COTE DE TEXAS: A Beautiful House in Atlanta–Again?!?!

A Beautiful House in Atlanta–Again?!?!

The story of how the catalogue Ballard Designs started is a well known one.  In 1982, Helen Ballard Weeks, from Atlanta, entered a decorating contest in the then popular design magazine, Metropolitan Home.  After Helen won and her house was featured in the magazine, over 500 readers called the magazine wanting to know how they could order items from Helen’s condo, especially her dolphin table:


Her dolphin table had its own back story.  When Helen was looking to furnish her condo, she went searching for a table base and eventually found one – this dolphin – made by an artist, one at a time, in his garage.

All the calls asking about her  dolphin table and other furnishings made Helen think that perhaps she had something unique to contribute to design, perhaps she could sell the dolphin tables herself.  A year after she won that contest, she sold her condo and started Ballard Designs.  Her first catalogue consisted of just two black and white pages – with the famous dolphin table on its cover. 

Needless to say, the catalogue was a huge hit.


Early catalogue covers.

Ballard Designs became one of the most successful catalogues, thanks to Helen’s aesthetic.  She favored a bright chartreuse velvet and black accents, with lots of animal skin and gilt mixed in.  Additionally, there were the plaster architectural pieces, like brackets and columns, that were based on the classical shapes that Helen loved.  Many of the decor items sold at Ballards were modeled after European,  especially French, antiques Helen collected on her travels. 

Eventually, Helen sold the company and later retired in 2002; today Ballard Designs is owned by a subsidiary of HSN.


An early Helen office with her famous mannequins and architectural element above the door.

Helen’s contribution to design is huge.  She helped make fine design available to the masses through her affordable merchandise.  And she forever changed the way we shopped for home decor.  Additionally, with Ballard’s fabric by the yard and their upholstered furniture, people were able to achieve their dreams of having a “House Beautiful” home without having to hire a decorator.


Helen’s former office featured many early Ballard Designs items.  Notice the two green velvet French chairs – they will show up again much later in this story!

Helen seemed to juggle it all, a husband, children, and a hugely successful business.  I was surprised to discover that Helen is actually my age – 61.  Wow.  I had no idea that while I was out and about wasting my youth, she was heading up a conglomerate!  Talk about giving someone a complex!

The mirrored screen reflects the columns Helen loved.  The back of the green chairs is too cute!

Once Helen left Ballard, she seemed to disappear from the public eye beyond Atlanta.  I still love the catalogue, and along with Wisteria, those two are, without a doubt, my favorites.  But, I do miss her touch.  The chartreuse is no longer prevalent, nor is the animal skin; but then…Ballards gave us Suzanne Kasler and Bunny Williams, so who could complain?


Mannequins were popular back then, as were the architectural relics, like the one sitting on the books.  The large gilt framed bulletin boards are still a staple at Ballards. 

So, after many years of missing Helen’s aesthetic, I was thrilled to happen upon a gorgeous house for sale in Atlanta, filled with antiques and looking like someone with fabulous taste had decorated it.  They had.

The house being sold belonged to Helen Ballard Weeks and her husband.  It took over three years to build and was completed in 2011.   It’s large, filled with custom finishes and the architectural elements Helen found in Europe.  Even better for those in Atlanta, Helen held a huge estate sale before she moved out and I’m so sorry I wasn’t there!   A few special items were later auctioned off. 

The architect that designed this house is the uber talented William Litchfield HERE.  Interior Design by Carolyn Malone of CM Antiques & Interiors, (404) 264-9509

And so, now that the house is sold and the Weeks have moved on, here is a look at the fabulous home she  built just a few years ago!



Located on a private street, a tree lined, gravel lane leads up to the stone house, called “The Mill.”


To the left of the house is a large garage with an apartment above it.  The real estate brochure says the house was built both in 1979 and in 2011.  My guess is that either the original house was torn down in order to build The Mill, or the renovation done in 2011 was extensive enough to call it newly built.  Not sure!   Helen?  Call me!


