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Where Do We Go From Here?

February 26, 2019  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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Last week, when we initially shared that we lost our cabin in a fire, I mentioned we didn’t have any answers. And while we still don’t have answers to many of your most asked questions about the fire, I thought I would walk you through the thought process of the question that has been running through our minds–What’s next?! What now? 

The reality of the situation is the cabin renovation filled our editorial calendar for at least the next 6 months. In addition to being a huge part of our family, and a special place in our hearts, it was also our job. I usually don’t like to talk about that aspect of it, because the spaces we dwell in are so much more than just our job, but it’s also just how it is. Over the past 2 weeks, we have thought a lot about what we are going to do, can do, want to do.

We still don’t know for sure, but so many of you have requested being taken along for this ride, so here’s what we have explored:

Rebuilding

We have been asked by thousands, “Won’t you rebuild?” And the answer isn’t as cut and dry as we thought it would be. I’ll say, we’re leaning and hoping toward a YES. Unfortunately, it depends a lot on how things shake out with insurance. There’s multiple adjustors working on it, and we had great insurance, but the full renovation wasn’t updated with our insurance yet since we weren’t completely finished. Which we’re hoping won’t hit us too hard.

The other thoughts we’ve had are, if we rebuild, do we want the same exact thing? Would that be too painful? What would we change? We’ve decided if we do rebuild, we’d love to work with an architect to reimagine some things–we’ve got our eyes on Katie Hackworth, because she’s amazing and has been a huge inspiration to me for years. There’s so much to think about, and everything is currently covered by 3 feet of snow, so the insurance said they will likely not have an answer to us for a few months.

In the meantime, we’re trying to decide what to do to keep ourselves busy. Namely:

A Flip house?

We’ve admittedly always wanted to do a flip house. Not to become flippers, but just to try it at least once! It just never felt like the right time–but maybe now is. Something fast that would get our creative juices flowing again and also we wouldn’t have to be incredibly attached to–it’s strangely difficult for me to think about pouring my heart into another home, but maybe a flip house would satisfy our love for improving spaces and our need to work. We also like the idea of finding ways to improve a home on a smaller budget.

Finding A “Forever house”?

I need to apologize for something. A few weeks ago, before the cabin burned down, I wrote a post about how we were starting to hunt for our “forever house.” That particular one didn’t pan out, but we are still looking for other good contenders. However, in our search, and especially after the tragic fire, I realized that very few things are forever. We never know what is going to happen with family, jobs, location, needs, the unexpected–I feel sorry for putting a label on the next home we have been looking for before we even met it.

Since removing the pressure of the “forever” label, we have opened our eyes to other possibilities. What if we lived somewhere completely different for a few years? Moved across the country? Don’t get me wrong, we love where we live. And we love being close to friends and family. But, our minds are more open to looking for a house we feel drawn to, rather than finding a permanent place to ground ourselves for-ev-ver! Besides, we love giving life to new houses too much to say for sure that whatever one we buy next will be our last.

We have some big decisions to make soon. And what used to feel like a lot of heaviness, now feels like endless possibilities. We’re open to whatever comes next. We’re ready for it.

What do you think?

  1. Jennifer says:

    It’s funny how our attitudes toward “forever” evolve over time. I’m so sorry for your loss, but the possibilities ahead for you are exciting. I’ve followed you over the years as a result of work (I’m in marketing for http://www.DIYDecorStore.com) and enjoy all your posts. If you do decide to do a flip and want to partner in some way, please let me know.

  2. Jenni says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience with the fire. Your comment about the pressure of finding a forever-home really hit “home” – so to speak – with me. My husband and I have been trying to plot our next move with our own home journey.

    We currently live in our first home together. We love our neighborhood and location to friends, family and work. We have been slowly updating things in the home since we moved in 5 years ago (thank you for your inspiration along the way with that process too!). We have come to a point in the renovation process where we are trying to decide if this feels like our “forever” or “for now” home. Meaning, just how much money are we looking to invest in to this home. Do we want spend more to do things exactly the way we want them or do we want to do things at a lower price point that will sell the home with some equity? — How do we make our poorly laid out kitchen one we can love? Can we afford to knock down some walls? Do we have enough space to raise a family here? Which projects will give us the most bang for our buck? — It can feel really overwhelming at times, especially since I am a penny pincher. But the way you shared the perspective you gained through this terrible time in your lives really spoke to me.

