1. Julia,

    Judge? Are you kidding..You have just moved even higher up my “favorite blogger”list. You are real and that is what most of your readers can identify with. As much as I love reading blogging posts, I still have this unsettling thought that gnaws at my heart most of the time when I am reading posts. I often want to yell at my computer screen to, “Stop, do you know what you are doing? Are you for real? Do you know what message you are sending?”
    I am in my early 50’s, my kids are young adults who live on their own, but I remember being a young stay at home mom and knowing what we had to do to make it work. My husband had a great job and we had a comfortable income, but we still had to make ends meet and we made sacrifices to make it work for our family. It was tough trying not to compare our life with our childless friends.. That was all before social media.

    I can’t help but hurt for many of the younger readers out there who read about all of the Nordstrom clothes, the cool Pottery Barn couches, the fun trips to exotic places etc. This is not what the majority of the population can afford. Many bloggers daily posts consist of mini fashion shows with comments such as, “these are my favorite jeans”, and you click on the link to learn that they are 150.00 jeans. How does this make a young reader who works full time and trying to balance a family feel?
    My concern is that these “perfect life” closets and beach houses may make a young person feel inadequate. I once had a young mom say that she had to stay away from blogs, and social media because it was beginning to put stress on her family life and marriage because she was doing too much comparing.
    Julia, your “ugly truth” is actually so beautiful, because it is real life, because it is what real people need to read. You have always been somewhat transparent and your readers can relate to you. Blog fans are tired of seeing the perfect living room, and the perfect model bodied blogger frolicking in a tiny dress while a photographer photographs her. Life is messy, we are all messy and thank you for being real, and for caring enough about your readers to share. You are awesome!

    1. Thank you Amy. I was mostly referring to the fact that some people who didn’t live next to this mess judge me for not embracing a mentally disabled person. And I totally understand and feel the same way about all the rest. It’s a struggle for most people.

    2. Beautiful posts I found this by accident and now I’m reading it all I love it all thanks so much I feel I belong I can’t wait to do the diy’s. Much love xxxxoooo

      1. Hi Sandra, I’m so glad you like it. Thanks so much for reading!

    3. I truly enjoyed reading your ups and downs the fa t that you are overseeing about your family is what caring and love is. If more people would think and care the way u do we all would smile. So tha k you for an encouraging wise words.

      1. Hi Tracy and thanks so much for your sweet comment.

  2. first of all, i love amy! 🙂 and second of all, i love you and this post, and you know i can totally relate. i am really glad you shared this and got it off your chest and i agree that it just makes you more real and even more lovable. and if anyone judges you, they should probably take a good long hard look in the mirror and see if they like what they see. bravo to you!!!

    1. Thanks my sweet friend.

  3. I agree with Amy. I love you more for sharing personal bits in between the “fluff”. While I do like seeing the beautiful projects and ideas you have, I can connect more with a blogger when I find something in common other than decor or lipstick. I too am in a home I didn’t intend to be in forever and have slowly come to grips (maturity?) that this home is “good enough” to be able to do all the things I like to do normally and to be able to continue to afford private schooling for our teenage son. It’s a home. I make it as comfy and workable as I can. Honestly, I say to myself alot, “You can’t keep up with cleaning this small house, what are ya gonna do with a bigger one?” LOL. As far as the mentally disabled person next door, you have compassion but you also know your gut. If something felt off with that particular situation, then it’s good you acted on it rather than regretting it.

    1. Thanks Rebecca,
      Yes cleaning a smaller house is still a struggle LOL. I wouldn’t want to clean a bigger house.
      Private schooling was on my list too but it didn’t happen. So far they are thriving at their public school and I hope it stays that way.

  4. Yea I would not be OK with that AT ALL and I would have reacted the exact same way. Our jobs as parents are to protect our kids, no matter what. I’m glad he’s no longer there. What a relief I am sure.

    And on the small house front, I think you are ahead of the times! I think (and hope) that one day as a society we will realize that making memories and traveling and investing in experiences, rather than things, is the way to go. I am feeling the urge to simplify more than ever these days.

    You are such an inspiration Julia and posts like these only confirms that fact!

