North Carolina Home

Reflecting on Our Home Renovation after Two Years and Planning for the Future

May 22, 2023

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. 

Portfolio

Projects

Design

We're Chris + Julia

read more

What we're                   right now

Loving

browse the shop

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

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

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

browse all

browse all

browse all

02

01

03

Popular Posts

1.

2.

3.

Top Categories

It’s been two years since we traded our black Modern Cottage in Idaho for this North Carolinian Red Brick Modern Colonial. Two years in, and I’m amazed at how much we’ve accomplished. Renovating a home top to bottom takes time, and we’re enjoying the process as much as we can. So, in honor of our two-year mark, I wanted to share a look at where we started and where we’re at in every space in our home. Some spaces are “done” (are they ever really?), some are in progress, and some are completely untouched. Along with each space, I’ve listed out everything we’ve done and what’s still to come. Let’s take a look, starting with the outside.

Front Yard

Before

Now

Few of our projects are without controversy, and the front yard brought some feelings out for a few. It can be a hard thing for people to see “mature” landscaping ripped out for small shrubs and new plants. But this yard was overgrown and overshadowing the home and needed to be freshened up. We love being able to see the home itself better while still having it picture framed in the greenery (which will grow quickly in these Carolina rains – it’ll just get better and better).

Backyard

Before

Now

Backyard Sources

The backyard is heaven. Another controversial move: taking out so many shrubs and trees. But we can honestly say we have zero regrets (which is also the number of snakes we’ve seen on our property since clearing out all the dense greenery).

Done:

To-do:

Front Entry

Before

Now

Entry Sources

The constant throughout the home is the flooring, but the entry also dons a new, beefy newel post, a closed stringer all along the side of the staircase, new balusters, and lighting. A lot of little tweaks that make a great first impression.

Done:

To-do:

  • I’d love to install lots and lots of trim

Study

Before

Now

Study Sources

The door in the before photo led to the primary bedroom, which we had closed up before we even moved in. This room is right off the entry, so turning it into a study made the most sense, especially once we moved our business to an office down the street. This room has seen more iterations than any other, I think, but I couldn’t be happier with where we’ve landed.

Done:

To-Do:

  • It’s 95% done! We’re nearing the end of our painting dilemma, and then I’m anxious to get the shelves styled

Powder Bathroom

Before

Now

Powder Bathroom Sources

This little water closet honestly felt like something that should have belonged in our last home when we moved into it. The changes made here are so charming and fun, and any time we have guests over, they comment on this little room.

The powder bath was one of our very first projects in this house, and it’s one of the projects in this house that’s completely finished!

Primary Bedroom

Before

Now

Primary Bedroom Sources

There’s that doorway. So odd to think that putting the bed on this wall wasn’t even an option before! But now it feels like the only thing that makes sense! Every night when we retire to this room, it feels like a reward, and I’m so happy with it.

Done:

To-do:

  • I’d love to swap out the curtains in here! Other than that, I really love where this room is at.

Primary Bathroom & Closets

We’ve done absolutely nothing with the bathroom, but in the coming months, we’ll be redoing this entire space completely. New layout and all. We’re working through the final design plans now and can’t wait to share them with you all – it’s really going to be special.

Living Room

Before

Now

Living Room Sources

If you follow us on Instagram, then you know the “Now” photo on this one is a little out-of-date already. Last week we rearranged some furniture and swapped out the rug. We considered removing the fireplace and adding a large window here, but we really love using the fireplace, so we’re exploring the idea of some skylights instead. Time will tell.

Done:

To-do:

  • Add skylights
  • Add beams
  • Add trim to the walls
  • Contrast paint job
  • Marble fireplace surround
  • Possibly remove the door to the outside since we never use it
  • New furniture

Dining Room

Before

Now

Dining Room Sources

When we did our kitchen, some of the entryways shifted around a bit, giving us a more dedicated “dining room,” which I’ve loved playing with over the past couple of years. We’re loving the feel of this room, but the light fixture is getting swapped out for sure. We love how it looks, but it doesn’t quite give off enough light for a dining area. Chris keeps pushing for a new table as well, so we’ll see what changes lay ahead.

