The good, the bad, would we do it again?

August 18, 2020

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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Every year, we like to do these kinds of posts to basically “review” our own stuff for you after a period of time. Projects, purchases, things you’re curious about. Over the weekend, I put a question box up on Instagram Stories and the curiosities came flooding in! Thank you for being so invested and following up. There were several things that were asked over and over and over again, so naturally those were included here. And there were a couple things that WE wanted to give you an update on.

1. The Kitchen, lots to unpack here–specifically:

How are the kitchen cabinets holding up?? and Would you still do a phase 1 again?! and Will your phase 2 kitchen be the same color?? How are the spray painted faucets?

Kitchen Phase 1 & Painting the Cabinets

It’s been a full year since we did a phase one, cheap-o makeover of our kitchen and now, more than ever, we’re so glad we did it. It was before the other big renovations started so we didn’t have any burn out and it was SO nice to have a pretty kitchen through a lot of the winter when no other spaces really reflected us here. We’re still enamored with the color–so much so that I’m already debating using it somewhere else in our house so it still exists here when we redo our kitchen (We’ve had our eye on a different color/material scheme for the full renovation probably next year).

The vertical tongue and groove has held up perfectly as a backsplash. And we’ve loved the open shelf above the range for quick-grab items. That and the smaller shelf below the seeded glass uppers have been really convenient and I can’t imagine our kitchen without them now. The seeded glass uppers have also really inspired us. They used to be beside the range and moving and repurposing them over here has really felt like a great middle ground, not closed storage or open shelves–a more airy approach to closed storage, if you will. I wouldn’t be surprised if some seeded glass showed up in our next kitchen. ;)

As for how it has worn, the cabinet paint has held up so wonderfully except around the base of the island between the breakfast nook and kitchen. I took a picture so you can see all the scuffs. I can’t say I’m surprised–lots of mini grocery carts and hover boards have ran into this! Haha. But if you’re worried about it long term, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add a few coats of polycrylic over the base for added protection. Also painted plugs are bound to get scratched–the main reason I only painted the plates in our other rooms.

You can find the rest of the Kitchen sources here!

Painting the Kitchen Faucets

At the very end of the kitchen makeover, the oil-rubbed bronze faucets were staring me in the face and I couldn’t let them be. Chris make shifted a cardboard box around each of them (the main faucet, the prep sink faucet in the island and the pot filler) and I gave them a coat of Rustoleumblack spray paint with a built in primer.

Only recently, the large faucet has started to show some wear, especially where we might grab it most. I’m honestly impressed that it has done so well. I do think perhaps a coat of primer only under the black paint could have made it last longer, but for a get-me-by, I’m really happy we did it.

The prep sink looks mostly untouched. I’d still definitely say GO FOR IT as a short-term, phase 1 fix.

2. Pantry – “Do you regret painting it dark?”

No. I love the chocolate brown, it has held up GREAT on the shelves and it has made an otherwise dingy, no-natural light space feel luxe. Almost…chocolate like. As of now, our plans are to take out this pantry and extend the mud room and kitchen and move the pantry space to where the range currently is.

You can see a video tour of the pantry here!

3. Wood floors – “How are they holding up with kids and pets?”

Our floors are the real MVP. In our last house, we had faux wood tile installed because we were so worried about mainting wood with a large dog and three kids but this floor has been fantastic! We have even been wearing shoes in the house for most of the last year due to safety around all the construction debris and they clean up like a dream and haven’t noticed any dings or dents.

One thing that did take some getting used to is the ultra matte finish. It almost makes the floors look unfinished which worried me when spills happen, but there are zero stains or fading. It hides dirt a lot well, and when something is sticky or wet on the floor–it’s a lot easier to see and clean up!

4. Chairs. We got a lot of questions about our dining room chairs, but I wanted to review our Breakfast Nook Chairs, too because we’re actually having the opposite problem with the two. I love the look of the breakfast nook chairs. They’re comfortable and fit the vibe of our home so well. But the boucle fabric seat is a pain to keep clean with three young girls.

I vacuum it, wipe it with a rag and it still just attracts crumbs. I don’t think this is the best fabric for a dining seat. But! I love the look so much, I’ve decided to just get a more wipeable fabric and reupholster the seats!

You can find the rest of the Breakfast Nook sources here!

As for the Dining Room Chairs, most of you followed up your inquiry with (they look so uncomfortable!), and I can assure you they are not! We love to sit in them. They’re very comfortable. They are also extremely wipeable and a breeze to clean. A few weeks ago, I dragged one of the upholstered office chairs in here and it took the room up about 10 notches–gorgeous! But right now, we have way too much to spend money on than re-buying 20 dining chairs especially ones that do their job so well, so I think I’ll add some upholstered captains chairs to either end and maybe some curtains on the back wall to add some softness to the space. But besides whole-room aesthetics, we still really love these chairs.

You can find the Dining Room sources here!

