Lauren Wakefield is the founder and creative force behind Ryder Sloan Events. She was a painting major at Auburn University, yet later found her stride event planning in two of America’s most fabulous cities – New York and San Francisco. She made her name as one of the most sought after wedding planners in Northern California, yet has exciting plans to expand her business into Ryder Sloan Home – an interior design service that’s driven with the same savvy style that makes her events so fabulous. She knows just how to make a space functional yet fun – as proven in her beautiful San Francisco home. We chatted with Lauren about her past experience, her beautiful home, and what she has planned next:
Prior to starting Ryder Sloan Events, what were you doing?
I was living in NYC coordinating high-end children’s birthday parties- quite the experience! The parties were fun but I knew all along that I really wanted to be doing weddings. The idea of being an instrumental part of a couple’s most special day seemed like a dream. After moving to San Francisco, I assisted other planners until I felt comfortable doing some weddings on my own. I just finished my second full year in business and have learned so much!
Congratulations on two years! We hear you you’re looking to offer interior decorating services, too?
Yes! Creating environments for events has inspired me to grow my business to designing spaces for homes. It felt like a really natural transition from helping couples with their weddings to helping them design their homes. Growing up, my stepfather loved to flip houses so I was designing new bedrooms for myself almost every year. I even started helping him with plans for some of the homes we built! Once I started college, I began as an Interior Design major and have maintained my passion for designing spaces through the years.
When designing a space, where’s the first place you start?
I like to start with how the space is used. For a culture that continues to grow less and less formal, I hate the idea of a room in the house that’s never used, especially if you’re taking the time and expense to design it! I strive to make every space in a home usable and lovely.
It certainly reflects in your designs! What qualities do you most admire in a room?
I love interesting pieces in a room. Not everybody gets lucky with naturally gorgeous architecture. The furniture and finishes that make up a space can turn a shoebox of a room into something incredible.
So true! Let’s talk color. Which colors do you use most?
I collect blue and white ginger jars and pottery, and even designed our own wedding off of this color scheme. Growing up in Nashville my mom always took me to The Picnic Cafe which had blue and white plates decorating the walls. It was our favorite mom-daughter date spot and the love of that decor has just stuck with me and reminds me of home while still fitting in effortlessly with our more modern condo in San Francisco. I also use a ton of metallics- in our home, silvers, brass, golds all mix together and add fun shiny dimension.
Speaking of your home… do you have a favorite room?
I absolutely love our kitchen. When we renovated the space, this was our biggest project. We added gorgeous marble countertops, a bar to sit at, white subway tile backsplash, a new stove and hood, a huge stainless steel sink (a must!), open shelving above the sink, a new light fixture, extended the existing cabinets to the ceiling with trim, added new pulls and knobs and painted the cabinets two different shades. The darker cabinets work to ground the super light space and the industrial stainless steel appliances make me feel like I have a true chef’s kitchen.
And a beautiful one at that! So, when did you first know you had this talent?
I started pretty young, attending interior design summer camps at O’More College in Franklin, TN. From there I ultimately went on to eventually pursue a painting major and art history minor in college. I consider myself very lucky to have parents who were naturally gifted artists. And they always encouraged any creative path I wanted to try. Whether it be designing a room, creating a stationery company with my best friend in high school, volunteering to paint a mural at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, or even just sitting down with some watercolors, they consistently supported me. My passion to create has never wavered and I really believe if you have that kind of passion, you will always be successful.
Why is design important to you?
Being in a well-designed space makes life easier and more lovely. If I can help to contribute this kind of comfort and beauty to people’s lives, I’ve done an important thing!
What’s the accomplishment you’re most proud of?
I’m really proud of how far my wedding planning company has come and have high hopes for Ryder Sloan Home to do the same. On a smaller scale, I’m amazed that my husband allowed me to put up our crazy bright guest bathroom Thibaut wallpaper. I feel a sense of accomplishment every time I walk by it!
Ha – he’s a keeper! What is your top advice for turning a house into a home?
If you’re lucky enough to have some family heirlooms, find a way to bring them into your decor. I have a blue crystal berry dish from my grandmother that sits on our bar and holds various seasonal decor like lemons or pinecones. I doubt it’s ever been used to hold berries but that doesn’t mean it should sit in a closet. Heirlooms like this truly make a house feel more like home.
We have to ask – what is the biggest decorating mistake you see people make?
I think not going with your gut is a huge mistake. If you have always dreamt of a purple room but are too scared to make the jump, you’ll always wish you had. I’ve wanted a dark green tufted velvet sofa for as long as I can remember. When it came time to find one for our home, I was too scared it would overwhelm the room. I still pin images of green velvet sofas on my Pinterest boards and will probably dream about one until I can get one. Lesson learned.
And how about entertaining?
Trying to make everyone’s custom drink takes too much time and can get costly. A new trend I like is providing beer, wine, and just one or two cocktails.
Thank you so much for welcoming us into your home, Lauren! It was great to chat and we can’t wait to see what you do next.
SHOP THE STORY: LIVING ROOM: Coffee Table // Tiered Side Table // Gold Tray // Round End Tables // Light Fixtures // Painting // DINING ROOM: Copper Tray // Mugs // Marais Chairs // Louis Ghost Chairs // Panton Chairs // Barstools // Painting // Dinnerware // Paint: BM Tapestry Beige // KITCHEN: Light Fixture // Rug // Paint: BM Tapestry Beige // OFFICE: Eames Chair // Light Fixture // Photograph // Paint: BM Calico Blue // GUEST BATHROOM: Wallpaper // GUEST BEDROOM: Curtains // Pillows // MASTER BEDROOM: Bed // Dresser // Light Fixture // Paint: BM Van Deusen Blue