About catherine
Catherine is a CPA-turned-creative entrepreneur. She is the founder of Beginning in the Middle. an interior designer, photographer, writer, and business schemer.  She loves being cozy at home, miniature everything, and has a not-so-secret dream of living on an island one day.
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Before & After

Backyard Makeover: Part 2


Update! Our makeover was featured on Better Homes & Gardens! See the article here (#5).

Summer is finally here and we’re excited about it!  Since the weather’s been so nice, we’ve been working on upgrading our backyard.  Last year, we brought it to life by adding a deck and patio, planting grass and a garden, and building some low-cost furniture for eating and lounging.  Pallets were our best friend, and worked perfectly for us and the occasional backyard BBQ.

Since then, we decided to put our house up on short-term vacation rental sites like Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO to make some extra cash, and have had an amazing response.  After several months of hosting guests from all over the country (and world!), we realized we had something going and decided it was worth it to invest a little more into making the backyard more guest-friendly.  For this round of improvements, we:

We still hope to buy a colorful umbrella for the dining table and stain the deck so everything matches.  And grow more grass to fill in the patches!  We’re glad our guests love it as much as we do.

photo 3

photo 2

photo 3 (2)

photo 5 (3)




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  1. PTM616@aol.com says:

    Yes, the makeover is a big success Congrats Dad

  2. […] Psst – We just finished another round of improvements- see more here! […]

  3. Cindy says:

    The floor pillows on the deck, did you make them yourself? If so, what did you use? They have such a nice shape.

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Cindy! We did — they were actually accent chair cushions in their previous life (with a frame), and we wrapped new fabric around them. That’s why they have that great shape.

  4. Jess Gregg says:

    Hi! Just came across your post on Home talk and paid your blog visit!! Great job on this stunning makeover! We’re currently working on our own “outdoor pool and patio renovations, makeover, improvements” and I was trying to explain to everyone about the built in benches I so desperately want when we build a floating step up (platform) deck off the pool area but I knew exactly what I wanted them to look like in my head but couldn’t convey it to my husband. These are what was in my head down to color, design and shape. Do they have storage as well? Do you have plans that you could sell me? Please! I’m so jealous for sure! Great job and you can see every little last detail and how much work, time and love… blood, sweat and tears… went into this project. Very nice!

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you! They do have storage! We don’t have plans, unfortunately, but if you find a good carpenter they should be able to build them for you based on a photo. We used pine, and just stained it to get the rich color.

  5. Zach says:

    You guys are THE BEST. impressed as always and definitely inspired

  6. […] year later in 2014, once we started renting out the home, we did another mini update by staining the fence and replacing some of the furniture.  On this one, we made the mistake of […]

  7. Dan says:

    Awesome transition. I’ve been looking around for ideas for my own home, I have to get to work!

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Catherine & Bryan Williamson moved from NYC to Columbus, OH in 2013.  Beginning in the Middle is a journal of the couple's design and renovation projects, real estate investment and Airbnb hosting journey, travel, and other life happenings.



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I grew up in New Jersey and always had a dream of living in New York.  There was something about the energy of the city that drew me inOur journey started unexpectedly in 2012, when we decided to make a big move from New York to Columbus. The glamour of climbing the corporate ladder was wearing off, and we knew that renting an expensive small apartment and dealing with crowded subways everyday was not going to work forever. We wanted to start creating something for ourselves, and although we didn’t know exactly what that something was, we knew NYC wasn’t the place for it.

We decided on Columbus because Bryan grew up here, and we were intrigued by all of the development going on in the downtown area at the time. We drove through many of the neighborhoods and admired the boarded up old houses, most of which were built in the early 1900s, and started dreaming about the things we could do here.

I'm Catherine, and I'm the founder of Beginning in the Middle.

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