    Much love,

  5. you know i mostly comment when it has to do with your cats, and that’s because that is the real part of blogging coming through. sharing of the things that make you sad, and stressed. i love reading your blog. i love seeing homes of all sizes. when i was blogging regularly (as opposed to the non blogging) i would often feel like my little cape wasn’t big enough or open enough to share. then i realized alot of these home bloggers live in the midwest somewhere, and homes are larger and homes are cheaper. that is not indicative of their income, to me, it is indicative of the housing market there, which is different than the housing market here. i have to remind myself of that. now i read more fashion blogs, and i swear, these people live like kardashians! i don’t envy their things, i envy how simple and stress free their lives must be to have 50 camel/tan/cream high end designer bags. it has led me to change who i follow and what blogs i read, b/c i don’t need to look at things and feel sorry for myself that i am not one of the “perfect people.” and the perfect people have loss and stress, too, it’s just they share it so less frequently.

    i’m so sorry for the struggles with the house attached, it must be very hard raising a family with the unknown next door. my SIL actually bought the house across from her so that a known offender who had been looking at it couldn’t buy it. the thing i told her, what if the house next door, or our back, goes up for sale. you can’t buy all of them, and you can’t know everything about the people who live inside them! this guys is registered, but it doesn’t mean the next person is!


  6. Catherine says:

    Bless your heart. So glad you spoke up about your neighbour situation. The world is scary and home needs to feel safe. To be your haven, no matter how big or small. You’ve made your home a lovely place to live and you’re using your funds to show your children other countries – that’s an enriching life experience that will serve them better than an ensuite bathroom!

  7. You are a good person Julia! Your fears are normal and protecting our children is priority to all parents! My one bit advice and the advice I give to my two daughters, if you are on any social media, you are going to compare yourself with what you see. And comparison usually makes one feel inadequate. My 24 year old gets it and closed all her social media accounts. I never had any. You’re a special person, talented and real, thank you for sharing????

  8. Julia!! Yes! I for one, feel like this post makes you more relatable and real! I can agree with many commenters above! I for one, have a large house but I live in the middle of nowhere in the Midwest! Nothing about it is perfect yet it’s hard to get that across to readers! Anyways, love your heart here!!

  9. Marty Oravetz says:

    Seeing all the pretty pictures on all the blogs can make us all feel like we have and are “less”. You are one very special person that has all your priorities in order. We all have issues and dreams and wishes, yours are being true to your goals for your family and I applaud that.

  10. Julia,
    Your post today is EXACTLY why I like your blog.

    At the start of this month I evaluated the blogs I subscribe to and eliminated many.

    I no longer am interested in high end renos.
    I am no longer interested in someone’s perfect children.
    I am no longer interested in fashion I cannot afford.
    I am no longer interested in hearing about your perfect life…a newly single Mom whose lifestyle does not change?(oh please)
    And why am I reading recipes that have waaay to many ingredients and take hours to prepare.
    Keep up the good work!

  11. Diane Rodriguez says:

    I agree with Rane – social media can make you feel inadequate with all the glamour and perfect looks!
    Never apologize or feel bad about what you do or don’t do! The size of your home does not make you a better person, blogger, parent, etc.- I am sure your kids don’t care! You made your home very beautiful and on top you can actively participate in your childrens’ lifes! I understand your worries about their well being in regards to your direct neighbor! However, you already stepped up and made a change!
    There will always be people who have more – question is, does that make them happier? I doubt it!
    I live in a relatively big house – guess what – we definitely want to downsize once the kids leave for college!
    So keep your small home and enjoy your kids and traveling! You and the kids already have one great advantage – your German passport – you can visit/live/work/study in so many countries without worrying about a visa!
    I am from Germany, and I am excited about that option for my kids!
    You are doing a wonderful job! Be proud!
    And as far as the violence – unfortunately it is mankind – but it has been and always will be part of life! Look at history, no era has been without it, people just don’t learn! The only thing we can do, is give our best and teach our kids right from wrong!
    Viele liebe Gruesse!


    I know it probably doesn’t feel politically correct saying that you were fearful and uncomfortable with somebody with that type of disability living next door to you..but who wouldn’t be? You have every right to feel that way. That person was unstable, a person’s empathy for someone in that state of mind can only go so far…at some point you have to draw the line…there is no shame in that! It would unnerve me, and make me anxious living so close to someone as unstable as he was. Yes, he has an illness, but it was irresponsible for the owner to put him in the home when he really was so unstable to live on his own.

