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We’re Back! A Big Life & Renovation Update!

July 13, 2020  —  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. 

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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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There are ups and downs to every job, but I’ve always said one of the biggest downsides to this job–sharing our home online every day–is that the Internet never sleeps. It doesn’t sleep when the baby sleeps or through illnesses or pandemics or summer. It’s always there. So occasionally, we have to force ourselves to unplug and take a break even when we know everyone is still sharing and talking and commenting without us. We’ve spent the last week unplugged, but still at home. Trying to give the girls a little bit of a summer staycation with us being more present. We ordered an above ground pool online for too much money–that Covid price gauge!–and swam and gardened and stayed up late and still managed a lot of contractors day in and day out.

Life and our renovation has been high stress lately and my mental and physical health has suffered because of it, but it’s amazing how connecting with my family and myself offline in the last week has helped. I was able to reflect on when I felt the most joy doing this and I was flooded with good memories. There are a lot of serious things in the world, but decorating is supposed to be fun! It should be a creative outlet. It should make us love where we live. All good things! Somewhere along the way, I feel like I’ve gotten too serious and a little too calculated and too stressed about what I share. I would love to go back to sharing our home renovation more candidly. I’m a pretty silly person and it hasn’t felt like a light-hearted year, of course, but at the same time–maybe that’s what we all need. I know I do.

Speaking of the renovation, we have so many updates! I’ll share more progress videos on Instagram that I took last week over the next couple days but high level–they’ve been removing old shingles for the past week and this week, they’ll start installing the new roof! Bring on the headphones! Several parts had to be restructured, some were moldy and needed replaced and a few areas changed completely.

Hi, Chris! (Do you see him waving up there?! haha)

Here’s how it looked before:

The large gable was not structural at all, and has been successfully removed and the smaller gable, which now looks suddenly more substantial!, and the more rounded turret gable are now connected by a simple flat front.

Eventually it will look like this but we did make one change with the roof line, exposing the turret area a little more and mirroring the roofline above the porch on the right side, on the left as well. That’s Faye’s room and what used to be a large arched window (which is actually such a pain for window treatments on the inside because it extended into her ceiling!) and will now just be a large 50×72″ window.

She’s currently bunking in Greta’s room for the foreseeable future until her new window is installed! (They’re loving it and I’m secretly scheming a bedroom plan for her room.)

We’ll definitely share more on the home progress front this week. I am feeling re-energized and happy to be sharing again! As always, thanks for being here!

What do you think?

  1. Rosemary says:

    Curious if you could have a “do over” in purchasing this home, is there some sort of inspector you could have used that would have found all that mold etc prior to purchasing the home?

  2. Jen says:

    We love all of your posts! You’ve inspired me to get back to being silly. Life is so serious right now. The pool looks like a lot of fun! Great job!

  3. BC says:

    Wondering if a comment I left two days ago got simply lost or filtered because it wasn’t entirely positive and contained some critical but well-intentioned observations. I put time, thought, and effort into my comment and meant it as an opportunity for reflection. ????????‍♀️

  4. JL says:

    Hey Julia, would love to know what you have planned for the front walkway. IMHO adding stairs between the posts and/or along the path, plus a second retaining wall on the right side, would create a grand entrance to the new front door. I can even envision a small foot bridge (in lieu of stairs), which would impart more of that “cottagey” feel you’re going for. Can’t wait to see all of the windows installed!

  5. BC says:

    After letting the info in this post sink in for a few days, I think it’s great that you are realizing that the “tone” of the blog-turned-brand has been off lately. I think a lot of it stems from your success, which is well-earned. How do you go from largely a DIY blog to a huge home with a renovation that probably costs as much as (or more!) than many of your readers’ mortgages without the tone shifting a little bit? Turning the blog into a brand and a business that not only supports your immediate family, but also many of your extended family members among other employees, means that all of the day-to-day is more consequential and that probably forced it all to feel more businesslike. This is just my opinion, but I am not enjoying the designs you’ve been putting out lately (music room, closet paint and finishes, aspects of the dining room) and I pretty much LOVED everything in your previous house. I’m not sure if it’s having more space and more money, or a desire to make every space distinctive and bold and “moody” that may have led you from stray from otherwise good design choices. Your design style never seemed “cottage-y” to me, so maybe try getting away from making this home fit into a cottage style and just embrace the design and decor style/s that you like, regardless of whether it fits into the “modern cottage” mold. Whether you agree or disagree with some of my assessments here, I hope you are able to get back to finding more fun and joy, and less stress, in what you’re doing – I think once you feel that internally, it will come across externally!

  6. So inspiring and real. I absolutely love and appreciate your posts. You have a very beautiful home!

  7. Shelby says:

    Hey Julia – thanks for being so honest in this post. It can’t be easy opening up your life to the world online – really glad you’ve had a break!
    Checking in on your posts is a real highlight for me – providing inspiration and getting my creative juices flowing as well as an excuse to take a moment, sit down and drink a coffee. So thanks!

