23 January 2013



When I showed my newly renovated library a  while ago, I hinted that there was something else involving Ballard Designs that was going into the space.


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Here’s a picture of the space, with two painted Swedish chairs and a pair of demilune tables, along with a window seat. 


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And in another view.

A few months ago,  Ballard Designs contacted me and four other bloggers and invited us to enter the Louis Chair Challenge.  Ballard would provide their Louis Chair and we were to decorate it in our own style, any way we wanted to.  Ballard would paint the chair and upholster it with either their fabric, or our own fabric.  I had just started on the library, so I was thrilled to be a part of the contest – knowing exactly where I would put the Ballard Louis chair!    We had a choice of the Louis XVI oval back or Louis XVI square back:




The side chairs retail for $349 + depending on the fabric chosen.  .



And they come in four finishes – walnut, black, off-white, and linen.  These chairs are also available with arms and with nailheads in pewter or aged brass.


Ballard asked that we decorate the chair to fit our own style.   And they asked that when we received the finished chairs, we take a picture of it and write a small story for their blog, Style Studio, explaining to their readers why we chose to do what we did with the Louis chair.  Simple enough! 

Of course I chose the oval back chair because I love curves in furniture.  And of course, I chose to slipcover the chair, because that reflects my own personal style.  But, after seeing all the other bloggers’ choices – I felt like I didn’t branch out enough and get creative enough!!!   Always Monday morning quarterbacking! 

My reasoning to slipcover the chair:  I already had two very similar chairs in the room that were slipped in the checked fabric, so I chose to slip the chair in the silk taffeta that was on the windowshade so that the three chairs would blend together.  I had Ballard paint the chair in the same gray that the room was painted in – but in a glossy finish.  I asked them to upholster it in muslin and I would have the slipcover made by Hien Lam, as usual.  My instructions to Hien Lam were to make as feminine a slipcover as they could, with a double ruffle on the seat, and ballet ties on the legs.  Once the chair was finished, I snapped a few pictures of it and wrote a short paragraph for their blog!  And, a few weeks ago, Ballard Designs showed all the bloggers’ chairs, along with their stories, which I would like to share with you today!! 

It’s amazing how one simple chair can look so totally different with fabric and paint.  I was in awe of the bloggers chairs.  They showed a real talent for design – and they truly reflected each other’s individual styles. 




Here’s how my Louis chair came from Ballard.  Painted in the same glossy gray as my walls and upholstered in plain cotton.


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And afterwards,  it wears a two piece slipcover with a double ruffle short skirt and ballet ties.   I can keep it either here, by the window seat.




Or, I can pull it up to the table, if need be.   Right now, I’ve been keeping it by the window seat.


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I like it here – and I recently added a small pillow made exactly like the ones on the window seat with the gold trim.   Here’s the paragraph I wrote for the Ballard Design blog:

My style is mostly casual. I mainly decorate with linens, velvets, taffeta and seagrass, and I use mostly slipcovers. So, of course, I wanted the chair to reflect my personal decor aesthetic.

First, I chose the round back chair because I love the curves of French furniture. I had the frame painted in a glossy gray paint, the same as the flat paint that is on my walls in the library. The chair is upholstered in a solid cream muslin. I had Hien Lam in Houston create a slipcover for the chair using two pieces. The round back is attached with a series of tabs, which allow the gray painted wood to show through. The seat is slipped in a short, double ruffle skirt for added femininity. Lastly, a bit of folly comes from the “ballerina” ties that run down all four legs of the chair.

When Ballard Designs contacted me about the Louis chair offer, I was thrilled and knew exactly where I would put the chair—in my new library! I recently redecorated my old office, turning it into a French/Swedish inspired library. It’s filled with shelves to hold all my design books in one place instead of scattered around my house. I painted the walls gray and added Swedish antiques. Along one side is a long window seat that sits under a silk taffeta shade.

In the library, the chair can either be pulled up to the table with the other two Swedish slip chairs, or it can sit in front of the bookcase. Either place, it looks wonderful and adds to the elegant sophistication of my ultra-feminine library.


Here’s a look at the other bloggers’ chair.    To read the story at the Ballard Designs blog,  Style Studio, go HERE.


The first blogger is CocoCozy:




And here is how CocoCozy’s Louis chair turned out!  Sooo cute!!!



CocoCozy painted her chair matte navy and used two different fabrics from her own fabulous and chic fabric line!   The chair went into her office.  Adorable, right?  Wow!!!  It looks like it cost a fortune.



On the back, she used a different fabric.  Soo cute!!

Here is what CocoCozy wrote about her chair design:

I would describe my chair’s style as “Modern Prep.” Navy is a classic preppy color—it is timeless, universal and exudes quiet sophistication. I know a glossy lacquer finish is very on-trend these days, but to be a bit off-trend and a bit more reserved, I decided on a matte finish.  For the modern part, I went with graphic patterns in a crisp navy for upholstering the chair. I personalized the look by using fabric from my own collection: Logo on the front and Fence on the back. I thought the square pattern would contrast nicely with the curvy repeat pattern. I’m happy with the way it turned out!

I was inspired by my summer visits to Nantucket, a totally beautiful and completely preppy island off the coast of Massachusetts. Although I would not describe my personal fashion style as anything close to preppy, I love the vibe and feel on this little island haven.  I also think the navy and white is very nautical, and last summer I spent quite a bit of time on boats and on the beaches in Nantucket.

