Behind the Scenes: Pattern Play

Hannah Crowell was destined to follow a creative path. Although she comes from country music royalty — her parents are Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell, and her grandfather was Johnny Cash — the Nashville native first pursued an acting career before moving into interior design. Her parents may have unwittingly planted the seed, because as a child, Hannah would pore over their photography books for hours. Even now, art — photography, in particular — plays an important role in her design, and she feels a space isn’t complete without it. In 2012, she opened her eponymous firm, Crowell + Co. Interiors, and hasn’t slowed down since. She quickly became known for her use of color and pattern, expressed through appealing wallpapers, layers of texture and organic prints.

Her fresh approach to décor and relaxed, organic spaces is in high demand. Beginning with her first solo job renovating a midcentury home in Forest Hills, Hannah’s projects have been as varied as an 1890s downtown loft to a farmhouse in Hickman County and in locations like West Palm Beach and Inlet Beach. Her most recent completed project will be enjoyed by many more than homeowners and their guests. The Virgin Hotels Nashville commissioned Hannah to create the interiors of its coffee shop, Funny Library, and the hotel’s speakeasy, The Late Great, which she describes as “beautiful and timeless and my visual interpretation of the Nashville I know and love.” Fortunately, Hannah had time to put away her swatches and escape from Zoom meetings to answer a few questions for us.

Behind the Scenes: Pattern Play

What is your design philosophy? I always lean toward more relaxed, organic spaces that are rooted in art and culture.

What are your favorite materials to work with? I absolutely love wallpaper, because I don’t think you can have enough color and pattern in your world.

Is there anyone in the industry that you particularly admire? Too many to count, really. That said, Russell Sage, who designed the Fife Arms in the Scottish Highlands, is a genius. I took my girls there last summer. I’ve never seen a space that was as thoughtfully and oddly designed — everything that I aspire to do. I cannot wait to go back!

What’s your biggest design pet peeve? Basically, what you see on the floor of Restoration Hardware. It feels so sterile and devoid of personality. I know that muted palette appeals to a lot of people, but it’s just not me.

What’s an object in your home that would surprise people? The anatomical model that sits on the record player console in our formal living room. We named him Todd.

What’s the best shop to buy a gift? You can’t go wrong at White’s Mercantile.

When you have out-of-town guests visiting, where do you take them? Radnor Lake, Hattie B’s and the Ryman.

What is your favorite restaurant, and what did you miss most about it during the shutdown? My whole family has been pretty shut down, and I have yet to go back to a restaurant. However, I cannot wait to have a forever-long dinner at Rolf & Daughters and happy hour at Sperry’s.

What has been your most frequent meal during the shutdown? Frozen pizza. I know I should say something that makes me sound like a decent mother, but in reality, I’m pretty sure we all have scurvy at this point.

What’s your favorite locally made product? Thistle Farms is such a treasure in Nashville. What they do for our community is just remarkable, and all of their products are amazing. And I swear by their bug spray!

What’s your favorite local event? Any show at the Ryman. I think that is what I have missed most during the pandemic. There is no venue on earth that sounds better than the Ryman.

What is one luxury you can’t live without? Travel. This pandemic has really highlighted how important that element of my life is and how much I miss it.

What trait do you admire most in others? Honesty and compassion

What is your most treasured possession? A table I found on the street in San Francisco when I was 19. It has been my nightstand ever since.

What’s the one thing you hope never changes in Nashville? I really hope our commitment to making original and authentic art continues and that we don’t become overly commercialized.