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.
SEARCH the blog
Before & After

Before & After: Kitchen Reno at Robinson Abode


We’re really excited to reveal one of our favorite Mix kitchen projects from last year!  You may have seen a peak or two on Instagram Stories, but other than that we didn’t show you too much progress.  Let’s start with some before photos, shall we?


Here is the old view from the dining room into the kitchen.

The kitchen was separated by a structural wall (the part beyond the wall was likely added on at some point in the last 100 years). The front part, where our clients are standing, was the main functional part of the kitchen w/the sink and appliances.

Here’s the view from the back door looking toward the front.

We had lots of lovely, dated finishes to work with.

And lovely lighting, too (our clients were excited to get rid of the fan!)

Here’s another view of the two kitchen sections from the back door.

Aaand the other side.

This was the old view of the back of the home.  The back door was inset and there was a small stoop leading up to it.


This is what our client’s first floor layout used to look like.  For reference, the front entrance is on the right, and the back entrance is on the left.

We start all of our projects by nailing down our client’s wish list, and learning more about what they want to change & why.  At the top of the list?  More natural light, a half bath incorporated into the space (if we could work it in), all new cabinetry, appliances and finishes (YES), and removing the wall between the dining room & kitchen to create a better flow.  After many iterations, we were able to create a layout that ticked most of our client’s wish list.

This new plan involved a few big changes, which we mocked up in our renderings:

  • Add a 9′ custom door in the back of the house, with a hinged panel in the middle and two fixed glass panels flanking it.  Our client’s detached garage is in the back of their home, so they use this back entrance heavily and wanted it to be very functional.

  • Extend cabinetry to the back of the house, where the back door used to be, to create additional storage space.

  • Add a small powder room and mudroom area where the old circular dining table was.
  • Incorporate a custom shallow pantry cabinet around the corner from the powder room entrance.

  • Remove the wall between the living room and dining room to create better flow for entertaining & enhance natural light.


The kitchen came out even better than we had planned!  The view from the dining room into the kitchen looks just a bit different these days… (thank you Allie from The Wonder Jam for capturing these photos for us).

Here’s the new view from the kitchen into the dining room.  So bright!

We squared off the arch that was separating the two kitchen sections to further open up the space.  We love archways, but in this space it created a more dramatic division between the two sections and felt awkward.  By squaring it off and raising it up, it feels integrated and creates a better flow between the two sections.

Our favorite change may be the back of the house.  The new doors totally make the kitchen.  Even though there’s just one functional door out of the three panels, we designed it to appear like all three functioned the same.  We framed it so that two of the three panels would be centered between the fridge & powder room walls.  Love how they line up almost perfectly in the space.

In the rear part of the kitchen, we added three shelves between the fridge & pantry cabinet to balance out all of the uppers.

We kept the original built-ins on the side of the kitchen (how charming are they?), stove and sink in place to stay on budget.  We relocated to fridge to the other side of the structural wall in order to open up the wall between the dining room & kitchen.

We wanted to maximize storage as much as possible in this small space, so we incorporated a few custom solutions.  To the right of the range, we added a skinny pull-out spice rack inside the base cabinet.  We also added the full-height skinny storage cabinet built into the powder room wall.  It’s about 7′ high and 3′ wide, and is perfect for storing smaller items like jars, cans, and snacks.

The view from the back door looking in is so different.  We used 2×6 studs on the kitchen-facing powder room wall to create the storage space we needed for the skinny pantry cabinet.  Around the corner, we placed the pocket door framing to allow enough room for a small storage bench & cabinet outside.

Here’s another peak at the storage area, and inside the powder room.  Because this nook is tucked around the corner, coats and other things that may be left out aren’t visible from the main kitchen or dining space.

Our clients finished working on a new patio and have some beautiful shrubs in their back yard, which they can now see from their kitchen.

The back of the house got a mini face lift, too!  We designed & built a custom X railing out cedar and black painted steel rods to tie in with the black doors, and added new lighting that framed the new doors.

The black & white & wood combo looks so good and really elevates the backyard area!

Before & After

My favorite part…







We love how this project turned out, but even better, love that our clients love it!

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

Add a comment

  1. Dani says:

    Hi could you tell
    Me what
    Colour stain was
    Used on the outside
    Deck/ stairs please?

  2. Kate says:

    This looks beautiful! So impressed by use of space and how efficient the kitchen now is! Out of curiosity how large is the powder room in this layout?

  3. Michele says:

    It’s gorgeous! Love everything about this space!

  4. Chris says:

    So I say you nailed it. Only thought is that landing outside back door appears rather narrow. Probably a space issue with smaller back yard. That said it is a tremendous job. Just top drawer.

  5. Angela says:

    What a transformation. I love all the added light with the new setup.

    May I ask the dimensions of the kitchen square with bar and sink stove (not the newly added area to the left with fridge?). I ask because I’m aiming for a similar setup with a small bar area but have more of a square kitchen (9’ and change by 10’ and change) and am trying to envision what it would look like.

  6. William says:

    It looks gorgeous. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  7. […] Before and after kitchen remodel // Beginning in the Middle […]

  8. Jennifer Postma says:

    Beautiful!! Love the teal paint. What’s the brand and color name?

  9. Amber says:

    Love this transformation! So much more light & awesome flow. Would you happen to have a source on the round leather topped barstools?

  10. Missy says:

    So pretty. Love the island color! Where did you get the stools?

  11. Debi Z says:

    You mention staying on budget. Can you share what the budget was for this project? Thanks!

  12. Krista says:

    Amazing project! I was wondering the mushroom tan color of the cabinets. Did you order that color cabinets? Or is it a pint color you could share? Thanks!

  13. Kristin B says:

    Love this transformation!!!
    I love the warm grey color. Do you mind sharing the color?

  14. Thanh says:

    Hi there! SO happy that I came across your blog! My house is very similar in layout and I wanted to know how you were able to vent the overhead vent for the stove? Is it an undermount that vents back into the house? I noticed that that wall is shared with the stairs to the side of the house. Your input is greatly appreciated. Looking forward to reading more about the Blonde Vic and your future homes! Congrats from one Jersey girl to another!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


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.



Gift Guides





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.

read the whole story



join our email list

Let's Stay in Touch

We send out a monthly newsletter and other occasional updates exclusively to our email pals. 

sign up






© Beginning in the Middle | All rights reserved | Legal | TONIC