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Green Acre

Will Lehnert wants his landscape design process to be “an act of optimism.” And he wants you to be in love with your backyard—whether it’s home to a gathering place for big summer parties, or just a spot to sit with your feet up by the (custom designed) fire pit. With a degree in landscape [...]
Jeni Ruisch



Will Lehnert wants his landscape design process to be “an act of optimism.” And he wants you to be in love with your backyard—whether it’s home to a gathering place for big summer parties, or just a spot to sit with your feet up by the (custom designed) fire pit.

With a degree in landscape architecture from the Ohio State University, Lehnert knows his way around a garden and a patio. (614) took the opportunity to pick his brain about his exterior artistry. From outdoor lighting to edible landscapes to historical district design approval, Lehnert and his Outdoor Space Design team can wave their design wands and bring into bloom your verdant visions. 

This is your own little slice of earth. Mold it to fit your dreams.

Which provides more challenges, the greenscaping, such as plants.. Or the hardscaping, like patios?

It really depends on the site. Many of the projects I work with are in very urban settings and usually entail a lot of detail in both the planting design and the hardscape. Some projects have really tough growing conditions so we have to really think through what would actually be successful in these spaces…that can really be challenging.

How involved are homeowners in their makeover designs?

Some are extensively involved and others just say “make it look great…got to go to work…” I like it when clients have a lot of ideas but they need someone to pull it all together in a cohesive vision. Many people organize ideas on Pinterest or Houzz and just share them with me…inspiration photos go a long way in communicating about the design together.

If you could give one piece of advice to DIYers who want to attempt a big makeover like this themselves, what would that be?

Well I believe it all starts with a vision for the space. Many homeowners get motivated and just go to the garden store and buy all the pretty flowering plants that catch their eye and end up creating a lot of chaos in the garden. I have a bias here but it I think it is worth every penny to get a professional designer to help nudge you in the right direction prior to tackling the project yourself.

Designers help people think a bit outside the box and give them ideas that will really bring things together for them. If you don’t have a budget for a designer then I would roughly sketch what you are thinking out on paper and gather some inspiration online prior to starting construction.

What elements to you attempt to include in every design?

I like to introduce an element of order to every design. Many gardens and outdoor spaces have a lot of chaos and just look underwhelming. Sometimes it just takes a small stone wall, trellis or a hedge to pull the whole space together!

I really want the outdoor space to make sense and visually flow from the house…we want clean and intentional movements of plants and hardscape elements. There can be some chaos but it needs to be controlled by some organizing feature.

I think of the garden as a series of outdoor rooms that have enough detail that they can operate as a comfortable living or viewing space…much like rooms in your house.

I like to use authentic, time-tested materials…You know, real stone, brick, wood, metal. I am really not to into fake concrete products like unit concrete block walls; I stick with the real thing…

Where do you draw some of your inspiration from?

I like to walk the historic neighborhoods around Columbus area. I also look at what is going on in the Northeast and Europe. There are some of the best designers and builders in the world there. When I travel I am always taking pictures of garden gates and little landscape details…I am always the guy lagging behind dorking out about some stone wall!

What kind of questions do homeowners need to ask themselves when going into a project like a backyard re-haul? I think they should start with how they want to use the space and work backwards from there. Are you having large dinner parties?

Is it just for you and your partner to have a quiet night next to the fire? Each use will take up a bit of the garden and you should plan for them.  Many people go way too small and build spaces that just don’t function well.

Also, consider what kind of materials and plants are appropriate for the house. We should work to select materials that feel like they fit the space and almost feel like they have always been there. What kind of maintenance do you want to take on? Many of the gardens in the magazine get weekly if not daily attention. There are ways to design a lower maintenance space and that should be considered.

For those of us that don’t have the budget for a whole backyard re-do.. What are small but impactful changes we can make?

Container plantings really can pull a space together and make a B-minus space to an A-plus. Quality outdoor furniture is also a great investment that you can take with you when you move! Keep things simple and try to constrain yourself to a small plant pallet where you repeat a similar texture or color through the space for lots of visual impact.

What’s your favorite part about this job/business?

With some designs there is a moment where this big idea clicks and you can see the space come together on the page… It’s like BOOM! There it is. Love it! It is great seeing a vision that my clients and I worked so hard to capture come into reality. I like sitting in the finished space with my clients and hearing about how they have been enjoying the space. 

For more projects from Lehnert, visit


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Home & Garden

State of the housing market: Top buyer questions answered





"When the mind is in a state of uncertainty, the smallest impulse directs it to either side."--Terence, ancient Roman playwright

Everyone is being affected in some manner by the outbreak of COVID-19 Coronavirus. During this time, buyers will have more questions than normal about the home buying process and their ability to buy a new home. While we can’t predict what the next few weeks and months will bring, the more we can educate ourselves, the better we can help our clients navigate the buying process smoothly during the pandemic. Here are a few common buyer questions as they related to the Coronavirus outbreak and real estate answered by yours truly, The LKW Home Team, Lauren Lucas & Jennifer Kessel-White.

