Balancing Act: Scandinavia by way of the South

June 1st, 2014

Once in a blue moon a client comes along who possesses impeccable taste, is a joy to work with, trusts you implicitly and you adore them. Two years ago, just those people came into my life. My clients purchased a new build in my favorite neighborhood of Nashville, a mere five minutes from my own house. A dream for those of us that find driving to be the most loathsome task on earth. Without a piece of furniture to their name (they are Scandinavian transplants), we started with a blank slate. Their only real requests were keep it black, white, grey and modern. And off we went. As the interior progressed, they decided to take the design outdoors and we added a pool and outdoor living spaces.The pictures (thanks to Brad + Jen of Q avenue photography) mask the mayhem and bumps that ensued along the way. Nothing showed up when promised, painters were fired, I have 10 yards of of insanely expensive fabric collecting dust in my garage because of my own error, brand new irrigation systems were destroyed by rogue digging equipment and my children’s faith in my abilities was seriously questioned. I took my girls over to the house with me one day so they could see the pool we were putting in. They looked in the backyard, which was a disaster at the time, and my youngest said, “You did this to their house?!?? Mama, you aren’t very good at your job”. This is also the child, who when asked what her mother did for her job, told her class “she has lots of men clients and she goes to their houses for work”. Which might explain the noticeable lack of play date requests. But I digress. Some how it all turned out and these clients have become dear friends of mine. Here are a few photographs of the finished product.
One of my favorite paint colors is Farrow and Ball’s Cornforth White. It is a true grey that does not read brown or blue as many do. I used that and Farrow and Ball’s Blackened throughout a majority of the house. We chose Verellen sofas in organic white linen with Schumacher and Designers Guild fabrics on the pillows. Arteriors marble coffee table and Patterson Flynn and Martin carpet. Painting by the endlessly talented James Wilson.


This is an old table I found at an antique store in Franklin, TN. We had to alter the legs a bit but it fit in the space perfectly. And the old camp stools from a thrift store are a perfect fit.

crowell_vosswood_0026Everything in the house was brand new so in the interest of frugality we were selective about what to replace. I have a strong personal aversion to granite but this was brand new so we had to work around it. We painted the cabinets a fresher, brighter white and tiled over the builder basic tile with this hexagon marble from Mission Stone & Tile. Just those small changes made a huge difference.

We painted an accent wall Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore, which has a slight brown undertone and was perfect in the kitchen with the earth toned granite. I found an old farm table at Scott in Atlanta and used white Eames chairs and a sisal rug. Christopher Farr is one of my favorite fabric designers and I love the look of this muted print, Breakwater, in this space.


These German educational botanical prints were little etsy treasures.

This shade of grey (Amherst Grey by Benjamin Moore) pulls just slightly purple, which is beautiful with the Bryan Nash Gill wood prints and the Patterson Flynn and Martin rug we designed, which took forever but was so worth it! Arteriors chandelier, Verellen host & hostess chairs, Restoartion Hardware dining table and my favorite Carl Wegner wishbone chairs.
My client is beautiful and sings like a bird. If she wasn’t so damn sweet, I would hate her. Music is such a pivotal part of both their lives so we turned the front room into a music room and Library. This might be my favorite room. All black and white with the books being the pop of color, it is so bright and fresh and endlessly inspiring. The oversized Amanda Means light bulb prints are stunning.
I found these chairs in Atlanta at a “Palm Beach” themed flea market booth. They were dirty yellow with fabric I was convinced housed several thousand bedbug families. After serious extermination, we lacquered them black and reupholstered the cushions in Designers Guild fabric. Madeleine Weinrib pillows, a jielde floor lamp and élitis fabric for the draperies.
I covet their library. COVET.
The same Kendall Charcoal we used on the kitchen accent wall we also used in the master bedroom. We had the bed custom made and used Restoration Hardware linen bedding with Designers Guild throw pillows. Visual Comfort sconces and bedside tables designed and built by James Wilson.
My clients and I share a love of Frida Kahlo and as soon as we saw this print, we knew it was a must have.
Patterson Flynn & Martin carpet, Noir bench, ro-sham-beaux chandelier and Bart Halpern fabrics.
This is perhaps my favorite furniture piece in the house and the most likely to mysteriously disappear. BDDW Lake oxidized maple credenza and a Bill Rastetter print. swoon.
Anthropologie bench and painting by James Wilson.
An office with a view of west Nashville and a jielde table lamp is all you need to persevere through the paying of bills and other monotonous office tasks. My sister asked me if the typewriter sent emails and now that’s all I want in the world.
Emeco office chair, Restoration Hardware desk, Madeline Weinrib rug. Etsy and Ikea prints on the wall (we spared no expense!)


This Taylor Scott grey velvet sofa with Madeline Weinrib pillows is about the most comfortable thing on earth. Marimekko fabric for the roman shades and Designers Guild fabric on the benches. Mooi lighting and Nuevo Living foos ball table.