    Instead of putting so much energy in to trying to figure everything out and make it perfect NOW or for FOREVER, which can leave me feeling paralyzed at times, it is best to enjoy the journey and savor the moments. Allowing myself to let go of that pressure to plan the forever. Thank you for that message I needed to hear today. I look forward to seeing you slay whatever adventure you take on next!

  3. T says:

    We love you guys! We’ll tune in wherever you go or whatever you’re up to, whenever you can show up. We are following you for you. Not the things. We love YOU! Hugs with every phase of life.

  4. Natasha says:

    Love all your ideas!!! And the right one will work out on its own!! I just bought a new construction home and if you need a canva and I have small budget my house is yours!!!!!!

  5. Jenna says:

    Have y’all ever thought about doing a post on the ins & outs of how you do your IG & blog photos? What you use from settings (all the ins & outs) and how to edit etc… would be heavenly!

  6. Estela says:

    Best of luck to you guys. I will follow you trough your journey, I have learned a lot from you and also learned that nothing is forever. Thank you Julia for your words, I was desperate to find a forever home right now, I’m in my 30 and I thought that I’m getting older and I was so stressed about it. But now I I will take my time to think about it, I will take my life at it is. Sometimes is good to planned your life forward but it also a good idea to just live life in the moment, you never knew what could happened in the way. I needed to read your blog today for some reason. Thank you Julia & Chris. Lots of love you, a big fan of yours from Scandinavia. ❤️

  7. Christine says:

    What about starting a renovation company, so people can hire you guys? I’m sure you guys have thought of it at least once, so I’m wondering if that’s just something you wouldn’t want to take on? You could do your thing for other people, spending their money! Sounds pretty great! :)

    • Julia says:

      Does sound nice in some aspects, but we are a very small business and don’t have the insurance liability to cover that right now.

  8. Gordana Kuznar says:

    I just found out about your cabin fire, and I just wanted to say to you that I am truly sorry for your lost. You are so brave and a true fighter! Sending my prayers and wishing you all the best. I’m sure you will find and see a silver lining in all of this, as there is as much of good in every bad things happening in life. But there is much less bad in all the good things happening to us. So, we already have a perfect balance, we just need to intune with it. And I am sure you will. God bless you and your family

  9. Megan says:

    I’ve always wanted to know how you would design a room for boys! I’d love to see mood boards reimagining your existing spaces with different spins – very modern, traditional, beachy, etc.

  10. Mel says:

    We have found SO SO SO much inspiration from your two over the years – so many things went into building/decorating our home from the love of what you guys do! You should go completely off grid and do a complete finish of a space – I completely will volunteer our new basement finish to you guys haha — it’s a blank slate and I”m so stuck on the basement bar selections other thank honed/leathered black granite — Just throwing it out there but I would completely volunteer us :) But on a more serious note – so much love to you and your family and you navigate thru this time <3

  11. Layla says:

    What do I think?

    I think y’all should buy the house across the street from us. ;-)

  12. RS says:

    What about guiding one of your followers on a project they submit?

  13. Rosemary Bedosky says:

    I was born and raised in the same town. I did love the town and it was close to NYC so it had a lot of benefits, but I always wanted to live someplace else (I didn’t even go away to college). Retired last year at age 60 and moved from CT to Florida and I love it. I love finding my way around and discovering new things. And…what’s not to love about the weather? I say try moving someplace with the idea it will be temporary (say 3-5 years). Wouldn’t going overseas be amazing? Did you see Scott Foley on Kelly & Ryan this week? He’s living/filming in Romania and spoke about how fun it was bringing his kids to see the world. They are in an international school and learning about all sorts of cultures. See if you can bring it up on DVR.

  14. Jocelyn says:

    Oh my goodness! My opinion: You guys do what YOU want to do, what makes YOU feel “aligned” and balanced. Regardless of what you do, it will always be for the higher good because that’s the people you are! Go Chris and Julia!!! Yay!