Just last year, I moved COCOCOZY into a new office space in Beverly Hills. A very small, very tiny design office (did I mention the word small?) just a few blocks from the famed Rodeo Drive. I’m not done with office decorating yet, but with this chair I’m on the way. The chair is exactly what we needed in the tiny front office.  It adds texture and interest to the mostly white office space. I like the way it works with our white lacquer fretwork table and the gleaming chandelier. Perfection!

To read more about the chair on CocoCozy’s web site, go HERE.  And when you visit her web site, be sure to go shopping.  Her fabrics and furniture are fabulous. 



The next chair is courtesy of Erin Gates of the blog, Elements of Style.



Eric chose the square back chair and had it painted a bright yellow.  The fabric is white cotton.



Erin placed her Louis chair in her office where the yellow and white is the perfect foil for all the black and white.

Here is what Erin wrote about her chair and why she chose it:


My Louis is traditional with a modern twist. I wanted a chair for the office that played off the yellow accents and the more modern Knoll chair my assistant has—but in a totally different style. I really think it showcases the variety of styles we decorate in. It sits at my desk and I love it!


Next up is Holly Street of the blog Things That Inspire:



Holly’s chair was painted the same white as the trim in her daughter’s bedroom – where the chair now is.



Here is the bedroom all in the aquas, whites, and hot pinks.  Here you can see the back of the chair which also has a stripe!



And here is what Holly wrote about her chair design:


When Ballard contacted me about the Louis Chair Challenge, I immediately thought of the perfect place for the chair: my 12-year-old daughter’s room.  Her room has been a work in progress for the past year, and we have gradually acquired many of the key furniture pieces in the room. However, we needed something that would inspire us to finish it, and the Ballard chair was the perfect thing both functionally, as her desk chair, and visually, to pull together the color scheme in the room.

The chair is both sweet and sophisticated—the perfect style for a girl on the cusp of her teenage years. The sweetness comes in the color scheme, aqua and a rosy coral, which are fun and youthful colors that look fresh and pretty together. The sophisticated aspect comes in the chic stripe, which is a great counterbalance to the floral pattern that is used in the pillows and on the bench.

The color inspiration was the fabric that was selected for the bed pillows and bench in her room. It’s a wonderful floral with the same aqua tones found in the wall and headboard and a vivid coral accent that provides the punch of color that my daughter requested. Keith Arnold of Suzanne Kasler Interiors (who worked on the interiors of the main floor of my house) came up with the design for the chair. The frame is painted in Benjamin Moore White Dove, the same color of the room trim, and an 8″ wide coral stripe in linen is set on a background of aqua linen. My daughter loves the chair! It pulls together the colors and style of the room beautifully and really ‘makes’ the room.


The blogger Habitually Chic was the fifth and final contestant in the Ballard Designs Louis Chair Challenge.

Habitually Chic®



Heather of Habitually Chic chose a green velvet with the linen painted finish. 


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Ballard’s popular Apple Green Velvet was used on the chair.



With Suzanne Kasler’s linen Mineral, used as the trim.


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Heather of Habitually Chic didn’t write a story about her chair or her choices, so I’ll just make a supposition that this is her office at her apartment in NYC.   The skirted table in linen makes a great desk – or side tables next to beds.


One chair:  Five Designs – All Different!  To read the story on Ballard Designs’ blog Style Studio, go HERE.


In another story on Ballard’s blog, the author Susanna Salk also designed a Louis Chair that is SOO cute!  She used two fabrics – a gray ticking and a suzani. 



Susanna chose a suzani with a big medallion which she centered on the oval back of the chair – front and back.



Next she chose a gray and white ticking stripe for the seat and arms.  She bought some Ikat fabric by the yard from Ballards to make the window seat.




And now, she has a great office in the formerly unused corner of her bedroom!  Love this chair!!!



Ballard showed the chair like this – but I think the way it was done with the white frame and the ticking stripe on the seat suits the chair so much better!!

To read this story, go HERE.


All these chairs reminded me of just how much I love the basic Louis chair.  They make great dining room chairs and wonderful side chairs in living rooms and bedrooms.   And with paint and few yards of fabric, they can make a huge statement in a room – or just be quietly elegant.   But first, let’s take a history test – do you know how to tell the difference between a  Louis XV and a Louis XVI chair?   It’s really easy.  Louis XV chairs have curves,  Louis XVI chairs have straight lines. 



Louis XV Chairs – Rococo period is defined by curves and cabriole legs without stretchers.  Think ultra feminine – straight lines are used only if needed for construction, otherwise all lines are curvy.  Period Louis XV sold at Christie’s for $6,000.



The Chateau de Talcy in France has a set of original Louis XV furniture – chairs and settees.  Typical of Louis chairs – the front side is upholstered in a fine silk material, while the back of the chair is done in a less expensive, cotton plaid. 




Louis XVI Chair – Neoclassical period is defined by straight lines and straight legs with rosettes where the legs meet the seat.  The backs of Louis XVI chairs can be either square or oval.  Think symmetry, columns, pediments, straight lines.  Period set of Louis XVI – sold at Christie’s for $41,000.







Petite Trianon with an assortment of Louis XV and Louis XVI chairs. 




My favorite Louis chairs are like this – with a check linen fabric. 



Louis XVI chairs with oval back in checks.



In this Parisian apartment – suede green seats with pink plaid backs.  To rent this apartment, go HERE





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In this Houston house, a set of Louis XVI chairs and a settee sport aqua and cream checks and nailheads.  LOVE!




Dan Carithers’ house – he put a blue and white check on the back with a striped fabric on the seat for an interesting combination.




Louis XVI chairs in checks.   Ruth Gay and Pam Pierce Designs.





