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Decorating Your Home in the Style of These Famous Cities

Make modern city style your own with the help of the Trulia Design Panel.

Finding a home requires trade-offs, whether in the house or neighborhood. And though it’s not easy to change your neighborhood, you can certainly change the way your home looks and feels. This is why we’re excited to introduce the Trulia Design Panel, an expert group of interior designers, home stagers and organizers from across the nation who will provide the advice and insights homeowners and renters need to make their house a home, wherever it is.

In this first installment of our Trulia Design Panel series, each member of the panel breaks down the iconic style of the city they call home and explains how to replicate the same look in your own home.

Nashville, TN: Hannah Crowell, Crowell & Co.

The music and healthcare industries may not seem like a match made in heaven, but interior designer Hannah Crowell says that unlikely combination is the foundation of Nashville’s style. “Music City, USA” is nationally known for its incredible contributions to country music history and its ongoing prominent role in the music industry, but it’s also home to nearly 400 healthcare companies comprising a $38 billion industry. Crowell says those two influences lead to a Nashville style that’s “an eclectic mix of traditional and bohemian whimsy.”

Crowell founded interior design firm Crowell & Co. in 2009 and her work has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Domino Magazine, HGTV Magazine, and countless others. A native Nashvillian, she says she grew up amidst “the more bohemian side of the city.” That’s where her personal decor preferences still lie. She still revels in the ability to mix and match the differing aesthetic influences found in her city.

Crowell and Co.’s mission is all about controlled chaos, looking for the places where “clean lines of modernity intersect with the rough-hewn edges of that hundred-year-old one-of-a-kind piece.” In that same spirit, Crowell says homeowners and renters can recreate Nashville style simply by “not adhering to any one style.” She enjoys the creative opportunities presented by working in the very architecturally traditional environment of her city’s many stately, turn-of-the-century, four-square homes. “I love nothing more than to honor the period of the home, but to bring a very modern feel in the furnishings and accessories,” she says. “It creates a beautiful dichotomy that gives the home so much interest and personality.”

Image courtesy of Hannah Crowell.

Miami, FL: Jay Britto and David Charette, Britto Charette

Miami is well known for its stunning white beaches, blue ocean, and sky. But interior designers Jay Britto and David Charette say that that placid, natural landscape is the perfect pairing for the city’s bold and vibrant style. Britto and Charette describe Miami as “a place to party, to be seen, to show off, to flaunt possessions, affluence, and fashion.” That attitude carries over into the city’s general aesthetic. The designing duo have developed a keen sense of Miami style over the decades they’ve been based in the city, working on luxury interior designs around the globe through their firm, Britto Charette.

Britto and Charette say their city’s style is heavily influenced by its prominent Central American, South American, and European communities, who all value modern touches. Neutrals are the starting point, though. Just like the city’s pure white beaches, their buildings’ interior and exterior walls emphasize a neutral palette and natural elements like wood, stone, and marble. From there, it’s all about drawing the eye to certain areas of the home by adding risk-taking accents, like vivid splashes of color or bold pieces of modern art. “Accent is the key word,” Britto and Charette say.

If you’re looking to introduce some of Miami’s striking modernism into your own home, Britto and Charette say a spartan mentality is key. Start with neutrals–they suggest painting the walls with Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White, then adding off-white and silver linen wall coverings from companies like Maya Romanoff. For flooring, marble or wide-plank, sand-blasted woods will create the neutral, natural look that’s totally Miami.

Attention-grabbing modern art is the perfect way to liven up those neutrals, the Miami duo says. Fabric accents are a great addition for color as well, whether in rugs or upholstery; for these, Britto and Charette recommend the eye-popping polychromatic designs of Kyle Bunting or Missoni. In no time you’ll have an attention-grabbing aesthetic that reflects the look of Florida’s wildest city.

Image courtesy of Alexia Fodere.

Austin, TX: Layne Brookshire, Ms. Placed

Layne Brookshire’s entire career as a professional organizer is based on the idea of keeping things simple, so it makes sense that her hometown’s style is based around the same principle. Brookshire was born and raised in Texas. Although she launched her professional organizing business while living in Santa Barbara, CA, Texas called her home. Brookshire says her business, Ms. Placed Professional Organizing, stems from her “continual experiment to streamline her world by removing both physical and mental obstacles.” That experiment entails keeping close track of her clients’ personal spaces and routines–and, of course, the specific decor style of the city they call home.

Brookshire describes Austin’s aesthetic as “modern farmhouse,” characterized by contemporary design with rustic features. In many ways, that means taking simple cues from nature by emphasizing bright, natural lighting and an all-around earthy vibe. Brookshire says Austin prefers a soothing, natural color palette with an abundance of texture. And in a town well known for its cultural scene, striking art pieces–preferably from local artists– are a must. Brookshire says these elements add up to a versatile aesthetic that can be comfortably adapted to homes of all ages and architectural styles, creating a welcoming feeling that she describes as “pared-down comfort.”

For those looking to translate these broad aesthetic guidelines into more concrete decor decisions, Brookshire suggests starting by painting in bright whites, nuanced grays, or “greiges.” Rich wood flooring adds a lovely earthy accent to the neutral paint base. Build a modern vibe by adding industrial metal hardware and black or brass lighting. Maintain the distinct natural feel by decorating with potted plants, either leafy or succulents. Ground the room with soft fabrics in warm colors; try a hide skin, shag, or faded oriental rug. And if you’re looking for a nice visual piece to tie it all together, Brookshire suggests a mounted skull or pair of antlers. It doesn’t get much more Southwest than that.

Image courtesy of Daniel Cavazos/Moontower.

San Clemente, CA: Becki Owens

San Clemente, home to interior designer Becki Owens, is pretty much the quintessential example of California living. Located at the southern end of Orange County, San Clemente is known for its surfing, mountain views of the Pacific, and its striking architecture. If you walk out to the end of the famous San Clemente Pier, you’ll see a hillside full of white, Spanish-style homes with red-tiled roofs. Owens has worked on more than a few of those homes herself, ranging from kitchen makeovers to new builds, so she’s gotten a great sense of the style that sets San Clemente apart.

Owens describes that aesthetic as “classic coastal style with a modern twist,” and she’s got plenty of ideas for those looking to recreate the feel of a San Clemente beach home on their own turf. She suggests starting with a minimal, white foundation on the walls, like Benjamin Moore Simply White, or a white with no pigment for an even cooler, fresher look. Simple, neutral window drapes on top of the white foundation will help to maximize natural light–a must in San Clemente homes, which usually have smaller floor plans. Building on this simple foundation, Owens suggests timeless elements like Shaker-style cabinetry and hardwood flooring, preferably in European white oak or natural wood tones. White marble counters with a thicker, mitered edge help to add the modern twist that’s key to San Clemente style.

To add some personality and accentuate this crisp and simple look, Owens recommends colorful, yet subtle vintage textiles. She suggests adding a kilim or Moroccan rug to perk up a kitchen, entry, or living area. When all is said and done, you just may start to pick up the salty scent of surf in the air without all the trouble of packing up and moving to the coast.

Image courtesy of Ashlee Raubach.

To learn more about the Trulia Design Panelists, visit: