The MAJOR changes underway in the REST of our Home + Progress and Renderings!

August 7, 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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Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

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If you’re following along on Instagram, then you’re up to speed on our progress in the kitchen. If not, be sure to check out our stories and follow along – the short version is we have 1 week to turn our kitchen into a) something we can live with for a year or two (three? haha) until we’re ready for the full reno, and b) something we can have a video shoot in. Because we actually do have a scheduled video shoot next week, and this place needs some life breathed into it.

BUT, outside of that we wanted to give you an update on our other progress, because it is gettin’ rowdy over here! In case you missed it, while we’re busy on some smaller phase 1 projects of our home, we hired a contractor (Austin Crystal, for you locals) to tackle some bigger, long term plans for our home).

And they have been BUSY!

Demolition of the sunroom

This is the sunroom, and in case you’ve forgotten what it looked like previously, here’s a reminder:

CLJ Original Sunroom

This entire room is getting ripped out, bit by bit. In working with our Architectural Draftsman we found the original plans to our home, and this room was not part of it. It was definitely an add-on, (the now exposed stucco and stamped concrete floor definitely point to that fact too haha) and we found out from the people who sold us the home that the people they bought it from added this room on and used it for a hot tub (sounds dreamy, though). She told me that this room was a nightmare for them and they always wanted to rip it out and start fresh, but just did what they could to make it useable. We’ve been seeing the same issues they were: leaks, draftiness, and just not digging the angles and awkward construction. Here’s a peek at the NEW floor plan for this area of the home:

CLJ Cottage Floorplan

You can see from the plans the direction we’re headed. Looking specifically at the dining room (what is now the sunroom) we will be rebuilding the structure with squared up walls and lining the room with five sets of 3/4 glass French doors. The large wooden arched door at the end of the room will be getting the gold star treatment (completely restored, new glass panes, new hardware – the works) and will be installed back in the same spot once the room is rebuilt. The natural light that will be pouring into this space is going to be so amazing. And the wall between the dining room and living room will have an open, double-sided fireplace. We had our drafter make some 3D mockups to give you an idea (although the details are not entirely accurate–this was just the first round of renderings) of how this will look:

CLJ Dining Room Mockup

Elements like the light fixtures, table, chairs, tile are just place holders until we pick/build the actual pieces we’ll be using, but seeing this makes it so exciting! Just imagine Thanksgiving dinner, with the leaves outside. Summertime barbecues with the doors open, air and sunshine pouring in. Or wintertime game nights with snow piled up outside, the table lined with mugs of hot chocolate while kids make s’mores on the fire. We honestly sit up and talk about the memories we’ll make here as though we’ve already made them. We’ve had a lot of questions about our choice for several french doors rather than one large sliding open door and the truth is it’s just our preference visually (we lean a little more traditional on the modern scale) and mostly we don’t live in the climate for it.

Though the dining room is likely to be one of our most gathered in rooms in the house, the living room on the other side of the wall will have some pretty stunning updates as well. Here’s the living room as it stands today. They got the stone around the fireplace removed and we had someone come measure for a new window here (This entire wall will be a large arched window and we’ll be moving the double sided fireplace to the wall on the right between the dining room and living room).

Like this!

CLJ Living Room Mockup

This wall was a little tricky because of how things line up. Originally we talked about having doorways on either side of the fireplace leading into the dining room, but this room extends out beyond the dining room, which doesn’t leave space for a second entry. But we didn’t want the fireplace to feel off balance with the new arched doorway to the right, so we’ll be adding a recessed nook for storage and shelves that mimics the shape of the doorway, creating that balance–very inspired by her highness, Amber Interiors, in this photo:

We’ve talked a lot about when one thing clicks and everything else falls into place and for this project, that was the addition of a balcony above the new dining area/outside of our bedroom (the master bedroom is the one on the left, with a slight bump out).

We already mentioned the issues the roof of the addition was having, so we knew that needed replaced, but structurally and aesthetically I was having issues with the roofline of the addition, too. And if that triangular portion was nixed completely, how plain would the back of the house look?

It all made sense when we decided to add the balcony.

