A Cleverly Updated Nashville Family Home

A creative couple transforms a run-down wreck with clever upgrades and lots of sweat equity. HGTV Magazine takes you inside.

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee, Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee, Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee, Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee, Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee, Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee, Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee, Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee, Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee, Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee, Styled By: Liz Strong

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee, Stylied By: Liz Strong

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee, Styled By: Liz Strong

How to Spot Potential

Not every buyer would spot the potential in a ’60s ranch house with drab paneling, rotted floor joists and linoleum tiles contaminated with asbestos. But Hannah Crowell and James Wilson, who bought the 2,400-square-foot fixer-upper in Nashville, TN, two years ago, felt a mid-century gem lurked within the neglected home.

The pair  —  she’s an interior designer; he’s a brand consultant who has built furniture  —  figured they could pull off a warp-speed DIY reno. Despite hiccups (like James almost burning down the place while attempting electrical work), the house came together in four fast months.

Family Room

Now the airy, open interior is real-life livable for Hannah’s daughters and still reflects the couple’s shared tastes. Clean-lined furniture mingles with rustic pieces James crafted, and there are white walls, modern lighting and Music City mementos everywhere. (Hannah’s grandfather was country legend Johnny Cash.) “The remodel was exhausting,” Hannah says. “But we created something that is 100% our family, and that means everything.” 

Seating Area

Tearing out Mad Men–era paneling, then painting the new drywall Decorator’s White by Benjamin Moore instantly brightened the family room. Vivid pillows give the neutral Lee Industries sectional some zing. James built the white oak coffee table, and the ceiling light is by Serge Mouille. The cheerleader painting was done by James’ childhood friend.


The home, which is situated on a 2 ½-acre lot, was super shabby after five years as a rental. To boost the curb appeal, the couple had the shutters removed, the bricks painted dazzling white (Pearl White by Pratt & Lambert) and the trim painted coal black (Off-Black by Farrow & Ball). 

Living Room

The site of family get-togethers and jam sessions, the living room includes a blue velvet BSC sofa, a cast-off chair James rescued streetside in Brooklyn and re-covered in a Native American wool blanket, and guitars for anyone who’s feeling musical. Found on eBay, the fuzzy Moroccan-style wool rug “shed for a year,” says Hannah. The oval brass table is from Nuevo. 

Book Nook

“Our family is huge on reading, and we don’t use e-readers,” says Hannah. So James converted a niche next to the living room fireplace into a mini library. The shelves, crafted from simple clear pine, hold the family of book lovers’ ever-expanding collection. The leather-and-steel chair is from Savant Vintage, one of Nashville’s hottest secondhand shops.

Dining Room

Two types of white chairs — wishbone and wipe-clean metal from overstock.com — play off the weathered dining table Hannah bought 13 years ago in California. “The table is uneven, has cracks and has had to be treated for termites, but I love it,” she says. The swirly blue curtains were sewn from Electra Eggleston linen, and the chandelier is from Schoolhouse Electric. 


The trapped-in-time kitchen was modernized with a Carrara marble tile backsplash, honed statuary marble counters and stainless steel appliances. The layout and square footage didn’t change — the room is 12 feet by 17 feet — but it feels roomier thanks to a compact banquette and vintage fold-flat leather camp stools. The steel table from Blu Dot has an MDF top coated in kid-proof polyurethane. 

Master Bedroom

The BSC bed, upholstered in gray linen, was originally taller than the window. “That drove me crazy. We eventually cut the headboard so it fit under the sill,” says Hannah. A fan of fabric dyed with natural indigo, Hannah framed two remnants as art and turned a third into a long rectangular pillow. The rug is a vintage Southwestern find from an antiques store in Louisville, KY. 


Besides garish pink tile, the bathroom’s woes also included ancient plumbing and water damage. After a total rip-out, Hannah updated it with a black-and-white palette, using Amethyst Artisan cement floor tiles and square ceramic wall tiles outlined in black grout. Brass sconces from Cedar & Moss nod to the home’s build date. 

Adeline's Bedroom

With strategic pops of pink and sophisticated touches like a West Elm drum-shade pendant, Adeline’s bedroom is sweet but not sugary. Playful patterns, from the paisley bedding to the quatrefoil window shades, rev up the white walls and furniture. 

Iris' Bedroom

Since Iris’ bedroom is smaller than her sister’s, Hannah gave her something special: Hygge & West wallpaper screen-printed with blue birds and clouds. The floating bunk beds, designed by the couple and made by James, are bolted into the wall studs to take up a minimum of space. Also streamlined: the petite West Elm desk and the tulip-shaped chair. The overdyed lavender rug is from NuLoom. 

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