Ballard Designs in Natick!

Note: this post was not solicited by Ballard Designs. All opinions are my own. All photos were taken in the store on February 28th with my phone.

Ballard Designs' new Natick store recently opened. 
Mollie Kitchens and the Natick store staff gave me a warm welcome and a private tour.

The Dianas greet you as you walk in the door. 

This is Ballard's first store in the Boston area. Located in the Natick Mall,
it is spacious, well stocked and beautifully styled. 
And everything you see can go home with you. 

I was particularly impressed with Ballard's acrylic furniture. 

The sophisticated Hallen Bar Cart. Extra points for the wheels.

The Hallen Acrylic Bar Cart

This is the perfect time to clear up acrylic. (Lame, Linda, so lame.)

Acrylic, the furniture variety, is the common name for PMMA.
PMMA is short for Poly(methyl methacrylate), a transparent thermoplastic homopolymer.
It is a totally different kettle of fish than say, the acrylic in my sweater.

Plexiglas® and Lucite® are trademarked brands of acrylic.
 There are dozens more, like Perspex® and Acrylite®.

So "acrylic furniture" that does not mention the brand of PMMA used to make it
should by no means be interpreted as a lesser product.

The Felicity Acrylic Coffee Table and Gilded Pelage Stool. 

Here's a better look at the Gilded Pelage Stool by Suzanne Kasler for Ballard. 
The seat is covered in Faux Mongolian Lamb.

Ballard's beloved classics, like blue and white porcelain and pagoda lanterns are on display.

Along with tribal, classic and industrial inspired pieces.

The room vignettes featuring totally customizable upholstery are an immersion experience
inviting us to look, sit, touch, experience the quality first hand. 
It makes it so much easier to visualize the furniture in our room. 

The Orson sectional, Connor Coffee and Side tables 
and two really nice chairs I didn't get the name of.

Not fond of nailhead trim? Not a problem, it's purely optional.

Coventry Seating in on-trend green.

Amal Slipper Chair and Tate Sofa.

A modern interpretation of a traditional classic, the Thurston Wing Chair. 

Contrast cording can be substituted for the nailheads.

Like a chair or sofa? But not what it's upholstered in? 
Take a large fabric sample from the store's design center and drape it over that chair or sofa.

Hundreds of fabrics to select from.

This is huge; no one should make a custom upholstery decision with only a tiny swatch.
And I don't think we should have to purchase a yard so we can see it on a larger scale.

I've been receiving the Ballard Designs catalog and emails for years. 
I've used their lighting and accessories for client work.
But never the custom upholstery.

This was my first real world experience with Ballard's custom upholstery. Now that I am confident of the quality, and the "sit", I won't hesitate to use it for clients, provided the style fits the project. 

Ballard's Natick store is loaded with goodies. I'll write more in a separate post.


Welcome to Boston, Ballard!

Thanks for reading,
Linda Pakravan


Tall, Exotic, Dramatic

Happy March! 

The sun rose today at 6:16 AM and sets tonight at 5:36 PM. 
Eleven plus hours of glorious sunshine.

Life is good. 

Design and upholstery by Linda Pakravan.

A dear reader asked for the back story on the pagoda-inspired, aka Tall, Exotic, Dramatic, headboard 
in my Library Guest Room project.

I won't get into the actual mechanics of upholstering but
I will share the design evolution/process/fun/torture...depends on your pov.

The only short part: my original plan called for a fairly common shape.

Colette van den Thillart via Traditional Home

However, months passed by. I did not order it. Didn't know why.
I was my client.
I would never pressure a client to order something they weren't absolutely positively 100% sure of.

Downtown Concord, MA. A post on this.

I finally knew why on a drive through Concord.
One thing New England has in abundance, old cemeteries.
And headstones.

A perfectly fine, time-honored shape.
But no headstone/headboard in my library/guest room.

Reset. Review headboards. 

Eastern Accents has beautiful, custom upholstered beds and headboards.

The lovely Antoinette.

The Antoinette from Eastern Accents.

Thibaut is one of my go-to's for wallcover and fabric
and they have a great line of custom furniture
including upholstered headboards.

Thibaut's Daintree on Ridgewood Headboard. An on-trend
mix of taupe and gray.

Thibaut's Pagoda headboard.

I like the pagoda look.
 But more inspiration/research was required. 
And down the rabbit hole I went.

Love the bells on this model for a Chinese garden pagoda pavilion. 

A Chinese gilt-metal and cloisonne enamel model of a garden pavilion via Christie's.

Then there's Doris Duke's famous pagoda bed.

The Doris Duke Bed via The Downeast Dilettante

Love these Chinese Chippendale stepped shelves from Bungalow 5.

Pagoda Shelf from Bungalow 5

Then a stop at the mother lode of all things pagoda, Architectural Watercolors
from Andrew Zega and Bernd H. Dams. 
Chinoiserie, their 2008 limited edition book is a treasure and costs one as well.
Their note cards are exquisite and affordable.
I have several.

Chinoiserie dreams from my personal collection.

After plenty more research, it dawns on me that a distinctly Chinoise
pagoda shape is not it either.

hmm...now what?

Vientiane Ikat is the name of the signature fabric on the windows, bedskirt and bolster.

They must have given it that name for a reason, right?
So I googled Vientiane. It's the capital of Laos! 

I knew that once. A long time ago.
I swear.

Maybe they were inspired by the roof line of this temple in Vientiane.

Finally I know what I really want. 

Tall, exotic, dramatic. 

Not the two legged variety.
The statement headboard kind. 

Sat down and drew up several designs.
Loved this one.
And commenced upholstering.

Headboard and pillows in white linen from EasternAccents, bolster in Schumacher's Vientiane Ikat and
Schumacher's Madam Wu applique on pillows.

I'm always tweaking the stuff on the shelves.

Yeah. After re-upholstering the pink chair,

I vowed never to upholster again.
I'm a slow learner. Or selectively amnesic.

However, I now re-vow to never, ever upholster again. 
Right. Just like I ban the news one day and un-ban it the next?

Have a great weekend!

What's your next project?

Thanks for reading.
Linda Pakravan

This post was entirely unsponsored.