July was filled with highs and lows. It was the month that really felt like summer filled with eating outside and swimming and soaking in family time. But it was also the month our emotions got the best of us. To be honest, we experienced heavy feelings of buyers’ remorse as we looked around, an entire year after we started this renovation, to see our home still very much in shambles. It’s natural to think “WHAT HAVE WE DONE?!” when you’re in the point of no return. The exterior renovation wasn’t planned, but necessary for health reasons due to mold and man, it has taken a toll on us. It was the month we asked ourselves the hard question “Would we have bought this house if we had known the extensive renovation it required?” And the answer is N-O! But when it feels like there isn’t a finish line, or we have lost control of the endless amounts of contractors, we have learned to turn to smaller projects that we can control–like the closet, guest room, music room and playset makeovers this month! Those were so fun and immediately rewarding!
When I look back on these monthly videos (see July’s below!), I am reminded to not wish this time away. And instead of letting myself get swallowed up in the black hole of renovation, celebrate what we’ve accomplished, and more importantly, who we’re making this home for every day–our three girls are happy day in and day out (just TRY not to smile at that face at 1:51) and I’m getting my motivation to push through, from them.
Besides memories made, there were a lot of new favorites that emerged this month in our home, in our DMs and personal favorites!
1. Arch Mirror $199 I haven’t shown you these yet, but Faye’s bathroom got a new window, which knocked out the old large mirror and has spurred its own mini renovation that includes two of these adorable wood arched mirrors. It’s gonna be so darling.
2. Pratt Column Table Lamp $239 We used two of these lamps in the guest room and they sold out quick (but have been restocked!) They are stunning and substantial and I tried them in about 4 spots before they landed in the guest room.
3. Fox Print $49 Every time I show the music room, this print is asked about first! I bought mine framed on Chairish, but I found just the print linked here!
4. Acrylic Shearling Stool $499 I searched for a long time for a good piano bench that felt a little modern to go with Chris’s Great Great Grandmother’s piano we inherited and this stool has been perfect! It’s cozy and a great height!
5. Astrid Mother of Pearl Chandelier $699 A lot of elements “made” the closet. The mirror. The curtains. The pocket doors. But this chandelier–I love it every day.
6. Record Player $84 It was so fun to set up our record player that we got LAST YEAR in the music room this month. We’ve been adding to our vinyl collection and it’s been so fun to explore different music with the girls.
7. Bergamont & Amber Candle $22 My favorite scent this month. It’s warm, but summery.
8. The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops $49 I had a major oopsie this month where I accidentally spilled these facial tanning drops on the bathroom counter. I cleaned it up, no issue. But it must have gotten on my lotion container which transferred to my hand–WHICH CREATED DARK SPOTS ALL OVER MY HAND. When I shared the funny story on Instagram, the number one remark was, “Oooh! What facial drops do you use??” Haha. So! These are them. 2 drops mixed into my lotion twice a week at night.
9. Denim Oversized Ex-Boyfriend Shirt $54 This fits and feels like a black chambray and it’s already in constant rotation in my closet.
10. Dip-Dye Raglan Sweater Tee $44 This summeriest sweater has added a jolt of color to my closet this month, but paired with the sand color on top, it’s been an easy and fun way for a neutral color lover, like me, to do so.
11. Women’s Retro Run Sneaker $59 I bought these for the look, but I’ve already put 15 miles on them! They’re fun for running or paired with a summery dress.
12. Freedom Moses Sandals (Leopard-print, Snake-print) $45 I bought both of these prints thinking I’d return one but then I got them and felt them (they are SO COMFORTABLE!) and I have been wearing both so much. Win. Ners!
13. The Daily Crave Beyond Churros $20 My grain free, dairy free restricted diet doesn’t leave a lot of room for crunchy sweet snacks but THESE HAVE BEEN HEAVEN SENT. They are sweet and cinnamon-y and hit the spot every time.
14. The Last Dance I told everyone I knew to watch this Michael Jordan documentary when it came out (no need to be a basketball fan!) but now that it’s on Netflix–I’m telling everyone again. We loved this and I’m still feeling inspired by it.
15. Free Solo (it’s also available on Hulu) Another great documentary about free solo rock climber, Alex Honnold as he attempts to to conquer the first free solo climb of El Capitan’s 900-meter vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park. It came out in 2018, but we just watched it last week and it was EXCELLENT! We were on the edge of our seats, watching through our hands for most of it.
16. Love Handle Phone Grip $9 Added this little guy to the back of my phone and it’s better than any other socket, loop, ring or grip I’ve tried before.