Done:

To-do:

  • I would love an extendable oval table in here at some point
  • As much as I love this lantern, it doesn’t give off a lot of light, so I’d love to swap it for something from our new Shades of Light collection
  • Can’t wait to get a vintage art gallery wall hung in here

Kitchen

Before

Now

*swoon*
My heart, every time I’m in this kitchen. We love it every day. It’s truly the central hub of our home, and we spend a lot of time with family and friends in this space. Once or twice a week, I hear Chris say, “This kitchen is such a joy to cook in.” His having his dream kitchen has been a dream come true for all of us.

Kitchen Sources

As impossible as it once seemed, the kitchen is one of the spaces in our home that’s done, which feels so good to say.

Mudroom / Cricket’s Room

Before

Now

What once was our laundry is now Cricket’s room and will most likely become a mudroom at some point. Right now, it’s serving our family well, but we know we can be more. It will be more.

Done:

  • Taken out the washer and dryer

To-do:

  • Transform this space into a mudroom
  • Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry
  • A wall faucet for cricket’s water
  • A bench and hooks
  • Built-in kennel
  • Door to outside

Back Hallway

Before

Now

Back Hallway Wallpaper

Don’t forget those hallways. The grasscloth back here is so charming, and you get the tiniest peek of it from the kitchen. I love little moments like that throughout a home – a hint of something more. Once we tackle the mudroom, we plan to put tile on the floors back here (and remedy that seasonal splitting we get in our floor each winter).

Done:

To-do:

  • Since this area gets a lot of foot traffic, I’d love to swap the wood flooring for some tile
  • Contrast trim and doors are also on my mind

Stair Landing / Music Room

Before

Now

With the exception of flooring, this space has been untouched. But we do have a vision for it and hope to have this a dedicated music room by the end of the year.

Done:

  • Installed hardwood floors
  • Upgraded the balusters

To do:

  • Transform this space into a music room with a cased opening
  • Hang guitars
  • Build-in some storage
  • Put a cute little couch up there

Polly’s Room

Before

Now

Polly’s Room Sources

Polly’s room is so… Polly. It’s perfect for her, and she loves her room so much. She especially likes to point out the unicorns I drew on her wallpaper, and I smile knowing that this rug (from our line with Loloi Rugs) carries her name because I designed it for her.

Done:

To-do:

  • Polly’s room is all but done, but I’d love to add some Roman shades
  • She’s also in need of a good closet system

Faye’s Room

Before

Now

Faye’s Room Sources

The “Now” here is also a little dated since we’ve taken out her closet and are working on her room right now. In the coming weeks, this room with be completely different, and Faye is loving helping me pick out all the finishes.

Done:

  • New bed
  • Demoed out her closet
  • Patched the flooring

To-do:

Jack and Jill Bathroom

This is the bathroom between Faye and Polly’s rooms, and it will be getting a full gut. Today? No. But someday.

Greta’s Room

Before

Now

Greta’s Room Sources

Greta loves her room. Maybe a little too much, since she’s now at the age where she just likes to lock herself away in here, but I love knowing that she is reflected here so much. We still have some plans for this space, but with the closet, paint, curtains, and furniture, it’s in a good place for her right now.

Done:

To-do:

  • I really want to make her room special for her
  • New light fixture
  • I want to do built-in bookcases somewhere
  • Window seat

Greta’s Bathroom

Before

Now

Greta’s Bathroom Sources

It feels so good to walk into these back hallways and see Greta’s bathroom with the laundry across from it. Because I know what they used to be, and I know how much better they are now. This bathroom took a bit of work to get right, also not without its own controversies, but it turned out just how I envisioned, and it’s perfect for Greta.

Greta’s bathroom is totally done!

