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How to Decorate

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.
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Apr 25, 2017

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.

WHAT YOU'LL HEAR ON THIS EPISODE

  • 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 11, 2017

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!

WHAT YOU'LL HEAR ON THIS EPISODE:

  • 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
Mar 28, 2017

**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.

WHAT YOU’LL HEAR IN THIS EPISODE:

  • 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 14, 2017

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!

WHAT YOU'LL HEAR ON TODAY'S SHOW:

  • 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 2, 2017

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!

IN THIS EPISODE YOU'LL HEAR:

  • 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 1, 2017

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.

WHAT YOU'LL HEAR IN THIS EPISODE:

  • 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
Feb 28, 2017

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.

WHAT YOU'LL HEAR ON THE SHOW:

  • 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 14, 2017

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! 

WHAT YOU'LL HEAR ON THIS EPISODE:

  • 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
Jan 31, 2017

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!

WHAT YOU'LL HEAR ON THE SHOW:

  • 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 17, 2017

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 3, 2017

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!

WHAT YOU'LL HEAR ON 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?

Dec 27, 2016

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 20, 2016

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!

WHAT YOU'LL HEAR ON THE SHOW:

  • 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 6, 2016

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.

WHAT YOU'LL HEAR ON THE SHOW

  • 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.

Nov 23, 2016

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.

WHAT YOU'LL HEAR ON THE SHOW

  • 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 22, 2016

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. 

WHAT YOU'LL HEAR ON THE SHOW

  • 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 8, 2016

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.

WHAT YOU'LL HEAR ON THE SHOW:

  • 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.

Oct 25, 2016

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.

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