Becca Apfelstadt, owner of the Treetree creative agency worked with Cheryl Stauffer of Crimson Design Group in Columbus to create an office with dramatic hues and modern furnishings.

After a year of work went into designing and outfitting a new office in the Short North Arts District, creative agency Treetree was able to move into its new home in early 2020. Becca Apfelstadt and her team were able to enjoy their new “treehouse” for a whole six weeks before remote work became the norm because of a global pandemic. 

To make the transition, the co-founder and CEO decided to create a space that was completely her own. She set about a plan to give a first-floor office in her Dublin home the flair of New York City’s famed Madison Avenue.

“I didn’t want this room to match anything else in the house,” says Apfelstadt, who shares her home, which has a “retreat feel,” with her husband and two young children. “I wanted it to be bold, colorful and a place for creativity and imagination. Just mama’s space.”

Apfelstadt worked with Cheryl Stauffer of Crimson Design Group in Columbus to create the office that has dramatic hues and modern furnishings. Blended in are children’s artwork and family photos. The office also has two special items on its shelves. There are two jars of marbles that came from her grandmother’s house. Her mom played with them with her siblings growing up and Apfelstadt played with them with her cousins, making up simple games throughout her childhood. 

“It’s a reminder to keep it simple,” she says. “Don’t get so wrapped up in success and forget the simple things in life.”

The other item is the original Treetree sign that dates to when she started the business in 2009 amid the fallout of the Great Recession. It prompts her to remember how much she didn’t know back then, but how she figured things out along the way. When she looks at the sign she takes a “good deep breath. It’s a reminder of where we came from and that we invented this out of nothing.”

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Behind her minimalist desk she’s also replicated “gratitude shelfs” from the corporate office. Branded postcards were created for clients to take after their visit and are meant as a symbol of that core value. 

Apfelstadt works on a MacBook Pro and often dons glasses with blue light blockers since she’s in virtual meetings most of the day. She bought a high-definition external camera with a microphone and noise-cancelling AirPods to help her operate more effectively in a virtual world.

During the pandemic she’s encouraged her team of 15 to block off the time they need from their workdays to care for their families. Her children have been learning from home during the crisis and Apfelstadt has allowed herself the time and space to enjoy special moments with them, like taking her daughter to a nearby creek to hunt for pill bugs, aka Rollie Pollies. 

Not everything is done remotely for the entrepreneur these days. She hosts her leadership team on her deck to talk about client wins and business challenges. Apfelstadt also does “walk-and-talk” meetings on walking trails or at Antrim Park to catch up with coworkers. And she often takes the time to walk by herself to think through problems. 

“That’s what the team needs of me,” she says. “They’ve got the work covered, but I have to be sure they feel secure and stable and inspired and motivated. Not just how to get through the next weeks, but how to get through the next months and years.”

Laura Newpoff is a freelance writer.