Laundry Room

Before

Now

Laundry Room Sources

We divided this room by putting a wall down the middle, turning this side into a laundry and the other side into storage for now. We’ve been involved in a few laundry projects in our day, and this is by far the most usable, functional, and beautiful laundry room we’ve done. It’s trite to say, but it really does make doing laundry enjoyable.

The laundry room is totally done!

Storage Room

Before

Now

This storage area is on the other side of the room we partitioned. It doesn’t have lights, and it’s full of junk right now, but someday it will be perfectly organized and functional. Right?

Done:

  • This storage closet is the other half of what got transformed into the laundry room, and it’s going to remain a storage closet

To-do:

  • Someday we’ll install loads of shelves and cabinetry to keep everything nice and organized
  • We’ll also need to texture and paint that drywall at some point

Bonus Room

Before

Now

Bonus Room Sources

Probably our girls’ favorite room. Here we do homework and studies, as well as play games, watch shows, and have family movie nights. Chris built the hidden door for the storage space, and we added the desk, lockers, and cabinets. On a rainy day, I love to sit in this room, curled up, watching the rain in the trees outside the window. It’s just cozy in here.

Done:

To-do:

  • Make window seat cushions, which feels like an impossible task
  • I’d also love to do a runner going up the stairs with a gallery wall of family pics along the stairwell

Playroom / Rec Room

Before

Now

Basket | Fabric Tent | Humphrey Rug | Wooden Desk | Faux Fur Chair | Lamp | White Planter | Faux Tree

We originally planned to use this as the office for our team, but our city had other plans. But that’s ok, because moving our team into an office allowed us to close off the stairs here and turn this into an amazing bonus room. It’s nice when we have company over, being able to send the kids up here to play.

Done:

  • Reconfigured the layout a bit by taking out the bar and wine cellar and adding a closet
  • The purpose of the room transformed from a team office space to a rec room/playroom
  • Upgraded the lighting
  • Removed the staircase that led to the gym

To-do:

  • Wood paneled trim everywhere
  • I’d love to do built-in bunks, but Chris isn’t so sure about that
  • a nice big sectional and a gaming area, possibly with a ping-pong table or something
  • Powder bath makeover

Gym

Before

Now

Gym Sources

This space was at the bottom of the stairs that came down from the bonus room. Now that the stairs are closed off, it’s the perfect little workout area and looks great with our peel-and-stick floor tiles. Though we have plans for this space as well, though that will likely be a 2024 project.

Done:

  • Here’s what the gym looks like finished
  • We removed the stairwell from the rec room, so now the only entrance is from the outside

To-do:

  • Keep reading about the guest house to find out what the future of the gym entails 😬

Guest House

Before

Now

Guest House Sources

Painting the waterlogged, warped flooring in here was one of my best ideas, and I don’t care who hears it. This entire guest house will eventually get a makeover, but for now, we love knowing we have it for when family or friends come to visit. Everyone comments on how they feel like they’re staying at a boutique hotel. It’s fun having a space dedicated for our guests.

Done:

To-do:

We actually have big plans for the guest house, which include taking out the gym to add more square footage to what we envision to be a whole guest apartment! Right now, it’s an open floorplan concept, but we envision a bedroom with a door, a living area, and a kitchen, and we’ll be transforming the bathroom into the official pool bathroom! We can hardly wait to make better use of this space.

So how many spaces have you been here for? Anything you see that you missed? Anything you saw that isn’t mentioned? It’s hard to believe we’ve been working on this home for as long as we lived in our last home, but it feels so good knowing we aren’t going anywhere, and we get to continue uncovering the full potential of every room, bit by bit.

Leave a Reply

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

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

What do you think?

  1. Meryl King says:

    So many projects including the new window you installed at the end of the hall! Love seeing these before and afters and following along during the process!

  2. Lindsey Taylor says:

    Love love love everything!! But have you considered a dog bath in Cricket’s room?! It’s nice when pups get muddy to bring them through the new door you mentioned to the outside and pop them right in the pup tub.

