Granddaughter to a musical legend and founder of Crowell + Co Interiors, Hannah Crowell reflects the epitome of a coast to coast design mix. Her aesthetic blends west coast ease seamlessly with traditional classics and modern pieces, creating spaces both fresh and livable which speaks to the heart of The New Southern.
Although hailing from a family rooted in Southern lineage, the Nashville native packed her bags for California to study at the San Diego Design Institute, where she became director and curator for the Joseph Bellows Gallery. Hannah spent 12 years in the Golden State, founding and co-owning Belak & Crowell Interiors before opening up her own design firm, Crowell + Co. Interiors, and returning to Nashville. No stranger to published fame, Hannah has been featured in Domino, Lonny, Better Homes & Gardens, and HGTV magazines.
As a single mother to two daughters, Hannah’s personal life reflects the rooms she designs. Her desire to raise her daughters as independent, adventurous, and ever curious—with a similar zest for travel as herself—is showcased in her work as an interior designer. Creating spaces that can be both personal and intentional, with a “I can actually see myself living here” approach, is the bread and butter of her design mantra. Steering clear of the once admired “staged and untouchable” design of the past, Hannah is redefining Southern style in a way that connects with a younger generation. She’s an ambassador for what Rosenheck's The New Southern embodies as she empowers women to embrace an evolving work in progress. Just a scroll through her Instagram feed (@hannahcrowell) will give you a glimpse into who she is, from behind-the-scenes project snippets to real life family moments.
She cherishes an imperfect, controlled chaos, refining her spaces so that they reflect the personalities of her clients. One of her most beloved possessions is an old piano left behind in a home she bought. “A home should speak to who you are, how you live, and what’s important to you,” she says.
To uncover how the clean lines of a modern style can intersect with a one-hundred-year-old antique, we chatted with this talented Nashvillian for her take on Southern style now.
Alyssa Rosenheck: Tell me about yourself.
Hannah Crowell: My company, Crowell + Co. Interiors operates out of Nashville, TN, my hometown. The firm is based on the foundation that form and function need not supersede one another. We believe life, as messy and unpredictable as it may be, can be both stylish and accessible. I am a mother to two little girls, so it can be crazy and hectic but also really beautiful. I approach design from a place of whimsy and fun much more than it being scripted or formulaic. My own home is a reflection of that and honestly I don’t know that I really know any other way to do it.
AR: How are you modernizing Southern style when you design?
HC: I’ve never been one to stay within the lines, which I think carries over into my design aesthetic. I am a Southerner who lived almost half of her life in California, and it has informed my style a great deal. I grew up in a family whose lineage is deeply rooted in Southern culture, but I was raised in a more free-spirited, liberal fashion that was anything but traditional. The progressive Southern mentality set me on a more modern design trajectory.
AR: What innovative trends are you seeing with Southern design across the country?
HC: We are seeing less reclaimed barn wood—Praise the Lord! And I see more of a marriage between clean lines and modern pieces mixed with old family heirlooms. For example, say Grandma’s sofa covered in Scandinavian fabric.
AR: What are your favorite Nashville design boutiques?
HC: Wilder in Germantown is fantastic. I always find a treasure at Savant Vintage. And it’s an odd spot, but I love All Seasons. They’re a Gardening & Brewing Supply Co. where you can find the best vases, pots and little oddities.
AR: Favorite shade of white and black paint color?
HC: “Decorator’s White” by Benjamin Moore and “Off Black” by Farrow & Ball.
AR: What’s your life motto?
HC: Be kind, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
AR: What’s the one shade that changes everything?
HC: “Hague Blue” by Farrow & Ball is my go to for a moody, sexy feel. It’s a rich blue that pulls out teal hues and is gorgeous in dining rooms and libraries.
AR: The place you go to get inspired?
HC: My studio. It’s filled with natural light, various plants, and all of my little treasures collected on trips around the world. When I’m in there, early in the morning with the music turned up, is my most creative time.
AR: The key to making a house a home?
HC: I approach making a house a home like a curatorial project. You bring in textures and layers with colors and textiles that you are drawn to. Objects, pieces of furniture, art that you collect along the way—they have meaning or a story. This story is just as important as the aesthetic. I think a home needs more fine art and less staged family portraits. That’s a big pet peeve of mine! And we all need help in some capacity. If it feels overwhelming, find someone you trust, and pay them to do it!
AR: What’s the best piece of design advice you could provide for creative entrepreneurs starting out?
HC: My father always told me to, “Live as if until as if happens.” I have found this is applicable to business as well. None of us really know what we are doing, so work with confidence until you figure it out!
AR: Who are some of your favorite artists/makers?
HC: There are too many to list! I have a deep respect and admiration for Natalie Chanin, of Alabama Chanin clothing and textile line. She is a beautiful human being, and her designs are an extension of that. One of my dear friends, Andra Eggleston, has the most amazing textile line, Electra Eggleston. I use her prints constantly! And my sister, Carrie Crowell, of Crowell Floral, whose floral designs I am forever in awe over.
AR: My momma always said…
HC: “Never go to the doctor’s office or fly on an airplane without being properly dressed.”
AR: What’s currently on your nightstand?
HC: Photos of my children, a huge stack of books I never have time to read, crystals, and a candle I can’t believe I actually paid that much for!