What better way to start a Monday than with a pretty office, like the one above? And, to kick the week off an inspiring interview? Today, we’re welcoming Raena Interiors to the blog and as our newest creative on The List! Based in Minneapolis, Raena Albers is an up-and-coming designer with a fresh and clean style and a mission to give her clients’ homes a custom visual narrative. Dive into our interview below, along with a handful of stunning spaces crafted by Raena.
Tell us a bit about your story. What was your journey to becoming a designer and how did Raena Interiors come to life?
I love design and I love helping people. I’m simplifying here, but if you love something enough, you should find a way to do it— especially as a creative. I had a busy business as a personal chef previous to starting Raena Interiors, so I knew how to keep expectations low, put the work in, and just go for it. I couldn’t be happier with that choice!
What does it mean to be a ‘visual narrator’ and how do you start the process of telling a unique story within each home you design?
Everyone has a story, and helping my clients express who they are is truly at the forefront of any project. By doing so, I think it creates a sense of authenticity in their home, and love that. I get to translate their lives through color, objects, heirlooms, art, etc., which is where I become that story-teller.
If you had to describe your design style like a cocktail, what would it be?
Bourbon, neat. Make it a double.
What (if any) challenges did you encounter in your first year of business?
There were challenges on all plateaus! The most unexpected, however, was the ongoing marketing and finding your voice in a world where social media and branding is so vital. The other (and largest) challenge was learning to navigate through an entire industry that is shockingly inefficient. Finding the best project management tools, and working with stellar vendors has saved me my sanity, but it takes time to get there! Also, it took a good while to accept that there are only a certain number of hours in one day where I am productive. This is tough when there is so much to do, but I am so much better if I don’t force it.
What is one of your proudest moments in becoming a successful entrepreneur?
I hoped there would be a point where I could help other women who are starting out and feeling overwhelmed. Connecting with other female entrepreneurs has been so awesome, and I feel super proud I’m able to offer advice and encouragement. There are many insanely talented designers out there and I love watching their journeys.
What does a beautiful home mean to you and what is your number one tip for crafting a space you’ll love for years to come?
A home is beautiful when it’s our safe-haven, our sense of belonging, our gathering space to make memories, and have fun! If you have that within your walls, you are lucky. That’s more beautiful than anything I can do for you. However, my two tips to crafting a space you’ll enjoy for years are as follows:
1. Collect art when and if you can, even if it’s a tiny piece. Just do it.
2. Don’t skimp on upholstery. There are so many other ways to save money when you are buying furniture, but if you’re going to be sitting on it everyday, make sure it’s going to hold up.
If you had to design only one room for an entire year, which would it be and why?
Without question, the indoor/outdoor oasis. The sun. The plants. Ahhh! I cannot imagine anything that feels more more magical than enmeshing the outdoors with the indoors, especially in a warmer climate.
If you could nominate any designer and/or builder on the rise right now, who would it be and why?
Heidi Caillier. She blends color, pattern, materials, and nature so perfectly Every time I see a photo of her work, I just want to crawl inside the photo and live there.
What is your go-to paint color?
White walls are gorgeous, but I don’t love stark white walls. My preference is a warmer, creamy white that will feel easier on the eyes, like Benjamin Moore: Cloud White. Plus, the warmer undertone is perfect for a room that doesn’t receive a lot of natural light.
Instagram account(s) you’re currently crushing on:
@jstlbby, @danmazzarini, @moredesign.es, @garyvee
Current favorite book and/or podcast:
I’ve been loving all the Game of Thrones podcasts. I’m that fanatic who loves to deconstruct each episode until I can’t talk or read about it anymore. Most books I read as of late are cookbooks, and my favorite right now is Love & Lemons Everyday. Pure deliciousness.
3 apps you can’t live without:
Headspace, Dropmark, and Todoist. I save everything on Dropmark, which is like Dropbox and Pinterest in one. Highly recommend!
Favorite beats usually playing in the studio:
My studio overlooks a marsh, so I love to open the windows and listen to birds, but when need a change, my go to is Pink Martini radio on Pandora.