On the Hunt for our Forever House

January 29, 2019

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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Two years ago, there was a house for sale that we lovingly referred to as “dream house.” It’s on a large lot of mature trees with lots of windows and interesting architecture–all a rarity for our neck of the woods. It didn’t look like…an Idaho house. At the time we weren’t in a position to move or sell our home, but we still drove past it often and dreamt about life there. We hadn’t talked too much about moving recently–we were sooo happy to finally be done renovating of house and looked forward to just enjoying it–but we both knew the house we are currently in wasn’t our forever house. I was banking on being here two-three more years, but on January 1st, I woke up and rolled over and told Chris that maybe we should just knock on that door and see if they’d be open to selling it. We’d driven by it so much, the worst that could happen is they aren’t interested in selling and then we still get to stay in our home that we love.

We called our realtor and asked him what he thought and he said he’d be more than happy to knock on the door and see if they were open to it. One evening that week, he found them home and talked to them about selling their house. Keep in mind, they only bought it two years ago, but to our surprise they were open to an offer! He set up a time that we could come walk through it (Chris played at the house as a young child, but barely remembered it and I had never been inside!) and it exceeded our expectations. It was beautiful, clean, but dated–perfect for us. There were three bedrooms for kids and a master all on the main floor with vaulted, cedar-lined ceilings in every room. The downstairs had an additional rec room (and home gym and giant storage room!) with a guest room. The part that really sold us was the mother-in-law apartment. While we hadn’t been thinking about moving, we have been exploring leasing an office space because right now we have four people (Chris, myself, my assistant Brooke and our videographer, Jordan, all scrunched in our office downstairs and it has been tight!) An in-house apartment converted to an office space made so much sense! Much more sense than renting an additional office outside of our home, really.

Over the next couple days, we worked on an offer. An offer for a house that wasn’t for sale. It was tricky! They didn’t give us a ballpark or anything, but we knew what they had paid for the house from public records and we also knew that they didn’t have to, or necessarily even want to move. We had to make them an offer that would make them move essentially. Caleb presented them with the offer and they were going to take the weekend to think about it. The following week, we heard back that the offer wasn’t enough to make them want to move, but if we ever wanted to make another offer, they’d be open to it.

At this point, I was already basically picking out new flooring for the house. I could see us living there for…ever really. I envisioned our daughters having their wedding receptions in the backyard. Chris and I talked about it and if it was really going to be our forever house, we could sweeten our offer, give them way more than the house was worth on the market and invest in our family’s future. We knew and loved the neighborhood, because it was our neighborhood. Our daughters could continue going to the same school and walking to play with the same friends. We put it all on the line and wrote them another offer. Our best and final. And sadly, it wasn’t enough either. We were crushed.

It felt like it was supposed to be our forever house, and we wanted it to be so badly for the past two years! But it wasn’t. To be clear, I don’t blame them for not selling us their house that they didn’t put up for sale. Ha! But I will admit that we got very invested in the possibility. We let ourselves cry (me) and be disappointed and the next morning Chris said, “I think I got excited about the idea of moving.” We both did.

In fact, we had actively got our house ready for sale at the drop of a hat–okay, in 4 hours one evening. It was during the week that we were waiting to hear back about dream house and another realtor had approached ours on behalf of their client that was looking for a house not listed (apparently there is a whole secret list that realtors keep of houses that are willing to sell but don’t want to list!) and our house fit the bill of what they were looking for. There was a lot of excitement that week and wouldn’t it have been perfect if dream home sold us their house and we sold our house in the same week, so serendipitously. None of it happened, but we did realize one big thing from all of it.

We’re ready to find our forever house. We’re not on a specific timeline, although this year would be ideal, but we’re actively looking and ready to move. We have stopped looking for an office space (that would have doubled our mortgage anyway) and started looking for a home that has an area where our little team can work more comfortably. 4 bedrooms for us, plus a guest room. Mature trees. A larger lot and unique architecture and character. Natural light and ideally ceilings taller than 8ft are all on our must-haves.

We can live anywhere, but love our friends and family and cabin so much where we are that we’d love to stay local–although I might claim insanity willingly living through these cold, long winters for the rest of my life. It’s home. We often get asked, “Why don’t you build?” While it’s not off the table completely, we are so drawn to making tired spaces loved and beautiful again. Plus, mature trees. I need them. It was a main selling point for the house and neighborhood we’re in now. Building would be a different kind of adventure but not our first choice.

So while this isn’t an announcement, it’s a little bit of an announcement. (We already have our eyes on another home…also not currently for sale.) 


See when we moved into this house here. 

What do you think?

  1. Calla says:

    We have been living in our forever home for 22 years…and hands down what makes it that way….its the neighbors who live around you. You might find your dream home with great bones and awesome view, but if you have neighbors from hell it will sour your dream really quick.

  2. Abbey says:

    Wow! I was so surprised to see the negative comments on this post! I for one, recently finished a grueling 2 year house hunt and boy did I cry after every house that didn’t work out for some reason or another. Usually, I had already begun redecorating it in my mind and started making a shopping list for furniture pieces I wanted in each space! I had envisioned growing my family there! Such a terrible feeling to get your hopes up and have them dashed over and over again. I found this post very transparent and beautifully honest. And, now that I know you are looking for a new house, I am SO excited to follow you along on this journey! Can’t wait to see where you settle and all of the wonderful changes you are going to make in a new blank slate. Thanks for bringing us a long for the ride, and I truly hope you aren’t taking the haters to heart. Xoxo

  3. Beatrice says:

    What is with these negative people? Don’t let them crap on your dream to make themselves feel better. I’m routing for you too. You will find that perfect home and you will sell yours to a family that may think your current home is their forever home. Love your blog. Love your style and Love your tips.

  4. Nikki says:

    We are absolutely routing for you guys! Keep the faith!! :)

  5. Monica says:

    Oh my goodness. Buying real estate is a crazy ride. Fulls of highs and lows. So many games–maybe they will call next month having changed their mind. Whenever they do sell, they’ll probably have an inflated price in their heads (because you offered more than it was worth) and not be able to sell it. Then they’ll be kicking themselves.