1. Can we still go see home listings in person? – This is the hardest question to answer and it will depend on the seller of the home. Currently homes are still available for your agent and you to walkthrough. For protection purposes, The LKW Home Team provides gloves and sanitizer for our clients. The most common trend we are seeing is no overlapping showings, so only one group at a time will enter the house (the buyers and agent) and the next showing will wait for the previous potential buyers to be finished. We are of course, offering virtual tours; this is where we will tour the home for you via Facetime, Facebook Video Messenger, Zoom and more. Hey, we have put multiple homes in contract via virtual tours, so no worries! We have high expectations for our clients, and will measure, and search every nook and cranny.. we GOT YOU!

2. How can I stay safe while visiting homes? – Everyone’s health has to be the priority; this includes the buyers, sellers, and agents. We will provide gloves and hand sanitizer for you, and will keep our safe distance.  During the tour, we suggest designating one person to open doors, drawers, and closets and use disposable gloves during the showing. This should be a fun and exciting experience, so have no fear, we are amateur jokesters, your biggest cheerleaders, and provide an honest opinion that only your mother-in-law would appreciate.

3. What happens if I lose my job during the escrow period? – To start, we hope this doesn’t happen, but if it does, we will FaceTime you with cocktails and support, and listen, we will suggest options and have your lender work their butt off to find any other option possible to help. 

Most real estate contracts include a contingency that protects the buyer in the event they can’t get final loan approval and close the loan. Typically during the process, this contingency is removed after a set time frame, or after receiving the loan approval. If your financial loan can not be completed due to furlough or loss of job, there would be no penalty to the Buyer.

4. Will I still have access to the home during the escrow period? – Yup, I mean we are about to cross the finish line, and you need those measurements for that massive Ikea order, we get that, and are happy to help with those answers or meet you for a walkthrough. It’s very common for the buyer to have easy access to the home during the escrow period; home inspections and appraisals are common reasons to visit the home during escrow. 

5. Will I get a better deal if I wait to buy a new home? – We all know there’s no crystal ball, (hey, whatever happened to Miss Cleo… ) but with everything that’s going on, sellers on the market should be very motivated to sell. We are still showing and listing homes on the daily. There are also historically low-interest rates on home loans. There is no way to predict the future, so if the right home comes along, it makes sense to consider it.

The COVID-19 outbreak is causing some uncertainty among home buyers, sellers, and even agents. However, with the use of technology and following best practices, you can still find the home you’ve been waiting for during this time. In the meantime, we will tune in with Dr. Acton and Governor DeWine each day at 2PM! 

The Columbus market was ranked 7th hottest market in the nation for March, and 38% of new listings are going into contract in the 7 days! Columbus is still booming, and we are here for it! 

Written by Lauren Lucas and Jennifer Kessel-White of the LKW Home Team, Keller Williams Classic Properties. We are ready to get the drill out and post the for sale sign in your front yard, or bring the gloves and sanitizer and/or virtual tour to you so you don't have to leave the comfort of your own home. Call us at 614-321-9262 or email us at [email protected]

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Home & Garden

Amp up your home style with color and quality from Georgie Home




Move over, Pantone Color of the Year! A new local business offers a coordinated collection of quality home goods designed in rich color palettes, so consumers can easily and affordably elevate their home style.

Georgie Home, launched by Lauren Wagner and Laura Sullivan, offers thoughtfully designed home and lifestyle products. The company is dedicated to producing high- quality, simple, friendly goods to make your home feel fresh.

“We wanted to create something where we felt really good about the quality and offer products we’d want to have in our homes. We didn’t want something that you just run to a big box store and buy,” Wagner said.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

Wagner and Sullivan’s journey to launch their company was relatively quick. The pair worked together as graphic designers at a national company headquartered in Columbus in the early 2010s. As they searched for inspiration and created mood boards for work projects, they realized they had a similar vision.

“We’d get excited and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could do our own thing some day?’,” Wagner said.

A few short years later, that shared vision was realized when Georgie Home’s first collection launched in November 2019. Phoenix is a line of hand and bath towels in coordinating colors and patterns. The duo started with towels because it’s an easy way to bring a bit of luxury into the home, and high-quality towels will last. While most high-quality towels are plain, Georgie Home offers something unique by combining quality with patterns.

“When you reach a certain age, it’s nice to have a little bit of luxury, and you might as well get something that you will have a while for just a little more money,” Wagner said.


As designers, Wagner and Sullivan are passionate about color. And when they first started working professionally, there weren’t a lot of ways to feed that passion.

