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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Q&A with Brett & Kara Phillips

Q&A

Today is our second to last Q&A all about real estate & design entrepreneurship, and it’s a fun one! (PS, if you missed our last three Q&A’s, you can catch The Grit & Polish here, Nestrs here, and Construction2Style here.)

This week, we’re sitting down with Brett & Kara Phillips, owners of the boutique real estate & building company, High Street Homes, and a new home decor line, Phillips House Co.  They have accomplished so much and have lots of wisdom to share.  We’re excited for you to get to know them better & hear their story!

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BITM: Tell us about yourselves (as people!) Hobbies, interests? How did you meet?

B&K: We are Brett and Kara Phillips (@brettandkara). We are serial movers (moved nine times in eight years of marriage), we are permission givers for everyone living their best lives and have three boys (5, 3 and 1). Our main mission is to create homes that allow our clients to love how they live everyday.

Our love story began when we met at a wedding of mutual friends, it was love at first sight and we danced the night away. Brett asked me to drive him to the airport the following day and I jumped  at the chance to spend the short drive together. Turns out he had me pick him up five hours early, it was a clever move on his part and fortunately our day date was a success, we were married 14 months later and haven’t looked back since.

We have a very young family and multiple businesses so hobbies are something we look forward to in the coming years.  We love to travel (looking for a big experience soon), and cook and host others (we have a super club that has met monthly for two years straight).

BITM: Tell us about your business.  How did you get started? What made you want to get into real estate/design? How’d you get to where you are today?

B&K: We decided early on that we wanted to build our first home, so we lived with my parents our first year of marriage in order to save enough money to buy a small piece of land and begin the process. We loved creating the home together and saw a hole in the local market for a fresh perspective on the outdated building model,  so we sold our new home and started our construction company, High Street Homes. Soon after we wrapped construction on our first project, we began receiving calls from prospective clients. Today, we offer a full range of real estate services from buying and selling to construction and design.

BITM: What’s your favorite and not so favorite part about being a small business owner?

B&K: We are so grateful we are able to spend our days submerged in work we love. There are many hats to wear and roles to fulfill and while we wouldn’t trade it, at times it can begin to creep into family time. We’ve learned to set boundaries for our family and our work, that way we can get the best from both! Phone calls can come at any and all times of the day and night, using problem solving skills when you least expect it is the greatest skill to develop as an entrepreneur.

BITM: How has social media helped your business?  Any tricks you can share with us that have helped you grow your following?

Social media is intended to be social and we think of it as an opportunity to make new friends, encourage and celebrate one another. We are fortunate to have met some incredible people along our Instagram journey, which would never have happened had we not liked, commented and sent DMs to build relationships. It’s also been a great place to share our work. Our biggest personal takeaways to grow your own following:

    • Discover your authentic self – who are you and how do you communicate that?
    • Post consistently – helps people learn about you
    • Be social – comment and say hello (people are behind every post)
    • We use A Color Story app to edit and prepare some of our next posts to see a visual flow.
BITM: What goals are you working toward?  Any big dreams or aspirations that you’d love to achieve in the future?

B&K: We are constantly stretching. We feel most alive working with our clients to develop their floor plan. It also happens to be a service that we have only recently begun offering to out of state clients. Also, we are working toward financial freedom to be able to flex our most creative selves.  Our life has been full of lots of surprises so we just keep going and expect amazing things to come. Life has not disappointed yet!

BITM: It sounds like we are on very similar journeys.  We also love floor planning & space planning, and are working toward financial freedom!

BITM: What do you like most about living in Fort worth, tx? Any recommendations on where to stay & what to eat for anyone who might be traveling there?

B&K: Fort Worth, TX  is rich in history and culture. It’s familial, laid back and hospitable. The median age is 31, which creates a strong network for young entrepreneurs and creatives. There are so many activities and unbelievable restaurants but some of our favorite stops are:

The Fort Worth Stockyards a great place to submerge yourself in Cowtown culture and live stock history, watch a cattle drive or take line dance lessons at the world’s largest honky tonk, Billy Bob’s Texas.  

The Kimbell Art Museum and Modern Art Museum It may surprise you that the very same city is home to several world class museums. There are some incredible exhibitions and events.

The Fort Worth Zoo – Ranked one of the best in the Nation. You can now feed the giraffes which is a fun adventure in itself.

Southside – Historic Fairmount has some incredible AirBnbs to stay and the best food around on Magnolia Avenue. Definitely hit up Melt Ice Creams for the best of local dessert.  These two are good for a stay: Here and Here

BITM: Favorite place you’ve traveled to?

B&K: We love Santa Barbara, CA. It’s where Brett grew up, so we love going back to visit family every chance we get.  Nothing beats the coastal air, stucco buildings with red tile roofs and casual lifestyle. It’s our favorite city to unwind and be inspired.

BITM: Biggest lesson learned?  do you have any advice to offer people just starting out?

B&K: Brett spends time consulting small businesses on how to discover their authentic self in a world of noise. His leadership in this area of our business has led to meaningful and lasting connection across our social platforms. If you haven’t discovered your authentic self or maybe you are struggling to communicate that across your channels, send us a DM and we can help!

BITM: last question.  Favorite white paint color?

Frequently we have a visitor who is stopping by to ask what color we painted our brick (Sherwin Williams “Shoji White”). It’s warm, forgiving and looks just as great as an interior color.

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There you have it.  You can find more about these two inspiring people on Instagram @Brettandkara, check out their shop, Phillips House Co, and their work at High Street Homes We’ll be back next week for our last interview in the Q&A series!!

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  1. What a beautiful couple!! Love all the tips.

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About BEGINNING IN THE MIDDLE

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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