Connoisseur's Lounge at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, designed by Bill Peace and sponsored by Ballard Designs

The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival has become one of our favorite Springtime traditions. Honestly, we can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend than to sip and savor mouth-watering food, wine and spirits prepared by the brightest talent in the South today. It truly is a one-of-a-kind culinary journey.

Connoisseur's Lounge at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, designed by Bill Peace and sponsored by Ballard Designs

As sponsors of the event, we outfitted the Connoisseur Lounge, where guests of private food and beverage classes can socialize, eat and drink. For the third year in a row, we teamed up with award-winning designer, William Peace of Peace Design, to create a comfortable space that’s every bit as enticing as the delicious bites and sips on tap.

Connoisseur's Lounge at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, designed by Bill Peace and sponsored by Ballard Designs

So what can we expect this year? First of all, the theme of the Connoisseur Lounge is a departure from last year’s modern hunting lodge aesthetic, says Bill.

Connoisseur's Lounge at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, designed by Bill Peace and sponsored by Ballard Designs

“This year we’re going coastal. It’s a reflection of the lighter fare we’re seeing in food trends these days — and what will be served this weekend. I wanted to create a continuity between the food and the Connoisseur Lounge.”

Connoisseur's Lounge at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, designed by Bill Peace and sponsored by Ballard Designs

Gone is the heavy, rich cuisine, and with it the dark finishes, bold velvets and carpeted flooring of last year’s sophisticated Connoisseur Lounge. Along with the lighter, better-for-you bites, we’ll be seeing a fresher, more relaxed palette of blues, greens, ivories and flax.

Connoisseur's Lounge at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, designed by Bill Peace and sponsored by Ballard Designs

“Think seaglass — what you would find walking on the beach,” Bill offers. “We’re pulling in those refreshing blues and greens. It’s a lighter vibe all around.”

Connoisseur's Lounge at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, designed by Bill Peace and sponsored by Ballard Designs

And it just wouldn’t be a Bill Peace room without his signature mix of texture — from linen to washed woods to buttery soft leather — and an emphasis on comfort. The designer planned a variety of sumptuous seating and dining areas to accommodate large parties and couples alike.

Connoisseur's Lounge at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, designed by Bill Peace and sponsored by Ballard Designs

“It’s all about comfort, and I want to appeal to a wide variety of people who really want to enjoy their food and drink and take in the whole experience,” says Bill.

Of course, there’s one essential ingredient that absolutely makes the Connoisseur Lounge: Southern style.

Connoisseur's Lounge at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, designed by Bill Peace and sponsored by Ballard Designs

“We still have the Southern sensibility, because that’s what the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is all about,” Bill says. “Even though this year is an interesting contradiction to last year, the design is always rooted in the South with a little bit of tradition and an eye toward the future.

Connoisseur's Lounge at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, designed by Bill Peace and sponsored by Ballard Designs

See more spaces from Bill Peace and Ballard Designs, or find design inspiration by browsing our Pinterest boards.