  8. Catherine says:

    Take your time and dial it back when you need to. I always think it’s a very difficult thing to share your most personal space and it’s evolution in a public capacity where some people, however well meaning, then feel like it is fair game for a critique. Glad you took time to reset and know that many of us are inspired by your work and feel more creative after getting the opportunity to see your creativity in full flow. Keep the faith and cut it out/adjust what it looks like, as often as you need to. We support you and your beautiful home x

  9. Amy says:

    Your content is always inspiring and I enjoy following all your projects. I feel like things have been different since the fire. And that’s okay. Personal tragedies change us in the most unpredictable ways. I’m glad you’re back and hope you find more joy in this crazy world of the internet.

  10. Katy says:

    Love, love, love!! You were missed!!!! I love following you guys because you are SO REAL!!!! Everything is so relatable, that what makes you so awesome!!!❤️ Glad you guys took a break! A little R&R is always good!

  11. Katy Greensky says:

    Love, love, love!! You were missed!!!! I love following you guys because you are SO REAL!!!! Everything is so relatable, that what makes you so awesome!!!❤️ Glad you guys took a break! A little R&R is always good!

  12. Linda says:

    Thrilled that you’re back…. but equally thrilled that you took some time to recharge. Good for you and your family!! And well deserved.
    How great that you were able to get a pool….such fun for the kiddos! ( and adults)
    I understand they are hard to come by these days.
    Welcome back!!!

  13. Lori says:

    I’m glad you took a break! I did too– I needed one. That being said, would you mind leaving a quick note here when you go on hiatus? I always worry that something terrible has happened when you go silent for days after posting regularly.

    • Em says:

      I had the same worry! I think it’s post-cabin fire. And because I generally worry about everything. Love that you took the time off though of course! xxx

  14. Susan says:

    So Glad Your Back:-) Life is full of mistakes and if other readers give you a Sh#*t sandwich about it…..Tough. Important to see all the mistakes & warts and all thing. BTW Everything Looks FABULOUS. XXOX

  15. Laura says:

    Welcome back!

  16. Amanda says:

    I loved your podcast so much and could really see your true personality shine through – you seem to love to laugh and it’s so great! But your instagram and blog personality is completely different from your podcast personality – serious, sophisticated, etc. I’d love to see your podcast personality more!

    • Maya says:

      I was just thinking this too! I first started following you guys through the podcast, and it was SO much fun. Your kookiness completely came through there in a way that it doesn’t come through here or on instagram, yet I also l absolutely loved the educating that you did on it. And Preston was awesome too– he was so good at bringing out the most fun sides of both your personality and Chris’s personality, and keeping everything light but polished!! Bring back the dream team! :-D

  17. Good for you for taking the week off. I spent a number of years blogging and we always had scheduled off weeks — we’d schedule older content to run, and then just totally unplug (usually post-Christmas and at the end of the summer — we planned the weeks by looking at the stats which dropped off during August and right after Christmas). It was a huge creative recharge — for all of us! Maybe you should build more of these in! Anyway, big fan of everything. Brava!

  18. Jan says:

    I love all your posts. The “mistakes” are sometimes the best part. We can all learn that way. My favorite part is how down to earth and accessible you are and the information is. The decor never feels out of my reach. There is always something I can learn and apply to my my situation. So thanks for that! Keep doing what your doing. Trust those great instincts of yours.

  19. Jordi Balan says:

    Julia, we’re so glad you guys are back!!

    Regardless of all the negativity out there, I really admire your integrity, and it’s one of the main reasons I follow you guys. Also, watching your journey, and seeing your amazing gift of creativity and style brings so much joy. I think we’re ready to be excited with you guys.

  20. Cassie says:

    Missed you <3 Glad you took time to take care of yourself and your family!

  21. Korie says:

    I love this. Thanks for coming back!

    I think there is a lot of wisdom in letting the hard, heavy things in life BE hard and heavy; meanwhile, let the light, fun things be light and fun. That’s what this blog is, and we need it.

  22. Megan Gilbert says:

    Thank you so much for your amazing honesty and I second your opinion for more silliness!! I have been following you for years and this is the first time I think I have ever commented. I thank you for all the inspiration you have given me, we are building a new house right now and I just love a lot of your design choices. My husband is sick of hearing me say I saw this one idea on Chris loves Julia, haha. Keep up the fantastic work.

  23. Robyn Taylor says:

    Thank you for always sharing so honestly. This is such a difficult time and pouring energy into family is so important right now. I love following all of your renovations and I love that you and your husband do so much of the design and work yourselves! Would you mind sharing the details of the above ground pool you ordered?! Thank you!

  24. I hear you! It can be hard to be light hearted when things feel heavy. So glad you guys had time to unplug! And that window restructure was a genius idea.

  25. Linda P. says:

    You guys put out a LOT of content. You deserve a break. We’ll still be here when you get back. ???? Enjoy that beautiful Idaho summer.