To enter the garage, you drive through the opening and pull into it from the back of the structure.  The French doors with shutters actually look into the car bays.


French blue shutters, stone, gravel, and boxwoods gives the house its Provencal look.  Twin concrete dogs great visitors.


An earlier view of the house from the architect’s web site shows the entrance before the dogs were placed here.  I love the dogs!   Also, there were turquoise planters with box that are no longer there.

Let’s look at the exterior views first.


A large covered porch out back has a stone fireplace and is furnished with French antiques and accents.  Through the doors is the library.


An aerial view gives you an idea of how the estate is laid out.  The covered porch is located at the back, left side of the house.   There is a large expanse of grass on that side of the back yard.  At the right is the pool,  tower and greenhouse, and firepit.  At the side of the house off the kitchen is the parterre garden and chicken coop.  Hidden in the trees is a tennis court.


Here is another view of the covered porch.  Love the lantern hanging on the side of the house.


At the opposite end of the covered porch is the outdoor dining room that sits under the pergola.   These French doors enter into the Family Room in the house.


The pool and tower – here you can see the opening through the hedge that leads to the large grass expanse at the left side of the backyard.


From the pool looking up to the house.  You can really see the hilly nature of the lot from this view.  The Juliet balconies are so pretty.


Past the pool and the tower are the stairs that lead down to one of the the parterre gardens.


Inside the tower, or the pool house:  the bathroom with the trough sink, ladder, tile floor, and twig chandelier.  Notice there is also a shower in there!!  WOW.  I could live here!  Helen…call me!

The art studio – notice the cute sink.  I’m not sure there is one “normal” sink in the entire complex!  I THINK this area might be under the sun porch next to the tower.  But…not sure!!


Behind the pool and tower is the firepit and greenhouse.  Too charming!!!!!


Of course, it’s another place to decorate!  Who doesn’t decorate their fire pit with antique French bird cages?  I would, if only I had a fire pit like this!!!!  


Well, no fire pit?  Then there is always the greenhouse to decorate!   Love the gravel floor and the black paint.  Especially love the mix of the rustic chic and the contemporary.


At the side of the house, off the kitchen, are these beautiful green arched doors that keep the parterre vegetable garden off limits to critters.


The parterre garden, with vegetables growing.  Love this!!!!


The chicken coop.  Every chic person grows fancy chickens these days.  Thank you Martha Stewart!


An instagram photograph of the right side of the estate with the large, manicured lawn.  Notice the railing is glass, which leaves the view unblocked.  At the left, is the break in the hedge that leads to the swimming pool.  I do wonder if this might be a grass tennis court?  That would be a great idea if is!  A more natural looking court without all the concrete?  The real estate brochure says there is a court, but because of the dense tree cover, you can’t see it on the aerial view.


Ready to go inside the front door?  Instead of a solid door, the French door acts as the entry, designated from the others by the blue shutters.


Inside the foyer, stone stairs lead to the second level.  The foyer, with its stone floors and stucco walls, is filled with antiques, some quirky like the mannequin.  The touch of chartreuse and black and white pillows is vintage Ballard.  Through the open doors in the back are the stairs that lead to the lower level.


And looking from the living room behind the foyer back towards the front door.  A contemporary bench sits under both the mirror and the ultra contemporary bubble fixture.  Love the black lanterns on the walls.


From Litchfield’s web site:  Another view of the French antique settee and the screen.  Through the door are the stairs to the basement.


To the left of the foyer is the dining room with limed paneled walls.  There is an assortment of chairs and benches to sit around the table, draped in linen.  Contemporary art work and twin mirrors fit in with the Sputnik fixture.  After the Estate Sale, this Jean De Merry chandelier was sold at auction.  I love the way Helen decorated this room – a mix of new and old that looks so fresh and on trend.

The dining room from the other view.  Here looking through the doors to the butler’s pantry and onto the kitchen.  The door on the right leads to the living room.   Love this room! 


