A local designer’s global travels led to a mundane family home


Walking around Cheryl Stauffer’s Bexley living room is like flipping through the pages of a travel magazine.

A child’s clothing from a tribe in Thailand is displayed in a display case. Underfoot, a multi-patterned red runner, bought from a bazaar in Istanbul, covers the floor. A pink crystal on a front table was left by the previous owner of the house. Other pieces from India and Argentina all share stories and lived experiences.

On the mantle, mixed and matched frames feature a variety of artwork. “We love art and when we travel we often buy pieces. We collect objects from all over the world, ”says Stauffer. She estimates that she and her husband, Luis, have been to 70 countries in total. “I think we were vagabonds in another life. … We are still vagrants.

Travel can offer insight into other cultures, provide perspective and help extend our comfort and understanding of others, according to Stauffer, who founded Crimson Design Group in 2003. His designs are influenced by this philosophy, not only in its own house, but with its customers too.

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“Curiosity is my number one engine,” she says. “There is a sense of curiosity and exploration [in travel] it helps you see how other people live and gives you a much bigger world view.

Born in Paraguay to Mennonite missionaries, Stauffer remained in South America until the age of seven. Her father, a cow farmer, also worked in a medical clinic in the jungle, helping to give birth and providing ambulance services. “He was rooted in the community, helping the local natives to thrive,” she says.

Although the Mennonite way of life she was immersed in as a child was largely devoid of color, the vibrant colors and interesting shapes of the jungle followed her. Large, bold designs, like tribal prints, and rich color combinations are found in her work and home designs.

From the main entrance, two bright chairs attract attention in a living room, just off the dining room. The room is small, with a large bay window that lets in the warm rays of the sun.

Stauffer bought the chairs for $ 25 each from an antique store and had the frames lacquered in bright blue to complement the Schumacher design of the fabric, called Magical Ming Dragon. Locally, Fortner manufactured the end products.

On the windowsill above the chairs, blue and white Ming vases of various shapes rest on thick, hardback books on plants and design. They complement a white vase filled with fresh hydrangea. “It’s one of my favorite rooms in the house, especially in the morning with the sun,” she says.

“Nature is our number one inspiration,” she says. “Dirtiness [in South America] was bright red, and there were tropical trees and flowers. Color can fill us, lead us, and help us live fully.

A corner in the front room

Much like home, the travel destinations, and even the types of hotels people stay in, are a big part of Stauffer’s work with design clients. During the first conversations, she asks where people are traveling. “Hotels are a getaway, they are a sanctuary, so what are these places that they love that we can help translate into their homes? ” she says.

Clothing choices, such as colors and patterns, as well as “separate items” like heirlooms and antiques, also provide advice. “Using those coins or items they’ve collected, their children’s belongings… it’s more than just filling the room. It adds a purpose and a sense of belonging, ”she adds.

A large family room, also filled with objects from their travels, leads to the backyard, where the family is largely entertained. Lush shade trees mix with potted plants to fill the space with welcoming freshness.

“We live here in the summer,” she says. The spacious courtyard has a cozy outdoor dining area, pool, cabana, and bar, which is full of sky-blue subway tiles lining the walls.

Snickers, Stauffer's dog, enjoys a colorful chair in the veranda

Although it is largely colorless, Stauffer says she learned a lot from the simplistic Mennonite way of life. “I’ve learned that the most important things in life aren’t things, but experiences and relationships,” she says.

Stauffer donates a significant amount of design work and money to charitable causes, including the construction and design of an orphanage in Thailand and the design of a halfway house for victims of human trafficking. humans in Columbus.

“Your house tells your story,” she says. “It tells you where you are and where you are going. ”

This story is from the November 2021 issue of Columbus monthly.


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