  6. Sara says:

    I always remind myself in times like this…. none of this will matter in 5 years. We all are able to have our own opinion but at the end of the day negativity never wins. Stay true to you and your family. I love your blog, the content, your eye for design and Chris’ recipes & videos too!

  7. Estelle Carlson says:

    What a fun adventure! The possibility of tackling a different house, especially one you can see yourself living in forever, is so exciting! Every time we think about moving, my mind goes straight to how can I decorate it, how can I adjust it to be perfect for us, what upgrades would transform it, etc. and sometimes that’s the driving factor with me being ok with the move. To work on a new home, maybe a new style, and then envision our new routines in it, or how we would incorporate our traditions in it is so fun. I can’t wait to see what you do with your next home! I’m sure it will be just as amazing if not more amazing than the one you are currently in. You are so talented and I am always inspired by what you do and the things you blog about. I love that we have been watching you totally transform your home slowly. I have a hard time not wanting my house to all be done at the same time, like in the HGTV shows, but that’s not reality. Thank you for being real with us!

  8. Jen says:

    WOW…internet trolls are just really unkind people. The thing I give merit to is that SO MUCH OF WHO YOU BOTH ARE is wrapped up in what you buy…and because your livlihood is built on renovation and seeing a vision bigger than it is…of course you became emotionally invested!!

    I totaly get it…and I don’t blame you one bit for sharing that story telling with the slew of followers who love what you offer.

    I hope your forever home finds you and that it ends up being better than anything you could have pictured with the other one! And don’t let the trolls take any more of your happiness!

  9. Kimberly says:

    I’m not in favor of criticizing just because someone doesn’t act how you want. I’m sorry you’re seeing backlash. Especially in this situation it seems tricky that people want authenticity but only when it suits them?
    I will however reiterate what a few people have said because I honestly am only offering this for feedback you may actually want. Maybe? —It is very easy to find your home online AND with the description you have given, also easy to find this dream home. If it were my home I wasn’t selling I may not want to be out there like that.

  10. Danielle says:

    First and foremost, congrats on your next adventure! Wherever and whenever that will take you. I know that I, for one, am excited to read/watch the ride!

    I’m sorry you’re dealing with negative commentary on what is supposed to be an exciting time, and is also a super emotional one. When we sold our home to buy our (hopefully) forever home, I cried for months thinking about all the memories we built in our old home and moving day was super hard. I understand the emotion!

    I’ve given the reaction you’re receiving a little thought and have actually come back to this post a few times over the past couple days. It got me wondering about something….do bloggers/influencers give thought to the sequence of their Insta stories? I was clicking through the other day and another influencer went from asking for prayers and donations for a friend experiencing tough times, and then their next story was an outfit post with a swipe up. It felt off to me, but then I realized they weren’t likely posted in immediate order….it just happened to be the next one. I’ve followed that blogger for years, and know she’s genuine. I’m wondering if perhaps that may be contributing to this negative sentiment you’ve received from your story as well? I think earlier in the story sequence you posted about a speaking event that day on how to build a million dollar business online. And last week you posted a YouTube video about how to be a successful influencer. (And all that content about your gorgeous cabin!) Perhaps the timing of those are contributing to these feelings, or strengthening them? It’s just a guess and again, something that I’ve noticed with other influencers that I don’t think is ill-intentioned in any way. And let me be clear in that no one should apologize for their success. You have a really unique and inspiring story to tell. Again, perhaps it’s just all about the timing?

    Congrats again on the adventure. Looking forward to going along for the ride!

    • Karla Maynor says:

      I had read the blog before watching the updated story. So I probably would have agreed with Danielle on the order of the story of getting in the middle of everything might have been confusing to people. After reading the blog I had full context on what was happening.

      I don’t blame you for being emotional about losing the house. I get worked up about way smaller things. I am just wondering if the clips would have been better on this blog post or a normal instagram post would have been given clearer context?

      Good luck on finding your dream home. If your are wanting to move to Florida there are a lot for sale near Panama City that are up for a remodel after the hurricane.

  11. Ana says:

    Through trial and error i learned (sometimes the hard way) that everything in life happens for a reason. We might not know what it is at that very moment it happens, but I’ve always been able to turn back and say – yes, now (24823748 million days later) I understand why it happened the way it did.
    And that’s how we human being learn how to respect life and be patient.

    You’ll find your forever house some day, I’m sure. Just do not stop searching :)

  12. Ashley Rupert says:

    I’m a long time fan! I comment on things and send messages all the time (never been responded to…)
    Anyway, I will say the reason why the video of you crying bothered me is because my feed just today has been filled with: a dear friend crying over her recently deceased husband, a friend posting about her niece that passed away at 4 weeks old, a friend going through a divorce, and someone who’s son was just shot and killed in the line of duty….
    I saw your post without sound, and immediately thought something tragic had happened. I clicked for the sound and couldn’t believe my ears. I AM the most emotional person there is…. but there are people dealing with real problems, and gut wrenching heartache out there. I wish I had your guys problems… truly I would thank all of my lucky stars if I could make an offer even remotely close to being able to pay for my dream home.
    I think you guys are going to be okay. You do great work! Your husband is funny, and we like to see your ideas. If you put yourself out to the public, not everyone is going to be a fan of everything you do…. and some private moments may be better kept as just that… keep doing you. You guys will be fine, and wherever you end up is sure to be a masterpiece.

    • Julia says:

      Oh no! I’m so sorry for those tragedies. There’s so many sad things happening right now. The moral of this post is actually that everything over here is going to be fine. We’re optimistic about our hunt!

  13. Marianne says:

    Dont lose hope! When I bought my house I was set on a corner lot, facing the park so we knocked on a row of homes without much luck until we got to the very last house who said he was actually on the market. Within 10 days, he found a house, waived conditions, accepted my offer, and we had a firm deal. IT DOES HAPPEN!!

  14. Jenna says:

    Our house isn’t for sale either, but we’ve been approached multiple times by potential buyers! It’s such a sellers’ market right now and I don’t know about Idaho, but where we live in western NC, there is basically nothing on the market in the price range our house is (not a mansion but not a starter home either). We would consider selling, except we’d have to convince someone else to sell us their house too! It’s a vicious cycle. :) Good luck on the hunt – whatever you end up getting will be perfect!

