How We Got Here: The Great Room

March 21, 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. 




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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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I love sharing before and after transformations of an area of our home under the hashtag #cljtransformations on Instagram (The new swipe feature has made the them even more fun), but rarely do here for some reason. This weekend, I pulled out my camera, referred to our before photos so I could match angles, and snapped a photo of this rarely seen angle looking from the kitchen into the living room and through the entry, all the way into the half bath.

I took the same photo, standing in the same spot over three years ago, right when we moved in, but it looked vastly different:

If you’ve been reading our blog for any amount of time, you know that our before and afters  progress photos don’t happen overnight, but rather, we consider each step a victory. Between these two photos, we:

Tore up all the old tile and carpet and laid faux wood tile.
Completed an entire kitchen renovation. Three cheers for no more tiled countertops!
Turned the bathroom that was off the kitchen into our laundry room (and tore out some walls in the process)
Centered and replaced the dining room chandelier
Hung a sliding barn door (which we have plans to make a pocket door in the coming weeks)
Found a slim dining table that didn’t take up too much space between the living room and kitchen
DIYed an art ledge for the living room
Tackled the half bath (twice), goodbye neon green waaaay over there!
Planked and painted the accent wall in the living room 
Went through countless living room configurations, as recent as a couple months ago!

After so many stages and tweaking, we’re almost ready to call this room done–or this angle at least. Which feels weird and scary and daring to even say out loud! We do have plans to swap out that barn door for a pocket door to match the pantry one on the other side of the fridge (it’s been ordered and should be in in the coming weeks!) and hang some family pictures on the dining wall. And although I can’t imagine any more changes beyond that, I’m excited to take a photo in another year, or two, or three and see where we’re at.


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What do you think?

  1. It?s hard to find experienced people in this particular subject, however, you
    sound like you know what you?re talking about!

  2. Thanks for helping out, great info.

  3. Perfect work you have done, this site is really cool with excellent info.

  4. Mary says:

    What color metal finish did you use for your pendant lights from Rejuvenation? Is it Old Brass?

  5. Christina says:

    Oh Em Gee, Julia! I’ve been eyeing that rug forever as a runner in my foyer and thanks to your AFFILIATE LINK, I just got the runner on super clearance! I’m a podcast listener and fan of the links lol. Now I’m even happier to even help the blog! So thank you, thank you, thank you!

    PS…that link DID help the blog, right? ????

  6. Sara says:

    Is your new rug a yellowish ivory? I love it but the grey on my walks makes some ivory look horrible if it’s a yellow based ivory.

  7. lu says:

    I love, love the transformation you made…Keep the sliding door… Paint white or change the handle…

  8. AlisonG says:

    Fantastic before and after! I agree with you the doors should match being they are so close. Do you install it yourselves? What does your entry look like now, did you ever get that bench you talked about?

    • Julia says:

      We’ll likely have someone come in and put in the track since we have so much going on in the coming weeks (we leave for Baltimore the Spring makeover a week from tomorrow!). As for the entry, I haven’t purchased anything new yet.

  9. Dakwerken says:

    Wow! The before and after pics reveal so much of your dedication and planning to have such a amazing change over.

  10. Monica says:

    Thanks for showing it from a different angle. Love the different perspective. I went back and found a pic of your pantry pocket door to compare. You’re totally right. I like the barn door, but switching it out for the matching pocket door is going to make it really cohesive. The pocket door is really beautiful too.

  11. Emilie says:

    I love seeing your rooms from these interesting angles – great post! I agree with all the barn door comments; I love yours and think the style is less rustic than others… but the idea is tiring out and the wooden pocket door on the pantry is lovely.

    How are you finding the wood countertop on the island? I remember reading that the DIY concrete counter is holding up well, but I’m curious as to the wood.

    Thanks C+J!

    • Julia says:

      The wood is doing awesome. We should probably oil it and seal it again here soon, but we haven’t touched it since the initial install and couldn’t be happier. It’s a workhorse!

  12. Diana says:

    I love a good transformation! :)

    Your vision for this space is so impressive. It’s such a beautiful and functional living space!

  13. Mary says:

    What paint color did you use on your walls? Specifically the white color?

  14. Missy says:

    Is it crazy that this is the first angle that makes your planked wall make sense to my eye? I trusted you… you always get it right, it just didn’t work to my eye. But from this angle, I can finally see it!

  15. Elyse says:

    I think the pocket door for your pantry really fits your home, is probably more functional than a barn door (sound wise), and it will make the space more cohesive.

    Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE a barn door… in a farmhouse… It just doesn’t look right to me otherwise.

    This is 100% a personal preference, I’m aware, and I’m also all for the Jonathan Adler sentiment to ‘decorate how you want regardless of “rules” and other peoples opinions!!’ Just my thoughts…

    Do you think the barn door trend is diminishing at all? A bunch of my girlfriends are putting barn doors in their mid century homes and it just leaves me scratching my head. I think it comes from the Chip and Joanna Gains, Fixer Upper super cozy but beautiful at the same time vibe. Maybe people are looking for the cozy part? Is Hygge the new Farmhouse?

    • Julia says:

      I think people (me) are getting tired rustic barn doors in a not rustic environment. It’s weird. But, the style is super functional still in a lot of applications…if it fits the house style.

    • Mandolin says:

      Elyse, I kind of want to be real life friends with you just based on your comment. I feel the same way about the barn door trend. I do think it is being overused and ironically that is why it is becoming unpopular. It’s the new chevron. Also, I love Danish design and culture so I would be happy if some aspects of Hygge were being introduced into the way Americans decorate. Although I do think I wouldn’t be happy if it were used in an unauthentic manner, such a fine line to walk.

  16. Michelle says:

    Wonderful transformation! Curious how often you find the pendant globes need to be cleaned?

  17. Heather says:

    I just removed my laundry room door (it opened in to the laundry room and was such a huge waste of space) and was going to replace with a barn door….why are you switching for a pocket door?? I priced out having our contractor put in a pocket door….so pricey!!

  18. Julie says:

    Why are you getting rid of your barn door?
    All looks beautiful – especially love the accent wall in the living room!

    • Julia says:

      On either end of the island, on that wall, there’s a doorway. One leads to the pantry and one leads to the laundry room/garage. We feel like the doors should match, so we’re getting a wood-framed pocket door for the laundry room to match the pantry’s door.

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