5. How’s the Real Olive TreeOh, you mean Olive?! She’s….below average. After a lot of advice, I moved her to the balcony outside of our bedroom for lots of rays all summer. (And purchased this faux olive tree for the living room). She was doing really good, until one day I went out and the roofers had moved her and she FELL OVER. I brought her inside until they were done with all the major construction out there and I’m trying to nurse her back to health.


6. We never see the Office – “Is the layout working?” Oh! Here it is!! We are actually going to shift some things around already because we need to make room for two more desks! We moved Propertee in house and hired someone to run it full time, which has been a big step for us this year. We got a warehouse, but we also need a lot more storage. So we’re actually going to move wall to wall, floor to ceiling closed storage where the logo wall currently is and shift a bunch of things around. Good thing growing pains are fun when you’re in the design industry.

See more on the layout here!

You can find the Office sources here!

7. I’ve never seen the Fireplace in the living room on–does it work or what?!

Oof. Don’t get me started. The fireplace doesn’t work and has never worked because the HVAC team can’t get the exhaust to work. It’s extremely frustrating and every week they say they are coming this week to finish it. They did come this week for an hour (the first we’ve seen them since before Christmas) and looked at it and said they lost a remote or something for the blower. We’re crossing our fingers they get it sorted out before the weather turns again. When you see the fire on, that means we’re ALL CELEBRATING!!


Hope that answers a lot of your questions!!! If I didn’t answer yours, it probably means that it’s doing just fine! But feel free to sound off in the comments below. :)

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What do you think?

  1. Susan Staresinic says:

    Could you tell me what brand of wood flooring you bought, what was the style name and color? I sell wood flooring and I love yours so I’m curious what they are, esp since they are holding up so well!

  2. Julia says:

    I got the same chairs as your breakfast nook (CB2) and have the same problem – it’s a crumb magnet! But I love the look soooo much. Brilliant idea to reupholster! Definitely doing that. xoxo

  3. Jess says:

    Love your site! I have been debating a real olive tree versus faux, so this is super helpful… where did you end up getting your faux one from? Thank you!

  4. Kristine says:

    Can you post the link to when you painted the kitchen cabinets? I’d like to know what you used and what the cost was. I need this for a low budget reno until I can actually do a remodel.

  5. Kate Nehring says:

    What is the leather chair by the fireplace?

  6. Melissa Brown says:

    I would love to know your wall paint color in the living room. What shade of white and brand? Thank you. It’s beautiful.

  7. Connie says:

    Hi Julia! Love your house/posts SO much! Can you share what the stain on your floors is? I love them so much!

  8. Caroline Orfei says:

    Can you share color/brand of cabinet paint as well as your consideration for other color scheme you are considering?

  9. Mary says:

    Window treatments-do you guys plan on any blinds, shades or window covering? We have been trying to figure out something for our windows, so we have privacy when it’s dark out, but does not cover the glass at all. I notice that nobody ever has window covering and I’m wondering if it’s just for posting pictures. Let me know if you know of anyone showing window comings in photos. I can’t find any. Thanks

  10. Emmy Litton says:

    Love everything you two do and eagerly await your next posts on Instagram! Just noticed the print to the left of your kitchen sink, over the cutting board, of the woman in a boat, on water. That print has been in my family since at least the 1920s! It is currently hanging in a bedroom. We inherited it from our great-grandmother, who was born in 1891. Where did you find yours? Have always loved the contemplative quality of this print.

  11. Molly says:

    Do you have any advise/tips on how to get scratches out of a leather chair? When our kids were young they liked to write letters and “draw” on the back of our nice leather chair.

  12. Ericca says:

    Love the real world update! Most bloggers/influencers only post filtered highlights of their life. Real life is hard and messy, and it is sooo relatable to show the bumps and hardships.

  13. Hi Julia, I have been thinking about Olive! She will thrive; you may want to clip off the dead looking branches (they are taking away too much of her nutrients & energy), turn her a little bit every few days (she’ll always try & reach for the sun!), & change her pot and soil (giving her fresh nutrients & more room to grow) ????????????

  14. Stephanie says:

    I’d love a real life review of your cloud sofa! I love it, but would need to order it, so I’m curious about its comfort and cleanability.

  15. Ally says:

    I’d love to k ow how you clean your wood floors!

  16. Maggie says:

    Can you tell us where the beams in your living room are from?

  17. Katie says:

    I loved the color of your cabinets so much that I painted my white wooden dresser the same color and replaced the hardware with matte black. I’m in love every time I wake into my bedroom.

    • Amber says:

      This is so helpful and generous of you! Thanks for all the info. I’ve been wondering specifically about your kitchen – the faucet and the board as a backsplash because I want to copy it. This helped my decision. I’m also glad to know you guys have issues with certain fabrics on chairs being impractical for kids too and that’s not just me…

  18. northerngirl says:

    Whatever happened with the arched door in the dining room? Are you able to open it now?