CLJ Back Patio Mockup

By ripping out the sunroom and rebuilding the dining room, we’ll be able to create a new balcony that will be accessible from the master bedroom and the new bonus room we’ll be creating upstairs when we add a ceiling to the music room (we’ll talk more about that in another post but check out this post to reference what I’m talking about). There will also be a spiral staircase around the back side leading down to a new fire pit area that will sit just outside the arched wooden doors of the dining room:

CLJ Back Patio Mockup

The exterior finishes here are just place holders and not exactly what it will look like. The arched door for example will probably be a rich, more natural wood tone as opposed to black. There will be sconces incorporated on the wall between the doors to break up the stone. There will be less stone walls and lots more mortar to soften everything. We are going dark for our modern cottage and are feeling very inspired by Jeffrey Dungan.


Everything right now is subject to change, but we wanted to show you the direction we’re heading because we’re full speed ahead on it! They are busy on this huge project and we’re staying busy on our budget kitchen project and life feels full!

To keep up on all the updates, make sure you turn on notifications for @chrislovesjulia on Instagram so you can be notified of new content, and of course you can always check here daily for new posts. Thanks so much for following along and we can’t wait to show you more as things progress!

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What do you think?

  1. Nicola says:

    Oh my gosh. This is giving me such vibes from Sims with the 3D mock-ups. This would have been my dream house to build.
    I love following your journey. Thanks for the great updates.

  2. Morris says:

    Been following the phase 1 redo of the kitchen. It looks fantastic, you are both so resourceful. With it nearing completion will we be seeing more of Chris cooking?

  3. Lori says:

    Hi! Any thoughts about how to keep that dining room warm even with all that glass between the arched window and the french doors?
    We have an older sun room addition and it’s always freezing in the winter! It it just old windows causing that temperature difference?? Will you use double paned glass?

  4. Rebecca Neustel says:

    For your sconces on either side of the arched door, it would be so amazing to have them be gas. I can just imagine the flickering light against the stone on a wintry Idaho evening with snow falling!!

  5. Melkorka says:

    Ooh the floor plans and renderings are so fun to look at. The doors and the fireplace of the dining room reminds me a bit of Ina’s Gartens’ Hamptons barn vibe. I think that the dining room will be so fun. I think putting in that bank of french doors and simplifying the visual connection to the outside is going to make that space sing!

  6. Lea says:

    I really think you should consider having your table made as two separate tables that could be pulled apart when not entertaining 20 guests. Having open space in the center of the room will make it seem like there’s less of a huge barrier totally cutting off one side of the room from the other. Plus more comfortable to eat with a smaller group if you have flexibility to use a smaller table.

  7. Vicki says:

    I am so excited for you and so happy that I get to follow along. Loving every thing that you have planned. It is going to be so amazing!

  8. Megan says:

    I love all of this! Excellent design eye! Can’t wait to see the process and progress! :)

  9. Cristal says:

    WOWWW!! I know those plans are not set in stone but I can already picture how amazing your home is going to look at at the end of your 5 year plan! I’m still sooo jealous of the family that purchased your last home! Everything in that home was what I would want in my home! Especially the master bathroom of course! Thank you for taking us along for the amazing ride with you and your family!!

  10. Kerri says:

    Simply stunning and very exciting.

  11. Sarah says:

    You guys have always been very upfront about budget and costs of your projects ( for which this DIYer is very grateful), just wondering if you’ll continue to be transparent about the cost of this project even though you’ve hired professionals. Not being nosy, just wondering.

  12. Rachel says:

    So where does the hot tub go?? The sun room was originally for a hot tub, and then when I saw the floor plan I thought you’d added one outside, but apparently that’s a fire pit (fun!) if you’re hot tub people, how about on the balcony?? Oh I would love that.

    • Julia says:

      We are hoping to get a pool in the next couple years and the hot tub will be connected to that

      • Kat says:

        Just an FYI. We have a pool with the hot tub connected. Living in the northeast and having similar weather as Idaho (we were originally going to retire in Coeur d Alene) once the pool is closed the hot tub is also. So no snowy night hot in parties. I wouldn’t do it that way again. Next to it yes but in its own system.

  13. Patricia says:

    Wow! I’m going to love it. And this will be an amazing adventure to watch.

  14. Sara says:

    This is so inspiring! I’m loving every minute.