For this client, we used a rose check from Chelsea Editions – who else? 




On the back of the chairs, I used a tiny check.  I love when the backs are exposed like this.   Makes them so interesting.  We bought these chairs at Tara Shaw’s.




This contemporary Kelly Wearstler lime green fabric looks great on an antique Louis XVI chair.




Armless Louis slipper chairs are great in the living room since they are easy to pick up and move around as needed.  Jansen chairs in blue silk.



A mirrored octagonal entry  hall with a set of Louis chairs.



Louis chairs, like these Louis XV ones in red leather make perfect pairs to flank – here, there are two sets of chairs, each surrounding a skirted table which divides the room into two seating areas.



This pair of Louis XVI flank an antique table.  The tiger pattern makes them look more contemporary.




Here, a set of Louis XV flank the sofa.  Love that mirror!!



A pair of Louis XVI flanking a tea table – gorgeous!  Thank you to Trouvais.




Louis XV chairs flanking a fireplace – another great use of Louis chairs. 




And here again, flanking a fireplace are a set of Louis XVI dressed in Fortuny.



Louis chairs make great dining room chairs.  In a French house, antique Louis XV chairs in light blue with nailheads.  Beautiful.




Antique French Louis XVI chairs with a contemporary stripe in Suzanne Kasler’s former dining room.   So beautiful!



Today, Suzanne Kasler’s new dining room has a set of Louis XVI styled chairs in soft leather.  The chandelier appears to be the only piece used again in her new house.   Which dining room do you prefer?  Then or now?  Notice the blue leather chairs – those went to a client’s house.



In Suzanne Kasler’s client’s house, the blue leather antique Louis XVI chairs are used in their kitchen. 



In the same client’s gorgeous library – one of the blue leather antique chairs is used at the desk.  Most gorgeous library ever????  Maybe!  And across into the living room, you can see another Louis chair.  Some designers use this chair over and over again – and some never use it at all.



In the same house, Suzanne used blue leather on a set of vintage Louis XVI styled arm chairs.  So pretty!



In another house designed by Suzanne Kasler, she used these Louis XV chairs around the island/table. 



These antique French chairs are covered in a lilac linen.  The backs were left exposed instead of covered which adds to their beauty.   Pamela Pierce Designs.



In this house designed by Babs Watkins, she used antique chairs with white fabric.  Not sure what the fabric is – but this would be a good place to use leather or pleather to keep them clean.



In the same house, Babs Watkins used a set of dark stained arm chairs with more white fabric.  Against the wall are additional chairs from the other room.  This house designed by Babs Watkins is really such a pretty one.




Contemporary Louis styled chairs – the stretcher is an element that wouldn’t be present in an antique chair.  Love the chandelier used here.  Ashley Goforth Designs.



Martyn Lawrence Bullard used gilt Louis chairs with aqua leather and silk striped fabric on the back.   Pretty combination.




These antique chairs were left uncovered – muslin seats with upholstery nails, burlap seat backs. 



Mary McDonald used a set of arm chairs instead of side chairs and covered them in black leather. 



In the same house, she pulled one of the dining room chairs into the foyer.




In New Orleans, Ann Holden used antique Louis XVI chairs with a metallic gray leather.  If leather is out of your price range, be sure to look at the pleathers, they are a great, inexpensive substitute!



Black and white stripes give a contemporary edge to antique Louis XVI chairs.




I love this dining room!  Mixed with a Swedish daybed is a set of antique Louis XVI chairs in a green/gray damask.  Notice they mixed in two oval back chairs with the square back ones. 




Single Louis chairs, like this gorgeous painted antique Louis XVI make great accent chairs – in a bedroom.



Use a small gilt Louis XVI chair in the bath – as a towel holder!  Eleanor Cummings




A single accent Louis chair at a desk.  Gorgeous.




Contemporary styled Louis chairs with nailheads.  Oly Studio made this raffia fabric look popular with their Hannah chairs.



The Oly Studio Hannah chair that started the popular nailhead/raffia look.




This popular image by Suzanne Kasler shows the Hanna chair in white and raffia with nailheads.



In this office, Ashley Goforth used two different contemporary styled Louis chairs – one with black leather and one with a black and white stripe.



Another contemporary look for the younger decorators.  Love the modern next to the antique!  HERE.




I tend to cover my Louis chairs with slipcovers – just like I did with the Ballard Designs challenge.  I like the fact that you can clean the slipcovers which comes in handy with pets and children and clumsy adults.  I think that I am really addicted to slipcovers.  Once you have the ability to wash your upholstery – you get hooked on it.   I might need a 12 step program to get over it because I really don’t see an end to slipcovering chairs and sofas.  Nothing makes me happier than freshly washed slipcovers!!



These two Louis XVI chairs are probably the nicest chairs I have.   I like to use the large scallop slip with the wide tabs on the back. 


Are you a Louis chair lover, or do you tend to avoid them?   They are definitely a feminine chair and may look out of place in a more masculine designed room.  Louis XVI can better to use in a less feminine room since the lines are straight and not curved.

When I started this blog almost six years ago, reproduction  Louis chairs weren’t easy to find.  They had to be custom ordered usually from a wholesaler which isn’t the easiest thing for a non-designer to do.  I can remember being so excited when I found sources for Louis chairs back then.  Today – it’s all changed.  There are the Ballard chairs, and Restoration Hardware makes great Louis chairs that start at $199!!!  Between those two retailers, your Louis search is definitely easy.  Wholesalers – Eloquence is wonderful – they sell reproductions and vintage chairs.  I’ve bought a few chairs from them – including this vintage one:



From Eloquence – they have a great selection of reproduction and vintage chairs.