  15. Allison says:

    I used to work in journalism and one of the areas we covered had a Fire Rescue House program. Given your abilities and circumstances, I thought it might be something you would be interested in. Perhaps starting one in your area or helping to renovate. I’m not sure how widespread these programs are, but what they do is provide relief to people whose homes become inhabitable due to a fire or another disaster. Rather than staying in a hotel, the family can stay in a furnished house for a couple of weeks while they figure out next steps.

    Here’s an article: https://www.my-indiana-home.com/indiana/farm-bureau/fire-rescue-house-program-gives-place-call-home/

  16. Allison says:

    While I love the idea of affordable (and DIY-heavy) renovations, I think a flip house would be tough for a blogger. The point of a flip is to keep costs low so you can make money. That generally means basic with no added layers. I’d love to see you work on spaces in your community (friends’, strangers’, charity), so you could put in the extra effort to meet the needs and aesthetic of a specific homeowner.

    On a personal level, I wanted to encourage you to find a good counselor, especially for Greta. Kids are resilient, but this was such a traumatic event that will always be part of who you are. After watching the cabin video, I can see what a rock Chris is for your family, but look for outside support, too.

    • Elyse says:

      I (very respectfully) disagree, Allison. I work in real estate in Richmond, VA and the buyers we see are happily willing to pay for a higher level of design. We actually see faster offers, more bidding wars, and a general more competitive edge for homes that are “designer finished” verses “builder grade.”

      I recently had a buyer say “If I see one more builder grade sink vanity that has a mini sliding barn door on it, I am going to lose it.” I try to keep it together most of the time, but I lost it right then and there! Crying laughing. (They are everywhere!)

      Needless to say, it depends on your market. Richmond’s a super creative/artsy city, so a typical builder grade finishes just doesn’t do well here. IMO the creatives will buy a fixer upper and give it their own twist, but 80% of buyers want BLOGGER turn-key homes. Pre-designed for your convenience.

      Just my two cents!

      • Allison says:

        Interesting! And I’m glad to hear buyers are looking for more than just turn key homes. I should have elaborated- I think buying furniture, textiles, decor, art, etc that bring a finished look to a home (which Julia excels at!) would cut into their bottom line and feel a bit wasteful… unless homes sell fully furnished in that area of Idaho? I’m less interested in seeing a full home renovation without those added layers.

  17. Andrea says:

    I like the idea of a flip property. You could also find local Airbnbs and see if anyone would be interested in doing a renovation/design upgrade (Kind of how Genevieve Gorder does on her Netflix show). It wouldn’t require you to purchase a property but you’ll get the benefit of designing an Airbnb property. There are so many Airbnb’s that I pass on because it’s not decorated welll.

    I also like the idea of redoing a shelter or some type of community service project. A couple of years ago Atlanta designer Dayka Robinson had a program called “Room Service Atlanta”. She would get 15 or so designers together and they would decorate a shelter or something similar. That would obviously be more extensive as far as organizing, but it could be a good project. Other locations you could renovate: a classroom, local library room or maybe kids section of the library, or animal shelter.

  18. Angela says:

    I’m definitely here for for a flip house! Well, I’m here for whatever you do!

  19. Jeanna says:

    As far as insurance goes, you’ve got oodles of information on all the updates you did……………is it not possible to share that with the insurance adjusters as video proof of what you had?

  20. Allie Austin says:

    I’d love to see the podcast come back! Even if it was only for a short time while you guys regroup. I loved hearing from you guys that way and still miss it! ????????

    • Heidi says:

      Totally agree! I MISS the podcast so much!!

    • Brittney says:

      Yessss

    • Lori Pham says:

      Bring it back! Would so LOVE hearing you guys on the podcast again!

    • Breanna says:

      YES! I miss the podcast so much! I’ve listened to it twice all the way through!

    • Sarah says:

      Ohmygoodness YES PLEASE!!! Podcast return… even if just for a few special episodes?!

    • RC says:

      Another podcast vote. Really loved hearing you both and Preston. If it makes sense for you, please bring it back!

    • Hannah says:

      While I love the podcast and also vote for it to come back, I’m sure that’s a ton of work and time. Would there be a possibility of you guys and Preston doing special YouTube videos and covering topics like the podcast (CLJ Q&A style!)? Praying for you guys and where your journey leads you next!!

