Rue 1.0

Crystal's Corner: A Must-See Makeover by Crystal Palecek

Our founder and editor in chief, teams up with One Kings Lane for a charity design project with a big heart!

Copy: Crystal Palecek , Interior Design: Crystal Palecek, Photography: Aubrie Pick

Last November, I received an email from the team at One Kings Lane. They were working with the Hartland Hotel, a location providing affordable supportive housing to those transitioning out of homelessness, located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Their task was to give the location’s common area a design makeover that residents would love coming home to. When they reached out to me to see if I’d join forces with them as the designer for the charity project, my answer was a resounding “yes”! Today, I’m excited to share the ‘before and afters’ with you!

One of the reasons I’ve crafted a career for myself in the design industry is because I believe whole-heartedly that the spaces we live in have a profound affect on the quality of our lives. Have you ever noticed how when you’re in a beautiful, welcoming space your productivity and feeling of contentedness instantly grows? That’s the power of beauty and good design and I’m passionate about bringing that to others. Needless to say, I was absolutely honored to have the opportunity to decorate for the Hartland Hotel.

The first task at hand was to come up with my inspiration. I wanted to really brighten up the space and give it personality, while still creating a calm and serene feel for the tenants to come home to. I decided a deep blue on the walls (Benjamin Moore’s Hudson Bay) would be the perfect starting point. It also tied in with the blue tiled floors, which were once an eye sore, and made them look intentional. Next, for the furniture and decor selection, I had a bit of a design challenge on my hands. For upkeep reasons, I wasn’t allowed to use any upholstered furniture, and also had to provide seating for 12-15 people. Not an easy feat in a small space that you’re trying to cozy up! But I worked within the constraints, thanks to One Kings Lane’s vast selection of home furnishings, and must say, I’m totally pleased with the results!

I also tempered the vibrant blue paint I chose for the walls with some large pieces of artwork. To create a curated look I pulled light-colored pieces, in my signature neutral tones, which really stand out against the dark walls (I used the same strategy for the furniture palette). I also mixed in a few mirrors to really help bounce the light around the room so that it feels bright and happy.

And speaking of art, the most special piece in the space to me is a custom art piece by talented San Francisco artist Timothy Lamb that reads “Home Is Where the Hart Is,” which is the Hartland Hotel’s motto. Working with Tim, who also happens to be the boyfriend of Rue’s very own Kelli Ryder, was an absolute dream from start to finish. When the tenants first saw the custom piece, they went absolutely crazy for it, which was pretty amazing to witness.

Seeing it all come together on our installation day was a moment I’ll never forgot. During that twelve hour day, I got to really know some of the tenants and hear their inspiring stories of overcoming trying times. It made me feel even more honored to have been invited into their home and to have the opportunity to hopefully bring them a deeper sense of home, beauty, and inspiration through design. I saw firsthand the way the tenants’ faces lit up as they observed the space take shape, and for me that’s what it’s all about: bringing a slice of beauty to someone’s world.

To read more about this project, be sure to hop over to the One Kings Lane blog and read the interview!

(A special thanks to Ali and Emily at One Kings Lane for partnering with me. And a huge thank you to Kelli Ryder, who graciously assisted me on this project!)

*Read more Crystal's Corner stories over here!

  • Shamila Jiwa

    incredible make over!

    • Crystal @ Rue

      Thanks, Shamila! So glad you like it!

    • Crystal @ Rue

      Thank you so much!

  • MaryJoHoffman

    Well done!

    • Crystal @ Rue

      Thank you so much!

  • Rose Lindo

    Inspiring space + story! Amazing job, Rue!

    • Crystal @ Rue

      Thank you, Rose! I’m thrilled you like it!!

  • Arianne

    Beatuiful – would you tell us who the white Equine print is by? I’ve been on the hunt for something similar!

    • Crystal @ Rue

      Of course! It’s a Thom Filicia for Soicher Marin print. You can find it here:

  • fatema

    Love the bold statement color, and those table legs! Beautiful this brightened my post blizzard day:)

    • Crystal @ Rue

      Thank you!! Glad to hear it brightened your day!

  • Valerie

    Looks amazing! You did a wonderful job– love the blues.

    xx, Valerie |

    • Crystal @ Rue

      Thank you!

  • Julia Clare Wagner

    Beautiful transformation! Amazing Photography too!

    • Crystal @ Rue

      Thanks! And yes, Aubrie is a skilled photographer indeed!

  • Laura Joan White

    Wow, what an awesome opportunity to do something you love- but not only that, to give others that first feeling that they’re finally at home. The space was so cozy and cheerful, yet serene and welcoming. I basically started crying. haha Love you guys even more for this! xx

    • Crystal @ Rue

      Thank you, Laura! It really was a rewarding project to work on. So glad you enjoyed the story!

  • lookseelove

    incredible! amazing blue color, & the home is where the heart is poster is amazing!

    • Crystal @ Rue

      Agreed! Love that poster too! Thanks so much for checking out the makeover!

  • urban baby LA

    what a beautiful transformation. I really love the large vertical print of people, where could I find that?

    • Crystal @ Rue

      Thank you! You can find that print on OKL here: (I loved it when I saw it, too!)

  • Jessie D. Miller

    This is a great cause that deserved the royal treatment which they indeed received. Crystal + OKL + Worthy cause = Priceless. Well done!

    • Crystal @ Rue

      You totally made my day…thanks Jessie!