Podcast, Ep. 116: designer Timothy Corrigan

Interior designer Timothy Corrigan joins the Ballard Designs podcast 

We welcome designer Timothy Corrigan to talk about his chateau addiction, his unique perspective on ‘elegant’ decorating, and his new book The New Elegance. Timothy believes our home is the place to bring out our best selves, elegance doesn’t always have to take a lot of effort to achieve, and there is nothing better than mixing styles and quality.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Trials on a broken Sunbrella storage ottoman, and triumphs on appreciating a beautiful fall day in a great home, toy organization, and a valance using Ballard hardware.
  • What Timothy means when he says elegance is misunderstood, and how it can transcend any style.
  • More about Timothy’s new book The New Elegance – a great read that shares the stories of homes in which he has defined a new contemporary elegance.
  • Ways we can include classic design principles in our busy life.
  • If you are comfortable in your home, everyone has a better experience. Research shows that when you like your environment, you are healthier.
  • Why Timothy believes we don’t have to always trade-off beauty for comfort, and the liveability aspect of our design is so important to the overall experience.
  • Timothy was working in advertising in New York then moved to Europe at the age of 30, and it opened up his eyes to the world of beauty and design.
  • When Timothy became an auction addict, and why he views it as a great opportunity to learn and gain information on the history of pieces.
  • Timothy’s love of chateaus and his detailing of how people live in them and update them to meet their modern needs in his book An Invitation to Chateau du Grand-Luce.
  • Design is about learning, exploring and then figuring out how to do it yourself to meet your scale and proportion.
  • Tim explains why color very much shapes the way you experience a room.
  • How to know what to respect the integrity of the home, yet also update the architecture to reflect the function and style of what you may need today.
  • Surround yourself with things you love, and feel free to mix and match from colors, accessories, and furniture that speak to you.
  • The primary types of symmetry, and how understanding them can help us design in a way that compliments and highlight proportion and space.

Decorating Dilemmas:

Hi ladies,

I live in Denmark and love your podcast.  Last summer I purchased my deceased grandmothers country house, and have been renovating ever since – all the ground stuff, new windows, new isolation, new plaster on outer wall,… All the time I’ve listed to your podcast, and been dreaming about the end result ?

I have two questions I hope you can help me with.

  1. 1: I would like reading light be my couch. Do you have a great idea here? I have an outlet on the ceiling above the right side on the couch. Should I have a pendant light?
  2. Any basic principle for the size of the dining table? And what style would you suggest? The current table are my old one, that I purchased for my former, much smaller house.

Please, feel free to comment on anything you think about – all input would be welcome!

And sorry, about any funny grammar and sentences.

Thank you for my absolutely favorite podcast – hope to hear your input on my house


Hello Denmark! The views outside your windows are so dreamy. To Tim, the biggest issue is starting to create some separation between the living and dining area. He would recommend a rug under the sofa and chairs in the living area, to ground it and make it feel more cozy and comfortable. Next, if you put a sofa table behind it with objects (or table lamps) to subtly divide space and open it up in an interesting way to make it feel even bigger. Also, some softening to the space will make it feel more inviting. As far as your dining space, a longer oval or rectangle table anchored horizontally could work very well.


I’ve gotten stuck in the breakfast area of our home and tying it in with everything else. I found the Coventry banquette already covered in Ellie Indigo but keep going back and forth on chairs and window treatments to go with it. I want chairs that are not upholstered since the whole banquette is. I feel like the space is too tight with stools under the counter, but would hate to not get to use that counter space.  We still are in the process of finding art for the wall.  The light fixture came with the house and it’s not my favorite, although I do love that it doesn’t block our view through the window overlooking the backyard. I’d also love a good paint color pop for the door entering the kitchen (next to refrigerator). Would you put a shade on that or leave open? I would love some expert recommendations from y’all! Thanks so much in advance!!

Notes: Breakfast area is 13.5’ x 10.5’. Living room in picture is adjacent to kitchen and breakfast area. Door left of refrigerator comes in from the brick car port.                                                                                                                                     
Welcoming any and all suggestions. Can’t wait to hear back!


You can move the banquette back a foot up against one day, which would tremendously open the space up. This is a perfect example that we don’t have to be a slave to our home. We like the chairs you have, and think the combination as it is looks sweet and pretty. Window treatments are important to make you feel safe and protect your privacy, so go ahead and put some curtains in.

Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes 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.

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.