    • Debs says:

      Yes! Podcast please! Misst every single Monday!!!

    • Monica says:

      Oh, I definitely vote for this too. It was my favorite podcast and I’ve missed it. But I also like Hannah’s suggestion of the YouTube videos. Anyway, whatever you do, I’m along for the ride. Just want to see you guys heal up and do something that feels right for you. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be awesome!

    • Annie says:

      I like the Q&A videos, but the podcast was my fave. Get the band back together!!

    • Andi says:

      Yes, please!!!

  21. Suzanne Stanley says:

    Man, Katie Hackworth is a dream. Your poor followers who think they can afford to implement your designs won’t know what hit them.

  22. Jennifer says:

    In between you could make over my house. Sigh wishes. Sorry you have had to go through all of this, but I love your faith.

  23. Emily says:

    I think that you should come back to Pittsburgh and renovate the World’s Ugliest Living Room. It is conveniently located in my house. It has 70’s orange and brown newsprint wallpaper, (seriously, email me and I’ll send you a photo if you can’t imagine the ugly,) an offset fireplace, and warped laminate floors. I also have plenty of guest rooms for you all to stay in. I’d even go out of town so you could surprise me if you’d like. It would be glorious! :)

  24. Joanie says:

    I am inspired by your optimism and faith! I am kind of on the side of many on here that a flip or a local fixer-upper would be good. Something local, you could work on it, and still be home and close to the girls. Haven’t you said you live in a college-type town? What about a home close to campus, something you could fix up with lots of rooms or living spaces for college students, try out those bunk beds like the girls have but in a different setting for grown kids? Study nooks, etc. Just a thought!
    Take care – I think of you and your family often and wish you well.

  25. Karen L. says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts as well as your heart toward the future even if it’s not known yet. I like your attitude and loved seeing you pray before you drove to the cabin while it was still smoking from the fire. You are special and we want you to know that we will love seeing anything you like to share with us along the way. Take care of you and your sweet little girls.

  26. Sue D. says:

    Come back to Pittsburgh! you’ve got family! great home prices! great schools! interesting homes! I promise not to be to weird when I say in the local lowes ha!

  27. JASMINE AGNOR says:

    I admire your honesty and vulnerability. Thank you for sharing! Sending you all love and aupport. If you do decide to flip a house I’d highly recommend @cheaphousesofinstagram for some great inspiration and maybe even a collaboration! (I’m not affiliated I just love them!)

  28. Amanda says:

    What if you used your editorial to redo someone else’s house? Or a bunch of different people? You’ve done this a few times but it would be so fun to see you work with a family/families
    and re-do their spaces! This would also help you with not needing to invest in a property right now!

    I also like the idea of a commercial space. That could be fun and different too!

    • Veronica Timinski says:

      I love this idea. I think with content, the audience will be more engaged if there is “meaning” to the work. Remember when Emily Henderson did a few of Sylvia’s rooms? She told us all about Sylvia and why we should root for her and I was hooked.
      Chris and Julia, thank you for letting us into this journey. This post reminds me of your “Be open to whatever comes next” room from your first house. That was how I found you. Your vulnerability, joy, and realness is what drew me in. Oh and your incredible talent! :)
      We are all behind you!

    • Rebekah says:

      What a great idea! I would love to see you guys help others create spaces they love!

  29. Michelle says:

    what about something for charity? habitat for humanity? can you help refugees in need? would be a wonderful story xoxo

  30. Such a positive point of view. I have been grieving the loss of the A-frame too. It filled my mind with possibilities and I loved seeing your progress and hard work looking so gorgeous. I hope you keep your spirits up and I hope you do build the A-frame again because it was such a beautiful location and would be a forever family away from home home. Much love from a fan.

  31. vicki Maiorano says:

    Both options sound good. Either way I will follow along. Maybe a local flip may be less stressful for your first challenge?

  32. Andrea says:

    Doing a flip house in your (our) town would be awesome!! There are so many houses here in need of a face lift and to be brought up to current code. It would be great to see how you approach that with so many unique houses in this town.

  33. Natasha Perrault says:

    After our house fire we changed everything we could so it wouldn’t feel the same. I highly recommend it. The spaces that are the same still kinda “get me” thinking down that road of memories that are heavy. Wishing you all the best. Also-an across country adventure sounds awesome, can’t wait to see what you decide.