  15. susan says:

    I, personally, want a small home but I love that I can live vicariously in such a large and lovely home like yours! I love the direction you’re going with all of this and that arched nook next to the fireplace is inspired.

  16. katy says:

    I have to say I was nervous when you bought this house. It seemed so overwhelming. It was just so McMansion-y and……bad??? But you have such vision and I am in awe of what you have planned for the space. The addition of the second floor patio is genius. This is going to be a DREAM home when you’re all finished. I love following along, thank you for sharing all of this!

  17. Hillary says:

    I have a very different design style than yours but I’m still so inspired by your work! We’re building a home now that I designed, we’re still framing and I already have plans for the next house brewing. Loving following your journey for great tips and inspiration! That dining room has me all geared up!

  18. E says:

    And Bam! Just like that, you’re off to a ????‍♀️ start!!

  19. Mo says:

    DYING over these updates! I can’t wait to watch it all unfold as it happens. You guys are forever my favorite follow. I couldn’t be happier for you guys!! ❤️

  20. Allison says:

    Maybe I missed something, but where is the kitchen in relation to the dining room? Are you worried about the dining room feeling closed off from the rest of the house? Or is there another entrance/opening besides the arched doorway from the living room? I’m only asking because we are dreaming up plans for our remodel and one thing that really bugs me now is how isolated our dining room feels from the rest of the house.

    • Julia says:

      There will be a second entrance into that room from the adjacent music room. The kitchen and “breakfast nook” where we eat all of our meals as a family are open to the living room and then this dining space is through the doorway. It’s not RIGHT next to it, but we go through it often to get to the backyard so it feels close enough for us.

  21. sarah says:

    I love your vision, the daily progress you’re making and sharing with us, and really everything you two do.

    One observation is that the door between the dining room and family room feels small. I’m having “flow anxiety” imagining all the people plus all the food, etc. shuffling between the kitchen and dining room when having such large gatherings. It may just be the renderings and a non-issue in person but wanted to share as we recently remodeled and have one “pinch point” that drives me nuts.

    Thank you for allowing us to follow along on this journey!

  22. Danielle says:

    You said you like the French doors because they’re more traditional looking, but have you thought about doing two larger banks of doors similar to what Jenny Komenda put in at her house? They still have that traditional feel but aren’t as choppy as so many smaller sets of doors. Just a thought! Love everything you guys do!

    • Melissa says:

      Love this idea too! My in-laws did something similar in their dining area addition with their nearly floor to ceiling windows and doors and it literally feels like we are dining in their beautiful back yard. I absolutely love it.

  23. Hollie says:

    Really appreciate the real time look into your renovation! Can’t wait to see the finished arched living room window! Slightly off topic question – how are you making your reno pics look SO good? Is there a magic filter I should know about?! Thanks again for sharing this journey with us!

    • Julia says:

      Hahaha! You know, thank you so much! I think seeing the beauty in it helps. I also usually run them through our INTERIORS presets we did with A Color Story. They are subtle but brightening and then doing that helps!

  24. Caitlin Rose Low says:

    Something that stands out to me in the renderings is how much bigger the dining room seems to the scale of the house, but I don’t mean that as a criticism. I’m inspired and love that you’re making the home for YOU!!! You have clearly indicated how much you’ll use this room to it’s fullest and how it will fit YOUR lifestyle. I think too often we make safe choices, avoiding what works for us, because of fear of going again design norms!! We recently rebuilt our home after a massive flood and a few of the decor choices we made were not mainstream, but I loved them. I had to continue to remind myself that our home is for us and how we live, not to please others. Thank you for making a bold move with your extra large dining space to encourage us all to be bold in our lives as well!

  25. Marcia says:

    Everything you’ve planned looks so gorgeous! I’m super envious of your huge dining room with the gigantic dining room table. We host two Thanksgiving get-togethers at my house and various birthday parties, and I wish I could put everyone in one room like this. It’s fantastic.

  26. Cathy says:

    You mentioned in your first post about this house, that you dreamed of potentially hosting your daughter(s)’ weddings at the house one day. Well, the first thing I saw with those new balcony and spiral staircase additions is the future bride entering down those stairs. And, rehearsal dinner at that dining room/patio! It’s going to be stunning! We got married at my inlaw’s backyard almost 5 years ago, and we’re reminded of that special day every time we visited since.

