The daughter and granddaughter of music royalty, Hannah Crowell, daughter of Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell and granddaughter of Johnny Cash, creates her own kind of art as an interior designer. With an aesthetic that is influenced by both California and the South, Hannah has mastered an intentional approach that goes beyond the traditional. A graduate of San Diego Design Institute and a Nashville native, Hannah marries her lessons in design and life to create spaces that are not an abandonment of standard Southern style, but rather a celebration of what is at the core of being Southern: history and family. Her designs are delightfully dramatic and simply sophisticated. Owner and principal designer of Crowell & Co. Interiors, mother to two daughters and all-around inspiration in the world of design and beyond, Hannah Crowell is our current Interior Designer Crush. Keep reading to see why — we think you will agree!
Tell us about your experience and background in design.
Interior design was not my original career path, but one I stumbled into after working in the visual arts for a few years. I started my company eight years ago, and it is definitely what I was meant to do. I get so much joy out of my work.
What is your design aesthetic, and how does it set you apart?
I call my design aesthetic “modern bohemian,” simply because I don’t know what else to call it! I think what sets me apart (and might drive some crazy!) is that there’s not necessarily a rhyme or reason to my design. It is more of an organic process and a gut feeling.
You spent 12 years in California. How did this influence your design?
I think living in California and also being raised in a home with free-spirited artists has informed my design sense a great deal. I think I have a more airy and ethereal approach that isn’t for everyone, but I think that’s where I’ve sort of settled as a designer.
How do you marry these lessons in California design with a Southern aesthetic?
What I love most about Southern design is that is steeped in family history — heirlooms and pieces that have been passed down through the generations. It’s just what we do as Southerners, and I find it to be a beautiful tradition that makes a home singular. Incorporating that sense of history and love of family into a bohemian aesthetic helps to ground and personalize the space.
How do you plan to update your home for spring?
The first thing I do as soon as my dogwoods start blooming is run out and clip as many as I can and fill my house with the blooms.
Do you have a favorite room in the home to design?
Well, I love designing a nursery because who doesn’t love babies?! I also love kitchen design. I get extremely nerdy about cabinet design and creating specific places for everything. Lately, I’ve been doing kitchen cabinets in really fun colors, which I love.
Tell us a little about your own home. Do you find designing your own space easier or harder than working with a client?
My home is a 1960s ranch that had never been updated when I bought it. It was in pretty rough shape! I took it down to the studs and created a much fresher and more functional home. I really struggle when it comes to designing my own home. I experience this overwhelming indecision that I don’t have with my clients’ homes. As a result, I have a room in my home right now that has both a sauna and a dog crate in it because I cannot make up my mind what to do with it. What’s the saying? “The cobbler’s children have no shoes.”
What is a favorite room in your home and why?
My formal living room because it’s where I have quiet time alone to read and also where the whole family gathers to play music and lay around talking. I think the fact that there’s no TV makes me love it all the more.
How do you incorporate art into your projects?
Everywhere possible! I use a lot of photography in my work, but art is in the textiles and wallpapers and also the small details. I think it’s important for the entire space to be a well-curated experience, and you cannot have that without the beauty that art brings.
What makes a house a home?
Being surrounded by the things that you love. For me, it’s paintings my children have done, family photos, rocks I have collected around the world, books that have shaped my mind — all of the intimate and personal things that we collect through the years. Bringing those elements into your space gives it the character and spirit that makes a house a home.
Where do you take chances in design?
Wallpapers and fabrics. I absolutely love using very graphic and bright wallpapers and fabrics for pillows and draperies. If you are going to do it, you have to really embrace it and have fun with it.
What are your go-to local design resources?
What has been your most challenging project to date and why?
I have found that the most logistically challenging projects are often the most fun to work on, and problem-solving the inevitable issues that arise with renovations is actually fun for me. I really like being pushed out of my comfort zone, and Lord knows the tough projects will do that!
What has been your most rewarding project to date and why?
I just wrapped up a tiny 600-square-foot cottage in Seaside, Florida. It might be my favorite project to date. It was almost like designing for a boat. With such limited space, I chose to design most of the furniture myself. I am so thrilled with how it turned out that I am now trying to convince my love that we should buy the same tiny house next door — it just came on the market.
What/who is currently inspiring you?
My children. Every day. I woke up the other day, and my 10-year-old daughter had made and hung 20 origami cranes from our dining room chandelier and I was like, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” They have such creative and imaginative little minds, and they are constantly reminding me to find the unexpected and be playful in what I do.
If you could have one designer redo your whole house right now, who would it be?
Zoe Griffith, my assistant. Poor thing has to sit next to me day in and day out, and sometimes she knows me better than I know myself.
If you could design one person’s home, who would it be?
It would involve a time machine, but it would be my late grandmother’s house in Ventura, California. She never met an animal print she did not love (she had an entire bathroom devoted to zebra prints), and I think there would be nothing more fun in this world than to design an over-the-top animal print palace with her! She and I would have had the best time ever.
What are three household items you couldn’t live without?
I love LeLabo Palo Santo candles and always have one lit. Plants for sure! I have a “magic window” where plants seem to grow like crazy, so I am constantly rotating all my plants in and out of the window; My Miele vacuum cleaner — I have two kids and a dog, so that thing gets a lot of use!
If you could squeeze your design philosophy into five words, what would they be?
Surround yourself with what you love. (That’s six, but I don’t do well with rules.)
Thank you to Hannah Crowell of Crowell & Co. Interiors for giving us a glimpse into her world of interior design!
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