And finally, there is the Lone Ranger HERE – though his antiques and vintage chairs are from Sweden and not France – they have the same details and lines.  You can buy from the Lone Ranger at antique fairs or online, like I do and I’ve never been disappointed.  I’m a huge fan!!   Plus, if  you are looking for a Mora clock that won’t break the bank, check out his selection!!

Started with France and ended up in Sweden.  How did that happen????



  1. love how each chair takes on it's owner's personality. your sweet chair looks like a ballerina ready to dance a pas de deux!~

  2. Wow what a scrumptious post! So much to take in I bookmarked it to come back to. LOVE your chair, came out so beautiful and looks like its meant to be in your beautiful office. Fun to see the other versions too and how everyone puts their own personal stamp on the same chair. Thanks for an awesome post!

  3. I love Louis chairs and have many throughout our home. I love how these chairs can be personalized to each person. What a fun and beautiful post!


  4. Your chair is perfect for your space and ties into what I affectionately call a "lady cave." Love how Coco Cozy and Suzanna Salk transformed their chairs, how wonderful to see the creativity with a mainstream retail catalog product. Have you taken a poll of how many readers have transformed a room into a library or room of their own based upon yours? I know I am slowly working on mine but I think I will end up with Ikea bookshelves and try to spiff them up a bit inspired by other bloggers transformations. Thanks for sharing!

    1. great idea sjr! I know that I have already shown the library to by carpenter and we are working out how to do bookshelves in my soon to be office/library....absolutely inspired by that room and want to create my own similar space! they do say imitation is the sincerest form...meredith

    2. I figured there some happy handmen/carpenters during the holidays because a library room was number one on my Christmas list/2013 resolution after seeing Joni's reveal. I considered doing built ins but can't afford to rip up the carpet and install hardwoods so I thought a spiffed up Ikea bookcase could work until I can. There are so many incredible transformations with Ikea products! Sarah (sjr)

    3. yall - be sure to google ikea bookshelves because so many people have taken them and made them look fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! google it with the image tool. google also ikea hacks for even more ideas. here are two of my favorite ikea bookshelves:



    4. A very timely suggestion about IKEA. Rarely go there because I am not into "modern" things. My father, however, learned to love Swedish food from my deceased Swedish mother. His birthday is coming up, so tomorrow night we are going to IKEA for all the Swedish delicacies found at IKEA - Swedish meatballs, Pickled Herring, hard tack, rice pudding and Lingonberries! My Step-mother, who is the same age as I am, loves to shop. We girls will probably go off into the store while Papa and Hubby chat about bull riding, stealth aircraft or hot Swedish chicks. I will check out these bookcases.

  5. What is a "double ruffle"? I see the chair, but can't figure out what's "double" about it. How does a double ruffle differ from a regular ruffle?

    1. there are two kinds of double ruffles. one kind is when two separate ruffles are layered on top of each other. In this case, the term double ruffle applies to the amount of fabric used. Typically, before being gathered, the width of the ruffle is twice as long as the item it is applied to. assuming the chair cover is 60 inches in diameter, the ruffle would be cut 120" and gathered to fit. In this instance of a "double" ruffle, the fabric is twice as wide as usual, or double in measurement. That means the ruffle would be 4 times the width of the item to which it is gathered, or 240" before being gathered. This means the ruffle is twice as full as normal.

      Double ruffle = two layered ruffles and double ruffle = a ruffle that is twice as full as a normal one.

    2. whoa. h.m. you are a math wizard. when i say double ruffle i mean - that normally they sew so many pleats. if you say double the ruffle, they sew twice as many pleats!!! it just looks fuller and more luxe.

    3. Hi Mr. Settoon, One small correction to your explanation...I think you meant to say circumference rather than diameter. A chair with a 60" diameter would be the size of a very large circular table - 5 feet across. The rest of your explanation was spot on!

      When I want a very full ruffle for an ottoman, a bed skirt or curtains (especially if the fabric is heavy), 2 times the distance around the object is the minimum. 2.5 to 3 times the distance around gives a nice, full ruffle.

  6. Finally, a catalog item looks like it was 'inherited'.

    In the 60's my mom bought a pair of Louis XVI chairs with a patterned silk fabric. They still sit where they were delivered in her formal living room. She was so mean about anyone touching them I put a black magic marker dot on one of the cushions. Mark is still there, and she still doesn't know.

    To my knowledge no one has ever sat in either chair.

    When she changed a painting in the room marks were discovered on the wall, and my playing tennis, years earlier, in the room was discovered.

    I won the district 4a tennis title twice in Texas, and would play anywhere!

    Sweet memories for me, not my mom.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

    1. omg, that is hysterical!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the dot on the chair! ok, i did this when i was little. really like 6 or 7. my mother bought me this beautiful silky nightgown and the first night i had it, i was playing with scissors and cut a little hole in it. i didn't even know why i did it then!!! like i just had to do it to ruin it???? anyway, i got in tons of trouble. I think my mom thought i was a little crazy. probably was. i haven't thought about that in years and years, but that nightgown was ruined from the first night. the hole wasn't that tiny either.

  7. What an AMAZING post!!! Now...I'm going to have to "print" this whole thing so I can go over and over and compare, marvel, etc. Truly a magazine in waiting!! franki

  8. Joni, I love what you did with your Louis! I have a pair of them that belonged to my mother, I have no idea where she got them but they have had many many different looks with various upholstery jobs. Currently they are in a linen with a white wash finish on the wood, but after seeing all your inspiring images, I think they are due for yet another change... making the Louis chair the most versatile around.

