In the past two homes we’ve lived in, we prioritized renovating the inside of the house before the outside. So when we made the move to North Carolina, where the outdoor living is outstandingly better than Idaho, we wanted to focus on the outside first. And I’m so glad we did it right from the start because now we get to reap all the benefits for years to come. It’s been two years since we traded our black Modern Cottage in Idaho for this North Carolinian Red Brick Modern Colonial, and it’s taken us 15 months to get to this point, but the exterior is done! If you’re interested in how much it cost, keep scrolling.
Okay, eventually, we plan to do more work on the actual house exterior, but for now, we’re calling it! The roof will need replacing soon, as well as the windows, and I would love to paint the trim while we’re at it. We recorded a full walking video tour of the entire exterior for you, but we took a plethora of transformation photos jut for you. Enjoy!
I just did a side-by-side of the first video tour of our house, and the transformation is shocking.
I don’t think we did a very fair reveal of the front yard in this post here because we were still in the season of the sticks and short on greenery. With summer on the cusp, the front yard is looking much fuller and green. Every morning when I return from the gym and pull up into the driveway, I get a little hit of dopamine. Isn’t the best feeling “coming home?”
Few of our projects are without controversy, and the front yard brought some feelings out for a few. It can be a hard thing for people to see “mature” landscaping ripped out for small shrubs and new plants. But this yard was overgrown and overshadowed the home. By simplifying and tidying the landscaping, both the kitchen and the study are flooded with natural light. And thanks to these Carolina rains, those cute Japanese Holly bushes will grow in no time.
This part of our property has scarcely been shown! When you face the house, it’s around the left corner, and it’s where our garage, guest house, and parking pad are located. We expanded the parking pad, built a retaining wall, and added the gate (requirements of having a pool). Oh, and we took out some of the trees and added a pathway into the back. Although, there’s another gate entrance through the archway.
The backyard is heaven. Another controversial move: taking out so many shrubs and trees. But we can honestly say we have zero regrets (which is also the number of snakes we’ve seen on our property since clearing out all the dense greenery).
We get a lot of questions asking how we feel about the bluestone pavers and turf, and the honest answer is we love it! The turf has been a dream, and I think the way that some of the bluestone pavers are oxidizing adds so much character.
The girls swim in it for 10 months every year, and they have already made countless memories with more to come.
Fun fact! Chris and I have only ever had white outdoor furniture. I’m obsessed with that brilliant white in the outdoors. With so many colors in our outdoor space – our red brick house, the spa blue-green of the pool, the bluish-gray stone, and green grass – I knew our pool furniture needed to be black and white. Having a visual reprieve from all the colors is what really ties this all together.
The entire backyard is dripping with vacation oasis vibes.
The sunken fire pit might be the most underrated part of the backyard renovation! Usually at the end of a pool day, we change out of our wet clothes and warm up by the fire. We also try to keep s’more ingredients on hand at all times because you never know when you might need them.
For more details on the Adirondack chairs and a selection of even more, check out this post!
The outdoor kitchen gets used about three times a week, and that’s on a bad week. Chris cooks almost every night, and this time of year, he does the majority of it outside. This is his playground.
We recently added these barstools, which match the aesthetic of the kitchen so much and are surprisingly affordable for a set of two. I like that they have a low back so we can still serve food buffet-style without having to shift them out of the way!
Although we have revealed the total cost of the pool installation, we get a lot of questions surrounding ALL renovation costs.
Of course, sharing numbers is always tricky because everybody’s budget looks different, but for the sake of transparency in sharing our renovation journey, here’s the budget breakdown of all the landscaping changes front and back:
All of this for a total of $549,521. The exterior renovation was one of the projects we budgeted from selling our last house and took 15 months to complete, but we’re so glad we prioritized it from the beginning. We’ll be reaping the benefits for years to come.
Our wood grain Shaker cabinet fronts were designed for busy, high-traffic homes like ours. Clad with durable textured thermofoils, this line is compatible with Sektion, Akurum, Godmorgon, and Besta cabinets from IKEA. It's the perfect, practical way to add the warmth of wood to all the rooms of your home.
We have teamed up with Loloi to create a line of rugs that are as affordable as they are beautiful. This collection houses a great mix of traditional and modern rugs, in cottage-y colorways, as well as vintage-inspired beauties that you’ll want to roll out in every room.
We partnered with Stuga on a line of hardwood floors — The Ingrid is really livable, and the color is very neutral. It doesn’t lean warm or cool, it’s that just right in-between. We have really loved putting it everywhere in our house. It’s the best jumping-off point for design, no matter your interior style. In addition to being beautiful, Ingrid is really durable — we have three kids, and we always have a home construction project going on. Ingrid stands up to it all.
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.
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.
The next project we’re checking off our 2023 project list is the mudroom! This used to be the laundry room until we built out a much bigger, better laundry room upstairs. So, in the meantime, this space has been exclusively Cricket’s room. Cricket will still have a special space here, but we’re transforming this dingy […]
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Make yourself right at home
Make yourself right at home