Our Most Loved Before-and-Afters

April 29, 2020

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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We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: We’re not a before-and-after blog. We’re an in-progress blog. We’re a trouble-shooting blog. We’re a figure-it-out-and-then-try-again blog. We make mistakes. We change our timelines. We get sidetracked by new inspiration. We embrace project creep. We scratch our heads and ask, “What’s not working here?” We’re a mood-boarding blog. A changed-my-mind-again blog. A what’s-my-budget blog. We do teamwork. And DIY. And knowing when to hire help. We don’t wait. We embrace what we love about where we live now and try to help our home realize its potential while we realize ours. We’re not a before-and-after blog. …But we’re not not a before-and-after blog :)

Here are the ones that still make us do a double take… (Psst! There’s a recap video at the bottom that you won’t want to miss!)

The Girls’ Bathroom (previous home)

So much change in such a small space! See the reveal here and recap all of the progress here:

Bathroom Reno 101: Let’s start at the very beginning
(Finally) making progress in the downstairs bathroom
The tile combination for the girls’ bathroom
Bathroom Reno 101: The tile is IN!
Choosing a paint color for our small, windowless bathroom
How to drill into tile to hang a shower curtain
Before and after: The girls’ bathroom is finished!

Our Deck (previous home)

An extension of the inside of our home. So many hours spent out here in the warmer months. See the “final” version of it here (styled by Studio McGee!), and check out the progress over the years:

Deck on deck!
Finished deck!
How to build an outdoor fireplace
The deck, one year later + what’s still to come!
Ch-ch-ch-changes on the deck

Open Kitchen/Dining Area (previous home)

We even surprised ourselves a bit with how this kitchen turned out. Every part of it was made so much better and so much more usable! See the reveal here! Follow along with the projects below:

All the kitchen plans!!
The kitchen: tabula rasa
Our experience deigning, ordering and picking up our IKEA kitchen
The kitchen’s new layout, with walls and everything.
That’s a wrap on kitchen demo
Lights on in the kitchen!
DIY white concrete countertops
Sealing our white concrete countertops
The doors+drawers, hardware and what’s left to do in the kitchen
Customizing our IKEA kitchen island
It’s done! : The full kitchen reveal
How much did the kitchen cost?
Our kitchen: One year later

Master Bathroom (previous home)

This was the hardest project to leave when we moved. We still miss it every day. See the reveal here! Follow along with the progress below:

Master bathroom mood board!
New (tentative) bathroom layout
(More) layout options for the master bathroom
1 Week In: It gets worse before it gets better (right?)
2 Weeks In: On plumbing and choosing the right fixtures
7 different kinds of shower niches (and designing ours!)
Adding marble flooring to the master bathroom
The Reveal: Our master bathroom is finished!
How much did the bathroom renovation cost? A full budget breakdown.

The Girls’ Bunkroom (previous home)

These bunks were so cute and our girls still talk about how much they loved them. See the reveal here! Follow along with the six-week project below:

One Room Challenge Week 1 | The room, the before and the plan
One Room Challenge Week 2 | DIY built-in bunk bed for around $700
One Room Challenge Week 3 | The makings of a book nook
One Room Challenge Week 4 | Those wardrobes
One Room Challenge Week 5 | There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint
The reveal! A shared girl’s room complete with built-in bunks | One Room Challenge Week 6

The Reading Room (previous home)

The first project we tackled in our last home. The paint color darkened over the years, as did the furniture. See the 6-year progression here, and follow along with every iteration:

Reading room green
Cedar & Moss in the reading room
The reading room shelves fully loaded
DIY solid wood wall-to-wall shelves
Studio Green, no Pine Grove Green in the reading room. Yeah.
My new (tiny, but perfect) office space!
The evolution of the study/reading room
Our reading room refresh

Master Bedroom (previous home)

The 6-year evolution of the master bedroom in our previous home. Hint: We didn’t “end” on this beautiful version with the gallery wall!

Big, cozy bedroom update
A gallery wall in the master bedroom + tips on creating your own!
Our master bedroom refresh

Mountain View Living Room (cabin)

Still my favorite view. (We lost this lovely home in a fire, but we hold the photos and the memories close.)

Wood floors at our cabin
Painting the woods walls and toning/de-oranging the beams at our A-frame
Finished fireplaces at the cabin
New cabin chandeliers + what’s working and what’s not!
Painting the inside of exterior doors black is practically magic & our new living room rug at the cabin

The Reading Nook (cabin)

This was a fun project that just got better and better as we worked through every step. So fun to help it become the space it did. See the reveal here!

The start of our first project at the A-frame | FrogTape Paintover Challenge Week 1
The discovery we made in the reading nook at the cabin
Painting and adding shelves to the reading nook | FrogTape Paintover Challenge Week 2
The finished reading nook at the A-frame | FrogTape Paintover Challenge Reveal

Master Bedroom (current home)

I wouldn’t say we’re “done” with this, but the progress is too much not to include!

Our freshly paint master bedroom with contrast trim!
HOW TO: DIY over-grouted stone fireplace! (for under $200!)
Our new canopy bed-How it got here and why it’s never leaving.