July, you were pretty good after all. Bring on August!! Our baby girl, Polly, turns 3 tomorrow and we’re so excited to celebrate her! We have a couple more posts coming at you this weekend and then we’ll be back with new projects next Wednesday!
I usually lurk around here without commenting, just wanted to say that I love watching your progress! And I love the light hearted diversions you drop now and then (those animal print Birkenstocks!) among your more serious and thoughtful projects.
Free Solo is SO GOOD. I keep recommending it to people a year after watching it, too. :)
I’ve never been exposed to large scale renovations, but I’m sure jumping from the simultaneous living/dining room to the bath/exterior renos has been A LOT and probably not the stability you may want during these times. But I can’t help but be a cheerleader for you! You may have swapped the kitchen for the exterior this year, but it’s going to look amazing and you’re absolutely kicking butt on all the home projects you set out to do this year, on top of everything else happening. Thanks for sharing your home journey with us, you’re making me very excited for my own home reno journey that should start in about a year, with all the ups and downs ????
It is so interesting that if you had a crystal ball, you would not have purchased this house. Every time someone asked why you did not just build a house, I thought it was obvious because of the potential and adventure :) of transforming this one. Hopefully, getting the house where you want it shall be like giving birth, and once it is over, all the pain is forgotten. From a consumer perspective, I find your journey addictive. Peace!
Julia, your home is turning out just beautiful and I love watching what you do. I’ve lived in 4 houses and this last house we are in is my favorite. I feel most at home in it and get great compliments on it, but it is without it’s issues. Our home is only 14 years old. We’ve done the fixer upper thing on the last three so was hopeful that this home would not need big projects. It has and we have decided that owning a home is a forever project! I can see in your videos how happy you and your family are. It will be a beautiful home filled with great memories. I can’t wait to see the exterior of your home done!
I loved the last dance and was so glad it came to netlfiix. In middle school I was such a huuuuge bulls fan, and scottie pippen specifically. It was great to hear them tell their story and see such dedication and determination to help raise each other up.
I think every homeowner has buyer’s remorse at some point – it’s just part of the package. Ask me about when we found out that our enclosed patio / bonus room at the back of our property turned out to just have tar paper under the paneling on the back wall. =8-0 That was an expensive lesson! I’m sorry that you’ve got some folks reacting negatively to your honesty – it reflects on them, not you.
Thank you for sharing the highs and the lows! I love that you share your humanity. ❤️
I am not a big commenter on blogs, but I have been through major construction (when I was pregnant) and remember feeling the same way. Then I read a blog post about the middle (pst Sherry https://www.younghouselove.com/the-middle-makes-no-sense/) and it at least made me feel normal. Also, I remember you guys talking a lot about the property when you bought it. About how you could see your girls getting married there one day, and that hasn’t changed. I think you have decision fatigue and I assume that not feeling great is also playing into everything. I think the small quick projects (wins) will really energize you guys, and start making some of the larger projects seem attainable. I am sorry that you guys hit a rough patch, but I hope that when you look back this makes the results feel soooo much better. Thanks for being vulnerable, and I can’t wait to see how you guys keep growing.
p.s. I still love blog posts, keep em coming
So, so curious: what would you have done differently? Stayed in your old house? Built new? Purchased a different house?
I’ve been there, done that. We work full time and our last renovation took us ten years. We had only the exterior left and decided to sell. The house consumed ten years of my life, and while I loved it and was so proud of what we did with it, I knew I was just “saving the house” and it wasn’t my forever home. Now we are about to build new, and I hope I can balance my love for design during the build process, and then enjoy other hobbies while doing updates on a small scale later.
I agree you’ve had a lot of bumps along the road with your home. In my mind the gorgeous property surrounding your home maybe balances all the bumps. ????
I was going to say that …hard to find such gorgeous land with all the amneties!
curious to know how you think you’ll answer the question ““Would we have bought this house if we had known the extensive renovation it required?” in 5 years when the pain of renovation has worn off? Do you think the answer will change at all? Time is a funny thing…
Everything you’ve done has been so beautiful & fun to watch ! Odd question: do you ever hear from the previous owners ?
This is definitely something I can currently relate too! We searched for months for a bigger home with 4 bedrooms (not easy in our budget in SolCal). We ended up purchasing a 3 bedroom with a detached pool house that we thought would be an amazing guest house for my out of state parents. Day one of renovations to insulate the pool house and update the bathroom and we’re 20% over budget. Currently stressing we’re over spending for the neighborhood and we’ll never see a return. I just keep telling myself that we’ll use it a lot and the extra money won’t feel too bad over the next 30 years. Happy thoughts……..