“I was having trouble coming up with color palettes and there weren’t a lot of online resources, so I started creating my own,” Wagner said. “I would find images that inspired me and pulled my color palette from that.” She began sharing these online in a blog about a decade ago, a collection that has evolved into an Instagram account.

As one can tell by Georgie Home’s collection, their current favorite colors (because, like all of us, Wagner said it changes over time) are sage and ochre (a warm yellow- brown) for Wagner, and dusty blue for Sullivan.


Carrying color over into home decorating doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Wagner suggests using neutral colors such as whites and greys for walls, flooring, and furniture, and using pops of color throughout your space with items like throws, pillows, and wall hangings. She also likes to add natural elements such as dried flowers, which are trendy now.

“I keep my walls the same and change up everything around it,” she said. “My taste changes over time and this lets me update my décor without painting.”

This approach also makes it easy to decorate for the seasons.

“I will add things for the holidays, and I’ll add color in the summer and greenery in the winter,” Wagner said. “I keep it simple–I won’t change my wall hangings, but I’ll update my dining room table, my mantel, and towels.”

If you’re not sure where to start, Wagner suggests perusing Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.

“There are a lot of home bloggers that are inspiring,” she said. “Find something that you love and recreate it.”

Wagner has a long list of local, chain, online, and brick-and-mortar stores where she finds her decorating elements. Locally, she recommends Jewelweed Floral Studio and Stump as great sources for plants, and Trove Warehouse and Elm & Iron for accessories and furniture. The outlet malls and Wayfair are great for budget-friendly options, and antique shops and Etsy are great if you’re looking for something no one else has. The big retailers such as West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Pottery Barn Kids also have some great pieces.


Wagner and Sullivan hope to move Georgie Home into the brick-and-mortar space. With the first collection launched, they are reaching out to retailers to explore wholesale opportunities locally and nationally.

They’re also planning for their second line, which will launch next spring or summer. The collection is likely to include placemats, table runners, and tablecloths. While they haven’t decided on a color palette, it will be fresh and coordinated, and inspired by the season.

Shop Georgie Home’s inaugural collection at

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Home & Garden

Columbus Cribs: Scandinavian style, minimal holiday decor in this Columbus cookie-cutter-home

Regina Fox



Sam Berry is a stay-at-home mom who is passionate about raising her daughter, Scandinavian design, photography, baking cookies, decorating her home, and sharing pics of it all on her Instagram page @chicincolumbus.

She recently moved into a builder-grade cookie-cutter-home in Columbus, which she and her husband are slowly turning into their perfect home. Keep reading read to learn how they're doing it!

614: What would you call your home style? 

SB: I struggle to describe my home style with one word or phrase. I recently took a design style quiz online that kind of opened my eyes to what my style actually is, because it’s all over the place. I love Mid Century Modern but I also like a touch of Industrial. I love Scandinavian design as well but I'm not enough of a minimalist to execute it well. I love a comfortable space that doesn’t feel too much like a magazine (not that I could ever live up to that expectation).

614: What are some of your favorite items in your home?

SB: My favorite item in my home is the gold armchair I inherited from my late grandma. I have many memories of it in her home and love that I now have a place for it in mine. It is unique and embodies the Mid Century side of my home decor style (it’s also one of my favorite colors: mustard yellow). I also have a vintage Danish teak sideboard from Boomerang Room that I swoon over every time I walk by it. I would love to know who owned it before it made its way into my home.

614: Can you tell us some of the places you have found your items, or places you like to shop? 

SB: I get my things from all over, but primarily I shop either new at Ikea and West Elm or secondhand via Craigslist/Instagram/Facebook Marketplace. I have found some great secondhand deals, which turn out to be some of my favorite pieces. My favorite places to shop for decorative accessories are Grandview Mercantile, Elm & Iron, and World Market.

614: What inspires your design style? 

SB: I am inspired, as I’m sure many are, by Instagram (@_forthehome, @beginninginthemiddle, and @reserve_home are some of my current favorite feeds) and Pinterest. I love that there are so many different design styles and people out there, so there’s a never-ending supply of inspiration. I have thousands of pins and dozens of saved Instagram posts that I often review when I feel the itch to tackle a project or redecorate a space. I love to take an image that inspires me and recreate it with the items I already own.

614: What do you try to avoid while decorating? 

SB: I try to avoid buying and displaying things that I don’t really love. I believe the items we own can be beautiful and functional at the same time. I actively try to pare things back to only those that “spark joy” à la Marie Kondo. In addition to limiting my decorative items, I also try to not solely follow trends unless they align with my style. 

614: Any tips for winter/Christmas decorating? 

SB: Use what you have! I have so many items that were castoffs from my mom that I love so much so I make sure they have a place. I have added a few things over the years here and there as I come across them. Like the rest of my decor, I try to stick to only displaying those items that I love. I recently donated/threw out a lot of things I’ve been hanging on to that just don’t fit my style at the moment. Now I have room to replace them with things that fit better.
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