Pantry (current home)

We plan on reconfiguring the entire kitchen and pantry space in this home, so now was a great time to try something a little more bold and unexpected. And we love it!

Our rich brown pantry makeover!
A video tour inside our newly organized pantry

Living Room (current home)

Another project that is close to an “after,” but so drastic already. Those beams – *swoon*

All the details of our large arch window from Pella
All about the new wood flooring through our house
A fireplace update – It’s so close to being done!

Dining Room (current home)

I can’t express how much we love this room. So many steps to get to where it is, and it’s completely unrecognizable from when we moved in.

Dining room progress update – we have permits!
Big dining room update!
All the details about the stone checkerboard floors in the dining room – they’re finished!
Our 5 new dining room doors
Big, juicy dining room update: What’s working and what’s not.

Kitchen (current home)

We’re big advocates for “phase 1” projects. This is our phase 1 on the kitchen, before we gut and reconfigure it all, but it’s it was our most popular project of 2019. See the reveal here!

Colors we’re considering for our phase 1 kitchen cabinets makeover!
Rearranging the kitchen cabinets and deciding on a paint color!
How to build a simple, built-in, sturdy shelf for your kitchen (or anywhere, really)
How to paint your cabinets in a weekend (without sanding them)
Our modern cottage kitchen makeover (on the cheap!)
A video walkthrough of our completed phase 1 kitchen renovation (and why there’s gonna be a phase 2!!)

Fullmer Kitchen

The first project we took on after our cabin burned down. A lot of healing in this project, and so much love. See the reveal here!

Our next project: The Fullmer kitchenbefores and mood board
Demoing the Fullmer kitchen & the new layout!
New floors at the Fullmer kitchen reno!
Thing to know when planning your IKEA kitchen!
Everything you need to know about using SeniHandmade fronts with IKEA cabinets (and our cove line in the Fullmer kitchen!)
The white and brush bronze Cafe appliances that have my whole heart in the Fullmer kitchen
Building a custom, tiled cover for a recirculating range hood
Everything and the kitchen sink (ad faucet!) at the Fullmer kitchen
DIY easy wood-stained custom floating shelves
How we organized the Fullmer’s kitchen cabinets + a video tour inside!
How to install faux wood beams in your home
Adding the perfect window shades in the Fullmer kitchen
The Fullmer kitchen reveal, sources & all of the before and afters!
The budget breakdown of the fullmer kitchen
Get the Fullmer kitchen look for less

Pittsburgh Kitchen

Who remembers this doozy? A complete gut in 6 days, and such a confidence builder. The most ambitious project we had ever taken on up to that point. See the reveal here!

How to renovate a kitchen in 6 days + all the details
Before and after: A small, Pittsburgh kitchen gets a complete makeover in 6 days
The renovation realities behind the Pittsburgh kitchen
A budget breakdown of the Pittsburgh kitchen


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What do you think?

  1. Barb H says:

    You are amazing! Everything you do is so cool. I’m sorry about the black mold. Your house will be with you for a long time. I’m sorry about the A frame. We suffered a fire to our main residence. It was gut wrenching but my mom got her house redecorated.
    Your new house and grounds are amazing & will continue to be more so.

  2. dd says:

    Your site is the only one where unwanted ads crowd out all the content and ruin my visits to your fun blog. My Ad Blocker removes them everywhere else — on news sites, design and cooking blogs, you name it — except for Chris Loves Julia. What’s up, guys?

  3. LaNell says:

    My favorite project ever, the one that brought to following along, was the 100 year old kitchen redo in 3 days for under $5000. The exposed brick and raised ceiling, and all the little touches that made it so special, were a joy to see.

  4. Danna says:

    I love everything you do! I loved your girls room at your last house!!! It was so sophisticated!

  5. Rebekah says:

    Such a fun roundup! LOVE your master bath makeover. And the reading room and reading nook. Beautiful.

  6. Lucy says:

    Love the pantry! May I ask what your pantry dimensions are? Length and width? Thanks!

  7. Julie S says:

    *sigh* love ’em!

  8. Teri says:

    Is there a reason you use “ever” instead of “every” (seen twice in this post…)? Some good content here even if you could use an editor.

  9. Jeannine520 says:

    Lovely updates Julia! I’ve got to get on board with your “phase 1” philosophy. I always tend to leave things alone until I can completely gut a room and start from scratch. It leaves me living for years with things I hate so much I avoid those areas. Not good. Were you always able to embrace the “phase 1” idea? I think a lot of us have a strong aversion to spending money on an area we want to rip out.

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      When Chris and I first got married, we lived in a basement apartment, and our home budget for the month was $25. So I guess I have always tried to embrace phase 1: love where you live at every stage. But it’s tough! I share your need to rip it all out sometimes!

  10. Laura says:

    So much inspiration!!! Thank you and please know I’m thinking about you as you manage your heath. ♥️

  11. Carol says:

    “We embrace project creep.” This made me laugh out loud, because it’s my husband and me, to a T.

  12. Catie says:

    Hi Julia, You had a lot of open shelving that looked like it actually got used in your former house. Would you do that again? What is your take on open shelving that holds practical items?

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      Open shelves HAVE to hold practical items. Decor only “works” if it’s also functional. The open shelves in our kitchen held the dishes we used the MOST.

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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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