How to Decorate

By Ballard Designs

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 Jan 16, 2019


We want to teach you how to decorate! We'll help you unleash your inner decorator with interviews from interior designers, sharing the trials and triumphs from our own homes, and answering your burning decorating questions. Brought to you from the Ballard Designs team.

Episode Date
Ep. 164: designer Brigette Romanek
Our guest this episode, Brigette Romanek, is one of LA’s most sought-after designers. Brigette is the founder of Romanek Design Studio and has been featured in Architectural Digest’s “AD 100”, ELLE Decor, Vogue and more. With no formal training, Brigette relies heavily on her intuition and doesn’t believe there are hard rules when it comes to design. We discuss how her one-of-a-kind style is heavily influenced by her musical mother, her travels and her love of eclecticism. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: How Brigette went from having no formal training to designing Beyoncé’s home. Why it’s important to tune in to each individual client’s needs and “speak their language”. Brigette believes less is more (especially on windows!) and often strays from traditional design elements. What Brigette means when she says “livable luxe” and why she wants a home to feel functional yet uniquely yours. When designing a house, a room should be its own vignette but also fit together as a whole. Lighting is so important, yet difficult, to enhance the overall feeling of a space. Brigette likes to keep the original character of a building’s architecture and work with it instead of against it. Brigette’s clients run the gamut of completely hands-off to overseeing each step of the process; and she learns something new each time. What it was like working with Queen Bey! One of Brigette’s most challenging projects was working on a commercial project because everyone involved had different ideas. How Brigette gets away with including a wild card in each of her projects. Decorating Dilemma Brigette thinks you can break this up into two separate spaces that will serve as their own vignettes. You can put a rug down when you first walk in to immediately ground the space as well as some curtains to outline a seating area by the window. You could also have a cushion made to go on the bench you already have. As far as the rest of the room, using shelving or bookcases will make a decorative but intentional break in the space. In that middle space you’re not fond of, how about a beautiful table to place vase and even store your keys on? To store your winter clothes and other items, you do have that coat closet that protrudes. Let’s enhance that area and own it so you really love it! You could cover it with a fabric you love, you could paint it, you could change the hardware…play with it. A visit to the Container Store would help organize the inside of it. __________________________________________________________________________ If we talk about using the things you already own, what if you took the bench you have and put it straight ahead when you walk in and then move the table where the bench is. And then just add Ballard’s double boot tray either right when you walk in or tuck on the backside of the closet. Maybe add hooks above it too? – Karen And don’t forget to use those high ceilings for some fun lighting! Mentioned In This Episode: Romanek Design Studio Romanek Design on Instagram Ballard Designs Find the show notes for this episode at
Oct 27, 2020
Bonus Episode: What We've Learned & Our 4th Anniversary
Today’s bonus episode marks four years since we started the How to Decorate podcast! We talk about our favorite takeaways, tips and tools learned over the years. We are so grateful for all of our wonderful listeners and the amazing guests we’ve had and look forward to way more fun ahead. Listen in for some of our takeaways about treating your room as a vignette, why we aren’t mad at brown furniture, and a little more of the personal ways we’ve grown and changed throughout the past four years. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Your house should be the most glamorous version of yourself. One of the biggest takeaways we’ve learned is there is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to design. Brown furniture was an unexpected key player to emerge. Tone value is such an important learning tool to apply across the board. Treating the rooms as vignettes is a simple and manageable way to break up a project. One of the easiest and most instant ways to change it up? Paint! The personal changes we’ve all been through since we started the podcast. Having a plan before you begin helps you reach your full vision and less like you’re never finished. How much energy is saved using LED lights vs. traditional lightbulbs and all the other things we’ve learned about lighting. “The Cantaloupe Rule”—no accessories smaller than a cantaloupe! Performance fabrics will save you many headaches in the long run. The important relationship between designer and architect. You should respect and decorate specific to house style while finding ways to infuse other elements. The relationship between a designer and a client is so personal. We’ve learned how important measuring is. Or have we? Use our room planner tool! Contrast brings a space to life; textures, finishes, colors, styles, shapes, etc. How your wardrobe and personal style can be a reflection of your design style. We can admire a someone else’s style or approach while not adopting it for ourselves; but there are ways to take elements and apply them towards our own design. Really study how you live to see if your home is (still) working for you. You don’t have to buy everything for your room all at once; especially expensive items. Mentioned In This Episode: Ballard Designs
Oct 25, 2020
Ep. 163: designer Breegan Jane
In this episode, we sit down with the multi-talented Breegan Jane. She is an LA-based designer, entrepreneur, lifestyle blogger, TV personality, children’s book author, and mother. She’s been featured on HGTV, the Hallmark Channel, and more. We talk with Breegan about using design as a way to keep some order and cleanliness in the house, tips that we can learn from a 23-bathroom house, and how to keep things fresh and new using what we already have while at home with our family. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: How Breegan’s impressive and diverse resume has helped to shape her design style and visual expression. What exactly designing a 23-bathroom house entails. What kind of tips designers learn from their clients that they use for their own homes. How Breegan uses design to keep order and cleanliness with two young sons in the house. Why Breegan insists her 4 and 6-year-old share a bedroom (at least for now). How you can transition spaces, especially as we are at home more, without buying all new things. The opportunities and challenges Breegan has faced while working on HGTV’s Extreme Makeover and how she balances work and motherhood. Breegan talks about her go-to elements for glamour and what she calls “modern approachable luxury” including mixing textures. In our Decorating Dilemma, we dive deep into modernizing a space with color tones and having faith in the changes your designers suggest. Mentioned In This Episode: Breegan Jane Breegan on Instagram Breegan on Facebook Breegan on Twitter HGTV Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Decorating Dilemma Breegan thinks you know your biggest problem; you just have to be willing to fix it! The color tone in that wood is really dating the space. If you were to paint or stain over those cabinets in white, put two new pendants lights over the kitchen island and add a rug with some color in that space—you would be done! If you (or your husband) are not willing to part with the wood aesthetic, you could paint the kitchen white and try to ebonize the wood with a dark stain. Any color that gets you away from the yellow tone in the wood is really going to modernize it; you could do white, grey, brown or black. You already have a great, neutral style in your home and then you can accent it with any color you want; maybe even some fun bold-patterned drapery. There’s no getting around that dated tone, unfortunately, but you have a beautiful space with wonderful natural light! It may be labor-intensive, but you could do this yourself and it’s not very expensive. In terms of the backsplash? Leave it! You don’t need it and then you can put that money into the other things we recommended. Please report back, Megan! __________________________________________________________________________ To sort of play devil’s advocate, Caroline thinks you could start by painting the doors, trim and fireplace while leaving the kitchen alone. Breaking up the uniformity of the space will help it look less dated. If you start small, you can get your husband on board with bigger changes.
Oct 20, 2020
Ep. 162: designer Sara Barney
This week we were pleased to speak with Sara Barney—founder and principal designer of the Austin-based firm BANDD DESIGN. Sara is an Austin native who spent the first 10 years of her career in California in the sports and entertainment industries. Now back on her home turf, she’s taking the design world by storm. Sara was named one of Fortune Magazine‘s Most Powerful Women, one of Austin Monthly‘s Women to Watch, and is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and the Female Founder Collective. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Much of Sara’s style draws from her varied professional background and from living in California. Sara decided shortly after having her 2 daughters that she wanted to switch careers and try her hand at design. She took a 1 year online program and her business was booming before she even finished. We talk about Sara’s approach to styling shelves and her love/hate relationship with floating shelves. Solids work well for large elements and Sara ties in textures, layers and patterns with smaller pieces. Sara loves taking risks with wallpaper and shares some of her favorite sources. The all-white kitchen is a big trend, but Sara prefers playing with colors in the kitchen. Sara works a lot with young families and gives tips on where she recommends investing in more sturdy, stain-resistant pieces. 3D printed houses are here; and Sara explains how it works and how she got to design one. What are two of the things everyone is asking Sara for? (matte black fixtures and modern farmhouse) With people spending more time at home due to COVID, Sara talks about how design requests have been influenced. Sara talks about best home office solutions and how to make the space not look so “corporate”. We talk about Sara’s love of and use of deep teal and integrating functional items to fit within the design. Why one of Sara’s phrases is, “No Schluter ever!”
Oct 13, 2020
Ep. 162: designer Markham Roberts
This week we welcome legendary designer Markham Roberts based out of New York City. His work has been featured in countless magazines and he’s received numerous awards. Markham’s style has remained largely the same, but he’s evolved and learned from his many years of experience. He shares his knowledge and humor with us while we discuss why practicality is key, how to better combine traditional and modern style, and why his love of hot dogs is unparalleled. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Markham thinks the most important thing is understanding your clients and what makes them happy. Practicality is key. Not all decorating is created equal. Markham recommends considering the difference between mountain houses vs. beach houses, country vs. urban, etc., and to choose materials that reflect location, terrain and climate. When combining traditional and modern styles, Markham thinks there are no rules and it’s best just to DO IT. See what happens and how things relate to each other. We talk about 3 houses Markham decorated all out West, belonging to 3 clients that were friends, that are very different. The Nantucket house that Markham decorated truly indulged his creativity. The client’s unique and blunt personality challenged him to make a mix of styles work together. We love how much Markham uses humor in his approach, and in his book, to enjoy his work. We dive into some of our favorite parts of his book. Markham tells us how he got creative with a client’s antique pieces so they could be highlighted and not hidden. We ask Markham about his guidelines on the contrast trend. Markham talks to us about his love of subtlety, details and the use of simple ticking of fabrics. We ask Markham for his best nuggets about textiles; don’t always go for the most formal and expensive fabric, play around with them, look at larger samples to really study it. Markham shares what he loves about one of his personal properties in a small Victorian town in Washington state and how he and his partner, James, have worked for 20 years to make this home truly their own. Markham tells us why he loves antique quilts and how to be careful when purchasing them. The only thing that compares to Markham’s love of his dog and tennis, is hot dogs. Mentioned In This Episode: MarkhamRoberts.Com Markham’s Instagram Notes on Decorating Decorating the Way I See It Design Dilemmas Hi Chloe! You really don’t have to change much because you’ve already done a great job laying this room out. Where your mattress is now is exactly where I would put a daybed. This is not only a great escape for when someone is snoring, but it would be a great guest bed if you have company over. Just add small end tables on either side of it for lamps. The desk by the window would also double as a great makeup table (or maybe check out the selection at Ballard)! You can put a reading chair to the left of the desk and the armoire is fine where you have it — don’t get rid of it. It looks like there is enough floor space then for you to be able to do yoga or meditate in this room. I would do a hanging light fixture to punch up a bit. In terms of the rug, I would set up everything I mentioned above and then considers whether you need it. Generally, with wall-to-wall plush carpeting, I don’t recommend adding a rug. I like the idea of a natural berry-colored palette. Don’t be afraid to paint dark; especially if you have great natural light. Enjoy it and send us the after photos!
Oct 13, 2020
Ep. 161: designer Markham Roberts
This week we welcome legendary designer Markham Roberts based out of New York City. His work has been featured in countless magazines and he’s received numerous awards. Markham’s style has remained largely the same, but he’s evolved and learned from his many years of experience. He shares his knowledge and humor with us while we discuss why practicality is key, how to better combine traditional and modern style, and why his love of hot dogs is unparalleled. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Markham thinks the most important thing is understanding your clients and what makes them happy. Practicality is key. Not all decorating is created equal. Markham recommends considering the difference between mountain houses vs. beach houses, country vs. urban, etc., and to choose materials that reflect location, terrain and climate. When combining traditional and modern styles, Markham thinks there are no rules and it’s best just to DO IT. See what happens and how they relate to each other. We talk about 3 houses Markham decorated all out West, belonging to 3 clients that were friends, that are very different. The Nantucket house that Markham decorated truly indulged his creativity. The client’s unique and blunt personality challenged him to make a mix of styles work together. We love how much Markham uses humor in his approach, and in his book, to enjoy his work. We dive into some of our favorite parts of his book. Markham tells us how he got creative with a client’s antique pieces so they could be highlighted and not hidden. We ask Markham about his guidelines on the contrast trend. Markham talks to us about his love of subtlety, details and the use of simple ticking of fabrics. We ask Markham for his best nuggets about textiles; don’t always go for the most formal and expensive fabric, play around with them, look at larger samples to really study it. Markham shares what he loves about one of his personal properties in a small Victorian town in Washington state and how he and his partner, James, have worked for 20 years to make this home truly their own. Markham tells us why he loves antique quilts and how to be careful when purchasing them. The only thing that compares to Markham’s love of his dog and tennis, is hot dogs. Mentioned In This Episode: MarkhamRoberts.Com Markham’s Instagram Notes on Decorating Decorating the Way I See It Design Dilemmas Hi Chloe! You really don’t have to change much because you’ve already done a great job laying this room out. Where your mattress is now is exactly where I would put a daybed. This is not only a great escape for when someone is snoring, but it would be a great guest bed if you have company over. Just add small end tables on either side of it for lamps. The desk by the window would also double as a great makeup table (or maybe check out the selection at Ballard)! You can put a reading chair to the left of the desk and the armoire is fine where you have it—don’t get rid of it. It looks like there is enough floor space then for you to be able to do yoga or meditate in this room. I would do a hanging light fixture to punch up a bit. In terms of the rug, I would set up everything I mentioned above and then considers whether you need it. Generally, with wall-to-wall plush carpeting, I don’t recommend adding a rug. I like the idea of a natural berry-colored palette. Don’t be afraid to paint dark; especially if you have great natural light. Enjoy it and send us the after photos!
Oct 06, 2020
Ep. 160: designer Sean Scherer
Painter, shop owner, decorator, and author Sean Scherer joins us this week. We talk about creating authentic interiors that tell a story, and Sean shares the inspiration behind his new book, Kabinett & Kammer. We also talk with Sean about using scale and composition to keep balance and flow within a room, using small objects and bright colors to create a large impact, and why it’s okay to just go ahead and purchase that piece you’ve been eyeing up. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Trials and triumphs on some expensive roman shades, rewiring a lamp, a broken chair, tree talk, and exciting new house plans! In Sean’s new book, Kabinett & Kammer, he celebrates practical yet beautiful interiors in an honest and humble way. It’s all about taking the things we already have and love and displaying them in a new way to get a striking effect. Sean’s mother was a collector, and by watching her reorganize and repurpose, he fell in love with the process. In Sean’s new book, Anderson Cooper wrote the foreword and appreciated the aspect of how we can create a unique and authentic sanctuary for ourselves in our home. We can play with scale to make smaller objects more noticeable, and also use smaller objects as a way to experiment with bright colors. How Sean shops for the Kabinett & Kammer storefront, and uses the shop as another form of artistic output. If you really love something, buy it! It’s all part of building a conversation in our home that shows what we love and who we are. Ways we can take an object and successfully use it out of context, like a great taxidermy piece. Mentioned In This Episode: Kabinett & Kammer Kabinett & Kammer Book @kabinettandkammer
Sep 29, 2020
Ep. 159: How to Pick the Perfect Chair
There's so much more that goes into shopping for a great chair than just picking what looks pretty. We invited our in-house upholstery experts Kelly, our Merchant and Buyer, and Hillary from our Product Design team to share their insights. We talk about everything from chair height, placement, arms, ottomans, and everything in between. We pick their brains on what to look for when purchasing a chair, and where to splurge vs. save in the chair department. Whether you want to swivel, recline, or sit up pin-straight, this is the episode for you. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Just as important to consider how you are going to use a chair is how you are going to use the space where the chair is going. That will determine the function whether it’s for office use, entertaining, What instances you would want high back chairs vs. lower back chairs. The best chairs for entertaining, and the best times that you can sacrifice comfort for something a little tighter. How your frame is the foundation of a chair and the different types of frames we use based on the specific engineer and general construction of the chair. The best choices for an office chair that can support long hours at the computer, now that many of us are working from home for the foreseeable future. What pitch is on a chair, and how the experts at Ballard design and development team determine that a pitch is right. The different styles of arms on a chair, and which ones are better fitting different functions. Ballard over 300 upholstery options and many of the performance fabrics are perfect for families, pets, and clumsy drink spillers. When are ottomans are appropriate, and how much lower they should be than our seat. Even our experts have scratches on their leather couches, so it’s okay to not be perfect if you do decide on leather! Mentioned In This Episode: Ballard Chairs Ballard Sofas Slipcovers Chairs Sharon Sofa Kathryn Upholstered Sofa Sofia Upholstered Sofa Find all of the Show Notes at
Sep 22, 2020
Ep. 158: designer Katie Ridder
We kick off this week with some tree talk, then welcome our guest, Interior Designer Katie Ridder. We couldn’t be more excited to talk with Katie about her new book, More Rooms, which is yummy beyond words and featuring color and exquisite details out of this world. We talk with Katie about her bold choices, her love affair with custom banquettes, her advice on bedding, and how she counters colorful choices with colors and tones that blend together seamlessly. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Trials and triumphs about a big plant overhaul, a much needed cushion deep cleaning, rotting plants, and spooky chic Halloween decor. More behind the amazing details and bold statements of color featured in Katie’s work, how she dreams up all the details without it feeling too busy or overdone. How she chooses color scheme and builds on it with all the colors, and why you need to just trust her when she mentions bringing in a brown couch. Why she chooses quiet carpets when you have colorful carpet schemes. More about her love affair with custom banquettes, and fun ways to add seating options for everyday living and entertaining in a home. How to make a cozy study, especially now since so many of us are working from home. Her advice on beds, low profile mattresses, and her choice of bedding. What working with large publications such as House Beautiful and House and Garden opened her eye to different styles and learning about scale in person. Katie’s advice for outdoor rooms, and how she has really gotten more into gardening during this time of quarantine. Ways that we can make sure our furniture and design choices are in scale. Mentioned In This Episode: Katie Ridder @katieridderinc Penn & Fletcher Swedish Grace Charles Beckley 1800 Matress Trees Atlanta Suzanne Kasler Decorating Dilemma: Thank you for writing! Here are our suggestions: we don’t think the rug is too large. You can cut it down a little bit if you want, and it would not hurt the value too much. Katie agrees that your instinct to get rid of the cabinet under the TV is right, along with putting the TV on the wall. Check out some of our Ballard console tables to anchor the side of the room. Also, we would lacquer the chairs and use a performance fabric for the cushions. Find all of the Show Notes at
Sep 15, 2020
Ep. 157: designer Joy Moyler
Award-winning interior designer Joy Moyler joins the show this week to share how we can carve off a little slice of luxury in our own homes. Joy works with actual royalty, along with dream celebrity clients such as Leonardo Dicaprio and John Mayer. Based in New York, Joy absolutely loves creating a whole home for her clients and talks about ways we can make both simple and layered designs clean and stunning. She shares what textiles and pieces are making her do a happy dance these days, and how working with huge brands such as Revlon and Ralph Lauren helped bring her eye for fashion into winning design creations. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Joy shares the benefits of working with different design firms and both residential and commercial projects. The same way that others mentored her, Joy pays it forward with hiring interns and mentoring the budding designers of tomorrow. How Joy works with clients who choose to layer heritage pieces, and those who opt for a minimal and simplistic style. What she loved working with huge brands such as Revlon, Armani, Ralph Lauren, and how fashion ties in so heavily with home design. What the celebrities are doing in their houses that we aren’t doing at ours, besides having multiple homes. What a meeting with Leo is really like, and how Joy fought back a flu to attend a movie premiere! A glimpse of what it looks like when Joy designs home from soup to nuts, including their flat-ware and tables. More about the Stone Barn Dairy Farm in update New York, which house some of the luckiest cows on earth! Joy’s tips for using fashion textiles as window treatments or cushions. Simplicity can sometimes be even more complicated. Which of Joy’s projects she would take on as her own home. Mentioned In This Episode: Armani Joy Moyler Interiors @joymoylerinteriors Decorating Dilemma: Joy thinks putting some artwork on the walls will create other focal points in the space. Definitely some colorful area rugs and Joy recommends a lighter printed window treatment. This will help soften it up and create a break from all the beige. A more translucent textile that is a lighter color instead of the blue would look better. For painting your walls, something celadon or light blue would look good. Thank you for writing, and be sure to keep us updated! Find all of the Show Notes at
Sep 08, 2020
Ep. 156: designer Marshall Watson
New York-based designer Marshall Watson joins us this week to talk about trusting your intuition, his connection to Swedish design, and more. We also talk with Marshall about the importance of creating a floor plan and knowing a home’s architecture before going in on a big design. Marshall also talks about his new book, The Art of Elegance: Classic Interiors which pairs his personal stories of beautiful homes with photos showing their elegance and luxury. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Why hiring a New York designer is the best - just ask Marshall how many unexpected obstacles and challenges come up when designing in small spaces that need both beauty and function. Marshall believes in getting the architecture right first, then other design elements will fall into place. Marshall is a native of Kansas City and graduated with three majors from Stanford University. He also has a love for theatre design and made it onto the Soap Opera As The World Turns as an actor! We can interview ourselves when about to design our own homes, much like Marshall would interview a client. The first place to start is asking “how can I spoil myself in the best way possible?” How to find artisans you trust and find it pleasurable to work with. Marshall doesn’t believe in bad taste - there are opportunities to take a vision and make it fit. Marshall shares how he got into Swedish design, and how the Swedish sensibility is practical, clean, and geared to bring more light in a home. Decorating Dilemma: Brenda, we love that you love color and pattern. Marshall believes in pulling spaces together, and the tables along with the wallpaper as well. It would be nice to have a stack of two photos on top of it, preferably with the frames being the same color as the consoles so they are unified. He would put two frames and a pair of pictures that are a large print or have a large mat. A suggestion would be painting the wooden part of the chandelier white, along with the base of the table. You have a lot of doors, you might as well paint them the same color and celebrate them. An indoor/outdoor carpet four inches from the wall could help accentuate and tie together the shapes while embracing what you have already done. If you decide to paint the entry, you can’t paint the ceiling white because it will look cheap. You can use a little of the wall color, but dark walls mean a somewhat darker ceiling. If budget allows, you may want to think about new flooring for the entry-way to fit your bold and colorful vibe. Mentioned In This Episode: The Art of Elegance Marshall Watson Interiors @MarshallWatsonInteriors Find all of the Show Notes at
Sep 01, 2020
Ep. 155: designer Carmeon Hamilton
This week, we are happy to welcome Carmeon Hamilton, a Memphis based designer who is also behind Nubi Interiors. Carmeon talks to us about the positive effects great design can have on our mood, how her background in retail merchandising and working around construction gave her a solid foundation, and her book that teaches us to all be better plant parents. Carmeon also shares some great plant purchasing and plant care tips, and affordable ways to spruce up our home and add extra space as we continue to work remotely. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Trials and Triumphs about ways to make your space better at no cost, a drop ceiling replacement, new cabinetry, and paint jar organization. How Carmeon went from having the best designed dorm room in college to switching from physical therapy to design as her focus in college. The ways that working with construction and architecture gave Carmeon an understanding of what a project needed before interior design can even begin. Carmeon’s work in healthcare showed her how important a well designed space is for our mood, and a large part of that is having plants and beautiful greenery to care for! Some great tips for picking plants and keeping them alive, for even the most newbie plant parents. How to balance working from home and comprise your vision when you are co-workers with your husband and even children. A few of the great ways Carmeon utilizes double use furniture in her living room and kitchen, creating more space for guests and entertaining. How to use accent walls in a way that is not cheesy, and if you are going to go for it, really go for it. The most genius idea for more counter space in the bathroom so those toothbrushes aren’t always on display. Tips and tricks on picking the right container or planter for your plant for the best growth and drainage. How she shops for plants, and yes you can get amazing plants and flowers at your neighborhood grocery stores, and also support local businesses as well. Mentioned In This Episode: 11 Zero-Cost Room-Changing Ideas Carmeon Hamilton Nubi’s Guide to Plant Parenting @carmeon.hamilton Ballard Beds, Daybeds & Headboards Decorating Dilemma We would paint the cabinetry, walls, and wet bar area all one color, and you can continue to use it for office space if you are like the rest of us working from home! We also would find a different location for the TV, possibly mounting it on the wall. The windows are challenging, but we definitely would think about a scenario where you build in a day bed with some sconces on the wall and some good funky shades. You have a lot of options, and we look forward to hearing which direction you go!   Find all of the Show Notes at
Aug 25, 2020
Ep. 154: designer Tish Mills
Tish Mills is known for creating peaceful yet livable spaces that reflect the homeowners personality. She joins us this week to talk about her love of construction, how a great design team makes the whole thing seem effortless, and ways we can create peace and harmony in our busy homes and lives. We also reminisce about the showroom we worked on together in 2014, and draw from that how to take pieces and customize them in a beautiful way that is meaningful to you. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Trials and triumphs on good neighbor relations when it comes to painting, a fun pastel door color, the wrong sized curtains (take two), and a few of the best options for good ergonomics when working from home until who knows when. The difference between console and desks in terms of height and surface working area. Why Tish used the word “peaceful” when it comes to her design, and examples of projects that fit this description perfectly, including a home with fluted kitchen cabinets. How a great team in design can make a project seem effortless. More about Tish’s love of construction, and how it’s like a mix to go through labor and to therapy when doing a major remodel. Tish’s dad was one of the four major developers of Hilton Head, so construction is in her blood. Why planning ahead and knowing our traffic patterns can help make the best decisions in every aspect of design, as early as we can. How Tish works with her clients to use pieces that are personal and meaningful that they collect over time, rather than feeling like they need to furnish and decorate in a hurry. How we can use earth tones correctly. More about the Not Your Average Downsize project which boasted a 30,000 square foot incredible home. Using metals as the base for your interiors, and options that you may not have otherwise thought about. More about the showhouse we did together in 2014 at the Atlanta Symphony Showhouse, and what we can learn about taking objects and customizing them to make them feel like your own. Mentioned In This Episode: @tishmills Tish Mills Carin Console Rachel Cannon - Ep #44 Forward Thinking with Ballard Designs Decorating Dilemma: We love this question, and love that you are up for a change. Tish agrees 100% that the bed facing the fireplace is too expected, and doesn’t feel that you need to move the chandelier. Do some floor to ceiling panels, and weight the treatments slightly more to equalize the windows. Do complimentary tables on the side, and they do not have to match. The part of the door to the right of the fireplace that you don’t use, the mirror feels a little out of place, so you could find another place for it. You can also put a nice comfy chair there and create a seating area or cozy reading nook. Art is important in this space, and Tish would float a piece of art over the headboard. There are also some “lazy” options that we suggest, and we won’t tell anyone if you decide to go for them! Find all of the Show Notes at
Aug 18, 2020
Ep. 153: designer Jena Salmon
We kick off this week’s show with our favorite design books, and what better time to start reading then now, while we are all still at home? Then, we welcome designer Jena Salmon from Atlanta to talk about her style that incorporates classic and traditional with a little funk. Jena discusses her love of color, how novices can get started with bold choices that will stand the test of time, tips and tricks for wallpaper, and ways to mix in traditional older pieces with modern furniture and design. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: This new working from home life has us focused on our nails! Doing your nails during long meetings is a gift of life that everyone should experience at least once. Our top books in design for beginners, fancy homes, “normals”, and everyone in between! Design books can be an investment themselves, but they are a great accessory and also make for great gifts and trading. Jena’s style is funky, but also classic and traditional. She shares how just using one acrylic or contemporary piece out of context can make a big difference. How to choose colors that are bold but stand the test of time. An inner glimpse at a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired house that Jena is working on, and how she captures the client’s requests with the overall architecture of a home. How we can save money and time by using wallpaper in the most efficient ways. Why Jena chose blue and tile tile, and how this can create classic neutrality also found in plain white kitchens. What happens with showrooms after they are done, and why a designer would want to do one. Mentioned In This Episode: Hue is the Artist Static Nails Habitat by Lauren Tom Scheerer No Place Like Home - by Madeline Stuart Vacation at Home - by Vern Yip Modern Mix by Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar Bunny Williams One Man’s Folly by Furlow Gatewood Gil Schafer Soul of the Home - by Tara Shaw The Art of Place - by Lee Ledbetter The Big Book of Chic - by Miles Redd Jena Salmon @jenasalmon Decorating Dilemma: Thank you for writing in! We would make sure everything is painted the same color and in flat paint so there is not a lot of reflection. Since you have young children, they are going to need a place to play and a TV above the fireplace will work here. Check out our Coventry Benches that would provide some great space for storage and also additional seating options. A solid tall piece of furniture could also be used for storage without competing with color. Behind the sofa, a drop leaf table could be a great option for eating and more storage. Great for kids and it will soon serve as your new dining room table/drop space for walking in the door, etc! Find all of the Show Notes at
Aug 11, 2020
Ep. 152: design firm Massucco Warner
This week we give a warm welcome to Julie Massucco Kleiner and Melissa Warner, founding designers of the West Coast-based firm Massucco Warner. Their portfolio is a joy to look at, so we couldn’t wait to catch up with them to talk about using color, texture, and unexpected details in an approachable way. We also talk with Julie and Melissa about patterns, their great lamp game, making the most of the space in a double-height room, the importance of using samples, and color threading from room to room. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Why Julie and Melissa love working with color so much, and how they pull it off in such a fun and approachable way. Neutral doesn’t always have to mean beige or white, it can be navy blue or any other solid color when done correctly. Ways we can color thread throughout our home so colors complement rather than compete with one another. Using samples are important and leave them out long enough to decide if it really is a fit for your everyday life long term. Ways that Julie and Melissa create beautiful and chic looks in high traffic areas using textures such as faux leather. How to use a colors you may be unsure of, like mustard yellow in a kitchen. Recommendations for tying in our outdoor furniture with indoor colors so they seamlessly flow. A few rules of thumb for using patterns and how adding another color can help break up and tone down the pattern. Ways to create a focal point from scratch. Lamps can be a great source of color and flair to a room without making a huge commitment. How to treat a double-height room without over-engineering it. Mentioned In This Episode: @massuccowarner Massucco Warner Decorating Dilemma: The table and the chairs totally fit the room, but we think you can tweak the size of the rug and beef it up to cover more space! You want to be able to pull your chairs out and still have them on the rug. As far as your seats, it’s super easy to unscrew cushions (and even may be fun to do@) and recover them with a navy and white performance fabric. Two smaller lights over the island and a big one over the dining table could be a great call! Find all of the Show Notes at 
Aug 04, 2020
Ep. 151: designer Courtney McLeod
Let’s bring some joy and color into our week with Courtney McLeod, the designer behind Right Meets Left Interiors. Known for her beautiful and fun yet sophisticated body of work, Courtney is a true pro at using color to create joy and personality in her clients' homes. She talks with us about taking risks in business and in design, ways that we can start to incorporate more color in our design, and how to use color in small spaces. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Trials and triumphs about new art lighting up our homes, a doctor’s visit for the pup, and great solutions for those unorganized beach towels. How Courtney’s background of business and the finance industry mixes with her artistic side to create a perfect balance of mixing creativity with the analytical. Courtney’s process at Right Meets Left Design is all about listening to her clients and interpreting their desires and dreams into what is doable for their particular situation, taste, and budget. Color doesn’t always have to be loud, but it can be just as interesting when it is soft. Having a contrast of shapes creates an interesting and engaging space, so it’s not all about going all angular or all circular. Ways we can work with color, even if it intimidates us. Also, using color in small spaces and busting the myth that you can’t use bold color in a small space. Do what feels good for you when it comes to color and pieces that you love. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks, or if you aren’t able to use it in your home just yet - you will one day! The inspiration behind Courtney’s super cute designs in both New Orleans and Antiqua. Fun and imaginative ideas for kids rooms that are interactive and great to stand the test of time including a comic book mural wall. Mentioned In This Episode: Melissa McGill Ballard Cabot Hook Sherwin Williams Dynamic Blue @rightmeetsleftinteriordesign Right Meets Left Interior Design Decorating Dilemma: The tile to the ceiling is one of our favorite tricks, so we are glad you did that, and your space already has incredible bones and structure! It looks like you already have an area for counter stools in the kitchen and a really great dining area, so maybe make the center section more of a seating area and snacking area. We would recommend a tight back bench so you don’t get the squishiness when you sit on it and you can have an upright feel. Check out our banquette sofas, and one that was skirted would add some softness with a classic dining table look. For a chandelier, something smaller and undersized that looked like a little jewel would be super cool. ____________________________________________________________________ Your pieces have great lines, and we do agree that the brown feels a bit heavy. The two head chairs with chartreuse cushions would be excellent as white, making the cushions pop even more. Check out the Ballard chair options here, If you do decide to go for print, pick a print where your accent color is that smallest color in that print. You will be surprised how the solid will pair with the print.  
Jul 28, 2020
Ep. 150: designer Marika Meyer
This week we welcome Designer and Artist Marika Meyer, who has a lot of advice about fabrics and rugs from creating and running her own firm, Marika Meyer Textiles. Marika discusses her style that mixes beautiful patterns, polished pieces, and rooms that can provide both beauty and space for young families. Marika also talks with us about how to keep a room looking elevated and gorgeous even when it is heavily used, the process of creating fabrics, and how she picks a color palette for her collection. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Trials and triumphs about the removal of both a cast and trees on the roof, some patio construction, repurposing a terrarium, and some creative fixes for lighting up a ceiling, Marika combined her love of business and data with art and photography when following a career in design and opening her own firm. Being a designer is a very personal business, so you better make sure you are into people before you choose this path! Our homes can be the background for great stories, and it’s okay to design a beautiful and edited space knowing it won’t stay perfect forever. Why the phrase “practical luxury and functional beauty” perfectly sums up Marika’s work. How to keep a room looking elevated and gorgeous using basics as the backdrop and the “little black dress” of the room. Ways we can design a room for purposefully for exactly how we plan to use it, how much we plan on entertaining, etc. More about the process of creating fabric from start to finish and taking a painting into a pattern. How Marika picks the color palette for her collection. The dirty little secret about her giant Palladian windows in a design house and how we can use Roman shades to add layers and hide mistakes. How we can use textiles, tones, different values, and colors to make a neutral room lively. Mentioned In This Episode: Ep #66: Andrew Cogar and Kristin Kong Ballard Suzanne Kasler Chairs Meyer Interiors Marika Meyer Textiles @marikameyersinc Decorating Dilemma: We love your thoroughness, and actually this is a lovely dilemma. First, if you were to move the eating area to the top of the L shape on the porch, you could take advantage of the more narrow space without sacrificing the light. One trick could be putting together two square tables to make a larger rectangle, and you could separate the tables and pull them apart if you need more distance. We agree that Option #1 could work, and it appears as if the view is nicer from the backside, so maximizing that view would also create a nice space to add in more seating to fill out that area, augmented by two sets of chairs on the existing porch that could be easily pulled in to the conversation area if needed. Some school house benches that also serves as a cocktail table could be fun and easily defined. The layering of texture is key, and we believe in you!  
Jul 21, 2020
Ep. 149: Cullman & Kravis designers Ellie Cullman and Sarah Ramsey
This week, we welcome Ellie Cullman and Sarah Ramsey of Cullman & Kravis Associates, one of the top design firms in the country known for providing the highest quality of design and personal service. They discuss how the firm was founded and rose to be one of the leaders in design, along with the inspiration behind their new book, From Classic To Contemporary. We talk with them about ways to infuse traditional interiors with a modern and liveable perspective, what to do when you don’t want to be formal in a larger space, and how to create an art collection that best showcases your emotions and unique style. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Ellie shares her great story of getting into design through a screenplay that didn’t go to well in a pitch meeting. The four ways to make a huge impact when creating a space that feels refreshed and flows seamlessly. All your art does not have to come from one specific time period or collection. You can have art reflect your individual taste and lead with emotions rather than what you think should be in the rooms. Why attending an art fair (once we can go to them again) is a great idea to find affordable yet meaningful pieces or even just an idea of what’s out there. Just like finding love, don’t commit to a certain design idea until you’ve looked around and “dated” a bunch of other ideas. If you are constantly seeing the same design ideas reflected back through your searches or Instagram algorithm pages, you can break out and try to embrace something new! Ellie and Sarah work with designers of all ages at Cullman & Kravis, and they find this to be a source of inspiration and fresh ideas. Ways we can create “lamp harmony” by adding uplighting, chandeliers, or even just changing an outdated light bulb or shade. The Hudson River home that exemplified how to arrange furniture in a large room that doesn’t need to be so formal. More about the Palm Beach project that portrayed beautiful accent walls and big colorful gestures. Mentioned In This Episode: Cullman & Kravis From Classic to Contemporary @cullmankravis American Folk Art Museum Kramer vs. Kramer Sotheby’s Decorating Dilemma: First, as a pet owner, we understand the comfort of wanting to have an indoor and outdoor rug. The technology is amazing these days, and you can get ones that look nice, like the Ballard Anders Indoor/Outdoor rug, that hopefully, your cat won’t destroy. You could paint the top of the table and get a pop of color that way, which allows you to get a 48” table and save some space. Your house is light and open, we love it! Good choice of neutral yet beautiful paint colors as well.  
Jul 14, 2020
Ep. 148: designer Jonathan Adler
