Libby Callaway moved to East Nashville in 2010, and most days you can find her in one of her favorite rooms in her house: the dining room. It’s a good thing she likes the space so much – it’s where she entertains, eats and works running her business, The Callaway. The communication and media company works with creative brands ranging from fashion designers to hospitality entities.
Current Callaway projects done around her large, lacquered metal table include handling national PR for a major hotel, working with Hayley Williams of Paramore on her hair dye company and helping a string of nonprofits. One of her most recent projects is with Noelle, is an experiential luxury hotel in downtown Nashville, with local art curated by Bryce McCloud of Isle of Printing throughout. Amenities are expansive, and include a restaurant (Makeready Libations & Liberation), a coffee shop (Drug Store Coffee by Andy Mumma of Barista Parlor), a rooftop bar (Rare Bird, opening this spring), a grand lobby bar (Trade Room), and an in-house print shop (Little Prints, operated by McCloud).
The retail store Keep Shop located in the lobby was curated by Callaway. The mix includes many local designer and maker exclusives, including Emil Erwin, Lemon Laine, Little Seed Farm, Ceri Hoover, Portmanteau and Tenure Ceramics in addition to hard-to-find national brands.
“I’ve got a team of three, and we can all four sit around the table and work, which is nice. People will come in for meetings, and this is where we do it. It’s also where I eat, it’s where I watch TV, it’s where I do my adult coloring book, it’s where I do a little bit of everything,” she says.
Callaway invited us in to share her collecting habits, maximalist tendencies and favorite places to show.
How do you collect your pieces?
It’s all either hand-me-downs or things I’ve found second-hand. Obviously a lot my stuff is vintage. I got a couple of tables at Goodwill, including one that we re-covered in this peachy fabric with a staple gun. My mom did that for me; it’s really neat-looking. My mom was an antique dealer when I was little, so I have a real appreciation for reuse and honoring an object’s past and figuring out new ways to use it. … There’s one piece that’s almost Colonial-looking from my grandmother’s house, and I painted a lacquered white mirror with an eagle over it. Then I have these four green Eames shell chairs around it that belonged to my godmother’s father. He had them in his office in the ’50s. But then I love mixing new and old. I’ve got a really new overhead light from Wilder, the design store in Germantown, that hangs over my table. And I have a Starck ghost chair. So there are these new elements that also blend.
Where are some places that you like to shop in East Nashville?
Wonders on Woodland is my favorite. It’s an antique store. Deb and Wayne Goodwin are just the best. They’ve had their store at least as long as I’ve lived in East Nashville, and I find the best pieces there. They have just such a cool eye, and everything is really reasonably priced. I find a lot of stuff there. And a lot of the pieces come from Goodwill or antique stores. I used to work at GasLamp Antique Mall, so a lot of this stuff came from GasLamp.
What is your personal style?
My style really ranges. I either go high or low. I wear a lot of dresses and I buy a lot of them, usually from the ’80s. My friend Bobby was just over here, and we’re both maximalists. I don’t want less. Minimalism? No. I want more. I just love having stuff around me. I love finding themes and running with them. I don’t have any one decorating ethos. I think that if you love it you’ll find a place to use it, and I always do. Things start to fade out every once in a while, but for the most part things stay with me for a long while.