  3. Christina says:

    Love watching the transformation and creative adjustments of your beautiful home. Just curious if you’ve given thought to adding a dog washing station to your mudroom since you have plumbing? You may not have the room, but they really come in handy!

  4. Joanna says:

    I love everything you have done! You have such great vision.
    I’m happy you are thinking of keeping the fireplace in your living room. I think the fireplace flanked by the windows is a real statement, plus fireplaces are so cozy in the colder months.

  5. Suzanne Kiernan says:

    Everything you do looks amazing!! I just bought SW white flour, then saw it in your home 😍. The trim looks a different color. Is it? Or is the finish different on the walls and trim? Thank you!

  6. kiki says:

    OMG, does anyone know where that table is from at the stair landing / music room? it’s JUST what I’ve been looking for! Or, if it’s an antique, what style it is??

  7. Joan Birkins says:

    Dark and gloomy rooms for children and relaxation. Outside done beautifully

  8. LINDA C BENJAMIN says:

    I’ve followed along for most of the Instagram posts and stories about this house. My favorite redo is Greta’s bathroom. I want one just like it! I’m most excited to see your future master bath and closet redo, as your last one in the Idaho house was soooo good! I love all your outdoor spaces, and am happy you get to enjoy it so much, but they are far beyond anything I could hope for, so I love most the spaces that I can relate to and
    seem somewhat attainable to me.

  9. Lrc says:

    In the primary bedroom sources list, I don’t see your night stands linked. I’m looking for some just like that! Could you share or is there a reason they haven’t already been shared? Thanks!

  10. Alix says:

    Do you have any plans to replace all of the interior doors so they are in line with the level of formality and glamour of the rest of the house?

  11. Mason Leskowitz says:

    What ever happened with the moving company?

  12. Julie says:

    Loved reading this and seeing all your stunning afters! You all are such an incredible inspiration. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Tracey Ridenour says:

    I’m excited every day to see what you’ve done. I hope there are plans even past this house, you are such an inspiration home wise!!

  14. Amanda says:

    You guys should have you fireplace checked out! There shouldn’t be the soot/black spot on the surround if it is working properly! Safety first! Maybe a good segment on how to take care of a wood burning fireplace!

  15. Jenny B says:

    This was amazing. And each room was a beautiful after. I have been following you forever, and love how your style has matured and evolved as you’ve learned and grown. It’s like the 10,000 hours of practice – the more you do, the more you study, the better you get.

  16. Lindsay says:

    These transformations have been so fun watching from afar. I’m *so* appreciative of being able to see the process. Not just the pretty “finished” look— bc honestly, is anything in home-living ever truly finished? Ha! I can’t wait to see what you have in store for your bathroom and the guesthouse— so exciting! How’s the garage space in CLJModernColonial? Where or how do you store all the outdoor supplies and kid-gear. Love following along! Thanks!!

  17. Tarynkay says:

    I think that the people who are upset by your removal of mature landscaping (and replacement with plastic plants) are upset because doing this also removed habitats for wildlife like snakes. Not seeing snakes is not actually a good thing. They are very important in keeping down rodent and tic populations. You don’t need to worry about your kids or dog around snakes, we do not have any snakes large enough in NC to be a threat. Neither kids nor dogs are in their food chains. Even copperheads are not a
    problem as long as you don’t mess
    with them, though if you are nervous, you can have them relocated by a professional.

  18. Sarah says:

    Have you ever shared a floorplan? I have a hard time envisioning how everything connects together when you show each room on its own!

  19. Meghan S says:

    Loved seeing all of these projects happen! So excited for the primary bathroom renovation. Isn’t there a bathroom in the bonus room or did you guys have that removed?

  20. angelica ayala says:

    Beautiful work. Loved following all the changes along with the ups and downs. Except for the study. I’m ready to see that space left alone. Lol

  21. Sarah says:

    Where are the master bedroom nightstands from? Gorgeous renovations!