  9. I am always more educated after I read a new post on your wonderful blog. I love what you did with your Ballard chair.

  10. I LOVE this post. I am a fanatic for Louis chairs and I love seeing the variety of fabrics and finishes shown here.

  11. Love! Great post.I love these chairs.I use them in my kitchen around a vintage table.

  12. LOVE Louis XV chairs. We have 2 new ones and 4 vintage ones but no antiques. Hubby is 6'2" and I am 5'7" so the "real" antiques are too short. My cowboy-boot-wearing, gun toting, he-man hubby loves the look of the chairs and even goes shopping with me. (Now there's a real man for you!) We have a 4 year old female relative who spends a lot of time with us to give her Mom and Dad a break. She loves to sit in the Louis chairs but her legs dangle and she cannot sit for long.

    Several months ago while in Charlotte, NC,(HAD to buy something French in Charlotte, right?) I splurged and bought 2 diminuative, hand carved, walnut Louis XV side chairs. These 2 might actually BE antiques. As soon as the frames are re-glued, the horsehair stuffing replaced and new fabric applied, we will have elegant seating for the younger and/or shorter visitors to our home.

    Smiles from Charlotte, happily "antique-ing" in Scottsdale, AZ this week.

  13. I love looking at each unique designer look for the beautiful Ballard Design chairs. I love looking at your blog it gets my creative juices flowing while trying to stay warm during our cold northeast winter. I have an ongoing dilemma that I thought you may be able to address. I have been looking for a lighting fixture for over my kitchen table for 2 years now. I have ordered countless fixtures, having to pay return shipping and restocking charges when they do not work out. My kitchen ceiling is only 8' high and my dining table is 40x60". My father calls my style "Early chicken coop." I love patina and iron and rust (chicken wire is great too!) All of the houses that you design cannot have 10 and 12 foot ceilings - are there any go to fixtures that you love? Thanks so much!
    Chilly in Chester County, PA

    1. i just wrote a blog story about lanterns that i really love and a few other chandeliers. read it here: http://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/2012/11/dear-miss-cote-de-texas.html

    2. Try these. They are well priced and two are available. Perfect over a long table in a low-ceiling room.


  14. What a fun post....love looking at all the different spins on the Ballard chair....Your library is charming and I adore the slipcovers....

  15. I'm loving this chair challenge. Yours came out fantastic. I'm love to have one as my desk chair now. Thanks!

  16. Joni! YOU ARE KILLING ME!! its not fair that I want to pin the entire post!!! every image is SO GORGEOUS and there are absolutely gobs of inspiration in each picture...it starts with the featured chairs, but then every detail in each room you are showing is worth remembering and digesting and learning so much....I think your particular Ballard chair perfectly represents you and is not boring in the least! I love all the rest except the bright yellow one...I love the color, but there are so many options beside white cotton, it feels a little unfinished to me....I get where she was going, and it is great, but maybe if she had gone to a white leather it would have been sharper...but of course, that's why they are all different, because we would ALL do something individual! as Laura mentioned above, we are freezing here in New Hampshire (in the single digits, brrrr), so I am going to make another cup of tea and settle in to study more...thanks for the inspiration, as always!!
    p.s. are you still going to be posting more reader's kitchens?

    1. yes! i still have lots of kitchens to post - not a lot, but yes. there are more. plus all the aidan gray houses and lots of dear miss cote de texas. it's just that i get sidetracted!!!

  17. French furniture, designed and crafted in the 18th century, reached an apogee of design and comfort never to be surpassed. The chairs were especially designed to provide support to the back while people sat at conversation, without the overstuffed padding that would lead to back aches. The pieces work equally well in the most formal of palaces as well as simple country dwellings (think Gustavian Sweden, which was greatly influenced by French design) Louis chairs can be dressed up or down to be feminine or masculine with the color of the frame and the fabric and trim (think a Louis XVI style chair upholstered in black patent leather and a worn off-white frame) They pair with many, if not almost all other styles, so can be used as occasional chairs in any room. They are not space hogs, and so, are perfect for small homes and apartments, at desks and dining tables. They are light and easily movable for arranging at will for conversation or the arrival of extra guests. The nature of the construction of the Louis XV style chair in particular, with its cabriole legs that resists and distributes shocks to the frame (much like the Queen Anne chair), is quite strong and thus great for families with children, especially boys who tend to flop into chairs. Best chairs ever designed, in my humble opinion...

    1. yes! all of this! great comment, thank you~!!!

  18. Joni... you are a very naughty woman... every visit here makes me want to change everything around and buy all new furniture... Today I need chairs!! Lots and lots of chairs...
    Gorgeous... and all jokes aside... this is totally inspiring... xv

  19. Beautiful post! Seeing a modern fabric on a Louis chair makes my heart sing. All of the chairs were beautifully done and are a perfect
    compliment to the rooms they were made for. Not a more versatile chair was ever invented. I have eight in my dining room, two straight ones in my library and one in my dressing room which I would like to recover in something similar to the style done by Holly at Things That Inspire.
    This post is a real keeper.

  20. Joni,
    I have loved French Louis XVI chairs for as long as I can remember. Same with Gustavian Swedish chairs. The King of Sweden lived at Versailles in Paris so that is why Swedish chairs look like what he was used to in Paris.

