It took some persuasion, but we finally got our Senior Director of Merchandising Phil Lancaster, or “The Professor,” on the podcast! Phil knows it all, teaches us some furniture history, tells us all about how furniture is made, what you need to look for, and generally schools us on the nitty gritty details of furniture and antiques. If you’re wondering how to look for quality in your next furniture piece, this is the episode you need to listen to.
What You’ll Hear on This Episode
- We start off with a furniture lesson on modern vs. contemporary
- How does modern differ from mid-century modern?
- What’s going to make it from the furniture being created right now? How do we know what will last?
- There’s a lot of innovation around lighting right now in new types of light bulbs
- We discuss light bulbs and why the color they give off is so important
- What’s the difference between an antique and vintage
- We talk about his 100 year old house, how he bought it from the original owners, and how he loves the hunt
- How important it is to talk to antique dealers when you’re out hunting for things
- What we look for when we’re going on one of our big antique shopping trips
- How to shop for a wooden antique — open the drawers, look at the back, examine the construction to know whether it’s well-made
- We ask Phil about his favorite interior designer and artist
- We talk about furniture styles, how the style Ballard is known for differs from Phil’s own aesthetic, and the fact that good design is good design
- We talk about why we use MDF to manufacture furniture and why you shouldn’t assume something made from MDF is poor quality
- Taryn tells us a story about a mahogany table she sent to a furniture show and why real wood isn’t always better
- We talk about kiln dried wood — if you remove the moisture from the wood, it’s less likely
- We talk about teak and why you remove the moisture from teak
- We dive into upholstery and the four main parts — the frame, the suspension, the cushion, and the cover
- Phil jumps on his soapbox about the pitch of upholstery and why it’s the most important quality about your furniture piece’s comfort
- We talk about what 8-way hand tied is and why you don’t need it anymore
- Phil tells us about cushion construction and what’s on the inside of your sofa
Hello Ladies of Ballard,
I absolutely adore your podcast, y’all are so fun and have such great insight! My decorating dilemma is that we live in a 1910’s house that has a central bath with no windows. The bathroom serves as both our primary powder room for the living space and also our guest bathroom. The bathroom is arranged with a toilet/vanity area (a “Powder Room area”) with a shower area beyond separated by a wall and glass door, the shower itself is quite cavernous! We are getting ready to do a full renovation of the space and I’m looking for ways to make the space feel lighter and brighter while keeping the space period appropriate. I should mention a skylight is out of the question. Do you have any ideas on how I can make this dark, dismal bathroom feel lighter and more luxurious for our guests?
Keep up the great work with the podcast!
We all agree that you need tons of lighting. Taryn mentions how lots of hotels have bathrooms without windows because they’re on the interior of the window. They’ll have strips of lighting around the mirror in addition to decorative sconces right at eye level. Phil mentions certain types of ceiling lighting that almost look like natural light. Focus on lots of lighting, and lots of different types of lighting. Recess lighting, sconces at eye level, and maybe even the lights behind the mirrors are all great ways to increase the amount of lighting. Phil mounted his sconces on top of a plain mirror so that the mirror reflects the light back into the room.
Of course paint colors and tile colors are important to help the space feel light and bright. Even consider a wallpaper with metallic in it or a very reflective glass subway tile so that the actual wall material will reflect the light from all of your beautiful lighting that you’re putting in!
Definitely put a dimmer in this bathroom so that when guests come over they feel warm and cozy.
- Tour Phil’s Craftsman bungalow in Atlanta
- Bauhaus movement
- Richard Sapper’s Tizio Lamp
- Garrow Kedigian Design
Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss and episode. Of course, you can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.