interior designInteriors

A Historical Townhouse Filled with Charming Details in Columbus, OH

by Tawnee Madlen Walker

Excited by the bustling development in Columbus, OH’s downtown area, Bryan and Catherine Williamson decided to make the move from NYC. The couple loved the big city amenities that Columbus had to offer, but still felt it was “small” enough to make their own mark in the area. Daydreaming of brick city streets and sidewalks and perfectly preserved homes, they kept a close eye on German Village – a historic neighborhood right outside of downtown.

Once their previous home was listed, they knew they had to take the plunge. “When this townhome came on the market, we knew it was the perfect next step for us,” Catherine shares. Updating, remodeling, renovating, and even just maintaining a historic home can be an overwhelming and daunting task, but for renovating fanatics like Bryan and Catherine, it’s a way of life.

Over the past three years, the couple found their calling in home renovation and design. After documenting their first remodel in 2013 on their blog, Beginning in the Middle, they fell in love with transforming spaces and have since renovated half a dozen homes and tackled a few client projects before taking on their historic early-1900s townhouse. Using creativity in their design projects and savvy shopping skills to stay within a budget, they always manage to keep their designs inspirational, relatable, and full of unique characater.

For those of us with an affinity for historic homes, there is always a sigh of relief when one falls in the hands of respectful and responsible stewards. Each design choice from Bryan and Catherine comes from their genuine love for their home’s history. “We were inspired by what was already there – the woodwork, transoms, 10-foot ceilings, and other original details,” Catherine shares. Throughout their home, the couple worked to highlight the charming details while still managing to add their personal touch to each space. –Tawnee

Photography by Esther Jung



Living Room
Paint – Benjamin Moore Simply White
Curtains – IKEA Lenda
Faux fiddle leaf fig tree – Amazon
Couch – TOV Oxford Sectional (found discounted from Joss & Main – no longer available)
Tables from Target
Jute rug on sale from World Market
The “Let’s Stay Home” print – PDF file from The Notable Type on Etsy
Fireplace chimney – Behr Pencil Point
Columbus wall art – Vernacular
DIY wood TV frame (tutorial here)

Dining Room
old window – Columbus Architectural Salvage
tufted navy chairs from Target
copper metal chairs from Amazon
The table was a lucky $200 Crate & Barrel outlet find (it’s the Dakota table)

Rug – vintage, Dolores Wares

Hallway Bathroom
Sink – Home Depot, Kohler
Tub – original 50” clawfoot tub, antique painted Farrow & Ball Downpipe
Floor tile – Merola, Home Depot – Arte Grey
Shower curtain rod- DIY out of electrical conduit + brass spray paint
Corner shelf – Target
Pendant – Restoration Hardware

Master Bedroom
Antique door – found hidden in the wall at a prior 1920 house renovation
Wall art on outside of bathroom – DIY by Bryan
The light fixture is from World Market
Headboard is from Arhaus Outlet
Bed skirt – DIY from painter’s drop cloths (tutorial here)

Master Bathroom
Vanity is a vintage cabinet from an antique shop in Columbus
Floor tile is Merola – a combination of white hexagon + custom cut Arte Grey into hexagon shapes
Wall tile is slate 3×9 from Floor & Decor
Fixtures are Delta champagne bronze
Round Mirror from Target

Middle Bedroom
Rug is vintage from Dolores Wares, Columbus OH
Blue throw is HomeGoods
Indigo pillows – handmade, Bianca & Red
Lumbar pillow – The Citizenry
Brass pendant – World Market
Curtains – IKEA Lenda (same in entire house)

Third Bedroom
Oversized Edison bulb – IKEA
Pillow – Bianca & Red, handmade
Room Divider – Columbus antique shop
Plant from Target
Flower from HomeGoods
Round Mirror from Target

