How our Living Room has evolved in just 4 months.

November 17, 2021

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

read more

What we're                   right now


browse the 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.

browse all

browse all

browse all




Popular Posts




Top Categories

In our last home, we shared how our living room evolved over the years and I expect this one to do the same. Although, it has taken a few months to even get this room to a starting point! This living room has seen one, two, and now three layouts since moving in. Besides recently rolling out the new Polly Slate Ivory rug, everything else in the room we brought with us! The living room hasn’t exactly felt like “home” until now. If I’m being honest, it’s probably because this is very similar to the living room layout in our modern cottage. And right now, that feels good.

Living Room Before

Move-in Day/month:

This very first rendition, I hung art on a nail that was already there and I placed whatever furniture made it on the truck in the space.

After Painting

Painting the room Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon really set a mood for the space! I love the darker tone, but it has taken some getting used to. We’ve never had a darker living room! More of our furniture arrived by now (including those leather chairs!) and we tried a different arrangement that felt so much cozier and allowed for more conversation.


We still haven’t purchased any new furniture for the living room, but we pooled a bit more our furniture together and it feels so much better! I love the more graphic touch that the Polly rug brings in. We brought our velvet navy sofa and two swivel chairs in from the music room (that is serving as our current kitchen now lol) and it creates such a lovely conversation square with our leather cube ottomans.

It feels like me. This rug is the chameleon rug of the Polly collection. If you look closely at the pile, you can see tans, blues, and warm grays, all making for the perfect neutral gray. I think this rug could adapt to most room colors, pulling warms and cools depending on what it’s surrounded by.

For now the leather sling chairs that were in here are upstairs! I don’t love mixing two leather colors in the same space so it was the woven cubes or the sling chairs and we went with the merlot leather cubes because they look so beautiful against the gray green paint color.

Pillow Styling

I really wanted to show you how nicely our Polly pillows can mix and match. The patterns are subtle and compliment each other AND the rugs nicely. Also, stay tuned for more pillow content coming soon. Here’s a shot from above thanks to the Juliet balcony.

This Slate Ivory rug is a 8’6″ x 11’6″, and we added a larger size after I sampled this one so I honestly I think I could size up here in the future. Finding the right sized rug is key when purchasing a rug, so definitely refer to our rug size guide post for tips. Full transparency: Chris and I have been trying to decide if we want to take out the fireplace, move it the wall behind the tan sofa, and put in a big window. The biggest pro would be that it would bring in a lot more natural light. The con, would be losing the fireplace if moving it isn’t an option–I love the fireplace, but I think more natural light in here would be a game changer. What do you think?

Shop Our Living Room



Slate Ivory Rug | Andi Pillow | Sam Pillow | Liv Pillow | Virginia Pillow | Topher Pillow | Coffee Table | Wicker Tray | Cube Ottomans | Navy Sofa | Tan Sofa | End Table | Swivel Chairs | Chandelier | Migration Art | Tree Art | Black Art | Art LightPedestal Table | Vase | Faux Stems | Floor Lamp | Candlesticks | Tale of Interiors | AD at 100 | John Derian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

What do you think?

  1. jen says:

    I am team LIGHT. It seems an inwardly focused room that wants outward focus!!!

    While I agree with many of the pro- fireplace comments (reno state as life memories for your children, seeing the pool either covered in winter or full of pool toys in summer, room is cozy and fireplace serves it well) here are some other considerations:

    1) is this the only lounging room with potential external focus (from memory it is, not counting the dining/kitchen)? leans to removing fireplace if so and bringing in the light and views… (day time or night time, cold weather or warm weather)
    2) when time of day will the room be used? Nighttime for family or just the two of you? Daytime for exterior entertaining? Combo for entertaining/family? With so many other activity rooms in the house, will you even use this room much? Which element would help you use it more- light & view or fireplace?
    3) what season will you use it most? a fireplace is only used in cool weather, and the logic in me says a room with a fireplace should have more than one focal point so a cool weather element is not dominant in other seasons when there is no fire in the fireplace…
    4) how does the current yard renovation layout work with a window instead of a fireplace? the previously mentioned pool view might be a negative but so it not seeing the pool from inside (safety and beauty potential). where else would you have a great view of the forest behind you? would you miss that open expanse if you could only enjoy it from the dining/kitchen? I agree with others: the large window in your previous home was good- the view was the magnet to the room!
    5) if the current exterior plan works with a window wall, then will a relocated fireplace work inside the room? this is a scale and proportion problem to solve in advance, no matter when a reno plan is activated. The room appears too narrow for anything but a flush fireplace- so do you have room to bump the fireplace box into another room? If not, then the fireplace design will be tricky- doable but requires much thought (maybe even put at the entry end but what would happen to the juliette balcony? to have both at this end probably drives it to a more modern fireplace look).

