Fall is officially here, and that means the holidays are right around the corner. It’s never too early to start planning for holiday decorating and entertaining. We’ve been thinking about it since spring! To get you in the spirit, we talked to Karen Mooney, our Senior Vice President of Brand Management, about some of our favorite rooms featured in the new catalog. She also shared with us her top five new favorites.
Ballard Designs: As you and the merchandising team were planning our fall/holiday catalog way back in the spring, what was on your collective minds?
Karen Mooney: We really talked a lot about spreading the cheer around the home and not limiting your Christmas decor to the living room. Wherever you step foot in your house, you should feel a little bit of that holiday cheer, whether it’s your home office, powder room or bedroom. So we talked a lot about how to make those moments special.
BD: One of our favorite rooms is this fun, imaginative kid’s room. You certainly spread the joy around in this room.
KM: So many of us who work here have kids, so we talked about what we do at home, and a lot of moms were saying they really try to inject that fun holiday spirit into their kids’ rooms. I love the idea of giving your kids their own little tree and putting their stockings at the foot of their beds. We strung lights, but you could also do garland. Chalkboard paint on the walls lets kids add their own decorative spin. We even drew a fun, little frame around our Sea of Poppies print. How cute is that?
BD: It’s really fun to see our favorite things reimagined for a kid’s room.
KM: The Eastman Secretary plays double duty as a nightstand and desk. We made the beds up in our amazingly soft flannel bedding. The stripe is based on a piece of antique wallpaper we had. We layered in the Audree Pom Pom in our new red, which is a color that we love to sprinkle around during the holidays. I think Audree is so popular because it has that tiny bit of whimsy, so it really works in a kid’s room, too. Throw in the Holiday Dot Pillow, and it feels like Santa’s on his way. Also, I highly recommend an indoor/outdoor rug for kids’ rooms. They can take the beating.
BD: This bedroom is the toned down version. It’s got all the same elements of cozy warmth, Christmas cheer and a touch of whimsy, but in a much more subtle way.
KM: Adults can have fun, too. I love that shot of fur with the animal print and solids. It’s a totally neutral room, but you throw in the ottoman in this crazy, fun print and add a touch of green and it takes it up a notch. That scheme really hearkens back to early Ballard. We’re just reinterpreting our history in a fresh way. And we’re all in love with pom poms and tassels right now. These are oversized, which makes a fun statement.
BD: We like the concept of keeping your white bedding from summer and adding layers.
KM: Just add fur! This is a universally year-round bed, but you’ve got this yummy fur which really makes you want to cozy up. And when winter’s done, you can switch out the fur pillow covers for a pair of pretty spa or toile print covers. You don’t have to reinvent your bed. All of that white bedding keeps the leather headboard from looking too masculine, and when mixed with fur and animal print, it really keeps it lighthearted. I also love this great swag with the curtains. We used two panels to get that drape, and it gives you just a little bit of sun for natural light. That swoop is so beautiful and echoes the curve of the headboard nicely.
BD: Holiday is such a favorite time for Suzanne Kasler, and she never disappoints.
KM: Suzanne really dialed in on the glamour this year. She wanted lots of shimmer, because this is the one time of year when you can go a little over the top. She has been collecting these beautiful Czech Christmas trees for years, and she brought them with her when we met to discuss her holiday collection. They were so unusual and like nothing you see out there. It’s like little pieces of jewelry — so delicate and stunning. We recreated two designs and translated the jeweled look into these beautiful coordinating snowflake ornaments and bedazzled her stockings. These jewels are hand sewn onto the stocking. They’re not just sequins — they’re big and have a lot of dimension to them. When we met, she also had this tiny, delicate garland of links that she wanted to reproduce, which became her Metal Link Garland. The shimmer and shape of her ornaments this year really makes a beautiful statement against greenery.
She also has this great piece of artwork that you can prop up on the mantel or shelf for a bit of holiday cheer — no hanging required. The snowflake is actually made up of tiny script that says, “let it snow” over and over. We were inspired by these postcards Suzanne had purchased in New York a long time ago.
BD: We love this black and white living room. It’s so striking.
