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Ep. 43: Mailbag Monday–For Kitchen Noobs, Lighting Woes, Paint Colors and More

July 31, 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

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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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In this special Q&A episode, we start off talking about the progress of our big backyard project and how we’re charting new territory with it. Julia reveals her neurosis when it comes to their third child’s birth date and they open up the mail bag to answer as many of your questions as possible!

You can stream the episode right here, or listen to the latest episodes on: iTunes, GooglePlayStitcher or wherever you get your podcasts!

• The first question, we chat about “kitchen renovating for noobs” and where to start, save and splurge. We’ve done 4 really different kitchen renovations in the past four years with a variety of budgets and have learned so much with each subsequent one.

1. The first kitchen we ever renovated was in our first home and we. were. noobs! We worked on over a couple years as budget permitted and finished in 2013, right before moving! We spent a grand total of $10,015. You can read about it here.



2. The second kitchen we tackled was the kitchen in our current home–the one you see most frequently. We finished it in 2015, in 7 weeks. It was a complete remodel, involving moving walls, adding gas lines and new cabinets. The grand total was $28,000. You can read more about the budget breakdown here.



3. In 2016, we flew to Pittsburgh and renovated a small, 100 year old kitchen in 6 days for $13,864. You can read about that budget breakdown here.



4. The most recent kitchen we renovated was our fastest and cheapest! We did it in just 3 days, in Baltimore earlier this year and the grand total came to $4555.35. Read more about that here.



Here’s the link to the episode where we chat with Shea McGee about lighting. (And in case you missed my instal-story about it, here’s the link to my favorite color bulb, a perfect warm, white–3000K for the win!)

• We had a listener question come in about painting the whole house to compliment the almond plugs. Instead, we discuss swapping out the receptacles. Here’s the post on how to do that yourself (if you feel comfortable).

• When another listener asked about whether to save or splurge on curtains, I made a confession about our own living room curtains (we have these, from West Elm, hanging in our great room).

And how I really love the quality and style of these ones (on sale!) in our guest room.

• Here’s that photo a listener sent in of their space that they’re struggling with. We made some suggestions about balance and talked about symmetry and asymmetry. What would you do?

• Finally, here’s the link to caulk backer–an important, often overlooked, little tool that might come in handy if you run into deep lines that need caulked.

This Episode is Sponsored By:

Thomas Avenue Ceramics

Thomas Avenue Ceramics
Receive 20% off your tile order
Visit and use code CLJ

We’d love it so much if you could leave a rating and review for the podcast, and thank you for continuing to spread the word about our corner of the podcast world! We love hearing from new listeners every week! 
Have questions you’d like us to answer on the podcast? Email [email protected].
Theme song Headphones by Preston Pugmire


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What do you think?

  1. Kate says:

    I love that you wanted Polly to be born on a day which would be a prime number. We have a thing in my family where we hope to have shared birthdays. My cousin, brother and niece were born on November 19 and my daughter and nephew were born on October 3. There are many more instances of this, but it is super fun to celebrate so many loved ones on the same day.

  2. Kates says:

    I love how each of the kitchens you tackled are different price points but the styles don’t lack. If you had me guess the cost of each of them I don’t know if I could choose the right price point to the right kitchen. That is what I love about it!!

  3. Jessica S says:

    My husband and I got married on a 19th. A few years later, my son was born on a 19th. A few years later, we were scheduling a repeat c-section for my daughter, and the date happened to fall on the 19th! While it’s not something I planned or would have cared about initially, I was excited that all of our important family dates were going to have the same day of the month. BUT, when we called to actually schedule the delivery, the hospital was full that day and we had to schedule it on the 20th. I was extremely disappointed. Well, the 18th was a Sunday, so I decided to see what I could do. We took my son to the zoo for a final family of three outing and I walked around for HOURS. Lo and behold, I went into labor later that evening and my daughter was born on the 19th after all! All that to say…I understand your birth date neurosis!

  4. Suzanne says:

    Can you speak to durability and ease of wood as a counter material? You don’t see it a ton and you guys love it. Looking to use a bleached looking white oak on our island, but nervous about the upkeep.

  5. Kristine says:

    This post led me down a rabbit hole of all the posts about your first house. I have a question about molding. We have a rambler built in the 80’s and we are basically re-doing the whole house. In the rooms we have already done upstairs we went for a more traditional style molding, but now I’m wondering if we should have done something simpler and more modern. Can the basement have different molding than the upstairs? I noticed in your first house you put more modern molding in the basement/ lower level. What do you think about mixing molding in a house? (Also, should I be spelling it moulding?)

  6. Kimberly says:

    It’s hard to to say without more angles of the room but I think a little rearranging could do a lot. Even just moving the piano slightly further toward the bed so it’s not crammed next to the door. I feel like rotating the bed so the head is against that wall as well. Just a few thoughts to go with what you said in the podcast.

  7. Sara says:

    Your podcasts are so fun and easy to listen to!

  8. Erin says:

    Thanks for tackling my question about kitchen remodeling for noobs! Was so fun to hear you guys weigh in. You may have solved our cabinet dilemma. I was wanting a shaker style black cabinet, but might just settle for the slightest variation from that and get the Ikea ones that I also love and will save some money. You mentioned in the podcast not knowing our budget: we are looking to spend somewhere between $25-$30K, but our first estimate came in at $50K!!! Talk about sticker shock… We are removing one wall (not load barring), and adding an eight foot picture window to another wall (load barring, having a pro handle that). Also going to do new flooring, cabinets and moving the gas line and some plumbing slightly. But yeah…. $50K…. that’s a no go.

    We’ve got lots more research to do. Thank you for all the CLJ resources!

  9. Molly says:

    Hi! Just wanted to let you know the link for the guest room drapes gives an error for me.

    So excited for you to add baby #3 to the family soon! Best wishes on the birth!

  10. Emily says:

    How do I get you to come and do my kitchen?!!! I’m serious! We just purchased a 1960s home and what to guy the kitchen but are soooo stuck re design. We have a decent budget. I’ve beeen following
    Your blog/I say and live your style. Come do my kitchen!!!!! We’re in ottawa, the capital of ???????? fancy a visit to the capital? Come on!!

  11. Courtney says:

    What if you swagged string lights or a pennant banner across the entire wall, over top of the gallery wall? It would bring the wall together while adding some interest to the left.

  12. Debbie C says:

    Your kitchen, in your current house, is one of my top favorites on the web. If I could duplicate it in my house I would! Also…congrats on the very near arrival of Baby #3, looking forward to the announcement! ????

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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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