Design

The Good, The Bad, Would We Do It Again?

April 9, 2018  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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

Every year, we tally up our most asked about questions regarding things in our home and give you our honest review of them, including the good, the bad, and would we really buy/do it again?

In 2017, we covered our (old) living room coffee table that we wouldn’t do again and since replaced, the craft table in the family room, the fan in our bedroom, our toy storage, our office chairs (also have since been replaced), our master bedroom bed which has been 100% improved from that post with the addition of our sleep number, the sectional in our family room, and our faux wood tile floors.

In 2016, we covered the glider in the nursery (which is still going strong!), our dining table which we’ll touch on again this year, our entry rug and our white concrete countertops! And a few other things that are no longer in our home–so you can imagine they didn’t score well.

Here are some updates on 8 specific items in our home, after the honeymoon phase:

1. IKEA Cabinetry (Laxarby Finish)

The Good
We have used IKEA cabinets, closets and shelves in quite a few of our most popular projects. They’re affordable, easy to assemble, and really versatile with a little imagination (looking at you, fauxdenza…which is not a part of our entertainment built-ins). We also love the customization options of the kitchen cabinet line (see a video tour inside our cabinets right here), and how all the drawers and doors come default with soft-close hinges. These cabinets have held up amazingly well, and by splurging a bit on hardware, nobody would ever guess they’re IKEA. (Like, no one even believes us when we tag it right there on Instagram.)
The Bad
The only thing that is a bit of a downer is the colors of the cabinet boxes themselves. They come in white and a dark, wood-grain look brown. If you’re using black cabinet fronts (like we did), you have to plan for the matching filler pieces and trim to cover up as much of it as possible. The brown peeks out in a few inconspicuous places in our kitchen (like maybe between the cracks of two cabinet doors), but not enough to really bother us. But it would be nice for IKEA to offer maybe a lighter wood tone and black. The other bad is we hear they are discontinuing the Laxarby finish. Which has me thinking so many crazy thoughts like, “are we EVER EVER going to want upper cabinets for the sink side?!”
Would we do it again
Emphatically, yes. They’re incredibly sturdy, functional, customizable and affordable. We would do them again, and we will do them again in our cabin, hopefully later this year.

2. Outdoor Fireplace

The Good

Our outdoor fireplace really makes our entire backyard experience. For such a large deck, you need a focal point to ground the space and help it feel cozy. Our fireplace makes the deck feel like an extension of our home, and with neighboring homes that are quite close, coupled with the trees it makes the backyard feel private.
The Bad
Because we built it ourselves (see how right here), we didn’t want to deal with gas lines and all that. Looking back we should have planned it out better and just had a gas line run before adding the decking (but after the post holes had been dug – safety first) then installed an outdoor gas fireplace. But we love the crackle of a fire and the glow of real wood embers, so we went with wood burning. In reality, the task of building a fire, tending it for hours and cleaning up the ash turned the fireplace into a “special occasion” item, and we rarely used it.
But back to the good for a second–we fixed that late last summer! We had a gas line run under the deck and out to the fireplace, and added an outdoor, gas burner. It lights up beautifully, instantly, is so warm, and much more convenient to use.
Would we do it again
Definitely yes, but we would have planned for gas in the beginning.
3. BluDot Branch Dining Table
The Good
We purchased this table specifically because it is a little more narrow, so it fits perfectly in our great room without crowding either the sitting area or kitchen. We also love the color and how sturdy it is. The finish is hard as a rock and it holds up to daily use like a champ. Really, it’s an amazing, heavy, quality piece of furniture.
The Bad
The only thing we don’t love about this table is the texture on the top. It’s really quite rough, and there are hundreds of tiny ridges in the wood grain where food specs and play dough gather. Our oldest doesn’t even like doing homework on it. We have to use a stiff bristle brush to clean it out.
Would we do it again

I think yes, just because it’s taken such a beating and still looks beautiful and new. But we might try to see what we can do about the top. If we can figure out how to match the color and finish, we may just plane the top ourselves and make it smooth. Anyone with experience doing something similar?