Serial renovators and DIYers, Catherine and Bryan share their project-filled historic home in Columbus, OH.
To update the curb appeal, the couple repainted their bunt orange door teal, filled their flower boxes, and added a homemade wreath to the front door.
The home is filled with beautiful and original details like the the stained glass transom window above the front door.
Their front room was the only good spot they could find for their TV, so the couple did their best to camouflage it. "We made a wood frame around the TV to help it blend in a little better with the rest of the room," Catherine explains. They also painted the area behind the mantel grey, so it could fade into the background.
In order to highlight the unpainted woodwork through the home, they added white walls and green plants. "We love the way the woodwork pops against the white walls and plants," Catherine shares.
Bryan and Catherine put their personal spin on their dining room by effectively incorporating multiple styles. "We found this table at Crate & Barrel outlet on super clearance, and decided to mix up the chairs by incorporating both copper metal and navy upholstered chairs," Catherine says.
Located in the back of the home, the couple left the majority of the kitchen the same.
Every room off the upstairs hallway has a beautiful transom window above the door. Hanging on the wall between rooms is a piece of original artwork by Bryan.
The hallway bathroom. "We gutted the space after discovering subfloor issues, but wanted to keep the historic, classic feel of the old one," Catherine notes. "It was a challenging renovation because it’s only a 6x6 bathroom, but we managed to keep the antique mini clawfoot tub and reconfigure the space to make it more functional." You can learn more about the process on their blog.
"[This is] the new antique set of doors we added to the hallway bathroom. Choosing smaller doors allowed us to use more of the bathroom space. We found them at Columbus Architectural Salvage, and they happened to be the perfect fit!"
When Bryan and Catherine couldn't find the rest of the bed to go with the headboard they found, the decided to make it. "Bryan built the frame out of plywood, and I made the bedskirt out of painter’s drop cloths for under $50."
The couple turned their master closet into an en suite bathroom.
"We found this vintage cabinet at an antique shop in Columbus, which adds a perfect element of warmth and texture to the black and white space," Catherine explains. "This bathroom is small - about 5x7 - so we needed to be really thoughtful in the space planning process. We used three types of tile in here - subway tile on the walls, hexagon on the floor, and a slate accent wall that continues onto the ceiling."
"Bryan came up with this tile design by mixing white hexagon tiles with custom cut pieces of patterned tile to coordinate with the other bathroom in the house. It’s a contemporary take on a classic design."
"We made a big towel rack out of copper pipes, and finished the rest of the walls in the bathroom with whitewashed tongue and groove paneling."
An artwork piece made by the couple hangs over their sitting area in the master bedroom. "It’s a nice place to sit in the morning when we’re not quite ready to go downstairs yet," Catherine shares.
The second bedroom in the house is warmed up with a mixture of beautiful textiles.
"We designed a built-in to serve three purposes - conceal HVAC, storage underneath, and cozy reading nook," Catherine shares. Her sister has a textile studio in New Mexico called Bianca and Red, and she made the indigo pillows for them.
Similar to the master, the couple found an antique headboard they loved, but had to make their own bed frame.
For their third bedroom, they made a headboard out of a hand carved room divider and built a mini-side table light holder.
The original doorknobs and hardware are on all of the doors throughout the house.
What they couple loves most about their home is its historic charm.
The renovating duo from Beginning in the Middle on their living room couch.
This home is 1,250 square feet and was built in the early 1900s.

Suggested For You


  • The homes in German Village can tend to get a bit “over-renovated” or “over-modernized.” You guys did a freaking fabulous job of keeping with the history and charm of the houses in the area, while bringing it into a more contemporary era of comfortable living, personalized touches, and mixed styles. I loooooove it! I also love reading about some of your bargains and fun finds (like the hidden door!). Great work.

  • I can’t stop looking at how beautiful the unpainted molding (and lots of the doors) are. It’s striking and warm and just lovely. Each picture made my eyes light up. Thank you for sharing and *love* those salvaged bathroom doors.

  • Beautiful home!!! Love the bones and the simplicity of the decor. Thank you for sharing it!

  • I too only ever bought old homes (we’re in our 3rd, each one in a different country!) and you really managed to keep the best of the old combined with brilliant ‘new’ – love the hallway bathroom with the mini-tub, and wonder how on earth people can keep a rug in a kitchen…. being myself insanely jealous and a total ‘pig’ with my cooking and walking through the kitchen to garden, outside area, veranda all the time and bringing in dirt, combined with falling stuff from my cooking, bread crumbs, waterdrops etc…. In a rental flat I had a few very small handwoven rugs which I frequently washed and put out again. Lovely but too much work.
    If you were nearer to us (Ile de France, Paris) and I had the money, you would be a dream couple to put (even more) of the original love in our great home (1920) with wall paintings and high rooms, parkett floors and many, many original features (including draughty windows with 80 small squares and wooden frames held together by goodwill….)

  • Everything about this is perfect. Everything. I’m so in love with those bathrooms I’m saving the pics for the far-off day when I can afford to take on the renovation of a historic home. Love it!

  • Love all of this! And I just realized I need that wooden wall art depicting Ohio highways in my life. Maybe I missed it, did you buy that at Vernacular?

  • Lovely! German Village is such a great neighborhood and your home is beautiful! Those doors from Columbus Architectural Salvage are just perfect.

  • This is so amazing – the level of restoration is inspiring (we are in the thick of one right now). Beautiful humans to boot!

  • This whole house is so beautiful – most especially those bathrooms. It’s what I hope that our old Victorian can become. Thanks for sharing!

  • The house is very cute. Heads up if anyone is interested, my friends company CUTMAPS designed the map of ohio. He also makes maps of different cities and states. Check his website out if you like the map art!

  • This is one of my D*S favs, and that is really saying something. WOW. Truly inspirational. Great labor of love–and the love shows.

  • Lovely home but isn’t this article just a reprint of their blog? All the same photos and many of the same comments from the owner practically verbatim. Disappointingly unoriginal work, DesignSponge!

    • Hi Nicole

      I did a quick scan of their post and ours and I’m not seeing the same comments or text repeated- can you tell me where you see that?

      Re: photos, hiring a photographer is expensive, so we certainly don’t expect home owners to re-hire and re-shoot their home if they’ve already done so. We have a rule of not re-running homes if they’ve been in major publications, but a home owner’s personal blog doesn’t fall into that category for me.


    • Hi Nicole

      Another quick follow up. I spoke with the writer of this post and the home owners’ blog and the post you’re referencing is a post the home owners did about their home tour on DS. It doesn’t have the same text and it was posted after this post went up. Please double check post names and times before jumping to judgment.


  • Love you home and style. Where did you get the bedside table and lamps for your master bedroom? Thanks

  • Beautiful home full of inspirations. Would you mind sharing where you got the bedcovers for the first two bedrooms? They go with the cream Ikea throw pillow so well!