  22. Rosario Lago says:

    Congrats on such a beautiful home!

  23. Catherine says:

    Wow! So much progress on that time!

    Since you have plumbing already in your future mudroom, have you considered a dog bath? There are some seriously beautiful ones out there for inspo. I don’t even have a dog but I want one 😂 Seems like it would be great for muddy boots, etc!

  24. Rebecca says:

    Wow! Great post and am in complete awe of your talent and vision. So many questions now! Will you “move” the gym to another spot in your house? How will the pool bath work when you have guests? Not a question, so excited to see the plans for your bathroom closet situation. That had to have been a big adjustment from your last house. Love following you and watch you work magic & lift others in this same space. Inspiring!

  25. Lauren says:

    It’s incredible how much you’ve accomplished in the two years you’ve been here! I’ve been here since long before the previous home, and enjoy the decision making process you share with us. My favorite so far has been the kitchen and front/back yards. Although, with a primary bathroom reno coming soon, I may reserve the right to change mind. No one does a bathroom like CLJ, and I am so excited for y’all to have a bathroom that suites your taste and your home. Lovingly following everything with all the squeals! Xo

  26. Alesha says:

    I’ve been here through it all and is been so fun watching your home take shape! Y’all are my favorite design “show” 😄 The kitchen project was probably my favorite because I also love a good kitchen space! Out of curiosity, what do you plan to do with your home gym when you do the guest house project?

    • We’re still working on the layout of the entire guest house. There may be room to squeeze some pieces in! Otherwise, we may finish the attic for the gym!

      • Christina says:

        Your attic storage was the only project I noticed missing from the roundup. Would the storage room next to the bonus room work for the gym or is it not big enough? Love the transformation so far!

  27. Debbie Jones says:

    Didn’t you install a beautiful oval window at the end of a hallway at one point?

  28. Brianne Gentry says:

    Your home is absolutely beautiful! My two cents – I think you should turn your living room door (that goes to the outside) into a floor to “ceiling” window (ceiling being the same height as fireplace structure) and then match the right side window the same way. That way no sky lights ANNND more light?? Maybe, idk. Terrible idea? Idk? Or do ACTUAL floor to ceiling windows and add a small rectangle window above the fire place to make it all appear the same height. I love floor to ceiling windows 😍😍

  29. Monica says:

    Wow- big plans for the future- looking forward to seeing how you connect the guest house spaces. Also, wondering if you had a bit of an issue with a fire in your fireplace\- Looks like your fireplace surround in the living room is scorched a bit!

  30. steph says:

    When you have hundreds of thousands of dollars to throw towards a house its not that hard to get things done. I mean, just your back yard cost more than I paid for my house… over 100000 more.

    • Miruska says:

      Why are you following them if it bothers you to see them spending their own money they earned by themselves without hurting anybody else in the process? And then commenting on it like that. Just stop following, it will clearly do you good.

    • Tiffany Fernelius says:

      If you’ve never done it how would you know?! 😂

    • Dawn says:

      Looking for where in this post she said it was hard. Hmm.

  31. Mia says:

    Can’t wait to see your bathroom!!!

  32. Chelsea says:

    I love the list idea for each room (done vs. to-do)!

  33. Lauren says:

    Love this! Where will you guys move the gym to?

  34. Marina says:

    The perfectly organized attic!

    • Lisa S. says:

      I love seeing all the transformations! Are there plans to put a gym in elsewhere? I’d love to see a floor plan of the house since so much as changed. Truly stunning work!

  35. Linds says:

    Stunning!! I think the bonus room transformation is my fav! Can’t wait to see the Primary Bathroom & Closets!

all the latest

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

read more

Load More

Reader Faves

SHop all

What We're                     Right Now

What We're                 Right Now

Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop. 

Loving

looking for inspiration? 

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

Can We Send You Our Love Letter?

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

Follow Along on Instagram

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

@chrislovesjulia