    I have one request. Can you pass on to the lead at Ballard to make those chairs bigger in scale. They are too small for most of the public to sit in, particularly men. They would sell hundreds more chairs if they would just increase the inside depth to 21 and width to 25. I don't like to perch on a chair, I like to sit on it. So do 270 pound 6 foot tall men. French people are small boned. Why are large Americans copying their chair dimensions? Dosn't make sense in today's marketplace.


    1. Heehee, this is how you keep antiques looking nice! Only the dainty and, one hopes, less likely to spill choose the antique chairs, while the big guys sprawl on the couch.

    2. What an absurd request. If you weigh 270, you don't need to sit in a Louis chair whether antique or repro. The fact that Ballard is trying to keep the scale consistent with the average antique is to their credit.

    3. Pardon me, but I think the request makes sense. I'd love the chairs wider and deeper for dining purposes. I am only 5 feet tall, but many of my friends are taller and have large husbands. Why should they have to wonder if they will break my chair by sitting down? Unless one is actually purchasing an antique, the chairs are just a versatile style. Also, maybe unlike you, I live in a large house with high ceilings, and tiny chairs tend to look too precious and toy-like. There is nothing absurd about the request.

    4. Summer, I totally agree with you and Joyce. I know plenty of men who appreciate style so why shouldn't they be comfortable, of course an antique will be too precious to use everyday, if ever, but lets get comfortable and enjoy. Sarah

    5. well, if jill is reading this - consider it done. BUT - why not try the throne chairs or Louis XIV. sort of like my two new chairs in my family room? they are so big and deep and great for a man. The back is high and it's wide. look at the choices on Hien Lam Upholstery's web site. http://www.hienlamupholstery.com/flash/slideshow/photo_gallery-armchair.htm any of these would be better than the smaller louis xv and xvi chair. AND if you buy an antique louis - forget it! people were so much smaller back then and the chairs really are too little to be used by an average man. the new ones made today are much bigger than the older ones.

    6. JoyceBinAtlanta, I live in a very large home as well and have Louis chairs in several rooms and Napoleon III chairs (very small) in my foyer. Scale means everything when you are reproducing a look. While I agree that one must be cautious when offering a seat to guests in an antique chair, recent conversations about the direction of Restoration Hardware and a look back at some of their repros. should be enough to tell you that once you enlarge the Louis chair or any other antique style, it ceases to have the look you were seeking in the first place. I agree with Joni, I too have two chairs in my living room like hers (throne chairs) and it gives me the look I want and the confidence that they are going to seat my guests, including men, comfortably.

  21. So many absolutely gorgeous Louis chairs Joni! of course I love yours in the new library!

    Yes my mind's ticking off my favorites!

    2013 Artists Series

  22. Just awesome....I love your scalloped slipcover in your breakfast room...I feel the SAME about slipcovers and posted about them today. The Louis chairs are so versatile. So great what you did with the Ballard chair...you are such a girls' girl!

  23. I collect chairs the way some women collect shoes! I absolutely LOVE Louis XV- and XVI-style chairs. Right now, mine are all still wearing the fabric they were upholstered in when I found them. I'm still looking for the perfect fabric for many of them. I'd like a leopard print for one set and a pretty chintz for another pair. I've already purchased some gorgeous faux ostrich for two of the straight-backed Louis XVI-style chairs.

  24. I am drooling over this post, Joni. I love Louis chairs, both XV and XVI, and have them throughout my home. My latest XVI was a square back with a cane back and linen seat found at Home Goods for the reduced price of $85. My husband used to say I had a black belt in shopping...and proud of it. All the bloggers made interesting and inspirational choices for their Ballard chairs. Yours is perfect for your beautiful library. As for the rest of the images, I know this is one post I will spend hours pouring over. Thank you so much for another in-depth post.
    XO, Victoria

  25. Joni

    It was so interesting to see how each of you imposed your own style! Honestly Joni you can "spin a yarn" about anything! You always do such an amazing job making the simplest post into something so informative and inspirational!

  26. Heather takes the chair and won't write the requested piece. Classic.

  27. I hadn't realized just how versatile this chair is. I have Louis XVI cane dining chairs, a Louis XV bergere in the living room and a Louis XV armchair in the hall...........but you've just opened my eyes to endless design possibilities for them. They are the little black dress of chairs! They really work with any style, anywhere, don't they? Thank you for that leap in design awareness, Joni! Brilliant!

  28. I really enjoyed this post, Joni, fun to read! We bought Louis chairs for our dining room twenty years ago. We had them reupholstered in linen a few years ago, never thought to slip them. There is nothing prettier in a room and they are the perfect feminine compliment to larger more masculine pieces.

  29. Joni, I was just studying your breakfast area and noticed those little lamps with what appears to be fortuny shades, do you have any 411 on them, So stunning yet homey, love your kaboo chairs with the Louis and all your lovely blue *white and creamware and other lovelies, what a gorgeous shot and styling.

    1. they are actually maps of france - paper. i got them years ago at Watkins Culver. sometimes they have them in stock. you might call them.

  30. Be warned - the Restoration Hardware chairs are very splintery! I bought 2 to use as occassional chairs in living room - and I compalined about them because (I didn't notice when I bought them)when I dusted the legs one day, the cloth snagged on them. RH (after complaining long and loud online) begrudgingly sent a 'restorer' who did little more than run a piece of sandpaper lightly several times. Did no good. I don't get it - the chairs seem like they had been left out in the elements. Perhaps they have improved them, but run something - a piece of fabric, not your hands, as they will get a splinter, over the arms, legs etc before purchase. I would have loved them otherwise. I think PB has some now.