4. Low Back (plastic!) Spindle Dining Room Chairs
The Good
We got these chairs for our dining room in December, but we actually have had 1 that I used as my office chair for years! So we knew we would like them. They’re very stable and secure and comfortable and wipeable. The lower backs don’t create an intersect across the open sight line of our great room. And! Because they are molded plastic and not wood, even when they get scratch, you can’t tell because the scratch is black! We’ve had so many of our older black wood windsor chairs get scratched from back pockets or shoes from little ones–I felt like I was always touching them up. I haven’t touched these once. They are also stackable, which is nice. We generally live with 6 around our table and have 2 stacked and stored away.
The bad
I think they might be getting discontinued. They are still sold out everywhere from when I posted them after we bought them. One reader finally emailed a retailer and they said that they were almost losing money on them (so up the price!?) and weren’t sure if they were getting them back in stock. Of course this is bad for everyone that wanted them, especially after my glowing review, but it also makes me bummed every time anyone asks where we got them and I don’t have an option to give them.Would we do it again
Yes! These chairs feel classic and easy with kids. I’m going to hunt around for some similar ones.

5. Crate & Barrel Yukon Coffee Table

The Good
Last July, we sold our metal coffee table and purchased this one from Crate & Barrel and we truly love it. Almost everyone that comes over compliments it and touches the butterfly joints and looks underneath to see if it’s really beautiful there, too. It’s actually even prettier in person than it is online. It’s substantial for little Polly (or even me!) to pull herself up on without any fear of it toppling. Heck, sometimes it doubles as a bench when we have a big party and people are looking for a spare place to sit. We also love the warm wood tone it adds.

The Bad
I’m not sure if I’m supposed to oil the wood, or what! The wood tone is beautiful, but if I wipe it down with a wet rag after a spill or stickiness occurs, I see its depth and whoa! But then it dries quite a bit lighter. I might try oiling it? I just don’t want to ruin a good thing.

Would we do it again
Yes! It was a larger purchase and I remember buying a coupon on eBay and still taking the weekend to think it over. But now, I would have paid full price in a heartbeat. It’s the anchor of the living room.

6.  Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Upright Vacuum
The Good
The power. It’s really no joke – these Dyson vacuums have a lot of sucking power and they clean up our carpets amazingly well. With three little girls, my postpartum hair loss (that won’t quit!) and a big, hairy, shedding dog–a good vacuum is a must around here. We’re constantly emptying the canister like, what?! how?! I just did this! But in a good way. There’s also no filters to change or clean, which makes it easy.

The Bad
For being so expensive, they feel kinda cheaply made. (Do you agree?) When you assemble it a lot of the pieces just snap in place and they feel a bit loose. If you get the large one (like we have) it is pretty clunky and not great for vacuuming stairs. There’s nothing smooth about moving it from its locked upright position to the ready-to-vacuum position–more like, am I doing this right? I just pull until it comes down? The hose tool doesn’t do well with tight angles and the overall sucking power isn’t noticeably greater than our old Shark vacuum, which we still have–and feels like a smoother product.
Would we do it again
No, I don’t think so. Knowing what we know now, we probably would have just sprung for a higher end Shark vacuum – and probably will, sometime in the coming months.

7. World Market Outdoor Lounge Furniture

The good:
Honestly, you can’t beat the price for looks on this outdoor furniture, which is why we bought this sofa x2 two years ago. (Psst! They are having their big 20% off outdoor furniture + free shipping sale right now here–this is when we scored the best deal when we bought ours!) We sprayed the cushions immediately with outdoor scotch guard and they have stayed looking pretty good through two complete seasons.

The bad:
The cushion covers are pretty hard to get back on if you do opt to throw them in the wash. After a couple times, I decided it wasn’t worth the effort and resorted to surface washing instead (you can see how we did that in this post).  Also, you aren’t going to sink into the cushions–they are more  stiff/firm. They do soften over time and we actually don’t mind them, but some might.

Would we do it again?
Funny enough, we just did! For the past 2 years we had 3 smaller 2-seater sofas out there and two chairs and it always felt a little crowded. So, we decided to take advantage of the sale and we purchased two three-seater sofas (these! they have a slightly different look I’m excited about!) that will seat the same amount of people as all three sofas, but give us more breathing room. We’re anxious for them to get here.

8. Wall-to-Wall Carpet in the basement

The good
We wrote an update on our carpet last June after having it for about a year and a half right here, so I guess that means we’re over the 2 year mark. The pattern is still pristine with no visible tracks or faded walkway areas which we’re thrilled about. Another good thing to note (although a little gross) when Willow was ill a few weeks ago, she went to the bathroom in the basement and it cleaned up soooo easily (I used this) and left behind no smells or signs of it ever happening. (Ps. Willow has made a full recovery and seems to be back to her sweet self.)

