Behind the Scenes with Ballard Designs

December 9, 2012

I’ve been receiving the Ballard Designs catalog for a decade and shopping their online store for the same amount of time.  The new catalog comes in the mail five times a year and I savor the new and the classic furnishings and accessories inside the pages. 

I really love their style, European inspired but always fresh, not too stodgy or too grandma.  Just about every room in my house has something  from their collection.  Their mirrored Savon Tray Table sits in my master bathroom and I use it daily! 

kate master bathroom

 

I absolutely adore the Bellasol Mirror in our powder room.

kates powder bathroom after

 

And just recently we hung their Grand Claire chandelier in our bedroom.

master bedroom centsational girl

 

Their Mariestad chandy (no longer available) and Couture chairs sit in my dining room, and a painted a trio of their Grand Palais mirrors are hung in our family room to mimic a window.  So it goes without saying, I’m a big fan! 

I was invited to attend a behind-the-scenes glimpse at their company last week and a peek into the process of creating the products and photographing the catalog, and I was very excited!  I spent a day learning about the products that start as a “twinkle in the eye” of their team and end photographed in the final rooms depicted inside the lovely spreads inside the catalog.

ballard cover

 

The event started with a tour of the corporate facility and a peek at the upcoming Jan/Feb and Spring catalogs.  Forgive the mediocre pictures, I brought my fancy camera but not a memory card (doh) so I had to rely on my iPhone for images.

The main headquarters is in Atlanta and there all the decisions for the company are made.  Headquarters has less than 80 employees, not including fulfillment centers and the phone and online order center.   For having such a national presence, I was  surprised by the small amount of employees they rely on to make the Ballard magic happen and so impressed at their willingness to open their doors to the bloggers they invited inside.  

We spent the morning touring the main office, meeting the employees, and seeing how they pull together inspiration for upcoming collections.  They use mood boards and pin inspiration all around the office!

ballard memo

 

ballard mood board 2

 

ballard mood board 1

 

ballard pin board

 

The catalogs are all mapped out on huge walls with Post-Its and notes so the team can move ideas all around before it goes to print.

making the catalog

 

Dying over this deep teal blue velvet tufted headboard! 

spring catalog

 

Their merchants travel the world (and the markets outside Paris, hello dream job!) for unique finds to inspire their upcoming collections.

paris antique at ballard

 

We spent the afternoon on the scene of a photo shoot in a gorgeous estate home in a suburb of Atlanta.  This centuries old antique mirror was the inspiration for a similar version that will be available in Spring 2013.   

centuries old mirror 

Here is a twin set of the reproduction mirrors styled below in the house we visited where the photo shoot was taking place.  We all swooned over the Tiffany blue walls and the medley of fresh furnishings.  I was especially fond of the Greek key wingback chair and striped lamp shade!

ballard staging

greek key chair

 

Here’s a photo shoot in progress of an office painted an orchid color… so pretty!

photo shoot in progress

 

Who wants an on site prop set up like this?  Me!  And this is maybe 30% of what Creative Director Jill Sharp and her team of stylists are working with.  

props for photo shoot

 

The last few minutes before I left for the airport I was able to browse the local store.  I love the soft snow leopard print blanket and already bought one as a Christmas gift for my daughter – she’s a big cheetah and leopard print fan so the gray version is perfect for her room.

ballard store

 

Thank you so much Ballard Designs for the amazing day touring your company and the opportunity to learn so much!  I’m now acutely aware of the thousands of hours spent creating your products and inspiring catalog.  It really is absolutely fascinating how much thought goes into the choice to make a product, where it will appear in a photo shoot, how it will be staged, where that product will go on the printed page, and on and on and on. 

Rhoda and Melissa both have some beautiful images to share too (much better than mine, ha!) so check them out! 

The company is a great success story that began with the creativity of one woman, Helen Ballard, and now brings beautiful furnishings and accessories to all.  I’m so grateful to the entire Ballard team for including me on the list of attendees, it was a fabulous experience and I have such respect for all that they accomplish together. 

Bravo Ballard Designs !

 

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40 Responses to “Behind the Scenes with Ballard Designs”

  1. April Hoff says:

    Wow! I love Ballard, and I love them even more after seeing this “behind the scenes”! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lori says:

    I adore Ballard as well… what a fun look behind the scenes. I am absolutely jealous!! Thank you for sharing!! I love the chandelier in your room!! ~ Lori

  3. Genna Corwin says:

    Oh my, I could spend all day looking at their mood boards. So cool!

  4. I could stay in there all day looking. Lovely. Ballards is my Christmas toy catalog.
    The chandelier…Ooh la la. Romantic.

  5. Kelly says:

    What a fun time! How exciting. I too love that Greek key chair. Although you used your phone, they are beautiful pictures as usual Kate! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Love, love, love Ballard! I also have the Bellasol mirror hanging in my powder room!! I am lucky enough to have a Ballard/Frontgate outlet center 15 min from where I live, so I am there often. :)

  7. veronica says:

    What an amazing opportunity! I love their merchandise.

  8. Astor Taylor says:

    I think you already have a ‘dream job’ and you do it quite well!

