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Visiting Ballard Designs in Atlanta
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my overshare of my time in Buckhead, Georgia. I was at a conference for interior designers – just an atmosphere I love (but no desire to into interior design, though when I was 15 it was my dream). I just like being around it, being a fan girl over the designers, the brands, and being with like-minded women who have a passion for creating beautiful spaces.
It has been maybe a decade since I’ve been to Atlanta, and I was thrilled to return. I left Sunday late afternoon to catch the last tour at the Swan House (a little more on that in this post).
But what I really want to talk about is Ballard Designs! A brand that I’ve collaborated with a year ago for a Christmas tablescape here, and I’ve never been to an actual store before since I’ve lived on the west coast (and never thought about popping in a store when I was in the area last).
Suzanne Kasler book signing in Ballard
When I saw on the agenda we could pop by the newest Ballard Designs store, I was thrilled – and also, designer Suzanne Kasler was signing her latest book, Sophisticated Simplicity (linking to Amazon). I own a few of her Ballard Designs pieces – one I am most often asked about are these wood wall brackets in my dining room, and we have a few of her French bisque Lamp Slips in white.
Here, she had asked where I was from and then I told her I was a long time fan and owned some of her pieces she’s designed and she pointed out her new collection (the table she was signing which I desperately want) and a couch, all French inspired after a table she bought in Paris). Table here, chairs here.
And then I had to ask for a photo, oh she’s so beautiful and talented! It was worth putting my suitcase overweight!
I may need this chair.
I wore leopard print to match the Ballard Designs store, haha! And I just felt right at home. I was overwhelmed and I didn’t have enough time to even look around as much as I wanted. I just took photos, did so much sharing (it’s true you need to put down the phone and be present before it passes) but I was just so excited. I’m just saying I wish I could have stayed longer, that’s all.
My souvenir was an embroidered pouch because I really don’t need one, but it was something I knew I’d use, the entire store was 25% off and embroidery was free!
The love I have for Ballard Designs is an emotional one for me. It’s a long-time love, a lot of pouring over the catalogs, dreaming, planning, identifying to so deeply with every item made that felt like it was “me” as I slowly bought lighting fixtures from Ballard and built my collection of home decor. I have always loved home decor, I wanted to be an interior designer when I was younger but my dad kind convinced me there wasn’t much to it so I decided to pursue a journalism major (uhhhhhh, I mean I do blog and use the degree, right?). I found ways to express my love for home decor in other ways, my college apartment, first apartment alone in LA, my townhome, and our home now!
But through this journey of me loving home decor and shopping and decorating as I moved (and no I wasn’t good at it, but I thought I was, I simply enjoyed it), I found hurdles along the way. Boyfriends insulted me as if my love for home decor was wrong, “Why do you have to make it look like a freaking home catalog, like a Pottery Barn catalog?” to, “This isn’t realistic real life, in real life this chair would be broken and on its side on the lawn,” just small digs to my love and admiration for beautiful homes. But then I met Mr. Wonderful and he’d go with me on home tours, he lets me buy pretty much anything I want for the home without much of an opinion (other than, “How much does it cost?”) and he’s proud to show off our home to new friends and tells them, “If you like anything in here, it’s all her,” it’s so sweet. He really wanted me to go to Atlanta for the conference too.
I talked a little bit about it on IG stories and uploaded the full video to Facebook here if you want to watch it. It’s only a minute long –
So you can see why I going to a Ballard Designs store was a huge highlight for me. It’s a feeling of triumph from the negativity those who didn’t support me who tried to shame me for my love and interest in design. Be who God created you to be – your passions, your interests, all of it is in you for a reason and there is no shame in enjoying anything at all! And find someone to be with who encourages you to pursue those dreams.
The Pink Palace in Atlanta
Then we went off to the Pink Palace, known now Melanie Turner’s house, an Atlanta interior designer. This is the back of the home. She’s the third owner, and the architect of this home also designed the Swan House (according to these Google searches that told me all this info). It was built in 1926.
And speaking of the Swan House, I was so glad I got to see it.
The Swan House in Buckhead
The back is the view (it’s interesting how the back seems to be the wow factor back then) – built in 1928. You can check out their open times – I booked the 4pm tour because it closes at 4, but if you book the tour you can stay longer in the house. I would only recommend it if you cannot make it to the house until 4.
And this is the front of the house – it was President Snow’s house in Hunger Games!
Here are a few IG stories I did while I was in the Swan House –
This was a longer post than I thought it would be but I wanted to share it while it was still fresh. I had a wonderful time, met up with some friends who live there and while I didn’t get much sleep, I had so much fun. I didn’t know a soul and came back with a stack of business cards, following new friends on Instagram and I’m so happy that I went solo so I could make new friends.
It’s so worth going to things alone, introducing yourself and going to events. You are paying for these opportunities and experiences, so gather up the energy and rally and go. Also, take time for yourself – prioritize your dreams, desires and take a break from work. I could have easily passed up this incredible opportunity just because I thought I was too busy or afraid to go solo – and I would have missed out on seeing Carson Kressley, James Nord, and meet many people I admire. Don’t let fear (or any negative discouragement from others) keep you from who God created you to be – which is amazing and wonderfully made.