The bad
Two months ago, one of our girls received a Make-Your-Own Bath Bomb kit and opened it without my knowing. It had dye in the kit and some bright pink and blue dye got on the carpet. Two spots, one the size of a quarter and one the size of a jelly bean. I called the carpet cleaner right away and they couldn’t get it out. I’m still not convinced it won’t come out–even though they said they tried their strongest stuff. I just feel like THERE HAS TO BE A WAY. Because it is a StainMaster carpet, I’m also looking into our warranty.

Would we do it again
Carpet–yes! We love the lightness and comfort it adds to our downstairs. The subtle pattern feels fresh and hasn’t worn a bit. The DIY Bath Bomb Kit–no. way. 

Hope this answers any burning questions you have! If I missed anything, feel free to ask in the comments! Check out the Shop Our House page for all the sources in our home!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

What do you think?

  1. Kristin Bergman says:

    We are painting our cabinets and I love the look of black but I’m worried it will feel too heavy to paint all the uppers and lowers black. Shelving isn’t an option so I’m debating on doing the uppers white. I’ve also seen a lot more of the wood tones coming back on trend. Would black and a medium/dark wood island look better? HELP!

  2. Karen says:

    Your thoughts on the Dyson were spot on in my opinion! We have a dyson and a shark and I would choose shark every time. The dyson does feel cheap to me, for the price we paid, and it’s not that much better (if at all) then the shark – which was a fraction of the price. If I’m going to spend that kind of money – I need something pretty darn amazing. I’m now in the market for a good robot vacuum.

  3. Sherri says:

    These were all good to know. You may want to try club soda on the stains from the dye on the carpet. I once was making Christmas ornaments and spilled some of the paint on the carpet. ( those small bottles from Michael’s.) It came out beautifully, and I have used it on other stains as well.

  4. Luisa says:

    Great post! I’m taking all kinds of notes for the moment when we finally buy our house and we get to donthe reno ourselves.
    I have two things that maybe could help you: I’m not very up to date with your hair loss situation bit have tou tried taking vitamin D? It helped my hairloss that came out of nowhere. And as for the carpet, I do hot vinegar and baking soda on spots on mine and sometimes it works really well. I haven’t had a dye issue but maybe that help?

  5. Patrice says:

    Wow I’m surprised about the Dyson! And so glad you gave such an honest review. I’ Been debating buying it for over a year now. Amazon reviews are all mixed, and it’s such an expensive purchase.
    Thanks Julia

  6. Linda says:

    We have a Sebo vacuum that we got three years ago, it was cough *$800* gag but it’s like the German sports car of vacuums. Here’s why I love it
    1. Parts are available and it’s easily repaired (so like add up all the cheap vacuums you’ve ever bought and then they can’t be fixed when they start to not work so well! I wanted something that could be repaired
    2. It has a 50’ cord so I can get the whole
    House off of one outlet
    3. The tube comes out to clean the baseboards/whatever then goes right back in really easily, which is great for dog hair. No switching modes or buttons or anything.
    4. There is a warning light for clogs and gasp a trap door so it’s really easy to clear them out

    It’s so sturdy and simple, not a lot of parts to break and I really like it. The local shop I got it from also does repairs and used vacuum sales and he said he never gets them in because people don’t start hating them lol you know that vacuum hate

  7. Allie says:

    My mom has her own house cleaning business and swears by Oreck vacuums. I have one that she handed down to me when she upgraded and I love it!!

  8. andrea says:

    What about your Frigidaire appliances?! Specifically the range. Looking ahead to a kitchen remodel and am gathering all the appliance info i can! thanks :)

  9. Katy says:

    I love the look of your kitchen. We are doing Ikea cabinets with black fronts in our kitchen, but I could not get over the office furniture brown boxes. We actually opted for the white boxes. I figured it would look intentional with the white drawers. On the front edges we added a black edge banding so you wouldn’t see white in between the gaps. They are just going in now and it looks great, I just hope it holds up!

  10. Katie says:

    My husband and I recently bought the same kitchen table after I fell in love with yours! We love it, but I definitely agree with how textured it is! I’m not sure if I would try to sand or plane it down…I think that might ruin it, but maybe a coating of some sort? I think glass would ruin the esthetic of the table too/I don’t want to deal with cleaning a glass table 10 times a day! Let us know if you figure something out!

    Also, would LOVE IT if you found alternatives for your chairs. Love the low back and really can’t find anything that I like as much that isn’t $300+ a chair!

    Really enjoy this kind of post!!

    • CJ says:

      I agree! Would love if you found alternatives to your chairs. I love that yours look high end but are easy to clean up and wear well. With children that’s so important!

