An Upper Arlington couple settles down after putting in a lot of miles.
Today Traci and Stacy Richardson are doing what they love.
They launched Paul + Jo Studio in 2014, which they dedicated to creating environments where people can live their most inspired lives. Their company is an interior design and renovation firm, specializing in buying, renovating, designing and reselling homes, as well as working with clients who need renovations, too.
The couple worked in traditional careers before they eventually discovered their passion. Traci attended the Columbus College of Art & Design where she studied interior design. She began a long visual merchandising career with Federated Department Stores, later working for Rich's in Atlanta before returning to Columbus to take a position with Victoria's Secret.
She and Stacy met in Columbus and were friends for 15 years before they began dating. Traci moved to New York City where she worked for the Victoria's Secret design center, which included branding projects for Pink and Henri Bendel. Stacy went to visit, and they became engaged and then married within a year after that.
As an accountant, early in his career Stacy had lived in various places across the country. After returning to Ohio to farm with his brothers, his passion for owning and maintaining land led him to begin buying and renovating properties in his hometown of Harrod, in northwest Ohio, and in Columbus.
After he married Traci and they settled in Columbus, he continued traveling between Central Ohio and Harrod, where he grew up on a fifth-generation family farm. Traci, meanwhile, continued working in Columbus for Victoria's Secret.
After their two children were born, however, the couple found work-life balance to be elusive. Traci says the death of her mother helped her realize how she wanted to spend her time. “Stacy gave us the springboard to get started” with the business, she says.
The couple purchased their Upper Arlington home 11 years ago knowing it would be a passion project for both of them. The 1962 ranch features an open floor plan, which fit the couple's desire to design it in a midcentury-modern-meets-rustic aesthetic. They have gradually added their personal style throughout the spaces, completing major renovations in the kitchen and the lower level. Their kitchen remodel was Traci's first kitchen redesign. “Creating spaces you want to stay and hang out in is my specialty,” she says.
When purchasing an older home, it is not unusual to find quirks throughout the space. The centerpiece of the family room is a brick fireplace that the Richardsons painted white for a more sophisticated look. When the home was originally built, there was a grill in the original fireplace that was designed to roast rotisserie-style meat and vegetables. While this was an interesting—albeit outdated—feature, the couple now uses the space for wood storage.
The ranch has three bedrooms on the main floor, with the master bedroom located off the foyer and the children's rooms down a hall, which can be closed off with pocket doors. The couple says this is a helpful feature for their family, especially if they are entertaining and the children need to go to sleep.
The basement remodel created a space that's used intermittently as a guestroom, a home office and a playroom. The couple installed a Murphy bed for occasional guests. Mood boards and architectural renderings for current and past projects are displayed there.
Traci is the design lead for Paul + Jo Studio, while Stacy runs the business operations. The couple works with several local partners when they buy and remodel homes to flip, or when they work with clients. They use subcontractors for construction work, a process that Stacy manages but also participates in, depending on the project. He credits lessons learned growing up watching his father work on the family farm for his own contributions.
Frequently, they partner with Edgework Creative, a local husband-and-wife team that specializes in furniture design and fabrication. Edgework made custom mantels and French doors for the Richardsons' house and are now completing some ironwork.
With several projects currently underway and no sign of slowing down, the couple admit they are often thinking of their next renovation. It may involve someone else's house, one of the homes they are renovating, or their current home. “You are never really finished with a home,” says Stacy.