  9. Nancy B says:

    I am Emerald Green with envy that you were able to take a tour. What a treat to see behind the scenes. I love both Ballard Designs and their catalogs. Thanks for sharing.

  10. So fun!! I swoon over the magazine every time it arrives in the mail!

  11. Erin says:

    Jealous!! I was introduced to Ballard last year and cannot believe it took me so long to hear about it! Their prices are decent, and their newest Southern Living collections are to die for!

  12. Looks like such a fun experience!!! Love Ballards :)

  13. lucky you!! when I get a chance I shop the outlet store but always shopping the catelog! :)

  14. Christina says:

    What a great opportunity! I also am a fan of their design. I have 2 of their lighting fixtures over my dining table and 2 of their mirrors for my masterbath. They are a definate go to catalog! Thanks for sharing your experience! I am a little EMERALD with envy! Take Care!

  15. Bonnie says:

    How awesome is that???? I love your home and the items you chose from Ballards. I love the last shot from the store. Beautiful!

  16. Colleen says:

    I wish I’d had the insight to chase my design dreams in college. Such amazing careers out there; I would love to work in that industry!

  17. This. Is. Awesome! I love that they get inspiration from actual antiques, and hello! If the person currently doing that part of the job decides to retire, I’ll gladly take over. :-)

  18. Julia says:

    Oh congratulations for your wonderful opportunity to know the behind the scene and your expression
    “they pull together inspiration for upcoming collections” describe the world that is behind the escene. Great, Julia from BsAs, Argentina

  19. Tiff says:

    That is beautiful. I love the wingback chair.

  20. I love their catalog – I read it over and over and over. What a great opportunity for you to visit them behind the scenes.

  21. Vel says:

    I love Ballard Design too. Only discovered them about 3 years ago, thank you for taking us into this wonderful process, I am sure there’s so much more stuff you’d wanna take home in one of these!

  22. Jackie B says:

    OMG! I spy a table that I want! The cocktail table version!!!! I have the two other versions of the metal/mirror table. I wanted the larger one for a cocktail table (as the showed in the catalog), but it was way too big and tall. I see the cocktail version in that room! It is not in catalogs yet! I can hardly wait. Kate, check out their button garland (that is on sale). It is to die for!

  23. Cyndi says:

    Lovely! Any ideas on how to make the beautiful window topper in the bathroom?

  24. Maria Killam says:

    That is so fabulous! I love the styling corner of bookshelves, I’m creating something similar in a room off my garage! x Maria

  25. I have been anxiously awaiting posts recapping the Ballard event as I saw on Twitter and Instagram last week that several of my most admired bloggers had the opportunity to visit. Thank you for sharing the behind the scenes details! So exciting to be afforded the sneak peek as well. My dream job would definitely involve traveling to Paris markets, estate sales, and shops looking for inspiration. Too cool!

  26. julie says:

    I love ballard and have blogged about their stuff a few times. I have a recent console table here
    http://not-going-out-like-that.com/2012/09/19/my-new-console-table/

    and their bamboo style chairs here http://not-going-out-like-that.com/2012/10/02/chippendale-chairs/

    thank you for sharing !!!

  27. Kate Z says:

    Hi! I was wondering where you got the beautiful duvet and shams in the bedroom picture you posted above highlighting the Ballard Design chandelier.

  28. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Kate, those are the ‘Poetical’ linens by Barbara Barry, avail at Bed Bath and Beyond. The coverlet in white is Restoration Hardware, the Zebra pillows are Z gallerie.
    Kate

  29. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Cyndi, this is the (old!) tutorial for the roman shade in the bathroom.
    http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2009/09/diy-roman-shade/
    Kate

  30. Ali Manning says:

    What a wonderful opportunity for you and thanks for sharing the details. What a great idea by Ballard to invite bloggers on a tour like this – smart move!

  31. Thanks for sharing this visit with us, I find it fascinating, and they use the same exact mood boards that we use for our projects.

    Best always

    decogirlmontreal

  32. Scarlet says:

    Lovely post Kate! I love the color in your bedrooms wall I’m trying to find a color in btw grey/ fresh for my daughter’s room, would you tell me where did you find it and what code or color # is? I would appreciated. Thank you =)

  33. I am so jealous!!!! I’m a huge fan of Ballard. I have their light fixtures, rugs, cabinets, and more. But to get a chance to see their behind the scenes work, that’s amazing! Thanks so much for the preview. I can’t wait to get my hands on a striped lampshade.

    Laurel

  34. you lucky girl! I love Ballard as well, but I don’t like going to their outlet and getting $2.99 off a million dollar lamp….

  35. Tiffany says:

    Hi I was just wondering what color your bedroom is? I love it

  36. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Tiffany, all the colors in my home are featured in the “Paint Colors” button in the sidebar.

  37. Ashley says:

    Hi there, I LOVE the bedding you used in your bedroom. It looks familiar, too. Where is your duvet set from?

  38. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Ashley, the set is Barbara Barry’s Poetical, available at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

  39. Candice says:

    I was wondering what color were your bedroom walls? Very pretty and calm. I have 4 boys so I am looking for a calm atmosphere to escape! Thanks

  40. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Candice, you’ll find all the paint colors in my home on the button in the sidebar!

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