5 years of our Living Room

August 29, 2018

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

We are celebrating 5 years of living in and renovating and loving our home. It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 years, but then I think about all the milestones we’ve hit while living here (we brought home 2 babies!) and all the changes we’ve made and it’s crazy we haven’t lived here longer. Last night, we published a fun 5 year House-iversary quiz between Chris and I on CLJTV where we try to guess each other’s answers about everything from our least favorite projects to how much longer we’ll live here. You can watch the short video here.

Today, I thought it would be fun to look back at all the changes our Living Room has undergone in the last 5 years. Some rooms in our house we do and then they’re done (laundry room, kitchen, bathrooms, the family room downstairs), and then there’s our living room, that has had more looks than Oprah. Many of these stages I even forgot about!

Our living room in 2013 when we first moved in. 

We immediately painted all the walls and plopped down furniture from our last house. It was immediately clear that this room was a lot larger.

There was a short period we moved the television to the main living room wall. (It never felt right since I never grew up with a TV in the main living room space). The arrangement did allow us to move our larger sofa farther into the room facing the TV which took up more space. #workwithwhatyougot

Here, we found a coffee table that was more proportional and I painted the patio doors blackI painted the patio doors black which I still stand by is the quickest, easiest way to add punch to a room.

Hey-o. We bit the bullet and purchased a 10×14 rug that fit the scale of the room a lot better. I added a gallery wall to the other side of the patio doors to help balance out the large window in the dining room.

The TV lasted not even a year in the living room before we moved it elsewhere and moved both of our couches into the living room for more conversation.

Whoa! Two of our most popular projects in one picture. Our long art ledge and the engineer prints of the girls. We peaked in 2014. Oh yeah, all of these changes up to this point happened in a year and a half. This must have also been when Faye, the baby at the time, was getting more mobile because we traded out our coffee table for a softer ottoman/bench.

In the spring of 2015, we added a large window to the living room and finally the wall that I had been fighting since we moved in felt right. The window really should have been there all along.

We were happy with this arrangement for quite some time. It felt cozy and collected. We swapped the coffee table again.

And then tried to fill the awkward space to the left of the sofa (instead of just letting it be, for goodness sakes).

This was about the time that we DIYed the dark planked wall in the living room and so we needed/were ready to lighten up the rug. Aaaand another attempt to fill the space to the left of the couch.

We got our Charly sofa! And some tall greenery and another new coffee table. I simplified the frame of the art and everything started feeling a lot more balanced and restful.

Most recently, I stopped fighting the large empty space to the left of the couch all together. In fact, I have embraced the breathing room. I swapped some art. Spray-painted that arch lamp (that we’ve had here throughout the entire 5 years!) black. Added some contrast and texture in pillows.

I’m feeling good with where we are. But to be honest, every step of the way, I was feeling good. I don’t think I change things so much because I’m not happy with how a room is looking (although that could factor in at times), I think it’s more about my love of experimenting and my desire to push our home’s potential farther. I see so much growth in my personal style through these photos, too. From nothing, to all the things and back to not a lot. You’ve come a long way, living room!



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. Jessica Frahm says:

    I love seeing the evolution of your living room. It helps me see that not everything needs to be or will be accomplished in a short amount of time. As a perfectionist it’s nice to see that even those who are really dealing savvy have a process too. This is very relatable. Keep on inspiring!

  2. Joanne Michael says:

    Beautiful transformation. So you.

  3. Anna says:

    I am trying to find the paint color for the living space and the dark ship lap wall. Can you help me?

  4. Janice says:

    Really like this flashback post! And fun to see how styles change over time. Congrats to 5 years!

  5. Afton says:

    I love so many things about your house, but that plank wall may be my favorite!

  6. Kristen says:

    Love this room! Where are the chairs from??

  7. Allie says:

    This was helpful in remembering when I started reading! You guys had just changed the floors and put in the second couch! 4 years thats crazy.

  8. Amanda says:

    I love seeing the progress of your room in this post! Please share other posts like this!

  9. Tammy says:

    Loved this post!!! Inspirational!

  10. Cindy says:

    I spy sweet Charly!

