Behind the Design: Lauren Ranes

Next up in our San Francisco “Behind the Design” series is Lauren Ranes. A quick glance at Lauren’s portfolio will make it obvious- the girl’s got style. She’s the kind of designer that pulls inspiration from everything around her, whether it’s an embroidered Valentino dress, a pile of fresh ranunculus, or a bedroom with an unusual color scheme. After studying interior design and architecture at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, she established her own San Francisco based design firm in 2011 and currently contributes on projects in San Francisco, Napa, and Sun Valley. “Be a leader” was something Lauren’s father used to tell her over and over again as a child, and now she’s doing just that. “It was not until I became an adult that I realized that he intended not that I should direct others but, rather, that I should be original.” While her design style incorporates traditional elements, her execution is modern and fresh with pops of color in unexpected places. What keeps her going, apart from time spent with her husband, daughter, and adorable spaniel, is remembering (both literally and figuratively), that “if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.”

Why do you design?

It’s a natural, necessary creative outlet! Simply, I design because of my need to find and create beauty.

What is the most memorable space you’ve ever been in? What did it look like, how did it smell, how did it feel?

My childhood home. An American ranch style home in the Pacific Northwest made entirely of brick. In the winter it smelled of cedar and coffee, in the summer of fresh cut grass. The home was largely designed in a traditional style. And perfectly landscaped. She was comfort and beauty.

Complete the sentence “When I design I feel…..”. 


What are your favorite cities for design? What shops or museums do you visit in each?

San Francisco: MARCH. Coup D’etat. New York: The Line. BDDW. Steven Sclaroff. The Whitney. The Met. Rome: Any church or old brick & mortar. Truly, the eternal city.

What was the first thing you ever bought for your own home? How did you feel when you bought it?

A custom, marble dining table. It was an obvious investment for my home and family, a timeless piece that we still use and love.

John Bedell Photography

Share your favorite Pinterest board (one of your own, preferably).


Can you talk about your favorite project to date? What made it the best?

An impossible question. However, I have been working with one family now for several years on an exquisite Arts & Crafts home in San Francisco. We have become close and the home is an approachable, imaginative, collected masterpiece.

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What is your morning routine?

During the week, my daughter occupies most of my morning! I change, feed and entertain her while I read and compose emails. Breakfast is sadly an afterthought, typically half a yogurt and an espresso. On the weekends we walk to Equator downtown Mill Valley, the best coffee and waffles in the world.

How do you relieve stress and stay calm?

I try to focus on just one task at a time.

What is one thing you do every day, for YOU?

An afternoon stroll around the neighborhood. It’s an important outing that allows me to clear my head. My dog and daughter also love it…and I love being with them.

How would you describe your personal style? How is your “off-duty” style different (or similar) to how you dress for work?

My style is simple and tailored. Most of my pieces are classic but I like to indulge in a few unexpected pieces to keep things fresh. I also invest in shoes. A nice pair makes any outfit. Generally, my home and work wardrobe are interchangeable.

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What tips do you have for staying organized at home?

Try to live minimally keeping only what you need and love. Make a point to continually edit. And make lists.

What’s always in your bag?

Hand sanitizer…and baby toys.

Who are your role models?

My parents. My mother is the hardest working person I know. My father is an innovator.

Do you have any business mantras or inspiring quotes that keep you going? 

“If you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.” A literal and figurative mantra.

How would you define “running a successful business”? 

If you are able to create work and maintain relationships that you are proud of…

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What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Growing up, my father recited over and over, “Be a leader.” It was not until I became an adult that I realized that he intended not that I should direct others but, rather, that I should be original.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned working in the interior design business?

I’ve learned that one must continually evolve and grow both naturally and deliberately.