  11. A says:

    Look into the Rainbow vacuum. In fact, I bet your mom has seen one or even a grandparent has. My grandma had the old metal base one. These work amazingly well with dog hair and long haired girls…. also as a first time mom, I would vacuum until the water was clean, then I knew the carpet was clean enough to put the baby blanket & baby down on it. It worked great every time we moved, we heard from the landlord- “oh yes, we just had the carpets cleaned for you” and so I would vacuum before moving stuff in and got up all the leftover soap in the dry carpet. We received one as a wedding gift and it’s still going strong 22 years later. It comes with carpet, floor, upholstery attachments and crevice tools. Check out their website. I would give the vacuum a 10 out of 10.

  12. Kim says:

    May I ask where the vase on your kitchen table is from?

  13. Bri says:

    Thanks for this post! I was just wondering how the wood holds up in inclement weather on the outdoor couches from World Market? I worry we won’t always be able to cover them when it rains! Thanks :)

  14. Amy says:

    Your dining room chairs – a possible equivalent: they are solid plastic (techinically fiberglass-injected polypropylene), black, stackable, and look like wooden windsor-styled chairs.

    http://www.dwr.com/new-arrivals/woody-armchair/2513589.html?

    Love these follow-ups by the way – very informative.

  15. Em says:

    Great post! Thank you so much for your honest reviews! I’m not sure if you’ve covered this before but what are your thoughts on your outdoor table?

    It’s the Ikea Applaro right? I’m looking into it right now and see some glowing reviews and then some not so great reviews (primarily to do with the stain coming off unevenly). Would you buy it again? Do you maintain it in any way? I tried doing a search but the deck reveal was the only post that came up so apologies if you’ve covered this!

    • Julia says:

      We have had great luck with the Applaro and you can’t be at the price! One bad thing is the extensions don’t feel 100% secure. I wouldn’t let a child sit on the table (I mean, why would you–but still). I think the finish really depends on the climate where you live. We don’t have terribly harsh summers. We have thought about getting a round dining table for our deck, for space design only, but that would be the only reason I forsee getting a different one!

      • Em says:

        Good to know about the table extensions! I’ve got 3 littles and although we wouldn’t sit them on the table it’s something to think about that hasn’t come up in other reviews! Thanks so much again for the honest take on it!

  16. Candice Hiebert says:

    Try taking a clean white rag placing it over the stain, and then iron over top of the rag. I don’t dont the science behind this but we did this to my basement carpet that my sister previously owned and her kids dumped red cool aid…….. and I got it all out by the white rag and an iron!!! So crazy!

  17. Lindsey says:

    Have you reviewed your sectional downstairs? Just wondering if you’d do that again?

  18. Yira says:

    Awesome post!!!
    Love you & Chris!
    Miss the podcast but still appreciate all your sharing
    Keep em coming

  19. Jodi says:

    For your carpet stain, I would try WD40. I once absentmindedly placed a rag full of wood stain down on my new carpet. Nothing I tried touched the stain, but then I read about wd40 and the stain was gone in minutes. Just spray and blot. Then use a steam cleaner or soapy water to remove the wd40 so that it won’t attract dirt in the future. For me, it was a miracle fix!

  20. Ashley Holdsworth says:

    Have you tried Folex Upholstery Cleaner on your carpet? I read about it years ago on Jenny Komenda’s blog for cleaning vintage upholstery and carpets. It’s AMAZING! I have yet to have a stain it can’t remove, sometimes it takes a few tries but it always does. And perfect for sofas, drapes, etc. I give a gallon now to friends with new babies….baby spit up, kids are gross and dirty! I even used it on our new wool carpet after spilling nail polish. Fits a bad stain, I blot with sparkling water first, then Folex a few times depending on stain, for pet stains I finish with vinegar if necessary. Normally though just spray with Folex, and forget about it!

    Worth a shot, it’s on Amazon and Lowes sometimes has it too.

  21. Leslie says:

    At the beginning of the post you mention your issues with your West Elm Platform bed being resolved with your new mattress. I was just about to order it until I read “the bad” in your 2017 post! So the issues with the side rails tilting out and the legs getting bent are all gone? I really love the look of it, but don’t want to get it if the quality is poor. Thanks!

    • Chris says:

      The issue was from our installer. He did it all wrong and so the side rails weren’t secure. Now our platform doesn’t put weight on the side rails so it’s not an issue, but I’m sure most other installers would do it correctly.

