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

Chesterfield Cottage Reveal: Part 1 {Exterior, Living Room, and Bathroom}


For the past 8 weeks or so, we’ve been working on a project that we’ve been calling Chesterfield Cottage.  You may have seen progress photos on Instagram or Facebook (if you missed them, you can check them out here!).  We got it on the market this past weekend, and guess what? We received a first day offer and are in contract!  Now that we have some time to breathe, we’re excited to share all of the fun details and before & after photos with you.

A bit of background – this home is a 1950s cape cod that has three bedrooms and one bathroom.  It’s about 1000 sq ft, which makes it the youngest and smallest house we’ve worked on.  It’s in a neighborhood where homes are typically in the $100-150k range, so we had to keep that in mind as we made our design decisions.  We couldn’t go overboard, but wanted to make it as nice as we could within our budget.  We were excited to take on the challenge and try something new.

Our ultimate goal in designing this home was to make it feel bigger than it actually is.  We wanted people to notice the beauty and functionality of each room before size.  We put a lot of thought into making sure we used each space in its best capacity, and added details and special custom touches to make it a one of a kind home.

There’s a lot of good stuff to share, so we’re going to split our reveals into three posts.  First up, we’ll share the exterior, living/dining space, and the bathroom.  Part 2 will be the 2nd floor attic bedroom, and part 3 will be the kitchen.

Exterior – Front

{Before} Here’s what the front of the house used to look like.  It had good bones and a nice yard with mature trees.  It just needed a facelift.


file_000img_2951{After} We painted the siding Sherwin Williams Naval, removed the awnings, and wrapped the metal posts with PVC trim.  We replaced the dated (and broken) front door, and added white window trim, cedar window boxes, and cedar tongue & groove to the porch ceiling.  We also replaced the house numbers.  Those details really made the home stand out and gave it the charm factor we were looking for.




Exterior – Back

{Before} Part of the garage door was cut off, there was a rusted storage shed in the yard, and there was a large wheelchair ramp that took up a big chunk of the yard.

garage {After} We cleaned up the yard, replaced the wheelchair ramp with a paver patio, replaced the garage door, and gave it a fresh coat of paint


Living Room

{Before} When you open the front door, you enter into the living/dining space.  We loved the archways leading to the kitchen and to the little hallway where the bedrooms and bathroom are, and wanted to work with them in our design.  That carpet and those blinds, though…

img_0891{After} We built a small decorative fireplace w/TV outlet behind the mirror to create some visual interest in the room and add functionality.  We also refinished the original hardwood floors and gave the walls a fresh coat of paint (BM Simply White).  Painting the walls and ceilings white helped disguise the imperfect ceiling/wall lines that so many older homes have, and also made the room feel open and airy.  We chose a light grey color (BM Revere Pewter) for the doors and trim, but left the windows themselves wood.




{After} We replaced the vertical blinds with bamboo shades that we hung about 6″ higher than the window.





{After} Through that archway are the bedrooms and bathroom.  We found this sign on an Etsy shop called Salted Words. It couldn’t be more perfect for this home!



{Before} The bathroom had yellow tile, a sticky linoleum floor, and a door that swung into the vanity.


{After} This bathroom was a full gut!  We replaced all of the dated tile with white subway tile going up to the ceiling in the shower, and added a fun black & white patterned tile on the floor.  We found a vanity and mirror that fit the space perfectly, and made the storage ladder above the toilet out of cedar 1x2s and metal strips.  We also switched the door hinge to the other side, and hung the shower curtain rod high to make the room feel larger.  Much better, right?


We’ll be back soon with part 2 of our reveal, the kitchen.  In the meantime, follow us on Instagram and Facebook for sneak peaks!

Sources (note – contains some affiliate links!):

Materials –
Front door – Home Depot
Window boxes – handmade, cedar
Posts (wrapped existing) – PVC trim from Home Depot
House numbers – Lowes

Paint –
Siding: Sherwin Williams Naval

Front Room
Materials –
Round mirror – Target
Small marble / brass tables – Target (similar here, also Target)
Blinds – JC Penney
Desk / table – World Market
Rug – Discontinued, Home Depot (similar here and here and here and here, or search for “tribal rug” / “Moroccan rug” online)
Leather love seat – West Elm on clearance (no longer available, but the normal sized sofa is here).
Silver chairs – lucky Craigslist find (similar here or here, or just search for “metal stackable chairs”)
Vases, candlesticks and greenery on fireplace – Jo-Ann
Vintage Indigo Pillows – Handmade, Bianca & Red
Throw – Home Goods
Sign – Salted Words, Etsy

Walls – BM Simply White
Trim, Fireplace, Doors – BM Revere Pewter

Materials –
Floor tile – Homedepot.com (brand is Merola)
Hanging baskets – Target
Storage ladder – handmade from cedar 1x2s and metal strips.  Similar from Target is made to go with the baskets.
Vanity – Lowe’s
Shower curtain – We used a regular 96″ curtain for staging purposes.  You can purchase 96″ shower curtains here and 84″ shower curtains here.

Walls – BM Simply White

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  1. Absolute adore this house- especially the exterior paint color- well done!!!

  2. Renée says:

    Spectacular! Source for shower curtain, please?

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Renee! We used a regular 96″ curtain for staging purposes. We updated the source list at the bottom of the post w/two links to real shower curtains (84″ and 96″) that we’ve used on other projects.

      • Renée says:

        Thanks for such a quick response! Your work is so inspiring.

      • Jamie says:

        Hi! How wide were or are your front pillars? We really want to wrap but my husband thinks ours are to wide. We have 9.5inch rod iron posts

      • Catherine says:

        We don’t live there so I can’t say for sure… I think ours were a similar size though.

  3. BelForm says:

    A truly inspiring remodeling project! Especially the transformation of the exterior as well as of the bathroom is amazing!

  4. Justine says:

    Small world! I live in Columbus and we’re just starting to consider buying our first house. Saw this on Zillow and am amazed to see the before! Thank you for taking the time to share your projects; it’s reassuring to see what a difference some elbow grease and creativity can generate 🙂

  5. saltedwords2014 says:

    I dont know how I am just now seeing this! It is beautiful! I love your blog! Thank you for sharing our sign!

  6. Gery says:

    Is the siding aluminum or vinyl? I’m impressed how good it looks after a new coat of paint!

  7. Veronica says:

    I know I’m super late to this party but I NEED to know how many rooms this house has!!

  8. Cole Johns says:

    Hey there guys! I just bought my first home last year and I’m fairly certain it is the same floorplan as this, with a few exceptions. I have been wanting to put in an attic bedroom since I moved in, but haven’t been able to figure out how that would work with the floorplan. I would be so grateful if you could share a rough floorplan (even if it was just a napkin sketch so that I might be able to get this project going). Feel free to email me directly at colejohns94@gmail.com Thanks so much!!

  9. Mary George says:

    Thanks so much for all your information on this home, I have been fortunate to buy a home similar to this one in Mitchell, IN.
    I’m stumped on what product to use on trim the windows/doors out. What product did you use, and how did you attach it to the siding?

  10. Alex says:

    The PVC that you wrapped around the posts, what is the column width measurement? 8″ or 10″?

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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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