Five Questions: Natalie Reddell
All Hail, the Commander in Chic!
John and I love making new friends on Instagram, and the very talented interior designer—and blogger-meets-social media force—Natalie Reddell (@nataliereddell), aka Commander in Chic, aka The Golden Hashtag, has quickly become a tastemaker whose opinion we truly value. She educates, she instructs, and she brings folks into a wonderful world that has plenty of ups and a few downs—and that’s part of her magic. Natalie carries us along on her colorful, insightful journey, and what a ride it is!
We recently sat down with the winsome, funny Reddell in her current hometown of Richmond, Virginia and sipped coffee in the lobby of the perfectly pink, quirky Quirk hotel. (Of course, I quickly segued on to cocktails from my latte, but that’s another story.)
So let’s learn a little more about this southern sensation.
Here’s Reddell’s bio, in her own words:
Natalie Reddell, Commander in Chic, is an interior designer and the social media queen behind The Golden Hashtag. Natalie, a Florida native, received her degree in interior design from Florida State University and studied the history of architecture and interiors at Parsons Paris. She now resides in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Scarlett O’Hara. Her only son recently left for college, so Natalie keeps busy with her design projects and presence on Instagram at @nataliereddell. Follow her and the Golden Hashtag for humor, inspiration, and all things fabulous!
1. MADCAP COTTAGE: Tell us about your background and how you came into the world of interior design.
NATALIE REDDELL: I have always been very creative and in love with color, pattern, fabrics, fashion, and art. My very first scar as a child came from a burn I acquired from a glue gun in an effort to “remodel” my dollhouse… Again! I was also very interested in psychology, though, and went to Emory University in Atlanta to become a psychologist. It did not take me long to realize that I longed for something more creative. I spent all of my free time browsing through Atlanta’s antique shops and fabric stores, and I decided to change my path. I am from Florida, and Florida State University has a wonderful interior design program, so I headed back to the Sunshine State and, as they say, the rest is history…
2. MC: How would you describe your interior design style? What sets you apart in the marketplace? What do you deliver to your clients that create a unique selling point?
NR: My home is definitely a mix of styles: I’m a traditional girl at heart but love to mix in modern pieces and bold color. My most favorite design style is GREAT DESIGN! I really love mixing pieces and textures and colors to create a space that reflects my clients’ taste and lifestyle. I am a bit of an art junkie and love to use art and rugs for inspiration and direction. And I never met an animal print that I didn’t love, and I enjoy all things glamorous!
3. MC: You grew up in Florida. What role did growing up in the south play in your design aesthetic and vision?
NR: My southern roots are important to me. My grandmother loved to entertain and decorate and my mother is the same way. My grandmother used to say that, “Home is a prepared place.” That really resonates with me. I am still sort of old-fashioned about setting the table and eating in the formal dining room, but mostly because I enjoy it. I love to use my silver, china, and crystal, too. I am a big believer in using your “nice things” everyday and will NEVER have enough china!
4. MC: What about the role of social media in your business? How did the Golden Hashtag come about?
NR: My most favorite thing about social media is the REAL relationships that have formed as a result of my VIRTUAL contacts. Instagram is my favorite social media platform. It is an amazing resource for sourcing product for my clients, getting fresh design ideas, and staying current in the industry. Instagram is also a great place to feature your current projects, and that has had a wonderful impact on my business.
The Golden Hashtag was born when I found a rusty number sign in an antiques shop a few days before I went on a blog tour to KBIS, the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. I had recently started on Instagram and thought the “hashtag” would be a fun prop for my Instagram posts at the show for my blog, Commander in Chic. Not long after, I was heading to Las Vegas for a furniture market and decided to doll “her” up in gold sequins. (When in Vegas, right?!?) I took the Golden Hashtag all over that market and staged photos in my favorite showrooms featuring products that I love. The posts were a big hit and by the end of that show, CEOs and marketing executives were inviting the Golden Hashtag to visit their showrooms and wanted to schedule a photo shoots. At that point, I realized that I might be onto something and decided to apply for a trademark. Now, the Golden Hashtag is really a reflection of my (pretty meets sparkly) personality, and my personality is my brand.
5. MC: What’s the five-year goal?
NR: My five-year goal is to still be absolutely in love with what I do. Running my interior design business is a full-time job. Building a brand for Commander in Chic with the Golden Hashtag is a full time job. It is easy to get overwhelmed with so many balls in the air, but I feel incredibly blessed to work in an industry that makes my heart skip a beat and still gives me Design Goosies every day.
I also absolutely love to travel for inspiration, and I dream about travelling the globe to curate the perfect pieces for my clients. It means so much to me to meet the artists, artisans, and designers behind the products I specify for my projects. Globetrotting would allow me to hand-select products and see first hand the back stories of the items I choose for my clients. Incorporating international travel is definitely a short—and long-term—goal for me AND the Golden Hashtag!