  22. Jill Parham says:

    Hello! I love your page, it has inspired me in my new home. Would you do the wood type porcelain tile all over your upstairs again, specifically in the bedroom? Is it still cozy in the winter? I would love any feedback!

  23. Crystal says:

    These aren’t quite the same chairs but similar from ikea. I don’t think they stack but they were surprisingly comfortable: https://m.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/art/70206804/

  24. Michelle says:

    I ordered the dining chairs in white right after you originally posted about them. I am SOOO glad I did! Like you said, they’ve been out of stock since and seriously, they are the best! I have 2 young girls and between them and all the cousins they get a lot of use! Not to mention crumbs and stickiness. Plastic is so brilliant! I hope they bring them back and yes, just up the price if that’s the problem! ha!

  25. Gaylene says:

    I’m curious about your piano bench. We have a used piano and the bench is pretty beat up. I love the interesting bench you guys are using. What is it?

  26. MelissaB says:

    Ok I have some input…

    Don’t go thru the hassle of sanding your dining table! Use this stuff ( https://www.amazon.com/Aqua-Coat-Filler-Drying-Environmentally/dp/B00LEFWGWA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1523306850&sr=8-2&keywords=aqua+coat+clear+wood+grain+filler ) – magic people. It’s so easy easy to use. Do 3-4 coats spaced 30-45 minutes apart and use a scraper diagonally across the grain. Lightly sand 320 paper in between to smooth any burs or humps you may have created during application. It dries fast, doesn’t have a toxic smell and is really user friendly. This will get you a super smooth finish without harming the current stain or look of the table. BEST WOOD FILLER EVER. Then follow up with a poly or top coat of your choice to seal it all. Tip a little goes a long way so you could get away with the smaller jar no problem.

    Also yes you probably should oil your wood furniture to keep it from cracking and prematurely aging – I like to use Howards Feed N Wax – beeswax and orange oil. ( https://www.amazon.com/Howard-FW0016-Feed-N-Wax-Conditioner-16-Ounce/dp/B001BKQYGW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523307509&sr=8-1&keywords=howards+feed-n-wax ) I’m actually going to try this stuff though ( https://food52.com/shop/products/4244-beeswax-wood-conditioner ) since I can also use it without worry on my cutting boards and wooden kitchen tools. It looks a little nicer than the current Howard’s stuff I use but still have it in my Food52 cart so I’m not sure. Note the Howards will leave it a little tacky or greasy feeling while the wood absorbs it all but it feeds the wood and leaves it with such a nice finish. Use the Howard’s stuff when you can open up the windows and leave the wood to absorb it all for two days.

    • MelissaB says:

      Also I only do the Howards like once a year (could prob do twice a year but who has time for that #businessowner/#momlife) on my wood items and it seems to keep things nice.

  27. Lori says:

    For the stain – pour hot water on it and use a shop vac to suck it up… This method pulled black food coloring out of my moms carpet!

  28. Julie Marquez says:

    There has to be some sort of resin, poly, or epoxy you could use to clear coat the table that would smooth out the grooves. Great post!

  29. Amanda D. says:

    Thank you so much for posting about your outdoor fireplace! We built the exact same fireplace and are finally installing our deck this spring :-) We haven’t put on the deck boards yet, so that tip about the gas line is wonderful and perfect timing!! Are you able to link to the gas burner you added please – is that a fake log set? Also, my contractor was questioning this fireplace layout and whether embers sparking out from the fire would melt the deck or be a fire hazard, without there being any kind of hearth on the fireplace. Have you ever had a problem with this?? Do you put any type of protective screen in front when you have a fire going, or does it not seem to be an issue? I guess maybe the gas burner is less of a hazard than a real fire? I really appreciate your feedback! Your home has been such an inspiration to our (never ending) home remodel – definitely stole ideas for your TV built in and shiplap accent wall, as well as this fireplace, and love them so much! :-)

    • Chris says:

      We had a couple small embers pop out, but they didn’t do anything to the deck. For that reason, we were at one point going to buy a screen for the front, but instead just decided to make it gas so we didn’t have to worry about it at all.

      Here is the set we bought. It comes with the faux logs, glowing embers for underneath (which look surprisingly real) and the burner itself.

      • Amanda D. says:

        Awesome, thank you so much! Yeah, I realized after I posted that the gas logs wouldn’t have any embers at all, lol, so it sounds like that solves that whole problem and also adds the huge convenience factor, so I think that’s our plan too :-) Thanks!!

  30. Ali says:

    Try boiling hot water on your stain. I have yet to find a stain that it has not brought up! And it’s FREE!

