Moving once is hard enough. Try moving every two years for 21 years.
That was a reality for interior designer Tanya Hembree, who made a career of it.
“My husband and I have lived in four different states,” Hembree said. “Each time I’d decorate a new home, I would have friends wanting me to help them with their houses, and eventually I ended up having to charge people.”
After 18 years of off-and-on interior design, Hembree is now full-time at Onyx & Alabaster in Franklin.
Hembree has dabbled in many different industries throughout the years, including finance, construction, executive administration, accounting and customer service to name a few.
“From managing a real estate firm to owning a spa, I have a full understanding for investor clients and small business owners alike,” she said. “I am really big on strategy and getting the best return on investment.”
Her unique approach and keen eye for style – her personal style is “a blend of shabby-chic and modern with a neutral palette” – has attracted residential and commercial clients alike.
“One of my favorite recent projects was a condo in the Gulch area of Nashville,” Hembree said. “It’s very urban, and I was able to incorporate a lot of Nashville artists and custom pieces.”
Hembree often takes her interior design skills on the road. She works on several properties along Scenic Highway 30A in Florida.
“My dream project is to do an Alys Beach property, so hopefully that will come up soon,” she said. “I also think decorating a restaurant would be a lot of fun.”
Her services include far more than picking out furniture for her clients.
“I often help in the pre-construction and pre-planning phases, helping clients determine which property to invest in,” Hembree said. “I also work with construction companies when building and designing new construction, plus a lot of kitchen and bathroom remodels.”
Much of Hembree’s design inspiration comes from her surroundings in downtown Franklin.
“It reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting,” she said. “It’s the downtown that I wish I grew up in.”
Like many other now-residents, the California native found herself drawn to Franklin, which has been her family’s home for five years.
“I love simply walking downtown and sitting on a bench,” she said. “I love the small town culture, which is different than what I grew up around.”
Whether she is shopping at Anthropologie or working from Starbucks or Frothy Monkey, Hembree enjoys the fact that she can run into someone she knows just about anywhere.
“Downtown Franklin is unique because it’s a destination where people can be with their families, spend time with friends or just enjoy the shopping,” she said.
In her spare time, Hembree enjoys going to the spa or the beach, but mostly just hanging out with her friends or family, which consists of her husband, Dan, and their three teenagers.
However, spare time is something Tanya doesn’t have a lot of, as she plans for her business to grow substantially, expanding down 30A and throughout Nashville.
“I really hope to make a large impact on others with my business,” she said. “I have a heart for women, and I want to encourage them to be all they were purposed to be.”
A portion of Hembree’s proceeds will go to Mercy Multiplied and Hope Clinic for women, both nonprofits dedicated to helping young women. Hembree is passionate about supporting both organizations and is interested in potentially hiring women from each program.
“There is value in all women, no matter what walk of life they come from,” she said.
Hembree’s advice for women and future-entrepreneurs alike is to slow down, find your passion and be confident in pursuing whatever that may be.
“Figure out what it was that you liked doing as a child because that is most likely what you are passionate about,” she said. “When you are doing what you are called to do, you can help change the lives of those around you, which will ultimately make you happier.”