This week we are joined by the wonderful, whimsical, and swagger filled Jonathan Adler. He talks with us about how he grew up on a tiny farm town in New Jersey and used his skills as a potter to see beyond just one path and create a huge and well-respected name in the industry as a designer, author, and personality. Jonathan shares how he got started in design, the inspiration behind the iconic Parker Hotel Palm Springs and Modern American Glamour style, why worrying about trends is a thing of the past, and why we shouldn’t be afraid to design with putting our most optimistic and bold foot forward. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Trials and triumphs including a whole lot of painting, Ikea basket storage, furniture placement, and office spruce up. Jonathan grew up in a tiny farm town in New Jersey and tried pottery when he was 12 at camp. He fell immediately in love with the art and knew he wanted to pursue it for his lifelong passion in a unique and inimitable way. Jonathan got studio space in SoHo by teaching classes and his atypical thinking kept him open to branching out towards all elements of design, including his friends’ home. Jonathan’s Modern American Glamourous style encourages people to reach beyond their limitations and preconceived style restrictions and get as funky and weird as they want. As a decorator, Jonathan feels like he is a slimming mirror for his clients, reflecting the best and most optimistic version of themselves. Why a neutral slate is a great place to start and build colorful and whimsical additions. Jonathan shares how he used timeless elements mixed with rustic modern and hippie aesthetic in the Parker Hotel, and what his process was behind the refresh. Why we can take more risks now more than ever with so many options being out there that trends are really just more about people picking what they personally like. Mentioned In This Episode: Jonathan Adler Jonathan’s Hilarious Timeline @jonathanadler Benjamin Moore Crushed Velvet New York Magazine Elle Decor Parker Palm Springs David Hicks Strand Book Store Decorating Dilemma: First off, this house is incredible and your staircase is amazing! What Jonathan would do is keep the floors and paint everything else white including the kitchen. Since it is a loft-like space, you will need to do some seating pavilions and pads. White walls and wood floors will bring a cohesive feel. We are loving the front doors! Marble would be lovely for the countertops.
Jul 07, 2020
Ep. 147: Dorm Room Decorating
We have two very exciting guests this week, Jennie Seward and Ann Mashburn. These two powerhouse designers just happened to have daughters that ended up rooming together as college freshmen and are now two peas in a very well decorated pod. Jennie and Ann talk with us about ways to maximize space in a small shared area, tips for making the most out of bed storage, and share a few of their favorite budget-friendly ideas for adding warmth and personality to a dorm. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Trials and triumphs about a broken femur, trip to Maine, a very heavy fountain, dripping faucets, and much more! How Jennie and Ann’s daughters ended up rooming together, and how these two peas in a pod get along. The difference between decorating a dorm room for a boy vs. a girl, and why the boys just may be happy with one loan Home Depot bucket. How Pinterest has changed dorm room decorating, and where Jenny and Ann and their daughter’s collected ideas for inspiration. All about the bed including bed skirts, maximizing storage, and reupholstered sidewalk headboard. How to keep spaces separate for sleeping and studying, even if space is an issue. Ideas to decorate the walls and not have them so bare without needing to spend too much money. Tell your kids you will buy everything once, so they know to keep good care of what they have! Our love for the touch kitchen faucet, and why it will change your life! Mentioned In This Episode: Jennie Seward | @jenniesewardco Ann Mashburn | Sid Mashburn | @annmashburn Casper Mattress Ikea Pinterest Garnet Hill Decorating Dilemma: We agree that you should paint the brick and the green should be painted a nice off white. Changing your hardware could really modernize your kitchen, and you can check out Ballard’s hardware for some inspiration. Add some great lighting such as a fabulous light fixture over the island. You may not need stools for the counter, and this will add space for one long bench without having people bump into each other.
Jun 30, 2020
Ep. 146: Dining Room Basics
This week it’s all about the dining room, kitchen, and fun seating options with our in-house expert Sara Stephen. Sara guides us through ways that we can use our existing dining room and kitchen furniture to maximize space, support the flow of a room, and create a consistent yet not too matchy look. We talk with Sara about how to choose a dining room table, what trends she is seeing in the world of kitchen and dining decor, why banquettes and benches are so hot right now, and whether you really need to sit next to your loved one at a party. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: What to look for a dining room table including size, shape, function, clean up ability, and seating size. Beautiful fabrics that are also easy to care for - they are out there! Sara explains which fabrics are great for families that have to deal with spills and messes way too often. How to know which chairs go with which tables, and it’s okay to mix and match! We can also have host and hostess chairs that stand out to break up the pattern and make it feel like less of a set. Place cards and seating orders can be fun if you are having a get together where the guests are feeling friendly and like leaving their dates for a few hours! Good rules to go by when picking out legs and finishes for your dining room table. Tips for picking out benches and banquettes for a narrow room, and how to pick dining benches that provide a great space but not too much like a conference room. How to get the perfect bar stool height, surface, and swivel. How Merchants at Ballard infuse their own personality and taste with the Ballard product line. Mentioned In This Episode: Ep #8 Stylist Natalie Nassar Ep #84 Susan Ferrier Ballard Designs Dining Room and Kitchen Barstools and Counter Stools
Jun 23, 2020
Ep. 145: designer Dana Wolter
In today’s episode, Birmingham, Alabama interior designer Dana Wolter joins the podcast to about how to create drama and edge in design, ways to use texture and layers to create softness, and the magic of drapery panels. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Trials and triumphs about the most traumatic power outage, new house plans, digital picture frames, adjusting to a longer working from home schedule, paint color testing, rose tips, and some fun basement renovation. Dana’s goal is to give her clients something custom, unique, long-lasting, and special to them. When using trendy pieces, she tends to pick items that are a lower price point so it’s not a huge loss to move along from them every few years. Dana gives some advice on creating drama and edge using different layers and textures. Just because a space is neutral, doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of depth and layering. When the architecture is strong, we need less drama in our design. Coming from a large family, Dana understands first hand how important it is to create a space that is comfortable and able to expand with any family needs. Dana’s take on how high up the wall art should go up to create balance and work with the scale of a room. Why we just love sconces so much not only to fill the room with light but add an element of drama and art. A pair of chaise lounge chairs in the living room can be a comfortable and inviting solution for more seating. Mentioned In This Episode: @danawolterinteriors Dana Wolter Interiors Traditional Home Spring 2020 Livable Home Ballard Designs IG TV William McClure Skylight Digital Picture Frame Decorating Dilemma: Congrats on your new home and you are so close! We need to find a way to ground the space in the dining area, and a banquette would add some weight. Check out the Coventry one that we have at Ballard. Add some sconces! We love the art on the credenza, placing a beautiful bowl with some books could add layers to your already wonderful foundation. We have an acrylic bar cart that would vibe with your modern yet traditional look, and this would bring in another fun texture.  
Jun 16, 2020
Ep. 144: designer Keita Turner
Our guest Keita Turner is a New York-based interior designer who talks with us about stepping out of your comfort zone, rules for hanging art, and ways you can find what works for you and blend it together in a seamlessly clean and interesting way. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Trials and triumphs featuring a beautiful painting with a floating frame, working without an office, the perfect place for a great houseplant, a water heater that won’t define us, How effective command hooks and organizational trays can be to keep our spaces free and clear. Keita shares how her background in mass-market fashion and high-pressure corporate work lead her to take classes and work for her mother in interior design. How Keita’s mother’s style inspired her own, and ways that they are different in their personal approach. How freelancing gave Keita the confidence to know that she could branch out on her own. Keita’s motto: “don’t be afraid to do things that frighten you.” Ways that we can mix things through travel and build a collection of pieces that are meaningful and beautiful to us personally. The balance of nudging clients to go a certain design route and honoring their vision to courage their collection in a way that works for their ultimate goals. The rules for hanging art, and what Keita continually sees people doing wrong! What makes a great art handler, and why you may want to work with one. How Keita is adapting to virtual presentations to still show the texture and composition of individual fabrics and swatches. Mentioned In This Episode: Picture @hotdudesreading @keitaturnerdesign Keita Turner Design Redd Kaihoi Ballard Designs IG TV Decorating Dilemma: This is a good looking room, and you have done a great job of pulling it together thus far. The recliner and antique table can’t occupy that space, but we like the recliner so don’t want to see it go! You could find cabinets with doors that provide cord management. Adding some art and accessories with some black could add texture and depth, and the blue from the painting could also be used in a buffalo check pillow or another way to pop some color in. Some small tables could provide a place for drinks, and a nice floor lamp will add more lighting options. You have great style, so just a few final tweaks and you are good!  
Jun 09, 2020
Ep. 143: antiques expert Tara Shaw
Antiques expert, designer, and author Tara Shaw joins the show to share her passion for antiques and how to decorate with them in our homes. She talks about sourcing antiques, steps for bringing beautiful pieces in our space, and the inspiration behind her new book Soul of the Home: Designing with Antiques. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Tara’s new book, Soul of the Home: Designing with Antiques ties in education about designing with antiques and explanations of how furniture that is both old and modern can work together. Take it from us, it will be the kind of book you want to bring out on a relaxing morning and savor with a cup of coffee. Tara’s amazing story of how she made the transition from antique importer to working on Harry Connik Jr.’s home in Connecticut, and how the experience of “doing it afraid” opened the door to take on new clients. How she went to school for education, worked in apparel, and ended up in antiques. What an exponent is, and why personal carvings are so special when shopping for the right antique piece. How Tara’s suggestion of purchasing one nice piece a year can really lead to an entire home of beautiful antiques after some time. Tara’s real confessions on what she keeps for herself, and how she decides just what items she can’t live without personally. Why Tara loves mid-century and how to effortlessly mix different styles of furniture. Why she buys mid century and its a good thing to mix with antiquity so it doesn’t feel stale. A glimpse into Tara’s process of shopping for antique items and bringing them home for her now sought after container parties. Start with one room and an anchor piece. Take a minute to find your voice and be fearless to execute it. How her love of canopy beds and hand forging them keeps artisans in New Orleans employed. Mentioned In This Episode: Tara Shaw Soul of the Home @tarashawdesign Matthew Carter Interiors Decorating Dilemma: We love that you encompass exactly what talk about in this episode - you know what you like and you are fearless about it! This room screams pink and green to Tara, a Palm Beach look that is congruent with the Lily Pulitzer type fabric. It would also look more bespoke if you found trim that you could trim your draperies with, and use a drapery hook with pointy edge rings instead of a clip. Some art that can thread the colors in together would be great, and we love the pink chair.  
May 26, 2020
Ep. 142: designer Sophie Donelson
We kick off this week talking about some possums and raccoons, flower power, and getting our storage until control. Then, we are joined with fabulous previous guest and design expert, speaker, consultant, and former editor of House Beautiful, Sophie Donelson. Sophie talks with us about her latest essay in the New York Times about why we don’t need our house to be perfect for Instagram, recommendations for picking out a paint color, and what life is like for Sophie in Montreal during this stay at home time. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Trials and triumphs about good ole neighbor Jim and his possums, labeling and storage containers, cottage cheese, and sentimental yard maintenance. More about the English and French decorating in Montreal, and the amazing views Sophie sees in her community. What are homes can do for us, and how we can have a loving and less combative conversation between ourselves and our homes. What lead Sophie and her husband to Montreal, and the pros and cons of living in a big city. The inspiration behind Sophie’s essay in The New York Times, “Self-Quarantine is No Time For An Instagram-ready Kitchen.” We have more flexibility and bandwidth to make our home comfy for our own needs, and not so much for the sake of it being pleasing or impressive to others. Sophie recommends experimenting with the design and flow of a room and reminds us we are not locked into one way of design in our homes. Get your one little perfect corner and you can branch out from there. It’s never all going to be perfect. The decision making behind her beautiful lavender walls. Why having a designated playroom and sleep room has been a life and sanity saver. Mentioned In This Episode: House Beautiful House & Home @sophiedow Sophie Donelson Self-Quarantine is No Time For An Instagram-ready Kitchen Big Books Small Talk Justina Blakeney Ikea Bunk Bed Decorating Dilemma: Caroline’s painter used oil because it’s harder and more durable than latex. You can get a beautiful finish with brushing, it is just labor-intensive. A semi-gloss will be easier to clean, and if you are getting it professionally done have them spray it and use oil. If you are capable, patient, and thorough enough to do it yourself - good for you! Luckily this plan is easy to put into action! Sophie would recommend going to the hardware store to find some aluminum pails with some pebbles on the bottom. The rug is so important to make it feel homey and to collect the space together to make it feel one vibe. We love the natural charm of the ceiling and we wouldn’t change it! Sophie’s favorite trick for a bedside table is to use a bracket because it can fit your phone and a glass of water. Plants could help up the comfort level, and vintage rugs that don’t necessarily match could look great and also elevate the room.  
May 19, 2020
Ep. 141: designer Suzanne Kasler
We kick off this week with some Trials and Triumphs about architects, puzzles, and house plans. Then, our beloved partner and award-winning interior designer Suzanne Kasler joins the show. Suzanne updates us on how she is personally dealing with way more time at home than usual, and the cool products and pieces we can expect from her new line with Ballard in terms of colors, textures, and accessories. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Some trials and triumphs on a new architecture endeavor, fancy house plans, puzzles, hoses, and a cool wardrobe idea for men. Suzanne collects what she likes as she travels and visits new places. We can pull our design from what inspires us and makes us feel the most connected to our home instead of having strict boundaries or rules. Suzanne explains why people are gravitating towards woven texture, and how to incorporate woven texture with other patterns and textiles in an elevated and timeless way. Our new summer collection with Suzanne features the classic and tried and true pieces, but also new fabrics, bright patterns, and items that will create a splash of fun and liveliness. Fashion and interior design can be very much interwoven, and some of Suzanne’s plaid pieces are inspired by the shirts from Christmas. Of course, Suzanne is making the most of her stay at home time, and she gives us ideas on easy ways to make big changes while our resources may be limited. Ideas on how we would use a divider screen in our house. How we can mix brown furniture in a light and bright room without making it feel heavy. Suzanne’s two favorite white paint colors, and how to know which one to choose for the specific function. A few of the new colors in the collection such as mandarin orange, and more about the cyclical timeless colors like blush. Mentioned In This Episode: Ballard - Suzanne Kasler Collection Link to Sweepstakes for $10k at Ballard and tour of Suzanne Kasler’s house Martha Stewart Charlotte Moss John Derian Hermes Benjamin Moore White Dove Benjamin Moore Simply White Decorating Dilemma: You have so much space and natural light already, so congrats on that! A few suggestions of ours would be to paint the brick white and buy a fireplace screen. If you don’t use the fireplace then adding some white birch logs could look great. If you wanted to add a divider screen that matches the linen on the bed, that could be a solution to your window/bed issue. The room could be a great place to relax and watch TV, so making it comfortable and functional would give you options for a retreat or just a temporary escape! In the fall, Suzanne will be expanding her Mathes collection, so check back in for some chaise options that would look great. Also, we love your wood floors! Suzanne recommends a neutral linen sofa, and you can add your color in through beautiful throws and pillows. That way you have a timeless couch, and you can change up your color scheme as you desire. The neutral linen sofa would also look great with the textures and tones in your room. We recommend moving the sofa so it is centered, and getting a bigger rug. Put the two end tables at each end of the sofa, and two lamps on them would bring an anchored feel to the room.
May 12, 2020
Ep. 140: designer Barrie Benson
Designer Barrie Benson joins the show to talk about how she creates spaces that are both super sophisticated and also lively and fun. She talks with us about how to start an art collection, why she thinks more Southern homes are embracing contemporary styles, and how to update that traditional chair with a modern fabric. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: How Barrie mixes fun and colorful with sophisticated and well thought out design. Why it’s important to really know your taste when working with a designer, and it’s okay to embrace if your taste is different or eclectic! Ways we can reinvent old family heirlooms or furniture and how just a fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference. It’s great to call a friend (or designer of course) to get a perspective and outside look at what you have going on in terms of your design. Barrie has seen more Southerners mixing traditional and stately with new and lively lately. Ways you can get involved in your local art community and get to really know your taste and palette for art. The more you are passionate about your house, the more you are proud and connected to it. How Barrie uses the 80/20 rule to plan out her rooms, but leave space for new and organic pieces. What toile wallpaper is, and how we can use it in a fun way. Barrie’s choice of performance fabric rugs that look great and also are durable and forgiving on wear and tear. Mentioned In This Episode: Barrie Benson @barriebenson Soco Gallery Sheila Bridges SONY
May 05, 2020
Ep. 139: designer Alexandra Kaehler
This week, Chicago designer Alexandra Kaehler chats with us about editing, when to know a room is finished, and how to make a meaningful antique feel chic. Alexandra also talks about her love of sourcing art, and how we can use art and wallpaper together in a way that works with the scale and intention of a room. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: Trials and triumphs including the obvious of working at home with young children, painting projects, outdoor lighting, and some moss-some yardwork. Alexandra talks about her own home being featured in Luxe Magazine, and how she went into it knowing that she had to take on her own space with the same detail oriented nature in which she works with her clients. Ways in which we can use traditional pieces mixed with the modern and chic to create a beautifully edited space. How Alexandra knows when the space she is working on is ready to be done, and why we can always go in and add more or change things around as time goes on. Alexandra sees less edited collections when working with her younger clients, however, creating a tradition of collecting a certain thing over a long period of time can be fun and add to the meaning of the decor. Ideas for taking an heirloom or antique and repurposing it make it feel chic and contemporary. Tips for working with brown furniture to make it feel chic and not outdated, and incorporating multiple wood finishes in one room. What to know when working with wallpaper according to the scale of the room. Alexandra loves the “grandma look” but mixes it with contemporary to make it feel fresh and clean. How Alexandra shops for her art and mixes it together in a room, and some suggestions on where to find great art that won’t break the bank. Using pillows for color and pattern in a room is an inexpensive way to add fun and experiment with different looks. Mentioned In This Episode: Alexandra Kaehler @alexkaehlerdesign Decorating Dilemma: By moving the sofa to a different area in the room you can open things up a lot. Alexandra envisions putting the sofa on the right side of the room up against the window and a pair of chairs on the other side with a bench for more seating. If you put your TV across from the couch, it will be off-center but will create a nice flow in the space. Adding some nice drapes could bring in more warmth and texture, and if you don’t use the blinds we suggest getting rid of them! It looks like your vibe is modern and simple so it could be an opportunity to add some color or black and white photography, but not pack the walls and overwhelm the already beautiful light space.  
Apr 28, 2020
Ep. 138: Skye Kirby Westcott Ballard’s Senior VP of Merchandising and Design
We’ve been waiting to get her on for a while, and this week we sit down with Skye Kirby Westcott, Ballard’s Senior VP of Merchandising and Design. She talks with us about her impressive tenure in design industry and how she seamlessly blends different styles. Skye also shares where she finds inspiration for new products and what trends she is excited to see come (and go) in the future and at Ballard. What You’ll Hear On This Episode Skye is responsible for much of the vision of Ballard, and she pulls her inspiration from many things including her travels around the world. She has an extensive background in design and merchandising and a love of interior design. Yes, it is possible to blend the eclectic and colorful with the modern and contemporary. Skye talks about the different styles within her homes in Atlanta, Connecticut, and even her “tree house” in LA. Skye’s time as an exchange student in Sweden introduced her to how the culture took time and thought to decorate their home, and she soon fell in love with their design style and IKEA. She talks about working for IKEA and how it still inspires her today. Skye gained a ton of experience from working on the team that developed the first Anthropologie store, and developed more skills while at Lillian August in New York. We can learn a lot from asking customers about what they don’t like. Tips for creating a card catalog of inspiration while traveling, and to have an eye out for art and design elements that you will forever appreciate from your travels. What product design trends Skye is looking forward to going away. Why Skye believes we should finish one room at a time to build our confidence and sense of accomplishment. Skye discusses where Ballard is headed visually, including the influence of Scandavidian design. Get excited for some color in upcoming Ballard bedding collections! Mentioned In This Episode: Skye Kirby Westcott Vern Episode @skykirbywestcott
Apr 21, 2020
Ep. 137: design firm Toledo Geller
Virginia and Jessica, who own the boutique design firm Toledo Geller, join the show this week. This design duo who were just named House Beautiful’s “New Wave Designers” talk about the interesting way they met, how their styles compliment one another, and a home should be designed to fit your lifestyle. What You’ll Hear On This Episode The intention behind the way they design spaces Yes, it is possible to meet your next business partner on Craigslist. Virginia and Jessica are perfect examples. How their different styles compliment each other Each of their signature design go-to’s when working on a project Why both women believe we can work around anything, and examples of how they found solutions in challenging times. Projects where they worked holistically and made sure the decor was perfectly trimmed and tailored to the space. Ways that we can work with the architecture and blueprint of the home to decorate it in a way that really brings out how it was meant to be presented. Why we shouldn’t be scared of everyday wear and tear because they are memories and part of experiencing life. More about Jessica’s New Jersey Home and the inspiration behind all the beautiful patterns and textures. How we make a room feel happy and joyous using colors and a play on patterns. Why Virginia and Jessica ask their clients what they wear when they entertain, and what the answer tells them about their clients. Mentioned In This Episode: Toledo Geller House Beautiful Casa Bohemia
Apr 14, 2020
Ep. 136: organizing expert Clara Schoen
Luxury home organizing expert Clara Schoen joins the show, to talk about what it takes to be a professional organizing expert, and gives her advice on how we can best use this time to get our home tidy and streamlined. Clara also talks about how we can get our family excited and onboard for organizing, how to get through the sentimental part of throwing things away, and what products she finds the most helpful as an organization investment. What You’ll Hear On This Episode How one gets into the organizing space in the first place, and how it’s different than organizing for yourself. Why labeling things really does help you save time, and how to get your family onboard (and maybe even excited?!) about labeling. What organization products Clara feels is worth the investment, and where we can save money. Clara’s advice on organizing things that can create clutter such as junk drawer items, extra pens, and chords. Organizing can be an emotional or sentimental practice, so how to feel better about ditching things you really won’t use. How to get things looking clean and uniform, and where we spend small amounts of money to have everything looking streamlined. How Clara folds clothes, and tips for getting our closets under control and storing handbags. Great ways to organize sentimental items that the kids create, and why it’s okay to not keep everything they bring home from school. How we store and file away our important papers, so that they are easy to find and clearly labeled. Great tip: stores will load paint for you in your car, so you don’t even have to go in the store! Mentioned In This Episode: The Home Organized @thehomeorganized_ Ballard Desk Organizers Decorating Dilemma: It’s all about thinking big! A 36 inch round skirted table that fits your own vibe with a big round ceramic lamp would look great. Feel free to buy larger things, like big artwork, as you have a good amount of space to fill. This will add height and presence to the room. We also bet your friend Taryn may paint something for you, if you ask nicely! Some modular seating that flow around the room could work to add more seating, and you do have the space for it. The color of the headboard depends on how much light comes in the room, and how much you want to create a little cocoon feeling in the room. We like a color called Urbane Bronze, so check it out and see if it would work for you. Also, deep purple or green would go great. Think about getting bigger lamps, with something big and exaggerated with drama and pizazz.
Apr 07, 2020
Ep. 135: bonus Trials & Triumph episode
We are back with a bonus episode, filling you in on exactly what we’ve been up to at home, and sharing our successes and challenges during this time. Whether it’s family cocktail hour or more time with the family, we are definitely finding a silver lining in this time. We also share what we’ve been ordering online, how to decorate using things already inside your home, and which of us is wearing high heels with our athleisure. What You’ll Hear On This Episode: The ways we are passing the time - planting flowers, creating yummy meals, online shopping, tackling long term projects, and a lot of home decorating! How we are all keeping our sanity by creating a functional home office and sacred space to have some alone time in. Even just cleaning a nook once a day will give you a good sense of control and accomplishment. What parts of our home we are just upgrading, and which ones we are completely reorganizing. How we are staying sane with our partners and family being around 24/7. Cute ways to make arrangements or centerpieces on the dining room table using what you already have in the house. How this time is making us appreciate our homes even more and the effort we put in to making the little details nice and enjoyable. The plans we have coming up to make our homes and outside spaces even better. What are are ordering online, tackling our to do list one by one. Yes, yoga pants really are that comfortable during this time, but it also feels good to slap on some mascara and brush the hair every now and then. Mentioned In This Episode: Gallery Easel
Apr 02, 2020
Ep. 134: designer Rachel Cannon
Interior Designer Rachel Cannon is a self described Loudmouth Introvert, hence why this is the title of her new podcast. She returns to the show to discuss exactly what a loudmouth introvert is, the importance of having a quiet room or space in the house, and why introverts need a space like this for their rest and rejuvenation. Rachel gives some tips on setting up a quiet space and how we can begin right away with our schedules now being pointed more towards home. What You’ll Hear On This Episode What a “Loudmouth Introvert” means to Rachel, and why our assumptions about introvert and extrovert aren’t always right. How the Loudmouth Introvert podcast was born, and the epiphany she had that the more she designed her show for introverts like herself, the more traction the episodes got. The importance of introverts being able to have a quiet room and space to recharge themselves and take care of their mental health. There are no design rules when it comes to a quiet room, just a separate space that is soothing and comforting. What features Rachel designed in her quiet room that serve to provide relaxation and deep focus. Tips for setting up a successful work from home space, which we all need as we stay home for the next several months. Yes, we do have a “Zen Den” at Ballard where employees can go in and have a quiet moment themselves. Mentioned In This Episode: Rachel Cannon Loudmouth Introvert @rclinteriors Saturday Style with Karen Profita Myers Carpet Decorating Dilemma: What a beautiful room! It’s really about filling it up with texture and getting the right proportion down. We feel as though getting some decorative Birch logs in there would look beautiful and add some raw texture to fill up the room. Since the room is so large, you could probably keep the rug and get a big natural fiber rug underneath it, and when you are ready, get a larger couch. Some drapes and a bigger rug would also help fill up the room. Thank you and be sure to send us the after photos!  
Mar 31, 2020
Ep. 133: homeschooling expert and supermom Erika Ward
While we are inside and schools are closed for the time being, we thought an episode on homeschooling could be helpful. This week, we welcome Erika Ward, owner of Erika Ward Interiors, based in Atlanta, Georgia. As a mother of 5 who homeschooled her children through their education, this supermom has great advice for us on how to create a space that welcomes both fun and learning, what sort of things we can do to transform our home into a homeschooling space, and ways we can keep our home beautiful with our kids running around full time inside of them. What You’ll Hear On this Episode Why Erika decided to homeschool her kids, and how it helped her raise them in a way that was aligned with her values. How to schedule better so that you allow for learning, play, and fun. Ways to create spaces so that kids don’t feel trapped, but they also don’t feel too comfortable. How Erika transformed her home using tables and chairs to set exact spaces for learning, but also provided an area for her kids to get up, move around, and do the work they need to. Lunch and snack time can be a challenging area for homeschooling parents, and Erika explains her winning strategy. Hot tip for keeping the house looking great with little ones around full time - put all the beautiful things in spaces and crevices they can’t reach. Ways that we can get our kids to be accountable and tidy up in their playroom. Tips for designing a space that can stay functional and is worth the investment. Mentioned In This Episode: Erika Ward #5: Erika Ward #89: Traci Zeller
Mar 24, 2020
Ep. 132: event planners Laura Maddox and Sara Parker
The planning and event duo Laura Maddox and Sara Parker, who started and run Magnolia Celebrates, join the show to talk about their vast experience in events. Laura and Sara share how event planning mixes with design, the home decor they are seeing used in events, and all you need to know about registries. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Laura and Sara’s combined experience of working both as an Executive Assistant to a CEO and planning over 2,000 events. How we can plan smaller events such as a baby shower and have it be just as beautiful and memorable as a huge one. How to curate a theme and weave in personalized decor and keep it elegant instead of cheesy. What things we can think about to combine both beautiful decor and a comfortable guest experience. If there is an alternative to flowers, and what other home decor items Laura and Sara see currently at events. Registries — what you should pick and how, what you shouldn’t pick, and how we all feel about going off the registry to purchase your gift. Who puts their China in the dishwasher, and why. How to set the lighting and mood at an event, why this can make or break the night, and why it’s crucial to use a dimmer. Mentioned In This Episode: Magnolia Celebrates BallardDesignsRegistry Decorating Dilemma: We suggest making things a tad less busy by taking the dark green from the wall paper and implementing it also on the vanity, molding and crown. Add a more modern light fixture, along with some cool abstract art and acrylic frames. If you could install a toilet paper holder on the side of your vanity, that will help declutter. Update your faucet and hardware, and take it from Taryn — you can get a pretty sweet one for$40!
Mar 17, 2020
Ep. 131: Dilemma Blitz with Tanya
We’ve had so many of your wonderful Decorating Dilemma’s come in that we wanted to do a special episode focused just on them. To join us, we welcome Tanya from the Designs Solutions team to answer your questions including topics on how to emphasize existing cool architecture, what the cantaloupe rule is and why you may want to follow it, what paint colors Tanya recommends for certain looks, and her advice on how to decorate for young active kids when you know they will want a fresh start in a short time. Decorating Dilemma: We think a huge full bodied floor mirror would look great on the wall, and you can even get the kind that has a shelf down the middle for extra display options for a tiny entry such as this one. For inspiration, check out our Hollen Entryway Mirror. Add some bright pieces of art. A demi-lune can also be a great solution in a tight space, so you can display items but not have the corners clipping your hips as you walk by. You can add 3 or 4 sconces, and grouping of long pendants with lights on dimmers could look beautiful as you are going down the stairs. Get something that is glass, instead of full metal. Caroline painted it gray using a Benjamin Moore Metropolitan Gray high gloss enamel, which was actually the color of 2019! Make sure your painter does the ceiling before the grass cloth, so you have a tidier finish. In terms of storage, smaller modular pieces that are seperated would be a great solution for you. Check out these acrylic frame ideas that you can attach artwork to and easily change out. A nice plaid with the navy walls could look great, and check out our friend Brian Patrick Flynn for inspiration on how to use bold patterns and colors, and big geometrical shapes to give a clean but masculine feel. Since they will be playing a ton in the rooms, it really all comes down to concealed storage. This is already a beautiful room, and we love your style, so great job! You know how much we love dimmers, so this could add even more lighting options. As you walk into the room, something open and not heavy will break up and help visually. Don’t feel bad about poking a hole in the rug to run your wires, and we love that you layered these rugs too. A new sofa, and a little round table with some cool ottoman stools could be beautiful. Check out our Banquettes for some fun options, which will also serve to warm up your room too. Paint the brick white to create a uniform look, so at least visually it appears more cohesive. You can paint it the same tone and do it in a higher gloss finish with an eggshell that is the same tone, but get that area evened out. Center the mirror over the firebox, and you may want to employ the “cantaloupe rule”, where you edit down items to have fewer but bigger accessories. We have styling guides for shelves and this can help you minimize and pull off a fresh look.   Mentioned In This Episode: Ballard Designs Design Solutions Miles Redd Bunny Williams's gray ceiling trick Hollen Entry Mirror
Mar 10, 2020
Ep. 130: designer Lauren Lowe
Lauren Lowe of Lauren Elaine Interiors in Atlanta joins the show to talk about her unique perspective from moving from the world of commercial design to residential. Lauren discusses her style which highlights the classic and adds a timeless Southern twist. She also talks with us about her new home, rules of thumb for creating seating a room with a limited layout, and her use of both masculine and feminine textiles. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: More about Lauren’s new home including a sneak peek of some of her personal favorite choices for decor. Why she sold an open concept home for a major fixer upper that was half the square footage. What didn’t make the cut including gaudy and the quirky, and how we can know what looks good as old and antique, and what we may want to part with. What she liked about the house structurally, and what things she changed. How the right paint color can make a big difference, and why you want to pay attention to painting the crown, door and ceiling. What the learning curve was like for Lauren to go from commercial to residential, and ways her commercial background has helped her residential projects. How to get seating in a room that has a limited layout. Why the silhouette and style of a sofa can make a big impact. Yes, it’s possible to have a beautiful home even with active kids and a playroom filled with toys, and in fact it’s even more important to have a beautiful house when you have children. Lauren walks through how she picks textiles and explains how we can make different patterns work together seamlessly. How to have success using prints that are both masculine and feminine. Mentioned In This Episode: Atlanta Home and Lifestyles @laurenelaineinteriors Lauren Elaine Interiors
Mar 03, 2020
Ep. 129: design duo Lathem Gordon and Cate Dunning
Design duo Lathem Gordon and Cate Dunning from GordonDunning join the show this week to talk about their Atlanta based boutique interior design firm. GordonDunning was recently named House Beautiful’s Next Wave Designers, and we totally understand why. Lathem and Cate works with their clients to honor the story of the house, and this team has a knack for creating beauty in working both with the new and old. Lathem and Cate also chat with us about not worrying if you’ll get tired of a decision, how to use sectionals properly, and why things need to actually be comfortable instead of just looking that way. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Lathem and Cate are very simpatico, but they do share what they disagree on including lights, and toilet paper display! What each of their go to’s are in terms of design and decor, and the inspiration behind them. What it was like to be named as House Beautiful’s Next Wave Designers. What things we should be hanging on to for antique purposes, and what relics we may be better off parting with. How their company GordingDunning works with clients to tell the story of the home, and weave it in with how they want their present and future to look. Ways that we can bring the spirit of an old home into a new house. A few examples of projects in their portfolio where the style ranged from playful and cheerful, mature and refined, to classic and southern. Let’s not make decisions based on fear that we will get sick of it! We are more likely to like our choices for a longer term when we finish it completely instead of stopping midway. What frames can make a house look more textured and charming, and how to bring proportion and scale into your frame choices. Things don’t need to look comfortable, they need to be comfortable. Mentioned In This Episode: House Beautiful Lux Magazine Gordon Dunning @gordondunning Decorating Dilemma Good for you for taking a risk, first of all! Your plan sounds like a good one, but it’s not the only option. There are multiple ways to tackle, and it really comes down to your budget and which one works best for you. We like the French Door idea towards the living room, and love your idea of closing the off arch to close off your office. You could do built in bookcases on the wall, and do something with the mill work to make the offset french door make sense. Since there is a lot of height, there’s an opportunity.  
Feb 25, 2020
Ep. 128: floral expert Scott Shepherd
Scott Shepherd has worked in the floral industry for 27 years, and as the host of the very popular podcast The Flower Podcast, he is the go to guy on all things floral. He shares his expertise to talk with us about how we can tell if a flower is fresh, what goes behind the cost of flowers, how we can utilize our local farmer’s markets, and tricks and tips to keep our flowers fresher and more beautiful for even longer! What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Trials and triumphs on a romantic rosemary hedge, Ninja air fryers and crispers, important dermatologist news, growing plants from seeds, and some drapery workarounds. More about Scott’s podcast The Flower Podcast, and some of the super cool takeaways he has from interviewing people all over the world in the flower industry. How social media has affected the flower industry, and what we now expect from our florals. What it’s really like to work in a flower shop when you have high volume clients mixed with individual personalized orders. How Scott and his team find flowers, and how he finds brokers and importers for rare yet important flowers such as autumn eucalyptus. The most popular flowers and greenery for both high end and affordable weddings. What really goes behind the cost of purchasing flowers from a florist, including transportation, inspection, and details you may not have thought of that adds to the expense. A step by step method of what to do should we buy flowers from our local grocery store to keep them fresh and beautiful for as long as possible. Why hydrangeas are Scott’s favorite flower, and the lowdown on how we should actually cut them. Why we use floral film, and how to use it properly. How we know what type of vase to use with our flowers. Mentioned In This Episode: Ninja Air Fryer Floret The Flower Podcast Faith Flowers Reeves Syndicate Sales Decorating Dilemma If you are open to moving the tables, flanking them with matching lamps and botanicals with a large print on either side would add both symmetry and drama. If you paint the banister black, that could look fresh and modern! ______________________________________ You may want to move the console to where the TV is, and put the little leggy chair under the TV, push it all closer together and that way it opens it up for comfortable seating and opens up the options to make the room appear even bigger. Buy yourself those great chairs that you love, or at least start making a plan using our room planner tool!
Feb 18, 2020
Ep. 127: Lighting Basics
This week, we switched it up to take a deep dive into lighting with Ballard lighting experts Valerie and Roger. They answer all our lighting questions including, how many light sources we actually need, the rules for wattage and color that can help us get the best brightness and not waste money, and why light fixtures are like the jewelry of a home. They also give their personal picks for the type of lighting that works best in a space, share rules for using shades and finding the right lamp height, and common mistakes we make that can make a huge difference in creating a simple yet beautiful mood in a room. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Valerie handles the “pretty” part of lighting at Ballard, and Roger hands the technical. How Valerie and Roger work together to make things both as functional and aesthetically pleasing as possible, and what a day in their work life looks like. How we know if a room is under lit, and if there is a thing as too much lighting in a room. The rules of thumb for hanging lights at different levels, and the most important rules of can lights. Why we shouldn’t rely on one fixture such as a chandelier to be our main source of light. The many different ways light bulbs can make or break a room, what exactly wattage is and how we are paying for it, and how to know which LED colors to pick. Why Roger loves incandescent lighting, and how we can use the Kelvin temperature scale on the Ballard website to better understand which type of bulb to pick. What a humming sound inside our bulbs means, and what we can do about it. How to check to see if a light meets your “CBD” needs - Color, Brightness, and Dimmable. Pleated, paper, and printed textures are in, so bring those shades on! How to best match the lamp with the appropriate piece of furniture, and how to know what height and width works best for picking lamps. What makes some lamps more expensive than others, and how to get the right deal when paying for a lamp. If we should or should not put shades and chandeliers, and the rules surrounding it regarding functionality. The true confessions of how often we really clean our ceiling fans. Mentioned In This Episode: Ballard Designs Lighting YouTube.Com/BallardDesigns Ep 122: Tom Scheerer
Feb 11, 2020
Ep. 126: designer Kevin O’Gara