  15. Whitney says:

    WHAT?! I had a dream last night that you guys bought a bigger house with 4 bedrooms on the main floor!!! The garage was in the basement and there were 2 living rooms and 2 dining rooms and a weird hallway sort of kitchen. This is so crazy!!! I am super excited for you guys! Good luck!!

  16. Catherine says:

    I am so sorry it did not workout, but when one door is closed there is always another one open. Do not listen to the negative comments that are being said. I personally love your blog. I might not ever be able to afford something as nice as you have but I am able to get ideas from you that I can incorporate into my current home and I love that. Keep up the good work and I hope you find your forever home. I love your work.

  17. Reen says:

    I absolutely do not understand readers that chastise you for sharing what you wanted to share on your own account. Obviously your story touched a lot of people that have had similar experiences. We have had one too! I really hope these nay sayers don’t upset you Julia! Shame on them. The story is yours to tell and I find your real vulnerability and authentic story telling to portray what a stand up person you are. ????????????????

  18. Samantha says:

    I have never felt like the Marcums have come off as entitled, out of touch, privileged, or anything of the sort. Julia and Chris have created a business and a life out of sharing their life with us. Of course its going to be in the back of their mind to document every reaction to something that happens in their life. I don’t think Julia’s intention was to drive clicks or to manipulate her audience. I know people are put off by the fact that she saved the reaction vid for a whole week, but she did explain that she didn’t want to post it immediately on insta without an explanation as to why she had a reaction like that, she didn’t want to confuse her followers.

    I’m shocked so many people are being mean about this. Julia is a person, just like us. Yes, their livelihood allows them to make big choices like this more freely, but that doesn’t make it less heartbreaking when it doesn’t turn out the way they had hoped. Heck, if I was in her situation and had my hopes up so high only to have them shot down like that, I would cry too. Have some compassion.

    Ok, I didn’t really mean to type that much. Really just came here to say, Chris and Julia, keep hunting! The right house will come along, and I can’t wait to see what you do with it when it does! I don’t comment very much, but somehow I feel like I know you from the blog, and felt a bit of a need to defend you haha. Hugs!

  19. JulieW says:

    We lost out on our dream house a few years ago. It was a beautiful home, albeit a little rundown, and had a huge shop on several acres. It was also the perfect location for us, not to far out of town but far enough to enjoy the quiet of the country. It was also insanely cheap and our mortgage would have been smaller than our house in town, but we would have had 4x the house. I was devastated when we lost out. However, eventually we found another one we love just as much, in much better condition. It’s a little bit less sq footage and a little less acreage, which has been a blessing for upkeep and has so much more character than the first. Plus it was $30000 less than the first one. As much as you wanted that house, it wasn’t meant for you. You were meant for something a little better.

  20. Lindsey says:

    Obviously buying a house where you’ll live is so personal! But from a business/blog perspective, I’ll just put it out there that I (and from her survey, many others) was way less interested in Emily Henderson’s recent renovations because she was doing two at once, so maybe waiting until the cabin is done to start renovating a new home would interest readers more. A bummer the dream home fell through, homes have so much emotion attached to them!

  21. Kelly says:

    Good luck with your house search, Julia! It must soften the blow knowing you currently live in one of the most beautifully designed houses in America, right? ;-) Every picture you show of your current house fills me with equal parts inspiration and insane jealousy, but I suppose the grass is always greener?

  22. Eugenia says:

    That dream house sounds…dreamy. Did you consider adding less tangible things to your offer, like maybe your services? What you do is so unique and beautiful, that it might be what makes someone want to sell. If you offered me above market price PLUS your services to make my next home as beautiful as everything you do, I’d be sold in a heartbeat…just an idea that could maybe work. Not sure how open you (or the sellers) are to an offer like that.

    • Allie says:

      This is a great idea! I was thinking the same or even with whoever buys your home to give them some tips to make it their style. It is devastating to me that your current house (which I love so much) could lose some of its beauty because someone without their own vision may move into it. Is that ridiculous of me?

    • Karla Maynor says:

      This does sound super cool idea on also offering your services for free!

  23. Katie says:

    Hello! I love this blog, I’m excited to see what you do in a new place. As someone who moves with rather measured frequency (military) the amount of money we put into a place we know we will be selling relatively soon is always on my mind. With the total face lift you gave this house, do you anticipate a profit? Breaking even? Not trying to be intrusive actual numbers-wise, curious about the big picture. Thanks!

    • Julia says:

      We are working with our realtor to set a competitive price for our home when it comes time to sell it. We are in a unique situation where we make a living by renovating our house so it’s not as simple as what we put into it we have to get out of it, but it’s definitely something always on our mind. I think we’ll make a little profit!

  24. Mary says:

    As a long time follower and supporter of Chris & Julia I am literally appalled at some of these comments. People are so ruthless and type whatever comes to the top of mind without thinking that there is an actual person behind these posts. People should start asking themselves if they would say their comment to their face, if they wouldn’t, they probably shouldn’t be writing it as a comment.

    Julia – I cry over everything. I cry when I’m stressed, sad, disappointed, or happy. I’m sure you already know this, but I want to put it out there that I hope you continue to show us the raw emotions behind the scenes because it’s exaclty why I love this blog so much.

    • Lindsay says:

      Nicely written, my thoughts exactly! Julia and Chris rock and if you don’t have any nice to say then don’t say it!

      Can’t wait for this next adventure!! You always have the BEST ideas and plans!

  25. Sarah says:

    I was initially like “OMG WHYYYY THO,” then after reading your reasons totally make sense! Though I am living vicariously through your current kitchen, so I can’t wait to see what’s next!

  26. Jen says:

    Houses can cause emotional reactions for sure. We live in them, we raise babies in them. We make memories.

    That being said, I was nothing but turned off by this post. You have talked about this house before, and it is reasonable people near you may be able to figure out who you are talking about. That is an incredible invasion of privacy, and if I were them and still considering the possibility of selling you the house, there is not a chance I would now.