  11. Laura W says:

    Love this post!! So great to see the evolution of this room and the reasons behind design decisions. I would love to see more of these posts!

  12. Valerie says:

    I LOVE THIS!! Better than a before and after, it’s like walking through a time capsule. More please!

  13. Emily says:

    This was a really neat post! Your decorating is inspirational… Both simple and elegant. Btw, stopping the fight with the large empty space to the left of the couch was the right decision. I struggle with wanting to fill wall space as well, but sometimes leaving room to breathe makes all the difference.

  14. Aimee says:

    Love, love, love this post. The process is so important. Please do this for all the rooms in your house!!!!

  15. Julie S says:

    Nice! This is a good inspirational for the average homeowner type post, which is actually thankfully what most of your projects are about! Keep it up ;-) We lived in our last house for about 7 years and I stopped moving/changing stuff around year 5 myself. There were other design issues it presented that would have been nice to change but not in the cards for us, but I was able to finally get it to where I stopped wanting to tweak much.

    Our current home will probably follow a similar path, but with less unchangeable house-issues as we were able to renovate quite a lot before moving in :)

  16. Ann says:

    I love seeing the room’s progress!
    I’m wondering what your thoughts are on the recessed lights you had installed? Worth it? Right number or wish you had fewer?
    Also, how do feel about no longer having a ceiling fan in the space?
    We’re facing many of these decisions in our current living room right now.

    • Julia says:

      We have central air now (an unseen upgrade that made a big impact) so we don’t miss the ceiling fan at all. I love the recessed lights we added!

  17. Joyce A Dunlop says:

    Fabulous, you have exquisite taste, thanks for sharing.

  18. Trista says:

    It is so fun seeing the different evolutions of the same room! Plus it helps me feel better about the fact that it is definitely a process and it is okay I don’t have the perfect vision laid out in my head when I start.

  19. Jillian says:

    Such a fun post! Very inspirational that even THE PROS take things in stages and adjust along the journey. Love the evolution of all the looks!

  20. Amanda says:

    It is so great to watch your style evolve over the years. And how such small changes can make huge impacts! How has your painted door held up? I’m dying to do this with a set of gross off white fetch doors in our kitchen. This post might just be the kick I needed to get it done!

  21. Monica says:

    Wow! Such amazing changes. I think I started reading your blog when you were replacing your floors. A question? Would you mind sharing the distance between your couch and the coffee table – or the leather chairs (just love those chairs!) and the coffee table? In all your pictures the coffee table seems too far away to be able to use it comfortably – seems like the arrangements might feel better if everything was slightly closer together? (Which would also give you a bit more space between ding table and living room space). I actually just googled and a number of sites (houzz, apartment therapy, homeguide) suggest 12-16, 16-18 or 16-20 inches between couch and coffee table. Wondering if yours is significantly more or if there is an optical illusion in your photos? I just measured my own and it is only 15 inches, which allows us to put our feet up if we want or to use the coffee table comfortably for drinks or nibbles when we have a group of people!

    • Julia says:

      Wow, hahaha, that’s quite the span or recommendations! Ours is about 2 feet, but with little ones, we love the distance because there is still plenty of room to play.

  22. cathryn says:

    Love this look back through the years. It feels longer than 5 years as a reader also to have seen the changes! Here’s to the next 5 years :)

  23. Elyse says:

    Hey CLJ! Great post! My husband and I just moved into a new home that is much larger and I feel the need to fill all spaces and have everything perfect NOW. This is a really great reminder that not even those who I think have it all together have ALWAYS had it all together. It may take a few years to feel like its where I want and not to rush or be impulsive. Even if that wasn’t where you were going with this post, it is appreciated nonetheless!

    • Hannah says:

      I was going to leave the same comment! This is such a good reminder that spaced take time to evolve. Thanks for sharing CLJ!

  24. Sara Kral says:

    How fun! Loved seeing your living room’s journey!

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? 

Our bedroom changed a lot when we painted it and added trim, but not everyone can make big changes to their rooms. I wanted to put together a quick reference tool for when you’re in a busy season of life and want an easy update. Or perhaps your landlord isn’t keen on paint rollers! Here […]

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