Design blogger Kevin O’Gara joins the show this week to discuss the inspiration and background behind his traditional yet youthful style. Kevin is a rising superstar in the world of design, and talks about his blog Thou Swell, the inspiration behind his new maze inspired rug collection, and what trends he is most excited. Kevin also talks with us about using contrast and color in both traditional and modern, how he took his design skill to his very own dorm room, and what it was like working with Suzanne Kasler. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Trials and triumphs including water leaks (yes, a new one!), garbage disposals, and why you should leave it to the professionals to do the fixing. Also, a search for the perfect lamp, the Margot Slubby Velvet Quilt, and finding the right box that is both beautiful and functional. Kevin has always found ways to turn things he is interested in into a business or entrepreneurial venture. He started his blog, Thou Swell, in high school, and mixed his interest in design, photography, and graphics. Kevin’s design style is rooted in classics with a playful twist. He grew up with traditional design, but found balance between that and modern while spending time on Pinterest and blogs, What it was like for Kevin to work in Suzanne Kasler’s office, and the biggest things he learned throughout his experience. Some do’s and don’t of wallpaper that Kevin has learned, including accent walls and how to get over the feeling of intimidation when starting with a blank slate. Kevin’s rug collection, and how the color choice was inspired by nature. The Invitation Homes show house that has been one of Kevin’s favorite projects, where he got to be playful and step out of his comfort zone. Why working on tiny spaces such as a dorm room has been one of Kevin’s most fun challenges and how they are a great creative experience. Kevin’s biggest tip: focus on textiles and invest in comfortable bed linens and lots of throw pillows and blankets. How Kevin’s blog name “Thou Swell” mirrors the traditional and modern aspects of his design. Mentioned In This Episode: Kevin O’Gara | @kevinfrancisdesign Kevin Francis Design Thou Swell Double Gourd Lamp Margot Slubby Quilt Suzanne Kasler Ep #115 with Tammy Connor
Feb 04, 2020
Ep. 125: Carson and Thom are back!
Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia, Emmy winning style makers, designers, and stars of the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy join the show this week. These super fun and successful men answer some of our burning questions including who their design idols are, what has been the bargain of a lifetime, and the last time they got starstruck. Thom and Carson both give an update on what’s next for them professionally, and we chat about design and lifestyle at any budget! What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Trials and triumphs about Staghorn ferns, old doors, a tricky IKEA bookcase and some heavy duty man cave organization Thom Filicia Inc. is one of today’s most influential and respected interior design firms. Hear more about their projects including residential, hospitality, and commercial Carson’s upcoming appearances on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Couched on The Design Network How we can let our interior design reflect our authentic story, and create a home that feels both personal and chic Thom and Carson’s design idols, and the last book they each read More about Thom’s Home Collection, featuring wall covering, furniture, drapery and much more The story of how Thom modernized a family heirloom painting in his New York place The best bargains of their lifetime, from cars to accessories and just how dedicated they are about getting that great deal
Jan 28, 2020
Ep. 124: designer Jade Joyner
Atlanta based designer Jade Joyner joins the show this week to talk about Metal + Petal, the full service interior design firm that she and her husband own and operate. Jade talks with us about working with both residential and commercial clients, including Alpha Phi sorority and the Golden Pantry Market. We hear the inspiration behind Jade’s use of bold yet tasteful patterns and textures, and why she believes sometimes less is more. Jade also gives her advice on where to splurge and where to save, why she loves a good console table, and designing living rooms and kitchens for big families. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Trials and triumphs about a beautiful but powerless dinner, new chairs, Dawn detergent as a secret weapon, and an unwanted foot bath. Where Jade developed an eye for the bold and sculptural pieces we see on her blog and social media. Jade’s use of unique silhouettes to create interest in a room. Jade’s work with the Alpha Phi sorority to renovate a historic home into a residence for the group of young women. Hear how Jade worked to marry the old with the new, but still kept the integrity of the home. Why Jade suggests carrying some aspect of a room’s color all throughout the house, whether it is in an accent piece, paint color, or accessory. Don’t be afraid to edit. Jade reminds us that often, less is more. Some of Jade’s tips for using custom tables and sofas in living rooms, and why a great sofa that stands the test of time is one of her top items to splurge on. Hear why Jade loves a beautiful console table, and quite frankly — we agree! Our realization that ranches may be the next big dream home. They are spacious, more affordable, and offer things traditional houses may not. What projects Jade has now, including the Golden Pantry Market where she works with local artisans based in Athens. Behind the scenes of what really goes through a designer’s mind when their home is part of a photoshoot or magazine spread. Mentioned In This Episode: Metal and Petal Metal and Petal Blog @metalandpetal Pier1 Candles Dorothy Draper Rebecca Atwood Decorating Dilemma Hi there, and thank you for writing! We would suggest taking off the top panels of the trim, and adding some molding around the ceiling to help finish the room. We love the sconce, but we may switch them out for even bigger ones on the outside. Adding some mirrors in the room would add reflection and provide more texture and interest. Feel free to check out our selection at Ballard! Also, painting the area all one color may help it all blend together. Keep us updated! ______________________________________________________________________ You have a great base, and are a good portion of the way there! Here are the main edits we would make: get bigger art above the sofa, and Jade would love to see some floor lamps on either side of the sofa. Add panels on the windows on either side of the sofa, keep the bamboo shades. A large mirror could add some variation in heights. A bold drapery pattern or some wild pillow patterns could be a great way to add some color without having to make major adjustments. Check out some of the drapery and pillows on Jade’s page.  
Jan 21, 2020
Ep. 123: designer Brian Patrick Flynn
This week, Brian Patrick Flynn joins us to talk about his career path as a TV producer turned designer, now working on HGTV Dream Home and Urban Oasis. Brian combines his talents as a producer, writer, personality, and designer to create content, change lives, and bring a “it’s okay to not be perfect” vibe to design. Brian also talks with us about the TBS hit series Movie & a Makeover, his Icelandic getaway home, his own production company, Flynnside Out Productions, and his bucket list wedding in Antarctica. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Brian’s first dream may have been to be an Art Director on MTV’s The Real World, but life had even bigger and better plans. More about how Brian worked his way to HGTV Dream Home and Urban Oasis. Brian’s Instagram is one of our favorites because of his beautiful production quality and storytelling on the photos and stories. Brian shares the amazing story of getting married in Antarctica, including seals, glaciers, and almost an avalanche. How Brian fell in love with Iceland so much that he decided to purchase space in a Historic Row Flat there, and why he loves the country so much. Tips for making a room comfortable for both men and women, and embracing what Brian refers to as the “soft masculine” of design. The first step to being perfect is deciding it’s perfectly okay to not be. When we embrace our uniqueness and flaws, we realize the character that makes our space beautiful. Brian’s dream celebrity to work with - and we all agree. Where Brian would splurge and be bold such as art and window treatments, and why he tends to stay classic when it comes to sofas. Brian’s home in Georgia, and what it’s like to own a home in the mountains. Why Brian loves a good piece of furniture used out of context, to keep things fresh and playful. Mentioned In This Episode: @bpatrickflynn HGTV Dream Home | Urban Oasis Flynnside Out Productions Melanie Turner Kacey Musgraves Amy Osaba House Hunters International Tina Fey Sally King Benedict Decorating Dilemma Thank you for writing, and we love the bed that you have - that Karen designed! We would recommend anchoring the room with a clear glass lamp that has a simple white shade on it. Add a metal or painted chest next to the bedroom, either in gray or something bold and unexpected. Brian suggests moving the full-length mirror to the window with the wall on it, and adding some art where the dark wooden chest is. Brian likes the idea of taking the dark brown tall boy and putting that below the TV, and putting the TV on the wall. Honor the color of the rug by putting some of the color on the wall, and the rug should go perpendicular to the bed instead of coming out like a runway.
Jan 14, 2020
Ep. 122: designer Tom Scheerer
This week, New York based designer Tom Scheerer joins the show to talk about his background practicing architectural and interior design since 1985. Tom talks about his new book, More Decorating, and the inspiration behind the projects that display his sophisticated yet relaxed style. We also discuss incorporating more light and air into design, areas that we are okay to splurge and save, and why showering with your plants may not be the worst idea yet. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: More about Tom’s books, More Decorating, which came out in September of 2019, and Tom Scheerer Decorates, 2013. More about each of Tom’s six properties, and why each of them are special to him in their different ways. How Tom gets a strong picture in his mind early on when taking on a new project. Situations where Tom used found objects and works of art already existing inside the clients home. We pick Tom’s brain on using big sconces, communal headboards, and matching dressers to the wall art. Tom explains his own stylistic choices for his first New York apartment, and how it has differed from his other homes. How Tom picks inexpensive items, including IKEA chairs, and where he prefers to work with objects that are fine and stand the test of time. What Tom means when he says that he can sometimes like artists more than he likes work of art. Why Tom loves using tulip tables, and some ways they can elevate a space to give it a sturdy softness. The use of bold color in Tom’s Paris apartment, and ways that we can both use bold colors and have neutrals and beige work for us. Tom’s getaway Bahamian home that was featured in such publications as Architectural Digest. Mentioned In This Episode: @tomscheerer More Decorating Tom Scheerer Ballard Designs Wembley Chair Isabel O’Neil Mrs. Delany The Shade Store Ikea Decorating Dilemma We like what you have going on, and feel that it may be nice to forego the upper cabinets, and instead make it a feature wall. We like the idea of tiling the wall all the way to the ceiling. Think about using a bamboo window shade, and have it rest just below the window. Tom suggests that getting some light closer to the link would brighten up the room quite a bit, possibly two library lights may work. Also check out some LED panels that give the illusion of sunlight, and can also make the room much brighter and give it an uplifted feel. As far as the window, we wouldn’t cover it up because we like it as a focal point! ____________________________________________________________- We love seeing how y’all make your rentals cool, and looks way better than the rental containers that we felt we were living in! Pick two of your favorite things, such as pieces of driftwood or maybe a couple stacks of books meaningful to you. When you stack them horizontally, it will both create a nice space and give the eye a point to look at. Tom suggests doing some research on all the things you can do with a staple gun and stair runner.
Jan 07, 2020
Ep. Bonus: designer Maggie Griffin answers dilemmas
Welcome to our special holiday bonus episode, to wrap up the year and answer all your remaining questions! Thank you so much for all the letters, inquiries, and fun over the past year and we look forward to answering even more questions in the New Year. We are joined by designer Maggie Griffin to help answer your questions, you may remember Maggie from a previous episode, and winning our special “Best Instagram To Follow” award. We answer questions from all types of dilemmas in this episode, including creating rooms that feel modern yet established, using upholstery to get more texture, how to spruce up a guest room, and tips to win when mixing contemporary with classic. Mentioned In This Episode: Ballard Designs Maggie Griffin Design @maggiegriffindesign Tammy Connor The Shade Room Decorating Dilemma Lisa. Hi Lisa! It depends more on the feel you want to create for the room, but a leather ottoman is always a great place to start. It looks great and is easy to clean. You don’t want all bold patterns in the room, so make sure you balance out all the patterns and use different colors, shapes, and designs. There is nothing better than a velvet sofa, but a silk velvet sofa is hard to take care of and prevent stains! Kerry. Kerry, you may be able to tell how excited we are about your space due to our photoshopped plan for you that was already sent back! Next, a giant piece of art over the sofa would look great, and moving the secretary hutch will help fill the room and counterbalance the built-in and the fireplace with the TV on it. We think splitting the silhouette of your four children to flank the window will add some symmetry. A beautiful gray rug would cover the carpet and make it cozier. Maggie suggests adding a chandelier, maybe something modern or funky! Becky. Thank you Becky, and wow, what a nice space! So, an 8 foot wide sofa would give you plenty of room to walk around, and a console table with some lamps behind the sofa would be lovely. A chair in the corner to the right of the fireplace would give another nook to sit and read, or just enjoy a cup of coffee. Lauren. Maggie loves wallpaper, but thinks it could be so fun to paint the room one color. It would give you a soothing look that would match your table and chairs. She would put a cushion and some pillows in the window, and a big area rug to give the room some texture. We also suggest a bigger and more modern chandelier hung 32-34 inches from the table top for more romantic light. Three chairs on each side would give great seating options but also give you ample room on the sides. Check out Ballard’s acrylic shelves, and if you want plate inspiration check out Maggie’s Instagram. Shawn. A sofa with a taller back and large side table with floor to ceiling drapery would give this beautiful historical home what it needs! We recommend a new rug and even going a little riskier with the accessories and colors you use! The name of the game here is chunky lamps and big side tables. Painting your built in is not a deal breaker, but can be really fun. Check out the Kenneth Pleated Drum Shade Chandelier! Julie. We first wanted to give some suggestions about your drapery! The rod pocket is dating it a bit, and a ring would be easier to move back and forth. Maddie mentions that adding a bamboo shade behind the bed would be easy to open and close. To find a seamstress that you love, try fabric stores, a dry cleaner, or just good old word of mouth. We do feel as though the lamps are a bit small, and a rectangular shade can look great. A mirror on either side of the window would be beautiful and reflect light. In terms of color, off white or cream would give it a clean and cozy look.
Jan 02, 2020
Ep. 121: designer Vern Yip
Designer Vern Yip returns to the show to tell us about his new book, Vacation at Home and gives us insight into 18 special steps to create your everyday getaway inside your home. He talks about why we feel so relaxed on vacation and in luxury environments, and how we can start to foster that in our homes with a foundation that helps us live the way we want, and takes things off our “to do” list permanently. Vern also shares how he keeps his personal home so beautiful with kids and over 500 lbs of dogs, why fewer but bigger may be better, and a few suggestions for picking out a color scheme that will work best for your home. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Vern Yip is back to talk about his new book Vacation at Home, but first, we must give a special nod to his book Design Wise that won the podcast’s award for “Best Design Book”. A special quick mindfulness practice to gain clarity on how to visualize a space that gives you that feeling of rest and regeneration. Some great ideas on decluttering, storing mail, and deciding what things should stay or go. A few of Vern’s 18 primary rules to creating a home that feels as though you are on vacation. Why we breakdown things in terms of things we love, things we need, and where exactly that thing will go. The beauty of refreshing your environment and rotating things out, even including bedroom art. What Vern means when he says “designing for a focal point” to create a view and give the eyes a rest. Yes, it’s possible to take things permanently off your to-do list. Vern explains how organic components and great planning can assist in this mission. Symmetry is your friend, and Vern shares some things you can do to implement a sense of organization and balance. Why we will never go longer than a week before washing our hand towels!! How Vern set a few easy rules and guidelines for his children to follow to keep the home neat and free of toys scattered about. Mentioned In This Episode: Vern Yip @vernyip Vacation at Home Marie Kondo Decorating Dilemma First off, wow. What a beautiful home with an amazing view. We suggest working with spacing first. You can use our Room Planning Tool to put in the dimensions of your room (and even your furniture!) and figure all of it out before you start purchasing things. After that, Vern agrees that the walls should be a lighter color than the ceiling. To create a feeling of expansion and openness. ______________________________________________________________________ Vern thinks this is a great room in terms of windows. We do think, however, that the cut out is making it less symmetrical, so just something to consider. Vern mentions that you can possibly edit your furniture and take off some of the open shelving. Second, when you decide to put window treatments, take the curtain rod all the way up and have your treatments go under the crown to the floor. This will increase the perception of volume in the room. Don’t be afraid of a contrast color, and when it comes time to choose your wall color, Vern suggests having a couple ideas up on the wall, and take down the ones you don’t like until you are left with two or three. Then, you can get sample pots and see how they perform before you make a single choice.  
Dec 31, 2019
Ep. 120: textile designer Lisa Fine
Textile designer Lisa Fine joins the show this week to talk about how she got into textile design, the path that unfolded after a trip to India, and the top things we should know when working with textiles. Lisa also shares the inspiration behind her new book, Near & Far, and wisdom she has inherited from starting and running her own business. This episode will also support that there is beauty in imperfection, and if you love something you can find a place for it in your home. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: How Lisa got into textile design, and why she feels it is such a crucial piece to having a home that is both stylish and comfortable. The travels to India that got Lisa even more passionate about textiles, and also what she loves so much about Persian textiles. A few twists and turns that occurred while Lisa was growing her own business, and how she took them as learning lessons to get even better. Why Lisa loves a hand-printed linen so much, and how it creates a natural yet custom made look. Beauty is in imperfection, so embrace the flaws and know it’s okay to not have things perfectly perfect! Lisa works in homes that range from grand and opulent to refined and simple. Hear how she makes things work for each particular space. Lisa believes if you love something, you can find a place for it in your home. Why we are here for the trend of using one particular pattern to the point where it becomes a neutral. Slipcovers can be a great way to give your couch shape and a streamlined look, but there are certain things you need to know when using them. Mentioned In This Episode: Lisa Fine Textiles Near & Far @lisafinetextiles Richard Keith Langham Wine Away The Frame TV Decorating Dilemma First, Lisa loves that you want a lot of seating areas, and this space is great for entertaining already! It also seems like putting the dining room near the kitchen would work well, and we either vote for a round table to welcome a break from the square, or put the dining room table in front of the fireplace where the sofa is. Maybe the length of the sofa goes perpendicular to the fireplace, and put the two chairs across from it. A slip to cover the chairs would be a great way to match the sofa and have a theme carry across the room. We would love to sit in front of the fireplace too, so feel free to get creative with your seating in front of it! _________________________________________ We think it’s brilliant the way you have used tape to outline where everything will go, so good use of understanding proportion already! We are okay with the TV in front of the fireplace, and just suggest bringing in more round shapes in your bookshelf accessories to add some softness to the room.
Dec 24, 2019
Ep. 119: designer Lisa Furey
Interior Designer Lisa Furey joins the show to talk about keeping neutrals chic yet interesting, her award-winning luxury boutique firm, Lisa Furey Interiors in Philadelphia, and how she fell in love with her Palmetto Bluff vacation home. Lisa shares how she went from a career as a divorce lawyer, her passion for the “bricks and sticks” aspect of design and building, and her approach to creating beautiful and practical homes that are just as livable as they are beautiful. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Trials and Triumphs featuring misbehaving bats, ruthless bin cleaning, leaf blowers, and delegating out Christmas light tasks. Tips on ribbons and accessories that are both kid-proof and beautiful for the holidays. Real talk on where everyone stands on ornaments as Christmas gifts. How Lisa’s core business is Lisa Furey Interiors in Philadelphia on the mainline, but she also does work in Georgia and South Carolina. More about Lisa’s projects including the Beach Cottage in South Carolina, the main house in Palmetto Bluff, and her own personal home featuring an upside-down design of the living room upstairs with floating stairs. How Lisa fell in love so much with Palmetto Bluff that she came home and purchased a loft for her personal use. More about the original cottage that people loved so much that it led her to a carriage house, and then a main house. Fun fact: Lisa was a divorce lawyer before a designer and actually attended two colleges at once. Lisa describes her style as minimal with an emphasis and natural and simple. She enjoys using clean lines and nice materials that create a relaxed and welcoming feel. Why Lisa loves using woven pieces to give spaces an organic look. A glimpse into the process from when Lisa decides to work with a client to working with them on a large renovation, remodel, or building from the ground up. Some risks Lisa has taken recently in her own home and work, including some fun blue cabinets and an upside down home. What similarities and differences Lisa sees between working in Philadelphia and the South. While we do love some photos of your cute pets, we are all for editing and trimming out the unnecessary parts within a room. Tips for matching appliances, and how to use different shades of the same color with it still looking clean and cohesive. Mentioned In This Episode: Ballard Designs Ornaments Lisa Furey @lisafureyinteriors Beautiful Kitchen and Baths Palmetto Bluff Marie Kondo Sunset Villanova Harcum College GE Cafe Hartwell Sofa Decorating Dilemma Congrats on your place! Lisa would cover up the gray tile with as much rug as she could using natural fiber rugs. She recommends two, maybe an indoor / outdoor version to kid proof them, and if you are looking for more color you can put a prettier rug on top. A pendant light would bring the ceiling down, and make it feel a bit more comfortable and welcoming. If you do the bar stools, one option would be to get the saddle ones without backs, so that you can tuck the stools under the table for easy storage. Instead of a mirror above the fireplace, Lisa suggests a wreath or tobacco baskets with two candle sconces on either side. She would also have the layout of the space be: kitchen on one side, fireplace in the middle, and built in on the other side to elevate and bring in a sense of balance.
Dec 17, 2019
Ep. 118: designer Madeline Stuart
Celebrated Los Angeles Designer Madeline Stuart joins the show today. Madeline talks about her new book, No Place Like Home and a more inside look at some of the articles and photographs featured in the book. She also talks with us about the research that goes into a new project, her passion for both design and architecture, reinventing the wheel with each home, her love of vintage lighting, and the design elements she goes back to time and time again. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: The design process behind her Madeline’s new book, No Place Like Home, and why it’s a great read along with the beautiful photos. Madeline’s passion for incorporating difference influences to create a cohesive story in each home. Madeline’s collaborative process (sometimes!) when working with a client, in order to get them to feel that they have the space to really express their design desires. Why Madeline loves some good vintage lighting, and some impressive lighting stats on a few of the larger homes she has worked with. How Madeline also draws much of her design inspiration from the architecture and general form of the house to create a space that fits together. Even in the fanciest homes, furniture should be something that guests can sit, relax, and feel comfortable in. Examples of moments where Madeline scaled back the accessories and objects for a photoshoot, rather than try to stuff it with decor. What Madeline refers to as the “mosh pit approach” to decorating. What to do when your house style doesn’t match your decorating style. The wide range of Madeline’s projects including Hispano Moresque in La Jolla, Streamline Moderne in Los Angeles, and Spanish Revival in Santa Monica. Mentioned In This Episode: Madeline Stuart Interiors @madelinedstuart No Place Like Home Georgia O’Keefe Elle Decor Mabel Dodge Luhan Decorating Dilemma Madeline recommends hiring a professional, who you can work with on layout, proportion, scale and much more. Also, find examples of spaces that have a neutral background, and you can begin to get ideas on using items such as textured rugs and vintage finds to add value to a bland space. Just because you may not like the outside doesn’t mean you can’t create an inside that totally fits your style!
Dec 10, 2019
Ep. 117: designer Janie Molster
Janie Molster, Interior Designer in the Richmond, Virginia area, is known for her fun and light-hearted designs, mixing the beautiful with the well-choreographed messy. She joins the show this week to talk about her love of pink, decorating for the holidays, and why we don’t always have to go with the traditional red and green. We also all talk about decorating with comfort in mind first, when twin beds may be the way to go and creating symmetry that is pleasing to the eye. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: More about Janie’s style, recently described as “pretty, happy, and layered.” To some, it may look like it’s done with abandon, but really it is choreographed with a ton of thought. The juxtaposition between the old and new in a home, and Janie’s suggestion that people mix and match objects they most love together even if it’s different style-wise. Janie’s top tree decorating tips including ribbon, colors, and not worrying about blending homemade with fancy. Janie’s love of pink since she was little, and ways we can create a Christmas-y feel without having to be tied to the traditional red and green. What a story about Disney cartoons with hairy arms has to do with design! New idea: Christmas trees that come with a remote? When twin beds and be engaging and pleasing, especially for people like Janie who do a lot of hosting. Why she loves pairs to create symmetry that is pleasing to the eye, and constantly recycling and swapping items from room to room. Janie explains her love of an upholstered headboard and gives some unique design thoughts on using them to spruce and liven up a room. Mentioned In This Episode: Janie Molster Designs @JanieMolsterDesigns House Beautiful “In Defense of Twins” Decorating Dilemma If your budget allows, Janie loves your idea of wallpaper. She would not only wallpaper the walls, but the ceilings as well, wrapping front to back. A stripe or vertical pattern can be really fun, and you can run it up the eaves vertically and across on top to create a cabana tent effect. The funky trimmed doors are so fun and filled with personality, and they could be so fun to accent as well. Great job and we are very impressed by you! One final note: Janie also thought having a custom headboard made could be really cool to get the feel of an arched headboard. __________________________________________________________________ If there is room on the other end of the sofa, a chair could go nicely there. Janie recommends creating two seating arrangements: one that is oriented to the TV and the other one under the windows. If you layered a room size rug and your current rug on top, it could hide a little of the asymmetry. If you are looking to fill up some wall space, more artwork or mirrors can look great — and only get a bookshelf if you are really needing space for more books! Our final thought is that adding some drapery could be great for adding some softness to the room.
Dec 03, 2019
Ep. 116: designer Timothy Corrigan
This week we start off by talking about holiday decorating with some tree talk and gift wrapping strategy. Then, we welcome the great Timothy Corrigan to talk about his chateau addiction, his signature style described as “comfortably elegant”, and his new book The New Elegance. Timothy believes our home is the place to bring out our best selves, elegance doesn’t always have to take a lot of effort to achieve, and there is nothing better than mixing styles and quality. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Trials on a broken Sunbrella storage ottoman, and triumphs on appreciating a beautiful fall day in a great home, toy organization, and a valance using Ballard hardware. What Timothy means when he says elegance is misunderstood, and how it can transcend any style. More about Timothy’s new book The New Elegance - a great read that shares the stories of homes in which he has defined a new contemporary elegance. Ways we can include classic design principles in our busy life. If you are comfortable in your home, everyone has a better experience. Research shows that when you like your environment, you are healthier. Why Timothy believes we don’t have to always trade-off beauty for comfort, and the liveability aspect of our design is so important to the overall experience. Timothy was working in advertising in New York then moved to Europe at the age of 30, and it opened up his eyes to the world of beauty and design. When Timothy became an auction addict, and why he views it as a great opportunity to learn and gain information on the history of pieces. Timothy’s love of chateaus and his detailing of how people live in them and update them to meet their modern needs in his book An Invitation to Chateau du Grand-Luce. Design is about learning, exploring and then figuring out how to do it yourself to meet your scale and proportion. Tim explains why color very much shapes the way you experience a room. How to know what to respect the integrity of the home, yet also update the architecture to reflect the function and style of what you may need today. Surround yourself with things you love, and feel free to mix and match from colors, accessories, and furniture that speak to you. The primary types of symmetry, and how understanding them can help us design in a way that compliments and highlight proportion and space. Mentioned In This Episode: Timothy Corrigan Books @timothycorrigan Decorating Dilemma Hello Denmark! The views outside your windows are so dreamy. To Tim, the biggest issue is starting to create some separation between the living and dining area. He would recommend a rug under the sofa and chairs in the living area, to ground it and make it feel more cozy and comfortable. Next, if you put a sofa table behind it with objects (or table lamps) to subtly divide space and open it up in an interesting way to make it feel even bigger. Also, some softening to the space will make it feel more inviting. As far as your dining space, a longer oval or rectangle table anchored horizontally could work very well. ----------------------------------------------------- You can move the banquette back a foot up against one day, which would tremendously open the space up. This is a perfect example that we don’t have to be a slave to our home. We like the chairs you have, and think the combination as it is looks sweet and pretty. Window treatments are important to make you feel safe and protect your privacy, so go ahead and put some curtains in.  
Nov 26, 2019
Ep. 115: designer Tammy Connor
Interior Designer Tammy Connor’s goal is to make hard work look easy and to focus on implementing more about what her clients really love vs. what’s in trend for the moment. Tammy joins the show this week to talk about her signature style of real, livable homes, how she ended up going from working in Alabama to Atlanta, and why rules really are meant to be broken when it comes to design. Tammy also talks about her projects including The Sword Gate House in Charleston, her Seaside Cottage, and Sewanee Cabin. You’ll also hear Tammy’s tricks of the trade to creating the perfect “man room”, and yes - it involves leather. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Tammy’s goal is to help her clients make their home look less perfect, and more like they just have great taste and have collected beloved pieces over time. Trends may come and go, but a believable color scheme and authentic use of a home will always stay in vogue. Tammy feels we must know the rules before we break them, and you can follow what you love rather than jumping on every latest trend. The advice Tammy would give to young entrepreneurs from opening up her own business at 25, and what she may do differently if she had a second chance. Tammy loves working with people on their first home, but by the time they get to their second or third, the wheels are already set in motion and they trust her vision much more. More about her first client, The Sword Gate House in Charleston, and how she landed the chance to work on this historically significant home. The differing approach Tammy had for projects such as a Central Park Apartment, her Showhouses, and the Historic Hunting Pavilion. Why it’s important to have a thread throughout rooms that both ties them together and gives our eyes a place to rest. Ways Tammy uses proportion and 3d to work with small and large spaces that can have challenging spacial issues. Neutral upholstery can serve to highlight other objects and put the focus on other things in the room. Mentioned In This Episode: Tammy Connor Interior Design Historic Hunting Plantation @tammyconnor Sewanee Cabin Decorating Dilemma Two things you can do. You can keep the red brick and paint the rest of the trim to match the windows and doors. Or, if you wanted to do a whitewash on the brick and paint the trim green instead of blue. A good green is...wait for it... Charleston Green! We love what you have done so far, and you are really stepping up that ranch!  
Nov 19, 2019
Ep. 114: designer Jennifer Nanni
This week we welcome Jennifer Nanni, owner of Rittenhouse Home in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Jennifer talks about how her hobby in design and a naturally great eye for spaces turned into a sought after business with critical acclaim in Luxury Interior Design. Jennifer talks about the kitchen being the hub and heart of a home, what trends she is seeing in kitchens and living rooms currently, and designing for aesthetic meeting the needs of form and function. Jennifer shares her personal design loves, what finishes and materials she is using heavily now, and how she manages to have a white living room sofa with five children. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Trials regarding some expensive drawer upgrades, and squirrels vs. a cutting garden. Triumphs of gaining a whole new wardrobe when you Marie Kondo it up, pleated shower curtains, and what cayenne pepper has to do with a successful bird feeder. Jennifer’s business started as a hobby and she was always a purveyor of beautiful things with an eye for design. Jennifer is Italian, and she feels the heart of every home is in the kitchen. She discusses what she loves about electronics in kitchens, and how they help us become better cooks. More about the use of gold finish in kitchens, and how it can go with our existing brass and metal. How we can glam up a kitchen using seating, hardware, lighting, and certain backsplashes. Ways we can carry the glam from our kitchen to a living room using subtle accents and shine. Not everything needs to be matchy-matchy, and Jennifer is a big proponent of integrating personal style instead of transient trends. What Jennifer’s personal kitchen looks like, and how she created it to function for her children ranging from 3 to 14 years old. The “magic” fabrics that have us not worrying too much about our rugs and sofas. Why rug pads in the nursery are a great idea. How Jennifer takes risks with her design, including creative closet solutions, tile, and colors. More about Jennifer’s showroom, and how it showcases how she can work in different mediums but still tie in a beautiful space together. What wattage is best for different lights, and what brightness we use in the bedroom. Walk-in showers are awesome, but we are still loving a tub in the home as well! Mentioned In This Episode: Ikea Hackers Renee’s Garden Rittenhouse Home Jennifer Nanni’s Instagram Dacor Victoria + Albert Lauren Liess Emily Henderson Decorating Dilemma We love how vibrant your teal is! Check out Benjamin Moore Classic or Nimbus Gray. They will be in the same color tone as your teal. _________________ You can do one lamp on each nightstand, and a taller one on the dresser. Another option would be to get the remote so you can turn on all the lights as soon as you walk in. Add some surfaces in the room, and fill them with some lamps and light and you will be in a great position!  
Nov 12, 2019
Ep. 113: designer Susan Sully
This week, we welcome best selling author of over 18 books, Susan Sully. She tells us all about Southern Hospitality At Home, her new book that details the inspiration behind the art of finding joy and generosity in hospitality. Susan talks about what surprised her most about the history of Southern homes and hospitality in her research for the book, the importance of a welcoming entrance hall, why the door was almost always open in the South and her go to tips for entertaining at home. We also talk about dining room etiquette including the rules on lighting candles, ways we can update tradition, and incorporating high/low into your entertaining. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Trials regarding a cool Ballard lamp, a Prosciutto haunted hand, and failed kitchen outlets. Triumphs of rediscovering the right way to use a fan, a killer centerpiece, and new dining table. Why Susan thinks that hospitality and comfort have remained so ingrained in Southern culture. Why old Southern houses work with the climate to encourage an environment of fun times and great parties. Why porches were arranged on the side in Charleston, and the difference between a porch, Side piazza, and gallery. No matter how big or small the entrance way in a home, do something to make it welcoming. The hilarious story of how cheese straws and the bald eagle are both a thing. Some of Susan’s must-haves for decorating including cloth napkins, beautiful place cards, comfortable chairs, things that gleam and glimmer, and how to get ahead of the game by setting the table the night before. The etiquette around lighting candles, and ways we can update tradition with boldly colored candlesticks and candle holders. What we need in our guest rooms to make our special visitors feel appreciated and welcomed. Mentioned In This Episode: Susan Sully books Susan Sully @susan.sully Southern Hospitality At Home Devon Lamps Blair Bench Mrs. Whaley’s Garden University of Georgia Erika Powell Florida Water The Charleston Silver Lady Decorating Dilemma Susan loves the idea of a wicker bar cart with you changing out flowers or greenery. She said a polypropylene runner to put along the front of your house, to soften up the floor and bring color. You can paint the bar cart a color to go with it. We love the idea of having that table next to your door, with plants on it to add some depth and color. ___________________________________________________________________ One of Susan’s mottos is “there is no problem that a good curtain can’t fix”, but here it can be dramatic and make it feel like a pavillion. Her advice is a very long curtain rod with two panels on either side all the way down the floor. Susan also throws out that two curtain rods with two panels on either side and treating them on individual windows may work really well too. We also throw in the idea of Roman shades, to help add softness.
Nov 05, 2019
Ep. 112: designer Jennie Seward
Interior Designer Jennie Seward began her career as a colorist and designer of fabric and wall coverings. Jennie shares how she managed to fall in love with surface design, and with the help of a few side hustles, worked her way up to opening her company Jennie Seward Interior Design. Jennie also talks about her love for color, her custom decoupage lamps and decorative accessories, and her passion for designing beautiful wall coverings and fabrics. We also talk about the importance of paying attention to the exterior when designing as well, what goes behind her “Traditional With a Twist” style, and where Jennie recommends we save vs. splurge. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Trials regarding a fractured tibia, mother in laws, and a lesson in entertaining with silver spoons and hot dishes. Triumphs about the Final Cut outlet, new sofas, and a power audit to help bring down the electricity bill. Also, a discovery about a cordless serving heating warming tray — thanks genius listener Sharon! Jennie describes her style as “Traditional with a Twist”, and loves working with a variety of clients and projects. Jennie was always either designing rooms or upgrading her fort as a child. She has a natural talent to take a space and bring it to a new level of beauty. Good things happen when you go above and beyond your job, and say “yes” to side hustles that move you further in your dream. Jennie works for her clients to create an interior that feels fresh but includes any important historical objects they are holding on to from their family. Jennie is a fan of wallpaper, and sees how it adds so much to freshen up a room. Where to splurge on beautiful fabrics such as wallpaper, and where to save, like seagrass and sisal rugs. Why Jennie recommends buying the ugliest house on the best block, and the importance of both interior and exterior for curb appeal. Great design is not about the price you pay, but rather the choices you make. As you are going through a project, always be open to make sure the next step is the right decision. Mentioned In This Episode: Final Cut Cuisinart Warming Tray Syracuse University Schumacher Designs Charlotte Moss Hartwell Sofa Duran Jennie Seward @jenniesewardco Mathes sofa Suzanne Kasler Decorating Dilemma You either need to paint or reupholster your sofa. We don’t know the size of the room, but we are thinking painting might be easier. Jennie is already on the hunt for a fabric that will pull it together, and check out some Ballard custom drapery. If you love your gray wall and don’t want to paint, consider a new sofa! If you don’t like your sofa, don’t waste any resources trying to match it until you can purchase one that you love! _________________________________________________________________ Maybe a Person table would work, since it’s neutral we have a lot of options such as a marble top and chair with fabrics to help with the hard surfaces. A round table works best in a square room. Think of it as a conscious contrast rather than a near match to be intentionally different.  
Oct 29, 2019
Ep. 111: designer Betsey Mosby
Betsey Mosby, interior designer and owner of Betsey Moby Interior Design, pairs the contemporary with the tried and true to create spaces that are traditional with a twist. We caught Betsey while she was in Atlanta on a new client project and talked with her about using pieces you already love and how she helps clients develop a space where they can live their life comfortably. What You’ll Hear on This Episode: Trials regarding a hornet’s nest, a NYC apartment fire, and a not so hidden garbage can. Triumphs on some great Target Anniversary purchases, new living room love and nice looking melamine plates. Betsey works with clients to use what they already love, and to add new furniture and accessories that will stand the test of time. Betsey is all about helping clients develop a space where they can live comfortably in an environment that suits their particular lifestyle. Betsey took an unconventional path to design, but her background as a CPA helped her in the business and entrepreneurial side of things. Your best advertisement is your last client. When Betsey starts a room at a showhouse, it is her to her truest form. Why a good power wash can have performance furniture and rugs looking just like new. Embrace where you are at every stage of design. We can make our own rules when it comes to creating new places for guests to sit and be comfortable while entertaining. Hanging art on the headboard is a new way to make the space interesting. Monograms are a way to add a classy touch to soft goods such as towels and linens. Betsey’s use of lattice in a room to create a warm yet polished look. More about the Southern Idea Living Showhouse. Mentioned In This Episode: Betsey Mosby John Derian Vesper Martini Table Pinterest Sunbrella Hatchimals @betseymosby Southern Living Idea House
Oct 22, 2019
Ep. 110: stylist and editor Eddie Ross
Jack of all trades, Eddie Ross is a stylist, author, editor, trained chef, decorator, and thrift store addict. We visited his production studio and event space Maximalist Studios to sit down with him and talk entertaining, his house renovation, and much more.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
  • The historic renovation of Eddie’s Edgewood Hall, and how they brought it back to life. 
  • Eddie’s addiction to thrift stores, and how he stores all his precious finds in his prop house and photo studio.
  • More about Eddie’s new book Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style with Chic & Accessible Finds
  • A home should have a sense of things collected overtime to give the space a personal feel.
  • How to know when to thrift, and when not to thrift. 
  • How Eddie made his Butler Pantry dreams come true and made the best use of a small space. 
  • What’s in his summer flower drawer, and what a berry spoon is. 
  • Some of Eddie’s seasonal tips to spruce things up and make things feel lighter in the summer and cozier in the winter. 
  • A behind the scenes look of shooting for House Beautiful, and how it gave Eddie time to really decorate the space and make sure everything felt authentic. 
  • People that are friends with designers — please still have us over! We promise not to judge, and just want to escape our home every now and then. 
  • What a celery vase is, and why it’s everything. 
  • Buffet etiquette including how to navigate the assembly line to maximize time and space. 
  • Why “inspiration” on social media can sometimes stress us out, and what to do about it. 
  • Some delicious dishes to serve for a party of 20 or fewer guests. Ice cream sandwich station, anyone? 
  • Eddie’s entertaining stock kit: cutting board, footed board, cake plate in two sizes, celery glass, low bowl, pitcher, ice bucket, ice scoop, and linen cocktail napkins. 
  • Wash and iron your cocktail napkins. You will take great pleasure in the steam. 
Mentioned In This Episode:
HouseBeautiful | EdgewoodHall
Eddie RossModern Mix
Better Homes & Gardens
Bunny Williams
Herman Wendell
Angie Hranowsky

