Nothing can replace the excitement of being a kid and receiving the Christmas catalog in the mail to announce the arrival of the holidays. But we like to think we come pretty darn close in capturing a similar kind of anticipation when ours arrives — and it’s finally here. For more tips and insight into how we’re decorating and entertaining for the holidays, we talked to our creative and branding leader, Karen Mooney.
Ballard Designs: It’s here! The holiday catalog has arrived. Is there an overarching theme for this catalog?
Karen Mooney: Yes, and it’s based on a quote that we all fell in love with: “At Christmas, all roads lead to home.” That sentiment really spans this whole season, from Halloween through Christmas. When the holidays roll around, everyone starts thinking of home. I think it’s because we all crave the memories of our childhood and we want to make new memories for our children and spend time with the ones we love, and part of that is making sure our house feels warm and welcoming.
BD: What are some of the big looks you’re excited to bring out this season?
KM: In the catalog, we pulled together three fun texture stories for our gift pages: rustic, shimmer and plaid. Those themes are really representative of the catalog on the whole.
The foundation of our rustic look is burlap, and we have a love affair with burlap. We put it on everything, because it has great texture and it exudes warmth. It looks even better when it’s juxtaposed with metallics, and can really live with any fabric, whether it’s a solid or a print. We also have an affinity for rustic and reclaimed wood, like our Wood Bark Entertaining Collection or our Tic Tac Toe Game. Just mix in feathers, leather and velvet and get a whole luxe bohemian feel.
It’s a great time of year to inject mercury glass and metals in your rooms, especially in your dining room. As nighttime begins a little earlier and the house gets dark, you get a beautiful glow from the candlelight, and the metallics play off that nicely and makes your whole room sparkle. Even if you’re not having a dinner party, put out a few candles with your family. It really gives it an intimate feeling. Plus, mercury glass and mixed metals are like cheetah — they go with everything.
Suzanne Kasler started us on the plaid bandwagon a couple of years ago, and we were surprised by how much we fell in love with it, including our customers, because it’s a bold statement. But look at this bedroom. All we did was switch some of the bedding with Suzanne’s Plaid Shams and Bedskirt and it’s suddenly transformed into a fun holiday room. It’s not too much and it could even live there year-round. But isn’t this a fun surprise for guests who visit during the holidays? And don’t forget the mistletoe over the bed!
BD: We love the use of plaid in this very sophisticated room. The whole look exudes a heritage vibe.
KM: This is a classic room with a few little twists to make it current. We wanted to play with pattern while creating that cozy, comfortable look you see in magazines of classic libraries. We started with these custom panels in Ashford Paisley and built the room around the camel and red palette that really sets the tone of the room. But we wanted to avoid going overly traditional, so we threw down a geometric-patterned rug in navy and white to punch it up a bit. We painted the walls a deep green, which is so relevant right now. Throw in a little cheetah and fur and you’re done!
BD: Spa is a staple for us, so how do we use it in the winter?
KM: In the summer we love to pair it with lighter palettes, but in the winter, it holds up nicely with deeper colors, like emerald green and peacock. In this room, we stayed with that spa hue, but changed the value to go lighter or darker with the walls, curtains and pillows. Green is really coming on strong, so pairing these two together is a natural, as we did in the bedroom (below).
BD: This is something our customers may not know, but this Giselle Headboard is completely customizable, thanks to our new program, Custom Plus.
KM: Yes! We now have more than 20 upholstered bodies where you can completely customize the look by choosing the fabric for the frame, welt and buttons as well as select nailheads and finish. Here, we went with that beautiful emerald and spa duo with the headboard in Queens Velvet Emerald and the welt and buttons in Sky Linen, a color we pulled from the bedding. And before you think that this is too specific of a color for a headboard, it would look beautiful with all-white bedding, khaki or a variety of different patterns, so I wouldn’t be afraid to try something different.
BD: Black and white is back?
KM: In a big way. We’ve been talking about black and white all year. It started in the spring with our black and white Canopy Stripe for outdoor cushions. This combination brings a super clean and crisp look to an outdoor or indoor space. I always tell people to mix in a pretty print, a natural fiber rug or mixed metals to soften the look. You want enough texture and contrast so it doesn’t feel cold. During the holidays, greenery serves as the perfect counterpoint.
BD: Let’s talk about Teigen. This ultra-modern, black-and-white pattern comes in fabric by the yard, a pillow, a tablecloth and drapery.
KM: At first glimpse, you would think that it’s not very Ballard, but we all fell in love with it. We designed the pattern, but, believe it or not, it’s based on an antique fabric we found. Teigen gives this great modern, bold statement, so it’s perfect to use in a room in small doses.