    The over dramatic tears on Instagram? Completely out of touch. It is fine that you were emotional and upset, but wow! There are people who will never buy one home, and you are crying to your phone that you can’t buy your third home? You have lost me there. Also, I do not buy it that you cried into your phone because Chris wasn’t there and you needed to talk to someone . Call a friend, call your mom. You absolutely saved that to put on Instagram later. What kind of world are we living in that one would even think to do that? And yes, your responses have become increasingly defensive lately/ some may say if you feel this strongly stop reading, and after this I probably will. But don’t you want to know you are losing readers over the time this blog has taken on? This one is too much guys .

    • Julia says:

      To be clear, I don’t blame them for not selling us their house. I mentioned that in the post but it’s definitely worth repeating. They didn’t have to or want to and I wouldn’t have if I were them. It seems a lot of disappointment is coming from me crying over it. Which I can definitely learn from…I guess. I wasn’t ever going to post it. Chris was at the cabin with Jordan, unreachable. Jordan had been filming the entire process in hopes of one day compiling it into the story of how we got the house–obviously that will never be shown now–so I recorded my immediate reaction in my phone as another part of the story because, yes, there was no one to talk to.

      I’m sorry if it offended you.

      • Nadia says:

        Julia, I don’t think anyone is harping on you for crying. That is totally understandable. It’s recording the tears, saving it for a week later, then posting it to drive blog traffic. That is where it becomes unauthentic. If it was live, I don’t think I would be as put off about as I am.

      • Rebecca Lemon says:

        Nadia hit the nail on the head.

      • Jen says:

        I am not offended . And you are truly missing the point here . You can cry. You can feel. You should do those things. The fact that you felt the need to cry into your phone, record it, and save it, thinking people would want to see that is what is so out of touch. You have two homes already, and you crying over a third. I’m not faulting you for success, more power to you . The fact that you think people are taking issue with your crying shows you are not in touch with your readers anymore.

        Also, you didn’t need to describe the home enough that people could figure out who it is. Just because you are ok with people knowing so much about you, doesn’t mean others are. You really need to respect the privacy of others .

      • meg says:

        Jen, why not move on? You’re way too invested here.

      • Katie says:

        Jen, you sure seem upset that they’ve worked their asses off to have not one, but 2 homes. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to attempt to do what they do, but it is a lot of hard work. All while raising a family. This is their blog. If she wants to “cry into her phone” because their dream home was literally at the tips of their fingers and they were so excited that it could actually be a possibility and then she had to realize it just wasn’t going to happen, I’d be very disappointed to the point of tears too. What an emotional rollercoaster. We don’t see all that goes on behind the scenes. Want to know what I saw? I saw someone who decided to go for their dreams with passion. That’s who Julia is if you haven’t noticed by now. She decided she wasn’t going to let anything hold her back. She woke up and decided to go for it. You never know unless you try. That is how she achieves success. You’re darn right there are people who won’t ever buy one house, let alone 2. Do you want to know who’s fault it is? Their own. They haven’t worked hard enough. That’s the plain and simple, yet harsh truth. If you don’t like what you see, don’t follow them. Or move along. Does it greatly alter your day so much that you just HAVE to say something so that you feel better about yourself? And not just leaving one comment, but having to repeat yourself… If so, I genuinely feel bad for you.

        Keep it up Chris and Julia. You’re work and dreams are inspiring. ❤️

    • C Jones says:

      You realize that *your* expectations and opinions are all in *your* own head, right? They have nothing to do with Julia or her feelings or her actions. Read or don’t read. It’s completely your own choice.

    • Kelsey says:

      I think you make a lot of great points. But I also come from the point of view where I feel like this is authentic to who Julia seems to be. For most people, the decor on this blog (and the home purchases for that matter) are aspirational. I would guess that 99% of us reading will never build an $80,000 bathroom, and they have acknowledged that. I also feel like the emotional aspect of this is part of the mix of content that people literally subscribe to. Your comment was very respectful and I definitely see where you’re coming from… but I’m not sure I agree. Just thought I’d add my two cents.

  27. Jackie says:

    I remember when I first met my now husband, he wasn’t ready for a relationship as he had JUST gotten out of a long term serious one. He was upfront and a true class act in letting me down gently. But I cried to myself (and my sister) over the disappointment -my feelings were about more than just some dude. I hadn’t really ever experienced disappointment at that level before. A year later, we got back in touch and the rest is history :) A lot can happen in a year. There were red flags in this situation that have been illuminating for you – that is what life is all about. I’m definitely rooting for you :)

  28. Shannon King says:

    We totally stalked our home before it was on the market. And jumped on it when it finally was. and probably overpaid for the shape it was in. It all worked out in the end. Best of luck!!

  29. Jen says:

    You never know what may happen. Because you put the bug in the people’s ears that live there they may come around to the idea and maybe come back to you in a couple weeks. I always think of homes as meant to be when you find the one you’re meant to live in so maybe there is an even better one out there for you.

  30. Kristy says:

    I feel that everything happens for a reason. So hang in there and trust that you are where you are meant to be. You never know what’s around the next corner ????

  31. Ashley Gonzales says:

    Wait! This might sound crazy but did you not post this house on your blog a long time ago? Something about your description of this house is bringing it back to me but I can’t totally remember. Maybe it was another house? Tell me I’m crazy!

    • Julia says:

      Same house. Haha. I think I mentioned it when it was up for sale a couple years ago. Not kidding when I say we have loved it for a long time.

      • Ashley Gonzales says:

        Ahhhhhh I am not crazy! At least for today anyway! HAHA just hoping to throw some comic relief on this otherwise ridiculously catty conversation over a home purchase. I hope that you are able to rise above these comments, as you are the one sitting on a million dollar self made business of renovating your homes. It seems to me you have the knowledge and intuition to know yourselves and your heart and it shows in your work. Do not be discouraged by the undoers of the world. You are KILLING IT! :)

  32. Juliet says:

    I am sorry you didn’t get your “dream house.” We lost out home I really loved a few years ago after the sellers chose a competing offer over ours, and I was extremely sad, so I can empathize. But please don’t perpetuate that Idaho has no homes with interesting architecture, or that all of Idaho is the same. I live here (although not in Rexburg), and I know that’s not true.