Oct 15, 2019
Ep. 109: designer Barbara Balongue

Designer Barbara Balongue specializes in hospitality design — restaurants, bars, and boutique hotels. We loved chatting with her about the intricacies of restaurant design, how it impacts our dining experience, and everything those goes into building out a gorgeous venue. She blew our minds with all of the details we’ve never even thought about!

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • The challenges with restaurant design
  • Why you can take a bigger risk in restaurant design than you might at home
  • Why booths are great and why they’re great to use in residential spaces as well
  • The science and psychology of restaurant design
  • We talk about restaurants that haven’t used designers and a client of Barbara’s who was blown away by how interior design changed his bottom line
  • New trends in restaurant design
  • How Barbara chooses color in her projects
  • Restaurant noise — how to combat it and why its an after thought
  • Why people covet the ‘hotel feel’ when they’re designing their own homes
  • Bathroom lighting and everything you need in your guest room








Oct 08, 2019
Ep. 108: realtor Haven Duddy

Haven Duddy is the founder of Main Line Haven and works with her team to do it all - from buying and selling, construction and renovation, to staging and interior design. She joins the show this week to talk about why it’s totally okay to embrace your style changing, how she came to start a business that offers a full-service experience in the real estate and design world, and simple things that make big changes in design and renovation.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Haven’s husband worked in construction, and they combined forces to create Main Live Haven, helping people through whatever process they are in. 
  • When someone employes Haven to buy or sell real estate, they also get 4 hours of professional interior design service. 
  • Philadelphia has a more traditional housing style, and many of Haven’s clients will make changes throughout the years to reflect a more modern and present look. 
  • What you love today, you may not love in 10 years. Your style will change, so embrace it! 
  • What people get hung up on that they shouldn’t, and simple things that make big changes such as new lighting, updated toilets, glazing tile, and painting cabinets. 
  • Living in the house may give you a great idea of the functional way you want to design it. 
  • Common mistakes people make when they are renovating a home or looking to design it from scratch. 
  • The gals varied thoughts on open floor plans and the trends Haven is seeing with her clients. 
  • When you are selling your home, less is more, so get ready for some garage sales! 
  • The weirdest thing Haven has seen in someone’s house. 
  • The staging of science and general rules we should keep in mind when getting the most for our home. 
Oct 01, 2019
Ep. 107: designer Kimberly Barr
Kimberly Barr is an Interior Designer in the Philadelphia area and is known for her youthful, put-together style. We talk about her love for antiques, not having strict rules, and how we can mix patterns and pieces in a way that brings a modern, fresh look to the traditional. We also get into some pillow talk, where in design you can have fun, and how it’s possible to design family friendly yet elegant spaces.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Kimberly’s inspiration behind mixing the traditional with a twist of elegant and modern. 
  • More about Kimberly’s company, Kimberly Barr Interior Design, and how she tends to work with clients from the beginning until completion. 
  • Kimberly’s love of working in Philadelphia because it allows her to bring a current feel to old stone homes and mill work within traditional homes. 
  • Ways we can mix fabrics without being over the top. 
  • Some good rules of thumb for mixing things that may not go together. 
  • How many pillows on a sofa is too many, and how to best store pillows instead of just throwing them on the ground! 
  • Kimberly may keep her master bedroom all white, but also knows how to design for families, knowing that a space needs to be livable and kid friendly. 
  • What a triple pleat is, and why it adds a crisp sophistication to drapery. 
  • The price range for working in custom fabrics, and how to know if it’s the right choice for you. 
  • When wallpaper is appropriate, and if Kimberly thinks the trend is here to stay. 
  • Art and sconces are great opportunities to have some fun and mix it up in a traditional home. 
  • Kimberly’s grandma owned an antique store, so her childhood was spent oohing and ahhing over the best antiques. 
  • Every situation is different, if you have rules you may be missing an opportunity. 
Sep 24, 2019
Ep. 106: designer Naomi Stein
Naomi Stein of Design Manifest joins the show this week to share how working with her contractor father gave her an eye for design and a purpose to help others make their lives more functional. We talk about making a room light, bright and comfortable, the big mistakes we tend to overlook in kitchen design, and hacks for small spaces. She also talks about finding that middle balance between your dream and your budget, and things people should look out for when working with an interior designer.
What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Naomi worked with her father for 12 years which helped her knowledge of working in high-end homes, and honed her skills for taking her clients to the next level. 
  • Common mistakes we tend to make including layout, form, and function
  • What Naomi doesn’t want to see in a kitchen, and what appliances she thinks is okay
  • Ideas for storing trash bins in a sleek yet recognizable space, and ideas for housing composting and recycling containers inside a kitchen. 
  • Naomi’s best hacks using Ikea cubbies, and what she learned from renovating her own small space, or “twin” as they call it in Philadelphia. 
  • A large part of Naomi’s success is the fact that she is very aware with both the artistic vision of a project, along with the realistic overview about budget and what it will take to get it practically aligned. 
  • What works when mixing finishes in a kitchen
  • Where it’s easiest to take risks in the kitchen, and personal examples Naomi has worked with either in her professional life or in her own personal renovations. 
  • What to do with outlets! Do we color them, do we have USB outlets, lamps with USB options, etc!
Sep 17, 2019
Ep. 105: "The Trim Queen" Jana Phipps
"The Trim Queen" Jana Phipps stops by the show to tell us all about trims, fringes, tapes, and everything embellishments. She a world-renowned expert and advocate for embellishments and we talk about everything you want to know about the history of trims, how it's changed in the last few decades, how to use them, and how Jana became an expert in the topic. It's a fun conversation you won't want to miss!

What You'll Hear on The Show:

-Jana's background in trim and how she got her nickname 'the Trim Queen'
-How we should be using trims in our homes and why they're so valuable
-A little history of embellishments and where in the world they're made now
-Her Venice experiential tour that's she planning
-How designing trims differs from designing a fabric
-We talk about trends in the trim world
-Exciting collaborations happening in the world
-How to get the most bang for your buck with a trim
Sep 10, 2019
Ep. 104: editor Margot Shaw is back
Flower Magazine editor Margot Shaw is back to talk about her new book Living Floral, why we should all be using our 'good stuff,' how to entertain graciously at home, and much more.


-Margot tells us a little bit about her background
-We talk about her new book Living Floral and why she wrote it
-Why Margot finds the people behind the work so interesting
-How the Flower Magazine readership and mission has grown (organically!)
-We talk entertaining and everything you should know about it
-Flower's mission is to help people live graciously at home indoors and out
-Margot's passion is about inspiring the next generation
-Why you're never to young to start entertaining and learning to host a party
-Why you should use your 'good stuff'
-Mixing high and low pieces on your table and why it makes for a more beautiful table
-Margot tells us a story about entertaining for celebrated designer Charlotte Moss and why she was so nervous about her table and flower arrangement
-Why you shouldn't be intimidated to host your friends
-What is 'tole' and why does Margot love it
-Margot's go-to arrangements
-Why simple can be just as beautiful as an elaborate arrangement
-Margot tells us about what's trending in the world of floral design
-Why setting a beautiful table shows your guests that you care
-We discuss the merits of placecards and why planning your seating is important

- What we used for our terrariums: Berakna vase, river rocks, pink quartz rockjade pebbles
- Dutch Flower Line
- Cut Flower Wholesale
- Living Floral by Rizzoli
- B Brooks Fine Flower
- Flower Magazine

Sep 03, 2019
Ep. 103: designer Amanda Lindroth

Designer Amanda Lindroth joined us all the way from the Bahamas to chat with us about her home collection, book, her interior design work, and all of the joys (and difficulties) of decorating homes in your favorite vacation spots. We even talk about the Dunmore Hotel where she used our upholstery pieces. You'll be shocked to hear all that goes into maintaining this beautiful property!

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Trials of towels hanging on display where they don’t need to be, soapy stoves, crazy sinks and backordered rugs.

  • Triumphs over a beautiful blue outdoor rug, sink and special chair finds.

  • Amanda would have been a designer sooner if she knew that was a viable option!

  • Amanda grew up living in a house with perfect mathematical scale, and that taught her about proportion right off the bat.

  • What it was like for Amanda to grow up in South Florida in the 1970’s, and how it influenced her design now in the Bahamas.

  • What people look for when decorating on an island home and resort. Warning — this will make you want to go on vacation ASAP!

  • Amanada was intentional with learning about color, and studied it in a serious and motivated fashion.

  • Why Amanda loves a pink wall, and it can be a neutral to go with everything.

  • Why decorating for people’s second and third homes can often be easier, but they still may get sticker shock when it comes to tax and duties of the island!

  • How Amanda navigates doing business in so many locations, and having a team all over the world.

  • Setting a tone for using timeless antiques with a modern and contemporary touch.

  • The places to spend money and really invest in great quality pieces, and what areas we can super glue it all together.

  • Amanda’s thrift shop mentality suites life in the Bahamas well, and it’s not easy to replace things so she pays attention to every single thing she brings in and how she can reuse and recycle.

  • Amanda’s book, Island Hopping, that takes us everywhere from Antigua to Cranberry Island.

  • What we can expect next from the Amanda Lindroth product line, including lighting in early 2010.

Aug 27, 2019
Ep. 102: designer Susan Jamieson

Susan Jamieson, award-winning interior designer out of Richmond, VA, joins the show to talk about her brand Bridget Beari, her new line of wallpapers, and how her Southern upbringing gave her a foundation for the warm and imaginative style we see today. Susan also talks about the importance of knowing the mood you are trying to create, why we shouldn’t be afraid to use different whites, and her effective and practical steps of mixing patterns together.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Trials of a $600+ power bill, boxwood hedge trimmers, and a broken dishwasher.

  • Triumphs of outsourcing yard work, an outdoor bench, and dish towel upgrades.

  • How Susan’s business Bridget Beari has expanded from design to home furnishings to paint and wallpaper.

  • Wallpaper is having a major moment, and Susan gives her thoughts on why it’s here to stay and not something to be afraid of.

  • Susan’s line takes the guesswork of picking the right color for the client’s specific design and needs.

  • Susan loves pushing boundaries and making each project unique to the client based on their taste and the architecture.

  • How growing up in the south affected her taste and gave her a foundation of working in a Southern style with warmth and hospitality.

  • How to use texture and contrast when working without color, and why it’s okay to not match whites.

  • Why neutrals can sometimes be harder to work with than color, and the three main things to think about before you should even pick the color.

  • The importance of identifying the mood one is trying to create when picking a direction for fabrics, textures, and colors of a room.


Mentioned In This Episode


Alys Beach

Bridget Beari

Bridget Beari Colors

Susan Jamieson


Ballard Designs


Decorating Dilemmas:

Susan thinks a round entry foyer is amazing, and she would put a round rug and a beautiful lacquered table in the middle with an even larger statement chandelier. She also suggests making it even more Spanish, and adding some jewel box color with crisp white trim to give it even more umph.


Susan would start with balancing the light on both levels, including a lamplight and light in the foyer. She would add a surface fixture outside the front door and maybe a pair of lamps depending on your mood. We love the idea of several fixtures that are grouped together.

Aug 20, 2019
Ep. 101: designer Whitney McGregor

Whitney McGregor, interior Designer based in South Carolina, joins the show today. Whitney’s home was recently featured in Southern Living, and talks about her traditional yet playful and welcoming style. She explains what she means when she tells her clients to “listen to the house”, her inspiration of combining clean with beautiful and traditional, and the importance of being transparent about your budget when working with a designer. 

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Triumphs on grass cloth wallpaper, dorm shopping, and a great anniversary copper wine cooler and pillow
  • Trials about a dilemma on dead grass and hydrangea placement, and the same anniversary shaggy pink pillow
  • When you go bold, go with a color you know you like.
  • The special art of picking out gifts for people, and if you should go on or off the list.
  • How Whitney incorporates fun and fresh beauty steeped in the traditional.
  • Whitney is a self taught decorator, and has been designing for fun since she was only 4 years old.
  • The mistakes Whitney gave herself permission to make when decorating her own home, and the lessons she learned from them.
  • More about her new home, and how the flow and light caught the attention of Whitney and her husband.
  • Why Whitney is a proponent of living in a house before making any major changes to it.
  • Whitney doesn’t care if art matches, it’s all about how it makes herself and her clients feel and the emotion it stirs in them.
  • The difference between splurging and investing, and why it’s important to be transparent about your budget.

Mentioned In This Episode

Aug 13, 2019
Ep. 100: Our Guests' Best Tips

It's a pretty exciting episode today. When brainstorming how to celebrate our 100th episode, we wanted to talk about everything we've learned and all of the best tidbits our guests have shared with us. We hope you'll enjoy it!

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • How and why we started the show
  • Who we'd want to hire as our interior designers
  • Gil Schafer talked about thinking of your outdoor spaces as rooms
  • The best color temperature for your light bulbs
  • Dimmers are our best friends!
  • Susan Ferrier's advice about strengthening a view by placing furniture in front of it and why she loves banquettes and mixing dining chairs
  • Nancy Braithwaite's concept about a power statement
  • Pappas Miron talking about how your exterior spaces should influence your interior spaces
  • Brian McCarthy's talk about collage boards and how they can help you envision where items will work together
  • Rachel Cannon's design manta "haste makes waste" 
  • Why a floor plan will tell you what you need
  • Recurring themes -- designing around the life you live
  • Meg Braff's talking about mixing fabrics and how repetition makes it intentional
  • Liz Bauer's talk about mixing whites and why you shouldn't worry about it so much
  • Amy Vermillion's tip about testing paint color by using a board and folding it to see the shadows
  • Ashley Whittaker's strategy for finding a common thread for color as you go throughout your room
Aug 06, 2019
Ep. 99: designer Angie Hranowsky

Angie Hranowsky has been named one of the “20 Designers to Watch” by Traditional Home, included in Southern Living’s “Top Five Fastemakers” and featured in House Beautiful amongst many others. Based in Charleston, Angie's style combines modern, vintage, chic and colorful all to highlight the taste of lifestyle of her clients. She joins the show today to talk about finding the confidence to take risks, gives us a peek into her favorite projects, and shares a few of her favorite resources for buying vintage and antique.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Triumphs about awesome birthday gifts including new lamps, giant watercolor paper rolls, and mid-century modern sculptures.

  • Trials regarding kitchen shelves, very expensive power bills, and a nightmare situation with Taryn’s little boy.

  • Angie’s background, and how she got into design and started her own business in Charleston.

  • The Coastal Living Idea House, and how Angie went into it with the intention of making it look like a real project rather than just an idea.

  • Why Angie gravitates towards using colors, especially purple, yellow, and turquoise.

  • A few of Angie’s tips to get homes to feel beachy and coastal, without being too obvious in design.

  • Angie loves to mix all sorts of styles and textures, and has been incorporating modern, vintage and found pieces for years..

  • How Angie made the best of economically challenging times, and some of her personal budget friendly tips for making the home look beautiful.

  • How Angie ended up working with Darius Rucker and his wife, and the great time they had creating something original and chic while transforming their newly built home.

  • Your house can be more about the art and the objects, doesn’t have to be all about color.

  • Angie’s theory on threading color similar value and tone throughout the house.

  • Angie’s new project of a kitchen house, and how it might be the most colorful project she has done yet.

  • Angie’s unusual use of light fixtures, and why she tends to use vintage lamps to support originality in the homes.

  • Why it’s important to treat your furniture, to kid, pet and spill proof your home.

  • How to get a proper foyer, and why a package drop off room may be a thing in our near future.

Mentioned In This Episode

Decorating Dilemmas:

Angie has had the same scenario before, and looks like there is plenty of room on either side of the fireplace. (We think!) If there indeed is, drapes would cozy up the room and add warmth to the space. Bamboo blinds would work, if they are mounted up high behind the rod with an outside mount. The other option besides panels on either side of the fireplace is doing drapes on the long wall, and using custom Roman shades using the same fabric. If the space between the drapery and the fireplace is too close, you may have to do the Roman shades to match the style of the drapes.


Jul 30, 2019
Ep. 98: kitchen experts Matthew Quinn & Ric Parrish

We've gotten lots of emails about having Matthew Quinn and Ric Parrish on the podcast to talk about kitchens! They're the tour de force behind Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath, the premiere kitchen and design studio in Atlanta. They've worked with all of your favorite designers and most likely designed many of the dream kitchens you've all ogled. We know we certainly have. We ask all your burning questions and answer your kitchen conundrums.

What You'll Hear on This Episode

  • We talk about how Matthew got into kitchen and bath design
  • How and why he likes to design spaces with a unique look for each kitchen versus anything formuliac
  • How a client's closet might inspire his kitchen design
  • Popular finishes, colors, and materials
  • Why he prefers paneled appliances over exposed stainless ones
  • His must-haves for a great kitchen
  • Why it's important to learn everything he can about how a client cooks, entertains, and what kind of kitchen items they have
  • So much more!

Show Notes:

Jul 23, 2019
Ep. 97: President of Ballard Designs Ryan McKelvey

Recording from Karen’s cozy and mythical basement, President of Ballard Designs Ryan McKelvey joins the show. Ryan talks about what it is like to be the fearless leader at Ballard, and how he got here on his own career path. He discusses moments that made him grow professionally, gives us a glimpse into his own home designs, and shares what we can look forward to next at Ballard.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • More about Ryan’s start at L.L. Bean as a Manager in Product Development, and how he got to be the President of Ballard Designs.

  • Ryan has been working at Ballard for 19 years, and he has learned so much. He shares what is so special about the Ballard team, and his love for working with manufacturers to make the best products they can stand behind.

  • Ryan is a finance guy that can also plug into his creative side, and he loves both.

  • What Ryan means when he says he loves solving people’s issues with a sense of style.

  • The design concepts that Ryan uses in his own homes to get a traditional yet eclectic look, using almost 90% of Ballard items (and where that other 10% comes from).

  • How they built their home from the ground up and used scale drawings, a great builder and team, and a lot of research to do it correctly.

  • What life at a river cabin is really like, and the funny story of how Ryan created his electrical plan on the fly.

  • Our expert tips on how not to go completely crazy during a time of home building/renovation!

  • What Ryan learned about honesty and transparency when it comes to customer service, and examples where they also learned from their mistakes.

  • The next Ballard product that Ryan personally is excited about.

  • Why Ballard waits until a product is really ready to go to market rather than forcing or rushing something.

Mentioned In This Episode

Jul 16, 2019
Ep. 96: architect Lee Ledbetter

Lee Ledbetter is both an architect and interior designer with a love for combining traditional details with chic Modernism. He joins the show to talk about his book The Art of Place, and the projects in which he helps the client get their dream vision that is both unique and comfortable for their life. Lee also discusses how his homes stay rooted in the deep history of New Orleans, yet create a win-win for function and livability. He also shares his love of smaller homes, why we should embrace the color chartreuse, and the top three things to hit up next time you are in New Orleans.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Triumphs about homemade essential oil cleaners, black fences, and Ballard clearance shopping spree.

  • Trials regarding carport mishaps, dead grass, and formal yet kid proof dining rooms.

  • Lee’s inspiration behind his book The Art of Place, and how this book showcases his ability to incorporate the historic with the modern and chic.

  • Lee’s background in both interior design and architecture, and why he himself loves working with both other decorators and landscape architectures.

  • How the furniture sketches in Lee’s initial plans serve to get an idea of how the room will best work and function.

  • That there is no wrong or right when it comes to what goes in the room, and it’s most important that the room serves its purpose for how the individuals live and entertain.

  • Lee’s renovations and adaptations of historic New Orleans homes, and how he blends contemporary design mixed with the reverence to the original structure.

  • The English Cottage kitchen of his brother and sister in law that Karen is very jealous of! Why the room feels more like a sitting room than a kitchen.

  • Some interesting facts about his modern home making it to the first on a New Orleans Historic Home list, and what exactly it is about New Orleans that Lee loves so much.

  • How he organizes his library.

  • It’s okay to downgrade if you don’t have a need for more rooms. Lee only has one room in his own dream home!

  • His take on open spaces, and why there is a luxury to height, volume, and open lighting.

  • Advice for someone building a home from the ground up.

Mentioned In This Episode


Decorating Dilemmas:

You don’t have to do a floor lamp, instead, Lee would try to find a tall round table like an English Reproduction Antique. If your budget allows for pattern drapery, a printed one would add some height to the room, but it is not a necessity right away. Adding a pair of vertical prints on each side would reinforce the window. The view outside the window is so green and pretty, that using color to unite the spaces would look beautiful. Chartreuse is one that plays great with your existing neutral palette.

Please do send us some “after” photos, we can never get enough!



Jul 09, 2019
Ep. 95: designer Matthew Carter

We cover so much today with our guest, interior designer Matthew Carter, that it's an episode you don't want to miss! From brown furniture to bookshelves to investing in great pieces and so much more, Matthew offers us down-to-earth advice about decorating your home and how the laidback horse farms of Kentucky inform his style.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

    • Why a collected and beautiful house feels more evolved than everything matching
    • Matthew's design process which starts with fabrics and furniture layout
    • Matthew's background and how it has evolved 
    • Why it’s okay to mix and match colors, finishes and fabrics.
    • How to break up a room seamlessly, and why hosting a party can help you plan your furniture layout
    • Great ways to bring down the formality and humanize the room using a formulas for curtains, sofas and rugs
    • Built ins are a great way to add architecture to a space — just make sure you have books!
    • Painted chairs are always beautiful and a new coat of paint is a great way to freshen up a room
    • Every room needs a mix of high and low, and Matthew reminds us we can’t be too intimidated by decorating in general
    • If you have to move a pillow to sit down — it’s flat out wrong!
    • Matthew’s take on curtain length

Mentioned In This Episode


Jul 02, 2019
Ep. 94: designer Tori Alexander

Nashville designer Tori Alexander sits down with us to talk about taking risks with paint, her $59,000 dining table (that she bought for $1000), green as her secret weapon, and much more!

What You'll Hear on the Show:

  • Her background and how she started her business in California when a neighbor asked for her help
  • She tells us a story about a dining table she bought off Craigslit
  • Why it's important to invest in upholstery but to find deals and one of a kind pieces on Craigslist
  • Find one place to start and work from there
  • Why Tori loves Ballard but why she never shies away from mixing high and low
  • Why you should consider the energy of your home before choosing the design
  • "The magic happen just beyond the point of comfort"
  • Why Tori loves green and blue
  • Why you shouldn't necessarily consider art when decorating your room
  • We talk about scale for that dreaded empty space over the back of the sofa
  • Some of Tori's favorite affordable sources for art
  • Why window treatments can help you solve issues like window placement and scale
Jun 25, 2019
Ep. 93: designer Ashley Whittaker

Sitting down with Ashley Whittaker was such a joy, and we're confident you'll learn a TON from this episode. It's one of my favorite episodes to date because we talk about creating color palettes, why every room needs something grimy, the 'hows' and 'whys' of the room and why they're more important than the 'whats,' and why a jewel tone works in almost any space. We also talk about the difference between color tone and value and why that's important to consider when decorating your home.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Ashley wasn’t formally educated as a designer, but she cites working for a good designer as some of the best education out there.

  • More about how Ashley and her team find a thread throughout each room of the home to have a place for our eye to land and bring restfulness to the design.

  • The importance of contrast in decorating, and why we don’t have to be matchy matchy.

  • Why seeing it on paper is sometimes easier than walking through the house, and a few of Ashley’s favorite storyboard ideas.

  • What traditional elements Ashley finds herself gravitating towards, and ways she keeps it fun and fresh.

  • Why it’s good to feel pretty, but not too pretty, and how throwing in an “ugly” flower now and then can take our projects to the next level.

  • The golden rule of staying sane while decorating: Let go of control and be perfectly imperfect.

  • Ashey’s goal on making sure clients really love their rooms, and the more livable the better.

  • Her stunning use of wallpapers, and why we shouldn’t be afraid of it.

  • Why she loves velvet, jewel tones, and camo green.

  • Why the finishes are important to creating contrast, and her tendency to take a dark room and make it even darker.

Mentioned In This Episode

Decorating Dilemmas:

We love what you have going already! Some of Ashley’s suggestions are to leave the ledge undecorated, and think about putting a plantation shutter on the window, so it becomes more architectural and less of a window. Ashley always likes to be on the second floor reaching out to touch the light from the balcony, so that may be something to aim for in the future as well. Her rule for adding a light fixture: take the length and width of feet in a room and add them together for the inches. A large chandelier would add some depth and fill out the room. If you are also looking for a great shoe organizer, check out this one from Ballard Design!

Jun 18, 2019
Ep. 92: designer Olivia Brock

Charleston designer Olivia Brock joins the show to talk about her firm Torrance Mitchell Design and her background in historic preservation. We cover it all -- how she fell into interior design, tips on mixing the old and the new, and her go-to paint colors.

  • Olivia never planned on being a designer, but rather a real estate developer that focused on adaptive reuse of historical buildings
  • How Olivia started as a paint color consultant 
  • The differences between normal housing and the sensitive nature of working with a historical home
  • Olivia's house in Southern Living which she and her husband totally restored
  • Our partnership with Olivia on the Traditional Home Southern Style Now Showhouse, and the inspiration behind the guest room 
  • How to make old things look fresh and pairing antiques with a modern pieces
  • Why she sees historical buildings as people that want to tell you their story, and it is up to us to listen
  • We talk paint -- testing swatches, favorite whites, and more
  • Brown furniture is making a comeback, baby!
  • Why patience, a great eye for antiques, and love for a home is truly necessary when embarking on a project
  • How curtains can really do a lot for a room, and what types Olivia recommends
Jun 11, 2019
Ep. 91 designer Keith Arnold

Seriously charming Keith Arnold, Vice President of Suzanne Kasler Interiors, joins the podcast this week to talk about his path to design, the pyramid rule, flower arranging, and his new shop KeithEtc.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • How Keith started working with Suzanne over 15 years ago, the many jobs before that helped him in his wide array of roles now.