We also live in SoCal, and have spent a lot of money on our house. I got my dream kitchen and open concept, and our master bath is a gorg. But when I look at the money that has gone into the home – with more to go/but just ONE bathroom/we can do it! – it makes me queasy. My husband feels it’s “worth it”, as WE are living in it and loving it, with no plans to move…..(well, before someone mailed us a hand-typed/signed letter saying they want to be in our neighborhood and would we consider selling and now my wheels are starting to turn; my husband said NO WAY!!….
I just think in general, construction/renovating is crazy expensive, and no matter how much you think you know, you don’t know for reals until you’ve gone through it. It’s true: twice as long and twice as much.
I can so so relate to what you are saying with buyer’s remorse. My husband and I bought a cool mid-century house on an amazingly private lot backing up to a forest that somehow was also located within 10 minutes of our downtown. The house was all-around better and more interesting and than any other houses we were looking at — but it needed a HUGE amount of work. Way more than we ever could have realized. And although every day when I am stuck at home now, I am grateful for a private outdoor oasis, I also everyday think about how I would probably be just as happy in a tiny bungalow with a tiny yard. It is so good to hear you express these feelings because we all go through this and so often we only hear about people completing a project and then felling good – but it’s also important to enjoy the process! Your tagline of Don’t Wait has been an impactful mantra for me these past two years as we were in the thick of it. Love following along with your home adventures and how much you share with this community – both the ups and downs!
I feel you!! We bought a house and have been in here for 1.5 years. We fell in love with its spot on the river, the huge windows with gorgeous views and the acres of land. Little did we know we would be puking out money to put in a weeping tile system that should have been in, in the first place! And many more undisclosed things, Cue the tears! We also need to re-do our windows (which we knew) so we are saying tiny little prayers that those go off without a hitch! (All extremities crossed :) )
This post really spoke to me, i also bought my first home last year. And in 1 year of living in our new home, we have renovated 70 % of the house. And i often think about my next house ( the plan is to flip and then buy our dream home) i am so constantly looking for houses in the market and thinking about my next home, That i am not enjoying my current house. Which we (my husband and I) have worked so very hard, and it looks amazing so far… i feel like we perfectionists are not 100 % happy once everything is perfect. And i need to remind myself To live in the moment and be appreciative, because not everyone gets to have a home… and also I dont want to look back and regret anything. So keep on going ! I will be there too!
Love your buyers remorse talk. Renovating our house right now and our little project turned into a full gut because a previous owner removed all the load bearing walls of this 100 year old home.
Love this roundup. If you don’t mind sharing, how is the sizing/fit of the Freedom Moses sandals? Did you go with the size as Birkenstock, or did you go up a size (I’ve heard that FM run small)?
Thank you in advance!
Thank you so much for this post! We bought a new house last July and have been feeling maaajjor buyers remorse. So glad to hear that someone that appears to have everything totally together is going through a similar thing!!
My parents added on to our home when I was a kid and struggled with contractors who kept flaking and progress that would stall for months. As a kid- I never minded it. I enjoyed seeing a house get built and some of my strongest memories are related to that renovation because it was so out of the ordinary (egg or the hen: did I become a structural engineer because of that experience or was I interested in the process because I was already passionate about buildings? Lol who knows) . I’m sure the financial burden weighs heavy since you’ve already poured so much into every inch, and much in unexpected ways. but just wanted to share the perspective of a kid who lived through a long renovation, your kids will be left good memories!
You guys are so productive that it must feel like a constant state of churn, but you’ve come so far and your girls have the most amazing home to grow up in. Plus one very inspiring mummy to feel proud of! If it helps, I often feel remorse about buying a house that *doesn’t* really need anything major doing except changes for our taste. Having a wall or two to move would be quite fun!!!!
In a few years this season will feel like a distant memory and you’ll love your home so much that it will be worth it. Or you’ll love again (: – but whatever such is life. House looks great! You’re handling all of these weird things with grace.
When I click on the link for the Pratt column table lamp, Pottery Barn still shows it as “No Longer Available”. Is there a different place to buy this? I love that lamp!
It’s curious to me that some people are interpreting your (very brave) admission that you may not have purchased your home had you known the extent of renovations required with you being ungrateful or unappreciative of living there. It is probably an uncomfortable realization, and I love to see the way that you acknowledge those very valid feelings, and how you move through them, staying committed to the process and to loving your home. It sometimes appears as though you have limitless resources for these large scale improvements, and it was refreshing to see the ways it’s been hard, so thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.