  34. Corinne says:

    I love the flip-house idea, but honestly I’ll happily follow along no matter what you choose to do. I’m so glad that you are listening to your own hearts and that you are committed to doing whatever feels like the right next step for you and your family <3

  35. Tara C says:

    Good for you!! Wishing your family all the best on this journey. I’m a long-time reader and fan and I really admire how you are approaching this tragedy. Of course it won’t be easy. But prayer and family and gratitude never cease to make the miraculous possible.

  36. Linda says:

    I would love to see you spend a year working with various non profits to remodel their spaces. My husband and I are foster parents and we volunteer with a local residential treatment center for children in foster care who have had multiple failed placements so they are in residence while they receive therapy to heal. They operate on a shoestring and places like this could use bright, cheery well designed spaces. They recently did a fund raiser to buy new chairs in their lunch room. Imagine the hit to a child’s self esteem if they sit o. And chair and it breaks. These kids deserve so much from all of us. Please consider using your talents to make a difference for children in need.

    • Bethany says:

      What a great suggestion!

      • Amy says:

        I agree 100% as well. I’d love to see the focus on giving to others during this waiting time, not so focused on attaining another property.

    • anna says:

      I really love this idea. Imagine the children having a space that is beautiful and cheerful, something that could be theirs and not basic walls and furniture.

  37. Julie S says:

    It’s pretty crazy to think that not only your home but your means of providing for your family were lost in this freakish accident! I am so glad to hear that possibilities are beginning to circle in your head and not just loss and grief and anxiety. If I were in your shoes, a flip house would probably be my go-to as something short term to fill the gap and not require a lot of emotional energy, while still allowing the fun creative problem solving and designing parts to be exercised. I’m with you following the blog whatever the next step is and keep you in my prayers!

  38. Mary says:

    My brother’s life rule: EVERYONE should live somewhere else at least once. Maybe this is the open door to explore another part of the country…. or world. Your children are young enough to adapt; especially if it isn’t “forever”.

  39. Breanna says:

    We recently built our family home, and with two little kids growing in the house we built and worked on together, it’s hard to imagine not being here forever. But my husband and I, look at things as fluid. Our demands change, and though the memories we have created in our home are wonderful, at some point we may want to move somewhere else. The memories are ours to keep, and new memories are ours to make. Good luck.

  40. Candice says:

    Thank you for being so real and raw with your readers! I know that whatever you decide I am excited to follow along in your families journey!

  41. Angela says:

    My lil ranch in the Chicago suburbs is in the market. You can come buy it and flip it! Haha. I had so many ideas for this lil house that I never got to see through and I would love to see what the next owners do with it. (I originally was too attached and didn’t want to think about what anyone else would do with this house—that admittedly is a blank slate right now. But we’re about to move into anRV full time and throwing my heart and soul and creative juices into making the RV a cozy and gorgeous home had helped me to let go and be excited to see what the future owners of this house do with it)

  42. Leslie says:

    Such a great post! There are so many great possibilities ahead and I know whatever you do, it will be great and I will be right there with you in spirit.

  43. K says:

    You’re Halloween party is always amazing. Perhaps take a break from houses from a bit and plan some parties? A wedding, baby shower or milestone birthday celebration could be very fun. A charity fundraiser could be amazing.
    Celebrating life could be really affirming after such a loss.

  44. Taylor says:

    Come to Canada and reno my house! No really!

    E-design would be a great way for some interim content while you’re making big decisions. I’ve got a great 8’ x 8’ guest bath ready to go for you!

  45. Sienna Boyd says:

    Definitely read “for-ev-er” in the Sandlot voice. I think that was the intention ;). Proud of your resilience through this tragedy. Excited to see where this journey takes you and excited to be along for the ride!!

