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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How to Decorate





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Now displaying: 2018
Dec 25, 2018

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 18, 2018

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 11, 2018

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 4, 2018

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.


Nov 20, 2018

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
Oct 30, 2018

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 23, 2018

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 9, 2018

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


Sep 25, 2018

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 12, 2018

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 11, 2018

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

Aug 28, 2018

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 14, 2018

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
Jul 31, 2018

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 17, 2018

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 3, 2018

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
Jun 19, 2018

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 5, 2018

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
May 22, 2018

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 8, 2018

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
Apr 24, 2018

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 10, 2018

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
Mar 27, 2018

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 13, 2018

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
Feb 27, 2018

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
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