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

Fully Exposed

Duplex Progress

… Brick, that is!

We love that the outside of our duplex is brick, but finding the same brick easily accessible on the inside felt like we were hitting the jackpot.  We first discovered it while we were chipping away at some of the plaster in the kitchen to put up our powder room wall frame.   We couldn’t help ourselves and kept going until the whole wall was exposed.  It needs some patch work, but it will be gorgeous when it’s all cleaned up.

{These pictures are not the best quality, but hopefully they’ll give you an idea of where we’re at!}



Before doing anything else, we decided to ditch the chisel and hammer (and bruised knuckles) and invest in a hammer drill for $200.  Best. Purchase. Ever.  It saved us hours of work and quickly became our favorite tool.


Now that we were fully equipped, we were ready to tackle the two fireplaces in the living room and dining room, both of which are capable of being fully functional!  This is what the dining room fireplace looked like when we moved in (there’s a few more photos of the house pre-demo here).

After taking off the plaster, we uncovered more beautiful brick.  And got rid of more roaches.






When we were taking it apart, we found some cool stuff, like this 1950 letter and Howdy Doody watch face.


The living room situation was similar.  More lovely paneling and roaches.


So we took it all off.  By we, I mean I and not Bryan for once!  I even have a photo to prove it.




This new hammer drill made us feel like we could fly.  We didn’t originally intend on exposing the living room and dining room exterior walls, but after removing the paneling and finding more surprises, we decided to get rid of it.  This is what the living room exterior wall looked like before we touched it.



And after.


Here’s a shot of the living room looking into the dining room.  (We’ll give you more details next time on what we’re doing with the floors!)


I’m so happy we ended up getting rid of the existing walls, knowing the junk that was on them.  But even better, the exposed brick in the living room and dining room add a huge statement to each room!

After covering the first floor, we moved upstairs to expose the hallway.



There you have it!  Much better, right?

Our house is quickly transforming and it’s so exciting.  Our goal is to have it livable by mid-October, which means the next 2 weeks will be very, very busy.  This week, we are hoping to get the floors finished, as well as electrical and plumbing and HVAC.  Next week, drywall.

We’ll be back soon with more photos!  In the meantime, follow @beginninginthemiddle on Instagram for more frequent updates on our progress.


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  1. I can’t believe all that gorgeous brick was hiding behind your walls!! It’s beautiful. I can’t wait to see it all finished!

  2. Kathleen says:

    I’m so happy to have found your blog! We are exposing brick in our century home and you have giving me new motivation to get the job done! Looks beautiful! Can I ask: how did you clean the brick after chipping? Did you use a chemical? Or did you just brush and sand? Thanks!

  3. Dave S says:

    Oh wow this turned out SO GOOD. I love what you did and I am very very impressed. Keep it up! – dave

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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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