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.)
We designed the Charly line of sofas, chairs, and ottomans with perfect proportions for comfort — with wide arms, a loungey depth, and stylish and practical lumbar pillows. Available in 70 kid-friendly, pet-friendly fabrics, this line was created with families in mind.
Our wood grain Shaker cabinet fronts were designed for busy, high-traffic homes like ours. Clad with durable textured thermofoils, this line is compatible with Sektion, Akurum, Godmorgon, and Besta cabinets from IKEA. It's the perfect, practical way to add the warmth of wood to all the rooms of your home.
We have teamed up with Loloi to create a line of rugs that are as affordable as they are beautiful. This collection houses a great mix of traditional and modern rugs, in cottage-y colorways, as well as vintage-inspired beauties that you’ll want to roll out in every room.
We partnered with Stuga on a line of hardwood floors — The Ingrid is really livable, and the color is very neutral. It doesn’t lean warm or cool, it’s that just right in-between. We have really loved putting it everywhere in our house. It’s the best jumping-off point for design, no matter your interior style. In addition to being beautiful, Ingrid is really durable — we have three kids, and we always have a home construction project going on. Ingrid stands up to it all.
Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop.
Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here.
We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen.
Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.
Almost daily I get asked what I would call my home style. I don’t like to box myself in, but I definitely lean Modern Traditional with an emphasis on comfort when it comes to our home. This especially came up when I shared our Powder Bath Reveal on the blog. I think it changes slightly […]
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!
Make yourself right at home