    No matter what, I think you need to make the decision now: go with window wall or leave as is…. Once you commit to the exterior plan your interior options may be more limited. And the exterior plan will certainly drive the interior plan (and furnishings). Implementation can be done anytime it works for you!

    p.s. I love a darker color room with a bright window and greenery backdrop… Green forest and the exterior brick and pavers will complement the pigeon color beautifully. And the room will feel cozier in the nighttime with a darker color vs. being too voluminous for comfort.

  2. Ali says:

    Love the new rug! It’s beautiful ! Love the paint color! And love the new light hanging from the ceiling! What a great layout ! So fun hearing your thoughts as you brainstorm and tweak the living room for your family! So much progress! Beautiful pics of this room!

  3. Kayleigh says:

    Wall of windows all the way! We’ve had a fireplace in our last 2 houses (bc aesthetics & the cozy vibes), but as a South Carolina native, I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve actually used them. I definitely think you’d get more enjoyment from the natural light & pretty views that windows would bring.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I’m team replacing the fireplace with a wall of windows! I think that with the arched side windows as is, it looks a bit off. But I also love love the seating arrangement as is and am concerned about how moving the fireplace to the side would impact that. I’d suggest seeing how much you use the fireplace this winter. If it’s a ton, move the fireplace. But if not, then nix the fireplace altogether.

  5. JennaLyn Pflieger says:

    I personally love that the room is a bit moody and love the amount of light it gets, but it’s your home and if natural light makes you more happy then do what makes you feel best! You are the ones living there day too day and your home should be a haven and feel good to you. Whatever you decide it will be beautiful.

  6. Butool says:

    My vote would totally be do the big wall of windows and a double fireplace behind the tab couch/in the primary bathroom. I think if it’s at the cost of losing the fireplace altogether, I think the impact of the visual connection to the backyard and all the light would still be worth it.

  7. If it were me, I would move the fireplace if I could because nothing is better than lots of natural light, but if I couldn’t move the fireplace, I would keep it before I would lose it all together.

  8. Debby says:

    I think the fireplace is lovely. Is it an option to leave it in its place and put a big window above it, connecting the two windows on the side? Our cottage has windows on the sides and above the fireplace, so it is doable. I just don’t know about the venting of yours.

  9. Karen Fahy says:

    Just stunning! Calms my senses in every way. I could sit and soak in this beautiful living room all day.

  10. Vicki Derks says:

    I love the fireplace where it is. IMO you have plenty of natural light. But if you choose to move it and a standard masonry fireplace is not an option, there are beautiful low vent or even no vent options in gas fireplaces that can be put anywhere. We replaced our wood burning fireplace with low vent gas last year and could not be happier. My DH Lumberjack Dan even agrees.

  11. Nicolette says:

    I think the top half of the fire place is what is throwing things off. It’s strange to me how everything stops just above the windows. However I LOVE the paint color next to the brick.

  12. Liz says:

    Just an idea. I feel like with the current setup the traditional and modern vibe y’all have going on is fighting each other for attention. The walls and fireplace are very traditional while most of the furniture and accents are leaning modern. It feels off on screen especially with the no accent lighting on like the second picture with the sling back chairs. Maybe changing the molding/brick/mantel/overall look of the fireplace would help or adding some really lush long (maybe drape-y) curtains on those curved windows would help bring the room together.

    • We’ll always blend traditional and modern–I just love it! And something unique to our website, is we’ll continue to show every phase and every ounce of progress. Like I said in the beginning of the post–this feels like a beginning to this space. Definitely more to come!

  13. Paula says:

    Julia, I just don’t think removing the fireplace will add much light to the entire room. Your photos show that all of your natural light is limited to one side of the room; the other side will still be dark. I like the suggestions of solar tubes instead.