    Your little house is perfect for you and your family. Over and over again, you gave all the positives as to why you love where you live, to me that is what is most important, not the size. I have a love/hate relationship with blogging and social media…80% of it to me is so fake and un-relatable. I’m on the other end of the spectrum, I have the estate home, I have the means to buy what ever I want…something I rarely share…because it makes me uncomfortable…just like you, I don’t want to be judged based on how or where I live. ..kind of funny how Social Media has made us all afraid of being us….but you my dear, have shown that being real is where it’s at, and I truly appreciate that xoxo

  13. Excellent post Julia. Ditto…ditto…ditto what all the comments have stated. I have been to your house and it is a beautiful house that you have made into a beautiful home for you and your family. We all feel house envy from time to time, but believe me when I say the big house will not make life any better, just more expensive. What is more important is that you have made your house perfect for you and your families lifestyle. You have such great taste and style, never ever doubt that. The size of the house doesn’t matter, only the life you lead in it does. XO

  14. I follow you more than 3 years but it is the first time I write a comment. I am from Greece, Europe just like you, I am a diy blogger and it is the first time that I feel I want to congratulate a person I do not know in person. This post made me to respect you more than I respect you for your DIY skills and great taste!!! Really I want to express all the feelings I have now but my poor english do not allow it! Bravo, Bravo, Bravo!!!!

  15. I would move to a smaller home if I could have stayed home with my children or travel once a year. No judgment here! And as far as your neighbors, you are just being a parent, that’s our job to protect them. They come first over anyone else’s problems. Your home is gorgeous and I never even had the slightest idea it was a twinhome. I actually relate to you even better now. Some of the bloggers live in mansions and get to stay home with their children and buy everything at Pottery Barn. I have nothing in common with them. ❤️

  16. Getting it off your chest will help with the pulsitile tinnitus. I have it all the time, some days it’s overwhelming, some days not so bad. I think stress has a lot to do with it. As I get older, I realize that a small home is the best place to be. I wanted bigger and better, then I got cancer and nothing else matters. So stay with your home and take care of your family. I love your posts, they are the best, keep up the good work.

  17. I visit some bloggers but don’t usually comment because they live in the big fancy homes you describe, but today I will. I’ve been a blogger in this genre for nearly nine years. I went from being a doctor’s wife to living in an apartment. So see, I don’t fit in either. But I’m real. Just like this post is. And I don’t just write about decor anymore. I will come visit again. I hope you remain “real” and don’t worry about your home. A house is merely four walls+ lots of love. You did more of a service to bloggers and readers by writing this post.

  18. Me again. I just read the posts about your daughter. I have Asperger’s Syndrome and various sensory issues. I can’t tolerate tags in clothing or having my bare feet on the floor. In the confines of my home I often just don’t wear clothing at all. I sympathize with what you’re going through. I’ve been taking Effexor (you mentioned that) for over 6 years and am doing quite well. I know some people don’t want to resort to medication, but for me it was transformative. I can’t imagine life without medication because I would never go out at all. Anxiety can be debilitating. Please take care of yourself. You can’t help her if you don’t take care of you.

  19. Norma Fisher says:

    Julia, thank you for sharing. I have your same feelings; live in a tiny town house. I try to remind myself that someone out there would give anything to have what I have. May you be blessed always.

  20. Oh how I wish more bloggers would come clean! I , too felt like a fraud while blogging. It’s not an authentic way of life (sorry). This is the main reason I stopped a few years ago. Not to mention my then-7 year old daughter said “Mama, I’m more important than your blog.” This came after I spent countless hours on my computer- most of which were spent editing pictures to make them prettier. I commend you for continuing to blog and for this post. It’s not really for me, as it reminds me of belonging to the “cool kids clique” in high school. No thanks, but if it makes you happy then please continue. I read every post (still). You’re awesome. xo Tchuss! Amy (formerly “Amy Krist”)

  21. Debra Smith says:

    I like you am a designer…it is very easy to get caught up in the insecurities of what others have…but always remember anyone with half a brain can make a million dollar house look good…it takes great talent to make a lesser house look like a million bucks.

  22. Christine richey says:

    Wow. So much respect for you and your true authenticity. Thank you for saying all of this and being real. I love LOVE pretty things and pictures and decorating and being creative. But I look at other Instagram accounts and wonder- is this fulfilling and meaningful or is it fake fluff? Do I need to hear about another “so blessed to be chosen as a stylemaker blogger!” Or “guys my life is not perfect, im wearing last year’s jeans and see those 2 dishes in the sink?!”, etc. Especially with the state of this world. Does that make me a hard a**?! I don’t know, it’s something I struggle with, along with moody days and sadness and guilt etc…when you say this isn’t where I saw myself and others have moved up and on to bigger, better, newer , well, I feel and am in the same state, probably living in rentals for the remainder of our days. It’s so refreshing to read your words and I believe you have the perfect balance, you are doing great! Raising your children, deal8ng with their needs, living within your means, valuing your family over “success” and you have a beautiful home and you are truly talented! Thank you for being so raw, it’s nice to see there are still people in the world like you! Keep on keeping on!????☺

    1. Christine richey says:

      And I would NOT have been cool with the next door situation. There’s a difference between a home for persons with mental disabilities being guided into the world, which is wonderful, and moving people in and out continually of an attached cottage. Plus the fact of the sexual problematic issues. That’s ridiculous in a neighborhood full of children.

