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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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Columbus Museum of Art Designer Showcase: The Nabu Room

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Our design studio, Mix, was invited to join the Columbus Museum of Art’s Designer Showcase this spring!  Along with 14 other local designers, we transformed blank gallery spaces at the museum into different living spaces which will be on display until 5/19.  We also were able to feature a piece of art from the museum in our room, which made this project extra special. We chose to design the library/office and are so excited to share it with you!

We initially created our rendering about 4 months ago, right when Bianca was born.  At that point, we had a rough idea of what we wanted to do (moody, eclectic, mix of modern & vintage) but weren’t positive on how it would all shake out.  One thing we’ve learned over the past few years working on different projects is that we do our best work when we can think and create and design in the space itself vs from behind a computer.  This was an amazing opportunity for us to design together, without thinking of resale value or rental rates or client preferences, so we just went with the flow of what felt right.  We love how it came out, and have had a great response so far!  Pretty much everything is for sale, by the way, so scroll to the bottom of the post for deets if you’re interested in anything.

Let’s go on a tour, shall we?

The space started out as a blank shell with all white walls (2 of the 4 were constructed for the exhibit, and 2 were there permanently).  We knew we wanted to go moody, so we chose Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Gray as our paint color.  We added texture by installing panel molding from Metrie (which we had leftover from our Blonde Vic), and added diamond accents to the two rectangles flanking the fireplace.  Bryan designed & built the mantel with clean lines in mind, and we filled in our surround with marble tile from Floor & Decor.

Edgework Creative designed & built this AH-MAZING desk out of figured walnut, brass and steel.  Here are a few close ups of the work they did.

We gave their team measurements and a rough vision (unique, brass – it was vague) and they took it from there & knocked it out of the park.  It just goes to show that they are not only great at building, but also great at designing & creating.  How are we so lucky to work with such talented people?? There’s only one of these in existence, and we hope it ends up in a loving home after the showcase is over.

Bryan built the floating shelves that house a colorful collection of old books, which we scored at a book sale at the Columbus Library a few weeks prior to the event.  We styled them with a mix of brass, wood & black/white objects that enhanced the books rather than competed with them.

We used an antique Peking Chinese rug from Swoon Rugs, one of our favorite rug sources for vintage, Moroccan & more.  If you’ve never heard of Swoon, check her out on Instagram — she releases new rugs every Sunday, and they’re beautiful & reasonably priced.  We love how the deep blue & cream colors in this rug work so well with the other design elements in the room and really bring it all together.

Remember the diamond trim we installed next to the fireplace?  It was inspired by the pattern on the Demi-Lune cabinet doors, which is on loan from Grandview Mercantile (there’s 2 currently available for purchase – woo!).  The cabinet holds the sculpture that we’re featuring from the museum and is the first thing you see when you enter the room.

Bryan painted both of the abstract pieces in our room with black, white and cream acrylic paint.  He secretly loves to paint, so he was excited to have a chance to create pieces for the event.  We borrowed our leather Thetis chairs from Article from our home (you can find out more details on why we love them so much here).

Here’s another look at the chairs & cabinet.  You can see a peak at our neighbor’s room, too, but to see the rest you’ll have to go visit the museum in person 🙂

Hudson Valley Lighting provided the stunning brass Astoria chandelier for our space, which not only puts off a great amount of light but also makes a big design statement. You’ll see a lot more gorgeousness from HVL when we reveal our Blonde Vic project soon!

Now let’s talk about the art piece above the mantel that Bryan & I spent 40+ hours making.  We can’t take credit for the idea — we were up late one night searching for the perfect piece to hang above the fireplace, and stumbled upon this home tour.  We tracked down the artist who makes them — her name is Nikki Rudolph and she has an Etsy shop if you’re interested in taking a peak.  We had an aha moment after seeing it – it was the perfect element to tie the library theme into the rest of the space in an interesting, unconventional way.  With 2 weeks between the time we found Nikki’s inspo and the time we had to be finished with our install, we decided to attempt to make one of our own.  We used over 50 books (we tried to use old romance novels that we didn’t feel bad about cutting up!), a 1/4″ piece of 48″ x 48″ plywood, and a ton of Mod Podge, double sided tape, and other types of glue.

It was fun to see it take shape!

And end up like this.

The Showcase kicked off on 4/18 with a preview party that we attended.  We got to see everyone else’s finished spaces while we were there, and hang in our room while others walked through ours.  It was fun to watch people touch and feel the objects in our room, and get up close to our book piece and get lost in the movement.  Here are a few shots from the opening night.

Every Thursday evening in May, we’ll also be hanging at the museum in our room so come say hi if you’re local!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Esther Jung for capturing the photos of our room, and for the incredible partners that helped us bring our space to life: Edgework Creative, Swoon Rugs, Hudson Valley Lighting, and Grandview Mercantile.  We’re grateful to be able to work with amazing brands that align with our vision & what we’re all about!

Sources:

Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Gray – 2062-20

Custom Desk: Edgework Creative | $4,000

Antique Peking Rug: Swoon Rugs | $1,398

Brass Chandelier: Hudson Valley Lighting | $2,318

Panel Molding: Metrie French Curves Collection

Sconces: Peared Creation | $89 (plug-in optional)

Demi-Lune Cabinet: Grandview Mercantile | $2,495

Leather Accent Chairs: Article Thetis Chairs | $799

Mantel: Mix Design Collective

Art: Mix Design Collective | Inquire for pricing

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  1. I’m definitely stealing this idea and gonna make that book art piece! Even though I might cry while I tear them up.

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About BEGINNING IN THE MIDDLE

Catherine & Bryan Williamson moved from NYC to Columbus, OH.  Beginning in the Middle is where they share project progress, interior design tips, their real estate investment journey, and other life happenings.

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Our 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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