    • With all due respect, I’m not going to add skylights or solar tubes to this space. I don’t think they go with our house at all. But I love that all of your suggestions are so thoughtful and I know it’s because you are invested in our home–which makes me so happy!

  14. Ashley says:

    So many good comments and things to think about. I love the idea of the fireplace (not a huge fan of the current style), but also love the idea of windows. I think the arched upper windows aren’t doing the fireplace any favors either…it almost makes you feel like the middle puzzle piece is missing (if that makes any sense). When you’re in the planning/dreaming stage, I feel like it’s easy to come up with a thousand possible solutions or improvements, but give it time and see how the house comes together as a whole. (Also – if you do move the fireplace, I think putting it as the focal point on the outside music room wall feels more natural/expected/in keeping with the style of your home. Putting it on the other wall in the living room feels off to me.) It’s fun to brainstorm and dream. Love seeing your work!

  15. HH says:

    I’m team wait until the yard is in, just to keep your sanity, but then move the fireplace! I get the comments about not wanting to look at the clutter all day, but these are family spaces and the kids are little, embrace it and bring it all together. Also sorry to turn it dark but with any kids around (future grandkids! If this is your forever home) —> line of sight to the pool could literally be lifesaving.

    To me this room feels cramped and off balance (neither are true). Yes, paint would help but I love the Pigeon—it’s so interesting, unique and it ain’t that dark guys. Biggest reason to move the FP is it blocks the outdoors AND it shrinks the room. What better reason is there. Also my reaction to the current mix of trim/paneling/arch shapes/grills/brick is, it feels kinda distracting and could use some simplification.

    I would work to keep the beautiful brick structure if you can, put it on the other wall with simpler federal-style paneling, and bring on a giant glorious wall of windows or big-a$$ French doors onto the backyard.

    Whatever you do will be amazing!

  16. Vick says:

    Crazy idea: extend the room, keeping the fireplace in place and have a wall full of windows and an additional seating space (library?, smth like greenhouse? Art room?? Museum🙃🙃) and have full access to the pool and let the light in!!! I wouldn’t change the position of the fireplace because it’s the house focal point. It’s the thing that I “envision” seeing when you open the front door!!! Great team job!!! Very inspiring!!!!

  17. Laura LM says:

    Hard choice. The current fireplace location looks great with the room and as you make tweaks, it’ll probably fit the vibe. But knowing that you’ll have a new backyard with entertaining, it might be worth giving up/moving the fireplace so you get to enjoy the full view and potentially walk out from the living room. Either way, it’ll be fun to see what you guys come up with.

  18. Lara says:

    I agree with others who suggested waiting to decide until the pool is in. I’m not sure a pool view would be very desirable compared to the current one, which is beautiful. To add light, what about widening the window on the right to match the width of the door? The symmetry would also be nice.

  19. Barbara says:

    You’re amazing in how you move things around and what seemed perfect before is now another perfect option.
    The fireplace is classic and meets style of your home. The moody vibe is perfection. Taking it out is a big decision-you’ll think this thru and follow your heart.

  20. I keep remembering your comment a year or two ago, about wanting to create memories with your daughters in a home past the renovation stage (instead of in a home undergoing the continual upheaval of construction). For this reason above all others, I am in the keep the fireplace camp. I loved the mirrors you hung above the mantel for your Christmas reel – they appeared quite effective at bouncing around light!

  21. Jessica says:

    Rather than moving the fireplace to install windows on that wall, have you considered putting in sky lights? Our home’s living room layout is VERY similar to yours, but we have two skylights that bring in more natural light!

  22. Amy says:

    Your home is beautiful, and I love following along with your updates! I am also predisposed to wait before making huge structural changes, so is give yourself some time to live in the room as it is. I think the pigeon is gorgeous—if you want to lean into the cozy, moodier vine, have you considered adding more color in the accessories of the room? In my home, I find myself happier in the darker, moodier spaces when I layer in more color.

