Ok, so you know when you’ve had a friend for a very long time and they go ‘BIG TIME’? That’s how we feel about Raili Clasen. We met Raili over fifteen years ago at Quiksilver, where we both worked in design (Birgit) and Marketing (Kenna). And now she’s one of the HOTTEST interior designers in California (and, believe me, she was no wall-flower back then either). We are so stoked for her well-deserved success and it has been awesome to watch. She’s been featured everywhere but to name a few: Architectural Digest, C Home, Dwell and if you missed her recent story in Sunset Magazine you have to check it out! It will make you want to buy a beach shack immediately (and have her design it!). We are kinda obsessed with her designs; think ‘California clean’ mixed with ‘fun eclectic’ mixed with ‘a smirk’ and you have Raili. Both in person and her designs.
So we met up with her at her design studio (RailiCA)and laughed our way through a mini photoshoot. And, of course, we took some time to ask her questions about her life, style and career. Here they are below. Enjoy. B&K
beek: When we met you (we won’t date ourselves by saying what year) you were the National Sales rep for for Roxy. Now you do amazing Interior Design (we are obsessed). Tell us about how you made a jump from sales to interiors?
RC: I very much dove into interior design head first with zero experience and zero fear. I hired a designer to help with our remodel and one week into it she decided to move to England. I just grabbed all the catalogs I could find and went for it by myself. I loved it so much I decided, ‘hey I’m going to try this! Worst case scenario no one will like my designs and I’ll move on to something else.’
beek: Where do you get inspiration?
RC: I’ve been super lucky to work with some of the most creative people in the surf industry. I spent so much time in the visual department of Quiksilver, and the design rooms at Paul Frank. I started to form opinions, style and it exploded from there. I get out of Orange County A LOT when I am in need of new inspo. New York is a favorite for design inspo, especially new shops, hotels and even the bathrooms in boutique hotels.
beek: What advice do you have for women thinking about changing professions?
RC: Well, two things: it will probably be the scariest thing ever, but will be a LIFE changer if you get to do something you love and turn it into a career. With design, there wasn’t much up-front financial investment but it might not be the same if you are trying to open a store or restaurant. I think you have to be 110% committed and don’t listen for one second to the doubters. That seems to be the biggest roadblock to amazing ideas out there.
beek: What current styles of decorating are you loving these days?
RC: In my dreams, I am designing a 1920’s Spanish Hacienda. Knowing those are not plentiful around here, I do love so many kinds of décor. We are working on everything from farmhouses to contemporary beach homes right now and I love them all. It also makes us start new with each project and not just rest on our good ideas from the recent design plans.
beek: What is one thing that we can all change in our houses, that makes a huge difference?
RC: Paint! White and bright is a game changer. Taking heavy things like dated drapes out and updating accessories/rugs and pillows. Easy breezy and is such a great update.
beek: If you could survive with only three clothing brands for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
beek: You’ve travelled the world. Please tell us your top three favorite cities for inspiration:
RC: New York, San Miguel de Allende, and Berlin
beek: What’s one item in your closet that you wouldn’t sell for all the money in the world:
RC: It’s all for sale!! I do have one sweatshirt from college that is thread bare that I love.. but doubt anyone would even touch it let alone want it. I definitely do not get attached to things..
beek: What is your favorite sandal from the new spring beek collection (I know, impossible to pick just one, but let’s try :-)?
beek: Do you believe in ghosts?
RC: No.. but I am scared of people who do.
beek: Are you more chocolate or vanilla?
RC: Vanilla. With toppings of course.
beek: Favorite fiction book of all time:
RC: The Other Boleyn Girl..cheesy but indulgent.
beek: Favorite rom-com of all time:
RC: The Notebook.. I know, cheesy again!
beek: Do you watch the bachelor (cuz its our dirty little secret)?
RC: I tried but the crazy ones that they put in there send me over the edge.