Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore
For anyone decorating on a budget, celebrity designer Suzanne Kasler’s new partnership with Ballard Designs is the most exciting news since Liberty of London teamed up with Target. Of course, Kasler’s graceful, muted style is the polar opposite of Liberty’s vibrant florals. Think classical ballet versus polka.
Her first collection, introduced in Ballard’s August catalog, features more than forty home accessories. Future additions will include holiday decor, wall art, linens, and outdoor furniture. All fall into four general themes: Atelier, Dressage, Industrial Chic, and La Boheme. Standouts from the launch include a collection of vintage-inspired sunburst mirrors starting at $79, handsome leather desk accessories from $20, and—Kasler’s personal favorite—creamy white, oversized dishware priced at $99 for a sixteen-piece set. Utilitarian objects such as metal hooks and bulletin boards provide a level of designer detail rarely available at retail.
Kasler’s other lines—Hickory Chair furniture, Visual Comfort lighting, Safavieh rugs, and Lee Jofa fabric—are at much higher prices. The collaboration with Ballard works, says Kasler, because the company gives her “the time to get things right.” If a prototype’s finish doesn’t match the patina she envisioned, for example, it goes back into product development.
This is Ballard’s first major partnership with a designer. Both Kasler and Ballard are based in Atlanta and share a similar design aesthetic, which Kasler describes as a mix of modern, antique, and vintage with a European sensibility. Reproductions such as old classroom wall maps and zinc buckets feel as if they were discovered in the Paris flea market, where Kasler does, in fact, find much of her inspiration. There are also characteristic Kasler touches such as couture detailing and architectural motifs, including her trademark quatrefoil, introduced here as a zinc hangtag ($14 for twelve).
Kasler, a nationally acclaimed designer whose work has been featured in every shelter magazine from Architectural Digest to Veranda, also released a book, Inspired Interiors ($50, Rizzoli), last year. She is excited about how the Ballard pieces round out her other forays into product design. “I was always finding really great details, things that really give personality to a project, but I could only find them one time,” she says. “I wanted to use them again. With Ballard, it’s a chance for me to do that.”
(Visit ballarddesigns.com or the store at 1670 Defoor Avenue. The Roswell outlet will not carry Kasler’s line.)
This article originally appeared in our September 2010 issue.