Based in Nashville, Tennessee, and hailing from country's most iconic families—the granddaughter of Johnny Cash and the daughter of Rosanne Cash—Hannah Crowell is making a name for herself as a hall-of-famer in the interior design world. As the mother of two young daughters and founder of design firm Crowell + Co., she's known for her distinct sense of style, which marries SoCal and Southern aesthetics and perfectly captures her wonderful sense of humor. So when we saw her new office, we weren't surprised that we wanted to move into the eclectic dream of an in-home workspace.
Perhaps most notable is her talent at intriguing the eye in subtle ways with unexpected contrasts. The relaxed, organic environment mixes Scandinavian furniture with rustic American and midcentury-modern pieces, contemporary artwork with oil-painted portraits from yesteryear, sleek cabinetry with Moroccan tiles and Native American textiles. This bold and playful approach manages to create a cohesive look that is distinctly her own. We spoke with Crowell to hear how she balances a bustling, creatively fueled career while also raising two kids.
Brace yourself for some next-level visual inspiration from her gorgeous Nashville office interiors in the virtual tour ahead. Read on for Crowell's design tips, career goals, and (often humorous) insight about being a working-mom insight.
Creating Work/Life Balance
One of the most difficult parts about work/life balance as a parent is being able to give your energy and time to both facets of your life. So as a mom of two little girls who also runs her own business, Crowell made things easier on herself by creating a work environment in her own home.
"Having my office attached to my home was the number one priority for me," she shares. "I want to be able to have my kids doing homework or reading a book in my office while I am working on a project or having a staff meeting." Her main directive behind the space was to make it professional and productivity-boosting while also making it comfortable for her daughters, and this presents a unique challenge.
Crowell resolves it a few ways, the first being that she has plenty of desk space for individual tasks, but she also added a pedestal table in the center of the room, which is great for meetings and collaborative projects. And since she spends so much time in this part of her home, she makes sure that she always feels inspired and comfortable by filling it "with light and things I love," she tells MyDomaine.
Mixing the Old With the New
One of the first things we noticed about this in-home office was the contrast of the industrial, city-slick concrete floors. Though it looks like an intentional design choice on Crowell's part to counteract with the softer pieces in the room, it's actually because this space was originally a two-car garage. While she "took out the garage doors and added storefront windows and doors," we love that she left the original flooring. "I loved the old concrete floor, so I just sealed that and left it as is," she tells us. It's exemplary of how well Crowell has mastered the eclectic aesthetic.
"I also vaulted the ceiling to get a more open feel and kept the original rafters," which gives space a modern day farmhouse feel to it. Additionally, she worked with a few other existing pieces, most notably the "IKEA desks that I will never part with—they are my absolute favorite desks." When it came to introducing new furniture, she went with a BluDot desk and pink Eames chair, but she kept the old IKEA furniture for herself. "Our intern has nicer furniture than I do," Crowell jokes.
Landing on a Color Scheme
When we asked Crowell how she comes up with a unique color scheme that mixes a variety of hues while also looking thoroughly cohesive, we were pretty surprised by her response. "Truth be told, I only have about four colors that I use in every project. This one is Benjamin Moore's Decorator's White." In other words, if you've found The One for you, never let it go.
"I use it so often that my painter just shows up to a job site with a few gallons of it and doesn't even ask me about paint anymore," says Crowell. And we can see why this is her color of choice. It brightens up the entire room, simultaneously making it feel more open and spacious, yet it's a soft enough shade of white as to not overwhelm the eye. It also directs attention on the interesting wall art and pretty pastels sprinkled throughout the room.
Facing Challenges With Positivity
Though you'd never guess from looking at it now, this room used to get flooded each time it rained. "I thought we had resolved that issue at the time of renovation," she explains, but then "the whole office flooded, and we lost half of our library. I ended up spending a chunk of money on French drains and a new gutter system." While that wasn't exactly a fun check to write, Crowell made it work and didn't let that deter her from creating her dream office space. And despite the challenges, she looks on the bright side: "the light, high ceilings, proximity to my children, open and airy feeling, plus my sweet golden retriever, who is always sleeping under" the desk.
Reflecting Your Personality at Home
Though the entire space feels fresh and airy, giving it an approachable look that many would appreciate regardless of their personal sense of style, it's undeniably quirky. "I love my office, but I can also see that clients might walk in and question my" judgment, Crowell jokes. "I have plants everywhere, paintings of grandmothers who are not my own, sea fans, geodes, doll heads I found in a Paris flea market, and textiles everywhere you turn. It's truly a clean, well-curated Grey Gardens, but it makes me happy!"
As lifelong fans of Little Edie and Big Edie, we have to say that it makes us pretty happy as well. But in all seriousness, if you've decorated a space that makes you truly happy, it will inspire you creatively and boost your productivity for years to come. Whether that means you keep these minimal or take notes from Crowell by collecting finds from flea markets and your favorite shops, the key is to ensure that it's "an extension of [your] personality and aesthetic," she shares.
Finding Out What Motivates You
In terms of creating an environment that's both stylish and conducive to productivity, Crowell says that "this varies from person to person." It simply depends on what motivates you, what distracts you, and what inspires you. For her, she wants to be surrounded by the people and things that she loves. "I am more at ease and happier during my workday when that is my environment," while someone else may prefer a quiet, distraction-free atmosphere that allows them to keep professional and personal concerns distinctly separate from one another. Whichever camp you land in, make sure to decorate your space accordingly.