First Impressions

By Marla Caligaris, Photography by R. Caligaris

Interior Designer Sarah Romeo and her husband Frank, transformed their Midtown dream home by missing traditional and contemporary furnishings for a sophisticated yet family-friendly result.


Sarah and Frank Romeo's goal from the first moment they saw this house was to create a house that felt and looked as though they lived there for a long time. When Frank and Sarah first started dating in 2015, she would come visit him in Columbus. They loved driving around midtown looking at all the beautiful houses. The first time she saw the house, she was immediately was drawn to it. She loved the classic style and the beautiful front yard with the large japanese magnolia. After their wedding in February of 2017, the couple made the move and purchased their midtown home. All the renovations throughout the house were done by Herndon Construction. The couple repainted all the rooms in the house and redid the floors. They also remodeled the kitchen and laundry room about a year after they had moved into the house. Later they moved their laundry room from the first floor off the kitchen to the second floor. They added a powder room and office on the first floor where the laundry originally was located.

This mid-century structure was built in 1959 for Mr. and Mr. Shackelford, when Mr. Shackelford was the President of the Columbus Mutual Loan Association. The home is a two-story colonial revival style home with doric columns highlighting the front entrance and the porte-cochere.

The home features a central theme, the juxtaposition of the old and the new, traditional and contemporary. Sarah wanted to give it that hint of antiquity with a decidedly romantic feel to each room. At the same time she wanted the house to be a relaxed, comfortable family home.Sarah, being an interior designer, was able to balance old and new. She combined unique pieces with family heirlooms, that helped create a home that is incredibly beautiful yet very personal.“ Now that we have the home of pur dreams, we look forward to having our children grow up here, and we love that." she added.Sarah was able to incorporate a pop of gold on every room. One of the things that the couple love the most about the house is how easy each room transition from one room to the next.The walls features the same color ballet white by Benjamin Moore throughout the house. This allows things like art or the fabric on windows accessories to be the focus not the color of the wall.


When the mint green chinoiserie fabric on the draperies was manufactured ten years ago, Sarah decided that at some point in her life she would use this fabric. Because it’s linen, the traditional print therefore isn’t as dressy. The oversized sofas in a champagne linen by Lee Industry are comfortable for Frank and his friends to use but are still formal and dressy looking. The antique library cabinet is Sarah’s favorite piece and was purchased at William Word antiques in Atlanta. The two antique library pieces on opposite ends of the room give balance to the modern chandelier by Louise Gaskill and the glass coffee table in the center of the room.


The owners wanted a formal dining room but not so formal that you felt like you couldn’t hang out and have a dinner party. The two matching French commodes were a wedding present and are from Olgethorpe Antiques along with the Venetian chandelier. The ceiling is wallpapered in a gold leaf by Philip Jefferies and adds glamour and warmth. Sarah loves how at night it catches the light off the chandelier. Silk panels by Pindler and Pindler add a feel of formality, while the dining room table by Tritter Feefer and the slip covered chairs add a casual element. The antique oushak rug from Vintage Persian Rugs adds not only another traditional element to the room but also a pop of orange which is repeated in subtle ways throughout the main rooms. Flower arrangement by Betsy Illges.


The sunroom features sa large velvet sofa by Lee I tries. Frank and Sarah use this cozy room as their family room to relax and watch movies. The valances are Schumacher fabric and the bamboo blinds underneath can be pulled down to darken the sunroom for movie night. The modern designed rug is a Turkish Dhurrie and adds another layer of coziness in the sunroom. The antique carved dolphin side table is topped with an acrylic top and was purchased at the Antiques and Garden Show in Nashville.


Sarah and Frank wanted to open up the kitchen and make it more functional for them and to take advantage of all the natural light. Jamie Herndon helped them remodel the kitchen into a light filled functional space with beautiful finishes. The countertops are Carrara Calacatta from Walker Zanger, as well as the backsplash, adding a modern take on subway tile. Peach State Cabinets in Columbus built the custom cabinetry. The gold kitchen faucet and pot filler were purchased at Fergusons in Columbus, and all the appliances are from Daniel Appliances. The hanging lanterns are by Visual Comfort and the hardware is from Masterpiece Lighting. The Carlton V fabric on the valence was the color inspiration for the kitchen.The blue in the fabric is the used throughout the kitchen and into the bar. Flower arrangement by Betsy Illges.

The contemporary design bar features a beautiful blue Hague paint color by Farrow and Ball. The wallpaper is by Philip Jefferies and features a grass cloth with gold rivets. The countertops are Carrara Calacatta from Walker Zanger in Atlanta. The gold sink is from Fergusons and blends in well with the other pops of gold in this room.


When Sarah found out she was having a boy, she wanted to focus on blue and greens. The fabric called puff which she had made into the drapery panels, was the inspiration for the room. The fabric has dragons on it and is a pattern baby Marshall can grow with. Sarah wanted to make sure the nursery felt happy and bright. The nursery also has old and new elements. The custom daybed by R. Hopkins is new and is upholstered with Schumacher fabric with Matouk bedding. The chest was given a refresh by Chris Loftin. The chest was in her brother’s room as a child and was pine. Sarah had it updated by Chris Loftin by painting it in white lacquer with navy blue piping. The modern chandelier and lamps are from Visual Comfort and the wool rug is by Stark.


The master bedroom is a light and airy retreat for Sarah and Frank. Crisp white bedding by matouk features a mint green monogram and gives the room a traditional feel along with the antique starburst and matching French chests. The leather headboard from Century Furniture and matching gourd shaped lamps from Visual Comfort add some modern elements.