Podcast, Episode 16: Mother’s Day Edition

Mother's Day edition of the How to Decorate podcast from Ballard Designs

This week, we’re bringing you a very special Mother’s Day edition. Our guests are our three moms! We gave them a little pop quiz and challenged them on how well they know us and how well we know them. We talk about our childhood bedrooms, how our styles differ, and much more.

What You’ll Hear on this Episode:

  • My trial which consisted of being in the middle of the Atlanta I-85 interstate collapse
  • Taryn recaps her travels to South Africa, including what she brought home on the plane
  • Taryn’s sweet lab Baylor came home from the daycare with a tumor
  • Karen talks about her carpenter bee problem and her gardening triumph
  • We played a game with our moms where we made them fill out a quiz to see how well they knew us
  • We talk color, wallpaper, sentimental things, and hoarding tendencies
  • We talk about our childhood bedrooms
  • We share another round of entertaining disasters

Decorating Dilemmas:

Hi! I love your podcast and am currently bingeing it!

My question is I would love to help my mother-in-law refresh her living room. She is a self proclaimed terrible decorater and has expressed a desire to redo it. My problem is she has never asked me and I don’t know how to offer without being offensive. A change of window treatments and painted side tables would do wonders. I know this but as an undecorater she lacks vision.One more thing: I know she likes how I decorate and we have a good relationship. Is it always a faux pas to offer to help someone redecorate? What is your experience?

We agree that you should maybe ask her to go shopping or ask her to help pick paint colors, or some other in. Start the conversation about yourself and see if she takes the bait. If she’s mentioned it before and brings up the fact that she wants help decorating, maybe she’s giving you a clue that she wants your help but doesn’t know how to ask! Be gentle but good luck!


Girls, I love your podcast. I am a cook, not a decorator. The thought of purchasing a pillow for my couch frightens me. So I have been listening to your podcast for ideas and to muster up my courage. Thank you! Not only is it helpful but it is entertaining for me.

When listening to Bunny Williams, Karen had said “don’t invite me over and have me eat on paper plates”. Yikes!!! I do that all the time. We have people eat with us multiple times a week, teenagers my kids bring home, inlaws stop by, we host a small group from church, and the list goes on. Every other Sunday I have 30+ people eating in my house after church. It would not be unusual for there to be 40 people show up. I’m really focussed on the food and less on anything else. I actually do use real flatware for guests, because I hate plastic ware. But if I wanted to always have real plates and cups/glasses, could you make a suggestion of what and where to purchase these? And what about napkins? We use cloth napkins for family meals but when company comes the paper comes out. Keep in mind that I live in a small town 60-90 minutes from any mall. I do order a lot online. Plates and cups would need to be sturdy because there are usually children here and stack well if I were to keep 40-50 around.

Here is my biggest entertaining disaster. Many years ago when I was younger (30) I wanted to host a fancy dinner party. So I planned and cooked. Fine Cooking had a recipe for make ahead individual beef wellingtons. They had caramelized onions, bleu cheese, and were wrapped in puff pastry. You make them, freeze them, then pop them in the oven. My mistake is that I put the bread in the oven also. The bread, instead of being in a bundt pan (some little rolls with butter), was in an angel food cake pan. After awhile someone told me that the oven was smoking. I said, “that’s ok, it’s just a little butter leaking”. I wanted to give the impression that I had everything under control. I let it go for several more minutes without looking until someone commented again. By now the oven was ON FIRE. My husband opened it, which made it worse, and my friend shouted “flour!” So my husband threw flour on the fire, the beef wellingtons had become grey from the smoke, and I went in my bathroom and cried. Well, they were good friends, so we ate the meat inside without eating the grey puff pastry outsides and the night was a success. A good memory with good friends. Thanks for letting me share.

Thanks for the podcast!

We all agree that you are on a totally different level than our measly 6-person dinner parties. Forty to fifty people is a lot! You’re basically a restaurant. In this particular situation, we totally are on board with paper plates, but if you did want to upgrade, Karen suggests a few options. You could regularly troll through your local thrift shop and pick up smaller sets of 4-6 plates that are all different. Over time, build up a big stack of mismatched plates that you’ve bought cheaply so you won’t be sad if one breaks. It would also be fun to never know which plate style you’d get! Another option is to go to a restaurant supply shop or try our Cafe Dinnerware which was specifically designed for heavy use and to stand up to entertaining. Finally, you could look into some melamine sets. They’re plastic so they won’t break, but they’re a definite upgrade from paper.

Karen’s sea urchin lamp that she got in Italy


Karen’s sea urchin lamp that she got in Italy

Mentioned in This Episode:

  • Karen mentions our Cafe Dinnerware which is built for heavy use and entertaining

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in Apple Podcasts so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

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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.


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    June 3, 2017