  23. Julie S says:

    Well I like retreat rooms to be darker and cozier but not the living room! It feels like a den in here and I am not sure how you use the room but I suspect it’s a little dark for you. I remember you saying all the trees make things surprisingly shaded. Repaint lighter, or put in a $$$$ window, or both. Weird how similar it’s going like your last living room (is that bad or good?). You can do a gas or even electric fireplace if you can’t do a wood burning one, right?

  24. Rachel says:

    Its so charming right now. I think the problem is its so similar to your previous place its being compared. Wait for summer, wait to see how it feels with the kitchen and other spaces being more lived in. Heck, try another paint colour.

    Also all those pajnt colours you are drawing inspiration from in Europe I just feel like in most northern european homes in winter lamps are on im their homes during the day. Thats how it works here. To bring light and cosy warmth .

  25. suzanne says:

    The room is looking great! I would definitely keep the fireplace- it is the traditional thing to do, will save you and your family more construction disruption, and ultimately I just don’t feel that a pool should be a focal point, for many of the reasons noted already. I think that if you painted the trim and paneling over the fireplace white (similar to the way it was ehe you started) it would really brighten up the room, and feel a bit more traditional. That way you could keep the color you love in the majority of the room, but also get a brighter feeling. Cheap and easy to try!

  26. Jen says:

    My own home experience motivates me to suggest waiting on changing the exterior and interior structure of your home by removing the fireplace and replacing it with broad windows. Of course more natural light is wonderful. And of course a fireplace is cozy. And maybe they even exist at odds with one another. But for me, the stronger motivator, is just to let your home grow with you and grow on you as it is. You’re engaged in so many renovations, and it might be that your mind dream and considers all sorts of best case scenarios for your home. But maybe the home itself, at the conclusion of some of those renovations, sits perfectly well with you as is? Maybe you’ll appreciate the lighting exactly as it sets the tone of the room now, and maybe you’ll appreciate the history of the fireplace, knowing full well that you’d appreciate the room differently, too, but that you don’t need it any different. Our 1950s home had a 90s renovated kitchen with tall cabinets and shelving all around the lone window. It felt dark and small, and I thought the whole thing would need replacing. But, 1 year later, the cabinets are painted, and it’s still relatively dark, but it’s my 1950s/ renovated/ updated kitchen now, and it feels cozy and just right as it is. So happy to follow along your journey!

  27. Jen says:

    I love all the elements in the room, including the paint color, but altogether it’s looking a little dreary. If you are sticking with the paint color, then I think moving or removing the fireplace will be great! But also think that if you painted it lighter, then the room would be brighter… without the expense of moving the fireplace.

  28. Julie says:

    I like the idea of adding skylights to the living room for more light. I like the fireplace because it seems to go with the style of the home and is a fantastic anchor to the room. But if you do take it out, you should add a fireplace to the music room and make that room dark and cozy.

    • But do you think skylights go with the style of the house because I just don’t think they do?

      • Angela says:

        Maybe a Solatube or similar? I have a few around the house and the amount of light they bring in is amazing; plus they don’t let heat through. I don’t really know about size options but you might be able to blend them into your recessed lighting scheme.

      • Camille says:

        Good point but dormers do. They are traditional like your home and will bring in light. In fact you already have dormers in the bonus room. Something to think about.

      • liz says:

        Consider flexible solar tubes – the piece on the roof is small and can be placed anywhere,not just above where the indoor fixture is placed. I have one for a hallway and the roof portion is on the back side of the house where it is not obvious from the front of the house.

  29. Cathy says:

    I’m team French doors in the living room, and swap out the door in the dining room for a window! That would be my preference. I’d rather have foot traffic in the family room rather than dining room

  30. Jeri says:

    In spite of our opinions none of us can truly know what the light in like in that room through a computer. The sun isn’t up all day and doesn’t stay in the same spot. How bright does is need to be to talk to another person? It looks as if you’ve got plenty of light sources for reading. From what you’ve told us about a day in your life I think we can all agree that you two aren’t just sitting around chatting. The paint looks lovely and the seating cozy. check

  31. Angie says:

    Hi Julia- An you share information on the art light and is this hard wired or battery. If hard wired is this pretty easy to add.

  32. Julie says:

    I loved your big window in your last house. I would definitely do that again. It was gorgeous!

