Pattern Players: Laid-Back California Cool Meets Down-Home Southern Hospitality in Hannah Crowell's Designs
Hannah Crowell's interiors can be defined by three Cs: cool, colorful, and comfortable (a no-fail recipe for the perfect space, if you ask us). A Nashville native who has lived and worked in San Francisco since 1995, Hannah's approach to design takes the best of laid-back California style and down-home Southern hospitality to create a style all her own that lives at the intersection of modern and traditional.
What we love most about Hannah's designs, however, is their wholehearted embrace of color and pattern. Her use of bold wallpapers and prints calls to mind the old saying, "Go big or go home," except in the case of Crowell & Co. interiors, we want to both go big and go home. We caught up with Hannah about her love of pattern, some of her favorite H&W patterns, and how she finds hygge in the cooler autumn months.
A peek inside the beautiful Crowell & Co. office
Hygge & West: Tell us a little bit about your company, Crowell & Co., and how it came to be.
Hannah Crowell: I started my company in 2011 after dissolving a design studio I had with my partner at the time. I began my own company in the midst of going through a divorce and I had a 3 and 4 year old…. so it was a crazy time then to say the least! In truth, I think that what I was going through personally
H&W: How would you describe your aesthetic and what inspires it?
HC: I see my aesthetic as modern bohemian. I love modern, clean lines but I also want a home to feel comfy and welcoming. I don’t have a lot of rules with what I do—if you love it, just throw it all together and it usually works out. If not—edit, edit, edit!
H&W: You've lived in both California and Nashville. How do the aesthetics of those two places relate and differ, and how do they influence your interiors?
HC: I am a southern woman who spent half of her life in California, so I am probably a sort of odd hybrid at this point. I am super laid back, which I think comes through in my design, but I also have a deep appreciation for tradition, which is a very Southern trait. Family heirlooms, odd antiques, grandma’s old china... I love mixing all of it together. I have many a spot in my own home that evoke this contrast—family portraits in gilded frames might sit next to a sea fan and crystals, for example. And for me, it’s perfect.
H&W: Your designs are fearless when it comes to pattern, whether it's bold tile, bright wallpaper, or a daring textile. What's your approach to working with pattern?
HC: I believe that if you are going to do it, you should do it! I love wallpaper and think: what’s the point of spending the money on wallpaper if you are not going to make a major statement? I feel like that about tile as well. Life is short and I believe in having as much fun as we can while we are here. For me, that translates to your home as well. Iris Apfel is my inspiration for so many things in life and I use pattern like she does bangles—without moderation.
H&W: You also work beautifully with neutral spaces. How do you create interest in these interiors without introducing a ton of color or pattern?
HC: I find that if I have a project that is just filled with sunlight I tend to pull back on the color and pattern. There is nothing more beautiful than a sun-drenched room, and I do not want to distract from what that feels like. I like to include moments where the beauty comes from how simple and sparse a space is.
H&W: You're no stranger to H&W wallpapers—you've used Pineapple (Sorbet) in a powder room, Daydream (Green) in your daughter's bedroom, and Mermaids (Ocean) in another child's room. What drew you to each pattern and colorway and what did each of these patterns bring to their respective spaces?
HC: I have used H&W on so many more projects I have not photographed as well! I chose Pineapple because we were renovating a 1929 Georgian home here in Nashville and I wanted to keep the integrity and history of the home while giving it some modern and fun pops. That wallpaper is perfect because it’s bright and fun and a pineapple is the symbol for hospitality in the South.
My daughter’s room I just love. It was the first wallpaper I put up in our house and I started with just one wall, but I loved it so much I ended up doing the whole room. My daughter is a smarty pants whose mind goes a million miles an hour, so I feel like this print is a calming force in her wild world.
And the mermaids! I mean…. I LOVE them! I was working on a beach house when H&W released this new pattern and I immediately knew we had to use it! It is so much fun and when my children saw it they said, “Ok, this is the best room you have done!"
H&W: "Hygge" is a Danish concept that loosely translates to "cozy" and celebrates life's smallest pleasures. What brings hygge to your world, especially with the arrival of fall?
HC: Fall is my very favorite time of year! I love to be in the kitchen cooking for my family and I tend to settle in and be more domestic as the weather changes. Some of the things that bring hygge to my world are music, palo santo candles burning, something cooking on the stove, and watching old movies with my family. Also, in the humid and sticky South you get about 10 days a year that you can open the windows and let the fresh air pour in…. I live for those fall days! Fresh air and the sound of leaves falling brings hygge to my world in the most beautiful and perfect way.