From Litchfield’s web site – a much earlier view of the dining room when it was set up for dining.  Today, it’s more like a drawing room.  The room is much for trendy now and so much more exciting.  Great changes!!!


Between the dining room and kitchen is the butler’s pantry.    Filled with a lifetime’s collection of ironstone and creamware and pots from France, it has to be one of the prettiest pantries ever!  Instead of built ins and closets, Weeks added limed cabinets to fill in with her ironstone and plates. 

Notice the round window above the painting – Helen & Litchfield put these round windows in all the rooms;  many are placed on top of doors or are added to create a focal point.  By using these windows throughout, this shape has become a recurrent theme in The Mill.


The pantry leads to the kitchen/breakfast room which faces the side yard.    The kitchen is barely seen, hidden in a series of cabinets, one of which is at the left.  Instead of cabinets, open shelves hold all the dishes, while a steel cart holds extras.

Comment:  OK.  The cart with dishes hints at something that people without upper cabinets must all face.  When you empty the dishwasher, you have to have a nearby place to put the clean dishes.   Imagine how long it must take to empty the dishwasher if you have to carry everything several steps away.  I’m guessing that the steel cart is used to place all the clean dishes on it and then cart them all at once to the open shelves towards the back of the room.  If you are planning a kitchen without upper cabinets, be sure you think about where you will store the glasses and plates and how far away from the dishwasher will that be.

Another view of the kitchen and breakfast room.  To the left are paneled cabinets, and through the door is a secondary kitchen which is adjacent to the butler’s pantry.  I do wonder whether the refrigerator/freezer is hidden behind the cabinet doors on the left?  And finally, notice how thick the stucco walls are – you can see this thickness where the arched steel door is placed.


The wood floor is to die for!  Steel doors open to the yard where the vegetable parterre garden is.  The bench is covered in a F. Schumacher toile.   Notice the sconces above the cabinets.

The second kitchen in the area between the pantry and the breakfast room.


Next to the kitchen is the family room, done in orange and yellow. Under the horse painting is a banquette upholstered in stripes.  Out the French doors is the pergola and dining table outside.  Beautiful antique rafters on the ceiling.


An earlier view – again, there are lots of changes.  There’s a new antique rug here and this chair was in the estate sale.  This room was updated to look a bit more modern and on trend and again, the changes are great!


The wet bar is fabulous – done in bright yellow leather and studs!   The trumeaus are antique mirrors.  Notice the sink.  Fabulous!!!!!


I think this might be my favorite room in the house – the powder room!   The unsealed faucet with its patina, the stone sink, the antique barometer – LOVE!!!!


Connected to the orange & yellow family room is the large living room, that runs along the back of the house.  This is the first picture I saw of the house on Pinterest that brought me to this story.  I LOVE this room!   I love the mix of the old and new, the classic and the contemporary.  I love the curtains and the screen is wonderful!  Notice the two round screen above the doors.   Gorgeous!


Here’s another view of the room, when you first enter it from the foyer.


The antique rafters continue in here from the adjacent family room.  Gorgeous.  Love the light fixture and sconces – perfect scale.  The blue lamp is just the right touch to go with all the blue velvets and silks.  Love the two white Swedish armchairs.  And that antique stone fireplace!!!!!  Not a reproduction.  No way, no how.


Here’s the view looking at the other direction towards the library.  Love the drapes – they have an African vibe.  Actually this room does look like it could be in South Africa.  Again, the gilt mirror between the double doors is the perfect size.

This view shows you how the first floor is oriented.  Through the pair of double doors is the library.  Through the door to the left of the sofa is the foyer and stairs and through the door on the right of the sofa is the dining room.  The house has such a great flow – it must be wonderful to entertain here!


Next to the living room through two sets of beautiful wood doors is the library with its incredible herringbone wood floor.   Found in a Belgium school house, the floor was pieced together by hand.  Just incredible.  And, notice the orange chair.  Bits of the bright orange show up in different rooms to help unify the design scheme.