  • Keith’s background of attending Auburn University with a degree of Architecture, working in visual merchandising for Neiman Marcus and Martyn Lawrence Bullard.

  • How Keith and Suzanne collaborate and how he styles the photoshoots and projects.

  • Keith’s new collaborative venture, Keith Etc. To curate the best in both the old and the new.

  • The ways Keith and Suzanne use colors in big swathes and practice restraint yet an open mind when it comes to breaking the rules.

  • His love of the saffron color!

  • Why France is Keith’s favorite place to shop, and his favorite places in Atlanta.

  • The Pyramid Rule as a structure to start from in design for shelving.

  • The flowers Keith likes to use in a home, how he became an instant celebrity by using lemons in a flower arrangement.

  • Tulip styling tips, where Keith buys his flowers and plants, and why a flower should still look like a flower.

Mentioned In This Episode

Suzanne Kasler

Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Scotts Antique Market

Kenneth Turners Flower Style

Alexa Hampton




Jun 04, 2019
Ep. 90: design duo Brooke and Steve Giannetti

We are thrilled to talk to authors and design duo Brooke and Steve Giannetti of Giannetti home. Steve is an architect, and Brooke is an interior designer, and together they are the talent behind Patina Style, Patina Living, and Brooke’s cult favorite blog, Velvet & Linen. We caught up with them to talk about the importance of emotional connection, how their work as a duo came to be, their interests as a husband and wife duo, and to bust the myth that goats will eat absolutely anything.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Why Brooke thinks people have really caught on to her blog, Velvet & Linen.

  • How Patina Style articulates the process of how to dream your design property, and Patina Farm demonstrates how they manifested the style and design philosophy at their beautiful farm in Ojai, CA.

  • How they took the history and unique elements of Ojai to make sure their design reflected the story.

  • The way they molded the different textures and materials together, and the inspiration Belgium gave them for putting a variety of pieces together.

  • How long the Patina Farm took, the description of the inside and outside, and the challenges that arose along the way.

  • Why in design it’s important to start at the emotional connection to the space.

  • How they chose the plants and planning the outdoor spaces, and why we want to always think big and simple.

  • How Brooke developed her passion for interiors and made a full time career of working with Steve in addition to their marital bliss.

  • What they wish they would have done differently at Patina Farm.

  • That no, goats won’t eat everything you give them, except for a yummy rose bush. Thorns and all.

  • What they have up their sleeve next now that Patina Farm is pretty much a done deal.

  • Why we need a focal point, and how we can create them.

  • The most prized possessions (besides their animals and other living entities!) inside their home.

  • What suggestions they would give to someone looking to bring their significant other into their design dreams.

Mentioned In This Episode

Antique Rose Emporium

Atlanta Magazine Home - Angela Blehm

Patina Living

Patina Farm

Patina Style

Velvet & Linen

Giannetti Home

A Pattern Language



Decorating Dilemmas:

Steve likes the big seagrass rugs that connect it all, and looks like the rug is too small for the space. The room needs a focal point, such as a big antique or paint a little of the wall around it. You are better off with a collection of the same items, such as a hodge podge of many. Brooke also thinks it would be nice for the piece behind your sofa to have natural color that ads lushness to the neutrals. Add a couple tall lamps on the table with white shades, and you would begin to see more of a focal point. Use furniture to create zones, and take away the rug under the stools by the kitchen bar to create a smaller space by putting the rug under the living room area. Define the spaces and start with big elements before you focus on the smaller elements.

May 28, 2019
Ep. 89: designer Traci Zeller

Traci Zeller joins us in Charlotte to share her unique background and super interesting story of being a former lawyer turned interior designer. She talks with us about switching careers, her commitment to creating a rendering for each project, the inspiration behind her polished and put together style, and how it all practically plays out in her house with twin boys and a puppy.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Trials of dogs breaking into cabinets, expensive inspection results, a rushed backyard construction project, and rocky 50th birthday.

  • Triumphs of animal print fashion (sorry you are left out camouflage!), good luck in the form of a baby robin’s nest, déja vu, and a beautiful vase.

  • Tips and tricks to clean the outdoor pillows that won’t leave you spending your whole time scrubbing.

  • Traci’s path into interior design, and how she knew it was time to leave her career as a lawyer to shift more into her career into interior design.

  • Dressing for our audience, and why Traci loves it much more now.

  • Why Taryn believes so much in renderings, and won’t do a project without them.

  • Organizational practices and systems that help Traci’s home remain polished yet practical with two twin boys and a puppy.

  • How her lines, although very different, carry a through line of Traci’s voice and style to sit well together.

  • Creating cohesion with different pieces and why we don’t need to matchy match everything.

  • How Traci mixed a traditional pattern with lavender trim to take a well received and beautiful bold room.

  • How Traci describes Southern style and how she applies it to practical living family homes.

  • The showroom inspired by French Couture and the Christian Dior exhibit.

  • Traci’s process when taking on a new client, and how she digs in to get a feel for how they live and what they love.

  • Materials that are best for families and hold up through a lot of wear and tear, and the two products she swears by for ink and stain disasters.

  • More about her adorable puppy Chloe and the plans for making her crate beautiful, fancy, and stylish using Ballard products.

Show Notes:


Kayla Rose Instagram

Traci Zeller


Of Rare Origin




May 21, 2019
Ep. 88: designer Lisa Mende returns

Designer Lisa Mende returns to the show to talk with us about designing our rooms to the fullest of their potential, and truly creating the home of your dreams. She also shares more about the ins and outs of renovation, her blog The Design Connector, and why design dilemmas are really just opportunities for us to be creative.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • An update on her famous pink sofa, and who else in her household may love it even more than her.

  • Why functionality is just as important as design, and how Lisa helps her clients use every room to the fullest of their function.

  • The crazy story of her studio roof leaking, and how it ended up being a blessing in renovation.

  • Yes, you can both make your home feel like a hotel and have a billiard table in the middle of your living room.

  • More about her blog, The Design Connector, and how it connects us with the people, products, and places we need to know about in the home design world.

  • What she loves about her work with Ballard, and how it inspires us to have a reimagined and fresh new look.

  • The brilliant solution to outdoor couch cushions, and a few of Lisa’s favorites in the outdoor Ballard products including Miles Redd’s collection.

  • Lisa’s answer to Caroline’s painting question for the ceiling in her soon to be new home.

  • How to still use neutral colors in a rich way when you may be not ready to commit to a color.

  • Why design dilemmas are not anything to freak out over but instead are actually great ways for us to be creative problem solvers.

  • Where one can buy leather or fake leather by the yard.

  • Lisa’s rules for using either satin or eggshell finish.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Lisa Mende Design


The Design Connector

Miles Redds Outdoor Collection


May 14, 2019
Ep. 87: designer Holly Hollingsworth Phillips

Holly Hollingsworth Phillips is a designer and owner of The English Room in Charlotte, North Carolina. We love her bold, colorful, and elegant style and how she mixes tradition of the past with the modern style of today. She talks with us today about how The English Room began, the different projects she has done ranging from super modern to traditional, her love of color, patterns, and layering, and why it’s more than okay to break the rules.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Her work in the world of design from an early age, and how her mother inspired her to develop a passion for all things antique.
  • Ways we can be confident about mixing it up with colors and patterns in our homes.
  • Using art as an accent, and why what’s popular and trendy in the moment isn’t always right for us.
  • How she loves to take antiques and make them modern with a playful twist.
  • How Holly renovated her own home and even got to keep what’s known as “the naughty chair.”
  • Advice on when to shop for antiques, and where to begin bringing them in the home.
  • How she came to be the brand ambassador for Florence Broadhurst.
  • Her opportunity in the fall to do a room in a showhouse as Florence Broadhurst using her new rug collection, furniture, fabric and wallpaper.
  • Her personal use of “crazy” pattern and color.
  • The importance of looking at measurements before you buy anything.
  • How to balance finding great antiques with longevity, even though you know it may not be your forever home.
  • Why a great sofa could (and should) last you several decades. 
  • It’s okay to change up your color, and realize it’s the layers and the mix that makes it interesting, rather than matching everything and achieving perfection.
  • How Holly decides what spaces call for drapery vs. Roman shades, and her love of a blackout curtains.
  • Why you may want to rethink painting your nursery yellow.
May 03, 2019
Ep. 86: designer Amy Vermillion

Amy Vermillion joins the show to talk about her style that has been described as “comfortably elegant.” We talk about how good design can make your life easier, paint colors, an 80's house she brought into the 21st century, and her love of chandeliers. 

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

    • The renovation Amy has done again (and again!) from everything including the porch, office and master bedroom.
    • The rule Amy uses when picking pieces that will be permanent and timeless. 
    • Her biggest design pet peeves, and why we should all just do what we love.
    • The polarizing topics of gray, brown furniture, and a glimpse into the custom details she does for her clients.
    • Amy’s love of a chandelier as decorative jewelry for the ceiling.
    • Her description of a true 80’s house (but don’t knock a great wet bar in the den!)
    • What is a scullery, and why would someone who entertains love one?
    • How Amy gets to know her clients so she can design a space that functions for their lifestyle
    • We talk about the rising popularity of libraries
    • What people are doing with their TV’s now that they are getting larger than ever.
    • We talk paint colors and why it's so tricky to give someone a paint recommendation
    • How to address family photos to make them sleek and beautiful
Apr 30, 2019
Ep. 85: designer Cheryl Luckett

Designer Cheryl Luckett joins the show today to talk about form, function, and why we should love a good antique. She shares her background story as a professional dietician turned blogger, and now the work and projects she is currently immersed in. She talks about pairing multiple fabrics together, where to invest and where to save, and the details people most often overlook. We also talk about her furniture collection, The Belle, and her business Dwell Interiors.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Cheryl’s story of working in corporate America for 15 years as a dietician and what led her to a path of design.

  • How to take an antique and make it work to add depth, history, and warmth to a home.

  • More about Cheryl’s experience as a blogger and ways she loves communicating with her clients and followers.

  • What are good pieces to invest in, and where you can save.

  • How we pair two fabrics together, and examples of recent clients where she put it to the test.

  • The details people often overlook, which can help you save time by knowing where your TV remote is!

  • The importance of form and function when creating a cozy yet sleek aesthetic.

  • When you should spend a whole night in your own guest quarters.

  • The essentials of what to put in a guest bathroom and bedroom. Get that plunger ready!

  • Why the smallest knick-knack can have a huge impression on creating a “lived in” feeling in a home.

  • Our love of white towels and pillows with just the right amount of fluff.

  • White towels.

  • Why we should live with something a few days before we make a final verdict on whether we like it or not, or if it works for our home.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Dwell By Cheryl


Decorating Dilemmas:

A: We think you should tackle the windows first, and you can break the space with two different treatments. Your drapery should be at least twice the width of your window, and you want to be able to effortlessly close it without it looking like a sheet. The gray wall is an opportunity to add some color and texture! Cheryl would take advantage of the light by having two living spaces, and a statement chandelier that is tight to the ceiling. A small seating area and some ottomans would provide some great seating for guests.

Apr 23, 2019
Ep. 84: designer Susan Ferrier

Award-winning decorator Susan Ferrier joins the show today. Known for creating sensuous, atmospheric interiors, Susan created Susan Ferrier Interiors and co-authored the book Art of the House. She talks about how she lights a room while creating drama, creating an architectural rhythm and symmetry in a room, breaking rules, and being bold.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Why Susan believes the people in the room need to be the pattern.

  • Her creative and explorative use of texture, and strategy of creating shadow with light and darker tones.

  • Her rule of thumb for having a way to read and drink wherever you sit in a room.

  • The two reasons she loves banquettes.

  • How she got into the business, and why she decided to start her own firm, Susan Ferrier Interiors.

  • How she gets inspired by her projects and the ways she digs in to develop a relationship with the people behind every project.

  • How she balances her clients’ with her own personal sense of style and expert quality of being what she refers to as a “visual mathematician”.

  • Which design rules we should be following, and which ones are meant to be broken.

  • The analogy of decorating our homes compared to dressing appropriately for our body type.

  • How we can afford to raise the dynamic design in our kitchens.

  • How Susan challenges the visual aspect of design by combining age with the sleek, modern, and shiny.

  • Susan’s rule for using metals, and if she thinks it will go out of style anytime soon.

  • What we can do to show those 1980’s homes some love and highlight the positive attributes.

  • How she lays out a room, and ways we can work with the view to best socialize the space.

  • How to not have the price tag displayed on the back of a mirror or painting, and instead have a clean and consistent view.

  • The foundation of creating a good interior for both very large spaces and smaller scale projects.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Susan Ferrier Interiors



Apr 16, 2019
Ep. 83: decorator Fran Keenan

Decorator Fran Keenan joins the show this week to discuss her transition from magazine editor at Cottage Living to working with clients, and where she fell in love with the idea of functional and beautiful living. She also talks about how her family influences her work and vice versa, her love of transformation, what colors she currently loves working with most, and the importance of staying true to the personal narrative of the client.

  • Fran’s background as an editor at Cottage Living, and how that influences her to this very day when working on a design project.
  • What steps Fran took to launch her career as an interior designer, and how it went along with the time in her life where she wanted flexibility to spend time with her family.
  • What Fran loves most about working with homeowners.
  • More about the “alphabet” room, and ways Fran has succeeded from thinking outside of the box.
  • How to not have a boring laundry room — drinks anyone?!
  • Fran’s love of mixing functionality with style and warmth.
  • Her use of earthy colors in a way that still feels fresh and energetic.
  • Creative ways Fran pulls color throughout the house and creates a seamless transition throughout rooms.
  • The rule of thumb when it comes to painting moving objects inside the house.
  • A glimpse into the transformation of her own house, and the hilarious take her kids have on what type of houses she buys.
  • How the design process works when Fran moves into a new house, and the lessons of reprocessing within each change.
  • Mixing high and low. Where Fran splurges, and where she uses Ikea.
  • The use of book shelf displays in a way that coincides with the best use of space.
  • How to safeguard against common issues of creating a “Pretty House Prison”.
  • Starting points for using textiles and patterns to bring both a modern sleekness and primitive warmth to the house.
  • Storage solutions of hooks, baskets and hanging things!
Apr 09, 2019
Ep. 82: stylist and editor Stacy Kunstel

Stylist, writer, editor and producer Stacy Kunstel swings by to talk about the fun of adding colors, how she works with interior designers, where she finds inspiration as a stylist and why it call comes down to being different in design. She also discusses what’s new in style and what we can expect in a few years, along with her personal favorite trends.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Stacy’s attraction to big colors and patterns, and how she mixes it with the traditional.

  • Why tradition doesn’t have to be boring - it can be big, bright and graphic.

  • Color makes people happy!

  • How Stacy picked the colors in her product line that were both on trend and ones she loved that has stood the test of time.

  • Stacy’s encouragement to mix lacquer with natural wood.

  • More about her furniture line, and how it came to be.

  • Why it’s your personality and point of view that makes the space so special and a feature so interesting.

  • Why taking some time to sit and organize ideas and visions is a game changer.

  • What a “drink drop” table is, and why they are so important.

  • A glimpse into Stacy’s job, and the many skills she needs to have to do her job as a stylist.

  • Tips for folks on what to leave on their dining room table.

  • Stacy’s advice to stick to the wedding theme when decorating. Go for something old, new, borrowed and blue.

  • Stacy’s favorite publications to get style inspiration and ideas.


Apr 02, 2019
Ep. 81: fabric expert Scott Kravet

Scott Kravet is referred to as the Indiana Jones of the Fabric World. As the Executive Creative Director of Kravet Fabrics, it is his job to travel the world and find the best textile to make the dreams of others come true. Today he joins the show to talk about his family business and passion for fabrics, what he puts in his own personal house, fabric care, and trends in the fabric world.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Trials and Triumphs including roofs, roses, rugs, benches and baby proofing.

  • How Scott and his team travel all over the world to source out the best textiles.

  • The wide array of textiles Scott works within the material, design and time period.

  • The different lines that are in the Kravet line, and how the designer collaborations came to be.

  • The family story of their passion for fabrics and the vision for generations to come.

  • Scott’s role of overseeing a team of 45 people at Kravet.

  • How Scott feels about digital printing, the pros, and the cons, and how it has improved over the years.

  • A glimpse into the process of knowing how the colors will react to get the effect you want.

  • A better understanding of getting what you pay for in fabric.

  • The artwork, textiles, fabrics, and colors Scott uses in his own personal home.

  • The digital catalog system Scott works with to keep track of hundreds of designs in their projects.

  • Where Kravet’s mills are all over the world.

  • Important insider information about rub tests and a performance finish.

  • What things we should look for in fabric, including the option of slipcovers.

  • What styles and colors Scott sees trending in the fabric world, and which are fading out.

  • The elements of scale, color, and motif when working with antique fabric.


Mar 26, 2019
Ep. 80: designer Kate Singer

Interior Designer Kate Singer joins the show to talk about her experiences with showhome designs, what she loves to mix to keep classic and traditional design style fresh, creating a sanctuary no matter where you are, and why loving colors (and neutrals!) may be something woven into our DNA.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • The inspiration behind the 2016 Hampton Designer Showhouse, one of our most pinned showhouse rooms ever.

  • Why Kate believes it’s all about mixing the old, new and making things feel curated and layered.

  • The cornflower blue color that surprised her (in a good way!).

  • The give and take and collaboration between other designers in a showhome.

  • How she got started in the business, and the inspiration her grandmother Marie gave to her for style and design.

  • You don’t have to wait until you have a beautiful dream home, you can create a space that reflects your taste and style wherever you are.

  • Some good starting tips for people just starting to decorate their home, starting with the sofa.

  • Kate’s love of mixing the old and new at different price levels for a classic yet updated feel.

  • Why Kate loves old art and thinks it is one of the most important accessories to create a great look without spending a lot of money.

  • Why Kate stays neutral on rugs and the bigger pieces of furniture and goes for bolder colors in accessories.

  • How we can use pretty brown wood pieces while still keeping it light and airy.

  • Creative ways to camouflage a television in a room.

  • The colors Kate likes to pair with blue, and the shades of blue she prefers to work with most.

Mentioned In This Episode:

2016 Hampton Designer Showhouse

Kate Singer Home


Kate Singer Home Facebook

Mar 19, 2019
Ep. 79: Pappas Miron Interior Design

This week we talk to the ladies of Pappas Miron, Tatyana and Alexandra, childhood friends and designers that have worked together since 2003. They talk with us about their contemporary and warm styles that mix together to create timeless and comfortable spaces.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • More about Tatyana and Alexandra’s updated traditional and modern eclectic style.

  • Where their love of contemporary furniture comes from.

  • How someone that loves a contemporary space can inject more warmth into their space.

  • The challenges they are solving on a regular basis regarding weird layouts and smaller spaces in New York.

  • Their creative use of closets, bins, and blanket boxes to provide even more storage for those with children.

  • The way they encourage their clients to incorporate their warm personal style.

  • What their individual homes look like, and how they each use texture and mood.

  • Dark doesn’t always have to be sad and depressing.

  • Tatyana and Alexandra’s advice for going over the top in a great way with pattern.

  • The reason they favor curvilinear furniture pieces in their rooms.

  • Their use of deep rich jewel tone colors for accents, and why we shouldn’t be afraid to embrace the dark.

  • What really goes into upholstering a room.

  • The favorite rooms they have ever done!

  • The upsides of having a partner in design, and yes they do consult each other in their own personal projects.

Mar 12, 2019
Ep. 78: McMillen's Ann and Elizabeth Pyne

This week, we have mother-daughter design duo Ann and Elizabeth Pyne from McMillen Interior Design and Decoration, the oldest interior design firm in the country. They share why we should be fearless in design, the idea behind each room having a thesis, and a glimpse into what it is like to work as a mother-daughter dynamic. They also tell us about the three most important things to think about design wise when purchasing or renting a place, and rules for decorating with an infant.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Why we should be fearless and courageous in our career paths.

  • An example of what they mean by each room having a thesis.

  • The differences in Ann and Elizabeth’s design style, and how they complement each other’s range of style to create a fantastic finished product.

  • You have to deal with the space first, and the client second.

  • What elements are classic and won’t go out of style, and what Ann and Elizabeth have seen stand the test of time.

  • Their own individual spaces, and Ann’s description of her 8 totally separate rooms.

  • McMillen’s reign of over 90 years as a trusted and established interior design firm.

  • Why we shouldn’t be intimidated by auctions, and how to navigate them in a confident manner.

  • The give and take Ann and Elizabeth have with their clients and artwork, and how they plan for new and fresh art ideas in a space.

  • The three most important qualities of any place to live: light, proportions and layout.

  • You do not have to have expensive things to make your place beautiful, and the Stark rug that changed it all for Ann.

  • Why we shouldn’t discount the unifying power of a beautiful rug, and some powerful “rug rules” in design.

  • Decorating with an infant - it can be done!

  • The classic approaches to design, and why we should invest in pieces that stand the test of time.

  • How to keep up with the evolution of lighting.

Mar 05, 2019
Ep. 77: designer Alexa Hampton

Renowned interior designer Alexa Hampton has done it all — TV, books, magazines, you name it and Alexa has been featured there. Today, she joins the show to talk about growing up with her  designer father Mark Hampton, the inspiration behind her two books, Decorating in Detail and Language of Interior Design, her recent travels for an upcoming furniture collection, and why there is no room for snobbery in design.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • What has been Alexa’s biggest challenges over the many different collections she has created and titles she juggles.

  • Alexa’s habit of drawing on a photograph as a low tech and practical way that gave her a “Eureka” moment.

  • Her father’s designation between a decorator and a designer.

  • People may not realize how much they really can put in a room.

  • Alexa’s self-described “rookie mistake” when redoing her bedroom, and the lesson learned in bouncing back after a misstep.

  • More about Alexa’s trips to Vietnam to check out prototypes for her new furniture collection, and going to Ireland with a group from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art.

  • How publishing books in the world of decorating is more different than it has ever been.

  • The point of views from her books The Language of Interior Design and Decorating in Detail.

  • Design is no place for snobbery, and there is always more to learn, discover and see.

  • How the fee can grow, but the markup will be scrutinized.

  • The balance between having a trademark look, and being open to adapting based on the client’s needs.

Feb 26, 2019
Ep. 76: Tilton Fenwick's Anne Maxwell Foster & Suysel dePedro Cunningham

This week on the show, we've got design duo Anne Maxwell Foster and Suysel dePedro Cunningham of the design firm Tilton Fenwick. This pattern powerhouse is known for mixing prints and the bold color palettes they work into their clients' homes. In addition to their wallpaper and fabric lines, they're moms, masters of collaboration, and big Ballard fans! 

What You'll Hear on the Show:

  • Why their partnership makes their designs stronger
  • How Anne and Suysel met and what sparked their initial creative projects
  • We talk about their fabric collections for Duralee and what inspires their prints
  • Anne and Suysel tell us about their most recent Duralee collection, inspired by a trip to Portugal
  • We talk about the design process of their patterns
  • Why surprising color palettes are their favorite way to refresh vintage prints
  • Why using a textile collection book can help you if you're intimidated by the volume of fabrics at a design center
  • How they mix patterns together and why fabrics are a great place to start
  • We talk about their own homes and how often they're changing things around
  • What they learned about their fabric collections and how it changed the direction of their second collection
  • The most expensive fabric they've ever used in a project and why they try to keep fabrics 
Feb 19, 2019
Ep. 75: designer Jenny Wolf

Interior designer Jenny Wolf  draws from her clients' personalities when designing a space, and we love the way her spaces feel organic and collected. On the show, we talk editing, collecting, Jenny's new shop, and how to work with a designer on a budget.

What You'll Hear on This Show:

  • We talk editing and how important it is to your home -- just like in your closet
  • Why Jenny thinks it's important to be honest with her clients about the pieces they already have
  • How her two girls affect her decorating style
  • Jenny tells us about her latest project -- a store in Pound Ridge, New York
  • What we can expect in her new store and why the project has been serendipitous 
  • We talk about decorating her girls' rooms
Feb 12, 2019
Ep. 74: podcast host LuAnn Nigara

As the host of the podcast A Well-Designed Business, LuAnn Nigara is a wealth of knowledge about the business of running and interior design studio, so we wanted to share that valuable information with you! LuAnn is passionate about entrepreneurship and coaching interior designers through the challenges of running their own business. If you're an interior designer with your own shop, this is the episode for you!

What You'll Hear on This Show:

  • What led LuAnn to starting her podcast, A Well-Designed Business
  • What separates the most successful interior designers from the rest of the pack
  • Pillars of running a successful interior design business
  • We talk about systems and why you should iron them out
  • We talk about billing and the challenges of explaining your fee structure
Feb 05, 2019
Ep. 73: architect Gil Schafer

We kick off today’s episode with some talk about our favorite Super Bowl hosting tips, tricks, and recipes. Then, we are joined by the incredible architect Gil Schafer. Gil shares his love of embracing tradition and memory, why we should pursue our ideas with rigor and clarity, and the importance of moving past our comfort zone. We also talk with Gil about simple design using beautiful materials, collaboration, his work with Miles Redd, and how he makes new places feel as though they have a history.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • What we are doing for the Super Bowl, along with some delicious snacks that may be created. Warning: potato bar and homemade guacamole discussion may cause hunger.

  • Gil’s description of what it is like to be both an architect and an interior designer on some projects, and his love of collaboration.

  • Why even the most seasoned and famed industry professionals should continue investing in their education and broadening their horizons.

  • More about Gil’s books: A Place to Call Home and The Great American House.

  • A little lesson on how to look at a renovation project through the eyes of an expert.

  • More about his work with the great Miles Redd, a total rock star designer, and how they complement each other perfectly.

  • Why we can learn something when we venture out of our comfort zone instead of staying within the confines of what we like.

  • His renovation of a summer camp home in Mill Valley, CA with designer Rita Konig, and how they kept the feel of an old house even though it was completely rebuilt.

  • What types of things signal a sense of being added over time in architecture, and why “perfect” isn’t always the goal.

  • Why bigger isn’t always better when it comes to architecture.

  • The importance of continuity, order, and clarity in creating a project that makes sense, and Gil’s personal pet peeves in architecture. (yes, Gil is a Virgo).

  • Ways to spruce up old lighting fixtures and improve the quality of lighting.

  • Ways to mix modernism and traditionalism in the same space.

  • The different feels of Gil’s homes in Hudson Valley and Maine.


Jan 29, 2019
Ep. 72: collector, decorator, and hoarder Nicki Clendening

Nicki Clendening is known for her eclectic style and ability to incorporate vintage and thrift store treasures into her design projects. Today, she talks about how to weave in old with the new, what she looks for when shopping at flea markets and antique stores, the opening of her design studio Scout Design and online store Beetle, and why blue painters tape should be your best friend. We will also hear some Trials and Triumphs, and get Nicki’s feedback on how to bring a small space together.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Trials and triumphs including new cookbooks, missing plants, cool performance rugs and more

  • How Nicki’s dreams progressed from being Indiana Jones to working and living in New York, making money doing exactly what she loves to do

  • What shopping for a client looks like, and if Nicki has ever had buyers remorse

  • More about Nicki’s design studio, Scout Design

  • Where she likes to go to shop for both herself and Beetle, and how she finds one of a kind pieces to add to her collection

  • The inspiration her mom had on her in terms of art, creativity and fashion and her family’s love of global travel and collecting special items from all around the world

  • Her top picks for flea markets, and the importance of building great relationships with vendors

  • Functionality is key, along with using the space appropriately based on what your typical activities are (entertaining, reading, pets, etc)

  • How she came up with her online store, Beetle, and curates what is on the site

  • A glimpse into her own apartment, right at the top of Central Park

  • Why we shouldn’t be afraid to paint the ceiling

  • All about the mix of new and old, whether you own your home or you are renting

Jan 22, 2019
Ep. 71: designer Brian McCarthy

Brian McCarthy is an A-List designer with experience on projects all over the globe. His design projects are clean yet bold, traditional and contemporary with a fantastic eye for picking incredibly gorgeous art. Today, he shares how to create compositions that embrace the bespoke nature of the project, how we can shop for art on a budget, and what to consider when designing a boat. Brian is also the author of Luminous Interiors and Parish-Hadley Tree of Life, which he co-authored with Bunny Williams.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Taryn’s trial which includes Atlanta’s shocking ratistic (rat statistic) and how she and her husband are working to solve it

  • Caroline’s trial when breaking down her beautiful Christmas tree, leading to possibly the biggest LED light knot, mess and spilled paste mixture in history

  • Karen’s trial (but she owns being a 60%’er at least) of upholstering the doors in her guest bedroom. However, she made up for it with the best Christmas gift ever to her husband thanks to artist Lacy Freeman

  • How the idea for Parish-Hadley: Tree of Life came about, which lead to him first writing Luminous Interiors

  • How he handles clients that “ghost” him, and the reasons why he would possibly turn potential clients down

  • How Brian’s design creates a joyful scrapbook in people’s lives, to cover the beauty and art that makes up their personal lives

  • How working with Parish-Hadley informed the unique way he lays out a room

  • Brian’s tips for creating a composition that works, including why you should never leave home without a folding ruler

  • The glamorous makeover Brian gave to a storied New York apartment, and his tips to deviating from the expected path of design

  • How we can shop for art on a budget, and where Brian finds art for his clients

  • How designing for a yacht differs from designing for a home

  • The importance of finding a mentor when developing an understanding of cost, and honing in on what art and pieces speak to you

  • Simple easy ways to refresh your space and continue with maintenance that won’t break the bank


Jan 15, 2019
Ep.70: Carson Kressley & Thom Filicia

This week, we are five peas in a podcast with besties and designers Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia. These hilarious gentlemen talk to us about how they met at the gym and eventually became members of the smash show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and a sneak peek into their new show Get a Room on Bravo. They also talk about why bad taste is better than no taste, their love of using design to tell a story, and how authenticity is the number one design trend in modern day culture.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • The hilarious story on how Thom and Carson met at the gym

  • How they auditioned and got picked for Queer Eye, and went on to bond filming over 100 episodes together

  • Their mutual love for taking on both large budget “dream” projects, and more small affordable DIY’s

  • The impressive knowledge that there is a difference between draperies and curtains

  • Thom and Carson’s tips to make a big impact with small places and smaller things

  • Why we shouldn’t be afraid to mix brands and prices in design, the same way we do with fashion

  • More about anchor pieces in each room, and why it’s crucial to invest in at least these items

  • What makes their design show Get a Room unique, and how the show was developed

  • Carson and Thom’s mission when working with people: to tell their story and bring it out in a beautiful way, and be serious about design while not taking themselves (or life) too seriously

  • Why your kitchen may be your new living room

Jan 08, 2019
Ep. 69: 2019 Color Trends with Benjamin Moore's Ellen O'Neill

On the first day of the year, we thought it apropos to talk about 2019 color trends, so of course, we went straight to the source - Benjamin Moore's Ellen O'Neill. As the Director of Strategic Design Intelligence, Ellen and her team pick the color of the year. Naturally we had to get the lowdown on how the color is picked, why they chose this year's color, how paint is named, and many more of your top paint and color questions.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • Ellen talks through how they pick the color of the year, including what she calls 'color embeds' or when her first hints of what trending colors are
  • What type of influences there are in picking the color of the year
  • Ellen's 'personal palette' and why she is drawn to it
  • We talk about this year's Color of the Year -- Metropolitan AF-690
  • What makes Metropolitan special, why it's the color of the year, and why we should love this hue
  • Color naming -- how the name of a paint color factors into whether it becomes the color of the year, as well as the complications of naming colors in general
  • What is a 'chip pull' and how it changes once the color of the year is announced
  • What the word 'metamaric' means and why that makes matching colors tricky
  • Why Benjamin Moore hasn't added any new colors in a number of years
  • Whether you'll get the same quality and color of paint if you have another paint company color match a Benjamin Moore color
  • Ellen shares with us the top 10 grays in Benjamin Moore's catalog
  • The secrecy involved in the Color of Year
  • We talk about the timeline -- when they pick the next year's Color of the Year
  • Ellen's background and how one starts to work in color
  • How to get started picking a paint color for your space
Jan 01, 2019
Ep. 68 with author Susanna Salk

Over the course of writing her nine design books, author and design expert Susanna Salk has learned a thing or two about decorating. Today, she joins us to share her journey in becoming a bestselling Design Author, stylist, and host of the Quintessence design series, and (our favorite) Ballard partner. She talks about why it’s fun to be fearless, her new book The Power of Pattern, how to mix and choose combinations that work, ways to use wallpaper and store photos, and how to know when you’ve gone too far.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • How our partnership with Susanna came about organically.
  • How one can mix patterns and choose colors fearlessly.
  • The inspiration behind her new book, The Power of Pattern, and why every pattern featured up close and personal is one that Susanna personally loves.
  • The rules of patterns, and where someone can start if it’s a new concept.
  • Photo storage solutions including having a section in your home to display them, keeping them in an ottoman, and creating an online nostalgia folder.
  • Susanna’s recommendation on what we should display on our mantles.
  • The obsession / labor of love project that Susanna’s husband welcomed in renovating their barn.
  • Yes, you can have a rug in your bathroom!
  • Pattern doesn’t have to be a print, it can also be a texture.
  • Why wallpaper may be your solution for weird ceiling shapes and difficult rooms.
  • How Susanna picks topics for her design series Quintessence.
  • How it came about for Susanna and Stacey Bewkes to create the Quintessence video series, and some of the highlights of their already amazing filming locations.
  • Tip: edit out and only keep what you are in love with.
  • If all else fails - no ugly spoon holders!
  • Susanna’s jewelry and closet rule - if you can’t fit what you have, something must go.
  • Use pictures to guide you and remind you of what you love.
Dec 25, 2018
Ep. 67: lifestyle entrepreneur India Hicks

Lifestyle entrepreneur India joins the podcast to talk about her new book, A Slice of England, in which chronicles the process of decorating her home in England, as well as her other family homes. On the show, we talk about her upbringing into design royalty with iconic designer David Hicks as her father, what being an author, model and entrepreneur has taught her, amazing ways we can decorate without spending a lot of money and her new business model that empowers women.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • A firsthand look at India’s upbringing with her father, iconic designer David Hicks, along with some fun American culture references of his work
  • India’s love of storytelling within her brand, books and decor
  • Why India believes that good taste and design are by no means dependent on money
  • Why she prefers an inclusive and accessible style in design, especially for those of us with families and pets
  • More about India’s home in Harbour Island, and their intention to take it back in time to the 18th Century
  • The true story that India and her partner David really had only one argument when designing their American Farmhouse
  • How India works antiques into her home, and expert ways to not be intimidated when mixing traditional and contemporary
  • What makes India’s new home collection so near and dear to her heart
  • How India’s company is giving women a chance to become ambassadors and work on their own time with a network of other amazing women
  • The sunscreen that India swears by
  • What room is most special to India
  • How to keep a coastal home from being cliche
  • The inspiration behind her book, A Slice of England
Dec 18, 2018
Ep. 66: architect Andrew Cogar & designer Kristin Kong

Today we welcome Andrew Cogar, architect for Historical Concepts, and interior designer Kristin Kong! We talk to them about designing and building from the ground up, the balance of architecture and design together and the way the two fields complement each other, what to know when finding an architect or interior designer to work on your home, and some smart tips to help navigate this major investment.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Taryn’s trial in the eyeglass world, and her triumph in seeing the comedian Celeste Barber live.

