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

The Village Host: Furniture Refresh with Crate and Barrel

The Village Host

It’s been a little over three years since we opened our Historic Townhome Airbnb rental and started The Village Host.  We LOVE being hosts and creating beautiful spaces that we can share with guests.  This particular home has been a crowd favorite since day 1, but had one big problem…

This post is sponsored by Crate and Barrel. 

When we initially selected furniture for the living & dining rooms of this home, we were admittedly more focused on aesthetics + budget than quality + comfort.  We spent a good chunk of money during renovations and didn’t plan for furniture in advance, so when it came time to get it decorated, we didn’t have much budget left.  We purchased a linen sofa online that was lovely, but overlooked the fact that it for sure would not wear well over time.  It collected many stains that even professional upholstery cleaning couldn’t remedy, and got so bad that we needed to replace it.

enter: crate and barrel custom upholstery

We’re working with Crate and Barrel to give our space a sophisticated refresh.  We started by replacing our stained sofa with the Cortina sectional, a similarly sized sectional as our old one with petite roll arms and a bench seat (less cushion shifting is always a good thing).  One non-negotiable for us this time around was selecting a sofa that would last us many, many years and be VERY easy to clean.  We also love the aesthetic of a lighter fabric, so we chose the custom upholstery option which allowed us to select a fabric that’s easy to clean, stain resistant, highly durable and family friendly (we checked aaaaall the boxes).

We ultimately landed on Winward Sand, which is a textured neutral fabric that’s so pretty you’d never know it’s a performance fabric.  It’s one of Crate and Barrel’s new fabrics and can be cleaned with just about anything (including bleach!), doesn’t pill, and is virtually indestructible.

Pro tip: go into the store and look at all of the fabrics available in person.  The design experts are super helpful – Justin was our guy at Easton and he was so patient as I looked through literally every performance fabric that was available!  He knew everything like the back of his hand, so it was nice to have that hands on support throughout the process.

It was my first time ordering a custom upholstered piece of furniture from Crate and Barrel, and I’d for sure do it again.  Look how it turned out!

Crate and Barrel is having their annual upholstery sale NOW, where you can get 15-20% off!  There are thousands of styles, sizes and fabrics on over 100 furniture collections (26 new) that make the piece you’re looking for fit your style & life.


We already had a beautiful dining table at the Townhome (we bought it at Crate & Barrel a few years ago), but needed new chairs.  As a part of our refresh, we upgraded our old metal dining chairs to the Crescent Black Rush Seat dining chairs.  We are in love.  For real.

They are even more beautiful in person than I expected, and wider than our old chairs so they feel less restricting.  The seat is synthetic wicker and the frame is solid teak, so they can be used both indoors or outdoors (yay durability!)

I love the classy, casual vibe of the chairs, and that they’re neutral but also make a big statement in the space.  (They come in grey, too!)


The last piece of furniture we replaced was the desk chair in the living room.  We chose the Taj Leather Strap Arm Chair, which is technically a dining chair but works great as a desk chair in our space.  We were originally eyeing these for the dining room but ultimately decided it would look best in the living room.

This chair is designed by Winardi Thamrin for Crate and Barrel, and is just as comfy as it is pretty.  PS, there’s also a model without arms – great for side chairs for a dining table – and another beefier accent chair. 


You may or may not know this, but Bryan and I are big Crate and Barrel fans and have been buying from them for years.  We go to the Crate outlet in NJ every time we visit my family, and more often than not, rent a truck to drive our finds back to OH (PSA, if you’re near one, go check it out).  We especially love their sofas & club chairs – the six we’ve purchased so far for rentals, our own home, and staging were made in the US and are incredibly comfy.  Their upholstered furniture pieces have wood frames, soy-based cushions without fire retardants, natural fillings, non-toxic glues and water-based stains.  They’re just straight up good quality.

Here’s one of our Airbnbs (our first home!), which has two extra deep lounge sofas that we used to love lounging on (literally).  They’ve held up great for almost seven years and our guests love them, too.

In the second home we lived in, we furnished our living room with a Crate and Barrel sofa and accent chair, as well as the Dakota dining table, which we brought with us to our Historic Townhome when we moved.

At our Pearl duplex, we had a Crate twin sleeper sofa in the little bedroom as well as a wool pouf (which we brought with us to The Vic). You can see more of this space here.

Most recently, we purchased this oversized sheepskin rug for Bianca’s nursery and it is incredible (you’ll see more on that room in the coming months as we get it together – !!). We’re so, so happy with this refresh, and excited about these new pieces from a quality brand to thank for it.  Crate and Barrel, we <3 you!

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  1. I love this idea of reupholstering. We have some beautiful sofas but they are getting so worn now. I want to give this a go as I haven’t found any new sofas I like as much as our old one but we are really due for an update!

  2. Melissa B. says:

    Where did you get that beautiful rug under your new sofa???

  3. Laurie says:

    How is the Winward sand fabric holding up? Is it stain resistant? What about pilling?

  4. Beth says:

    Hi. What is the other winward sample fabric color you have shown in the picture? It looks like a gray color. Thanks!

  5. Laurie says:

    How is the Winward Sand performance fabric holding up? I am getting ready to purchase the declan sofa and recliner in that fabric. Also debated Monet Champagne or Icon Pearl.

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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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