KM: It’s all about the mix. We often find inspiration from what’s happening in fashion, and we’ve seen a fun mix of plaid and animal prints in outfits. You’ll see women with tartan scarves and cheetah skirts. It’s so appealing, so how do you translate that into your home? We introduced Buffalo Check earlier in the year, and now we’re adding it in black and white. It’s such a classic pattern that traditionally has leaned a bit country, but mix it with zebra and suddenly it feels very fresh and modern. Dodie is one our favorite patterns and it adds just that little touch of whimsy in the room.
BD: Overall, it’s a neutral room, but it feels very warm.
KM: We are all about the juxtaposition of texture. For the holidays, we love to add shimmer with metallics and mercury glass, but then we throw in the burlap stockings to temper that shine a bit. We also layered our zebra rug over a natural fiber rug. It’s such a great statement, and we sell it online in several different colors. I love it layered over a rug or it’s perfect for oddly sized rooms and spaces.
BD: This holiday table setting by Bunny Williams is absolutely gorgeous. Are we invited?
KM: We are all in love with her new dinnerware! It’s based on random pieces of French gold and white china she’s been collecting for years. She has stacks of it. Each piece is a little different, but it all coordinates beautifully. This collection is just so versatile. It can go formal, but it’s also a little playful and whimsical, so it dresses down pretty easily. It’s a sparkly neutral and it mixes and layers with your existing china or even everyday. Bunny also added a gold finish to her Paris Flea Market Flatware.
BD: It all looks so elegant, yet seems so effortless.
KM: Bunny loves the idea of massing out one thing on your table to make a statement, like her Pineapples. It doesn’t have to be flowers. It can be these beautiful little deer or garland or a series of two dozen candles. Anything in quantity is going to make a statement, so look around your house and see what you’ve got.
The Dog Salt and Pepper Cellar is based on an antique Bunny had, and when we first saw it, we all thought, “Why does the dog have three pails?” It turns out this is an English dog and, traditionally, the British also set out dry mustard with salt and pepper, so that’s what goes in the third bucket. It’s so cute and such a great gift.
BD: This is a great room for those who don’t like the traditional red and green Christmas.
KM: Why not Chinoiserie for Christmas? It’s such a staple for us, so we decided to turn it into ornaments. If you love blue and white, add it to your tree. They look great with Suzanne’s snowflakes or other silver and white ornaments. The Chinoiserie pot is perfect for a tiny Christmas tree. Many people travel over the holidays or just don’t want to deal with a full-scale tree, so it’s a beautiful solution for a tabletop or corner.
That deep blue is so strong right now, especially navy. It’s everywhere. For us, it’s a deepening of our classic spa palette, which can be as easy as adding in a few pieces with a darker blue. We have three new fabrics that are in that beautiful peacock blue palette that works back with our spa.
Karen’s Five Favorites
For years I’ve been stringing three different sizes of white lights around my Christmas tree. I like to combine the old school large bulbs, medium-size bulbs and the miniature bulbs. It gives you this layered glow that you just can’t get with one size bulb. But it is so much work! So I convinced everyone that we needed to put it on a faux tree. When we got the sample, everyone fell in love with it, and we all thought it looked a little vintage, thus the name. The style of the lights evokes childhood memories of Christmas. It’s my number-one favorite thing in this catalog, and I will be putting it in my house!
I love sleigh bells and jingle bells. When you hear that sound over the holidays, it just puts you in the mood, no matter where you are. I also love a pom pom, so what’s better than a pom pom with jingle bells? It’s oversized so it’s got a really fun flair, but it’s also very simple. And since it’s white it goes anywhere — it’s beautiful draped over a mantel, around a doorway, down a stairway or wrapped around a wreath. Of course, you can put it in your kids’ room, too.
Every year we hear from customers who are struggling with how to hang their wreaths on the front door, and here’s our solution. The antlers are such a great statement. If you need something functional, you might as well make it cute, too.
This is our second year selling the St. Jude Bear. All of the profits go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Last year the merchandising team held a contest to come up with the design of the bear. The winning design was a little mercury glass bear with a burlap scarf, which we thought was very Ballard. We ended up selling more bear than any other organization or celebrity who participated in the program! So this year we kept the same bear but he got a new outfit, a Suzanne Kasler plaid scarf. Next year, we’ll add a new ensemble, so it’s now a little collectible.
These shelves are amazing. The super white shelf with gold finished bracket is just so sleek and elegant. It would look great in a kitchen or a bathroom.
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