The double sets of doors lead back into the living room.  In the middle of the room is an authentic library table.  What a great piece to place in a home library if you have the space.


Notice the steel library stairs.  Contemporary chairs add just that bit of folly that Helen includes in all her rooms.  It’s a great lesson if you want to update your house – keep your antiques and dark furniture – but mix in bits of contemporary touches, either in a light fixture or a fabric.  Do this - and your house will suddenly look hip!  I’m still trying to learn this lesson though.  It’s not easy!


Another early shot from Litchfield’s web site.  OK, I think I’m right in my guess that a more contemporary vibe is going on – note the chairs before, without the modern fabric.  And the rug makes the room more grown-up.  By moving it to the family room, the library looks a bit youthful.  Another great change.


At the foyer – through the back door are the stairs that lead down to the basement level.

The laundry is down these stairs.  Notice the rustic gray painted wall – the white ironstone looks like jewelry on it!  So many architectural details in this house.  It must have taken Helen eons to work it all out – and what a great job she and Litchfield did!


The laundry, yes, this is the laundry.   So charming with its original trough sink, shiplap walls and ceiling, wood floor and wheeled table that acts as an island and ironing board.  Notice the little numbers placed on the cabinets.  Details, details, details!


Also downstairs past this painted floor, black shiplap, and antique door – is the wine tasting room!  Love the pitchfork!  Notice the tiny light above the wood door.  All the details – so many great ones!!!




Connecting the house to the garage is the dog’s room.  Notice the heavily troweled stucco wall on the left and the shiplap on the right, and rafters in the ceiling.  Such pretty creamware plates on the wall – and I love that light over the painting.  This hall leads to the dog’s room.


The dog’s room has a striped skirted island attached with grommets.   Notice the hardware on the cabinet doors.


Looking the opposite direction, there is a faucet for the dog’s water bowl and that might be his bed inside the arch, not sure.   Helen, call me!

The view back towards the connection hall and up the stairs to the apartment above the garage (I think.)


At the end of the hall is this closet for dishes and vases and serving pieces.  I need this!  I want this!


Back to the foyer:  up the main stairs is the landing with more of the herringbone floor.  The tureen collection is fabulous!  Notice the whitewashed beams.  Honestly, is this France or Georgia? 


From Litchfield’s  web site.  A larger view of the landing.


From Instagram.  After the house was emptied – it was photographed bare, without the furnishings.  Double wood doors lead into a bedroom suite.


Off the landing, past the double wood doors is this black lacquered sitting room with the velvet sofa.  One of the guest bedrooms is adjacent to this room.


Next to the sitting room is this guest room.   I really like the shuttered closets.  So cute!

The other view – Ikat  curtains and striped duvet.  Gray wood ceiling and black doors.

  The guest room bathroom – the only normal sink in the house!!!!


Here is the master bedroom with the herringbone wood floor.  Contemporary furniture mixes with antiques.  Love the hot pink velvet sofa with all the whites.   Notice the wood paneled ceiling.


Close up of the fireplace.


The master bathroom doesn’t even look like a bathroom!  Love the cabinets with painted screens.  Notice the sink vanity.  The toilet is hidden behind a frosted French door with an oval window above it.  Through the open door is the closet.

The clothes are enclosed behind the mirrored doors.  The orange touch?  The ladder!


This room with the fireplace is part of the man’s side of the master suite.


An early view – into the man’s bathroom with the antique doors.  Once there was a lantern in this room and now there is a contemporary fixture instead.  This explains all the wonderful lanterns in the estate sale.   Like  so many of us, Weeks is wanting a more contemporary feel and by changing out light fixtures, she is able to achieve this. I’m guessing most of the contemporary fixtures were mostly French lanterns before.  Again, a great idea.


And the man’s bathroom in the master suite.


There is this girl’s bedroom with the painted wood floor and David Hicks fabric.

And the bathroom with the hot pink ceiling and white wood floor.  Love this!


