Home & Garden: Upper Arlington Homeowners Add On

Taylor Swope

Back in 2011, a Central Ohio couple found an idyllic neighborhood in Upper Arlington where they thought they would rear the family they would eventually start. Soon after purchasing a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home, they hired a renovator to transform the kitchen and dining space into an open floor plan.

A few years later, after welcoming an infant daughter, the couple started thinking about a move or another update. “We had a baby and realized we had no space,” says the woman of the house, laughing.

After considering larger homes in outlying suburbs, the couple decided to stay in their space and renovate yet again. They loved their neighborhood’s friendly vibe, by now even celebrating holidays and vacationing with neighbors.

They decided to add a two-story addition to the back of their home; thus, they went to work trying to get the job done by hiring a contractor. Their goal was to create more living space, including the addition of another bedroom, a full bath and a mudroom that would flow off the living room.

As the woman of the house was scrolling through Instagram for inspiration, she stumbled upon a post by Paul + Jo Studio, a local interior design and renovation firm. Owners Stacy and Traci Richardson, who also live in Upper Arlington, were soon on the job. “Stacy and Traci came over and identified issues we didn’t even realize,” says the woman of the house. “We didn’t want to wait any longer to get the house where we needed it to be.”

The Richardsons were initially hired to help only with the interior design, but eventually intercepted the entire project when the first contractor didn’t work out. Months later, Traci is still a regular visitor in the home as she works to complete smaller pieces of the original project and others on a growing wish list.

Traci happily took on the role of project manager, overseeing all aspects of the addition. “My eyes always go to the details,” she says. In addition to managing subcontractors, she also helped the homeowners accomplish the aesthetic vision they had for their home. When working with an open concept, Traci says it is important to consider how the entire space flows. She provided three options to the homeowners, all based on sourcing and pricing. She called the options: good, better and best. Clients typically choose from these options based on their budget, she says.

The woman of the house says Traci is focused on helping people find the best deals and prioritizing what they want. “Countertops last forever, so I advise people to choose to spend money there,” Traci says, as opposed to a fancy chair, for example.

The homeowners grew to love the fact that the Richardsons have so many contacts in the business. They use local vendors, whenever possible, throughout any project’s lifecycle. The Richardsons work closely with Edgework Creative, a furniture design and fabrication studio in Columbus, which was hired to create a dining room table and built-in desks for this project’s first-floor office. (The homeowners work from home, so the office space was important.) Greg Gilkerson, sole proprietor of G Squared Restoration and Woodworking, partnered with Edgework Creative on the office space. (Gilkerson also tackled a challenging media cabinet project in the living room.)

Countertops were supplied by Stone Mart and fabricated by Konkus Marble and Granite. Neff Builders, a father-and-son duo, helped the Richardsons with a fireplace in the dining room, where the Neffs created a beveled hearth to rid the area of tripping hazards.

Traci had the idea to turn the front room of the house into a playroom. Konkus refinished the fireplace, removing stains from the marble, likely saving the homeowners several thousand dollars in replacement granite. Today, the area is furnished with a table for arts and crafts, plush seating cushions from Restoration Hardware and plenty of storage so that every toy has a place.

“This room will evolve through the years because it is neutral enough they can make it a different space over time,” says Traci, of the space that is just inside of the home’s entrance.

Traci says she finds design inspiration everywhere, especially in shops around Columbus, such as Grandview Mercantile, Flowerchild and the Boomerang Room. “I have found things from all different eras,” she says. “I find pieces that will last the test of time.”

In this home, she chose two George Nelson office chairs made by Herman Miller, for example. “Historical and vintage pieces make a home feel cozier,” she adds. “You don’t want everything to be store bought and brand new.”

Traci also likes to surprise clients with special, personal touches throughout the home. The woman of the house is of German heritage, so Traci found German artwork to display in the home. She also orchestrated a gallery wall in the couple’s bedroom, featuring treasured family photos.

After a longer-than-planned renovation journey, these Upper Arlington homeowners are settling into their dream space, which they credit the Richardsons for helping them create. “We instantly connected,” says Traci of the couple. “You can’t pick a better situation.”