  33. Molly says:

    Didn’t this happen, sorry if, with an A frame you found? You found one you loved and someone else got it even though you were ready to negotiate and offer more?

    That worked out in the end and you love the one you bought. I hope you find something you love so much too!

    I wish you and Chris the best of luck- I saw your reaction in Stories and I absolutely would have cried too!

  34. mlv says:

    Am I the only one who is slightly taken aback by the whole story? The house belongs to someone who HAS NOT listed it.

    • Brittany says:

      MLV, people make offers on homes that aren’t listed aLL the time. You’d be surprised how normal this is.

  35. Abby J. says:

    I’ve always wondered if it’s ok to knock on doors and ask if the current owners would be willing to sell!

    Do you think it would be acceptable to knock on a door to ask about buying the place in the future, even if currently I’m not quite able to afford a down-payment? Or is it an unspoken rule that if you’re knocking & asking you ought to be ready to go? Thanks! You *will* find your dream house – praying for you guys!

    • Shannon says:

      I think it’s ok to knock and ask someone to sell (a home that’s not listed) because usually things ARE for sale, at the right price. You should be ready to go though because otherwise you would be wasting someones time, and you wouldn’t seem serious.

      • Abby J says:

        Shannon, thanks. That does make sense that you should be ready to go if you knock on their door – just not what I wanted to hear because I loooove this one house but it’ll be a long time before my hubs and I could ever afford it :)

  36. Anna says:

    This post was relateable and reasonable. Tears over it, reasonable. Posting the tears on insta…you lost me dawg. Came off cringey/ entitled/ over privileged.

  37. Ray says:

    What is a forever house? A ridiculous construct that leaves us unhappy or wishing we had more? How do you forever have the same needs and desires that one house fulfills ’til you die? Maybe it’s a myth and we can be happy without it and be free of that constraint to explore other exciting and good things?

    • Anna says:

      I like this perspective. It really challenges my thinking. Thanks

    • AP says:

      Yes! I’m bothered by “starter home” too. I’d be incredibly happy if I only ever live in my current home the rest of my life and would consider myself lucky if I get to do so.

  38. Carrie says:

    I’m so sorry it didn’t work out. I feel trapped in a home that isn’t our forever house. But our area is too expensive for us to ever move and I wouldn’t make my girls switch schools again. I’m glad you’ve decided to start looking . Sometimes just the possibility of something new is enough to give you new energy.

  39. Tina Motz says:

    We decided to build a couple years ago. One of my biggest wants was mature trees. I would drive through neighborhoods in areas we had decided would be where we’d want our forever house to be. We finally found a few lots in a neighborhood 10 years old at the time and guess what? There were mature trees lining them! We ended up buying 2 lots (also didn’t want to be on top of our neighbors) at the end of a road. It was kismet. You’re place will find you whether it’s a lot or 2 to build on or the house you’re looking for. Much luck to you!!

  40. Julie S says:

    WHAAAAATTT. This is some juicy news, Marcums! I feel you on the emotions getting yanked around when you try/think you’re going to get a house, start all the wheels turning full speed, and then it falls through. I was so delighted when I read the bit about being drawn to “making tired spaces loved and beautiful again”. That’s what I love about what you do- building from scratch just the way you like it is just not as relatable for most of us. Looking forward to whatever and whenever the future comes your way and praying blessings on the change of season!

  41. Martha says:

    This is the worst. We lost our dream home for some unknown reason. It was on the market for three days before we made an offer, and they sold it a few days later for $10k LESS than we offered. I’m still bummed & confused, six years later. We ended up buying a different place that was all wrong, and which we sold after 3 years. For a profit, but still. Moving is tough!

  42. Kalani says:

    I understand the sadness. I am so sorry your heart’s breaking right now. When we knew we were moving to a new city I started looking for houses instantly. I found the most exciting house but it was $100,000 over the very top of our price range. Tears…i’m talking vaulted ceilings, gorgeous rock fireplace, amazing living room, mountain and city views, gorgeous big white kitchen, spacious bedrooms, totally awesome 80s – ready for a small makeover. I kept watching it as we failed to find a house we liked for six more months. One night late as I was trolling realty online I saw it had dropped $80,000 and was now being offered just above the top of our price range which meant we could make a a lower offer! I freaked out and called my husband who was in another state. Within days we were in final negotiations and about to sign for far less than the asking price. At the very last minute another offer came in higher and we lost the dream house we’d been dreaming about for months that had so miraculously not sold and was now in our price range. We were devastated!!! We couldn’t even look at houses for six weeks. Then we went back and looked at a goofy house we had written off without even seeing it in person because it was too weird and there were literally 40 pictures of sagebrush in the yard in the profile. We looked at it twice, decided half heartedly to make an offer and guess what became our dream house after we lived in and fell in love with it. Yep, house #2. And our realtor later told us that original dream house, turned out to have a ton of problems including needing a completely new septic system. We dodged a bullet and also got a pool and fully walled and landscaped backyard in the deal for $30,000 less. Plus we ended up with the most amazing neighbors, more peivacy and so many things we didn’t even know we needed. So I give you a giant hug and say it will all be okay and you will find your house when it’s right. ❤️.

    • Jodi says:

      I just thought this was a lovely story, Kalani. I’m so glad your current home ended up being so completely perfect for you. You never know, right? Sometimes, what seems like everything you wanted wouldn’t have been right at all, and the perfect choice was there all along, hiding behind some sagebrush. :)

  43. Megaan Cianci says:

    If you want to live near the lakes in Minnesota, we are selling our home! 3 bedrooms but designed to be 4 easily, and we had plans to someday build a shop with an apartment and office in it next to the house. Cape cod, hardwood, mature trees, no neighbors for a mile, 10 acres, wildlife preserve I the backyard. Best sunrises ever. ???? Good luck with your hunt! That’s half the adventure.
    What do you think of this 3 bds • 3 ba • 2,344 sqft home I found on Zillow?