  33. Tiffany says:

    I love how this is coming together and agree – natural light is always a plus. However, I’m a fan of fireplaces, so here’s hoping you can still keep it by moving it. I would LOVE to see a post or even a “roundup” on fireplace screens (and accessories). I don’t see much going on with yours, and would be curious to get your thoughts or if you’ve even considered a screen to put over the hearth. We’re in the process of renovating ours and the options are SO overwhelming. Thanks again for sharing your beautiful home with us all! xx

    • Rebekah says:

      I would love this too! We have a massive brick fireplace in the parsonage we live in and I have no idea what to do as far as a screen. Or should I just mount a sliding screen inside the opening (if that makes sense). When we moved in there was this 3 piece hinged screen and we used it last season and it broke – and it wasn’t convenience when using the fireplace because you’re constantly moving it out of the way to add wood/tend to the fire. Julia, I’m loving watching your new home evolve. It’s looking so great!

  34. JL says:

    First of all, I love all of the great feedback you’re getting in the comments. I’m definitely team window (or french doors that lead straight out into the outdoor sitting area). I remember what a difference it made in the cottage. It’s not just the view of the pool, but the entire backyard and the trees that you’ll be opening up to view from the living area. I also think it’s a nice feature to be able to glance through to the backyard from the entry. As you’re not thinking of taking any action until the pool/yard is done; this will give you plenty of time to enjoy the fireplace through the winter to see how often you actually use it and what the light is like once the changes in the backyard are completed.
    Of course, moving the fireplace to another wall in the living room is one option. Another option would be to add a fireplace to the exterior wall in the music room. I can envision that room with a lovely mantel, the mural wall paper and the piano. Also, you would be able to enjoy the view of the f/p from the kitchen sitting area as well.

  35. Vicki Williams says:

    Having the window would be wonderful. If the fireplace doesn’t work could you have one in another room? Or worst case scenario make it a gas or even electric fireplace. Oh well even as I say that electric I kind of cringe…in this beautiful home. Like both the window and the fireplace are a must in this house! Dilemma!

  36. Michelle says:

    I absolutely love the coziness of this room so far. The paint color is so good and I for one would not move the fireplace, it just adds such warmth to the space. We actually went to great lengths to put our in ground pool in a spot on our property where you could not see it from the main spaces. We wanted to look out onto nature and all the beautiful trees we have. Half of the year the pool is covered and the other half it’s covered in pool floats, etc. We love not having to see it out our windows. I just can’t imagine this space looking out onto a pool, I think it would lose so much of its charm.

    • Kim says:

      I totally agree with Michelle. We have and in ground pool as well and I would not want it to be the focal point of my living room. Your living room is just beautiful and I love the fireplace right where it sits.

    • Barbara says:

      All the decisions you make are wonderful! I concur with those who feel that a pool shouldn’t be the focus of the view (especially as it’s not used most of the year :). But whatever you decide – it’s your home; your decision will be the right one for your family.

  37. Liz says:

    First, what direction does the room face? You haven’t been in the house for a full year, so the amount of light coming in will change as the seasons change. Is that an impact?

    Then, complete the outdoor renovation and see how the pool and landscaping impacts the amount of light coming in. Don’t forget the impact of light bouncing off the water. And I agree with others who mention the visual clutter that a pool generates.

    I’m for keeping the fireplace where it is, as well as waiting a year or two before you consider the change.

    • Mica says:

      These are fantastic points. I would wait a year and see how the light moves through the room over that time and just sit with it and take notes.

      (And if the light makes it all make sense, I’m for losing the fireplace. My former home had a similar layout with a fireplace flanked by windows, narrow overall and it being the entryway/only living room. It felt very cramped, so maybe that memory is why this room seems cramped to me).

    • Angela says:

      Agree! Having lived in NC, I can say this: I could have lived without the fireplace, since most winters are on the milder side. In 5 winters we lit it up 3 or 4 times and only *once* it was out of need for the extra warmth. However, I would have happily added windows in the bedrooms, since our lot was so wooded it was always dark inside. I would at least wait until I had lived there for a summer, which can often be very, very warm. As much as I love natural light, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to sunlight.
      The #ModernColonial is shaping up beautifully. I enjoy watching the process and CLJ taking us along for the ride.

