Meet Crystal Palecek

Interior Designer

My lifelong passion for beautifying spaces around me coupled with my work as an interior design editor and business owner reflects that living a life by design, not default, is at the core of who I am. I know that creating beauty and function in our lives, from the inside out, significantly improves our levels of happiness, productivity, and sense of empowerment. Over the years, I've dedicated my personal and professional pursuits to studying ways to bring the benefits of this to others and serve people who desire to create more of it in their own homes and lives. I'm passionate about inspiring you to find the same joy a well-designed life brings me. As a young girl, I was fascinated by interior design, I just didn't know it at the time. In my childhood home, I could often be found painting my bedroom walls and constantly tweaking our living room furniture. One day, I decided to rearrange my parents' bookshelves while they were away. When their decorator came over the next week, surprised to see the perfectly styled shelves and asked who they had hired, my mom knew she had a future decorator on her hands. But it wasn't until a few years after college when I discovered the inspiring world of design magazines and blogs and experimented with decorating my first apartment that it all started to make sense in my mind. This is what I was always meant to do. Interior design is what makes me light up with passion and energizes me in the most special of ways. In 2010, I started my first company, Rue, an online interiors magazine as a way to bring inspiring spaces and design tips to a digital audience and launched our premiere issue to 10 million pageviews. Since then, we’ve also built a loyal social media community of over 1 million followers. Currently, I have a talented team of eight, and work with an incredible roster of creatives across the country, from photographers, writers, graphic designers, stylists, and more. Most notably, we were recognized by The New York Times in a four-page feature story in 2011. I've also been profiled by the San Francisco Chronicle, and as a designer my work has been published in Good Housekeeping magazine, California Home + Design magazine and on Today, I take on inspiring interior design projects and help businesses with their creative and visual strategy. As a devoted wife to my furniture designer husband and doting mother to my toddler son and baby boy, the flexibility this offers me is all part of my commitment to living a well-designed life that both prioritizes my family and nurtures my professional passions and pursuits. 

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The best way to get in touch with me is by submitting my Inquiry Form or emailing I’ll review your questions/comments and respond as soon as I can. In the meantime, you can always follow along on social media:


Frequently Asked Questions

Where did you go to college and what did you major in?

I went to Tufts University just outside of Boston, which was a long way from where I grew up in Seattle. I majored in English and minored in Italian. At the time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I loved literature and learning the Italian language and culture. I studied abroad in Perugia, Italy for my junior year and moved to Rome after graduation, where I lived for two years.

What did you do before starting Rue?

After my two years in Rome following my college graduation, I moved to Chicago where I worked for a book publisher and began my first blog on the side. Blogging about interior design opened up a whole new world of passion and possibility for me. In 2010 I decided to do something larger scale and launched an online interiors magazine called Rue. I resigned from my job at the book publisher one week after we went live and never looked back.

Were you hesitant about starting your own company?

Oddly enough, I was not. When you’re truly passionate about a project it’s more energizing than scary. I was 27 at the time and knew that whatever happened, I was resourceful and strong enough to land on my feet and that I would always find a way to keep moving forward. As the saying goes, “At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.”

What are some of the biggest business lessons you've learned along the way?

I’ve learned the importance of hiring for character, not just talent. I want people of strong morals and kindness to surround me in all that I do. I also believe in knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a worker and leader. I stay in my lane with what I excel at and hire people who are better than me for the rest. It’s also important to step back often to reflect on your long-term intentions with your business. Sometimes a little silence gives birth to the best answers.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

For me, the answer to this question starts with being aligned with your purpose in life. To get to the rewarding parts, I believe we first have to do the work to figure out what makes us feel most alive and then find a way to turn that into a part of our lifelong journey, whether through a career, a hobby, or a side project. For me, waking up sincerely excited about creating beauty and function for my family and clients is endlessly energizing and rewarding for me.

How do you juggle work and family?

With grace towards myself, help from my extended family, and a strong understanding of my true priorities. On a practical level, I’m highly organized by nature, which definitely helps, and I thrive on having a daily routine to keep it all afloat. When I’m with my husband and son, I don’t look at my phone or laptop. Instead, I reserve that for my allotted work time. It requires a lot of discipline and efficiency to get all my work done in just those designated hours but what it affords me is the peace of mind that comes with knowing that I’m living according to my values as a wife and mom.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That I’m an introvert – not to be mistaken with shy, which people often confuse. For example, I can speak in front of large crowds and give presentations to packed rooms of people without any problems. But as an introvert, I’m most restored by alone time and do my best thinking and work with a lot of quiet, stillness, and reflection.

Are you related to Palecek, the furniture company?

Yes, through marriage. My husband, Andrew Palecek and his family own and run the large furniture design and manufacturing company. We met in 2011 through the design industry and when Andrew reached out to me to learn more about my magazine, Rue. It was love at first sight and we were married two years later.

Are you still involved in Rue?

Yes, but in a high level way only. As the owner, it’s my responsibility to make sure that the business runs smoothly and that our readers are always delighted by our content. But I rely on my incredible team to run the day to day operations of the magazine, website, and social media. I’m extremely grateful to be at the point where I can step back from all the daily tasks, leaving them in the very capable hands of my team, to focus on my family and other creative goals and aspirations.

Featured Press



Welcome to Crystal Palecek Design based in Marin County and serving the San Francisco Bay Area. Between my work with interiors and as the founder of Rue magazine, style and creativity is a driving force in all that I do. My greatest passion lies in bringing form and function to life in homes so you can live more beautifully.

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Interior Design, Full Service

From updating your home with new furniture and decor to overseeing large-scale renovations, I consider it a great privilege to help you design and create your dream home. We tailor each project to meet your distinct needs, aesthetic, and lifestyle. Be sure to check out my portfolio for more.

Interior Design, from a Distance

No matter where you live, your home has infinite potential. Through email communication, digital space planning, Pinterest boards, and shopping lists, we’ll provide you with all the tools needed to implement our vision for your best home.