  44. Amber says:

    Timing is a funny thing. I work for the federal government and just returned to work yesterday after a month-long, forced break. Up until a few weeks ago a few weeks ago, I read your blog here and there when I had the time. I’ve always admired your style and authenticity, though. Your current house is drool-worthy, and I’m so excited to see where you’ll go with your cabin. Over the break I had, I decided I finally wanted to get invested in your blog and read your story – so I read it front to back, every single post (it was the longest shutdown everrrr). How interesting to come here today and read this post – I feel a new chapter in your life and your blog on the horizon, and am grateful I got the chance to catch-up before you started. You know as well as anyone how stressful the home buying process is, but when the right one comes along, it’s worth all the crazy. Keep doing you and everything will fall in to place when it’s ready. And when it’s time, you’re going to slay.

  45. Cori says:

    How exciting – and disappointing! ???? Can’t wait to see what the future holds for you guys. When we were house hunting, every time a house that we loved fell through, I would remind myself that that meant there was an even better one waiting for us!

  46. Janna says:

    Long story short, we knocked on the doors of our dream house that wasn’t listed. After a few months of back and forth the owners backed out completely. Well, I was obsessed so this was heartbreaking. And, end of story: three years later they emailed us out of the blue. We’ve been in our dream house for almost 3 years now and have completely remodeled it and are head over heels. Don’t give up!

  47. Meredith says:

    This story reminds me so much of what Gwen from The Makerista went through a few years ago, it ended up working out perfectly for her! I know the feeling of being let down by the dream of something new. Trust that things will work out exactly how they are supposed to! I CANNOT WAIT to see what you do with your next home! xoxo

  48. Rachel says:

    Oh man. I still feel like they just need more time to digest all this and they’ll come back to you in a few months. Or maybe their circumstances will change, financially or otherwise and they will need to move. That’s what happened to us. We lived 3 blocks away from our “dream house” for 12 years. We even asked the owners a few times if they’d sell, but their price was too high for us. We put it out of our heads, then 2 years ago they got divorced and the house was left vacant. We jumped on it and I kinda feel like it was fate.

  49. Sara says:

    Ugh, my heart breaks for you! My husband and i thought we were in no position to buy our forever house, but then, we found it, in our price range, while hunting for the house before the house. All the same musts you listed. And they took another offer that we couldn’t compete with because of our home sale contingency. We live just down the street and also drive by all the time. We saw them moving in, and it felt like watching a family moving into our own house. It hurts!!! I hope you find what you’re looking for…we’re still looking too!

  50. Lindsay says:

    We are closing on a home April 12 that was not for sale! It’s a home just five doors down from our current house. When I first went into this home 15 years ago (we’ve lived in our home 17 years), I knew immediately that I loved the layout so much better than mine. We also love our neighborhood, our kids have tons of friends as do my husband and I. This process started last March by me mailing a note to the home owners “just hey, if you ever think about listing your home, we’d love first peak”. They immediately called the next day and said they wanted to move within the next year! Negotiating this home (with my cousin who is an agent) was TOUGH! It’s hard to buy a house that doesn’t have a starting price. Our first offer was rejected, we came back up and finally settled on a price that is $5k over appraisal. Which isn’t totally unheard of in the fast market (but still stings, especially because the house isn’t my style so updates will need to happen). We are excited, it’s been a long year of highs and lows, but our current house goes on the market in two weeks; so it’s really happening! Best of luck on the next house!

  51. Laney says:

    Houses are so emotional. And while you may not be mad at the owners of your “forever” home, I AM! I’m so mad! I was emotionally invested along with you as I read this blog post, and felt let down to find out that they refused both offers (what were they thinking)!?! However, a part of me feels grateful that they didn’t take advantage of you making an offer well above what the house was worth. I know you’ll be able to find a dream home and I’m so excited to follow you on this journey. Thank you for being so raw and honest with your content.

  52. Emily G. says:

    Wait… do the dream home owners even know who you are!?!? Like if Chris & Julia came knocking at my door, i’d be like yes, you can have it for freee! Because I love Team Marcum & all that you’ve done for the home-reno arena. I hope the universe conspires together in your favor, whatever that looks like, but know I’ll be anxiously waiting to see it all unfold!!

  53. Suzanne says:

    Have always wondered why you don’t make that green room your office. Seems so much more convenient than the room downstairs. Close to entry, kitchen/heart of the house – plus seems like that room really does not get much use otherwise!

    • Julia says:

      We actually use it quite a bit and while it’s convenient because it’s close to the main area, that makes it not great for conference calls or putting our heads down and getting work done because it’s easily accessible to little ones

  54. Haley says:

    I hadn’t my heart set on so many houses in the house buying process. A little sad each time, But we ended up in the right house. So many houses in our area never even make it to actually getting listed, so the secret list is foreal.

  55. Leslie Peterson says:

    It will all work out the way it’s supposed to. Enjoy the ride! Can’t wait for all of the exciting renos to come.

  56. Kacey says:

    I know a photographer and she and her husband were wanting to build their forever home in the country. The problem was, they couldn’t find their dream location that was in the area they wanted. Then a lot became available but it was close to an area that would flood back in the back acres so it just wasn’t what they wanted. What they wanted, and fell in love with, was the lot next to it. It was already owned by their neighbors. Now I realize there wasn’t a house there already but those neighbors were not selling those acres. So they WROTE A PERSONAL letter to the owners themselves telling them why they wanted to build there and their hopes for their family (aka you seeing your daughters’ wedding receptions there) and with that hand written note the homeowners actually decided to sell. The fact they sat down and wrote the letter themselves was all the difference. Maybe you and Chris should write to them ask tell them all the reasons you love it. Make it personal, not just having realtor do all the talking. Just a suggestion ????

  57. Meghan says:

    Before we moved into our current, forever, home, we found another house that we loved and it was “perfect.” It didn’t work out and we were sad, but so happy now. Our new house is perfect and in an amazing neighborhood. Your forever house is waiting does you!

  58. Megan says:

    Oh man, I can totally relate. In 2008 I put an offer in on a home that was a foreclosure, my first offer on a home ever. The realtor told me I could low ball it, well I didn’t get the home. I was so upset that I went home early from work and drank a bottle of wine, and I’m not a drinker.

