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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Six Ballard Designs items that don't suck

 Traveler's wicker chest, $299.

A month ago, I wrote a little post about six items from Pottery Barn I thought were light years beyond the retailer's usual Tuscan-ish dreck. Though it only garnered a few comments, the hits were through the roof (thanks Williams-Sonoma San Francisco buying office!). 

As promised, I'm giving you a similar short list of six Ballard Designs items that rise above their Frenchy-poo bees-and-burlap tumbled marble mess. I get that there is a significant portion of the female population who considers items stamped with a fleur-de-lys the ne plus ultra of good design. More power to them. But if your home looks like this:

I'm going to think you're incurious and pedantic and that you probably found Fifty Shades of Grey SHOCKING (try the Sleeping Beauty trilogy by Anne Rice).

Anytabletoppersarethedevilsdishcloth, back to the theme at hand: six items from Ballard Designs that don't suck, including the wicker chest up top I'm giving serious consideration to for The Pea's bedroom ...

 Chevron Stripe indoor/outdoor rug, $19-229.

If you don't have a chevron piece yet (and where have you been for the past five years?), this is the one. Where else are you going to find a stylish 8'x10' rug for under $230? Nowhere, that's where.

 Large Bellesol mirror, $169 now $119.

Simple, transitional and the light foxing makes it special.

 St. Laurent outdoor sofa, $1499.

This would cost three times as much at Restoration Hardware. The words rug just burst a blood vessel in my brain.

 Couture drum shade in Cork, $39-79.

That's a damn glamorous lamp shade. Period.

Most of the Southern Living Collection, prices vary.

Easy, classic pieces for serving and dining. I'm convinced my life will be significantly improved by owning their stylish iced tea pitcher, lidded trifle bowl or the marble cake stand and cover that can hold a towering three-layer pastry confection.

So what say you, Dumplings? Do you have any Ballard Designs favorites or is it a catalog you immediately file in the recycling bin? And what catalog should I train my snark beam on next?


David said...

I noticed the chevron rug too. Our deck is supposed to be installed this month and once I know how the color actually looks (supposed to be gray, looks green in the sample) I can decide.

Also like the lampshade and the Southern Living footed glasses.

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

One of my girlfriends has a similar look going on at her place, though many of the pieces are more authentic flea and consignment fodder.
She owns, for example, a wonderful vintage wicker chest that was supposedly used by a Jewish family to smuggle personal goods out of a Europe besieged by the Holocaust. Personally, I find that tale a bit tall, but the vendor who sold her the piece is sticking by it and it looks mighty fine under her console, where it provides, much like the shot up top, ample storage space for throws and the like.
I think many of the Ballard and Wisteria items can easily and tastefully be incorporated into a breezy domicile.
And personally, I've never met a foxed mirror whose cunning charms I could resist.
Cheers, Alcira Molina-Ali

annedodge said...

I'd love it if you'd launch into Vivaterra or the Sundance Catalog's housewares. Something about both of these keeps me coming back, thinking that I'll be able to isolate the one item that doesn't look like it came from a (rich) yoga teacher's estate sale.

Raina Cox said...

annedodge - "a (rich) yoga teacher's estate sale" - love it!

Mar gar et said...

Does your adorable Pea wrinkle her nose in the same manner?
Agree: the items are (highly) acceptable, and due to this revealing post and info re: former Heathen and current authoress Anne Rice, the resurgence of fainting couches, shabby human-pulled wooden carts and 'plug-able' pony tails might be hot tickets items a la 'over-priced' box stores.
Please refrain from critiquing any catalogs with,"high interest easy monthly payment plans."

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

Hmmmm - to be honest I haven't perused the latest Ballard catalogs because they all seem the same after a while. I do have to admit that wicker trunk is quite handsome - and practical to boot! And PS I finally got a little chevron of my own - some cute kitchen towels from Le Target. I think they make my whole kitchen kinda hip! Have a wonderful holiday, Raina!

My Interior Life said...

It's funny but even though my blog header has sported chevron for a while, I only recently got some for my home. I occasionally fixate on some Ballard pieces and think you've picked some winners.

Raina Cox said...

Margaret - The Pea is being trained in the decorative way. ;)

Kim and My Interior Life - Can you believe I don't own anything chevron?! I think it's a classic and have yet to tire of it. I wouldn't mind that rug one little bit.

Unknown said...

great choices, raina. in a fit of "too much paper" pique, all my catalogs were recently sent to recycling, but when my next ballard arrives, i'll have to crack it open.

Things That Inspire said...

I have had my eye on this piece for a while - - the Belgard cabinet in Flemish oak. We have a Ballard store and a Ballard outlet here in Atlanta (I heard the outlet is where all of the returns go). Whenever there is a Belgard cabinet at the outlet, it always sells right away. It is actually a handsome piece of furniture, and a great size and scale.

I must admit, though, that my go-to place these days is IKEA. I did not understand IKEA for the first year it was in Atlanta - it was overwhelming to me. Now I have begun to figure it out, and I adore it.

Love this post!

- Holly

Raina Cox said...

Things that Inspire - Holly, that is a handsome piece. I've always been hesitant to consider case goods from Ballard because I've had construction concerns. Good to know that's not the case.

debra @ 5th and state said...

recycle bin for ballard, makes my eyes bleed.......but, i can't......i'll live vicariously through you raina.
have a great holiday!

wellfedfred said...

I've been playing over at
They enjoy Ballard too.

Samantha said...

Home Decorators Collection. Eye rolls plus some good stuff cheap.

CIN&BUD said...

Raina, I love the Chevron Designs. I am making wood bead curtains and am working on a new one with a pattern similar. See some of my curtains in my blog at

SHERRY HART said... chevron....I do have that black and white rug from Ikea....does that count? That basket is pretty cool...although Ikea has one similar. By the way...the Southern Living kitchen collection is pretty awesome.