  • Yes, you can have Prosecco on tap at your office too.

  • The ongoing saga of Karen’s basement and her husband’s dream bar.

  • Caroline’s Christmas Tree trials and triumph, and how to correctly flock your tree to give it that beautiful snow misted look.

  • How the recession changed the relationship between architects and designers.

  • The ways architects and designers inspire and complement each other.

  • What Andrew and his team look for in renovations at Historical Concepts, and why one of their core values is to be “appropriate”.

  • How Andrew helps steer and educate clients in the direction of quality, skill and proportion.

  • Why seeing is believing holds true for what both Andrew and Kristin do.

  • Andrew and Kristin’s expert tips to add an interior designer early on in the project.

  • The importance of communication and trust in the process of both renovation and design.

  • Why the challenges that arise between architects and designers can actually be an opening for better dialog and a stronger partnership.

  • Personal stories from both Kristin and Andrew on some of the projects they are most proud of.

  • How both Andrew and Kristin weave in trends but still keep the integrity and lifestyle needs of the project.

  • Why it’s important to have a master plan, no matter how small the project is.

Dec 11, 2018
Ep. 65: Chip and Pauli Wade

Today we welcome Chip and Pauli Wade! You probably know Chip from the hundreds of episodes from the 14 shows he has been on during his impressive 12 year (and climbing) TV career so far. At just over 1,500 renovations in the past 12 years, he is always learning and pushing the envelope and loves seeing projects go from start to finish. We talk about Chip and Pauli’s partnership in all things work and personal life, how to discern between entertainment and real life renovation, how to plan and invest in design and decor correctly, and when we should embark on a DIY project vs. outsource to a professional, and how he is changing the dynamic of how the digital purchasing experience for both individuals and brands.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • The way Chip fell into TV, starting out previously as a structural engineer.
  • Real life in the fast paced crazy environment twist of Chip’s shows, including over 1,500 renovations in the past 12 years.
  • How Chip and Pauli met, fell in love and became partners and cheerleaders for each other both in romantic and business life.
  • What Chip feels is the most challenging in decorating and design, and despite what you think, it's not making things look good!
  • Who makes up all of Chip and Pauli's team, and why each and every role is pivotal to help homeowners make all the right choices along the way.
  • The biggest problems of e-commerce and online retail when it comes to curated confidence.
  • Why something functioning correctly in a room or house is more important than having it just because it was featured on TV or the front page of an editorial spread.
  • >The type of approach Chip uses when working with first time and potential clients to craft a concept of what is most suitable for their needs.
  • Why most of us are doing master bedroom design completely wrong, and how we can remedy it.
  • Little tweaks in our storage, layout, and function that can save us thousands of dollars and square footage of space.
  • Chips love of multipurpose function.
  • Some DIY projects that have spiraled out of control, both from us and Chip and Pauli.
  • As much as he (and we) love DIY, we hear Chip’s top recommendations on when to outsource to a professional.
  • Chip's new multipurpose and multifunctional furniture line, Xtraroom.


Dec 04, 2018
Ep. 64: designer Bunny Williams

Design superstar and podcast fan favorite Bunny Williams joins us to talk about her new studio and creative getaway, her new upholstery collection, how to change a room with a simple few statement pieces, and a whole Living Room 101 lesson.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • Bunny's new office that is adjacent to her home and how she converted a four bedroom house into one giant room with a beautiful view
  • A glimpse into her busy New York office and how she finds time and space to get inspired
  • Her new book “Affairs with Other Houses” due in the spring
  • How Bunny Williams Home started 10 years ago, built out of a need for certain products for Bunny’s design projects and how it grew into upholstery, lighting and accessories
  • The optimum size and height of a drink table and why no guest should ever be without a place to set their drinks
  • The addition of modern fixtures in a traditional home and the ability to mix contemporary with antique
  • Bunny’s tips for organizing things by groups to create an interesting statement
  • Break up the finishes, textures and colors so each piece stands out on it’s own
  • How to know what brown furniture to keep as is and which to paint
  • Why pieces should move around throughout the house over time, even as your tastes change
  • Why we should invest in wonderful furniture pieces as a lifetime purchase
  • Why the furniture has to fit the scale and proportions of the room it is going in, so you may want to opt for the 7 foot couch vs the 9 foot couch
  • Her new upholstery collection, including a scallop backed sofa, chairs and casegoods
  • The origin of the name of 'slipper chairs'
  • Raffia as a great way to provide a clean and streamlined texture to a room
  • Lighting options including standing lamps, and lighting fixtures on an end table
  • Why your collection of items should be personal to you and not something you have someone else purchase just to fill the room
  • How studying magazines will give you the confidence to make decisions in your own home
Nov 20, 2018
Ep. 63: Bradley Odom

Today, Bradley Odom joins in to share his background in retail and interior design, the inspiration for his iconic store Dixon Rye, and how he is shaking up the home styling industry. He also discusses the mix of raw and refined, the importance of scale and ways we can make our space well curated and uniquely personal.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Bradley’s background in retail and interior design and home stylist work.

  • How brick and mortar stores are still very much alive and important and require smart and educated decisions on what’s going where for particular seasons.

  • How we can understand scale, and what scales work for a particular space.

  • The mixing and editing of materials to keep the9 ebb and flow of old and new.

  • Bradley’s time at The Savannah College of Art and Design, and the challenges of obtaining a degree while working a busy full-time job.

  • His love for Atlanta’s artisan community, and why he chose Atlanta over any other possible locations.

  • The life cycle of products and the importance of good quality.

  • The most important things to invest in, and what items should be hand me down pieces.

  • Why Bradley may not believe in purchasing things just because they may be timeless.

  • Mixing neutrals, and how neutrals can take on a masculine or feminine role. And yes, there has been a beige sofa on the floor.

  • The history of Dixon Rye, and the challenges that the space faces due to the 1940’s industrial feel.

  • The amazing potential of small houses decorated and styles really well.

  • How to tackle storage in the bedroom without cluttering the room with furniture.

  • Why it’s not what or how many things we have, it’s the way they fit in the room.

  • A power statement can be everything, even just one rug.

  • Why not to gallery wall yourself out of every situation.

  • His use of brass, silver, and metal in different projects to create a look and feel.

  • How we bring more lighting into our space, picture lamps, and the importance of using lamps that work in scale.

  • Why it’s better to invest and buy “better, fewer things.”

  • The subjective nature of “luxury” and why the term doesn’t always mean high end.

Decorating Dilemmas

Hello ladies,

I have thoroughly enjoyed the podcast since discovering it a few weeks ago, and have since been 'binge listening', is that a thing?!? We are currently planning a complete remodel of a small footprint full bath off our hallway, and I envision something with a mix of styles. My question: Lucky for me, we live close by in Athens, but honestly, Atlanta seems a world away when it comes to navigating shops and good venues for sourcing tile, tubs, and good lighting. Can y'all recommend a few stores where I could see a good selection of higher quality tile in person? I already tried the big box options and I'm not finding what I'm looking for. I am really having fun with this process and look forward to exploring ATL and all it has to offer for stylish options to bring into my home. Thanks for any advice!


PS -- Scott's market is already on my radar, I've been a few times over the years. Also, I've purchased some nice brass door hardware at Masterpiece Lighting recently, and have them on my list.

Bradley gives some examples of local tile stores that are both boutique and big box stores. The tile itself matters, but the pattern and grout you choose also are large factors. A white subway tile with a jet black grout creates drama and an interesting mood rather than just plain white. You may also want to go to high-end stores for inspiration, then take your ideas for a combination of affordable and luxury tile.

Hi Ladies!

I love the podcast! It feels like a conversation with friends who love decorating and design even more than I do! Your warmth and humor comes across in each episode. When I heard the call for decorating dilemmas, I knew I could deliver you one!

My dilemma has to do with our master bedroom. We live in a 1923 house (american foursquare with some craftsman touches) which is lovely and has loads of character, but basically, no right angles left anymore. Our master bedroom faces the street, and if you leaned out the windows on the side wall, you could practically touch my neighbors MIL apartment above his garage. As you can see from the detail photo, one of the street facing windows is noticeably closer to the ceiling than the other. One is also right up against the side wall where my closet is. How can I cover these windows so it doesn't look weird? I'd like to not draw attention to the fact that the edges in this house are a little bit Seussian and we also need privacy. The current shades are leftover from the previous owner.

My second question is, how do I work with that fireplace? All the furniture in the photos is from my husband's bachelor days. All the pieces have basically been given a stay of execution and that is why they are still here. Having a fireplace in the master bedroom is pretty awesome. We do live in Texas, however, and have absolutely no need to use it. Your suggestions for what furniture to get and how to arrange it would be most appreciated! I don't want to ignore the fireplace but feature it in a way that makes sense for the space. My style vibe is new traditional.

Many, many thanks for your suggestions and pointers!

Kind regards,


One of the most new traditional things you can do is get rid of your ceiling fans! An outside mount with custom-made Roman shade can help draw attention to where it needs to go. Let the wood beams and fireplace be the hero because they are natural and beautiful. You can have some fun with your windows, and pick solid linen drapery on one side, and prints on the other. We love the deep brick, red of your fireplace, and the bungalow vibe it gives to the room. We also like the idea of a possible round standing sculpture on the wall.


Show Notes

Dixon Rye


Dixon Rye Facebook


Paul Schneider


Oct 30, 2018
Ep. 62: designer Kendall Simmons

Today's guest hails from the music city! We loved chatting with interior designer Kendall Simmons, who talks the Nashville scene, her mix of fun and spunky with timeless pieces to create her own signature style, and why our home should be unique to us - no matter what our mothers may think.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • When looking for new a new lamp, bring yours physically in to the store so you can make sure the shade fits perfectly
  • Caroline’s recent find in New Orleans, Nadine Blake, and what items she feels shouldn’t be missed
  • The super important steps to take when you have the feeling of wanting to throw everything out in your house
  • Kendall's journey from Kentucky, to New York, to back south in Nashville
  • Kendall’s work with Campion Platt, and how it helped inspire her to blend modern elements with classic buildings
  • How Kendall developed her own aesthetic and continues to keep developing and growing her tastes and proclivities
  • Kendall’s own personal projects in Nashville, including a loft in a converted factory building, and short term rental
  • Why her beautifully designed short term rental is so popular
  • Even if you don’t have a huge budget, Kendall feels it’s very important to have as many local art pieces as you can
  • Kendall’s “no rules” rules for gallery walls and her favorite artists for you to Google right away
  • How Kendall uses spatial and verbal descriptions when working with clients to help them understand the impact their decor choices will have on the room
  • The perfect condition for having different color trims and themes throughout the house
  • The criteria for painting a room dark and what to expect when you paint it in high gloss
  • Kendall and her husband’s commitment to travel and some of the interesting life perspective they have learned along the way
  • Kendall's advice for what to collect on your travels
  • Her top three shopping spots in the entire world
  • Kendall’s top secret insider information about flea markets in Paris
  • The weirdest things Kendall has bought throughout her travels, and what landed her to get questioned in the airport security line
  • Kendall’s high / low mix that allows for her clients to stay within their budget, yet splurge on some forever pieces
Oct 23, 2018
Ep. 61: editor Robert Leleux

Robert Leleux joins us for a lively episode where he shares his journey into design and decorating, a sneak peek into his upcoming Southern Style Now Festival and Showhouse, what we should splurge and save on, why we should give our money to people making things with their hands, and how often one should change their sheets.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • How Robert’s rural upbringing led to him accomplishing his dream of working at in the magazine world.

  • Robert’s love for chic and stylish Southern design and decor, and his mission to bring it more into standard American design.

  • All the information behind the 4 Day Southern Style Now Festival and Showhouse, including a more experiential component to the event and a sneak peek of some of the special guests, including Ballard’s very own Miles Redd.

  • Robert’s love of celebrating the city of Charleston, and including up and coming young talent that he believes in such as Olivia Brock, Cortney Bishop, Cameron Stewart, and Angie Hranowsky.

  • Robert’s answers to our game “Go Low or Get High” where he gives advice to splurge on bedding, wallpaper, upholstery, lighting and save on rugs, eyewear and accessories.

  • Why Robert’s future husband called his living conditions “upper class squalour” back in their early dating days.

  • The connection between interior design and building a wardrobe with well maintained clothes.

  • Our bed habits including the frequency of changing sheets, sleeping on your back and preventing early morning face wrinkles.

  • Robert’s appreciation for the art of textile design, and his fondness of White Duck.

  • The impact of a yard of fabric in a room, and how to “fake it til you make it” if on a budget to add warmth and personality to a room.

  • Accessories as a collection of things we gather along the way, representing us and reflecting our life story.

  • Almost anything can be a lamp, and the fun to be had when getting creative with our lighting.

  • If you are going to go cheap, get solid colors, or a nice white.

Decorating Dilemmas

Hi ladies,


My daughter and I love your podcast and learn something new every time and over the years several of my favorite purchases including my comforter cover :) have come from Ballard.


Our dilemma - how to layout our living room. We live in an old 1880s Victorian in San Francisco with my elderly mother. We have a nice big living room used for everything from mom sitting there during the day, to homework, relaxing, entertaining and tv in the evening and its been very tough to figure out a layout that works. Recently we moved the couch from against the wall opposite the fireplace between the two entry doors to make 3 zones:

corner where my elderly mother sits in her chair

couch area in the middle with coffee tables in the back for lamps and homework / stuff creep

a reading chair in the far side.


We are redoing the family room so we’re open to getting new furniture and moving the couch and any chairs there. So the questions:

do those groupings make sense?

if yes, can we work with these pieces?

what should we do about coffee / side table(s)?

what art or furniture can go on the blank wall across from the fireplace (it’s not even / matching)

what would be good occasional seating if we have guests?

how else could we furnish mom’s little nook

Note the tv is mounted (logistically couldn’t go anywhere else but swivels so don’t need to plan around that)


Like your last question this week, I hope to hear an answer on your podcast :)




We all agree that it is a very big, beautiful room, so congrats on that. Robert recommends studying the Fifth Ave. Parlor rooms, and through that you will discover how many seating options you actually have. We recommend adding a second chair, a round ottoman, and a pretty table next to where your mother sits, to create a welcoming nook. We would invest in a nice coffee table, and some new side tables. Find some fabulous fabrics and some bright, beautiful pillows to add to the sofa, and pull the drop leaf table over to your mother’s nook, or paint it the color of the wall so it blends in a little more.


Robert thinks your mantle space is an opportunity, and calls for something bold, grand and tall, even bolder than the television. Visually relate to a television like it’s part of a gallery wall, then work around adding art and mirrors on top of that to draw the eye up. Fabric and color will be your friend, and you can use our room planner tool on our blog. Be sure to send us photos along the way!




Hello Lovely Ballard Mavens,


I heard you ask the listeners for more dilemmas, so here you go. Our new built home has serious lackluster lighting. Really, when we did our final walkthrough I was excited to see the lighting fixtures and then...cue sad trombone! Before I could stop myself I said, "Well, I won't feel bad about replacing those."


Would you be able to help me find lights that relate to each other for over our front door, the foyer, and dining room? There are clear sight lines between all these areas. So far the only lights I have felt comfortable changing were the exterior lights, because the old lights were shining into our neighbors house and function lead my choice.


Inside the home I've been trying to pull together a well traveled look with touches of bazaar and Asian influences. I've been drawn to your Moravian Star Pendant, Moravian Ceiling Mount, and Rose Chandelier, but I'm afraid of going overboard with themed lighting. Your last guest Suzanne Kasler spoke of visual sequence, I would love to hear more about this.


Thank you for your input!!


We think the dining room could take something of scale, and like the idea of the Rose Chandelier. We suggest some possible places for both the pendant and ceiling mount, but would definitely keep them in separate rooms. Additional lighting and lamps are going to be great for you, along with sconces. Add some rugs in time, and experiment with a new paint color.


As far as visual sequence, think of different sources of lights for different purposes.


Paint, Lighting and Fabric, and repeat.









Show Notes

@Robert Leleux


Legends of La Cienega

Southern Style Now

Traditional Home

Tina Browns Vanity Fair Diaries

Brian Patrick Flynn

Angies House Beautiful Room

Hibiscus Linens

Ballard Design Sheets

Lisa Fine in Elle Decor

Nathan Turners I Love California


Oct 09, 2018
Ep. 60: editor Lucy Bamman

Lucy Bamman, Market Editor for Hearst Magazines ELLE Decor, Veranda and House Beautiful believes that there is something for everyone in design and decor, and part of the fun is the journey that comes along with finding it. Lucy talks with us about her role as a Market Editor, and how she got into it, what trends she is into now and how she keeps feelers open for what’s good at all times, but also is very specific about what find will work best with what publication.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • What exactly a Market Editor is, and why you can thank them for featuring the best and most unique products, ideas and trends
  • The pressure (and fun) that comes with a job like Lucy’s, and what she appreciates most about sourcing for three very esteemed yet different publications and readerships
  • The differentiators between her three titles at ELLE Decor, Veranda and House Beautiful
  • The amazing locations Lucy gets to visit on behalf of work, including Paris, Milan, and Los Angeles
  • The latest trends Lucy is seeing now, including moving from brass to more natural materials such as wicker and straw, and interesting color patterns and choices
  • How she edits her own home when she constantly has so much input and information flying her way, and how she brings in her love of textiles in her own decorating
  • Why Lucy urges us not to fear color and bold choices. Even if you turn a sofa and put it on another wall, or change the paint or throw pillows, you can completely change the whole mood and make it as sophisticated or funky as you want
  • Her background and education, and how she learned her practicals from Richard Keith Langham
  • Lucy’s experience with Keith teaching her to know her colors, think like a true designer, and not be afraid to mix it all up and have fun
  • How Lucy’s job at One Kings Lane set her up for editing and spritzing in beautiful vintage pieces to demonstrate the beauty of collecting pieces over time
  • Tips for small spaces including the use of lower shelves under coffee tables
  • How to be your own Market Editor when you don’t necessarily have the house to decorate in quite yet
  • How to know when to refurbish, and when to do away with the old for something new
Sep 25, 2018
Ep. 59: designer Libby Langdon
Chances are you have seen our guest Libby Langdon’s work on HGTV and The Today Show and in all of your favorite magazines — House Beautiful, Traditional Homes, and Better Homes and Gardens. We talk with Libby about her trifecta of combining product design, client work, and media and injecting them all into everything she does. She also spills behind the scenes secrets of makeover TV shows, how she learned to install a house in one day, and why she believes that the way you feel about your home reflects every aspect of your life. 

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • Libby’s background of growing up in High Point, North Carolina, the furniture mecca of the world. Her parents were both in the furniture and textile industry, so Libby learned design from all angles at a young age
  • Libby’s journey from modeling and fashion to hosting FOX Makeover TV show, Design Invasion
  • The common threads Libby noticed in many homes as a universal struggle including awkward furniture layout and bad lighting
  • The value of learning to install a house in one day, and how to design for the look that the homeowner desires.
  • Libby’s hilarious behind the scenes moments of Design Invasion where she surprised unsuspecting people early in the morning to completely transform their house in one day
  • Libby’s passion for skills cooking and event planning, and how she balances that with her busy acting and interior design careers
  • The common concern of clients that they will grow tire of a certain color, and how Libby walks them through picking colors that will stand the test of time
  • How a painting of a goldfish inspired an entire one-day home makeover
  • Her Rumson, NJ project that was featured in House Beautiful
  • Some of Libby’s favorite moments from her work on makeover television shows
  • The blending of exterior and interior design, and how we can mix and match indoor and outdoor products in design
  • Libby’s love of a Trellis print
  • Her hands-on approach to design and creation, rather than white labeling and putting her name on products already created
  • What Libby is designing now in her partnership with Kas Rugs, and when we can expect it to be ready on the market
  • The ways that Libby introduces her clients to the world of lighting and lamps, and some practical tips to get our lighting on point using dimmers, appropriate wattage and remote controls
  • Decorating for small spaces, and why leaving space white may not be the best answer
  • The benefits of living with less, and why smaller spaces have many luxurious benefits. We can also learn more with her new book, Small Space Solutions
Sep 12, 2018
Ep. 59: designer Libby Langdon

Chances are you have seen our guest Libby Langdon’s work in all of your favorite magazines. Libby has been featured in House Beautiful, Traditional Homes, Better Homes and Gardens, and has been on HGTV and The Today Show. We talk with Libby about her trifecta of combining product design, client work, and media and injecting them all into everything she does. She also spills some secrets of behind the scenes screws of makeover TV shows, how she learned to install a house in one day. Libby believes that the way you feel about your home reflects every aspect of your life, and is here to teach us how to give our home a big hug with real life solutions and inspired decorations.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Libby’s background of growing up in High Point, North Carolina, the furniture mecca of the world. Her parents were both in the furniture and textile industry, so Libby learned design from all angles at a young age.

  • Libby’s journey from modeling and fashion to hosting FOX Makeover TV show, Design Invasion.

  • The common threads Libby noticed in many homes as a universal struggle including awkward furniture layout and bad lighting,

  • The value of learning to install a house in one day, and how to design for the look that the homeowner desires.

  • Libby’s hilarious behind the scenes moments of Design Invasion where she surprised unsuspecting people early in the morning to completely transform their house in one day.

  • Libby’s passion for skills cooking and event planning, and how she balances that with her busy acting and interior design careers.

  • The common concern of clients that they will grow tire of a certain color, and how Libby walks them through picking colors that will stand the test of time.

  • How a painting of a goldfish inspired an entire one-day home makeover.

  • Her Rumson, NJ project that was featured in House Beautiful.

  • Some of Libby’s favorite moments from her work on makeover television shows.

  • The blending of exterior and interior design, and how we can mix and match indoor and outdoor products in design.

  • Libby’s love of a Trellis print.

  • Her hands-on approach to design and creation, rather than white labeling and putting her name on products already created.

  • What Libby is designing now in her partnership with Kas Rugs, and when we can expect it to be ready on the market.

  • The ways that Libby introduces her clients to the world of lighting and lamps, and some practical tips to get our lighting on point using dimmers, appropriate wattage and remote controls.

  • Decorating for small spaces, and why leaving space white may not be the best answer.

  • The benefits of living with less, and why smaller spaces have many luxurious benefits. We can also learn more with her new book, Small Space Solutions.

Decorating Dilemmas

Hi ladies!


I recently discovered your podcast and have really enjoyed listening. : )

I have a decorating dilemma I would love your help with. We recently moved to a new house and we're slowly working to make it feel like home. My dilemma is that I have two tall windows in my living room and then a 3rd on a different wall that is much smaller and further down the wall. Because of the soffit (is that the right word?) near the 3rd window I am unable to hang another curtain at the full ceiling height and therefore can't figure out what to do with the window as far as a treatment. Do I hang the same curtain that is on the larger/taller windows, but lower, to accommodate the soffit? Part of me thinks that would look odd. Do I not hang a curtain there at all?


Thanks for your help, and again, I've really enjoyed the podcasts! Keep up the good work. : )



Libby recommends hanging a soft fabric Roman shade all the way up on the window that is highest. When the shade is pulled up, it will be living on the wall space and visually make the window seem as though it goes all the way up. If you can put a chair and small table there, it will take the sting out of the fact that the windows start so high up off the floor. You could use the same fabric as other window treatments, but don’t have to. It is okay to put drapes on the outsides of the windows, as this will assure all the natural lighting makes its way into your room.


Hi Ladies,


My husband and I plan to purchase the house pictured below so none of this furniture is mine or staying (except the grey built-ins). This is the great room and it has (beautiful) built-ins on one side and a fireplace on the perpendicular wall. How do you suggest I layout furniture? We will do most of our TV watching in here so I would like at least a sofa or comfy chairs to face the tv but I also don't want to block off the fireplace. I anticipate buying new furniture for this space and recovering the lovely (read sarcastic) duck upholstered chairs. (They were left in a cabin we purchased furnished and I always hated them but they are comfy so I think I can make them into something wonderful.) The room is big - 19 ft wide from the bookshelf wall to the table and 22 ft from the stair wall to the fireplace.


If I were to do two sofas - should they be the same? And a solid, perhaps neutral color and then pattern on the chairs or vice-versa? I hate boring. And I have four kids so the fabric needs to be a bit on the indestructible side. And a rug? What size??


Also - ideas on colors? I love color but this house is totally neutral (and beautiful but not 'me'). I fear it will become a slippery slope if I start painting or changing too much because then the trim will look really creamy compared to my cleaner colors and desire for a white kitchen. Do white and cream play nice?


I know, there is a lot here I am asking about and really, I just need to hire a professional but I don't even know where to start to find the 'right' one or how the price their services.


Thank you.


Lost but trying,



Libby recommends facing the sofa towards the television, and adding two great swivel chairs in front of the fireplace, and two other chairs on either side of the sofas. You want to think in terms of a comfortable, yet well proportioned sofa.

For color, tan with pops of orange and navy, and a neutral sofa is a great way to go while the kids are young. We like the console you have going on, and maybe think about adding an ottoman, closed storage and making sure the front legs of the furniture at least is on the rug. If you can’t find an area rug for that size, you can get it cut and bound.


Show Notes

Design Innovation

Libby Langdon

Libby Langdon IMDB

A One-Day Makeover with Libby - House Beautiful

Libby for Kas Rugs

Libby in the Media

EtekCity Remote Control Outlet

Libby Langdons Small Space Solutions

@LibbyLangdon Instagram

@Libby Langdon Facebook

@LibbyLangdon Twitter

Sep 11, 2018
Ep. 58: designer Kevin Isbell

Kevin Isbell joins us today for a round of Would You Rather? -- Decorating Edition. We also chat about adding texture and soul into a modern home, Kevin’s superpower of using strong color in subtle ways, decorating pet peeves, and his recent Nantucket cottage project featured in House Beautiful. It is apparent that Kevin loves what he does, and is deeply passionate about the craft behind design.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • Why a large enough rug is crucial for a well balanced feel within a room
  • Kevin’s fondness for antique and vintage pieces that have a story to tell and that add texture and warmth to the room
  • Why Kevin would never do away with accessories and little trinkets that we pick up along the way of experiences and travel
  • The little accessories that push home design from “nice” to the “wow” factor
  • Why even the ugliest of chairs have the possibility to be beautiful
  • How Kevin got into design, playing around with the late 80’s trends of color blocking
  • How a background in business and business management helps set you up for running a successful career in interior design. Kevin combined the desire from his parents for him to get a business background, and his own love of architecture and design
  • The difference of furnishing vs decorating a home
  • Kevin’s cross country adventure from San Francisco to New York in 2001
  • Kevin’s house in Nantucket recently featured in House Beautiful, and how he maintained the basic structure in the house while completely changing the decor
  • Facts on Nantucket’s global industry that inspired Kevin’s choices when picking decor and accents
  • How he combines his old-soul and craftsman mentality with modern day social media. Kevin’s time lapse videos on Instagram are works of art themselves, and give another personal touch to his projects.
  • How Kevin revamped a timeless Greenwich, Connecticut home, and made it approachable and livable with the beauty of a showhome
  • The balance of high, low and knowing when to invest compared to when to hold back and save money
  • Kevin’s use of strong color in a subtle ways and how he mixes several colors in one room, and how Kevin changes color usage depending on geographic location and setting
  • The real commitment needed to really go all in on a pop of color, and why accent rooms shouldn’t be just one colorful piece in a neutral room
  • Kevin’s choice of Ballard’s Original Office Collection for his workspace
Aug 28, 2018
Ep. 57: designer Liz Bauer

Elizabeth Bauer joins us today to share her story on how a passion for flea markets and shopping to repurpose led to a career design and a successful shop in the West Village of New York. She talks about the importance of “getting the bones right” of a home upon first moving in, how to make the most of small spaces, and decorating a seaside and vacation home in a playful and sophisticated way. We take listener questions on sprucing up long hallways,  painting vs renovating, and why you shouldn’t be afraid to mix and match whites! 

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • The story of how Elizabeth opened her store and started her business in Greenwich Village 2008
  • How she decides what she picks when shopping to repurpose, and the trends she is looking for now when she hunts and gathers
  • Elizabeth’s featured work in House Beautiful in March 2017, featuring stunning de Gournay wallpaper, painted floors, high-gloss aqua lacquer, and French Bistro bar stools
  • The proper prep work to paint, why lacquer costs so much and Elizabeth’s choice of tone and color palette when painting wood floors
  • Designing for clients with children, and the way Elizabeth’s own design has changed now that she has a family. Elizabeth believes in using (and enjoying) her furniture
  • Elizabeth’s tips on how to put those ugly chair and couch arm covers to good use
  • How to embrace and work with having a large television in your home
  • How to compromise design and style with the husband happiness factor
  • The opportunity to create a luxurious space in a small apartment or studio, and why Elizabeth believes a small space can create an amazing feel, whether it’s layered, bright and colorful or tranquil and simple
  • Elizabeth’s home in Nantucket, and how she plays up the nautical and New England theme
  • The solution to matching whites, and why different whites isn’t something to fret over
Aug 14, 2018
Ep. 56 with designer Katie Lydon

This week we are joined by the very talented Katie Lydon. Originally from London, Katie founded her downtown New York interior design firm in 2002. Katie has been featured in House Beautiful, Elle Decor, The New York Times, and Metropolitan Home. We talk with Katie about her love of color, her recent work with longtime client, author and podcaster Gretchen Rubin, and plans for the renovation of her home. We also speak with Katie about her favorite part of the design process, and ways to inject personality whether you are going for a contemporary, modern or classic look.


  • How Katie got into the design field
  • Katie’s work with longtime client Gretchen Rubin, featured in the April issue of House Beautiful
  • Her love for Gretchen’s design confidence and bold yet elegant choices
  • The return of purple in editorial, and how to use the color purple to create a certain mood in the home
  • The similarities between her work in Gretchen’s home and an English countryside room in decor, molding, bookcases, and abundance of seating
  • Some practical tips and tricks of furniture arrangement, seating options and creating intimacy in a large space
  • Katie’s editing and simplicity in both contemporary and traditional spaces, and her method of letting the people bring the majority of the character and personality into the space
  • Katie’s plans to renovate her own home, including updating the loft with central AC, new kitchen area and mud room
  • How to pick fixtures and finishes in your kitchen that will stand the test of time and last through trends
  • How to cover the basics yet push the envelope when designing a home for a family
  • The importance of living in a space before renovating it
  • Katie’s design pet peeves, and why she may move tables at your home while you aren’t looking
  • The differences between English design and American design, and where Katie draws her inspiration from within each of them
Jul 31, 2018
Ep. 55: editor Tori Mellott

In this episode we are joined with Tori Mellott, Senior Design and Markets Editor for Traditional Home Magazine. We talk trends with Tori from her recent trip at High Point Market, her background and where her love of design emerged from, some fun behind the scenes stories from her career in magazines, the roles and responsibilities of a Markets Editor and why we all feel that it’s impossible to have too many chairs.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • How Tori has had the energy and stamina to move (and decorate) 26 times.

  • A trends recap from Tori’s recent High Point Market Trip from all of the latest in designers and furniture manufacturers. Tori mentions the resurgence of canopy beds, traditional stylings, groovy 1970’s lighting, millennial pink, delicate silhouettes, and things just being pretty.

  • Tori’s love for auction shopping, specifically for occasional chairs for both herself and her loved ones.

  • Tori’s travel tips for roaming unencumbered.

  • The growing trend of bright yellow in home decor, and Tori’s closet.

  • The responsibilities and duties of a Markets Editor.

  • When Tori sees something that she wants, she waits on it. If she is still wanting it after one year, she knows it’s the real deal.

  • Why it’s important to know your audience when pitching a magazine editor.

  • Tori’s very own real life personal version of The Devil Wears Prada during an internship at NYU, and how it led to an internship at HomeStyle Magazine.

  • Caroline’s amazing memory when it comes to designer and pictorials.

  • Her personal side project of helping her sister decorate.

  • How to know when to splurge, and when to save, on interior design.

Jul 17, 2018
Ep. 54: designer Philip Mitchell

This week we travel to New York to catch up with interior designer Philip Mitchell and his very cute dogs.  Philip is based in New York and Toronto, and has been featured in Traditional Home, House and Home Magazine and Canada’s Style at Home Magazine. We talk with him about his beautiful captain’s house in Nova Scotia, his  approach to restoration, fun and affordable ways to add texture and details, and the art of mixing historic with contemporary and modern comfort.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • How he and his husband ended up falling in love with Nova Scotia, and purchasing and restoring  a 1795 captain’s house in a beautiful Seaside Village
  • His love and respect for historic homes, and inspiration to maintain the integrity and sentiment of the original home during the restoration process
  • How they found an  incredible contractor to renovate their home with an artisan yet liveable approach.
  • The differences between current New York and Canada interior design trends and lifestyles
  • A fun “this or that” word game where we put Philip to the test of some of his favorite things including textures, finishings, patterns, panel molding and storage options
  • Why you shouldn’t be afraid to reuse what you already have, and take your drapery with you when moving out
  • In interior design - if you love it, you can incorporate it
  • Philip’s attitude towards furniture and pieces is to not focus on perfection, but comfort and the beauty within the story.
  • What Philip means when he says he is “big on appropriateness”
  • How to have the big talk with your partner about painting the wood in a room
  • Philip’s journey into interior design through growing up surrounded by women that appreciated a beautifully furnished home and environment
  • His participation with the 2018 Kips Bay Show House to benefit the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club charity
  • What Philip personally collects throughout his own travels and personal experiences
Jul 03, 2018
Ep. 53 with designer Whitney Durham

We love seeing the way interior designers use our products in their client's spaces, and that's precisely how we found interior designer Whitney Durham. Plus, her home is featured in the Summer 2018 issue of Atlanta Magazine HOME. We talk to her about how she decorates with two rowdy boys at home, her love of original art, and the dreaded over-the-mantel television dilemma.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • Whitney tells us how she started her design business
  • We talk about decorating with kids
  • We talk rugs and rug pags and why indoor/outdoor rugs are a staple for spaces Whitney designs for her clients
  • Why animal prints are a neutral
  • How Whitney likes to treat television in her own home and her clients' spaces
  • Why she typically chooses neutral paint colors in her rooms
  • Whitney's love of art and why it's so important to a space
Jun 19, 2018
Ep. 52: Miles Redd & David Kaihoi

This week we go to New York to catch up with Miles Redd, and his design partner in crime David Kaihoi.  Miles has been featured in Vogue, W, House Beautiful, Architectural Digest and now he brings his one of a kind style to outdoor furniture at Ballard Designs. We talk with Miles and David about the inspiration behind the new collection, which offers beautifully designed quality pieces that look expensive and high end but are affordable and functional. 