      1. I agree. I live in Fresno, CA and we recently had a violent sexual predator released from prison after serving his time. They authorities needed to find a place for him to live. They finally found a mobile home in the country. It was burned down the following week. The agency found a place for him in another town, but, there’s no guarantee that he’s cured or he won’t act again.

        i live in a small home too, in an older less desirable neighborhood…it’s nice, it’s just not new and we have some lazy neighbors who don’t take care of their lawns. But, I have a house payment I can afford and I can save money. My goal is to pay my house off before I retire in ten years.

  23. Terri Fisher says:

    Thanks for being honest. I have to say I’m getting
    To the point of deleting a lot of bloggers that I
    Read and enjoyed. They have started to act like they
    Are stars. Showing clothes and home decor
    That they are getting free or discounted. When we look
    Up the cost is so out of the park for most everyday people.
    Enjoy your house it’s beautiful and love seeing your
    Trips back to parents
    I also live in a few tiny house
    Enjoy your smaller house payment and the freedom
    You are way ahead of the game.
    Your first blog I ever saw was the white cuckoo clock
    Love that to this day

  24. Julia it is so hard not to make comparisons and feel inadequate when all you see are glossy exteriors at flattering angles. We’ve spent years in rental or homes that I knew would only be temporary/make do. Until this year we have always lived on one income, splurging on occasion but mostly making ends meet. Add to that the fact that 90% of my home is second hand or DIY doesn’t always make me feel very glamorous in the shiny new blogging crowd. But Like you I’ve always thought of making things pretty as my therapy. My husband always tells if I’m having too many down days “You need a project” and he’s right. I started blogging as an outlet to share what I was doing anyway and share what I love. What house you live in doesn’t changes that. (( Okay maybe the ones with better light do 😛 )) So just do you because You Rock!

  25. Ellen (not my real name) says:

    I work in a state hospital for the criminally insane, I LOVE most of my patients. I hope and pray for them that when they leave they stay on their medication and lead a productive and full life. Do I want them to move in next door to me?? Oh no I don’t. Would I like to know they live next to my grandkids not NO but hell NO.

    There is nothing wrong with the way you feel.


  26. Ellen (not my real name) says:

    And, if anyone thinks the way you feel is awful then ok your awful, they can help them move next door to them!!

  27. Dear child, never apologize for the truth. When you speak from your heart, it shows and I for one, appreciate your courage, honesty, and fears. Why? Because it’s real! One of the reasons I dislike FB is people present all the “perfectness” of their lives…..which is only a portion of the truth. I like truth. All truths of life…. the good, the bad, and the ugly. Never apologize for being truthful. Thank YOU for this post. We are friends!

  28. Julia, I totally understand the way you felt about the next-door neighbor. Your family has to be your first priority. I’ve followed you for years now and think that you are one of the most talented, creative bloggers out there. You have dealt with any number of challenges and you just “keep on keeping on” with determination and grace. I’m a lot older than you and often feel the disappointment of our retirement years not being what I had anticipated. The fact that our remodel continues into the sixth year doesn’t help matters!! Reading some of the privileged bloggers probably is not a good thing for me, but I try to remember what really matters in life-family, friends, health, etc. Sometimes it’s difficult to try to be happy for their good fortune, but I do know that things aren’t always as perfect on the inside as they appear. Your kids will be in college before you know it, so just enjoy them, your trips home to family in Germany and your darling home!

  29. Thanks for sharing. I am so glad to hear that you spoke up about your neighbor. With all the things that are happening in this country now we need to be more observant about everything and if you feel or see something that is not quite right…say something.

    Your home is beautiful as is. I love your decor style and always look forward to reading your stories.

    I am a blogger too and seeing all the pretty pictures can make your feel inadequate. Especially being a new blogger.

    Thanks for your courage.

  30. Thank you for sharing and being real. Life is sometimes hard and everyone doesn’t have the
    same opportunities. Family is most important. Good neighbors are priceless. Everyone should
    be able to feel safe in their home. You are an inspiration to your readers to make their homes
    attractive and welcoming even if they are not million dollar homes. Please continue to inspire us
    to see the beauty around us. The money you spend going to see your family is making memories
    for you and your children and that is more important than a grand home. I enjoy your posts about Germany.

  31. Kathleen Tweed says:

    This post is why I love you so much and read your blog in the first place! I love your honesty! You are a REAL person with a real family, real pets and a real life! Add to that you are so talented and a true artist! I will be a fan forever!

