Interiorssneak peeks

A Rental to Renovation in Columbus, OH

by Bethany Joy Foss

It isn’t unusual for people to test out products before buying them — glasses, clothing, cars — but buying a house is usually a leap of faith. For Stephanie Hayward and her husband Brandon Pence, renting a house for four years was how they found their home in Columbus, OH.

Stephanie attended Ohio State University in Columbus and Brandon moved shortly after completing his graduate program at University of Michigan. They fell in love with the city and chose to live in a developing neighborhood close to downtown with a lot of new restaurants and shops and only a short bike ride to work. Both Stephanie and Brandon are trained architects, but Brandon found his path in web design and development three years ago, while Stephanie practices architecture as part owner of a local firm. They rented a two-bedroom house for four years until one Sunday morning their landlord, who was working on repairs that had broken the night before, offered to sell the house to them. “We thought it was an outrageous idea at first, but then realized that it’s not every day you get to test drive a house for four years before deciding to buy it.” With experience under their belt, Stephanie and Brandon knew exactly how they wanted to transform their rental into a home. They dove right in with a construction loan and a six-month deadline from the bank. The house was completely gutted and they had to move out for a portion of the renovation. “Even though we met our deadline and the contractors were out in six months, it probably took a full year before the house really started to feel like home.”

Stephanie and Brandon have been thoughtful with distributing their space. At just over 1,000 square feet, every inch counts. In the rental, a half bath and laundry took up over half of the kitchen. During the renovation, they increased the size of the bedroom closet, adding in a stacked washer and dryer, and moved the half bath under the stairs, making each of the spaces more useable. While out of the house during the renovation, they took time to assess what they needed and what they could live without. “We have been very conscious of keeping clutter to a minimum. Part of the reason our house feels so much bigger now is because we got rid of so much stuff!” These simple changes maximized the living space and transformed the house into exactly what Stephanie and Brandon had envisioned. —Bethany

Photography by Megan Leigh Barnard


Living Room
Wall Paint – Sherwin Williams 7668 March Wind
Trim Paint – Sherwin Williams 7005 Pure White (typical everywhere)
Window Panels – Made by Stephanie’s mom with fabric by Robert Allen
Ceiling Fan – Modern Fan Company – Ball Fan
Sofa – Gus Modern Jane Loft Bi-Sectional in Totem Storm
Pillows – Target
Large rug – West Elm
Coffee Table – West Elm
Entry rug – Target
Bookshelves – IKEA EXPEDIT (now replaced by KALLAX)
Bookshelf Baskets – IKEA
Shoe Storage – IKEA
Yellow Shelf – IKEA
Credenza – Vintage Broyhill Brasilia
Vase (on Credenza) – Crate and Barrel
Blue Tray – Crate and Barrel
Coffee Table – West Elm
Chair – Hans Wegner Shell Chair
Floor Lamp – IKEA
Basket – World Market
Coral throw – World Market
Jack Accent – Home Goods
Clock – Crate and Barrel

Powder Room 
Wallpaper – MissPrint
Sink – Duravit
Mirror – IKEA
Sconce – onefortythree
Toilet Accessories – Delta Trinsic
Faucet – Delta Trinsic
Basket – Home Goods
Rug – Home Goods
Towel – Target

Wall Paint –Sherwin Williams 7668 March Wind
Accent wall paint – Sherwin Williams 6990 Caviar 
Trim and Cabinet Paint –Sherwin Williams 7005 Pure White
Cabinets & Hardware – IKEA
Dining Light – West Elm
Dining table and chairs – West Elm
Rug – Rugs USA
Window Treatments – fabric by Robert Allen
Knife Magnet – IKEA
Table Runner – Target
Wall Art – These are Things
Utensil Holder – Target
Marble fruit stand – Crate and Barrel
Dog Bowls and Stand – Home Goods
Dog Bowl Placemat – Columbus Museum of Art Store
Art Glass on shelves – Vintage
Wood bowl and Candlesticks – Vintage
Milk Glass – Vintage
Art print – These are Things

Wall Paint – Sherwin Williams 6244 Naval
Nightstands – West Elm
Lamps – World Market
Rug –  World Market
Drapery /Pillow Fabric – Nate Berkus
Coordinate Fabric – Nate Berkus (both made by Stephanie’s mom)
Mirror –  IKEA
Ceiling Fan – Modern Fan Company – Ball Fan (with light kit)
Felted Loops Pillow – DIY by Stephanie
Bench – DIY by Brandon

Wall Paint – Sherwin Williams 7674 Peppercorn
Desks – IKEA (table top, legs, filing cabinet)
Shelves – Lowes
Shelf Brackets – The Container Store
Shelf Storage – IKEA, Target, Crate and Barrel
Rug – old, Rugs USA
Chair – Vintage Baumritter Rocker (cushions made by Stephanie’s Mom)
Blanket – made by Brandon’s Mom

Wall Paint – Sherwin Williams 6227 Meditative 
Bathtub – Rubix Maax
Bath fixtures – Moen Align
Shower Curtain – West Elm
Shower Rod – Amazon
Bath Mat – IKEA
Bath Rug – At Home
Faucet – Moen Align
Mirror – IKEA Stockholm Mirror
Sconces – Shades of Light
Dresser – NORDLI Series from IKEA
Floor Tile – Carrera Marble Hex Tile from Floor and Decor
Wall Tile – Subway Tile from Hamilton Parker

Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Stephanie studied harp in college and it immediately holds the attention of the space. “I don’t play as much as I used to, but it’s definitely the focal point of the room,” she shares. Warmth moves from the ground up with wood finishes and deep yellows to crisp neutral walls and white trim.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“I’ve loved the Broyhill Brasilia line for years, and Brandon hunted down and surprised me with this credenza for Christmas last year. It was the perfect piece to finish the room,” Stephanie shares.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
They purchased this Hans Wegner Shell Chair at a charity auction. Stephanie and Brandon are always on the lookout to add well designed pieces to their collection.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The salon-style gallery hanging on the largest wall of the living room showcases artwork Stephanie and Brandon created while in school.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Stephanie and Brandon spend most of their time in the living room hanging out and playing with their Cairn Terrier, Lucy. Creating a space that is comfortable and functional was their top priority.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The powder room is small, but Stephanie thought, “it was the perfect place to do something wild.” Stephanie and her mom hung the MissPrint wallpaper that adds the warm yellow and neutral grey palette from the living room in the tiny space under the stairwell. She laughs, “The sink is the smallest I’ve ever seen, but it gets the job done!”
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
With an architect’s eye for customization, the couple cut off the legs of the IKEA STÄLL shoe cabinets and mounted them onto the wall. The floating cabinets create a space to drop keys and small items, while storing shoes out of the way.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“Opening up the kitchen was the best decision we made during the renovation.” Stephanie and Brandon love how the two windows let in a flood of natural light that is reflected by the bright white kitchen tile and cabinetry and are thankful for a dining area big enough for four people.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Stephanie and Brandon painted the BJÖRKET cabinets from IKEA white. “It was a nerve-racking experience because I could not find much information about people painting IKEA cabinets, but it turned out great!” They love the practicality and simplicity of the shaker profile and the high contrast created by the bright white and the dark accent color on the opposing wall.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The bump-out in the room is painted Sherwin Williams Caviar to designate the dining space from the kitchen space and a map of Columbus by These Are Things hangs comfortably in the middle. The milk glass vases are a few of Stephanie’s favorite leftovers from the couple’s wedding centerpieces.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The kitchen countertops are Caesarstone in Misty Carrera. “Some of our favorite details are the waterfall edge and the sharp corners around the under-mount sink.”
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“We knew we wanted open shelves from the very beginning stages of planning the kitchen.” The first floating shelf holds frequently used items and the higher shelf brings in bright color with vintage glassware from both Stephanie and Brandon’s families. “Kentucky mules are a common occurrence here,” Stephanie jokes about the copper mugs.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The barn door in the bedroom hides the enlarged closet that Stephanie and Brandon now use to house the laundry room without sacrificing any space from a door swing. The curved wood bench at the foot of the bed was made by Brandon in school.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The bed stands off the dark blue wall with a light wood frame and bright linens that pick up the blue tones with patterns by Nate Berkus. Stephanie shares, “I made the loopy pillow a few years ago and it took so much longer than I ever imagined, so that pillow is going to be displayed for many years to come.”
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“We picked up this vintage Baumritter rocker at a flea market a few years ago. We redid the cushions and the blanket is hand-stitched by Brandon’s mom.” They replaced the sliders of the office closet with double doors that give easy access to the storage space inside.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
A quiet nook in the office hosts a desk and floating shelves for organizing loose papers and objects.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Stephanie and Brandon’s goal for the bathroom was to make it feel as much like a spa as possible. They chose the paint color Meditative by Sherwin Williams that seemed fitting for the space and tiled the entire surround of the shower in white, including the ceiling. A large window in the shower lets in a stream of natural light, making the whole room bright and cheerful.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“Before, we had an awkward closet over the stairs that was accessed through the hallway. We decided to build a dresser into the wall which made the space more accessible and gives us more storage room.” The soft blue wall paint is offset by a light wood framed mirror and stainless steel hardware.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Brandon, Stephanie and Lucy in the kitchen.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Stephanie and Brandon are thankful for a creative space that they designed themselves.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Stephanie and Brandon have owned their 1,084-square-foot house for almost two years after renting for four years.
Stephanie Hayward and Brandon Pence's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The house was built in 1915 and hosts four rooms, one and half bath spread over two floors.

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  • I kinda feel like I’m in one of those gorgeous IKEA showrooms looking at this space. This is so well done. And I love that huge bookshelf in the living room. I love that they didn’t choose to shy away from big and bold pieces just because they’re in a somewhat small space.

  • Somewhere in the text it mentions four bedrooms ??? Is there a basement not shown which houses two bedrooms? Looking at the before and after plans of the ground and first floors it definitely looks like it has always been a two bedroom house. Just wondering. Very nicely done by the way. There is a lot of Ikea but it has been customised so well and there are enough really good mid century pieces so that it doesn’t just look like an Ikea catalogue.

  • Beautifully thought out!And Lucy is adorable. Thank you for sharing.I will tuck away your great ideas for maximizing space.

  • I love seeing all the fine tuning changes made by looking at the ‘before and after’ floor plans (thanks for including those). One change is especially great: moving the bathroom door back down a useless hall to create a larger bathroom space without a door in the way. I always wonder why people don’t do this more often for baths and bedrooms!

  • Gorgeous! Looking at the creative changes (moving bathroom door, powder room relocated to space under the stairs, the shoe cabinet in the foyer, recessed dresser, etc.) reinforces my belief that the first step in a successful renovation is hiring a good architect, no matter how small the job seems. Also, it’s a good idea to enlist the talents of a mother who is a textile artist!

  • I’m curious to know more about the yellow shelf above the shoe storage – I couldn’t find it on the IKEA website. Are you able to share any more about it?

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