  31. For Laura and her question about her 8 foot high dining room ceiling and 40 x 60 table:

    You might consider using two Louis XVI style lanterns, instead of one large fixture. Attached below is a chart used in a professional antique chandelier shop, so you can reference it when shopping so you know exactly what will work. Do remember that each chandelier is different and one with it's widest point midway can hang lower than one with the width all at the bottom. Rule of thumb, if it's in your face (literally and figuratively) when you stand at the table, it's too low and/or to close to the edge of the table for comfort.

    Dining Room Chandeliers: The following chart assumes that the bottom of the fixture will hang 36" off the surface of a 29" high tabletop. Overall drop is the measurement or the available room you have to play with, i.e. the height of the chandelier plus any chain and the ceiling canopy.

    Ceiling Height in Feet Ceiling Height in Inches Overall Drop

    8' 0" 96" 31"
    8' 6" 102" 37"
    9' 0" 108" 43"
    9' 6" 114" 49"
    10' 0" 120" 55"
    10' 6" 126" 61"
    11' 0" 132" 67"
    11' 6" 138" 73"
    12' 0" 144" 79"
    12' 6" 150" 85"
    13' 0" 156" 91"
    13' 6" 162" 97"
    14' 0" 168" 103"
    14' 6" 174" 109"
    15' 0" 180" 115"
    15' 6" 186" 121"
    16' 0" 192" 127"

    Walk-Under Chandeliers: For fixtures that are to be walked under, allowing for a 6' 8" clearance:

    Ceiling Height In Feet Ceiling Height In Inches Overall Drop

    8' 0" 96" 16"
    8' 6" 102" 22"
    9' 0" 108" 28"
    9' 6" 114" 34"
    10' 0" 120" 40"
    10' 6" 126" 46"
    11' 0" 132" 52"
    11' 6" 138" 58"
    12' 0" 144" 64"
    12' 6" 150" 70"
    13' 0" 156" 76"
    13' 6" 162" 82"
    14' 0" 168" 88"
    14' 6" 174" 94"
    15' 0" 180" 100"
    15' 6" 186" 106"
    16' 0" 192" 112"

    Diameter of a chandelier: Rule of thumb is the measurement of the length and width of room in feet, added together gives the optimal diameter in inches, i.e. a 20' x 15' room can take a 35" diameter chandelier. If hanging over a table, the chandelier should generally be 6 inches in from each side of the shortest table edge, i.e. a 24 x 60 table would allow for a chandelier 12 inches wide. This last rule is often tweaked to 4" in from table edge, giving you more diameter room and is also subject to where the widest part of the chandelier falls, that is, if the widest part is in the upper half or third of the chandelier, it is less apt to be directly in people's faces and so, a wider overall diameter fixture can be used while maintaining visual ease.

    A chandelier is expensive; reputable shops should allow you to take them home on approval. If not, make a cardboard mockup of the fixture and hang it before you pluck down cash for a possibly non-returnable item.

    Good luck!

    1. thank you so much for this!!!!!! very informative.

  32. Love them all. I'm with you on the ticking stripe. Makes me want to run over to Ballard's tomorrow to pick up a few. And, jet over to Paris for a long weekend.

    Great post!


  33. Joni, I so love your blog! You show exquisite attention to detail, always. Thanks for spending so much time on your posts. I loved the Louis post -and now know for certain that Louis chairs are incredibly versatile. My friend has gilt XVI with mattress ticking, while my XV in their "latest iteration are brown with Scalamandre silk, while another friend has white with fuchsia leather. Thank you so much for this latest "goody", I can hardly wait to see what you think up for the next one. Cindy

  34. I totally agree with you. You are addicted to slipcovers!

  35. C'est magnifique! J'adore this post! Bookmarking it for future reference. Every single photo was stunning and now I am educated on Louis XV vs. Louis XIV. It's funny because I thought I preferred Louis XVI all this time, but now I know I'm a Louis XV girl. Thanks again!


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  37. Joni, I love your blog and I am looking every day for a new post. So beautiful chairs, all of them, love them! I think that these Swedish style is a restrained interpretation of the French Louis XV and Louis XVI style and it evolved throughout the late 1700’s and into the early 1800’s. Simpler in design and execution, the Swedish Gustavian furniture reflects the reserved and humble character of our country.While expensive woods such as mahogany were in demand by the nobility, the painted finishes that we know today as the Gustavian style, is what was affordable for the average Swedish citizen. The Swedish king Gustaf III spent many years in France and returned to Sweden determined to introduce French Louis XVI Neoclassical ideas and work began on the first major Gustavian room in 1772, in the Royal palace in Stockholm. Maybe this could be an explanation to why French chairs ended up in Sweden?

    Greetings from Stockholm, Helena

    1. It also helped that virtually every Court in Europe emulated the French, their food, clothes, furniture, manners and even language - French was the universal language (ergo, the term lingua franca) of the upper class from Lisbon to St. Petersburg for the 18th century and up till the early mid-19th century, when English began to take hold. Every prince had to have a Versailles, or at least a French style pavilion.

      Gustav certainly made all thing French de rigueur in Sweden, but the country got an additional boost toward French fashion when the Swedish royal family pretty much died out and the Swedes co-opted one of Napoleon's generals to take the throne as Karl XIV Johan.


      In the 18th century, the Court of France set the tone for almost all aspects of fashion and virtually every other country in Europe (save for England and the Netherlands) then did their own little riff on it, simpler for Sweden, more elaborate if constructed of and finished in less expensive materials for Italy and Spain (where many French princesses had married local princes and brought the fashions with them), more free-wheeling and colorfully Rococo for the various German principalities and wholesale purchases and imports from Paris for the Russian Court. The English nobility got in on the act during the French Revolution, when masterpieces of French art and furnishings could be had at fire-sale prices, ergo the founding of the great collections of French furniture belonging to the English Crown and the Duke of Bedford, to name but a few.