  32. So many of my thoughts came through in your words. You are wonderful!

  33. Karin Habisch says:

    Hallo Julia!
    Besser ein kleines Haus, aber voll bezahlt. Vor ein paar Jahren habe ich Verwandte in Texas besucht. Großes Haus + Haus an einem See+großes
    Boot. Nichts davon voll bezahlt. Hypothek, Ratenzahlung etc. Die ganze Pracht auf tönernen Füßen. Keine Nacht könnte ich schlafen in so einer Situation.

    Nun zu Deinen Nachbarn: Das kann ich so nachvollziehen. Wir wohnen in einer Eigentumswohnung und neben uns die gleiche Situation wie bei Dir. Geschimpfe, Geschrei.Die soziale Organisation, die die Bewohner stellt kümmert sich nicht um das was da geschieht. Polizei muss kommen, etc etc. Und ich fühle mich so hilflos.

  34. Dear Julia, Love this! There is NOTHING ugly about this post. It is lovely, just like you. Women today put so much pressure on ourself to have the perfect home, family, body, etc. when that is all an illusion. I love decorating blogs but I remind myself that what we see is the “fixed up” version. Your honesty is so much more real, more what we all need to share. Women need to quit the competing and support each other. And the insecurity? Girl, we all have it sometime. Hold your head high- love yourself, your family, and your cozy sweet home. –Renee

    1. Love your comment Rene!

  35. Kay Souza says:

    Julia, You are a dear young woman whom I have admired from afar. I have a grandson with similar challenges as your daughter. Thank you for sharing so deeply. Hopefully there has been no one who judged you. Thank you for your great ideas! I shall continue to follow you carefully and joyfully!

  36. No judgement here. You are 100% correct to be concerned and pissed off. I would be! A friend of mine had a job where she’d work with mentally ill patients and could tell when they were off their meds. She was required to do home visits but would call before going for her own safety. If they weren’t on their meds she wouldn’t go over for her own safety. Hello! What about everyone else on the street that they come in contact with????? She said a lot of judges are hesitant to take away someone’s rights by placing them in institutions which I understand but to me these shootings aren’t gun issues but mental health issues. I hope your situation improves!

  37. Ugh–what a tough situation! I’m sorry you had to go through that….housing and neighbor stress is some of the worst kind because you just feel so stuck and helpless to fix it. Hoping it’s behind you now!

  38. Thank you for keeping it real! I’ve found that there is always something people are embarrassed about their house… and there are always whacky neighbors. It’s not the same as a twin house, but we share a driveway with our neighbors and they are not very considerate. It’s hard trying to take pride in your own home and make it a place you love when there is someone around that irritates you or doesn’t make you feel comfortable. I hope your new neighbors are awesome and you’re able to look back on this someday and laugh.

    Ps. Small homes for the win. Less cleaning, less utility cost, and more togethertime.

  39. Thank you for putting your heart here. Which shows who you really are you. We all have wacky neighbors Be strong And also I hope your new neighbors are awesome . Finally really love your little house.

  40. Amber @ Wills Casa says:

    Oh my gosh Julia!! I am so sorry! That is incredibly stressful! Praying for you sweet friend!

  41. Hi Julia, I popped in over here after visiting one of my favorite blogs Kelly Elko. She said she was so happy to be sharing a room with you at the BHG stylemaker event. I poked around your blog and then read this blog post in its entirety. I’m in love with your honesty and authenticity. Judge you? No way! I definitely understand your concern for your family and neighborhood with the influx of renters next door with mental disabilities especially sexual issues and anger management issues. As far as having a big home, I believe it’s so overrated! Frankly, I’m not that impressed. They are beautiful to look at and I know a couple of bloggers who saved every penny and helped do most of the work to save costs. One of my favorite quotes about home is “Houses are made of brick and stone but homes are made of love alone” I live in a small home too and I’m so glad we didn’t take the leap years ago to go into debt for a larger home. You get to travel back home to Germany, engage in your creative passions and be there for your
    children. it’s easy to get caught-up in comparison in the blogging IG world due to the picture perfect squares on IG but many times that’s just not reality. There is always a trade-off for how our time is spent. It can be spent working and working to make better money but then you trade time with your family. IM not judging anyone who lives in a large home but the size truly doesn’t matter. Thank you for your honesty.

  42. Anita Gabionen says:

    In a world where social media often presents an idealized version of reality, your blog stands out as a beacon of authenticity. It’s reassuring to know that even talented designers encounter challenges and make compromises.

    Thank you for keeping it real and reminding us that imperfections are what make a house a home. Your blog is a delightful mix of creativity and reality, and I look forward to following your journey.

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