    • mary says:

      Just pour it on?? Can’t picture how this works but need a solution for a bad stain : /

      • Candice says:

        I do this too. Put on a tea kettle of water, and grab several clean, white bath towels, an iron, and paper towels. Pour the hot water on the stain, cover with towel, apply iron (on high steam setting) for about 10 seconds. Then reposition the towel to a dry spot and repeat. You may have to do this several times. I usually finish up with paper towels and the iron for just 2-3 seconds. You will see your stain on the clean towels, it’s kind of horrifying!

      • mary says:

        Thanks so much!!

  31. Jones says:

    Can you tell me how the dresser in your entry has help up? Does it still feel solid with smooth drawers after daily opening and closing? It’s in my cart on Wayfair but I’d like one last push to purchase. Thank you!

    • Julia says:

      The drawers are smooth–we really like it! It is a budget dresser so I don’t expect it to last forever, but we love the look and the function.

  32. Sherri says:

    I’m shocked to hear you say that about the Dyson but then again, I’m going off a 15+ year old one for reference. I LOVE ours – so much- and am thinking it’s about time for a newer one. We’ve maintained it well – replaced hoses and filters and things that have broken over time and it’s served us very well. BUT – we don’t have carpet on our entire main floor any longer – only upstairs, and for the carpet/wood I agree with your comments. Maybe I’ll find a place upstairs to store it and get a smaller, easier vacuum to use downstairs.

    I know you updated us on your counters a while back, but I’m still curious. Like even now after more time has passed, still yes?? I wonder if I’d do it and then regret not just getting quartz or something.

    • Julia says:

      There are a few places that we need to sand and reseal our concrete countertops. So, we wanted to do that to make sure it was possible before giving you a full update on them. We’re still in love with them though. But there are about 3 small spots where the sealer chipped and it is a little darker that we’d like to fix, if possible.

  33. Hallie says:

    So glad to hear about Willow! I was wondering how she was doing.

  34. Beret says:

    You seem to allude to it but how is your Sleep Number holding up?

  35. Amy says:

    Two words: Miele vacuum. I thought my husband was nuts when he wanted to get one because they are pricey BUT now that we have one we will never have any other vacuum again. Worth every penny especially with dog hair. We have the Miele Cat and Dog.

    • Julia says:

      do you have the upright?

    • Jennifer T. says:

      Ditto! I have two Miele vacuums – a White Star canister and Dog and Cat upright and they are both amazing. The canister is 15 years old and works perfectly. Worth every penny.

  36. Erin says:

    I want to buy that same sofa from world market! does anyone know if they have a bigger sale for memorial day I should be patient for, or go ahead for the 20% sale?

  37. Ashley says:

    Would love to know the good/bad on your ID sectional! :) :)

    • Julia says:

      The good: It is so comfortable, lounge-y, the best part about family movie nights! We all sprawl out on it and there’s room for plenty more. It also cleans up really well.

      The bad: The cushions need kneading every once in a while. Especially the back cushions. I usually fluff and do some kneading about once a month to get them looking back to new.

      Would we do it again: Yes! It feels like a member of the family.

  38. Amber Sessoms says:

    I’m obsessed with your blog, and I tell all my friends to check it out because I’m inspired daily! I’d love some more information about your gas fireplace insert. We currently have a gas line, and I’d love to install something similar in our outdoor space. Would you mind sharing what insert you decided to purchase? Thank you!!!

  39. Hilary says:

    How about your outdoor rug? The one we had didn’t last long and i’m Wondering if I should upgrade or just accept that it isn’t a long lasting piece?

    • Julia says:

      We actually got a new outdoor rug this year (it just arrived!) only because our last one was so thick, it kind of took a while to dry. It feels so soft, just probably better for a covered area.

  40. Elizabeth says:

    Do you bring your outdoor couch cushions inside during inclement weather? Do you leave the couches out in the winter?

  41. Danielle S. says:

    How does the outdoor Scotchguard do with regards to bird droppings? We have some cushions that sit under a tree and get some droppings on them. Does the scotchguard make spot cleaning easier?

  42. Sarah says:

    if you do search for the chairs (that are sold out everywhere) let us all know what f there is also a counter stool option too. I would love those as stools!
    Love the post!

  43. Sharleen says:

    Love th coffee table – we have a dining table similar and Inkeepnotnconsitioned with a beeswax – keeps enoighnmoisture in it over the dry winter but doesn’t change the color.
    I bought it on Amazon – Howard Feed and Polish. It’s the best!

