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

One Room Challenge: Week 2 | Demo + A Dormer?

White Cape Cottage

New to BITM? Welcome! We’re Catherine and Bryan Williamson, husband & wife business owners, interior designers, renovators and Airbnb Superhosts based in Columbus, OH.  We’ve renovated over a dozen houses since moving to Columbus, and are currently in the middle of upgrading my parents’ new (old) home.  It’s a 1950’s cape cod that we’ve dubbed White Cape Cottage.  We’re looking forward to having you along for the ride these next few weeks as we tackle the One Room Challenge. Make sure you’re following us on Instagram and subscribed to our email list for the latest updates on our progress!

Catch up on Week 1 here.


It’s Week 2 of the ORC, and demo has begun! We removed the wall and small door between the hallway and bedroom…

And took out about 3′ of ceiling in the main bedroom area.

There’s about 15″ of extra height under the beams (the ceiling height below the beams is about 81″, and the ceiling height to the peak is 96″).  It’s not a ton of extra space, but bringing the drywall all the way up will make the room feel larger.  We also have to insulate.

Next, we’ll begin framing the knee wall closets and bathroom.  The one thing we’re still going back and forth on is the bathroom layout.  One of our goals was to add a bathroom into this space without adding a dormer, but we’re reconsidering.  The space we have is about 8′ wide x 6′ deep, but you can only walk in about half of that because of the slope.  Here are our 3 final layouts we’re considering if we don’t do a dormer.

This one would put the sink in the slope (the black line going across shows where the slope starts).  We would add skylights across the entire slope to make the room feel more open.  I could see adding one big one above the sink to create some extra head height.

Layout #2 would switch the toilet and vanity.  The pro about this one is that the vanity would be comfortable to use while standing up because you’d be in the full ceiling height space.  We’d be able to have a regular mirror, storage, etc. The con about this is that the toilet is what you see when you walk in…

In layout #3, both the sink and toilet would be in the slope.  I like the flow of this one, but I feel like we’re wasting that left full-height wall by doing this.

We’ve done quite a few sloped ceiling bathrooms that have worked out, so we’re not afraid of it… we just haven’t had that aha moment yet.

I’ve been pinning lots more inspiration. So many creative solutions!

Ok, NOW… let’s talk dormer.  If we were to add a dormer, the size of the bathroom would go from being 50 sq ft (with only about 25 of those being usable because of the sloped ceilings), to 75 sq ft of usable space.  This is one of the many layouts we could do if we went that route…

It feels like we should do it in terms of design, but we’re dealing with cost, timeline, and the big “is it really worth it” factor.  Whatever we do, we want the bathroom to be functional and comfortable and usable.

We’ll be making a final decision this week!  What would you do?

Be sure to check out the other designers’ One Room Challenge progress this week, too!

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  1. Leslie Davis says:

    I’m on pins and needles!! I’m sure you will pick the best plan. I’m glad it’s not me making that call.

  2. Marcia says:

    Do your folks need a bathtub? I think a dormer is great for light and space and I think it will be a good investment going forward. Do it!

  3. Vicki Maiorano says:

    It all depends on how much. And would they use the bath. If it doesn’t blow the budget too much then yes definitely do it. If it is time that is the constraint then leave the bathroom out and just do the rest. Not worth shortchanging yourselves for a challenge.

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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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