    For two years I made offers on other houses but never got them. In 2010 the original house I made an offer on went up for sale, for more money, obviously. I made an offer and it was accepted. I’ve lived here for almost 9 years and have made a lot of updates. Hopefully this will be the year of a kitchen remodel.

    So I completely understand the emotional reaction to getting your hopes up for something you were dreaming about and even the reaction if you got the house and had to leave the home you spent so much time and effort into creating.

    P. S. Love your home and all the work you have done, I’ve referenced so many of your posts over the years.

  59. Carrie says:

    This just happened to us two weeks ago! Except we offered asking price (the house was listed in our case) and the sellers decided they needed more so rejected it anyway. We weren’t even *thinking* about moving this year but then the dream house came up and blah blah blah now we are itching to move.

    Long story short: we signed paperwork on a 2.5 acre plot of land today. Hahaha please build a house so I can have some inspiration when we eventually build!!

  60. Jenna says:


    I’ve been following your blog for 6 years now. I completely understand your feelings on getting your hopes up and then being let down. However, I found your instagram story to be tone deaf and out of touch. Honestly, as a long time reader I thought you may have lost a baby or another family member. Not only was this not a moment that was filmed spontaneously, it was filmed last week and chosen to be posted today for shock factor and clicks. This honestly is not like the Chris Loves Julia blog I have grown to know and become loyal to over the last six years, you two usually stay above “click bait”. Again, I totally understand being upset about being let down over something you were excited over, but the Instagram story seemed dramatic. I hope you take this comment as constructive criticism and know I’m usually not one to comment in a negative way.

    • Julia says:

      That was filmed on my phone right after I heard from our realtor and Chris wasn’t home. I needed to talk to someone so I talked to myself. But posting it to my stories then would be very much out of context and confusing to our followers. I needed to take time and clear my head before I wrote it all down. I’m sorry you thought it was dramatic. We just really love houses.

      • Kelli says:

        It’s okay to admit a mistake or accept that someone else’s viewpoint has merit. You seem to always get defensive if anyone says anything less than complementing or agreeing with you. There is something endearing about a person how can graciously accept thoughtful, constructive criticism.

      • Julia says:

        Was my comment defensive? I thought it responsive. I think it’s natural and good to feel feelings.

      • Elvina says:

        your comment was fine. Just addressing her comment . But, all this talk has made me curious. Can’t find the story…did you take it down? I hope not, being vulnerable and admitting stuff sucks makes it easier for the rest of us to admit it.

      • Julia says:

        I didn’t remove it

      • Sarah says:

        Um, she wasn’t defensive at all! She just explained.

    • Molly says:

      I felt this way about the Instagram story too. It was very off putting.

    • Cori says:

      To be honest, after reading this comment, I thought I would go to Instagram and find a reaction full of hysterics. Instead, I saw a reaction pretty much the same as I (a generally calm, cool, and collected person) have had after losing a house I had my heart set on. Just pure, honest disappointment.

    • Kat says:

      One hundred percent disagree with this comment. It’s ok to cry when you get your hopes up about something and lose it, and sharing that with us all was vulnerable and I personally felt like it allowed us as your readers to see the true emotion that was behind this. The post in and of itself does not give the full picture of the emotion involved in this decision. Thanks for sharing. I’m praying you get the dream home in the end. <3

    • Leslie says:

      Julia, I definitely don’t think you made a mistake. I’ve cried over lesser things. You’re entitled to feel what you feel, and it’s your business. You can share what you want. If your home was also a big part of your future business/livelihood, I imagine it would be even more heartbreaking. Anyhow, haters gonna hate, no matter what you do, but don’t let it discourage you. You’re one of the very few bloggers I follow. Love the realness and the inspiration.

    • Sarah says:

      So lame! Comments like this are so annoying! You might as well have just called Julia a fraud. Your comment was a hit job with a “but I’m sincere and usually relly nice” at the end. This isn’t just some crappy account. Things have to be edited and posted in context. Get a grip lady. Just because you aren’t saying it to her face, doesn’t mean you have permission to post an accusation and then ask Julia to be reflective about how she can do better. If ya don’t like it, bug, bye! Oh, and I’m just a loyal reader and I’m usually really nice and “not usually one to comment in a negative way”.

      • Yvette says:

        Sarah, fan much? Calling out someone for expressing her opinion that doesn’t align with yours is like a pot calling the kettle black. Let people opine- that’s part of the territory when Julia decided to make her emotions public.

    • Amy says:

      Jenna….I had the same reaction. I was very turned off by the reaction to a house that wasn’t even for sale. Sorry Marcums. I’ve followed for years and this came off as a spoiled entitled and gratuitous reaction. I live in a neighborhood with sought after real estate and receive fishing letters about selling often. It’s rude! It’s my home and every time I get an offer it makes my home feel like some communal commodity thats up for the bidding. It’s my home and when I’m ready to sell it’ll be made public and at that point I’ll be detached from it. I feel for the owners that you’ve put in a odd situation now knowing their neighbors are hawking them out like vultures ready to pounce and redo their “clean but dated” home. Boo hoo someone had something I want and they won’t give it to me! Take this as you will from an older reader but these overly modeled and staged clips with perfectly filtered backdrops, hair, makeup, and tears come off as ingenuous and is a turnoff.

      • meg says:

        Amy, there are often stories in shelter magazines about people who find houses this way. You have a beautiful home in a sought after neighborhood. Why not just be grateful instead of beating up on other people who aren’t quite there yet?

  61. steph says:

    Just try to look at it as your actual dream home is still waiting for you. Besides, does it really make sense to pay way above market value? They just said on the news that house pricing is stalling/slowing down. I’m in Florida though and personally think the pricing is getting out of control.

    • Kimberly says:

      I’m in Florida too and prices are insane! Although I know we could easily sell our home, I would have a hard time paying for what is currently on the market.