  26. Lindsey H says:

    You showing us the wins AND the oopsies is what makes you guys so amazing! I learn so much from the mistakes you’ve shared in the past and it’s reassuring to know, even the pros make mistakes. You are beyond talented and I look up to you so much. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world!

  27. Kimberlee Haag says:

    This has been such a rough time for everyone. thank you for sharing the good bad and ugly!! It helps all of us out there realize, we don’t have to have it all together and it doesn’t have to be right 100% of the time. I am genuinely so grateful you share your REAL life with us!

  28. Stephanie says:

    I seriously LOVE when you show the candid moments, the mess-ups, and everything in between. We love you guys and personally I HATE when people are too perfect it’s just not what I want to see. Honestly, Julia and Chris, we love you guys no matter what you show, and by all means, take time when you need we’re all going to be here no matter what.

    Stephanie | SPV Living

  29. Nicolette says:

    Love seeing this update! Everyone deserves to have some family time off and to be able to shut it all down when they need. Exterior is looking great and can’t wait to see the finished look. I definitely agree too that making a house into a home (especially your own!) should be a joyful thing.

  30. Claire says:

    LOVE IT! Y’all are killing it in every aspect of your life. Love watching your beautiful projects and family time!

  31. Angela says:

    This is great Julia. It is so important to take that step back when things aren’t feel right and “course correct.” I just said to my hubs that I don’t even enjoy ig any more bc it was my place to escape the seriousness and stress of life and look at pretty things and lately even my escape is heavy. I’m glad you will be bringing back that carefree, celebrate the process girl I love cheering on so much!

  32. Kelly says:

    Glad to hear you are refreshed after a well-deserved break – you were very missed!

  33. Kate says:

    I admire how you follow your gut and stay centered. Thanks for sharing with us! Any chance we will be seeing that Fauxdenza post soon? I am excited to see how it’s done!

    • Julia says:

      Yes!! We really need to get a REAL countertop for it. Right now it’s a cut piece of wood.

      • Kate says:

        I am hoping to do something similar as more of a TV console… do you think the cut piece of wood would work for this? Would I find that at any home improvement store? Thanks for your tips!

      • Julia says:

        For sure! We did that for our last home’s entertainment center. Check it out here.

      • Lori says:

        We have the exact same pool and we LOVE it!! It has been this summer’s saving grace in the Texas heat. ????

  34. Amy says:

    I remember when I first started listening to your podcast and I LOVED the silliness! I was like, oh wait, these guys are JOKES! I don’t know how the rest of the Internet feels – but I’m always really happy to see your guys’ more candid, more informal side, it’s my favourite side of you! It must be really hard being a brand as well as a real person, and although I understand and enjoy the slickness you guys come with now, I love the un-polished, un-filtered, trying to keep the laugh out of your voice, imperfect the best xXx

  35. Katie says:

    I know the basketball court is probably going to be re-done/purposed at some point, but for now, how lucky to have such a unique location to plop that pool! Won’t kill any grass and possibly the safest/biggest pool fence ever? Win!! We’ve been on the struggle bus this summer moving a tiny inflatable pool around for flack of a better solution with everything closed!

  36. Venita says:

    I’m glad you took a break!! Good for you! Also, I’d love to see your silliness return. We get glimpses of that when you’re with @fullmhouse, and I love ut! Continue taking care of you and your family. We’re not going anywhere:)

  37. Darcy says:

    It’s important to take breaks to recharge. The more you take care of yourself and your family, the better your content will be! Stay safe and sane :)

  38. Emily R says:

    That roofline tweak is such a huge improvement. Now it looks like an intentional porch all the way across. I wish you’d kill the portico over the door and just extend the porch roofline straight across. There is something off about the proportions of the peak, and it ends up looking like a tacked-on afterthought to me.

    • Emily W says:

      Comments like this are probably why Julia needed to take a break! I wish you’d kill the unsolicited opinions and just enjoy the blog you’re reading. There is something off about your tone, and it ends up looking like you have your own issues to deal with. (see what I did there?)

      • Emilie says:

        Agreed and second this, Emily W.

        Emily R., there are times with CLJ asks for readers’ opinions on things and times when they don’t. They haven’t asked here, and even if they did, change your tone. The house obviously looks amazing and the updates are so much fun to follow. Enjoy and chill out.

    • Angie RS says:

      I get what you’re saying in terms of de-McMansioning the exterior, but I think they’d lose the arched window above the front door if they did that. It’s still an interesting idea because it would make cleaner lines, but I’m guessing it’s probably too late for that kind of a change.

  39. Meredith says:

    We missed you last week but so happy you found time to recharge. It’s so important! We are grateful for all you do and share with us!

  40. Ashley says:

    Good for you. Everyone needs a break, even more so when work and home and family life are so closely intertwined.

    And regarding the roofline, I am so relieved that you made that tweak. It looked just a little off before, but not anymore. It is going to look amazing!

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