  46. Caroline H. says:

    I am so glad you & your family are choosing to focus on the positive after such a devastating loss. I gives ME hope that YOU guys have hope! I know whatever direction you choose to go, you can’t go wrong. We will be here rooting you on regardless! <3

  47. morgan says:

    I am so glad you are starting to look forward to the future, I know that is going to be a big part of your healing process.
    I have 2 things I’d like to see you do!
    1. renovations/makeovers for charitable organizations. homeless shelters, kid’s cancer wards, pet shelter offices. So much potential and potential for sponsors who want to give back.
    2. quick room makeovers for others a la Mr. Kate on YouTube! Weekend makeovers (like the kitchen you did with Lowes), budget makeovers, just fun chances to take some risks and mix up the look a bit.

    Love following along wherever you go! You are who I want to be when I “grow up” :)

  48. erika says:

    So sorry about your cabin. I couldn’t even imagine that. I loved watching all of your updates. on the flip side, I have a house that you guys could help build on/remodel if you really need something to occupy your time. :)

  49. Emily H. says:

    I am going to join the chorus of voices that votes for a flip house on a budget! I have more limited funds to put into my house renovations, so seeing simple tweaks that are stylish, durable, and on the lower side of the budget would be great. (What about doing innovative things with cheap(er) materials?)

  50. Kelly says:

    Great post. Your whole situation has made me wonder if the universe is (no so) gently nudging you to expand your horizons a bit. I would love to see what the Marcum family does in a completely new context. For some reason, I picture you buying a historic, colorful home in New Orleans and really making it something special. How fun would that be?

  51. Your guys’ transparency has always impressed me — I’m sure whatever you do to “fill the space” won’t feel like it’s just filling a void to any of us, because we love everything you do! I’d love to see some gifted makeovers to needy families a la Emily Henderson if you can convince some sponsors to support that? Or maybe a commercial space in your hometown needs a face lift and you could do it for them? (I’d love to see a CLJ restaurant or a coffee shop and how you’d attempt that.) Again we’re gonna love whatever you do!!!

  52. I love this so much! I love that you’re turning the darkness into endless possibilities and it. is. EXCITING!!! I can’t wait to see what you decide!!

  53. Elizabeth says:

    Ooh, if you decide to move somewhere new I recommend looking at cheapoldhouses on IG. They have such beautiful houses, that obviously need work, but it always make me wish we were at a stage where we could just pick up and go.

  54. Julie says:

    I hope you still post any content left from the cabin that you have (like the loft bathroom). You guys worked so hard on it, it would be a shame not to post. I can understand though if it’s too much for you guys emotionally.

  55. Krystal Hague says:

    I think the flip house is a great idea!!! It will give you all the time you needed to make big decisions like the cabin, moving far away etc. Those decisions need time. I so enjoy your blog and look forward to reading about your journey.

  56. Jodie says:

    I think a flip would be awesome to follow along with. I’ve always loved the idea of adding character and personal style to cookie-cutter or track houses. Things you’ve already done, like wall to wall shelves or an unassuming paint color, give us ideas for our own homes that aren’t so far outside our comfort zone that we’d never consider them. It’s fun to know that whatever you end up doing, there’s no doubt you’ll do it well.

  57. Kim says:

    A budget flip house would be great. We’re hoping to sell in a few years (downsizing empty-nesters), and are in the process of starting our kitchen. So we want something we love and that is not crazy budget-wise, and also something others will be happy with.
    In the meantime, you took me down a Katie Hackworth rabbit hole. I’d love to learn more about where you find inspiration. So maybe some easy blog posts intro-ing us to others?

  58. katy says:

    Like a pheonix rising from the ashes, whatever comes next will be blessings in disguise. This is the sucky part – the unknown, the scary questions, the having to take a step before you can see the whole staircase. But this whole process – the good and the bad – will help inform the next decisions you make and you’ll look back feeling like it happened so that you could get to an even better place. I so look forward to seeing what you do next.

  59. Sarah says:

    First, I am so so sorry about your beautiful cabin. I loved following along and I can’t imagine how terrible it must feel to lose not only all of your hard work, but also the dreams you had for your future time there. BUT- I’m also excited to see what is in store for you next! Pretty much anything you touch turns to gold in my view :)

    And I feel compelled to say this even though I’m sure you’ve thought this through- there are attorneys who specialize in this sort of insurance scenario (my dad is retired but was one of them). You might consider getting a referral from a lawyer you trust, even if you feel that your insurance company is doing the right thing at the moment. I’m very sorry for the unsolicited advice from a stranger on the internet (yuck), and I wish you guys the very best luck as you navigate this challenging time.