BD: There are a few rooms decorated in mostly red and white with touches of wood that we’re referring to as Scandinavian. What inspired this look?
KM: When we were planning the holiday catalog, we kept coming back to our inspiration images and tears that had a lot of bright white upholstery and white walls, and the red of the holidays just popped so nicely off of that. It feels so cheerful. I’m not sure you’d look at these rooms and instantly think Scandinavian, but the clean, crisp feeling you get from that style really inspired us. And just like green, red is really coming on strong in the design world. You’re going to be seeing a lot more red next year, so get used to it!
BD: Bunny Williams’ Manor House Dining Collection is her first foray into furniture for Ballard Designs — and the result is stunning.
KM: She’s designed several tabletop collections for us, and they’ve all been wildly popular. It seems like a natural transition to design the furniture that would go with those tabletop pieces. And she is such an entertainer — she loves to welcome people into her home — so she has a very strong point of view of how a dining room should feel when you walk into it, how a table should be designed for easy conversation and how comfortable the chairs should be for hours of sitting. Every piece is designed with those little details in mind to make you an incredible hostess. This dining collection was her vision from start to finish, and it’s all made in Italy and beautifully handcrafted. We wanted to capture some of the flair of her very high-end Bunny Williams Home collection, and offer it at much more affordable price, and I think we’ve done that. We loved working with her on this collection, and she’s got more furniture coming next year.
BD: We have to talk about this ombre tree. It’s so fun!
KM: We saw the idea on Pinterest and were obsessed with it. When the merchant presented these Mixed Metals Glass Ornaments, we said, “We have to do the ombre tree!” When they were shooting, I got a call from the set and the creative director said it looked awful, like stripes on a tree. I begged her to make it work, and they ended up doing the design diagonally down the tree instead and turned out beautifully. On the blog, we tell you how many boxes you need to make this look. And these ornaments, by the way, are amazing — and right on trend.
BD: Let’s talk about ornaments. Ballard has a really great selection this year that sort of span the spectrum, from whimsy to sparkly. How do you select ornaments?
KM: Aren’t they great? I really love our ornament selection this year. We tend to go by personality. For example, the girl who owns our dot stocking: what kind of ornaments would she love? She might go for more traditional red and green Christmas ornaments that have that lighthearted feel, like our Felt Santa Ornaments or our Festive Sweater Ornaments. Big Ballard fans might love our Santos Ornaments, because she knows how much we love Santos figures. The Vintage Car Ornaments are super nostalgic. And then there’s the more sophisticated mercury glass ornaments that offer that shimmer and shine. We have such a great variety, and they’re great to give out as hostess gifts or for starting memories at home.
Casa Florentina Garden Mural Drapery Panels
Chinoiserie is really making a big comeback in fabric, wallpaper and accessories. These panels are so special, because they create this beautiful garden scene when you pull them together. They look so high-end and custom, like handpainted drapery.
I’m so drawn to this piece. The color, the quatrefoil hardware and the reeded details are so striking. This console would be great in an entry.
Hudson Dining Table
This dining table very simple, but it has this cool brass inset and stretcher bar. It could be in a very casual space, because of the really clean white finish, but that brass adds an extra layer of sexy.
Jules Bar Cart & Party Accessories
I truly love everything in this picture! Every shelf is packed with amazing pieces. These Geometric Marble Serving Stands make a great statement on your buffet. They’re hollow so you can place a bowl or bag of ice underneath to keep them cold for serving cheeses and such. The Petite Bell Garland actually jingles. It’s so dainty and perfect for decking out your bar cart or buffet. Of course, I’m still in love with Bunny’s Bubbly Glasses, and I can’t live without them. These adorable Reindeer Place Card Holders are also great for using as labels on a buffet. And the little Shot Glasses are the ultimate hostess gift — or use them at your next party. You need to get the recipes for mini Moscow Mules and Mint Juleps on our blog.
It’s nice to integrate things in your home that make your life feel a little more glamorous than it actually is! These stools do that. The leather seat makes it durable and family friendly, but it’s also sexy.
Mongolian Faux Fur Pillow
We just got back from Paris, and let me tell you, every single booth at the market had Mongolian fur. Not just throws and pillow, but whole chairs and sofas. It is fur, fur, fur. It’s so soft and it really is an everyday kind of luxury. I have a fur throw on my sofa, and every morning I sit there and read the news and drink my coffee and tuck my feet under it. It’s the one throw that everyone in my family fights over. Like the Sonya Stool, this Faux Fur Pillow makes your room feel very sophisticated, but it’s also very practical.
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