  38. Amy says:

    I love this room so much! It is very similar to our family room. For what it’s worth I love the paint color, too!
    If you had to put a tv in this room how might you configure it? We don’t have a second family room for the tv and I’d love to know what you would do!

  39. A.B. says:

    Leave the fireplace! Part of the home’s character and that wall is already so window-driven. Add sconces on either side of your wall art? (Is it a Hunt Slonem piece?)

  40. Brittany says:

    It’s come together so nicely! After putting I. Our pool, there’s nothing quite like the view of the continued outdoor living space, and I feel like it’s would almost be a signature move to do the windows, so nostalgic! I understand why you don’t want to lose the fireplace, but based on the outdoor living space and the way the light would transform the space, I’m team windows!!

  41. Caroline H says:

    I’m with the wait and see folks! I don’t think I’d want to look at a pool all the time from my living room! I think there would either be clutter of stuff or clutter of people out the window! I also agree see how the landscaping changes impact the feel of the room as well!

  42. Susan says:

    First, I think you are amazing in your ability to tackle opposing opinions without being defensive. I think the paint color is beautiful and you love it and it’s your home so that’s actually all that matters. I also love how brave you are to just “take out a fireplace”. Would you consider some sort of French doors or retractable doors to access the outside?

  43. DWF says:

    Leave the fireplace and install some solar tunnels.

  44. Camille says:

    Wow. So many great comments and different opinions on this topic! I really enjoyed reading them. First of all I love the Polly rug in here! The way it continues the grid pattern of the windows is so good. You are clearly in love with the pigeon color. I like it too if you are wanting a warm cozy feeling. You have clearly achieved that here. A big part of that is the beautiful fireplace. I love the fireplace right where it is. That wall is such a dramatic focal point. Everyone makes good points about the big windows bringing in more heat. You are living in a much warmer climate now. And we also have a pool. It sits off to the side of our yard. We really enjoy it but I don’t want to look at it all the time. I say put the pool in. Live in the space for awhile and see how you feel. But if I was a betting person I would say you’re going to end up putting that wall of windows in eventually and I’m sure it will be beautiful!

  45. Lady Kaldi says:

    Is this room for pictures or people? The natural light would be amazing during the day (and obviously looks amazing on your site) but we tend to use a similar room only at night and mostly during the winter — when the fireplace and lighting (which hasn’t happened in your room yet) create a coziness we are drawn to.

  46. Erin says:

    I really love how you are embracing each house you live in, listening to it’s cues and creating a style that speaks to the house, not forcing a style on a home. For that reason I would leave the fireplace. It’s one thing to remove an insert fireplace with an exterior exhaust like in the Modern Cottage, but this is an original fireplace with a huge brick chimney as a focal point of the home. Chimneys aren’t being made like that anymore, and in my opinion removing the fireplace would be taking away from the natural character of the home, not adding to it as you have done so well in your designs so far. Just my 2 cents and only because you asked! Perhaps editing the fireplace style (stone, mantle, hearth) will give you the modern update you are looking for without removing this key, original feature.

    • Sara says:

      I very much agree with this idea and the other comment about waiting to see how light changes through the year/the visual clutter of the pool. What about replacing the windows with doors to the yard? Although, scrolling back up I see you do have a door there. I’d leave the windows. You can’t recreate an original fireplace sufficiently.

  47. Ally says:

    It’s lovely. A few questions regarding taking out the fireplace: how much do you actually use that room during the day? If it’s more of a cozy nighttime hang out, then I would keep the fireplace and add a lot of lamps. I like the fireplace.

  48. Amanda says:

    I personally really like the direction it’s going as is. I love the color, love the tone-on-tone glossier trim, and I love the classic-style fireplace. I personally am very team don’t move the fireplace for windows. I personally wouldn’t want my living room view to be of the pool, and I think moving the fireplace and adding windows feels excessive financially and a bit wasteful environmentally (for me) and takes away from the colonial inspired style of the house.

