For Nashville designer Rachel Halvorson there’s no greater compliment than hearing that one of her newly minted projects looks nothing like a Rachel Halvorson room. It might sound unorthodox, but the Alabama-born designer is all about creating interiors that fit her clients like a favorite, well-loved tee. Which isn’t to say Rachel doesn’t bring her own unique brand of vintage-inspired flair to each project she works on. Needless to say, Rachel’s in high demand these days, especially among Music City’s resident songbirds who have fallen for her sophisticated yet approachable interiors. To go along with Rachel’s recent collection of Chairish favorites, we asked her to share some of her design favorites, including the textile maker who’s vintage-inspired fabrics Rachel swears by, and the design advice that’s so multipurpose she also doles it out to her four-year-old!
What do you love about shopping on Chairish?
It’s all about the hunt! I honestly never know what I will stumble upon. Sometimes I go searching for a particular piece, other times I discover a treasure (like a bold Oushak rug or a Moroccan inlaid coffee table for example) that ends up changing the room. Chairish is the ultimate online shopping experience—it is my go-to source for finding unique pieces. I hope it never changes!
Is there any particular product category where Chairish is your go-to?
I’m currently on a kick where I can’t stop buying pairs of chairs that have unique lines and good bones. I will have them recovered in a bold print and give them new life! I also always go to Chairish for original artwork, side tables, and antique lighting…to name a few.
Favorite 3 items on Chairish right now:
Vintage Garden Bench, Mayan Sofa by Harvey Prober, 1960s Fresnch Lune Wall Lights.
Favorite thing about designing with vintage pieces:
That nobody else has it! I love a conversation starter. A vintage piece instantly introduces history to a room, giving it memory and soul.
Favorite way to add drama to a room:
An over-scale light fixture or piece of art. Both instantly add drama and are worth the investment!
Favorite source for design inspiration:
Travel. I’m always inspired by a change of scenery—whether it’s a trip to the mountains or another country. But with two small children at home my current inspiration comes from coffee table books and Instagram.
Favorite paint color:
Currently Farrow and Ball’s “Studio Green.” It’s so romantic.
Favorite pattern (and how you love to use it):
I can always find a home for Rose Tarlow’s patterns. They are like a faded antique rug—adding texture and pattern to a room without being too overwhelming.
Favorite design rule to break:
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to say that the floral settee was your grandmothers. It just needs proper cleaning.
Favorite color combo:
Olive green and pale blue.
Favorite way to mix high and low:
I find myself always telling my clients to splurge on the pillows. Save on the bedding.
Favorite way to work a bit of vintage into a room:
Drape a vintage quilt or textile over the back of a sofa; add an interesting oddball chair in a room, and artwork—there’s always a place for vintage artwork.
Can you share with us any big projects you’re working on in 2019?
I’m working on a fun vacation home in Montecito, California. And a full scale renovation in Nashville on a home that is nestled in the woods with incredible views of the city!
You live in Nashville but originally hail from Birmingham. Would you describe your style as Southern, or is there a particular Southern design element that you often subscribe to you in your work?
Being from the South, I learned it’s not always about the style of the home, but the people within. I like to think the homes I design each have a personality that welcomes and embraces you. My favorite Southern homes have soul—an approachable, collected look instead feeling like a “brand new” showroom. I have learned that design requires a thoughtful approach and an attention to detail.
Favorite travel destination to relax:
Exuma, Bahamas. All I need is the ocean, an umbrella, and spotty cell service.
Favorite travel destination for design inspiration:
Paris, NYC, New Orleans.
Favorite hotel to check in to:
Ventana in Big Sur, California.
Chairish! I find myself searching at all hours. I think my favorite items have been found when I’m half asleep. Also, I’ve been loving ArtKive, an app that converts your kids’ artwork into beautiful books and keepsakes. I don’t feel guilty throwing some in the trash!
Favorite morning beverage (and how you take it):
I’m addicted to my Nespresso machine. With frothed milk and a little sugar.
Favorite thank you/hostess gift:
Coffee table book—you can never have enough!
Favorite adult beverage:
Hendricks gin and tonic with lime.
“Don’t knock it til’ you try it.” This applies to my design projects as well as my 4-year-old picky eater!
Favorite entertaining essential:
Romantic lighting. Dimmer switches are key! And I am a big fan of group games. I was recently introduced to Fish Bowl. You can thank me later.
I could never pick a favorite! But lately I have been drawn to Tennessee artist Maysey Craddock. She does these intricate watercolor and gouache paintings on sewn paper bags.
Favorite thing to collect:
Vintage oil paintings, brass door hardware, pieces of metal that could be used as cabinet hardware or towel bars, kids chairs, old lanterns that need a lot of love!
Your City: Nashville
City House and Café Nonna.
Favorite hotel to recommend to visiting friends:
Noelle, a historic Art Deco hotel that was recently reimagined by a Nashville favorite architect Nick Dryden. So many local artisans contributed to the hotel—it truly expresses Nashville in every way!
Favorite local culture hub:
12th South Avenue—where you can find something for everyone! Some of my favorite restaurants/stores on the street: Whites Mercantile, Imogene and Willie, Las Paletas, Burger Up, Epice, and Frothy Monkey.
Favorite local attraction:
You can’t come to Nashville without going to Robert’s Western World on Broadway. It’s the absolute best place to people watch.
Favorite local flea market/vintage hunting ground:
Gas Lamp Antiques and their sister store Gas Lamp 2. So many good finds you can get lost for hours!
Lead photo by Paige Rumore