  19. Lindsey Howell says:

    You are truly my ultimate design inspiration. You have given me the courage to look at my house differently and try things I never would have considered in the past. I love how transparent you are with evolving your house and being open to a new idea when inspiration strikes! Keep crushing it!

  20. Dianne says:

    I love reading your project-critique posts. Humble attitudes are admired and appreciated – and your entire team has got just the right amount. Creativeness does take courage (one of my favorite quotes) – with some humbleness mixed in.

    The dining room chairs are comfy, and that’s definitely important. During this phase of your life, wipeable chairs are probably more practical. Although, I look forward to seeing what you choose to reupholster the seats of kitchen table chairs.

    Hope your health is improving, especially from the major home exterior project changes.

    Thank you for all of the lovely eye candy and dreamy ideas.

    Take good care.

  21. Olivia says:

    How did you get started with IG and blogging? How long have you been at this? Seems like a full time job. I’m just a follower but always think I would love to reinvent myself in my next life (post retirement) but then sometimes I think why wait?

  22. Verna says:

    You inspired me to paint my kitchen cabinets but I chose one shade darker than your color. Zero regrets.

  23. Loveash says:

    I’m glad Olive is still kicking! I know you didn’t ask but I’m going to give unsolicited advice, take it or leave it :)

    A pot with drainage and good draining medium (soil with lots of vermiculite and/or pearlite) will really help her be above average. That and making sure she isn’t soggy,
    Isn’t dry too long and has nice bright light. I’m rooting for her ❤️

  24. Julie says:

    Love, love, love this post! It’s really helpful for me to see that paint chips and houses show wear because I can get really discouraged with imperfections in my own house work! Thank you!

  25. Melissa says:

    Very excited to see some upholstery in the dining room. I’ve been wanting to see some softness in there. Everything looks so gorgeous. Thanks for the updates! Best wishes for Olive!

  26. Deb Johnson says:

    Thanks for the review and for NOT being afraid to admit that your beautiful home gets lived in, and a few scratches here and there is “life”!
    Cannot find where you have discussed this in the past but…. you have a fair amount of leather in your home. Can you do a short piece on mixing and matching leather colors please? Is it okay to have 2 different leather colors together within view of each other? What about black?
    Thank You

  27. Jeanna says:

    Really love when you do these posts. Olive needs a much bigger pot- she will thank you. I thought we were the only ones who had serious delays with contractors- 8 months for a remote????. WHen I saw your comments about the dinning room- ???? what about Killiam rug pads for seats. You could easily sew ( in your infinite free time ????)these for all the chairs and attach with black Velcro. I would back with velvet so your leather doesn’t scratch- winter VS summer looks. . LOVE the progress you guys are making!

  28. Jen says:

    Wonderful post! And congrats on the expansion of proper tee! Way to go CLJ!

  29. Jessica Schaack says:

    Thanks for the post! Always so fun to read. Im curious on the quality of your Arhaus couch? Looking to buy one. Thanks.

  30. Renee says:

    I fought fabric dining chairs for years until I wised up–I reupholstered the seats myself in leather or faux leather. Right now, I actually have a black vinyl fabric with a linen texture that is amazing. I’m pretty sure it’s this one (I found in store):

    Highly recommend. Life it too short to worry about dirty chairs!

  31. Kelly says:

    That’s interesting about the boulce fabric for the dining room chairs. I know boulce is having a “moment” right now, but it doesn’t seem very practical or durable in the long term (especially in the most often seen color- white). I do love the look and texture, but your feedback may be the final nail in the coffin of my boulce dream, lol.

  32. Cher says:

    Great post this week

  33. Ash says:

    This is such a great post! I so appreciate how candid you are and have loved following your renovation journey throughout each of these rooms!

  34. Lindley says:

    Thank you for the real feedback! I’ll only get to do my kitchen once and this additional information on durability and steps for maintenance are valuable. I appreciate this yearly post as it give you the before-after-AFTER (what most blogs are missing). Many thanks!

  35. Sarah says:

    Very helpful! I’ve looked at those breakfast nook chairs a thousand times… but I have a 6 month old and was concerned about how they’d hold up. I’m hoping to buy 10 year chairs, if you know what I mean. Probably not a good fit for me— I appreciate the honest update!

  36. Rena says:

    Oh, really cool that your pantry has this chocolate brown colour!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  37. Mara says:

    Did you fix the arch doors in the dining room?

  38. Julie says:

    It’s all so beautiful !! I really think my favorite is the kitchen color. It’s perfect! xo

  39. Traci says:

    What I love about you and what you share is that you are honest and open with what works and hasn’t worked in your home. So many bloggers do not provide any follow-up to the renovations, rearrangements, etc. they have done. It makes it difficult if you are contemplating the same material or layout or fabric. I truly enjoy reading/viewing what you share!

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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. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

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