      To this day, many still look to France for the very best in luxury goods; not a bad return on investment for Louis XIV having built Versailles...

    2. A great movie for Francophiles, Desiree, is the romanticized story of French General Jean-Babtiste Berandotte who later became King of Sweden. Filmed in 1954 staring Marlon Brando as Napoleon, Jean Simmons as Desiree, Merle Oberon as Josephine and Michael Rennie as Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. Fell in love with both Michael Rennie and French furniture at the same time. Oo, la, la!

      "In Marseilles, France in 1794, Desiree Clary, a young millinery clerk, becomes infatuated with Napoleon Bonaparte, but winds up wedding General Jean-Baptiste Berandotte, an aid to Napoleon who later joins the forces that bring about the Emperor's downfall. Josephine Beauharnais, a worldly courtesan marries Napoleon and becomes Empress of France, but is then cast aside by her spouse when she proves unable to produce an heir to the throne."

    3. ...charlotte the book by anne marie selenko was even better than the movie(one of my favorites too)...there seems to be a possibility that there really was a young desiree in napoleon's past...but not the romantic version of the book/movie...look for the book...blessings laney

  38. The Jute rug does not look custom. I always refer to your July 2009 post

    "When buying a seagrass rug, I always stress to get a custom cut rug. That is, have an installer come to your house and make a template of the room where the rug is to be placed. The rug should fit around the perimeter of the room – following all the curves and corners of the room about 3 to 10 inches away from the wall. The amount of wood you want showing is a personal preference. Myself, I prefer the rugs to be just 2 to 5 inches away from the walls."

  39. I love this post because I adore Louis chairs! What a fantastic perk for you - this great chair - well deserved and I'm not just saying that...writing this blog, all the time and research and you've been at it for years now! Well, looking over all the chairs, I have two favorites, yours and CocoCozy. I am kind of a sucker for bold crisp contrast and I love the navy and the fabric on the back being different. Your Louis chair is so adorable - I am a sucker for the ballet ties also! I have 2 Louis XV chairs covered in a black and ivory check - love them and I got them dirt cheap second hand and had them reupholstered. And, last summer, I managed somehow to luck into another Louis XV at a flea market - made in Italy (frame) - 37.00!!! It has an OK - livable - mossy green patterned velvet but I do want to get it redone - maybe I can get some ideas from your blog - thanks!

  40. Truly wonderful job ladies!! all were unique and had character!! I love Louis chairs and have oval backed with driftwood and linen in my dining room, I think the shape is classic. Great fun!!!
    xo Karolyn

  41. Fabulous post Joni and some of the comments are also very educational! Have always been smitten by Louis chairs, however think if I owned one at the price tag of $41,000.00 it would definitely be encased in a glass display. ☺ -Brenda-

  42. Joni, please revise your top ten design elements to your top eleven. Louis chairs are a must have.

  43. Thanks for a wonderful post. The detail, energy and sheer knowledge in your posts means that I have to read them more than once.

    I'm unabashedly a Louis lover. Can't decide which one I like best but I really loved the pale blue velvet coloured slipper chairs and really liked the ones which had contrasting fabric on the seat and back of the chairs.

    Also, any post which mentions Pamela Pierce AND my adored Million Dollar Decorator Mary McDonald is a bonus. OK, I need to go and re-read this post now but another option which I'm not sure you mentioned (and which are a bit fad-ish and trendy) were the lucite Louis ghost chairs. I prefer the Louis chairs covered in fabric but I did also took a liking to the ghost chairs even though they were undeniably very modern and maybe less feminine, I usually saw them used in stark modern designed spaces so that they became very contemporary. I thought of them as modern minimalists excuse to use something "old".

  44. Holy Cow - I Adore chairs. Joni - this post is so filled with mouthwatering images that my eyes are crossed lol. I don't know where to look first! I love libraries - I love that your library is not big, it really shows how anyone can make a library anywhere. The Louis with the medallion print and stripes - to die for... Also loved ogling all the images of everyone's offices :D


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  46. Joni,

    Still, my favorite slipped chairs are the scalloped\large tab design you used on your dining room chairs, living room chairs and sofa. As a matter of fact, I still love your dining/breakfast room from long ago.

    Debra from NC

  47. I'm so proud of you! This is great that you got selected to do this, and I can't think of anyone who deserves it more, Joni. Way to go, and I love your chair, too!



  48. Loved this post, Joni. I'd like to send you a photo of the lime green Louis chair I put in my kitchen. How could I email that to you?

  49. Thanks for a wonderful post.
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  51. Hello, I like so many decorating fans love the Oly Studio Hanna Chair. I would love to recover the Louise chair that I have like the original Hanna chair. But I am having a hard time finding raffia. And I really don't know that much about raffia. I've ordered several samples but they all have a rubber backing and the upholster says it will be too thick to space the nails. Should I use sheets of natural raffia. The ones I've gotten samples for are poly...something-or-another. And some them were actual fabric that only resembled raffia. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thank You ,
    Atlanta GA

  52. Love! Great post.I love these chairs.I use them in my kitchen around a vintage table.Bedroom Furniture Online

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  54. Heather takes the chair and won't write the requested piece. Classic.CHEAP BED GLASGOW

  55. Hi - Beautiful!!! Was wondering where you got the slipcover for the back of your Ballard Louis chair. Can you please let me know?

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