start! It’s just too risky in this time to be ordering anything last minute. I hope you guys have the best year and make some BIG progress! The house is coming along so beautifully!

  31. Jackie says:

    I throughly enjoy every post, and l agree with you about pocket doors. When we decided to build this house l customized the design for all pocket doors. The only doors that open are bedroom and doors leading to the outside. Since we downsized into this cottage house and using pocket doors for all the inside rooms the house looks a lot larger. BTW, what is the colour of the living room and dining room trim?

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