  60. Jenny Steiner says:

    You could always flip for a client….we are ready to go if you need someone ???? Just wanted to say how beautiful your A frame clip was. Best wishes on whatever you decide is right for you guys!

  61. Jen says:

    In the short term while you are working on the “what next” I would love to see you pay it forward by using your design services and sponsor ability to bless someone in need of a reno! It would be great content for a budget redo for readers watching and also fill your cup to touch the life of maybe a single mom, someone who is dealing with grief or fighting cancer or something.

    Good luck and much love as you grieve your beautiful loss.

    • Margaret Rubin says:

      This is such a wonderful idea. I think there’s nothing better for healing than pouring into another in need.

    • Caroline H. says:

      I totally love this idea! It would be awesome to see the Marcums’ design knowledge at work on a budget reno.

    • AmandaKB says:

      I was thinking the same thing.

    • Christina says:

      Agree with this! I would also, as a loyal reader, consider donating to a GoFundMe for a family in need of renovation, worked by the Marcums. I’m sure you would get a lot of product partnerships, but if there’s need for a slush fund, I would give a few bucks for sure! That was actually one of my first thoughts when you posted the GoFundMe for the refugee family in Canada. Whatever you end up doing will be WONDERFUL and will be a great next step for you and your family. We’ll be here in support no matter what!

  62. sarah says:

    thanks for being so transparent and open, especially so close to a tragedy! it makes us readers feel super connected to and invested in you.

    i have to admit i wondered about the blog content…there are so many levels to this whole thing i think you guys are handling it with a lot of grace and tact considering your platform.

  63. Lindsay says:

    What a way to look at life…bring on the possibilities with excitement! You’re an inspiration to us all! Go get it girl!

  64. Jill Waters says:

    Julia,
    My mother’s home burned a couple of years ago due to a lightening strike. My two kids and I were home with her when it happened. The attic had been smoldering for about 30 minutes above our heads before we even knew it but we all made it out safely. I spent a lot of time dwelling in the “what ifs” but was ultimately reminded of God’s protective hand. Since my Mom was older and a widow, I took on the task of rebuilding for her. I worked extensively on the insurance process. (It’s a process!) I would encourage you guys to share as much of it as you feel comfortable. It may help others in the future.

    Once I got past the heartache of the situation and put all my energy into making sure the claim was processed properly so my Mom could rebuild. Know your policy- it could make the difference in thousands of dollars. Option ID, Debris removal, Ordinance and Law, Depreciation! – these terms will make a lot more sense as you move forward. My mom ended up with a beautiful home in the end although it was not an easy process. Thoughts and prayers continued for your guys!

  65. Jill Cyranowski says:

    Flip house–YES, YES, YES!!

  66. Meryl says:

    Your post really resonated with me! We bought a renovation project house five months ago with the intention to live here for at least three years but with the possibility that it could be a “forever” house for us. However, sometimes it seems the universe has other ideas. A job opportunity came up in another state that my husband accepted. He’s been working so hard in his career and it was too good to say no.

    I love feeling rooted where we live but it is changing our perspective as to what home is to us. So wrapped up in the questions…do we sell? Do we rent? Live a double life for a while in two cities? Finish the house? Sell it as is and get out? The plans also changes from designing it for us to putting everything on a budget and not necessarily being as unique as I intended. Through it all, learning to roll with this crazy life and how to grow within the challenges it presents. I do believe that good can come from everything and wonder if the universe delivers us what we need it it’s own way.

    I’d love to see anything you choose to do but what you would do with a more budget project definitely relates to my current reality. I am in the midst of renovating an entire house with the intention to sell it- so I need it to be universally appealing and affordable, but somewhat special and interestingly designed because I can’t settle for generic.

    Sending all good vibes and prayers and want to thank you for letting us be a part of your story.

  67. Bethany says:

    I know whatever happens you will make something beautiful and inspiring out of it! I’ll follow along whatever it is.

  68. Rebecca says:

    I can’t imagine how difficult the whole process has been and will be. I would love to see a flip but honestly, whatever you do, we are happy and honored that you take us along.