The guest suite – just beautiful!   I love this bedroom with the floating canopy bed!!!  It looks like a French mas’s attic with the high ceilings and rafters.


The kitchen in the guest suite.


The sitting room in the guest suite.  I love how Helen used the same hot pink in all the bedrooms – it ties everything together.


Of course there is a work out room – with an antique oil portrait!   Even I might be motivated to work out in this room!


And finally – this hallway – not sure where this is?  In the basement?  Or does it lead to the guest suite over the garage?  Not sure!  Helen….call me!!!  Helen!!!!  She’ll be calling the insane asylum to come pick me up, I’m afraid.


Whew.  What a house!   I can’t imagine all the energy and determination it took to design such a large house with so many details and so many fabulous choices!    And Helen Ballard Weeks and her architect Bill Litchfield did such a great job. There isn’t much I would change.  In fact, I would be happy to move right in….just bring my toothbrush.

The company that held the estate sale posted a lot of pictures online of the items for sale and I was drooling at the pictures! 


Off the garage, a tent was erected on the gravel courtyard.   On this table are all these green confit pots and lanterns.  And…I just noticed the blue apothecary jars!!!!!  OMG!!!!


This map chest!  To die for!  Love the French sign too.


I know that table!    That armoire. This picture is from the blog.  She has a darling blog!  Be sure to visit it.


Lanterns and lanterns and chairs and tables!


This armoire is fabulous.  That chair!  And look at all the creamware.  People from Atlanta are so lucky!  First there was the Dan Carithers estate sale and now this one!!  Whose is next?  If Suzanne Kasler moves, be sure to call, OK?


I’ll take this and this and this and that.  Those two sample size chairs are adorable!!!




Funny – I have that same bread stand or shoe stand (never knew which one it was) and all those French baskets.  And the ladder.  And the lanterns.  I wonder if anything was left over from the sale?


Candlesticks and lamps made from candlesticks!




Quill boxes!!!


Table and bench.


Love the dogs!




Shutters and doors.


Plates and plates and French tables.  Notice the cobblestone driveway and stone walls in the porte cochere.


AND finally – look!  The green chairs!!  From all those years ago.
Just seeing those chairs makes me think that maybe Helen likes to hang onto everything and finally she had a huge sale to clean it all out.

  Amazing!!!  I’m in awe!!!  I shudder to imagine what is in my attic.   Also, all the lanterns – it does seem like the fixtures inside were updated to the more contemporary ones.  She just wants to be more on “fleek” now.  (Did I use on fleek correctly?)

All I know is I can’t WAIT to see what Weeks designs next.   If it’s anything like this, it will be BEYOND fabulous!!!!

Helen…call me.


  1. WOW! What a great post. I never knew the Ballard story. Thanks:)

  2. Lovely cover post, I did not know the story behind Ballard either! Does make me feel rather wasteful of my time too sadly.


  3. I'm in love with the orange family room! I lived in Atlanta from 1995-97. I about came unglued when I discovered Ballard's Backroom--the outlet store, but this sale is way better! My tastes have changed, and I love that Helen's has a bit too. She still stays true to herself, but has added in some new design. The mix is awesome!

  4. Who could ever leave this absolutely stunning home!? I want it!

  5. Another fabulous post, Joni. I was one of those, in the early 80's, who inquired about Helen's dolphin table that inspired her catalogue. I still own her oversized bulletin board and many other Ballard items. This home is beyond words. I love everything in it (except the hot pink accents). Otherwise, I could move right in. I cannot imagine how long it must have taken to decide on all the many details and then to refine them once she lived in the space. My guess is -- if she is not just easily bored once something is finished -- the house is just too big. I would bet her new home is much smaller. When Helen calls you please ask her.

  6. Oh I am in heaven. I love Ballard Designs and have something from Ballard in most rooms in the house. Her design style is sublime. This house in my opinion is truly a dream home.

