Q&A: Woman Behind the Site

Rue's Crystal Gentilello

rue's crystal gentilello!

Crystal Gentilello takes life by the horns. In 2010, she left her book publishing job in Chicago, moved across the country, and launched Web-based interior design magazine Rue.

Ten million page hits per issue later (no biggie), Gentilello spawned Rue Daily, an offshoot preaching the good life — from entertaining tips to profiles of dynamic designing duos.

Here, she gets personal about fantasy clients, stuffed animals, and her future.

Name: Crystal Gentilello

: The Marina

Occupation: Founder and editor in chief of Rue magazine

If you were a magazine, what would your title be and why?
This is a tough one. Well, one thing I can never get enough of is studying interiors. Not just stuff like color palettes, furniture placement, and product selection, but why spaces make us feel the way they do and how we respond to them on an emotional level. So, at the risk of sounding totally nerdy, maybe something like Space Poetics.

Did you sleep with a stuffed animal growing up? What was his/her name?
Yep, he was a pink teddy bear named Snuffles.

What was the last book or film that really impacted you?
I just finished reading The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion’s memoir about grieving for her husband. Though the subject matter is devastating, it’s a stunning account of the beauty of love and marriage.

Your best friend is in town. What’s the plan?
Champagne brunch at Cafe de la Presse downtown, followed by shopping on Fillmore Street with a stop into the new Joie. After that, we’d hop over to Drybar for blowouts and get dolled up for the night. Predinner cocktails would happen at Zero Zero (order the Terroir), followed by dinner at Twenty Five Lusk.

Design a room for your favorite character living, dead, or fictitious.
I think Marnie from HBO’s Girls would benefit from a home makeover with the year she’s having. I’d take inspiration from Jane and Judy Aldridge’s home and design a glamorous space fit for a newly single girl, with lots of brass accents, a touch of malachite fabric, and a statement rug.

You moved from Chicago to SF for Rue. Any favorite new-in-town moments?
Hands down, the serendipitous way my now-fiance and I met just one month after my arrival. Andrew works in the design industry, too (he owns furniture company Palecek). He was a Rue reader, and we had a few business calls back when I lived in Chicago. One fateful Saturday night, we both happened to be at the same bar at the same time. He recognized me from the photos he’d seen of me in the magazine, came over to say hello, a whirlwind romance ensued, and now we’re getting married in June.

What’s the most unexpected item in your fridge?
I love lemon on everything. From avocados and soup to pasta, I’m never without [it]. I also drink my water out of wine glasses with a lemon twist. I get my daily dose that way and feel fancy in the process.

Pretend you’re looking into a crystal ball. Where do you see yourself and Rue in five years?
We’re still reeling from the overwhelming response to our latest venture, Rue Daily, which accompanies our usual full-length magazine issues. I will say I find it fascinating to see how content and commerce is becoming more and more intertwined and would love to explore that more.

Daily deadlines make it hard to stick to routines. What’s one thing you always find time to do?
Spend QT with my other half. We love walking down to our neighborhood wine bar after a long day.

What are your three favorite places for home design gems in SF?
H.D. Buttercup is an incredible resource and space. The selection of stylish furniture and decor is unparalleled. I also love March in Presidio Heights for kitchen gems — I adore the actual space as much as the well-edited collection of product. For avant-garde, showstopping pieces, stop by Coup d’Etat for the best of the best.

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Photo: Courtesy of Crystal Gentilello