Decor: Rustic nouveau with a modern twist

Jackie Mantey, Columbus Alive

J.L. Holdsworth is good at a lot of things. He played fullback at Michigan's Ferris State and Wayne State universities. He once held a powerlifting world record, a 775-pound bench press. He even renovated his more than 100-year-old home while opening his business, The Spot Athletics.

He's also good at admitting when someone else would be better for a job. Enter: Rona Bradacs.

The two met while working at the Capital Club. Bradacs had recently graduated from the Pratt Institute and was starting her interior and graphic brand identity firm, Kina Design House. Holdsworth became one of her first customers.

"I can look at magazines and do stuff like what I see in them, but it doesn't mean it will look good," Holdsworth said. "It'd be like if someone read Shape [magazine] and then tried to get in shape. They could do it, but they'd get a ton better results if they came to a trainer like me. If you want it done right, hire a professional."

He was additionally impressed by Bradacs' knowledge of home renovation, much of which she learned by helping her father remodel houses after they moved to Columbus from Romania.

"I see my job as reading a client's personality and translating it into a visual aesthetic," said Bradacs, 23.

For example, she worked Holdsworth's favorite color, green (he has a Jeep the color of the Hulk), as an accent throughout the house.

The two continue to work together as they finish decorating each room of Holdsworth's house, where he lives with his girlfriend, Michelle, and their 9-month-old daughter. Here's a sneak peek of the house so far.

Sitting area:

Holdsworth purchased the painting above the arm chair at a CCAD student sale several years ago. "If I can support locals," he said, "I do." A vintage Minolta camera and a book of small vinyl records, both Bradacs' thrift store finds, sit on the stand adjacent.


Holdsworth's home mixes modern elements, like the small sculptures from Target on the mantelpiece, with personal items, like the framed photo of him and his girlfriend. Atop the cabinet beside this fireplace is a framed flag that graced the casket of Holdsworth's grandfather.


Holdsworth completely renovated his upstairs bathroom and used a brown and white color scheme to accent the natural wood features of the windows in the room. An inexpensive antique ladder doubles as a magazine rack.

Dining room:

"Table settings aren't things you go into a bachelor pad and find," Bradacs said.

To appease Holdsworth's masculine modern style, Bradacs mixed muted patterns on the placemats, napkins and dinnerware "to add character" and added pops of yellow and green for color. Old glass bottles, wooden highlights and potted plants imply masculinity as well as good taste, Bradacs said. Many of the items in the dining room are from thrift and flea stores and Target, which is where the wall clock was purchased.


"I hate shopping," Holdsworth said. "Not my idea of a good time."

So Bradacs went for him, buying cellular blinds to keep things private but not block the natural light the room's design provides.

"These dark chocolate brown walls work because the room is so bright throughout the day," Bradacs said.

Bradacs painted the work above the bed and sewed and hand-painted the bed's pillows. The green lamps are from Crate & Barrel.

Name: J.L. Holdsworth

Age: 33

Hometown: Big Rapids, Michigan

Neighborhood: Merion Village

Job: Owner and head trainer, The Spot Athletics