Lola Honeybone and Anne Gunnels are mothers, designers, wives and artists with different design styles. Anne is an artist with a preferred classic flair, while Lola is a publisher with an upcycled aesthetic. What results is a custom succulent decor company with a “modern, clean, and new” twist: Honey + Gunn.
The company’s signature “cut succulent” concept makes for a plant that is both easy to care for and a piece of art. With unique accents like geodes and ghost wood, the succulent pieces crafted by Lola and Anne can be tailored to fit their clients’ personal style. This Nashville-based duo is here to make a mark in the decor world, and we’re here for it. We’re excited to introduce our newest FACES, Lola and Anne!
Can you tell us about growing up in the South?
Lola: I’m a Southerner but not quite. I’m Canadian, but I grew up all over the South. I never quite adopted the tradition and culture — it’s a culture that truly requires generations to make a dent. But I’d never live anywhere else! My husband attended Vanderbilt while I worked for a local book publisher, and years later we landed in Nashville permanently. At that point, I had served 10 years in the garden book publishing niche, where I was committed to a tight group of garden authors who led me to a love for all things succulents.
Anne: My childhood was split between Houston, TX, and Richmond, VA, two very different places! Both are Southern in their own way. Growing up, I didn’t realize what that meant. I was just “Southern” I guess … until I went to college in Boston. It’s fair to say that the transition was more of a culture shock than what I experienced studying abroad in Europe!
My husband brought me to Nashville in 2001. We had spent a year in Boston after college graduation and were ready for a change. We got engaged, quit our jobs, packed up his beat-up truck and split town. Everyone thought we were crazy, but I know neither he nor I ever looked back. Nashville is more home to me now than I could ever have imagined it being. I truly feel lucky to be here and raise my family here.
How did you meet and what drew you to succulents?
L: Technically Anne and I met in the baby pool at West Meade Swim Club and then again in PreK. Our little boys were in the same class and became fast friends. We just clicked. We share a love of art (I buy and collect, Anne paints and creates).
In 2017, on a trip to Texas, I noticed a new trend in succulent design: cut succulents paired with contemporary design. Less garden, more art. Statement-making pieces with zero dirt, zero water. I knew Anne and I could deliver to Nashville. Anne comes to the business with innate know-how of plant care and, as an artist herself, an understanding of scale and color. After eight months and a globe-trotting search, we found our succulents. We wanted show-stopping plants in size and texture, not typically available to the Nashville consumer. The design process evolved, and as Nashville responded, we took more risks in color and texture.
Honey + Gunn is such an interesting name. Can you explain the meaning behind it?
L: We combined our last names, Honeybone and Gunnels, to form Honey + Gunn. It’s perfect – it suggests the sweet and sharp elements that seem to layer to create our designs. Our husbands, Andrew and Josh, had a role in this as well. We all love where we landed.
What are your respective roles with Honey + Gunn?
L: We fell into our roles quickly, but organically. I love the PR and client building piece of our business. Anne, without knowing before, is a true accountant, can calculate margins quickly and is awash in the detail. She is also our resident “horticulturist,” nursing each succulent to maximum health before cut. We both just love succulents. We “ooh” and “aah” over each shipment and treat them as perfect living things. They have so much potential!
A: I hate accounting and numbers, but Lola hates it more. I’m not cut out for PR in any way! We both hate confrontation, but Lola SHINES when it comes to getting what she’s asked for.
Where do you look for inspiration?
L: I am constantly on a favorite list of blogs and online decor magazines — it’s surprising how much floral design you can pick up from decor. Color combinations or accents such as geodes and minerals, and interesting use of glass or handcrafted containers — all make our shortlist. Our designs are packed with a range of different natural materials. Usually, the succulents steal the show, but not always.
A: It may sound corny, but I haven’t been looking for it lately. It seems to find me. I feel like most of our ideas and inspiration come from our clients’ homes, spaces, and lifestyles that we are brought into. I know we both thoroughly enjoy that peek into other people’s creativity and expression of themselves within their homes. The downside, however, is one of us usually comes home with a bad case of the “I wants!”
What have you learned from starting your own business?
L: To adjust our vision of a piece to meet the client’s expectations — our aesthetic typically leans contemporary, but often the client has a more Southern, traditional request. We have both learned to appreciate a more refined look. We always incorporate Honey + Gunn elements regardless. Secondly, the creative process has a price tag. It is difficult for two creatives to restrain and keep to a budget in the design process. We are learning how to skirt the margins and, no matter the client budget, to create a custom piece that packs fun, unexpected elements.
A: I have learned I never stop learning, and there is ALWAYS something to do! When it comes to having a partner, it’s not always easy, especially when you are both control freaks. I truly cannot imagine doing this with anyone else or by myself. In fact, I probably wouldn’t do it.
Since you both have an eye for design, we’d love your input. What are your favorite design trends you’ve spotted?
L: I’m loving the easy, rustic-chic vibe at the moment. Less farmhouse, more Kelly Wearstler meets contemporary cabin. Easy, slouchy furniture with natural exposed beams combined with candelabras and modern art. In terms of green, indoor plants are appearing in the most sophisticated of rooms. Layered with art, mirrors, and lighting, indoor plants such as bromeliads, ferns, and succulents bring a massive dose of vibrant color. Our succulent designs fall in step: Anne and I design a living centerpiece meant to last.
A: I have been seeing a lot of pink/blush tones that I’m trying to dab here and there in my own house. I also am enjoying the move away from traditional floral towards a tropical look with vibrant colors. A recent article I read about Palm Springs, California, has made me mildly obsessed with mid-century architecture. I am so drawn to the homes and hotels there. The fact that it’s a desert is an amazing bonus with all the massive cacti, aloe, and agave in the landscape. It’s number one on my list of places to visit!
You both have three kids, which makes for busy households. How do you balance work with life?
L: It’s a juggle! But our kids are cheering us on and excited about the success. This summer we were asked to build a succulent for the Billie Eilish tour bus. Our 13-year-olds about fell over.
A: Our kids are busy. That makes our personal lives busy. Some days I feel balanced, and others it all falls apart. Unplugging is essential for me. I do put my phone down during the day and walk away. I also turn my phone on airplane mode at a certain point every night. That time varies based on the day I have had. That doesn’t mean I don’t stay awake thinking at night though!
What books are you currently reading?
L: I just finished Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng from the Reese Witherspoon book club and couldn’t wait to tell Anne it’s a must-read. She was way ahead of me though! I have Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett usually at arms-length.
A: A chronic insomniac, I am awake and reading throughout the night. A good book is one of my greatest pleasures. I just finished Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane which was incredible. I’m now reading Fever by her as well.
Speaking of life, describe your ideal day off in Nashville.
L: My best day off includes “junking” with friends, hitting tucked away antiques markets and shops at the edges of the city. I have an obsession with small footstools that may have a second life. Also, a walk with Fitz the dog in Edwin Warner Park, topped off with a cake pop anywhere I can get it. But that’s a pipe dream — I’m usually washing baseball or hockey gear in my time off.
A: A great work out. Lunch with my husband. Time on the screen porch. Watching my kids be nice to each other.
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What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
L: My dad has always told my boys to carry the mantra, “I am responsible.” I try to live by that as well.
A: “You can do anything you have to.” I tell myself that as often as I tell my children.
What are three things you can’t live without?
L: Starbucks hot chocolate, spin (on my own terms), Bravo “Real Housewives”
A: SUNSHINE first and foremost, a bit of sleep, and Netflix
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