I agree with the other comment. From an outside perspective your house is ‘done’ and now you are making it match your personal aesthetic in a timeframe you chose to do it in, in a high end manner (no judgement i love high end :). I wonder if being in the middle of it, and choosing to try and remodel the entire house in one year as opposed to doing a few projects along the way has messed with perspective (I get it – the content for the blog is your business). But from an outside perspective you guys have managed to make your career remodeling your own home, or rather remodeling your own home has created a business. I find that amazing and was not surprised to learn you were an enneagram 3 :) Most of your choices were intentional and if you were saying that you were now regretting the remodeling time-line, that would make sense, but it sounds like you are saying you had no idea the house was going to need so much renovation, which other than discovering mold, it seems like it was all personal aesthetics and personal time-frame (unless I’m missing something). I love your blog because you have helped me to look around at what I CAN do when it feels like we will never make it to a home that has elements that would result (*feels like would result ;) in a higher quality of life. We have 2 bathrooms, one has so many issues it is not working and needs to be gutted and remodeled. We don’t have the money bc our son has been very sick for several years. But I honestly feel like because of you I turned a nasty outdoor tool workshop into a craft room for my daughters during covid. A room so gross and overwhelming that I hadn’t stepped foot in it for 10 years. It now looks more like a beach shack and the whole family sits out there (very weird I know but something magical happens when you spray paint an entire space white, pressure wash the concrete, add a vintage rattan sofa you find on the side of the road and paint it caribbean blue, and order a huge butcher block work table). Because of that space my daughter started making jewelry. That space represents hope- what I can do now with what I have and can afford. Now I am working on the laundry room in the same manner– but I really really wish I could remodel my bathroom with all high end everything and take a bath again. I guess my point is that you have a really large audience and we already know the narrative because you made the choice to share it along the way, but to later change the narrative by downplaying the personal choice left me feeling weird. I hope I am not sounding judgemental because I have no judgement for how a person chooses to spend their money – or even the money they don’t actually have, or their time or their time-frames. To each their own, my only confusion is the reframing of all that you have done this last year as something you didn’t know needed to happen or how expensive it would be or how exhausting it would be is confusing to me the way it was presented. So many of us (my story) buy a home and within the first 2 years learn it has so many problems you didn’t know existed and those problems don’t lead to getting to make a high end remodel, but draining all the funds you had hoped to use to make aesthetic changes to create spaces that feel good. Other than learning you had mold under the exterior I can’t think of anything else that you have done that you didn’t see and know you wanted to change when you bought the house. I am a therapist and every week I meet with someone who has lost a job or a loved one during this season. Very few people in the world have made it out unscathed. It feels like some perspective has been lost to share that you would not repurchase this house if you could go back in time, while at the same time posting the things you are choosing to purchase in real time that are extremely high end and expensive, and choosing to remodel working spaces that you could choose not to remodel at this time. I don’t think those of us who visit your blog care that you have made a duo career out of remodeling you home. I think it extremely impressive, genius, and probably required some lucky timing regarding social media. Thats typically how many impressive accomplishments occur (elbow grease and lucky timing). I hope that you can also see that you can put the breaks on things future forward that you now realize were too stressful, enjoy the peaceful amazing home you have been able to create through this business, and realize that most of us are watching you guys live a life that is unattainable to probably 95% of the population. Hopefully people that are watching are mostly inspired and in awe (like me) and those that are critical or judgemental remember they don’t have to look at your blog. In 3 years I have never left a comment before, although lately there have been a few comments like todays post that made me wonder if perspective was being lost. I am aware we all struggle with that – I gripe about all of us using one small bathroom, and there are so many people who think “I can’t image owning a home, having a family, getting to mostly stay at home, having an outside shed to ‘remodel’ ;). My kids hate that our house needs more updating (I do to) I try to remind myself and my kids we are rich beyond measure compared to so many, and not just in financial things. We have never been hungry and there was no food (ok, other than mamma hates going to the store so my kids might disagree :). But we want for nothing we need.
I hope this comment is taken with the intent in which it was written. If you regret buying a home that you knew you wanted to remodel every square inch I get it. That makes sense. If you regret trying to do it in a year, and still trying to do it as other things became apparent and now you regret it that makes sense. The only thing that didn’t make sense to me is what appeared to be confusion that this has happened, and now you guys regret buying the house at all because of what happened. Own your success, you guys are working hard, thank you for the inspiration.
As a business owner I just want to mention your “lucky timing” comment. Seeing business trends and jumping on them and using them to propell your business is not luck. It takes a certain kind of smarts and vision and guts to move a business forward. A ton of work and stress goes into those progressions that we don’t see, and calling it luck really belittles the work they do. Building and designing their house is literally their business.They also have been able to add jobs to this crazy economy, they have built out their team and are responsible for paying salaries, it is a business. So running into things like mold that costs 10s of thousands to have to address, and maybe the renvene stream to pay for that was slated for later in the year, it seriously upsets a business budget or can tank a business. You don’t get to put breaks on content and still generate revenue to pay a team.