  44. Michelle says:

    We have the same Stainmaster Carpet in our house and our dog got sick on it, which is basically the ONLY thing not covered by their warranty. We tried SO many products, but what we finally found was something called Pros Choice Red 1, which is for synthetic stains (WHY is there any coloring in dog food anyway!?! We’ve since switched to a dye-free brand). You have to dilute it, spray it on the stain, steam it with a damp towel and iron, and it worked! We watched a YouTube video first because the idea of an iron on our new carpet was a little scary.

    One other issue we’ve had with our carpet is that the little loops seem to snag fairly easily. If I had to guess it’s probably from the dog’s toenails, but I’ve caught a prong from my wedding ring and snagged it that way as well. Just a little additional feedback on the same carpet for those who might be considering it!

    • Allison says:

      More carpet feedback- we used this carpet (but a different color) in our basement with less stellar results than yours. Your original post mentioned how great your installers were, and unfortunately ours were not great- visible seams and places where the checked pattern is not straight. Lowes sent the installers back a couple times (one time they accidentally made a hole and then later glued some fibers back into it), and they blamed the mill. After a couple months back and forth, we opted for a partial refund rather than ripping everything out and starting fresh. With the carpet, itself, the pattern does not line up perfectly for us, but it’s also worth noting you don’t get to choose your installers when you shop through Lowes.

  45. Lily says:

    Hi! Just wondering, is there a reason you didn’t go with Semihandmade doors and fronts for your kitchen? Considering an ikea kitchen myself!

    Thanks!
    Lily

    • Julia says:

      We did our kitchen before we were familiar with Semihandmade, but we’ve used them in many kitchens since and will use them for our cabin kitchen, too!

  46. Rich says:

    Try Folex for your dye stain. We have used it on every new and old stain on our carpet and it has yet to fail us. Just spray it on and rub the stain away with your finger.

    • Jessica says:

      another vote for Folex! We use it for everything, including in our steam cleaner.

    • Meg says:

      I vote Folex too- this saved me multiple times when I accidentally spill food on carpet or uplosteted chairs…of course it’s always the oily or red food/drink that spills ;)

  47. Robin Pramuk says:

    I would love a review of the sofa in your playroom. Thanks!

  48. Emily says:

    Awesome is great, but super potent/noxious. If you use it on the carpet, make sure you dilute it enough and keep the dog and kids out of the basement until it dries and off-gasses – especially since you don’t have many windows down there to dissipate the fumes.

    Rubbing alcohol is my go-to to get rid of ink (that’s why they tell you to use hairspray to get pen out of a shirt, the alcohol content) and should also work on that dye!

  49. Emily says:

    Idea for your rough table surface – have you thought about have a table pad company custom cut a thin glass top? They usually very slightly float the glass over the surface of the wood so that it doesn’t rub the finish and so that the glass is level even if the table isn’t. They use small clear disks in each corner to slightly float the glass over the wood, but I think it would look really cool to figure out how to use a brass riser in each corner and really elevate the look (and tie to the frames on the adjacent wall).

  50. Jessica says:

    It is a really cheap option, but try shaving cream for the carpet stains (Barbasol is cheap!). Spray some on, let it sit, and work at it with a toothbrush. My mom showed me this trick, and she’s used it to get out nail polish!! It takes some elbow grease and time, but always works!

  51. Lindy says:

    Growing up we had a wooden kitchen table that my mom had a big piece of thick glass custom cut to fit the top. I highly recommend it! I’m looking into getting one for our table done and it would run about $300, so not exorbitantly expensive (in my opinion) and it’s a breeze to clean and super smooth! Sometimes when the kids spill water it can run under the glass, but we just lift up the glass for a second and wipe it right up.

    Just something to look into for those annoying table he grooves!

  52. Meghan says:

    These are one of my favorite recurring posts you do. Please keep them coming! Have purchased (and chosen NOT to purchase) so many products over the years directly as a result of your quality control testing:) Thanks!!!

  53. Stephanie says:

    I second the Miele vacuum! Honestly they are way better than Dyson and they purify the air. We are going on 10 years with ours and it still is amazing. We have a Sheltie (lots and lots of dog hair to vacuum), 2 cats, and me in the throws of postpartum hair loss and this vacuum is still keeping up! Check out a canister. Even I don’t mind doing the stairs with it. :)

  54. Kathy says:

    Two things: first, if your dining table is solid wood, I would either flip it over and sand down a small patch and see how that goes, and then try and match the stain there, in an inconspicuous spot. You might know this already, but if it’s wood veneer, you can still sand it, but you have to be careful not to sand straight through the veneer (cannot tell you how many times I’ve done that!) and then do the same thing with stain matching. I bet you could get it pretty close, since you’re the best at seeing undertones!

