FRANKLIN, Tennessee — Hayley Williams’ house is a lot like the singer herself: tiny and modest, with a good foundation. And to extend the metaphor one step further, much like Williams, the place is positively bursting with punky energy — everywhere you turn there are bright colors, kitschy tokens taken from her trips around the world and mementos from Paramore’s brief, yet incredibly meteoric, rise to fame.
We learned this all in one quick tour of the place, guided by Williams at the end of a very long day spent exploring the band’s hometown of Franklin (we did a whole lot of eating , thrifting and driving ), in celebration of their just-released Brand New Eyes album . And though she was understandably tired, Williams’ eyes lit up as she took us from room to room, pointing out odds and ends that make the place very much hers.
“This house is really old — it was built in the ’30s. It’s small and I haven’t been in it all that long, but it’s already everything I ever wanted,” she smiled. “It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m making it mine.”
From the checkered tile floor in the kitchen (“It’s what sold the house to me”) to the living room packed with Barbie dolls and Johnny Cash portraits — not to mention a red couch that Williams bought to mimic the cover of Paramore’s first album, 2005’s All We Know Is Falling — the place positively seeps with her style. There’s also a candy-striped sitting room (the walls were painted to match Mark Rydan’s painting “Rosie’s Tea Party”) that she’s filled with Paramore’s platinum plaques, a blue-painted guest room with empty frames hung on the wall (as seen on the back cover of Eyes) and a certifiably spooky basement, which will someday serve a higher purpose.
“I want to do this up so Paramore can rehearse down here, and maybe we can throw some shows for dudes with acoustic guitars,” she laughed. “I’ll make sure to keep the concrete floor so we can thrash around a little bit.”
And upstairs in her bedroom (we know this because she’s stuck a “Hayley” license plate to the door), she shows us a cramped closet, where she and her bandmates posed for pictures that ended up in the Eyes liner notes. Now, however, it’s just filled with her “dumb shoes.”
There’s a room where she and boyfriend, New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert, silk-screen band patches, and the patio out back is where she pinned a butterfly to the fence (an image that became Eyes’ cover). The place is ground zero for all things Paramore, the epicenter of Williams’ universe, both musical and personal. And that’s probably why, at the end of the tour, she paused for a second, cracked a smile, then laughed.
“My house is pretty cool,” she said. “I’m glad I could show it to you guys.”