  49. mollie says:

    i’d live with it over the winter and see how you use fireplace. i do think the style of your house lends to a fireplace, so if you were already prepared to create a new one – maybe in the music room instead? but i guess you’re doing a mural in there. hmm – never easy haha. if it were me, i would probably close up the door on the side and make the fireplace a wall of beautiful french doors that function as windows (even if you dont really use the doors). the room is absolutely beautiful as-is, but it does seem like there is a lot of competition along that wall at moment. i also liked when you styled the fireplace with a big mirror in one of your photos! :)

  50. For what’s it’s worth I wouldn’t change the fireplace or the paint color. Instead I would embrace the moodier vibe that the paint is bringing to the table. I totally understand the instinct to bring in more natural light, probably as a reaction to the fact that you have never had a saturated color in such a big and major room before. I think that’s what you are resisting and I get it because I am the same. Because this is your home but also your design lab, I say lean in to the risk you have taken with the paint color. The fireplace is stunning and I love how this room has come together. It is warm, cozy and so freaking stylish! That’s my two cents and design therapy all rolled into one. xo

  51. Hamilton says:

    I think keep the fireplace, and add skylights. From an architectural standpoint, the fireplace is located exactly where it would be in a traditional colonial home; moving it would feel very off. Skylights, on the other hand, would add the light you want, without drawing your attention. And since the ceiling is already vaulted, you won’t have to worry that they’d introduce modern angles.

  52. Jen says:

    Here’s another idea. What if you were to leave the fireplace where it’s currently at, turn it into a gas fireplace, removing the need for a bulky chimney and then put windows above it where the artwork currently sits?

  53. Jen says:

    Love this new layout. It looks more comfortable and inviting. Great work.

    My vote would be to remove the fireplace from the window wall.

  54. Susan says:

    I think changing the paint to lighten the space is easier than changing a fireplace and adding a window. I can appreciate trying something new with paint but to me pigeon makes the space feel gloomy and depressing because it’s fighting with the vaulted space. I would love pigeon in a small cozy library or another small nook of a space but not here. The furniture arrangement works well

    • Eeks. Guys, I like the paint color. lol.

      • Wendy says:

        Since you really like the paint color, another thing to consider is if you add a window where the fireplace is it will change how the paint color currently looks. You may not like the paint color when more light is added to the room. I prefer light and airy rooms over dark rooms but I do like how cozy your room appears.

  55. Karen says:

    Hello! This room is becoming more cozy, I love it. I wouldn’t remove the fireplace for a few reasons. First, you don’t know how the light situation will change once trees are removed for the pool. It might make all the difference. Second, currently the fireplace is the focal point of the room. You are just entering fireplace season and don’t yet know how much you will use it. Yes it’s warmer here in NC, but I think you will use that fireplace a lot. Grey rainy days need a cozy fire. Thirdly, I would want to see what that pool view would look like before I commit to making it my new focal point of this room. The architect rendering is the “perfect” setting, but life isn’t perfect.

    Will there be towels drying, neon color pool toys stacked up, kids toys, etc right in your line of sight. Will you
    be happy looking at that? Or maybe the trellises you are considering create more shade than you expect, and you sacrifice a fireplace and don’t really get more light?

    I’d take the wait and see approach and live with it for a while before making a decision. You can always take out the fireplace once you see how the landscaping changes your backyard.

    • Brittany says:

      These are great points!

      I love the historic vibe the fireplace adds, removing it pushes it too far to the modern side I feel. Plus from your first photo you can tell what amazing light the room already has; I love the paint color in here (such cozy vibes with the fireplace), but it definitely is what is absorbing all of your light in the room.

      Love the subtle changes you’ve done in this space. It is definitely feeling more like home.

    • SEttelman says:

      I love everything you are pointing out. So many considerations.

      I love the fireplace as focal point and would not want to look out to the pool instead.

      Right now the room is large, but still feels very cozy. That mix works. Adding more light/glass might seriously change the cozy vibe.

  56. Betsy says:

    I honestly think that painting this large room such a dark color was the mistake. Although the pigeon is a beautiful color, the move-in day picture with the lighter paint had so much more natural light being reflected in the space.

  57. The room didn’t seem as dark and gloomy when it was painted a light color. I do love the moody pigeon, but this might not be the room for it!
    I would start with paint before tearing out the fireplace… I love the symmetry it provides:-)

  58. Patti says:

    I love the fireplace where it is. It adds to the moodiness of the room and such a nice focal point on approach. I also admit that I like the room rendition in the “After Painting” photo best. I like the sling chairs there and the moodiness of that carpet rather than the geometric one. Beautiful room and love that paint color!