    Secondly, I bought a Shark vacuum at your recommendation a couple of years ago when I moved into a townhome with wood floors… and a cat that shed like crazy and enjoyed the dig to China whenever she used her litter box. And my hair got longer and started shedding. And then I got a dog. And the Shark held up to shedding season! I purposefully decided not to get the Dyson after reading what you wrote haha! It sucks that it’s not working all that well for you, but I’m also kind of like, if this doesn’t make the case for the Shark, I don’t know what does.

  55. Rebecca says:

    Ikea has a chair called the Ikea PS 2012 that looks similar to the one you have. Not sure how it compares in features and comfort but I love the look of yours so I’m definitely going to check it out the next time I’m there!

  56. amanda says:

    Really enjoy your blog. For the stained carpet – try either awesome from the dollar store – for real it’s a great stain remover. Or try Folex (I think you can get it at home depot or even amazon now) it is an amazing stain remover it takes away pen and all kinds of other stains with very little effort. Both I would suggest testing in a hidden spot to be sure first. Hope this helps. We have had a lot of luck using both products.

  57. Leila says:

    For the coffee table, why dont you try oiling underneath it first to see how it looks? If is bad, nobody needs to know.

  58. Cath says:

    I saw something the other day about filling grooves in tables with resin to avoid having crumbs etc get caught. I think that it was on domesticimperfection.com

  59. Sara says:

    Look into a Miele vacuum! They have a pet version too that I wish I got because we now have a border collie and the hair….oh my goodness. But it’s an AMAZING vacuum. Even my husband raves about it and is so glad I plunked the money down for it. We have the canister style and find it so easy to use, light for carrying up and down the stairs, and the push wand can literally turn and skate under any furniture you have to reach hard to get spots for all the hair and dust bunnies. The unit is very well made and I’m so happy I went with it over the typical Dyson/Shark world. A lot of people don’t know about them, it’s a German company, but a small local vacuum place or even Bed, Bath, & Beyond carry them.

    • Anna says:

      Yes!!!! Miele forever. Our vacuum is 7yo – I still love it.

      • Julia says:

        Looking into it right now!

      • Sally says:

        Absolutely ‘yes’ to Miele cylinder vacuum cleaners – mine is now just over 20 years old and still going strong, no repairs of any kind!

      • Danae says:

        I’ll add my vote for a Miele. We have a new upright pet and a hand-me-down cannister that is at least 20 years old. Definitely go for the cannister to make cleaning the stairs easier. They are absolutely worth every cent.

      • Julia says:

        But does the canister make normal vacuuming harder?

      • Sara says:

        I love these sort of posts! It is easy to recommend something a few months in. It means more if it stand the test of time. I just got a new vacuum and didn’t want to splurge. We got the Shark Navigator Lift Away, per Wirecutter’s recommendation, and I love, love it. Wirecutter also loves the Miele if you want to spend that much, but they say most people don’t need that much vacuum. https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-upright-canister-vacuums/

      • L says:

        I hate canisters, but have had the Miele upright (Mistral) for more than 8 years and it’s still going strong and is really easy to push around. Had to take it in for repairs (vacummed up a comb) and the shop told us it was a really great quality vaccum.

      • Jenna says:

        We have the Miele canister and I think it’s actually easier to do normal vacuuming with it!

      • Teres says:

        I actually think it makes it easier because the canister just rolls behind you. In my opinion, it’s lighter-less weight than an upright. I think the only downside is it takes a bit more room to store. I currently have a Sears Kenmore canister that is two years old and the quality is NOT good. A friend of mine has a Miele canister and I used it a couple times to check it out, and the quality seems so much better in comparison. Going with Miele when this one breaks for sure.

    • Sam M says:

      I will put in another vote for Miele. Two large dogs, German Shepard and St. Bernard, and a cat and our canister vac is still going strong after 6 years. It has been worth every penny.

  60. JL says:

    Thank you for this. This weekend, we ordered our IKEA cabinets for our first kitchen remodel ever! So excited. Goodbye, 1981 kitchen!

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? 

We’re welcoming fall by lighting up the evenings with the glow of our fire pit. In Idaho, fire pits were more of a summer evening event. Fall was too cold to be out in the evening without being bundled with a coat and blanket. It’s magically different here, and the subtle crisp evenings are just […]

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