The lovely and talented Michael DeMay did all of our concrete work.
I love this Gustavian Bed with Coyuchi bedding and pewter task lamps, both from ABC carpet.




Cole and Sons Woods wallpaper is one of my favorites. Noir bed, Designers Guild bedding, Visual Comfort sconces and Keith Richards photographs by Ethan Russell.

We did a very simple white linen roman shades with a black ribbon. West Elm dresser, Noir abacus chair with Designers Guild fabric and 1930’s astronomy illustrations I got for a steal at the Brooklyn Flea market.
A vintage Parisian hotel sign that is apropos as the entire second floor becomes just that when both families descend at the holidays.
Green Tolix chairs with a wood and metal table we designed is perfect for a lush Tennessee back yard.
Acapulco Chairs



Schumacher outdoor fabric, Mod cement tiles from Mission Stone around the fire pit and custom redwood benches by Michael DeMay.

To see more images or to purchase to the trade furnishings and textiles please visit Crowell + Co. Interiors.

Also, endless thanks to Brad + Jen. Check out their website! Q Avenue Photo


On the Wall.

January 29th, 2014

As a designer, my eyes occasionally go blurry from all of the fabric and wallpaper swatches I pore over day in and day out. It’s easy for all of them to just blend together into one long multi-colored acid trip of pattern, line and color. So I very often have to take a figurative step back, refocus and return to them so as to appreciate them for the art that they inherently are. It’s in doing so that my heart flutters and I fall in love with the idea of wallpapering every room in my house again. These are a few that have me swooning right now.
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Cole & Sons Geometric Circus

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Kitchen Confidential

August 13th, 2013

We moved from Los Angeles to Nashville in 1982 where my parents had purchased a log house outside of town. We had two contractors who did all the work on and around the house, from building dog pens to rewiring electrical sockets. In addition, these two gentleman bore an uncanny resemblance to Daryl Hall and John Oates. So much so, I truly believed they were Hall and Oates and in turn, convinced my first grade class that the two pop stars were indeed under my parents employ as handy men. This proved to ease the typically rough transition every new kid in class endures and in fact seemed to elevate my popularity significantly. My mother then hired the doppelganging duo to renovate our kitchen at a moment in interior design when islands equipped with prep sinks were just becoming en vogue. The fact that they put the prep sink facing into the island, rendering it completely unusable, leads me to think in hindsight that they were not legitimate contractors but rather just two guys with some tools getting by on their collective good looks and the mesmerizing yin yang of their respective hair styles. Watching this process take place (albeit more than a little wonky) is where, I believe, my love of kitchens and their renovations began. I have “Hall and Oates” to thank for that. Not long after this renovation, my mother became obsessed with sponging and pickling and subsequently, we lived in a world of pink, sea foam green and lavender sponge-painted floors, walls, cabinetry and furniture for a number of years hence. It was both insane and amazing though something akin to psychological interior design warfare. My kitchen aesthetic has since progressed from (or directly shaped in opposition to) said pickled and sponged cabinetry of my childhood in the cruel decade that was the 80’s (my mother’s as well, thank god!) and is forever changing and evolving. Throughout my professional career as a designer, I’ve kept an ongoing, ever-growing file on dream kitchens. Here are a few of the ones I’m coveting at the moment.

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July 19th, 2013

I will admit that while I had heard of Deborah Berke, as most who work in interiors design have, I wasn’t fully aware of the breadth, scope and what her firm refers to as the “knowing simplicity” that is intrinsic to her work. Whether the Irwin union bank in Columbus, Indiana or the Yale University School of Art, Deborah Berke’s projects are studies in spare, clean line while retaining a sense of warmth, approachability/accessibilty and, as is their goal, the idea that each project is bespoke to the needs of each client.

A graduate of RISD, Deborah has been Professor Adjunct of Architectural Design at Yale University since 1987. She founded her firm in 1982 and has been hard at work all around the world ever since, from hotels to work with educational institutions to private residences.

It was on recent trips to the 21C hotels in both Louisville and the more recently completed Cincinnati location where I really gained a deep appreciation for her work. And once I realized she was the design mastermind behind my much beloved vacation destination, Seaside, Florida, I became a bit obsessed. I have spent almost every spring and summer since I was eight years old vacationing on 30A and I find it to be just about the most idyllic place on earth for me. “The Truman Show” was filmed there for this very reason. Modica Market is the heart of Seaside and perhaps my favorite market on earth. Deborah Berke designs Park Avenue residences and I am most attracted to her little market on the Florida panhandle. What does that say about me?!?

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May 3rd, 2013

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May 3rd, 2013

Yellow is one of my favorite colors. As a pale blonde, it is the least flattering color I could ever wear, but I accessorize my world with it! Canary yellow trays in my kitchen, Designers Guild bright yellow curtains in the dining room, and my new lemon yellow IIIBeCa cross body bag that I love so. These are a few of my favorite {yellow} things…

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