  27. Janelle says:

    I’m getting major Kim and Kanye monastery vibes with that fireplace rendering and I’m not mad about it.

  28. Bridget Ankney says:

    First of all, thank you so much for the lovely stories and updates you share! I am excited to see this beautiful home come into its own. :) I was wondering, though, what are your plans for the gorgeous single arched door that is currently in the middle of the dining room and will be replaced by the series of french doors?

    Thanks again for all you do!

    • Julia says:

      Good question and I don’t think we were very clear in the post. The tall single arched door in the middle of the dining room will be too tall for the space once we reconfigure the roofline so we are making it our front door instead.

  29. Laura says:

    SOOO amazing, I’m totally along for the ride on here and IG!

  30. Erin says:

    It’s like a fairy-tale home. I’m in love!

  31. Kory says:

    It’s going to be amazing!!!

  32. Lisa says:

    Looks beautiful! I can’t wait to see it all unfold!! I’m wondering if you have thoughts about connecting your kitchen area to the current patio. Once you add the new access door by the breakfast nook, will you expand your patio along the back of your home to have easy bbq access from your kitchen and/or add any outdoor kitchen components? I’m not really sure what is on that side of your back yard by the house.

    • Julia says:

      I think we will expand eventually. We are adding a door to outside from the living room and way down the road a pool on the other side of our house but that won’t happen in this phase.

  33. Luxie says:

    If you’re planning on having company use the balcony take it from someone who has a balcony that never gets used (except for the Fourth of July). Having stairs outside to get to it would make it so much more functional. It’s just weird to guide guests inside up the stairs and down the hallway through the bonus room to go back outside. Just be sure to remind the teenager that you can’t jump off the balcony to the pool if you have one close. Ours is a away from the house but it still worries me which is why we haven’t added stairs.

    • Julia says:

      There’s a spiral staircase we’ll be adding! Maybe you missed that note.

    • Julie P says:

      We have this exact setup, a balcony accessible from upstairs bedrooms as well as a external spiral staircase. I would recommend you consider a built-in gate at the top of the stairs that you can have a door sensor attached to your home security. I always wish we had this, and so we could monitor when people are coming up the stairs. You might also consider (if this is south or west facing) a large retractable awning – otherwise those big French doors will cook the master bedroom in the summer. Overall I love my balcony! What an exciting use to the dining room roof!!

  34. Samantha says:

    My sister and I talk about you guys almost daily! We are loving the play by play and seeing how your brains think as you go along!

  35. Jan says:

    I just can’t look away from this renovation! Even the smaller scale phase 1 renovations are exciting to watch. Can’t wait to see the kitchen updates next week!

  36. Joanna says:

    I love that while you’re planning this massive overhaul you’re also doing a thrifty kitchen update. Who knew you could reuse cabinets like that?! The mix of big and small is why I love your content.
    That balcony addition is swoon worthy. I am so excited to see it come to life!

  37. Tara says:

    Is there a specific reason for the squared off French doors in the dining room? With all the arches, I figured they’d be arched too. I’m sure you have a design-oriented reason! Too many arches?

  38. harmon says:

    You had me at Jeffrey Dungan and Amber Lewis. I LOVE the direction this is going! You have such a great vision aesthetic. You have definitely inspired me to get moving on my own renovation. Finding the right contractor seems like the hardest part. But it will be worth it in the end. Thanks for keeping my days filled with something to look forward to.

  39. amanda sejnowski says:

    Wow the renderings are so Spanish villa inside! Didn’t think that as the direction yall were going but it’ll be interesting…

  40. Sara says:

    This is by far the most exciting thing I’m following in the blogosphere right now. Love everything you’re doing!

  41. Amanda says:

    I’ve been following along on Instagram (edge of my seat!) and love where you’re heading and how you’re getting there. I really enjoyed seeing some of your inspiration photos and 3d renderings in this post!

  42. Amy Hammond says:

    I AM OBSESSED!! So excited to see this remodel…much more relevant to me than building from the ground up!

    Have you considered larger french doors/panes? Maybe 3 wider ones, not 5 smaller ones? Similar in scale to the new arch window?

  43. gigi says:

    I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to every post, but what will you do with the dining room when not dining with a large group?

