The Louis Chair Challenge


5 Design Bloggers, 5 Fresh Takes on a Classic

Our Louis XVI Chair is a tried-and-true classic, a perennial favorite. It’s the kind of piece that can work in virtually any setting. To prove our point, we thought it might be fun to come up with a little challenge.

The Challenge:

We asked five of our favorite design bloggers to pick a Louis and design it to fit their look and lifestyle.

The Results:

We sent each blogger her lovely Louis. In return, each shared a photo of her chair in its proper setting and the inspiration behind the design.


The Louis Chair Challenge

I would describe my chair’s style as “Modern Prep.” Navy is a classic preppy color—it is timeless, universal and exudes quiet sophistication. I know a glossy lacquer finish is very on-trend these days, but to be a bit off-trend and a bit more reserved, I decided on a matte finish.  For the modern part, I went with graphic patterns in a crisp navy for upholstering the chair. I personalized the look by using fabric from my own collection: Logo on the front and Fence on the back. I thought the square pattern would contrast nicely with the curvy repeat pattern. I’m happy with the way it turned out!

I was inspired by my summer visits to Nantucket, a totally beautiful and completely preppy island off the coast of Massachusetts. Although I would not describe my personal fashion style as anything close to preppy, I love the vibe and feel on this little island haven.  I also think the navy and white is very nautical, and last summer I spent quite a bit of time on boats and on the beaches in Nantucket.

Just last year, I moved COCOCOZY into a new office space in Beverly Hills. A very small, very tiny design office (did I mention the word small?) just a few blocks from the famed Rodeo Drive. I’m not done with office decorating yet, but with this chair I’m on the way. The chair is exactly what we needed in the tiny front office.  It adds texture and interest to the mostly white office space. I like the way it works with our white lacquer fretwork table and the gleaming chandelier. Perfection!

The Louis Chair Challenge

The Louis Chair Challenge


Holly Street of Things That Inspire

When Ballard contacted me about the Louis Chair Challenge, I immediately thought of the perfect place for the chair: my 12-year-old daughter’s room.

The Louis Chair Challenge

Her room has been a work in progress for the past year, and we have gradually acquired many of the key furniture pieces in the room. However, we needed something that would inspire us to finish it, and the Ballard chair was the perfect thing both functionally, as her desk chair, and visually, to pull together the color scheme in the room.

The chair is both sweet and sophisticated—the perfect style for a girl on the cusp of her teenage years. The sweetness comes in the color scheme, aqua and a rosy coral, which are fun and youthful colors that look fresh and pretty together. The sophisticated aspect comes in the chic stripe, which is a great counterbalance to the floral pattern that is used in the pillows and on the bench.

The color inspiration was the fabric that was selected for the bed pillows and bench in her room. It’s a wonderful floral with the same aqua tones found in the wall and headboard and a vivid coral accent that provides the punch of color that my daughter requested. Keith Arnold of Suzanne Kasler Interiors (who worked on the interiors of the main floor of my house) came up with the design for the chair. The frame is painted in Benjamin Moore White Dove, the same color of the room trim, and an 8″ wide coral stripe in linen is set on a background of aqua linen. My daughter loves the chair! It pulls together the colors and style of the room beautifully and really ‘makes’ the room.

The Louis Chair Challenge


Joni Webb of Cote de Texas

My style is mostly casual. I mainly decorate with linens, velvets, taffeta and seagrass, and I use mostly slipcovers. So, of course, I wanted the chair to reflect my personal decor aesthetic.

The Louis Chair Challenge

First, I chose the round back chair because I love the curves of French furniture. I had the frame painted in a glossy gray paint, the same as the flat paint that is on my walls in the library. The chair is upholstered in a solid cream muslin. I had Hien Lam in Houston create a slipcover for the chair using two pieces. The round back is attached with a series of tabs, which allow the gray painted wood to show through. The seat is slipped in a short, double ruffle skirt for added femininity. Lastly, a bit of folly comes from the “ballerina” ties that run down all four legs of the chair.

When Ballard Designs contacted me about the Louis chair offer, I was thrilled and knew exactly where I would put the chair—in my new library! I recently redecorated my old office, turning it into a French/Swedish inspired library. It’s filled with shelves to hold all my design books in one place instead of scattered around my house. I painted the walls gray and added Swedish antiques. Along one side is a long window seat that sits under a silk taffeta shade.

In the library, the chair can either be pulled up to the table with the other two Swedish slip chairs, or it can sit in front of the bookcase. Either place, it looks wonderful and adds to the elegant sophistication of my ultra-feminine library.

The Louis Chair Challenge

The Louis Chair Challenge


Erin Gates of Elements of Style

The Louis Chair Challenge

My Louis is traditional with a modern twist. I wanted a chair for the office that played off the yellow accents and the more modern Knoll chair my assistant has—but in a totally different style. I really think it showcases the variety of styles we decorate in. It sits at my desk and I love it!

The Louis Chair Challenge


Heather Clawson of  Habitually Chic

The Louis Chair Challenge

Heather chose our eternally classic Apple Velvet for her square-back Louis and trimmed it in Suzanne Kasler Linen in Mineral for subtle contrast.

The Louis Chair Challenge

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    February 4, 2013

    What an original idea to slipcover a chair of this style. Fun versatility!

  2. Reply


    January 17, 2013

    I love seeing the spaces these chairs were created for! Very neat.

  3. Reply


    January 14, 2013

    Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of such a fun project!!! I love my chair – and so does everyone who sees it!!

    Thanks, again
    Joni Webb

  4. Reply


    January 11, 2013

    gorgeous! I love all the variety and each one’s personality.

  5. Reply


    January 11, 2013

    Wow. These photos are gorgeous.

  1. Reply


    January 25, 2013

    […] Here’s a look at the other bloggers’ chair.    To read the story at the Ballard Designs blog,  Style Studio, go HERE. […]