Caryn, I see where you are coming from and you make some good points. As far as confusion about knowing what they were getting into, if you remember, the dining room *should* have been a fairly simple remodel plus adding windows or doors, but it turned out to have been built in a way that required them to totally start from scratch. Not to mention wiring issues, and the stucco. I appreciate your reminder about having gratitude— I think we all need that these days!
Years-long reader, first-time commenter because of the topic of remorse. Everyone experiences remorse. E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. Thank you for being honest about it. And for taking the risk to share it publicly.
You are in transition. Transitions have many phases and you are in the messy middle. A looooong protracted middle. With many unexpected circumstances.
Remorse for me is about how I use currencies… time, money, resources, life energy… I think it is easy for people to forget that when someone says “Yes” to something (like a house purchase and renovation) they are committing to using all their currencies for that… and simultaneously they are committing to saying “No” to other things.
What’s helped when I feel remorse is to zoom out and look at the big picture. I ask if this is a season of remorse (which is totally normal) that will pass like a storm… or if this is something that won’t go away unless I make big shifts. I recently heard and agree that a lot of life is Regret Management.
It’s also helped when I zoom in, like you’ve done, and focus on actions that will give “big bang for my buck” in terms of feeling good… as well as trying to reframe my situation and be grateful.
But truly, what’s helped the most is to share my feelings with someone else who just Listens and Bears Witness to what I’m going through… with someone who doesn’t offer suggestions or judgements but just comes alongside me and says “I get it.”
I hope we, as your Readers and cheerleaders, can come alongside you and say, “We get it.”
Thanks again for sharing.
Just love how your closet turned out, however I have real questions about using that desk/vainty for makeup. I wear very little (if any make up- basically some foundation in the winter months), and am trying to understand how one can apply make up in a spot where there is no water available to wash hands? Wouldn’t you just apply makeup in the bathroom? Thanks!
Brushes/tools and makeup remover wipes! I use a micellar water to refresh every morning before make up and just wipe any excess makeup (usually very minimal) off my fingers with it.
I totally get the buyers remorse. Our issues are certainly not to the scale of your stucco issues, but we purchased a historic home 4 years ago that has been full of surprises. I love, love, love both the home and the area but, knowing what I know now, I would’ve walked away. We’ve yet to do the things I really wanted to do to the house because we are so busy handling what has to be done. It’s draining, both financially and emotionally.
Your feelings are totally valid, and no one should tell you otherwise, but I hope you also realize that so many of us (myself included) would kill to live in a beautiful house like yours, even through a renovation. Especially now when so many are unemployed and it looks like the economy is cratering. I’m sure you know this, but maybe it would would help when you get the blues to jot down some of the things you are grateful for. It might help put things into perspective during the seemingly endless season of renovations.
I would love to see where you display/style/house the record player in the music room! I’ve had a similar record player in my wish list but not sure where I’ll put it in my family room.
I am so sorry (and surprised!!) to hear of you guys feeling some buyers remorse. I totally get it though. It’s fun to watch but can’t be all that fun to actually live. We are still about 2 months away from moving in to a home we are building from the ground up and by the time we finally move, we will have officially been on this journey for THREE YEARS. We left a beautiful home and have been living in rentals in that time. It’s exhausting and I just want to be in my home – how I imagine you and Chris feel. It’s like the last miles of a marathon, or the final pushes of giving birth. You’re so tired and done, but have to just push through to the big finish.
You’re home is looking INCREDIBLE though. It will all be worth it.
From an outside perspective your house is almost done. With exterior plus windows and master bath almost finished that is the structural work done. And while you do these little projects your whole house is coming together so quickly. Think kitchen updated and totally livable and pretty, pantry done, Greta’s bed and bath, playset, fire pit and exterior seating, dining, living, music, guest, office, entry, master bed bath and closet and garage…. vs, two more bedrooms, kids office, two more bath, and den, and eventually kitchen. I know the money side of huge unexpected exterior renovation must weigh, but so pleased to see you back to enjoying the process because your old self would be thinking you are so blessed. The mind will always make you unhappy if you let it because enough is never enough and there will always be more improvements or something else to do on the minds future to do list. The only real thing you have is a beautiful house and wonderful food in your fridge and lovely family right now, this very moment. Took me so long to come to this realisation, still getting there, pleased you seem to be getting to that too as the opposite played rige with my mental health
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