Project Spotlight: Rae Rockwell Studio's Block Shop x Fireclay Hearth
You know when a design stops you in your tracks? Rae Rockwell Studio is an expert at creating those moments. With a background in the NYC fashion industry, Rae Rockwell’s unique perspective lends itself to bold statements in her interior projects–like the stunning hearth at Jellystone Lodge clad in Handpainted Block Shop x Fireclay Tile.
We talked to Rae about her path to interior design, her obsession with tile, and the inspiration behind that showstopping hearth. Continue on for more!
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m a visual creative and curator with ever-evolving interests and entrepreneurial ventures. Coming from years of experience in the NYC fashion industry, I switched coasts for Los Angeles and the sporadic life of a freelancer. Avoiding the traditional path of a corporate job, I launched a creative agency, Meraki Narrative and a photo studio in DTLA, Bookha Studios.
I discovered my true passion as I was working on my third venture, Flamingo Social Club - an Airbnb near Joshua Tree, CA. Taking my experience from the fashion industry and a background in content creation, I launched Rae Rockwell Studio, an interior design studio that thrives on creating spaces for many people to enjoy, create memories, and relish in the attention to detail. Rae Rockwell Studio primarily focuses on commercial spaces and short-term vacation rental properties.
How did you get your start in design?
With a background in fashion and content creation, I evolved my experience of aesthetics, design, and curation to interior design. My first project was my short-term vacation rental in the desert. From there, I started working on my own home when I moved full time to the Joshua Tree area and the client work appeared, what seemed to be, overnight! I didn’t go to school for design or take a traditional route, but it’s not like me to take the traditional route for anything! I learn by diving right into it and figuring it out as I go.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I’m a bit of a chameleon - I’m truly passionate about many different styles and can effortlessly switch between a monochromatic pastel color project to a warm neutral palette. Common themes throughout my projects are the use of textures, layers, secondhand and vintage, eclectic, and a touch of whimsy.
Ever since I visited Portugal, I’ve been obsessed with the use of tile and would put it on the outside of my house if I could! It’s a way to add dimension, color, and design to elevate a space.
Here's a mock-up of the space:
Let's talk about the Jellystone Lodge! How did you get involved in this project?
The client was referred to me by vacation rental management Homestead Modern - I work with them often on upcoming properties. Jellystone Lodge is available to rent on Airbnb, VRBO, and other short-term vacation rental platforms.
Is there a story behind the house that you'd like to share?
Jellystone Lodge is a residential home turned short-term vacation rental. It’s in a neighborhood, versus open acreage overlooking the desert landscape. Because of this, the client knew it’d be a vacation home for large groups/families/etc that want to be a close drive to hiking and such. He wanted it to be very colorful and Palm Springs style. Given that the house was not mid-century modern or located in Palm Springs I decided to bring in color but in monochromatic rooms for a more modern take that worked with the style of the home. I chose pastel paints from Dunn Edwards and then from there added rich velvets, natural textures, and darker features to bring maturity yet playfulness to the space. The living room serves as the heartbeat - so I kept the foundation neutral with colorful furniture to tie in the whole home.
It’s located near Black Rock Campground - Homestead Modern did some research and the campground used to be called Jellystone. With the new fireplace feature giving a lodge feel, the name Jellystone Lodge came to be.
How involved were your clients in the design process?
In this case, the client said “do your thing, don’t hold back”... in terms of color and design (not the budget). He was really wonderful to work with because he trusted my vision and to create an exciting space for his guests.
Let's talk about the hearth, what was your point of inspiration here?
During renovation there was a happy discovery: behind drywall and an electric in-wall fireplace was the home’s original full stone hearth. We brought it back to life by removing the faux wall, added a wood mantel and a wall-to-wall bench decked in the Blockshop x Fireclay handpainted tiles - giving it a cozy, modern lodge feel.
What made you choose the Dot Dash tiles from our collaboration with Block Shop?
The foundation of the living room is neutral yet I wanted the fireplace to really make a statement. The Dot Dash patterns were exactly what I needed to bring it to life.
Did you use a suggested configuration from the collection or did you come up with a pattern of your own?
Honestly, we played with numerous variations that I’m not sure if it was what was suggested or if we came up with it! It was so much fun and so difficult to land on the final design because we loved so many of the options! Even once we decided, the client and I played around with the patterns before installing to be sure.
How did the installation process go? Were you onsite for the installation? Did you face any challenges?
The installation went very well! I was onsite for most of the installation. We didn’t face any challenges but my only piece of advice is to make sure to over-order. Because you’re working with multiple patterns and cutting into them, it’s best to have plenty of extra so you can complete all edges nicely. If you have a lot leftover, you could always use it as a small backsplash or make a side table!
What other tile projects are you cooking up right now?
At my own home, I have a lot of really exciting projects utilizing custom hand-painted tile and glass tile from Fireclay. I’m also working on many kitchens and bathrooms within residential homes [that will be short-term vacation rentals] and incorporating tile for a new in-ground pool project. On the commercial side, I designed a bar in the VIP lounge of the Studebaker Theater in Chicago which will be frequented by NPR podcast guests!
Want to play with bold patterns in your home? Our Design Consultants are here to help! Reach out for free one-on-one design assistance, including rendering, sample selection, and ordering.