  62. cathryn says:

    I can honestly sympathize with how you’re feeling. We had signed on a beautifully dated 60s mid-century home, before someone came in with a higher offer out of our budget before the seller signed and I definitely cried about losing it and still drive past it now wondering what the possibilities could have been. We are now in another home that we are slowly redoing, cosmetically only at this point, but the style won’t ever be what I’m looking for in our forever home. I hope you find one that you love just as much!

  63. Amy says:

    We sold our house a year ago this same way. A realtor approached us and told us someone was looking for a house in the country on 5 acres and would we sell? And, it would be a cash deal! It was the only house we had ever lived in….25 years! Fortunately for us, we had been discussing moving but never really sat and discussed in depth. We also had to shoot a “Make us move” price….so it was a bit different in that we gave an asking price. They took it and waived appraisal! It was honestly a crazy, crazy deal. But I will say this—-it was the most emotional, stressful week of my life! Even though I got the deal of my life, it was so emotional. So, it could be that the offer may have been fine, but it was too much too fast. We took a leap of faith and did it, but some people just can’t handle quick decision. Most of our friends told us we were nuts. We don’t regret it, but it was very intense even as a seller.

    • Julia says:

      Thank you for sharing the other side. It’s really eye opening and I’m sure echos a lot of the feelings our sellers could be feeling.

  64. Colleen says:

    Ugh. So heartbreaking! A similar situation happened to us! We sent letters to an entire neighborhood and only one homeowner called our agent back. We toured the home and asked what it would take to make him move. He gave us a price, so we went home and wrote it up (for slightly more than that AND a super quick escrow. The house was vacant and he wanted out.) All that for him to reject the offer and ask for $15k more which was WAY over value. We had to walk away. Eventually we found our current home (only to have the guy’s agent call our agent and ask if we were still interested. Too late!) Thank goodness we didn’t get the house though. We’ve since realized the neighborhood and home were all wrong for us. We got caught up in the possibility. Plus we would have over paid, even with our initial offer. I truly feel there will be another perfect home for you, even if it doesn’t seem that way now. (Also, I fully understand wanting character. I live in Tract-ville, USA. Finding a home with character is real hard. Reaaaaaaal hard.)

  65. Jenny says:

    Tell Caleb I need on the secret list haha!

  66. Noreen says:

    It’s so tough to have your heart set on something and it can’t be yours! But there’s never just one perfect house so I have my fingers crossed for you that you’ll get that forever house of yours soon!! xx

  67. Karissa says:

    This is exciting news!! Coincidental timing since I just re-listened to your podcast episode about buying houses that aren’t for sale. Best of luck in finding your forever home!!

  68. Victoria says:

    We got our current house because my father-in-law (who is a real estate agent) told the owner we’d be interested in buying her house, and she called is a few years later. Never went on the market. Hope you find your dream home xo

  69. Stacy says:

    Good luck with your house search!

  70. Sarah Kucharski says:

    What news! After going through the buying/selling route last summer when buying my first home (my partner’s second, but my very first) I quickly found out how real estate is a tough lesson in heartbreak. You find properties you love, you let yourself get carried away, a buyer pulls out at the last minute and everything comes tumbling down. I wish you and your family the very best in finding that Forever Home for you — and of course look forward even MORE to the adventures in diy, decorating, and turning house into home in a new space.

  71. Jenn says:

    This so exciting and bittersweet! My husband and I can related (kinda). We kept our eye on a foreclosure in a great neighborhood on the water for almost two years. Finally the price came down enough where we were comfortable to make an offer to the bank (lower than what they were asked). They declined our offer. I think I cried for a few weeks. Looking back it was a blessing and while yes, it exceeded our requirements, it also helped us gain perspective so now we are continuing to make our current home better as we casually look for fixer uppers on a lake in our current neighborhood. Good luck in your hunt and I know that any house you find it will be well loved!

  72. Catherine says:

    I’ve been following your blog for…three years now? I visit your page nearly every day to see if a new post is up, or to find inspiration. I’ve been on your page all day today just looking up posts about drywall (is that exciting or what?) I love love love your house and how you’ve made its life grow! Thanks for all your tips, tricks, and stories while working on this house :)

  73. Katy says:

    Ugh that is so heartbreaking! I know the feeling. But you know what? I believe your home will always find you. It always works out in the end. And who knows, maybe the owners of dream house will come around or make a counter offer. (Are they willing to counter and see if you could pay what would make it worth it to them?) Whatever happens, I can’t wait to see what you do to the place!

    • Julia says:

      I believe this too. We’re hopeful it will all work out in the end. Unfortunately dream home owners say they don’t have a number in mind (but they HAVE TO, right!?) and they even said they’d be open to another offer in the future. It’s just a scary big number already. Haha.

      • Beret says:

        Don’t worry. We lost out on our “dream forever home” bc they were taking best/final offers while we were on a cruise. We were so bummed. BUT it worked out perfectly bc an even better dream home (for less money) came on the market a few weeks later that we scooped up immediately. We were so lucky. It definitely all works out in the end. Good luck hunting and enjoy the looking process. It is the best when you have the luxury of time to search.

      • Emily says:

        Julia, I think you are doing the right thing by not making another offer. They may come back to you after realizing you actually did give your highest offer and take it. I would guess they’re either truly not emotionally interested in moving or they were hoping for even more money because they sensed how desperate you were to get it. I wouldn’t rush the process of finding a replacement. If it’s truly your forever home you’re looking for, you have time to wait. <3 I’ve been following since before you bought house #1. Can’t wait to see what you end up doing. PS: I was in real estate for a while and we called the “secret” listings “pocket listings”…bc you kept them in your pocket as people who might move if the number is right. :)

      • mribaro says:

        Julia, sometimes having a home one loves has no price. My family has a small stone cottage on an island and we used to spend a couple of weeks each summer there. The cottage was originally just a primitive shepherd’s rain shelter the size of your reading room, with just a bed, a fireplace, a couple of chairs, water from a tank and no electricity. I remember realizing that I wouldn’t sell it for a million dollars, because to me it was a magical place that made me feel so good and happy. The price I might agree to, has no financial sense for anybody else, specially for those who could afford it.

      • Julia says:

        Absolutely! I don’t blame them at all for not selling.

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