By Design Q&A: Dean Renaud
Meet Dean Renaud, owner of South Social & Home. Her love for travel and adventure shines through in her eclectic space. We connected with Dean to discuss her style, design process, and inspiration.
Describe what you do in 6 words or fewer. Stylist, designer, producer
What is your favorite piece in your home? What’s the story behind it? Because of my penchant (okay, it’s an addiction) for thrifting, antiquing, and alley-picking, our home is in constant flux. My husband and I travel often and the first thing I do when planning a trip is look into flea markets and thrift shops. I have gotten very crafty in figuring out how to bring things home, whether it’s strapping a stool (that I got for 1€ at a junk shop in Paris) around my duffel bag or carrying a sizable rug on my lap as though it were a child on a flight home from our honeymoon in Berlin. My current favorite piece in our home is probably the antique Louis Philippe mirror that sits atop our bar. I found it at my favorite flea market in Paris and had it shipped back in a crate of treasures that a friend and I amassed during a coincidental trip last year. It’s a mirror style that I’ve coveted for years and reminds me of my favorite city. But more importantly, it also reminds me that even when something seems like a crazy idea (ie: buying a bunch of furniture before you actually know how or if you’ll be able to get it home), sometimes you just have to be bold and go for it.
What does Good Design mean to you? Good Design is both tasteful and functional. Good Design is pleasing to the eye and works within the scale and existing layout of the space. Good Design is cohesive and flows — I often use the term "speak to each other", in that, spaces that are well-designed should speak to each other and work together as a whole concept. An element of Good Design that I feel is difficult for some, is choosing the overall vision over accessibility. Yes, having your waste-bin in the pantry is an extra step, but it looks so much better than having it out in plan sight. Sure, putting your printer in a closet might not be as convenient as having it on the credenza in your dining room, but it certainly feels less cluttered. To me, Good Design lies in the decision to edit and maintain the aesthetic vision of your space, so that it continues to be a place of inspiration and joy.
How do you incorporate your design principles into your life and your home? Design principles should be flexible, as design is constantly changing. As designers grow, their taste-level and outlook on style changes. My space has always maintained a certain vibe, but nothing is permanent. I’m open to change and am constantly bringing home new art, swapping out furniture, rearranging rooms…I’ve committed to a overall aesthetic, which helps keep things cohesive, but I enjoy playing around and pushing my own design-boundaries. Don’t get stuck. Try new things. Wait to purchase the perfect piece, rather than settling for something lesser-than, because you think you need it (you’ll end up living with the lesser piece for much longer than you planned). Invest in quality. Say yes to fun and adventure. Don’t be afraid to get weird.
Why do you do what you do? What drives you every day? I love creating perfect moments, however large or small. It brings me such incredible joy when I style a vignette for a shoot, produce an event or experience, or finish an interior space…Perfect moments are less about actual perfection and more about many, many elements coming together at once to achieve an overall vision or vibe. The resulting thrill can be momentary or completely consuming, but it’s a natural high that continues to motivate me.
Travel! I am constantly inspired by adventures outside of my daily grind, whether its a quick road-trip to Kentucky (where I was born & raised) or planning a trip to a new country. I love both solo-exploring and group trips with friends, but I especially love to travel with my husband, who has always encouraged my insatiable need for adventure and the unknown.
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What do you like about FLOR? Why is a FLOR rug a good solution for you and your life? FLOR is the perfect marriage of the two most-mentioned elements of design: form & function. The multitude of styles and unending ability to customize mean that you can always achieve the perfect look for your space. And because you can easily (and inexpensively) remove tiles to clean or replace them, it’s the perfect solution for pet-owners.