Designer Amhad Freeman takes clients on a journey to their dream spaces

By Hollie Deese
Photography by Nicholas McGinn

Amhad Freeman may be one of Nashville’s most sought-after designers right now—constantly being approached by bigger firms in Chicago and clients out of state—but it is not anything he could have imagined when he first arrived in Tennessee.

Originally from Alabama, Freeman moved to the area to attend Middle Tennessee State University. He earned his undergraduate degree in finance in 2005, but numbers weren’t what fueled him.

“I was just kind of chasing money, and I guess I was good at it,” Freeman says. “But then I was like, I’m just not happy and I’m not going to live that way.”

So he returned to school for design, and eventually secured an internship with Brentwood commercial developer Interior Design Services, and when the lead architect there started his own firm, he interned there the next summer.

He returned to IDS for one last internship, then considered taking a job with the acclaimed Bruce Fox in Chicago. He ultimately stayed, though, cutting his teeth with a development firm doing tall-and-skinnys around Nashville.

“I got to know all the ins and outs about what I consider to be interior design,” he says, and he worked on perfecting everything from construction drawings to client relations. One day he had the confidence and experience to start his own firm.

“I just felt like, at that point in my life, I was ready to do my own thing,” he says. “The opportunities are endless if I go out on my own.”

Since then he has taken on projects like this Brentwood home, spending 18 months on design before they even started construction. While was used to having guidelines, for this project he was given plenty of room to push the design envelope.

“They gave me the freedom to stretch my legs, and they really just kind of stood back,” Freeman says. “They wanted something that was a modern farmhouse, which is very popular here, but they let me do my spin on it.”

The result was indicative of his aesthetic—classic, clean and sophisticated with lots of art and a focus on the home’s architectural details.

“I don’t like a lot of fuss,” he says. “There’s just a calmness and a stillness to my design that resonates these days.”

And this fall Freeman was tapped to be one of 16 designers of The Iconic Home, a virtual showhouse presented by Architectural Digest and the Black Interior Designers Network.

A first-of-its-kind event, the Brooklyn-based firm Studio 397 Architecture handled the overall design, with each participant designing one room or area. Taken together, their interiors form a virtual dwelling whose design highlights the breadth of Black design creativity.

Now Nashville’s challenge is stopping other cities from trying to lure him away.

“Nashville is growing by leaps and bounds, and I hope my design can grow here too,” he says.