CUSTOM MADE: A Lifestyle Blogger’s Family Room Renovation

Julia Marcum, founder of lifestyle/home renovation blog Chris Loves Julia, has a big dog. Actually, it’s a massive dog: a Saint Bernard/Great Pyrenees mix, weighing in at 160 pounds, named Charly (shown above). So, she needed the new sofa in the family room of her new (old) home to accommodate said pooch, along with her two lovely and lively daughters Greta, 6, and Faye, 2, and partner-in-home-reno crime and husband (and personal chef!) Chris. Did we mention that Julia is 6′ tall and Chris is 6’5″? And, that they have a ton of friends and family members that like to visit? So, we’re talking one big—wait, massive—sectional sofa.

While juggling life as wife, mother, interior decorator, DIY-er, handywoman, fine artist and blogger, Julia began researching custom upholstered furniture and was shocked by the price quotes—many upwards of $10,000—for the size and configuration she wanted. But then she found the Ainsley in Pebble Weave-Dove, found out about all the customization options—including a U-shape configuration—and breathed a sigh a relief. (Note: This option is not available on the website yet-please contact a Product Specialist for inquiries in the meantime.) And moved on to figuring out the other design elements of the room such as the paint color, wall art and light fixtures. Read on to hear more from Julia about her incredible family, how their family room design came together, and how much she loves the finished product below.

CLJ Headshot
Julia Marcum of Chris Loves Juli

How did you approach your living room design?
Chris and I wanted to turn the space into a true family room, meaning, a space our entire family would feel comfortable in. We wanted one half of the space to be a play area and the other half to be a TV/theater area, so this meant finding that sweet spot where “kid-friendly” and “mature” combine. We also wanted to make sure the space was flexible enough to match the moods we wanted to set (play time versus relaxation time).

What was the inspiration behind the aesthetic/style of the space?
I spent a lot of time researching the space and searching for inspiration everywhere we might find it. In the end, Chris and I were inspired by two separate projects: a media room by Studio McGee in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a playroom by H2Design + Build. Both were flexible enough to combine functions and adjust to fit what we wanted the space to be at a specific time.

What drew you to the Ainsley Chaise Sectional sofa in the U-Shape?
We had an L-shaped sectional in the past, and everyone was always fighting over the chaise part of it. We have friends and family over for movie nights pretty often, and we knew the U-shape would not only be more enjoyable for our guests, but would work perfectly in front of our built-in shelves and entertainment center.

How has your family reacted/ received the sofa and space?
Constant compliments. In the middle of watching a movie, we’ll have people look around and mouth the words, “This is so nice!” to us. Or we’ll be sitting and chatting with friends while our kids play on the playroom side, and it’s all so comfortable. There really is a space for everyone, and it’s been a huge hit. Honestly, it’s a dream down there.

What was the process of ordering your Interior Define sofa like?
We read that Interior Define could customize a sofa, but I wasn’t sure how far that went. I emailed them with exact measurements of our space and told them we loved their Ainsley sofa, but were looking for a U-Shaped sectional—and could they do a bench cushion in the middle? They checked off every box without hesitation. The team was so helpful and you could tell their focus was on making sure we loved our sofa. It’s always a pleasure working with people who are dedicated to making great products, and not just making money.