  69. Kate says:

    All of these things we considered and we’ve ended up rebuilding the same home. I question if that was the right choice. I know it was for my kids. I personally still have a hard time a year later… I don’t think any decisions would feel right. Take your time, don’t rush.

  70. Meredith says:

    As a reader, a flip house would be FUN! Some interim posts I’d love to see while you’re figuring out what comes next: a history/evolution of the blog, looking back at old posts and what you’d do differently, small tweaks around the house when you just want to freshen up, how you pick art/etsy round-up of artists you’re liking, a return to Julia’s paintings, update on the dogs, how you’re feeling about family life now that you’re done having children, revisiting the spaces around your house and how everything is working for you. Just some ideas, I’m so happy you’re taking forward steps after your devastating loss. <3

    • Maya says:

      Agreed about all of these! I’d also just love to see into the insurance process and the things you learned from this etc.

  71. Jennifer says:

    you guys. i’m so encouraged by your entire approach to this awful thing. taking the time to realllly grieve, not just popping right back and saying “we’re fine!” and then being so open to the possibilities for the future. i know we’re not walking in your shoes, but we’re definitely with you for this journey.

  72. Kelly says:

    So sorry for the loss of your amazing retreat. I’m impressed that you’re looking beyond while still processing the present. Praying you’ll find just what you need to navigate the near future and planning for the long term. It’s easy to say “it’s just stuff” but that stuff comes with a lot of memories and feelings and time to process it all is so so important. Thanks for taking us along. We’re cheering for you from Omaha!

  73. Lauren says:

    I would LOVE to see y’all do a budget house! Flip or otherwise, that would be fantastic. Maybe specifically seek out partnerships and sponsorships with brands and products that are more affordable to keep it very realistic. I love your style and I’d love to see what a bathroom would look like if you designed it and the budget wasn’t 30k. Best wishes for you moving forward!

  74. Angela says:

    I love the idea of a looking for a not-forever home to fix up. Your jobs are perfect for an opportunity like that that a lot of people can never experience. House in Hawaii for 3 years? Yes please! I also fully believe that experiences like that for kids are beneficial for them. It is important to see more of the world and what better way for homebody’s like you than from a new place you call home?
    Either way all options are an exciting change from a really sad situation.

  75. Jackie says:

    My vote is for you to use your land to make the ultimate wedding/party venue for your daughters to use one day lol. I’m thinking Herbery, Greenhouse, Rolling planters, outdoor kitchen, vaulted reception room. Chris can cook! Make it a big celebration space that has so much joy associated with it.

  76. Laura says:

    Glad to hear that you’re able to start moving forward after the fire. As a single mom who just purchased my first home, I’d be interest to see you take on a flip on a lower budget. I adore your style and it would be great to see some options and design ideas that are close to my price range and beautiful at the same time. No matter what you do, I’ll be here to follow!

  77. Mandee McEvoy says:

    So happy you’ve been able to get a fresh perspective on the situation. I give you both so much credit to move forward and find the sun at the end of this. Super excited to see what’s next for you. I’ll be refreshing the blog as usual each morning excited to see what you decide!

  78. I am so glad to hear you sound so optimistic. I’m sure it is hard to do after something so devastating but I cannot wait to see you guys pick up and get back after it. Honestly, I loved that cabin so much, the look, the feel, the way the snow looked piled up outside those huge windows, and I would love nothing more than to see you guys have that again. I hate to sound cliche but this could end up being a blessing in disguise for you guys. Either way, we will be here cheering you guys on!

  79. I’d LOVE to see you guys flip a house on a budget. It would make it very relatable for those of us who have small DIY budgets. But, really, I’ll happily read about ANY adventure you blog about.

  80. Melissa says:

    FLIP HOUSE – YES!!! I also think it would be interesting to hear about a multi-family investment property. My parents had apartment houses when I was growing up and the idea has always appealed to me. They are hard to find in my area though and they are EXPENSIVE. Would be sooooo curious though! I would probably do one as an Air BnB and the other as a yearly rental. But that’s just me…

  81. Allison says:

    I remember you mentioning somewhere that you were considering office space outside of your home- maybe the hunt for that/options you’ve considered and why they were a good/bad fit. You could always “flip” something like that. Or work with a local company to redo their commercial space and document how its different than residential?

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