Podcast, Episode 286: Renovating a Country House with Country Living

Rachel Barrett of Country Living Magazine

Rachel Barrett, Editor-in-Chief of Country Living

We’ve got a great duo here this week on How to Decorate: Rachel Barrett, Editor in Chief of Country Living, and Holly Williams, acclaimed singer songwriter, serial house renovator, and contributing Country Living writer. In the November issue of Country Living, we get to see the beautiful country house they renovated using some Ballard products. We hear the story of how they came to collaborate and the little details that turned out to be one big vision. They also talk about working in a tight timeline, along with some behind the scenes moments of a not so glamorous photo shoot. We also talk about fun ideas for ping pong rooms, how bold colors can make a big difference, and the importance of having a touchstone item.

Exterior of FarmhouseWhat You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • How to create a cohesive vision for a project, especially when working in a tight timeline.
  • Maybe you should look on Craigslist for real estate?
  • How they incorporated an itch to use hunting lodge decor in their farmhouse.
  • The importance of starting with a neutral color.
  • Empowerment of happy accidents and being able to roll with things.
  • The importance of having a “touchstone” item.
  • Using brass lamps and skirted tables to create contrast.
  • The importance of window coverings in the house.
  • What to do if you have an eyesore in your home.

Decorating Dilemma:


I love your podcast! Thank you for all the great content!!!  We recently downsized from our big family home and purchased an empty nest home.  I am in the process of settling into each room. Here is one of my dilemmas: 

In the great room, I have these floating shelves from Ballard. I was hoping to balance out the weight of the corner fireplace (not a fan of  but it’s here) with the shelving on the other side of the television, but it’s just not right!  I know I can improve the decor on the shelving as well.  But what would you do with this wall/room. Add shelving on other side? Different artwork? Paint? Wall-covering? Help!

I am open to any and all suggestions.  My husband and I decided not to rip out the corner fireplace due to cost.  So I am stuck with the corner fireplace. And I am open to replacing the ceiling fan. 

Also if you want to address a few other items feel free: 
• Windows treatments
• Light fixtures
• What to do with this entry way wall

Any other suggestions?


Thank you for writing in! First, the fireplace already has contrast against the white wall and then the shelves are pretty high contrast, so, maybe something that’s a little bit like richer, darker, and warmer color might help it feel like one unit. Next, a skirted table underneath the TV in some great fabric can be repeated in the same fabric on the windows.

And remember, bold fabric will change the world! It makes everything feel intentional and beautiful, without busting your bank. As far as curtain rods, check out luddite brass ones.

For color, Oakmoss by Sherwin Williams could work, or a Jasper or Moss Point Green.

Mentioned in This Episode:

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Happy Decorating!

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Kelley Bostian

Kelley enjoys a light and livable interior design pallet complimented by an insatiable desire to find the next perfect "final touch" antique piece. Here on How to Decorate, it's his goal to help you bring your own unique design vision to life.