Podcast, Ep. 34 with Interior Designer William Peace

Interior designer William Peace joins the podcast to talk decorating, style, and more

Before we even published our first episode of the How to Decorate podcast, we had today’s guest on our list of designers we couldn’t wait to interview. Here at Ballard, we’ve worked with interior designer William Peace on several projects including the time he styled three spreads for our catalog and designing the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival together. A few weeks of us, he joined us to talk style, getting into the design business, his work out west, and of course, we answered your decorating questions.

What You’ll Hear on This Show:

  • Bill tells us about how he started working out west
  • We ask Bill about his ‘style’ and how that lines up with his projects out west
  • He tells us about his decorating philosophy and how he translates that in his design projects
  • We ask Bill about shopping regionally and whether he furnishes his spaces with local items
  • Bill uses a lot of locally sourced art, and he tells us about how he works those pieces into his rooms
  • We talk about collections, including Bill’s knife collections
  • Bill tells us about his Atlanta home — it’s an old gas station
  • He tells us about the best change he made to his home
  • He tells us about how he displays his collections and why he likes changing things around
  • We talk about the Atlanta design community and why he doesn’t feel pressure to impress his design colleagues when he’s entertaining at home
  • We talk about getting into the design business and why Bill feels it’s important to go to school before trying to break into the industry
  • Bill gives us a lesson on how to buy antiques and the story behind one of his favorite travel treasures
  • We ask Bill how to decorate a space so that it’s relevant to the location without being kitschy
  • We’ve worked on a couple of projects with us, and he talks about how he reinterprets our pieces and what inspired the rooms he designed for our catalog
  • Bill tells us about a trick he uses to make rooms feel calm and laid-back
  • We ask Bill about making a tonal room that doesn’t feel boring
  • Bill tells us about how the styles of his Montana and Atlanta homes differ
  • We ask Bill his opinion on TVs in bedrooms and his decorating pet peeves
  • He gives us a lesson on scale, why it’s important, and why it can be fun to manipulate it
  • Bill tell us why it’s important to first consider the mood you’re wanting to set before you start decorating a space

Decorating Dilemmas:


First, I was to say how much I am enjoying your podcast. I am learning a lot of tips but also laughing along the way.

Now, my decorating dilemma….we are building a home and our kitchen and living room are one large area. Our kitchen ceilings are 10 foot and then our living room ceilings are 21′ so that makes for a gigantic blank wall on the second floor. What should I put there? Trim it out? Art?

I’d love to hear your thought.

Thank you,


Bill suggests thinking of something large and three dimensional to hang on the large, double height wall, or perhaps an unusual wall treatment. He’s not sure moulding will really add much, instead maybe add something textured and then hang a large piece of art on it. 

On the wall that’s above the kitchen (the half height wall), hang some large modern paintings to fill that space. Be sure to light the paintings, too. We actually have some large pieces called Seasons Art that come in huge sizes which Bill used in his rooms for our catalog. A series of those could work great on that half wall.

Bill mentions that you don’t have to make a statement on every wall. If you have one focal point that’s really demanding, the other walls can be softer and more subtle.


Hi ladies,

I have begged my husband to move but it’s not in the cards so instead I’m trying to zhush up what I’ve got.  We live in a tiny 1930’s Dutch Colonial and my living room is awkward at best.  I struggle with furniture placement and don’t have enough room to float it so can’t follow Bunny Williams advice, so it’s married to my walls. And, even though I really love color, somehow I’ve ended up with a boring beige room. Most of my pieces are family things or thrifted and I love a casual and collected look.  I don’t have draperies since I think the room is too small and they would take up my wall space and I’m pretty sure my lampshades are hideous (and not the right size).  So, I would love your thoughts on a few things-

1) please confirm whether my lampshade situation is an issue (you can be brutal)

2) should I consider draperies? Panels or maybe a roman shade of sorts? And if yes- what color??

3) thoughts on furniture placement and whether I should get rid of, add or slipcover/re-upholster any of it? 

4) would paint help to rid me of the sadly tan tint that exists or is there another way?  If so, what color?  If the paint is ok-  how can I inject some life? Honestly when I’m in the space I do feel happy but when I look at these pictures its so blah.

This room is where we watch TV and hang out as a family (hubs, 15 yo son and golden doodle) so I need it to be functional and comfortable. 

Thank you ever so much


Let’s talk about the good things in this space — the mouldings, the doors, and the scale. It looks like a great old house. Start by lightening the paint color, maybe something towards the white family. Paint the trim and walls the same color, but let the walls be in an eggshell finish and a semigloss on the moulding. Add a drapery panel that’s the same color as the walls in an airy, open weave.

Consider the scale of your furniture. The sofa feels too big for the space. The rolled arms make it feel too big, so look for something that has a narrower arm and a cleaner line. Something in a lighter fabric that’s either off white or natural colored.

Minimize or get rid of pattern completely in this space, as it’ll calm the space down so it feels larger. Consider some reflective surfaces like glass or mirror. It’ll make the piece feel lighter and brighter. Your color can be in accessories and art, but then the large furniture pieces should be more neutral and light.

I suggest maybe looking into relocating your television and maybe hanging it on the wall over the console table before you enter the hall. You want as much seating as possible, so place your largest piece against the long wall under the windows. It makes the most sense in terms of layout. Bill also suggests moving the TV off to the right of the fireplace so that isn’t directly over the fireplace.

Bring in some different types of materials to add more interest but still in that neutral palette.

Karen suggests maybe instead of that ottoman, consider using a pouf instead. Bill loves our leather pouf thinks that may work as well.

Use our room planner to play around with the layout. You may be able to even fit in a sectional with a chaise. If you rethink the pieces you have, you may be able to fit more seating into it and also take up less room. Maybe a swivel glider or a recliner that will please your teenage son and husband but will look great!

Show Notes:

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

Happy Decorating!

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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.


  1. Reply

    Carolyn Neblett

    October 10, 2017

    Ya’ll- I listened to the podcast this morning on my way to work and almost drove off the road! Thank you so much for the great advice- I’m thrilled. Bill’s thoughts were amazing and Karen was exactly right with her ottoman/chair situation assessment. I loved the suggestions about moving the TV, trying a sectional and am working on the room layout now. And thank you for confirming my fears about the lampshades- that will be my first purchase!

    Love the podcast and each of you- can’t wait to get to start transforming my space.

    Thanks again!

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      October 11, 2017

      So happy you found our suggestions helpful and that you enjoyed this episode. You can tell we obviously had lots of thoughts on your room from several different perspectives!
      Please send pictures as your make changes. We’d love to see where it ends up!
      Happy Decorating,