“There is a beauty in the imperfect, the messy and the controlled chaos of life…allow for your life to happen as it will…make it as artful and colorful and comfortable a place possible for it all to unfold within.”
We love how Hannah Crowell of Crowell + Co. Interiors describes her approach to design. In just a little time spent with her and her family, we quickly learned that she lives her company’s creed.
Hannah’s home is usually buzzing with activity and most days follow a jam-packed schedule. The daily comings and goings with husband James (creator of lifestyle site Secret Forts), daughters Addie and Iris, and dog Agnes keep things busy as it is. Their midcentury ranch-style home also serves as an office for Crowell + Co. Interiors.
Hannah and family have proudly built a beautiful home together, a place full of love and comfort. We were welcomed into their home and shown plenty of Southern hospitality, all while gathering the family’s thoughts on their Cocoon by Sealy beds.
Bed jumping and blanket forts ensued.
We were happy to learn that Hannah’s bed is in fact her “favorite place on the planet” —a place to escape from the chaos, a place to get work done and at least every Sunday, a place for family “cuddle puddles.”
How would you describe your style?
I would say that my personal style is pretty laid back and comfortable. I’m Southern and I think I do carry a little bit of that into my style. But I think it’s pretty modern, clean and comfortable. Simple and relaxed.
When we bought this house, we completely renovated it so everything is exactly like we want it.
The bedroom being very clean is really important to me. There’s so much going on in our lives every day and I like that everything is white, fresh, clean and not too fussy.
What pieces around the bedroom do you love the most?
I love my wallpaper. My husband does not love it but I love it with all of my heart, and I never will let it go. Even though I told him I would give him six months and then we could change it, that’s not happening (laughs).
I actually love our bedside lights, and those were something that James brought home and I was not feeling it at all. Then we hung them up and I love them.
The things that I love most are just pieces that we’ve brought together over the years from places that we’ve been.
I look at your bed as the centerpiece of your bedroom, and then you need to surround yourself with little small pieces of beauty. And having fresh flowers, candles and pictures of my children—all of those little sentimental pieces are really important to me.
My life is so busy and so scheduled and I’m running around all day long, so my bed is my favorite place on the planet because it’s the one place where I can be peaceful and calm. So I would say my bed makes me incredibly happy.
“I look at your bed as the centerpiece of your bedroom, and then you need to surround yourself with little small pieces of beauty.”
Now that it is the new centerpiece to your bedroom, what were your thoughts about your Cocoon by Sealy bed?
As a designer, I’m a very aesthetic person, so when we got our Cocoon I immediately noticed the clean lines and beautiful design. I love the stitching. It’s just down to little details that matter to me and that I notice. It’s the first time in my life I’ve thought, “oh my God, this mattress is beautiful.” But it’s also just amazingly comfortable.
I love that it’s soft. The comfort level is amazing. The quality is excellent. We can sleep together, and if I need to get up in the middle of the night, we’re not going to wake each other up.
“It’s the first time in my life I’ve thought, “oh my God, this mattress is beautiful.” But it’s also just amazingly comfortable.”
Everybody in the family now has a Cocoon by Sealy, what was the experience like when you all first received your beds?
We were surprised to get it in a box. We all kind of gathered around and rolled it out, and it came to life. I had never seen that before. It’s like those little pills that you put in the water and then…you get a dinosaur. So that was fun.
Our general rule is you can only jump on beds in hotels, but I figured it was a new one and it looked jump-worthy so we broke the rule and jumped on the bed.
We love your kids’ rooms. As a designer, how did you go about their rooms? What kinds of things go into making the kids’ bedrooms comfortable, happy places?
Well, Adeline is definitely a little bit more of a girly girl. I can’t stand those overly saccharine pink girl rooms, so I wanted her to have a version of that but a little bit more modern and sophisticated. So every little piece of hers is very intentional. James can’t handle all the pink, but we love it. Iris’ room is so much brighter and more fun, so she has the bird wallpaper and James built the bunk beds that are a lot of fun to build forts in.
One thing that I love about our children is that music and books are so important to them. So for Christmas this year, they got a record player, and it was just the sweetest thing to walk by and they’re in there listening to James’ old David Bowie records and all of my old Beatles albums from when I was little. So they love that. They’ll just lock themselves in their rooms and listen to records.
Their favorite thing to do is to build forts, and they get very intricate and take this job very seriously. There’ll be times when I’ll come home and every single pillow, every single blanket, mattresses are moved, and they’ve created these little walled cities within their rooms of pillows and blankets and they’ll just burrow themselves in there and spend hours doing that.
When you’re designing bedrooms for others, what kinds of things do you look at first? What is your best advice about creating a happy bedroom?
You spend a lot of time in your bed, so I always say invest in your bed. Have a nice mattress. And I think it’s really important to invest in your bedding. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but it needs to be good quality and it needs to be comfortable.
When I’m designing a bedroom, I love to use vintage fabrics that I found at flea markets and have something that’s different and unique only to that room. That’s something I try to do with my clients a lot, is just to bring in one unique piece, and it kind of becomes only theirs.
Then, just surrounding them with the little pieces that mean something to them, if it’s their grandparents’ wedding photo, or sometimes I’ve had their old blankets made into little bolsters for their bed. Just little things like that that I think make a happy place for somebody else.
What do you like to do around the house as a family?
We love to read. It’s definitely something that’s really important to James and I, and it’s something that we really try to instill with our children. And luckily, they both are avid readers. So we all spend a lot of time in various beds throughout, and a typical evening is I read with Adeline, James reads with Iris, and we switch. So we spend a lot of time cuddled in our beds together, reading. And then James and I both love to read books, or the newspaper, magazines, I mean everything.
“I would say the perfect Sunday is the kids crawling in bed with us, we have a little family ‘cuddle puddle,’ we watch movies and just all four of us and our dog in bed. That’s my favorite thing.”
Photography by James Merrell
Content reflects Hannah’s honest reaction to a bed provided by Cocoon by Sealy.