How Two Designers Revamped a Historic Columbus Home Designed by Ohio’s First Female Architect

·4-min read
Photo credit: Alexandra Ribar for Studio Lithe
Photo credit: Alexandra Ribar for Studio Lithe


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For their own Columbus, Ohio home on Broad Street, designers Greg and Liz Dutton partnered with Midland Architecture, Studio Lithe, and Hubbard Construction and Carpentry to create a cozy, minimalist oasis filled with vintage finds.

“We felt so lucky when we found this house,” Greg Dutton tells House Beautiful. “It’s this gem tucked in one of Columbus’s historic neighborhoods. And it was designed by Ohio’s first female architect, Florence Kenyon Hayden Rector.”

The dwelling was built in the early 1900s, an era that served as inspiration for the home’s interior decor. Dutton says he and his wife, Liz, “wanted to honor the history of the house, but also still make it our own.”

Ultimately, the center of the home—the kitchen—was the driving force for the renovation. Greg and Liz are parents to a three year old and a one year old, so revamping the dated and cramped space was priority. “Plus, the space was isolated from the rest of the house. So with having little kids, it was difficult to keep an eye on them while making dinner.”

In the end, the designer duo “decided to blow out one of the main walls" that allowed the area "to flow into the adjoining family room,” leaving the family with a “whole new space to play with.”

One of Greg’s favorite design elements? Placing the kitchen table in the middle of the kitchen, “in the spot where you would traditionally put an island," he says. "It seems like a small thing, but it creates so much more energy in the room.” Naturally, everything revolves around that table now. “It’s where we have breakfast every morning and dinner every night. It’s where we spend time as a family. To take a room where formerly, only one person could occupy it comfortably, and turn it into a place where the whole family can gather is pretty special.”

Explore the entire home below.

Before

Living Room

Photo credit: Alexandra Ribar for Studio Lithe
Photo credit: Alexandra Ribar for Studio Lithe

“With so many windows and natural greenery outside, we knew green was going to be an accent color in our living room,” reveals Dutton. “To lean in, we got a forest green linen sofa from Amber Interiors and dyed our Arne Norell safari chairs from taupe to army green.”

Ultimately, the only other non-neutral color in this space is a splash of yellow, which is a nod to the home’s kitchen. As for the furnishings, wooden pieces were enlisted to maintain a grounded aesthetic.

“This room is more eclectic than the others, which is fitting given we do everything here," such as "reading books quietly, taking FaceTime calls with grandparents, and playing make-believe,” Dutton adds. Plus, “the sofa doubles as an excellent pillow fortress!”

Dining Room

For the dining room, Dutton knew he wanted to create two distinct moods: "one that was bright and beautiful during the day—a place to do work or layout project material boards—but then intimate and moody at night, inviting long conversation and dinner by the fire.”

To achieve this dichotomy, Dutton used height “to create a subtle, enclosed feeling at night.” The mirror, mantel, chest of drawers, and built-in cabinetry all match the drama of the eight-feet-tall windows, the designer boasts, “while keeping the colors mostly in a lighter linen-based palette for a brighter and more open feel during the day.”

Buffet: Antique Indian sideboard. Table: Vintage. Chairs: Carlo Scarpa Kentucky. Pendant lights: Skinflint. Wood flooring: French oak by Historic Decorative Materials. Paint: Farrow & Ball’s “Lime White.” Mirror: vintage, from 19th-Century Belgium.

Office

Photo credit: Alexandra Ribar for Studio Lithe
Photo credit: Alexandra Ribar for Studio Lithe

“The most important thing an office can do is invite a creative and productive mindset,” Dutton asserts. “For us, this meant making a calm, almost bare, and minimalist design.”

The designer knew that having a workspace—as well as storage space—was important, so he designed built-in desks made of white oak that “span the entire 15 feet of wall, in one clean line.” He adds that “the open shelving on top follows the cabinetry’s single line and keeps more attractive things like books close at hand.”

The final touch? An antique oval table that “naturally fits into the curve of the bay window and is great for group work.”

Cabinets: Custom, designed by Greg Dutton and fabricated by local Amish builders. Desk chairs: Herman Miller. Table: vintage. Bow-back chairs: vintage. Brass table lamp: vintage. Rug: vintage, sourced by Swoon Rugs.

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