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • Decorating should be fun, and not a source of stress or pressure.
  • How Miles and David overcome a creative dry spell or artistic lull and get in touch with their inspiration
  • The importance of feasting your eyes on beautiful homes to gather ideas, even if it’s just on vacation
  • What it’s like to see things again with wonder and newness from the fresh eye of children
  • The role of performance fabrics and durability in a home with kids
  • The balance of giving their younger clients what they want between what is functional and makes the most sense
  • Their new self storing cushion chair in the outdoor furniture collection blends stunning aesthetic with practical usage.
  • Their special dining room tables that feature options and versatility
  • The colors and materials that they love enough to bring in to their new office,
  • Their work with Housing Works and Design on a Dime to help people get back on their feet and feel comfortable in society
  • Their special theme of color and wallpaper for the booth this year, and their inspiration behind it
  • A quick and easy way to decorate using wall sculptures
  • How Miles switches from designing for clients and interior design to product development and design
  • Miles and David’s propensity for adding in ebony or chalky white furniture to add an elegant and high end touch
Jun 05, 2018
Ep. 51 with designer Lauren DeLoach

Atlanta designer Lauren DeLoach caught our eye at the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Southeastern Designer Showhouse, so we were super excited to have her on today’s episode. She talks with us about why she loves brown furniture, why she uses a check in almost every room, tips on how to decorate bookshelves, and family-friendly design ideas.


  • The room that she featured at the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Southeastern Designer Showhouse was one of the most coveted of the day
  • Ideas to create a balanced and yet lived in look for built-Ins and bookshelves, and what to do when the books you actually love to read don’t fit your color scheme
  • How the rule of three also applies to color
  • Her love for using brown furniture and antiques to add layers and history to a home
  • The tricks a camera plays in photoshoots, and a sneak peek of what really happens behind the scenes of a shoot 
  • Lauren’s insider recommendations for having a kid-friendly yet beautifully decorated house
  • The helpful way to add a pop of color and fun with buffalo and gingham checks
  • The general rule of thumb to measure your rug so you aren’t living on an empty rug island
  • Her favorite cream paint color and which paint finishes belong on which surfaces
May 22, 2018
Ep. 50 with Suzanne Kasler

We hear what keeps award-winning interior designer Suzanne Kasler so busy, and the inspiration behind her new wicker Southport Collection. We talk about her love for pink, modern trends, guilty pleasures and much more.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • How Suzanne stays relevant in the industry and fresh in her approach through travel, shopping and education
  • The more inspired you are, the more it seeps into your client work
  • The release of Suzanne’s new book Sophisticated Simplicity and her newsletter Inspired
  • How Suzanne picks certain projects to publish and her approach to photographing her book with designers, stylists and photographers
  • Her go-to accessories for photoshoots and why she keeps them indigenous to the area
  • How Suzanne uses lamp slips to create a look of proportion and layering
  • The trends of darker walls and wall coverings is something Suzanne is now seeing in every room of the house
  • The backstory of Suzanne’s Southport collection and how a daybed in a flea market in Paris was her muse in creating the collection
  • The difference between wicker and rattan and why you should have a piece in your home
  • The timeline of her purchases to when it is available for purchase as part of a collection
  • The mix of pieces and styles that go into her Paris Apartment collection for Hickory Chair, and why Paris is one of her top choices of cities to shop
  • Why she is in the “thinking pink” zone
  • Petite chairs and why Suzanne is always on the hunt for a great one
  • The new flagship store opening in Atlanta is coming soon, so check the website for grand opening event details
May 08, 2018
Ep. 49: Landscape Architects Spencer Tunnell and Will McDonald

With Spring in the air, we thought we'd talk about our outdoor spaces. They're just as important as your indoor spaces, but for many of us, knowing what to do with them can be a challenge. Atlanta landscape architects Spencer Tunnell and Will McDonald of Tunnell & Tunnell Landscape Architecture stopped by to talk about when we need to call a professional, how to add a little curb appeal to your space, why non-native plants aren't a smart choice in many cases, and much more.


  • We talk about Curb Appeal and how it isn't so different from interior design
  • I talk about my backyard project and the wild hair got to tear it all up
  • Karen wants turf in her yard. We ask Spencer and Will their thoughts.
  • Taryn asks about why and how you can choose plants that will bloom year round
  • We talk about when you should hire a pro to help you and when you can do it yourself
  • We talk about consultations and how a professional could help you make a master plan for your property that you could fulfill over time
  • Taryn talks about her experience splitting plants and her neighbor who's helped her learned what'll work in her yard
  • We ask Will and Spencer about their favorite plants
  • We talk about goats and how you can use them to rid your yard of invasive species
  • Why it's dangerous to plant non-native plants
  • Taryn wants to know about all of the pine trees in her yard
Apr 24, 2018
Ep. 48 with Montgomery Gratch Interiors

Almost a year ago Atlanta interior designers Julie Montgomery and Michele Gratch joined forces to create Montgomery Gratch Interiors. We loved hearing about how their unique strengths compliment and challenge each other. We talk family homes, renovations, the fifth wall, and much more.


  • They tell us about how they joined their firms and how their individual strengths work together
  • Why you shouldn't wait to decorate until your kids are older and how to make your home kid-friendly and beautiful
  • Why it's important to consider how you live in your home before starting the decorating process
  • How to approach your home with a fresh eye
  • We talk about showhouses, why they're fun, why they're a great place to learn about decorating, and why you should check one out in your town
  • How Michele and Julie bring that layered, collected look into your room
  • We talk about a friend of Julie and Michelle's who does a bus tour of great shopping places
  • Why it's absolutely crucial to make a floorplan and to measure before buying anything
  • Karen asks Michelle and Julie for tips on how to encourage dinner party guests to use her living room
  • Thoughts on decorating outdoor spaces, especially the dilemma of keeping cushions clean and pollen-free
  • We talk about renovations -- kitchen trends, how to make an impact on the ceiling, and more
  • Michelle and Julie tell us about their client who has a wine bar in her closet
Apr 10, 2018
Ep. 47 with antiques dealer Shane Robuck

This past Fall, Karen met antique dealer Shane Robuck of Robuck & Co on a buying trip to Europe, and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to chat with him about antiques, travel, and his love of furniture. Shane travels the world looking for the most beautiful curiosities and furniture pieces and sells them in his shop in Atlanta.

  • Shane tells us about his love of Italy and his favorite cities for finding the best pieces
  • Shane tells us about how he started buying antiques and who helped him educate his eye
  • The guiding principal he uses to buy pieces -- gauging with your heart and buying what you love
  • We talk about why the millennial generation doesn't buying as many antiques
  • Shane gives us a quick lesson on antiques from various countries
  • Shane tells us the story of buying his tufted sofa with adjustable arms
  • He tells us what types of antiques are currently trending in his shop
  • Taryn asks about tips about shopping for antiques in a shop
  • We talk about negotiating and what's a fair price to offer
Mar 27, 2018
Ep. 46 designer Laura Walker Baird of Verde Home

Atlanta interior designer and owner of Verde Home on the Upper Westside Laura Walker Baird joins the podcast to talk about antiquing overseas, why Europeans rarely hire designers, and her own major home renovation.


  • We talk about purging -- what's worth keeping and what needs to be tossed
  • Laura tells us about her time abroad shopping for antiques
  • We hear about Laura's bedroom -- mauve with green carpet
  • She talks about why she wasn't really an interior designer when she lived in Italy
  • Laura tells us about the proper Italian way to eat spaghetti
  • The most common issue Laura's clients deal with
  • Taryn asks Laura about her favorite design era
  • We talk about getting pieces custom made
  • Laura talks about accessorizing an unused room in her client's home to make it functional 
  • We talk about how to make your dining room more inviting so you'll actually use it
  • Laura tells us about her home renovation which she's recently finished
Mar 13, 2018
Ep. 45 with designer Paloma Contreras

Design blogger and interior designer Paloma Contreras stopped by the podcast while in Atlanta to talk about her upcoming book, the ten year anniversary of her blog, and how important it is to enjoy living in your home.


  • We talk about Remodelista’s 2018 trends
  • Paloma tells us about her upcoming book publishing in Fall 2018
  • We talk about the difference between finding inspiration and executing a room design based on that inspiration
  • We ask Paloma about what she’s had to talk clients out of
  • How do we incorporate trends without falling victim to those trends
  • Paloma talks trends and her ‘oops’ moment
  • Why Paloma is so glad classic rooms are having a big moment in design
  • How La Dolce Vita got started and eventually evolved into a full service design business
  • Paloma tells us about her design style and ‘hero fabrics’
  • Why it’s easy for us to incorporate bold patterns and colors into the rooms of the catalog, but how we know most people are going to order something more subdued
  • Paloma talks about the process of writing a book and how important it was to schedule blocks of time to write
  • Why it’s important to know how to live and love in your home
  • The biggest faux pas as a dinner party guest
  • Paloma’s favorite ways to inject personality into your home – travel souvenirs and color
  • Holes in your décor – should you wait to fill a blank space until you find something perfect or do you add in something inexpensive and temporary?
  • Taryn and Karen ask for Paloma’s suggestions to replace their juju hats
Feb 27, 2018
Ep. 44: Performance Fabrics 101

We've gotten lots of questions from listeners about performance fabrics. What are they? Why are they so durable? Are they safe to use in our homes? We thought we'd answer all of your questions, so we went straight to the source. Kimberly Peoples and Emily Cosgrove of Sunbrella stopped by the podcast to give us a 101 lesson in performance fabrics. Plus we talk about our newest collection of over 100 performance fabrics we're adding to our line.


  • Why our performance fabrics by Sunbrella are stainproof, fadeproof, and super durable
  • We talk about the 'face test' and why we're so excited to use our new performance fabrics on our furniture
  • Emily talks about how she became a textile designer
  • Kimberly and Emily tell us about all the cool green and eco-friendly aspects about the Sunbrella company
  • We talk through common stains and the handy chart that'll make cleanup a breeze
  • Which furniture pieces you should consider using performance fabrics on
  • We talk about some of our favorite fabrics in the new collection
  • We help Kimberly sort through her own decorating dilemma
Feb 13, 2018
Ep. 43 with designer Rachel Cannon

While in Atlanta for market, Baton Rouge interior designer Rachel Cannon stopped by the podcast to talk brown furniture, waiting for that perfect piece, letting your layout dictate your furniture pieces, and her 'cantaloupe' bookshelf styling trick. Definitely don't miss this one!


  • First things first, we get a lesson in how to say 'Baton Rouge'
  • Rachel talks about her first room and the most important decorating lesson her mom taught her
  • Rachel talks about why your room dictates your furniture layout and the pieces you need
  • Rachel tells us her number one piece of dream furniture
  • We give Rachel all our Scott's Antique Market tips and we talk about AmericasMart in Atlanta
  • We quiz Rachel on her tips for dressing up a space while keeping it comfortable
  • Why paint color isn't necessarily the best route if you want a colorful home
  • Rachel shares her favorite paint colors
  • We talk bookshelves and how to fill all that space without it being cluttered
  • Rachel's 'cantaloupe' trick for bookshelf styling
  • We ask Rachel who about her designer inspirations -- Suzanne Kasler, Kelly Wearstler, and Phoebe Howard
Jan 30, 2018
Ep. 42 with designer Barbara Westbrook

The impossibly talented Barbara Westbrook stops by the podcast to talk antiquing, her book Gracious Rooms, her client work, renovating her homes, and her decorating pet peeve. And of course, we answer your decorating questions!


  • Barbara tells us about some of her earliest memories antiquing with her mom in a shop in her hometown of Lynchberg, Virginia
  • How she ended up in Atlanta in the interior design business working for one of our podcast guests
  • Barbara tells us a story of Suzanne Kasler's bathroom, and we talk about Miles Redd's mirrored bathroom
  • We talk about Barbara's previous home in a historic neighborhood in Atlanta
  • She talks about why it's a good idea to live in your home before you renovate
  • Barbara tells us about why she bought her new house and the improvements she's making to it
  • We talk about collecting items you love and finding a place for them later
  • Why she loves designing kitchens and how she'd love to just design kitchens one day
  • Her best lesson for designing a kitchen or bathroom -- edited the design down to two 'tricks'
  • How she transitioned from a petite home to a larger home
  • We talk about picture frames and Barbara's approach to incorporating them into your decor
Jan 16, 2018
Ep. 41 with The Peak of Chic's Jennifer Boles

Atlanta native Jennifer Boles of The Peak of Chic stops by the podcast to give us a decorating history lesson, her favorite decor books, and much more. We talk about the origins of her book In with the Old: Classic Decor from A to Z and the concept for her next book coming out Fall 2018.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • Jennifer tells us about her book obsession and how she started The Peak of Chic
  • Jennifer shares the five big names in decorating that you need to have in your design education -- Elsie de Wolfe, Dorothy Draper, Billy Baldwin, Albert Hadley, and Nancy Lancaster and John Fowler
  • Jennifer tells us about how Dorothy Draper's Decorating is Fun was the impetus for her study and obsession with decorating history
  • We talk about how Jennifer almost worked at Ballard
  • We talk about decorating books and which ones Jennifer says we have to have in our libraries
  • Jennifer talks about one of her favorite new decor books -- Ardrossan
  • We talk about working old things into your home so it doesn't feel outdated
  • Jennifer talks about how her first book In with the Old: Classic Decor from A to Z came about 
  • The one thing that immediately dates a room
  • We talk about classic pieces and how they come in and out of fashion
  • We talk about where you should spend your decorating dollars
Jan 02, 2018
Ep. 40: with Maison Studios' Anne Scott Shelley and Allison Smith

Okay, when Anne Scott Shelley and Allison Smith of Maison Studios stopped by for this episode of the podcast, we had a serious case of the giggles! Get ready for a fun episode, where the decorating duo behind this 30A interior design firm talks vacation homes, granny chic, online shopping, and much more.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode

  • How Anne Scott and Allison started working together and they’re different strengths in their partnership
  • Why they love unconventional color palettes in beach homes
  • Where they like to save money in their projects, especially since they often decorate second homes
  • We talk about how far outdoor fabrics have come and why they’re great for beach homes
  • Allison shares her love for granny florals
  • They talk about how their approach to decorating may differ from most shoppers because they’re decorating rental homes
  • We talk about cafe curtains and why they’re aren’t considered ‘granny’ anymore
  • We talk about plates on walls and why they’re classic
  • Anne Scott and Allison share their favorite places for finding vintage and antiques
  • We talk about about our Atlanta store opening and why the Maison girls will need to come visit us!
  • How do you create a beachy feel without going kitschy
  • Anne Scott and Allison also share how you bring a beachy vibe to your home if you’re nowhere near the water
Dec 19, 2017
Ep. 39 with clothing designer Ann Mashburn

We're huge fans of stylemaker, shop owner, and clothing designer Ann Mashburn, so we were thrilled when she stopped by for an episode of the podcast. She tells us about starting her and her husband's stores in Atlanta (which have now spread all over), raising 5 girls, decorating their homes and retails shops, and she shares some outfit ideas for holiday parties.


  • Ann tells us about how they started their shops Sid Mashburn and Ann Mashburn
  • She tells us about her real life Devil Wears Prada experience
  • She talks about how the interior design style of her stores reflects the style of their homes
  • She talks about her philosophy when it comes to buying furniture -- buying what you love and not necessarily things that 'go together'
  • We talk about lots of pieces that used to be in their homes ended up in their stores
  • She tells us the story of the iconic horse painting in Sid's flagship Atlanta stores
  • Ann talks about why each store they open has an inspiration board in it
  • Ann and Sid's living room was featured in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles years ago, and if you've been on Pinterest you've likely seen her pair of hot pink roll arm sofas
  • We ask Ann about her daily 'uniform'
  • Ann and Sid raised 5 girls all of whom have great, unique style
  • We ask Ann about dressing for the holidays and her go-to outfits for holiday parties
Dec 05, 2017
Ep. 38: Color 101 with Maria Killam

We've been waiting to get color expert Maria Killam on the podcast ever since we heard about her October color workshop here in Atlanta. She captivated us on day one of her workshop, and afterwards, we sat down to talk paint, color, undertones, and timeless interior design. This is an episode you won't want to miss!

What You'll Hear on This Show:

  • Maria gives us a rundown of paint undertones and why they're important
  • What makes a decor choice timeless
  • We talk about paint swatches, why you need big ones, and how fan decks are made
  • We ask how you know which paint color to shoot for?
  • We talk about why choosing a paint color should be an easy choice
  • What's the difference between a 'clean' versus a 'dirty' color?
  • Why mixing your own custom color isn't necessarily the best strategy
  • We talk about choosing exterior paint colors and why you should approach them differently
  • We talk about choosing colors in adjacent rooms
  • Why the right wallpaper can totally transform outdated fixtures and finishes
  • Why styling and decorating can solve a ton of problems before you renovate
  • Why you should look to your closet when searching for color inspiration
  • We ask Maria what the biggest mistake is that people make when it comes to color?
  • We talk about why it's so important to use large swatches of fixtures and finishes when you're renovating
Nov 21, 2017
Ep. 37 with designer Jonathan Savage

Ever since we worked with interior designer Jonathan Savage on the 2016 Southern Style Now Showhouse, we've been itching to share his work with you. When he was in town for Discover ADAC, he sat down with us to share everything he's been up to, tips for renovating, and so much more.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • Jonathan gives us a rundown of his first overseas designer
  • We talk about Jonathan and Suzanne Kasler's recent shopping trip in London
  • We talk about how style differs from coast to coast and even generation to generation
  • Jonathan shares the inspiration by his stairwell in the Kips Bay Showhouse
  • Jonathan shares why showhouses are such great opportunity for designers
  • Jonathan plans to use pieces from Miles Redd's collection for an upcoming showhouse
  • We talk about updating family heirlooms
  • We talk about choosing appliances when you're doing a home renovation
  • Jonathan suggests talking to friends and family members before choosing appliances
  • Why it's important to test drive appliances and fixtures before using them in your renovation
  • Jonathan walks us through his Nashville home renovation
  • We talk about how we were inspired by Jonathan's room in the Southern Style Now Showhouse in New Orleans
  • We talk about wallpaper and why some rooms need it
Nov 07, 2017
Ep. 36 with James Farmer, decorator, garden expert, and author

'Jack-of-all-trades' is the only way to describe this week's guest. He is a licensed landscape architect, a gardening expert, a flower arranging expert, host extraordinaire, celebrated decorator, and even a cookbook author. James Farmer does it all , so we were thrilled when we finally caught up with him at Discover ADAC to bring you this show.


  • James talks about how one of his earliest memories foreshadowed his life now
  • We talk about pruning, hydrangeas, and crepe myrtles
  • We talk about James' new house Farmdale
  • We talk about James' interior design projects and why he finds himself working all over the country
  • James shares his secret for building a new home that looks old
  • James tells us about his latest antique find
  • We talk about china patterns and how many James has
  • James spills his dinner party formula -- pork tenderloin, roasted vegetables, and biscuits
  • Taryn asks James for a suggestion for the centerpiece of a shower she's hosting
  • We talk about James' projects, his approach to layering, and how many projects he's working on at once
  • We talk about James' next book
  • We talk about trends and using the classics
Oct 24, 2017
Ep. 35 with Vern Yip

Our guest today on the How to Decorate podcast needs no introduction. If you've watched a decorating TV show in the last two decades, you most likely know Vern Yip -- from TLC's Trading Spaces, HGTV's Design Star and Bang for Your Buck. We love his book Design Wise: Your Smart Guide to a Beautiful Home, so we were thrilled to sit down with him and talk shop.

What You'll Hear on This Show:

  • Vern tells us his background, how he ended up living in Atlanta, and his path to becoming a designer
  • He tells us about his first design project for Disney
  • We talk about how incredible Vern's book Design Wise is, especially as an instructional tool
  • Why designing is actually a lot simpler than you'd think and why Vern's book is so helpful in making it easy
  • We talk about value in furniture and why a deal isn't always the best choice and why a splurge isn't always smart either
  • Why space planning is the first crucial step before shopping
  • Why embracing your personal style can save you money
  • Vern shares his favorite exercise for uncovering someone's personal style
  • He tells us about designing his childhood bedroom and how he sees his own style in his son
  • We talk about mixing styles together and how to create a 'thread of continuity'
  • Why you shouldn't be in a hurry to fill your space
  • Why it's important to collect pieces while you're traveling
  • The most dramatic travel souvenir he brought home
  • Taryn tells us about her most recent travel treasure
  • Vern tells us about why he's always redecorating -- it's not the reason you think!
  • We talk about how Vern's house has changed becoming a dad
  • We talk about the incredible antique education Vern got from his mom
  • We talk about how his kids are already developing their own unique sense of style
  • Vern tells us about his favorite place to visit
  • Why it's worth it to spend the time making your home a reflection of you
Oct 10, 2017
Ep. 34 with interior designer William Peace

Before we even published our first episode of the How to Decorate podcast, we had today's guest on our list of designers we couldn't wait to interview. Here at Ballard, we've worked with interior designer William Peace on several projects including the time he styled three spreads for our catalog and designing the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival together. A few weeks of us, he joined us to talk style, getting into the design business, his work out west, and of course, we answered your decorating questions.

What You’ll Hear on This Show:

  • Bill tells us about how he started working out west
  • We ask Bill about his ‘style’ and how that lines up with his projects out west
  • He tells us about his decorating philosophy and how he translates that in his design projects
  • We ask Bill about shopping regionally and whether he furnishes his spaces with local items
  • Bill uses a lot of locally sourced art, and he tells us about how he works those pieces into his rooms
  • We talk about collections, including Bill’s knife collections
  • Bill tells us about his Atlanta home -- it’s an old gas station
  • He tells us about the best change he made to his home
  • He tells us about how he displays his collections and why he likes changing things around
  • We talk about the Atlanta design community and why he doesn’t feel pressure to impress his design colleagues when he’s entertaining at home
  • We talk about getting into the design business and why Bill feels it’s important to go to school before trying to break into the industry
  • Bill gives us a lesson on how to buy antiques and the story behind one of his favorite travel treasures
  • We ask Bill how to decorate a space so that it’s relevant to the location without being kitschy
  • We’ve worked on a couple of projects with us, and he talks about how he reinterprets our pieces and what inspired the rooms he designed for our catalog
  • Bill tells us about a trick he uses to make rooms feel calm and laid-back
  • We ask Bill about making a tonal room that doesn’t feel boring
  • Bill tells us about how the styles of his Montana and Atlanta homes differ
  • We ask Bill his opinion on TVs in bedrooms and his decorating pet peeves
  • He gives us a lesson on scale, why it’s important, and why it can be fun to manipulate it
  • Bill tell us why it’s important to first consider the mood you’re wanting to set before you start decorating a space
Sep 26, 2017
Ep. 33 How to Layout a Room with Miriam Leuthold

Our in house design expert, Miriam Leuthold, joins us to talk about the most common decorating question we get in our stores, on our blog, and in our reader emails. How do I layout my room? Miriam is a trained interior designer, so she's answering all of your questions, including traffic flow, focal points, spacing, and much more.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • Before we get started, we talk about the 'life' of a Ballard product -- how it gets made, where our inspiration comes from, and how long it takes
  • We talk about building your room about a focal point, including what that focal point can be
  • Miriam suggests starting with a rug and keeping all of your furniture pieces on the rug
  • We talk about focusing your seating around your TV versus a fireplace
  • What to do when you walk right into the living room through the front door
  • Karen tells us how she's solved this problem in her own 1920"s bungalow
  • What to do if you have a really, really large living room
  • What to do when you don't have an architectural feature that creates a focal point
  • The TV dilemma -- how to address it? Hide it in plain sight? Or hide it completely?
  • We discuss traffic flow, including proper distance for a walkway and distance between coffee table and seating
  • Why we all love occasional chairs so much
  • We talk about laying out your bedroom, and why keeping it simple works
  • How do we approach a home office?
  • Karen calls out her cousin who has a really depressing home office situation
Sep 12, 2017
Ep. 32 with Rebecca McKelvey, the 'First Lady of Ballard'

This week, we're talking with the 'First Lady of Ballad' Rebecca McKelvey. Since she's married to our president Ryan McKelvey, we thought she needed to stop by talk about how she owns two of every product we've ever made, the river cabin they're currently building, and a wealth of Ballard insight she has to share. Plus, trials and triumphs are back for another round!

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • The three of us share our trials and triumphs -- including several 'oops' moments
  • Karen's trial involves slipcovers and cowhide rugs
  • My trial involves several inches of water in our kitchen
  • Taryn's trial and triumph involve a painting project
  • Rebecca explains the curious nickname she calls her husband, our president Ryan McKelvey
  • Rebecca tells us about their home's style and how she approaches decorating her space
  • Rebecca talks about their 'no shoes' policy in the house
  • Rebecca tells us about how she needed a bathroom cabinet, so Ryan designed our Miranda Corner Cabinet
  • We start bribing Rebecca to help us get our product ideas made
  • We talk about Ryan's obsession with the floor planner and how he used it to design their river cabin, new build house, and even their daughter's dorm room
  • She shares her tips for new construction -- it's all in the builder
  • Rebecca explains why she travels with her vacuum cleaner
  • Rebecca talks about the carpet debate she and Ryan had when they were building their house
  • Rebecca tells us about how she and Ryan collected all of their oriental rugs
  • We talk antiques and how Rebecca and Ryan blend new and old in their home
  • We talk entertaining tips, how Rebecca seats Thanksgiving for 26 people, and the idea of a 'payback party'
  • Rebecca talks about her go-to entertaining entree -- standing rib roast
  • We talk about funny Southern words that we'll define for you
Aug 29, 2017
Ep. 31 with designer Virginia Cheek

Once we photographed Virginia's house, we knew we had to get her on the podcast. She graciously invited us over to talk about her Atlanta bungalow and of course to answer your decorating questions.

What You'll Hear on This Show:

  • We all talk about the decorating compromises we've made in our homes
  • Taryn tells us about her brown on brown den that she hates
  • We talk about 'sit-abouts' and how silly they are
  • Karen tells us about the leather-wrapped rock
  • Virginia tells us about why she left architecture school to get into interior design
  • We talk about Virginia's style and how she blends traditional, southern style with the California cool she picked up while living on the west coast
  • Virginia tells us about micro-sealing and how she plans to do this to her home
  • We talk about the difference between her clients in California and her clients in Atlanta
  • We talk about contrast and why it's important to consider when you're furnishing your home
  • We discuss whether it's a yay or a nay to paint antiques
  • We talk about Virginia's genius TV trick
  • We talk about whether each of us appreciated interior design when we were young
  • We talk about working with renovation choices that previous owners had done
  • We talk about lighting and why dimmers are important
Aug 22, 2017
Ep. 30 with House Beautiful's Sophie Donelson

When we were in New York for Miles Redd's launch party, we got the chance to stop by the House Beautiful offices and have Editor in Chief Sophie Donelson on the podcast! She tells us what makes a home beautiful, what projects make it into the magazine, and we test her interior design knowledge!

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • We play a little pop quiz where I test Sophie, Taryn, and Karen's knowledge of design and interior designers
  • We talk about editors' letters and how Sophie writes hers. Does she wait until the last minute?
  • We ask Sophie what in her mind makes a house beautiful?
  • Why a house does and doesn't make it into the magazine
  • What the House Beautiful team does to a home when they come to shoot it
  • We talk about how purple is making a comeback -- yes, purple!
  • Sophie tells us what she thinks has changed about the way people decorate their homes
  • We talk about paint colors and how to pick them
Aug 15, 2017
Ep. 29 with artist Andrea Costa

We invited our exclusive artist Andrea Costa onto the podcast to talk to us about art, being an artist, and how she began her career as an interior designer.

What You'll Hear on this Episode:

  • Andrea starts by telling us how she began her career as an interior designer before transitioning into art
  • She talks to us about how she gets her inspiration for a new painting and her favorite size canvas to paint
  • We ask her about how she works with interior designers to create art for a specific room
  • She tells us about decorating her new space and how often she mixes up her decor
  • She talks about why she loves to hang other people's artwork instead of her own
  • We talk about the pros and cons of having a separate studio space rather than a studio in her basement
  • Andrea tells us about how her music playlist impacts the look of her canvas
  • Andrea coaches us on picking out a piece of art -- she suggests first choosing a budget
  • Andrea likes to start a room with her piece of art, then building a room about that piece
  • Andrea tells us about her first big art piece
  • We ask her about gallery walls and how to put one together
  • Andrea tells us how to mix different colors, styles, and sizes of art in one room
  • Karen talks about why she loves accessorizing her dining room
  • We talk about feedback, seeing her pieces in real homes, and working with expectations for a commission
  • Andrea talks to us about how long it takes her to paint a piece and why painting abstract pieces takes so much longer
  • Andrea gives us a lesson on paint mediums and why you might prefer working with one versus another
  • We talk about how she started working with Ballard and why she wanted to sell her prints through us
  • We talk about our Exclusive Artist program and why we love having this option for our customers
Aug 08, 2017
Ep. 28 with Miles Redd, our newest design partner

Celebrated New York decorator Miles Redd welcomed us to his home for this week’s episode of the podcast. With the launch of his new collection, we couldn’t resist the chance to talk with him about his inspiration for the pieces and how he envisions them living in people's homes.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • We all share the best thing we’ve done to our homes, and also our biggest regret or mistake
  • He talks about his home, and how he longs for wide open spaces
  • He shares how he went about designing the pieces for his collection, nearly all of them in his own home
  • How his experience as the Creative Director for Oscar de la Renta helped inform his Ballard Designs collection
  • We ask him about his favorite pieces in the collection — the dining table and the Kidney Accent Table
  • Why juxtaposition is so important in decorating
  • We talk about drama, and why Miles doesn’t necessarily see his collection as being ‘dramatic’
  • He tells us the story of how he custom built his Miles Bookcase
  • We talk about how his Fire Island home is all beige
  • What color would he pick if he could pick the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year
Aug 01, 2017
Ep. 27 with designer Meg Braff

If you love color, then this is an episode you can't miss. Interior designer Meg Braff injects vibrant hues into all of her spaces, but always in an elegant, tailored manner. She shares the process behind writing her new book, her love of color and pattern, her recent house renovation project, and gives us a little lamp shade lesson.

What You'll Hear on this Episode:

  • We all share our dream vacations
  • Meg tells us about how she realized she loved decorating -- it has to do with her dorm room at Vanderbilt
  • She tells us about the process of writing her book which took three years
  • She gives us a lesson in mixing patterns -- where to use them and how to mix them together
  • We talk about her love of color and how even though she uses a lot of color, white is the main color in many of her spaces
  • Meg reveals her favorite color
  • We talk about her use of color -- using one really generously with teeny accents of something complementary
  • We ask whether a house needs to have the same palette all the way through
  • How a home's location influences the color palette you should be working with
  • We talk about treating fabrics to make them more stain resistant
  • How she decorates her home with four boys
  • How often she redecorates her own home
  • Taryn mentions how often we've pulled her rooms as inspiration for building our seasonal rooms
  • Meg talks about why she loves a dressing table so much
  • Why editing is so crucial to creating a beautiful, comfortable home
  • Of course, we ask Meg about her decorating pet peeve
  • Meg gives us a little lesson on using lampshades and lighting
  • Meg tells us about her recent home renovation
  • She tells us about her wallpaper line and how it fell in her lap
Jul 25, 2017
Ep. 26 Art 101 with Karen Fleenor

Our resident art expert Karen Fleenor stopped by the podcast to talk buying, hanging, and framing art! We talk about how to pick the perfect piece, how to size art over your furniture, framing options, cost, commissions, and gallery walls.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • We all talk about our best art moment in our homes -- where we got them, how we hung them, and why we love them so much
  • Karen tells us about her background in the art world and how she started working with Ballard Designs
  • How do you know if it's the right piece for your home and for your space
  • Why you should hang a piece of art over a piece of furniture with a contrasting style
  • We talk about our exclusive artists and why it's perfectly fine to have art that isn't originals
  • Taryn asks us how she can update a piece of art that belonged to her husband's grandfather
  • We talk about how to hang art -- including what height they should hang and how far apart pieces should be
  • We talk about small art -- hanging it with other pieces, on a small sliver of wall, or hang it low over a piece of furniture
  • We talk about framing and why it's so expensive (it basically comes down to materials and labor)
  • What size piece should you get if you're hanging it over a piece of furniture
Jul 18, 2017
Ep. 25 with designer Maggie Griffin

Interior designer Maggie Griffin from Gainesville, Georgia decorates spaces much like her personality, warm, happy, and with classic Southern charm. We loved touring her house and couldn't resist the opportunity to get her on the podcast. If you aren't yet following her on Instagram, then you're gonna want to start. We talk about decorating with kids, how to build a gallery wall, the deal with decorating around the TV, and other decorating 'don'ts' like ceiling fans.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • Maggie shares the unique way she built up her first clients
  • She talks about how she and her husband love renovating and moving
  • She tells us about counseling James Farmer while he was building his house, Farmdale
  • We talk about how she starts a room -- either a rug or a special keepsake
  • Maggie's always moving things, and she shares how art is the way she keeps things fresh
  • Maggie cleverly treats all of the TVs in her home, and she shares her best tips for decorating around them
  • We discuss the dreaded ceiling fan -- is she for or against the ceiling fan?
  • She tells us about redecorating her husband's bachelor pad once they got married
  • She talks about decorating her sons nurseries and how to decorate your child's bedroom with pieces that will endure
  • How she manages all the kids toys
  • She talks us through laying out a room -- where to start
  • Maggie gives us a lesson on wallpaper and shares her favorite white paint color
  • We talk about building a gallery wall
Jul 11, 2017
Ep. 24 with designer Nancy Braithwaite

Atlanta interior designer Nancy Braithwaite stops by the podcast to talk about her signature style, her book Simplicity, how she trained her eye to see rather than just look, and of course she helps us answer your decorating questions.