  59. Amy C says:

    Looks amazing as usual. Ordered this rug the day it came out and can’t wait for it to arrive! In terms of your fireplace, I think the zero clearance would be the best option as well. We had one at our previous home. We live in Charlotte and have our fireplace on constantly during the winter and Fall! Would much rather have a fire going than the heat blaring in my house.

  60. EP says:

    I love it! I really like the fireplace, the brick adds a lot of warmth. Personally, I really like a moody living room. I think it would be nice to have big windows there but it’s also nice like this. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here, just different choices.

  61. Kelly says:

    I actually love how the fireplace encloses the room a bit and makes it feel cozier – with just enough light from the flanking windows to prevent the room from being too dark. The moodiness is divine – makes me want to curl up with some tea! Maybe add some sconces above the fireplace if you feel you need more light?

    Another thing to consider is how much more AC will be required in the summer if you add those windows. Especially when you clear away the bulk of the existing vegetation for your pool – that room will heat up like a greenhouse in July.

  62. Katie Acker says:

    Why not keep the fireplace and as the window? My set up is the same as yours with a huge window behind one of my couches… I LOVE the natural light and the view of the trees is so relaxing (we are down the road near Greensboro so have similar foliage). I can’t wait to get this rug for my living room to match my stone fireplace and echo the windowpanes of my large window…. Just might have to wait until after Christmas!

  63. Natalia says:

    I would 100% go for more natural light even if it meant losing the fireplace!

  64. Mary says:

    I love that fireplace and how the single focal point makes the room so dramatic. Why don’t you add skylights? There are some beautiful ones out these days and by playing with beams and windows you could make that ceiling something really special.

  65. Christine Clements says:

    The room is beautiful and coming along nicely! I can understand your thought about moving the fireplace since I’m a natural light girl, too. Check into zero-clearance gas options if that’s the way you decide to go, it may give you more options for placement.

  66. yasmara says:

    We live just outside of Raleigh and I turn on our gas fireplace once a year. It’s just not a thing I think to do unless it gets really cold!

  67. Nina says:

    For me personally windows and natural light and seeing your future outside set-up trumps a fireplace all the way. And that’s just for aesthetic reasons. Maybe there’s a way for a less overwhelming gas fireplace (the BBQ outside has gas, too, no?) ?
    But whatever you decide on… it will be amazing and that is a soothing thought, right? :)

  68. Pia says:

    I’m not to fond of that style of fireplace. It’s too much in my opinion. And having more windows would be something that I would prefer. But if you only want to add windows for the light then I think you should consider having a lightning expert to look at the artificial lights you have in the space first.
    If it was my house, which I totally appreciate that it is not, I would add the windows but I would not move the fireplace to the wall you indicated in the post. I would add a “Domofocus” fireplace (Link: in front of the windows. But that would be me. Love to see what you do!

    • Ashley says:

      I would not add windows where the fireplace is. We have a beautiful pool, but there is a lot of visual clutter in a pool (especially during swim season) that I would not want to be the focus of my living room. Even as picky as I am about where towels are hung, which floats can stay out and which can be put away, etc. I love that our living room has an indirect view of the pool rather than it being front and center.

      • EP says:

        Such a great point. I don’t like when a house is overly oriented toward a pool. They’re often strewn with towels or floaties, or covered anyway. That’s also why I personally prefer a pool set back a bit from the house.

    • Vicki says:

      I cannot imagine a Domofocus fireplace in this room. It would be better to remove it. The style is completely wrong for modern colonial.

all the latest

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. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

read more

Load More

Reader Faves

SHop all

What We're                     Right Now

What We're                 Right Now

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. 


looking for inspiration? 

There was a 10-year-period where everyone (including me) was doing black or almost-black rooms or walls. These days, we want something moody and romantic, but we want warmth back in our lives. We want the “grown-up” version of that look. If you are craving a rich, moody paint color that’s a warm, inviting neutral, then […]

Can We Send You Our Love Letter?

Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!

Follow Along on Instagram

Welcome to our online community where we've posted home, DIY, style, renovations, and family since '09. Renovating our #cljmoderncottage in Idaho and headed for new adventures in Raleigh, NC. #cljfam #cljtransformations