  44. Lauren says:

    This is so beyond incredible and I am so grateful that you are allowing us to follow along! It’s inspiring and heartwarming.

  45. Anna says:

    SO so so beautiful!!! I have tears in my eyes- so excited to see this all of this unfold for your family. By far my favorite follow on Instagram and the only blog I read <3 you guys are so inspiring!!

  46. Jessica Nichols says:

    CLJ is winning the internet with this overhaul, and the kitchen makeover!! I’m here for it ALL and love your vision of putting this together.

    • Chantal says:

      Agreed! Favorite content on the internet by far!!!

      Love the whole economic / fast reuse kitchen remodel and the grand scale vision of the home renos. Wonderful to have hired architect to help make your vision come true in a way that makes sense.

      You mentioned here wanting to put back in the same spot the beautiful wood arched door, yet in a story you said front door (love that idea) – won’t putting it back in the middle of the french doors break that beautiful new symmetry?

      Thank you for great read- content and stories!

    • Chantal says:

      Oops realize my mistake! I confused the two arched doors…NEVERMIND ;)

  47. Noreen says:

    Wow, this all looks amazing!!!!!????????????????

  48. Cici Haus says:

    This is so exciting! I can’t wait to see it.

  49. Heather says:

    Omg!!! I’m here for it all and watching IG like a hawk for updates. Go Chris and Julia!!!

  50. Jesseca says:

    I am so excited for the direction this is going and I have loved watching the progress. Great job!

  51. Cassandra says:

    I’m enjoying the scope of your vision. It looks like a lot of fun! Regarding the future dining room, I’m wondering if you will be adding insulation to the floor. It’s so important to making the room all season!

    • liz says:

      In the original house tour video, they had to step down to enter the dining room. I think someone asked if they had considered raising the floor to be at same level of living room. The design pictures show the same level. So, the heat/air ducts can be in the floor or even better, heated floors all around!

      Love the progress on everything!

      • Cassandra says:

        Interesting solution! That would also provide space for ducting fresh air supply to the fireplace. The large arched door at the far end would need to be accommodated, however. I’d think keeping that last bay by the door at the lower level and not trying to do anything to the floor would work perfectly. In other words, there would be a step down for just the last bay(ish). It would also provide a cold sink for air in the room. Hopefully the table doesn’t need the full room length!

  52. Corina says:

    So exciting! It will be beautiful

  53. Hannah says:

    Just wanted to let you know that it has been so fun to follow along with the progress and decisions you are making for your new house!!

  54. Angelica A says:

    Omg the renderings are so beautiful, so I can imagine how much better it will look once it’s all complete. Y’all sure are moving full speed ahead, and I am loving every minute of it. Great job Chris & Julia!

  55. MT says:

    I am just loving watching you both shape this house into your vision and go with the flow as your inspiration develops.

    Will you still be having monthly video recaps now that Jordan has moved? They were always gorgeous and I was hoping for peeks behind the scenes of you talking with your contractors/architects/other professionals that you’re pulling into this project and making your vision as reality! Like the stories video you did when your contractor was walking through the addition!

    • Julia says:

      Yes! We will. We are in transition right now but do have a new videographer starting next week. You can see July’s monthly video here though! It was Jordan’s last one.

  56. Carrie says:

    This is so fun! I can’t imagine how excited you must be! Any chance you’ll be repurposing the other arched doorway? Would it fit on the front of the house? So unique and beautiful!

  57. Kelly says:

    CLJ = Best content on the internet right now, I’m obsessed :)

  58. Maggie says:

    Wow. Wow. WOW. So inspiring.

  59. Sharon says:

    Love this comprehensive plan. It will look beautiful and function perfectly for your family. I’m so enjoying following along with you!

  60. Peggy says:

    Heiness? I think you meant Highness!
    But, other than that, these are some exciting changes! I’m enjoying the progress.

  61. Tricia says:

    This is soooo exciting!! I love following along with your progress! Y’all are amazing!

  62. Traci says:

    Lovely! Be careful with snow and that uncovered balcony. I speak from experience.m

  63. Chelsea says:

    So exciting! I love these sorts of progress what-we’re-thinking posts, can’t wait to see more. We are currently building a new home and find you and Chris endlessly inspiring. :)

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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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