-Nancy talks to us about her style, how she zeroed in on it, and what steps she takes creating it
-Nancy talks about seeing vs. looking
-Nancy compares dressing a room with dressing yourself, and why accessories sometimes take away from your design
-Why proportion and scale are crucial to creating a well designed room
-She tells us a story about being mesmerized at a decorators showhouse in New York and how it changed the ways she decorates
-We ask Nancy how we can train our eyes to see instead of look
-Nancy tells us about working with Deanne Levison, one of the top American antiques dealers in the country
-How Nancy and Deanne came to work together and their adventures at antique shows all over the country
-How to compose your room -- start with large pieces then add what makes those large pieces feel better
-We talk slipcovers, which ones Nancy likes, and why she uses them so often in her spaces
-She tells us about staining the floors in a recent project black and why it transformed the space
-We talk about how she helped her daughter decorate her home which was featured in Cottage Living
-How you can learn from the best by studying their work and learning to see rather than look
-We talk about when to stop
-Nancy talks about when she started to really understand her own style and aesthetic
-Why it's so important to just go for it -- try something and move things around if they don't work
-We discuss one of the pillar's of Nancy's style -- whimsy
-Nancy chimes in about where you should invest your decorating dollars
-When to use symmetry and when to use asymmetry

Jul 04, 2017
Ep. 23 with the Madcap Cottage Gents, Part 2

We couldn't pass up the opportunity to sit down with Jason & John, the Madcap Cottage Gents, at their home in High Point, North Carolina. They graciously invited us over for dinner, and before we dug into their spread, we discussed all of the gorgeous details in their home, their upcoming book Prints Charming, and much more.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • Taryn shares her trial -- putting toilet bowl cleaner in her dishwasher!
  • Her triumph was successfully getting her dog's drool off her car's leather interior
  • I share my newest go-to appetizer for entertaining
  • Karen's triumph was getting some new goodies from Etsy for her summer vacation
  • We talk about Jason & John's upcoming book, Prints Charming
  • The guys talk about why you should always talk to the antique dealer to hear the story of the piece
  • We discuss many of the details in Jason and John's home -- like the way they hung art in their library
  • So many pieces in their home have special details they've customized themselves
  • We talk about creating seating areas -- you can likely fit in more seating than you think
  • We talk about the lost art of entertaining and why you shouldn't stress
  • Lighting is so important -- you likely need more than you think
  • We talk about the challenges of renting
  • We talk about why you should mix styles in your home
Jun 27, 2017
Ep. 22 with designer Cindy Meador

This week, we're bringing you another interview from our time at High Point Market. Living on the Gulf Coast, interior designer Cindy Meador specializes in decorating and furnishing second homes. From 10,000 square foot houses to high rise beach condos, Cindy and her team have done it all, and she's sharing a lot of behind the scenes tidbits with us.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • Taryn's trial and triumph was yardwork-related
  • My trial was a disgusting rodent that was in our yard, and my triumph was the peony arrangements I got to do at our event at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
  • Karen's triumph was doing a professional looking hydrangea arrangement for her friend's birthday
  • Her trial was the string lights in her backyard falling down
  • We ask Cindy how her work became featured in a cocktail book
  • We talk about how style differs from region to region
  • Cindy often will start working with a client on their second home, then later work on their primary residence
  • We talk about designing a home for a client from the ground up
  • Cindy shares the entire process of installing a project
  • We talk about how she got into interior design and her advice for people getting into the business
  • We talk about her own personal style and how her style differs from her client work
  • We talk recliners and the fact that there are some good ones out there
  • We talk about market, what she's looking for, and what trends she's seeing
  • Cindy shares where she thinks people should invest their decorating dollars
  • She talks about where she starts her rooms
Jun 20, 2017
Ep. 21 with "The Professor" Phil Lancaster

It took some persuasion, but we finally got our Senior Director of Merchandising Phil Lancaster, or "The Professor," on the podcast! Phil knows it all, teaches us some furniture history, tells us all about how furniture is made, what you need to look for, and generally schools us on the nitty gritty details of furniture and antiques. If you're wondering how to look for quality in your next furniture piece, this is the episode you need to listen to.


  • We start off with a furniture lesson on modern vs. contemporary
  • How does modern differ from mid-century modern?
  • What's going to make it from the furniture being created right now? How do we know what will last?
  • There's a lot of innovation around lighting right now in new types of light bulbs
  • We discuss light bulbs and why the color they give off is so important
  • What's the difference between an antique and vintage
  • We talk about his 100 year old house, how he bought it from the original owners, and how he loves the hunt
  • How important it is to talk to antique dealers when you're out hunting for things
  • What we look for when we're going on one of our big antique shopping trips
  • How to shop for a wooden antique -- open the drawers, look at the back, examine the construction to know whether it's well-made
  • We ask Phil about his favorite interior designer and artist
  • We talk about furniture styles, how the style Ballard is known for differs from Phil's own aesthetic, and the fact that good design is good design
  • We talk about why we use MDF to manufacture furniture and why you shouldn't assume something made from MDF is poor quality
  • Taryn tells us a story about a mahogany table she sent to a furniture show and why real wood isn't always better
  • We talk about kiln dried wood -- if you remove the moisture from the wood, it's less likely to warp
  • We talk about teak and why you remove the moisture from teak
  • We dive into upholstery and the four main parts -- the frame, the suspension, the cushion, and the cover
  • Phil jumps on his soapbox about the pitch of upholstery and why it's the most important quality about your furniture piece's comfort
  • We talk about what 8-way hand tied is and why you don't need it anymore
  • Phil tells us about cushion construction and what's on the inside of your sofa
Jun 13, 2017
Ep. 20 with designer Lisa Mende

Lisa Mende's room in the Traditional Home Southern Style Now Showhouse stopped us in our tracks, so we knew we had to get her on the podcast. Her spaces are bold, jubilant, and inviting, and we quickly learned that she herself is too. If you've ever had questions about paint, then this is an episode you have to listen to. We talk about choosing paint colors, paint finishes, fan decks, why you can't just look at the paint chip, and Lisa gives us all her favorite paint colors.

What You'll Hear on This Episode:

  • I talk about Tom Sheerer's book Tom Sheerer Decorates which I devoured over Memorial Day weekend
  • Taryn talks about her leaky roof and how the dry cleaner got out the stain in her blue dress (which she discussed in the last episode)
  • Lisa tells us all about her 'she shed' in the Traditional House showhouse in New Orleans
  • We talk about her guest house becoming the center of the party during the showhouse opening
  • We talk about showhouses, how designers are paired with sponsors, and why we love showhouses so much
  • Why 'the mix' is so important
  • She tells us about the questionnaire she gives potential clients
  • We talk about the importance of getting to know your own likes and dislikes before decorating your home
  • She tells us about her new house and her plans for decorating it
  • Why she decorates her own house in stages
  • A great rule she has for splurging on a piece of furniture -- how can you use it three different ways
  • Why you might want to coordinate your dining room and living room upholstery
  • How she's working around the 80's fireplace in her new house
  • We talk about striped rugs and outdoor rugs
  • We talk about white paint colors, why they're complicated, and why they work
  • I share how I picked Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace for my dark little craftsman
  • We talk the pace of a room, and why it's an indicator of how much color you want in your space
  • My mom's recent paint mistake
  • Why you can't just ask your neighbor the color they used for their house
  • We talk paint finishes and why they're important
  • We talk lacquer -- this is on Lisa's list of Don't DIY
  • She shares some of her drapery tricks for getting a designer look on a budget
Jun 06, 2017
Ep. 19 with Margot Shaw of Flower Magazine

Flower Magazine editor in chief and founder Margot Shaw joins us from Birmingham to talk about flowers, being a green thumb, and why she decided to start Flower Magazine. We talk fake flowers, the etiquette for cutting from the yard, and why your containers or vases are as important as the flowers you're trying to arrange.


-Taryn's very upsetting wardrobe malfunction
-Karen talks about how she oxycleans everything
-Taryn's triumph is that she had a piece of art framed
-Karen shares the mystery of her collapsed faux boxwood balls
-Karen's triumph was painting her back fence black
-My triumph is that I had my Nala Stool reupholstered in our Natural Woven Sand fabric which looks just like raffia
-My trial is a recurring experience in which my neighbor's get to see my pajamas
-Margot shares the incredible story of how she started Flower Magazine
-We talk about how people are really the cornerstone of the magazine, not plants
-She shares that she does not in fact ... have a green thumb
-How her daughter's wedding started her in a whole new career
-Margot says that a French hand tied is the best method for arranging flowers for beginners
-Margot shares her favorite flower to arrange with -- garden roses
-The secret to a great flower arrangement is really in the container
-Why flowers and floral patterns are considered to be feminine
-How leaves and flowers actually form the foundation of so many classic forms -- like acanthus leaves and Corinthian columns
-What flowers (or style of arranging flowers) are trendy right now
-Why it's actually harder to make an arrangement look organic and effortless
-Her favorite greenery to add to her flower arrangements
-We talk about fake flowers, or 'permanent botanicals'
-We all admit to whether we've cut flowers from our neighbors' yards

May 30, 2017
Ep. 18 with designer Mark D. Sikes

This week we have a very special guest all the way from California, interior designer Mark D. Sikes. Mark is a veritable renaissance man with a furniture line, fabric collection, rug collection, book, fashion line, and of course his interior design business. He shares the story of how his Los Angeles home landed on the cover of House Beautiful, his love of fashion and experience working in fashion, how he approaches a new space, and how to get that effortless California style in your home.


  • Taryn's trial involves the yearly dilemma of pollen versus outdoor furniture.
  • Karen gives us tips for pruning hydrangeas.
  • My London travel momento is both my trial and my triumph.
  • Karen's guest bedroom saga continues. This week, she's talking about paint.
  • Mark shares the process of designing his furniture collection and where his inspiration comes from
  • How his degree in finance helps his interior design business
  • We press him on how he started his MDS Stripes fashion line
  • Mark loves a stripe -- so much that he started a striped clothing line -- so he schools us on mixing stripes together
  • Why no room should ever look perfect
  • His one design rule is that a space looks like it's been created over time
  • We talk about California style and how we can bring a little of it into our homes
  • He shares the inspiration and plan for the Coastal Living Idea House that he's designing in Newport, Rhode Island
  • We talk about his living room in the Southern Living Idea House which was all neutral
  • Of course we have to ask him his decorating pet peeves
  • Mark shares the incredible story of how his house landed on the cover of House Beautiful
  • His decorating advice for anyone looking to start out in the design industry
May 23, 2017
Ep. 17 with Domino Magazine's Jessica Romm Perez

We recently traveled to High Point, North Carolina for their Spring Market and had the chance to sit down with some of our favorite tastemakers. This week, we're sharing our interview with the Editor in Chief of Domino Magazine, Jessica Romm Perez. She's worked at some of our favorite magazines -- Martha Stewart, Food & Wine, and Elle Decor just to name a few -- so we loved chatting with her about what trends she's seeing at market, her recent home renovation, and how her team dreams up such a gorgeous issue! Of course we couldn't end the episode without her answering your decorating questions!


  • We're in High Point Market in North Carolina interviewing interior designers and editors
  • We talk about why we love market and what it is
  • Karen's triumph is the new bed she put in her guest bedroom
  • Her trial is that her guest bedroom closet won't close because of the bed!
  • We talk about how everything in Karen's house is from Ballard but why it doesn't actually look like our catalog or store
  • Taryn's trial and triumph is a new console table she got from the Ballard outlet
  • My triumph is that I took a macaron making class with my mom and now I'm a macaron expert!
  • My trial is that I missed my rose bush blooming while I was in London, and it won't bloom again until next year. So disappointing! Also the saying about roses that I couldn't remember is, "First it sleeps, then it creeps, then it leaps."
  • We talk about her favorite part of market, how her editorial team decides which trends to feature in the magazine, and what is exciting her right now at market
  • She shares her best tips for decorating with kids, including organizing kid's toys in her small New York apartment
  • How systems are a crucial part of her decorating and organizing strategy
  • How she stepped into the role of editor in chief at such a beloved brand and magazine
  • We talk about our favorite recent features in the latest issue of Domino, like the crudite platter Karen recently tried
  • Jessica talks about their focus at Domino which is focusing on real, attainable living by real people. It's not just about a fantasy, everything they share is attainable.
  • Jessica shares her rules for mixing metals in your home -- just go for it!
  • She shares her most recent home purchase and talks about her home renovation
  • What colors she's gravitating toward and why color impacts the mood of your home
May 16, 2017
Ep. 16 Mother's Day Edition

This week, we're bringing you a very special Mother's Day edition. Our guests are our three moms! We gave them a little pop quiz and challenged them on how well they know us and how well we know them. We talk about our childhood bedrooms, how our styles differ, and much more.


  • My trial which consisted of being in the middle of the Atlanta I-85 interstate collapse
  • Taryn recaps her travels to South Africa, including what she brought home on the plane
  • Taryn's sweet lab Baylor came home from the daycare with a tumor
  • Karen talks about her carpenter bee problem and her gardening triumph
  • We played a game with our moms where we made them fill out a quiz to see how well they knew us
  • We talk color, wallpaper, sentimental things, and hoarding tendencies
  • We talk about our childhood bedrooms
  • We share another round of entertaining disasters
May 09, 2017
Ep. 15 with Gen Sohr of Pencil & Paper Co

Our guest this week has seriously enviable style that blends vibrant colors with doses of white and black. We love the way she uses vintage pieces but creates rooms that feel totally fresh and modern. Gen Sohr is one half of the husband and wife team at Pencil and Paper Company, and we had to pick her brain about decorating with kids, color, pattern, thrift shopping, and how she and Ben manage to do it all, and together no less!


  • Taryn tells us about her fun new find
  • I shopped my house to redo my living room mantel
  • Karen tells us about the mysterious dots all over her kitchen and den and her clever solution to her tray which scratches her coffee table
  • We talk favorite paint colors and color palettes with Gen
  • What it's like working with her husband, how they met, and when they decided to open their business
  • We talk about her new hometown of Nashville and how the city has changed since they've moved there
  • Does she have any pet peeves when she visits friends' homes
  • Her go-to white paint color
  • What she loves most about helping her clients with their homes
  • How she has and hasn't comprised her home decor for her two young kids
  • Renovations, moving, and why there's always something on the horizon
  • We talk about her love for thrift shopping and scouring the flea market
  • She talks about her son's love of design
May 02, 2017
Ep. 14 with designer Beth Webb

Interior designer Beth Webb's spaces are comfortable, tailored, and utterly timeless, so you can our imagine our delight when she joined us for this week's episode of the podcast. We talk about her recent challenge of blending her own style with her new husbands, we talk entertaining, southern hospitality, and the importance of great lighting, among other things.


  • My garden related triumph and allergy related trial
  • Taryn has a cleaning conundrum she needs help solving
  • Taryn talks about her recent accessory addition
  • Karen's stranger danger experience in her neighborhood
  • Why it's so great to be an interior designer in Atlanta
  • We talk the business of design, including comraderie, client relationships, and social media
  • How she's combined her own style aesthetic with her new husband's more contemporary style
  • What are her decorating pet peeves
  • The importance of having layers of light in your space
  • Why scale is so important, why it's hard to teach, and how to approach scale in your own home
Apr 25, 2017
Ep. 13 with Bunny Williams

Hold onto your earbuds because our guest today is none other than our own design partner, author, acclaimed interior designer, and hostess extraordinaire Bunny Williams! We traveled to Bunny's office in New York to record this special episode in her office, and she definitely did not disappoint. Bunny shares some incredible decorating tips and stories, including how she furnished her first apartment and decorating her home in the Dominican Republic. We talk about her new outdoor furniture collection La Colina, and of course she answers your decorating questions!


  • We talk about my red lipstick trial and Karen schools us in her red lipstick protocol
  • Karen's cord control decorating triumph
  • Taryn talks about the incredible meal and incredible decor at Marcel in Atlanta
  • Her trial involves public speaking
  • Bunny tells us why she decided to do a product line with Ballard Designs
  • She tells us about how we're all faced with the same dilemma when it comes to decorating -- budget
  • Why only buying things you love is the best investment in your home
  • Her proudest achievement in her first apartment in New York
  • Her first big purchase was a good sofa, and why it's important for everyone to buy a really good one
  • Bunny addresses the big pet question -- do hers get on the furniture and what does she do about it?
  • We talk entertaining, why she's so comfortable with it, and what corners you can cut to make it easier on yourself
  • She tells us about her home in the Dominican Republic
  • She tells us about the time her husband John wanted to veto her decor choices
  • We talk about redecorating and why it's not necessary if you get it right the first time
  • We talk about her decorating pet peeve -- furniture that's always against the wall
  • She gives us a lesson on laying out your room
  • Hostess etiquette, especially when it comes to drinks and coasters
  • She tells us about her new outdoor furniture collection, La Colina
  • Why she never buys a chair online
Apr 11, 2017
Ep. 12 with editor Betsy Riley

**Disclaimer: We had some technical difficulty with one of our mics. It refused to cooperate! We hope you'll enjoy the show anyway.**

Being the design-aholics we are, we couldn’t turn down an opportunity to interview the Editor-in-Chief of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME, Betsy Riley. We have Betsy to thank for reviving the title in 2015. Each issue brings some of the most gorgeous and inspiring spaces in Atlanta, so we were thrilled to pick her brain about what makes a house magazine-worthy and how she decorates in her own home.


  • Karen’s bathroom-related entertaining disaster 
  • Karen tested our Brian Patrick Flynn’s drapery training trick
  • Taryn talks about her entertaining pet peeve — everyone gravitating to the kitchen
  • Taryn’s shade swap with a big lighting lesson — take your lamp base to the store!
  • Why some beautiful homes just aren’t right for a magazine
  • How she picks which homes to feature and what types of spaces don’t make it to the magazine
  • What her biggest decorating challenge is
  • Why you have to be able to let things go
  • Betsy’s tips for making your spaces look good in photographs
  • We talk about Betsy’s black and white issue


Mar 28, 2017
Ep. 11 with Suzanne Kasler

Today's guest is not only one of our favorite designers and a hometown hero in the design world, she's also our design partner, Suzanne Kasler. Suzanne's interiors are usually riddled with classic furniture pieces, but she presents them with a modern point of view. They're tailored, edited, and punctuated with color. We launched our first collection with Suzanne in 2011, and ever since then, we've been making design magic together, so we're thrilled to have her as our guest today on the blog!


  • Karen's recent framing victory inspired by Natalie Nassar's house
  • Taryn talks about a product she recently designed
  • A new hobby I'm trying out
  • Suzanne talks about showhouses and why she loves them
  • Why she likes to keep her team small
  • How she does it all and where she finds her creative energy
  • How her love of shopping translates to design inspiration
  • Why Suzanne can't share her favorite places to shop
  • Why she started working with design partners
  • We talk about her new outdoor furniture collection, her Directoire collection in white
  • Why you should start planning your outdoor space early
  • Suzanne talks about using white as a paint color and she uses it so much in her clients' homes
  • Suzanne talks about her 'architectural envelope' and why she pays so much attention to the architecture of her clients' homes
Mar 14, 2017
Bonus Boston Episode #2 with Katie Hutchison

We're opening a new store outside of Boston at Natick Mall, and to celebrate, we wanted to talk to some local design talents. You may remember me mentioning Katie Hutchison's book The New Small House on our episode with Annette Joseph. We ended up connecting with Katie and were thrilled when she agreed to join us for a live podcast episode from the floor of our brand new store! Since we're live, you'll notice lots of background noise (we apologize in advance), but we loved picking Katie's brain about living in a small house, designing a small house, and takeaways even those of us not in small houses can utilize in our own spaces!


  • The background story of Katie book and how it came to be
  • We talk about Katie's own house which we briefly talks about in the book
  • The 'keys' Katie discusses in the book which each of the small houses have in common and which we can all utilize, like 'pockets for privacy'
  • Taryn and I both talk about our experiences seeing the 'pockets of privacy' at work
  • The variety of styles illustrated in the book
  • We talk about the glass, kit house featured in the book
  • How long it took the write and shoot the book
  • How she found all of the houses for the book
  • Ways those of us who aren't planning a large renovation can maximize the space we have
  • We talk about the tiny house movement and how a tiny house differs from the houses in her book
  • We talk about built-ins and how important they are for making small spaces super functional
  • We talk about Katie's outdoor spaces and the many outdoor rooms in the book
  • Katie tells us about her gardening mishaps, like transplanting weeds
  • We talk about the strange things we've all found in our yard from previous owners
  • We ask Katie about her favorite style of architect
  • Common mistakes people make when they're designing a new home
  • Why the answer to your home woes may not necessarily mean adding more space but reworking the space you already have
  • Why the location of private and public spaces are so important for the way you live in your home
Mar 02, 2017
Bonus Boston Episode #1 with Erin Gates

We're big fans of interior designer, blogger, and author Erin Gates, so when we headed to our new Boston store at Natick Mall, we knew we had to sit down with this local stylemaker. She joined us for our first live podcast recording in the front window of our brand new store to talk about designing for families, her massive home renovation, and so much more.


  • We talk about what guys universally love and hate
  • How one finished room can inspire a client to finish the whole house
  • We talk about which room you should invest in and complete first
  • She shares the topic of her new book, decorating for families and why you don't have to dumb down your decor just because you have kids and pets
  • Why having a well-designed master bedroom is so important
  • The misconceptions many people have about what they can and can't have in their home if they have families
  • Why white is actually appropriate -- if you have bleach on hand!
  • How much Erin's team has grown and how delighted they all are to have a new, organized office space
  • The color they use in almost every project
  • We talk about Taryn's color addiction
  • Karen and Erin bond over their love of animal print
  • Erin tells us all about the massive home renovation of her fixer upper
  • Her next big project in her home renovation
  • Her love of real estate and how she's always browsing houses
  • We talk TVs -- what's too big and should you have one in your bedroom
  • Erin gives everyone a rug lesson
  • I share a story about a 'rug island'
  • We talk about what you do when your friends asks for decor advice about a home purchase they've made
  • Why it's fun to work on projects that are out of your comfort zone
  • Where people can save in their budget, and where they should in vest most of their dollars
Mar 01, 2017
Ep. 10 with interior designer Melanie Turner

We can't help but be struck by how powerful yet restrained interior designer Melanie Turner's spaces are, and we were even more struck by how down-to-earth and cool she is. In only seven short years after opening her interior design business, she's earned such accolades as Veranda's Southeastern Designer of the Year, Trad Home's Top 10 Designers, Architectural Digest's 2010 Kitchen of the Year, and many more. We were beyond thrilled when she sat down to talk with us about her recents trip to Morocco, the power of vision boards, why she never puts bookshelves in a home, and so much more.


  • How Melanie uses vision boards to turn her dreams into reality
  • We talk about the photo shoot Ballard Designs did at Melanie's house
  • The powerful history of her historic home and the spiritual connection she has to it
  • Why she feels like a steward of her house instead of an owner
  • She talks about how practical the home is for modern life, even though it was built in 1923
  • We talk a bit about Atlanta architect Phillip Shutze and historic preservation
  • How owning a historic home has helped her with her client work
  • All the fabulous locales where she currently has projects
  • She tells us all about her trip to Morocco, including what she brought home and visiting Yves Saint Laurent's house
  • How you remember much more if you can't take photographs
  • Why instead of gifts, they take a family trip every year during the holidays
  • Why editing is the most powerful thing you can do to refresh your home
  • Her approach to picture frames -- framing them in one big mass on a stairwell instead of spread throughout
  • Melanie talks about how she manifested her project onto the cover of Veranda magazine with a vision board
  • How rewarding it is to give purpose to her client's homes
  • How at her client installations, the husband is usually the one who cries the most!
  • Why you shouldn't dismiss how important your home is
  • Why she loves decorating for bachelors
  • Why it's so hard to decorate her own home
  • How many times she's moved since she's been married (she's married to a builder and developer)
  • How you can give a new build home that old character that gives a house soul
Feb 28, 2017
Ep. 9 with interior designer Miles Redd

Go ahead and pinch us because we can’t quite believe we get to introduce this week’s podcast guest, interior designer Miles Redd! We were beside ourselves when he agreed to sit down with us while recently in his hometown of Atlanta (and ours). Plus, he’s our first AD100 Designer on the podcast. Miles’ spaces are packed with style, drama, and whimsy, plus we were struck with how darn nice he is! 


  • Karen’s juju hat insect infestation
  • The next addition Karen made to her ongoing guest bedroom project
  • Taryn painted her carport Sherwin Williams Vogue Green
  • Taryn needs help with her guest bathroom because her beadboard wainscoting makes it difficult to hang a mirror
  • My all-time worst trial involving a ‘ceiling pimple’
  • How Miles got his start at NYU and made his way to John Rosselli
  • His time at Oscar de la Renta
  • Why it’s important to trust your own instincts and take risks
  • Miles talks to us about color and why it’s all about relationships
  • Why you should tackle your walls and floors first
  • What it was like working on his parents’ home and why it was a lifelong fantasy
  • Why he loves a door and all the fun things he does with them
  • His thoughts on lampshades, including what everyone does wrong and how he jazzes them up
  • His list of ‘greats’
  • Who he follows on Instagram (mostly his friends)
  • We asked about his new office space, and he confirms that it’s just as glamorous and we imagined
  • The one color he doesn’t like
  • Miles’ decorating pet peeves
Feb 14, 2017
Ep. 8 with Stylist Natalie Nassar

Natalie has worked with us here at Ballard Designs for years, so when we caught a glimpse of her chic, layered family home, we knew we had to share. We posted her whole home tour here on How to Decorate yesterday, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to get even more decorating goodness out of her to share on the podcast! We talk about decorating with kids, styling, layering, and so much more!


  • I hosted my largest ever dinner party and I give you a whole run down
  • My seriously embarrassing 'trial' that involves my robot vacuum
  • Another installment of Taryn's dog chewing disasters
  • Taryn tells us about her trip to South America and what she brought back
  • We ask Natalie about her style which she calls 'collected, global'
  • Why Natalie likes to choose neutrals for her large furniture pieces, then adds in colorful accessories
  • Her history with Ballard Designs and how she got started styling rooms
  • We talk about her dining room, which you can see here
  • Natalie talks to us about how she prioritized decorating each room
  • We talk about the cute little ways Natalie styles her home, like buying cute hand soap (shown below)

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss and episode. Of course, you can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Jan 31, 2017
Ep. 7 with Stylist & Author Annette Joseph

This week on the podcast, we're talking with stylist, entertaining expert, author, and workshop master of ceremonies, Annette Joseph. Annette does it all and makes it look so easy. We sat down to talk about the villa in Italy she's renovating, her workshops, how she got into styling, and so much more!

What You'll Hear on the Show:

  • How Karen did a mini bathroom makeover in her guest suite
  • How Annette started styling
  • What it was like pitching a show to Bravo and shooting a pilot
  • Annette has been vacationing in Italy since she was a kid
  • Annette talks about her upcoming book about Italy
  • Why it's hard to be an ex-patriot in Italy
  • Why it's always better to go shopping in Italy with an actual Italian (or someone who knows everyone)
  • The scoop on buying real estate in Italy ... and renovating from a different continent
  • Italy's all about 'juice'
  • The faux pas Annette committed recently while walking around her property
  • How they ended up buying the property they chose
  • All about the workshops she hosts -- perfecting branding, photography, styling, and more
  • What you could expect if you were to attend one of Annette's workshops
  • The book she's working on about the cocktail culture in Italy
Jan 17, 2017
Ep. 6 with Bedding Expert Beth Mars Dean

This week, we are interviewing our own bedding expert, the stylist that makes all of the beds in our gorgeous rooms, Beth Mars Dean. You probably never knew a bedding stylist exists, but she's the lady that makes sure all of our beds look picture perfect and snooze worthy. For all of your bedding questions answered, be sure to listen to this episode!


  • The most recent catastrophe that happened with our photoshoot
  • The surprising amount of time it takes to make a bed for one of our photo shoots
  • All of the extra things Beth adds to her beds that you wouldn't normally use
  • From start to finish, how Beth makes a gorgeous catalog-worthy bed
  • Whether all of us make our beds every day, what the nation-wide average is, and what percentage of our How to Decorate readers make their beds everyday
  • How many pillows each of us have on our beds
  • What Beth's bed looks like and how she makes it every day
  • How Beth became a bedding stylist
  • How you can create a luxurious bed in a realistic way

We answer all of your burning bedding questions, including how to coordinate with your existing bedding collection, how to streamline bed making so you're more likely to do it, where to put your pillows when you get into the bed, and how many throw pillows are too many?

Jan 03, 2017
Bonus Episode: 2016 and 2017 Trends

As our final episode of the year, we're leaving you with a special bonus episode where we're discussing the 2016 trends that are 'out' and the trends to look for in 2017. We discuss Million Dollar Decorator Mary McDonald's list of trends that are out and trends that are in for 2017... and we discuss whether we agree or disagree. We also admit to any 'out' trends that we're guilty of committing in our own homes.

What You'll Hear on This Episode

  • Which trends Mary McDonald says are officially out
  • Which trends she says to look for in 2017
  • Which trends we're all guilty of committing
Dec 27, 2016
Ep. 5 with designer Erika Ward

This week on the podcast, we sat down with Erika Ward of Erika Ward Interiors. After majoring in finance and working in the corporate world several years, Erika decided to follow her passion and start her interior design business. She gives us the whole scoop on her business, decorating pet peeves, and answers your decorating questions!


  • Erika talks about why she went into finance and eventually transitioned into designing full time
  • How Erika balances classic design with a modern aesthetic
  • Why you need to incorporate color into your room
  • Why it’s so important for her and her clients to understand each other
  • Why her biggest challenge in design work is educating her clients
  • What’s so important about the ‘shell’ of a room
  • What decorating mistake she made in her own house
  • What surprised Erika when she came to one of our catalog shoots


Erika also helps us answer to questions this week. The first question is about how to properly dress an 11 foot window. Our second question is about mixing furniture shapes and heights cohesively.

Dec 20, 2016
Ep. 4 with Designer Sherry Hart

On this episode of the podcast, we sat down with interior designer and blogger Sherry Hart. She’s a master of styling bookshelves, can make a neutral room feel fresh and modern, and is going through her own bedroom makeover. She gave us the whole rundown of how she turned her home renovation into a successful interior designer business, what her husband thinks of her constant decor updates, and how to make your home look cohesive.


  • Karen’s latest progress on the guest room she’s redecorating
  • The baby shower Karen recently hosted where the food was baby-themed
  • How Sherry caught the decorating bug and her first published space
  • How her style has changed over the course of her career
  • Why she loves decorating with white
  • Her biggest decorating pet peeve
  • Bad advice for decorating when there’s someone else in the mix
  • Her approach to styling bookshelves

In every episode, we answer decorating dilemmas from listeners, and with the help of our guest, give them ways to solve their problem. In this episode, we answer a question from Jennifer about how to take your room from 'average to amazing,' Monica's question about how to pull off a his and hers office, and Janet's question about maintaining practicality when creating a pretty room.

Dec 06, 2016
Bonus Episode: Entertaining Disasters

This week we’re bringing you a bonus episode, and we’re talking entertaining! Our plan was to bring you a short extra episode with our entertaining stories — to get you in the spirit of Thanksgiving — but of course, we gabbed for over an hour. But, if you listen to the whole episode, you’ll hear our tried and true secrets, entertaining disasters, and suggestions for being a great guest.


  • Karen’s Napkin Tricks: both removing stains after a dinner party and an easy ironing trick
  • The time I lit two dinner napkins on fire
  • Karen’s ongoing entertaining disaster — under cooking meat
  • Karen’s worst disaster — it involves a lasagna and an old oven mit
  • The time Taryn exploded an entire bottle of wine in a crowded restaurant
  • Our thoughts on signature cocktails
  • All of our best flower arranging tips — including which combination of flowers to buy
  • My mom’s three keys to a good party — good music, good food, good people
  • The importance of traditions during the holidays, especially food traditions
  • How to cook one end of your tenderloin faster so you can offer both well done and rare
  • Your requirements as a party guest — RSVPing and being festive and fun
  • Our tips for cleaning up


Nov 23, 2016
Ep. 3 with the Madcap Cottage Guys

We were so excited to have as our guests on this week’s episode, Jason Nixon and John Loecke, the Madcap Cottage Guys! Their style is on point, and their love for color and pattern is infectious. We picked their brain about combining furniture styles harmoniously, their upcoming travel plans, why they love decorating with the color green, and their pack of adorable rescue dogs. 


  • Where Jason and John find inspiration, both abroad and at home. They’re as inspired by things they see in London as they are around their hometown in North Carolina. Inspiration is everywhere.
  • They talk about their next vacation spot — Tokyo — and why they’re dying to make it there next.
  • What do they do with all of the treasures they bring home?
  • What do they see as living a ‘well-lived life?’
  • They share their more casual approach to entertaining, like ways to entertain without making everything from scratch.
  • Why we should throw out the idea of having a ‘camera ready’ home all the time.
  • Jason and John’s decorating pet peeves
  • Inspirations for their fabric like for Robert Allen
  • How their mothers’ styles impacted their own sensibilities
  • What they would save if their house was on fire
  • They mention the Traditional Home Napa Showhouse which they decorated using many of our products. You can see a whole tour of their space here.

Jason and John help us answer your questions, including how to pull off mix and match bar stools, guidelines for hanging artwork over a console table or sideboard, and how to update a built in cabinet with paint or stain.

Nov 22, 2016
Ep. 2: Stylist & Hoarder Ginny Branch

This week, we're talking to stylist extraordinaire, Ginny Branch. Ginny is a prop stylist who has worked with some of the most beloved brands all over the country, including Southern Living, Country Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, Design*Sponge, Cooking Light, Coastal Living, and Ballard Designs! She shares with us how she got into styling, her favorite accessories, her most recent travels, and even her hoarding tendencies.


  • Ginny talks about becoming a stylist
  • Why it's so important to love the people she works with
  • Which people or brands she's dying to work with
  • An insider's view to how catalogs are shot
  • The magic of shooting a catalog in Italy
  • The craziest thing she's ever brought home with her on a plane
  • She tells us about her little house in Atlanta

As always, we answer your questions. This week, we talk about the best sisal rug to use if you are concerned about spills, and we answer Rosemary's questions about hanging a mirror over a bed.

We want to teach your how to decorate! We'll help you unleash your inner decorator with interviews from designers, sharing trials and triumphs of our own homes, and answering your burning decorating questions. Brought to you from the Ballard Designs.

Nov 08, 2016
Ep. 1 Meet the How to Decorate Team

Hosting each episode will be three ladies from the Ballard Designs team — Caroline McDonald, Taryn Schwartz, and Karen Mooney. You know Caroline from rour blog How to Decorate where she is constantly posting and answering your questions in our comments section. Taryn Schwartz is a trained industrial designer (and also super talented artist) who designs product for Ballard Designs. Finally, Karen Mooney is our fearless leader who we sit down with to discuss each new season. You’ve read our interviews with her here, and we also shared her kitchen renovation … and her backyard.

In today’s episode, we’ll be telling you more about each of us, how we work together designing the rooms you see online and in our catalog, and what projects we’re working on in our own homes.

We also answer questions about which sofa pillows could coordinate with the floral pillows Lauren already has. We answer Samina's question about how to layout a room if you have a corner fireplace, and we help Rachel decorate the stair landing that is a focal point right when you walk in the door.

Oct 25, 2016