  7. Joni, What a gorgeous home! I would have loved to be at that estate sale.

  8. Joni, when Helen calls, ask her if we can just come over and open a bottle out of her wine room and just walk around and savor her beautiful home. She can give us the backstory on all her pretties. Nobody is going to appreciate it like Cote de Texas fans!! We could even make it a fundraiser! I'm lucky to live in Atlanta and have more than a few of Ballard items from the catalog and the outlet store. I used all Ballard lighting from the outlet store for my mountain home and I get so many compliments. This home was obviously a labor of love. I wonder why and where she is leaving it.

  9. Awesome post Joni and so well written. What an amazing house it is. I would have loved to have been at the estate sale too.

  10. BESTEST HOUSE TOUR E*V*E*R!!!!! franki

  11. having just been to Atlanta -I have to say it is the most sophisticated design city I have ever been to, even more than Paris! NYC eat your heart out - Atlanta is where it's at. This house is just simply AMAZING

  12. I am a looong time reader and this is one of my favorite posts EVER!!!!! This house is so gorgeous that I am in awe. It does make me very sad that such a beautiful design job has been undone so quickly. This kind of interior with such attention to detail takes so much time and effort that I wish the family could have enjoyed it for many, many years. I really love the contemporary touches that were added over time. Very inspiring. Thank goodness, these photos exist which I will enjoy looking at many times. And thank you for this wonderful post. WOW!

  13. Thanks so much! My mind is reeling! I have the dolphen table in my dining room. (For a while it was discontinued and I tracked it down from a vendor in California.) Couldn't live without the French daybed which is in my library. What a talent this woman has. So much to study in this post.

  14. OMG, Joni,
    You have made me laugh so hard on this post. Thank you for starting my Monday off to laughing! I am sure I will have a great week, Beth

  15. OMG! I fell off my chair and injured my tongue! Best post ever!

  16. what a glorious home + Ballard is one of my favorites!

  17. Hot-Lanta! First we got Dan Carithers, then Mignon Topping, and now Helen Ballard! The details and architecture are so classic, really any style could work, I imagine at 61 Helen wants a smaller home. Keep us posted on her new home project! Kris in Seattle

  18. What an amazing house. In fact, it's far more than a house - it's a masterful piece of art. I've never seen a more beautiful home. Helen is an amazing talent. John

  19. Exquisite! She is the arbiter of taste. This is the very definition of home. A true home built for her precious family. You can see love in every inch which is why it is so very beautiful.

  20. Well, that was fun! I remember that dolphin table and the early years as well. What an amazing house in every way. I kept trying to figure out which room I'd live in - started off with the artist studio/potting room and greenhouse, then the library, but when I got to the attic guest suite I was ready to move in (minus the hot pink and animal skin patterns - never was a fan of that). I can't believe all the beautiful antiques, furnishings, and accessories she sold - what a gold mine! I also can't imagine spending the years planning, building, furnishing, and decorating with all your favorite things - and then getting rid of it all! She must be the type of person who enjoys creating the vision and then has to have another challenge. Me, I want to have a perfect place like this and stay in it, nurture the garden, create happy memories, and love all the little bits and pieces forever, and then pass it down to my heirs. I do grant it is not very practical and easy living in such a huge space (I'm a small cottage type of person myself), and requires a LOT of hired help inside and out. Like others have mentioned, can't help but wonder why she sold so soon (also wondering where the kitchen range is - not pictured, I guess). I believe a lot of credit goes to Carolyn Malone, too - love her work.

  21. Such an amazing home.....I could never leave it behind! I sure wish I could have gone to that estate sale though!!!!!

  22. DROOLING!!! Hard to believe it was in Atlanta, feels just like Provence! Do you think the tower was an old dove cove? I think you are right about the remodel and addition were enough to consider it a re-build, especially because you found architectural photos of "before". I hope I got that part of the story correct. I love it when you do stories like this one. Can't wait for Helen to call you and invite you to drive (hee hee) to see her new place to show us! LOVE IT!

    1. no - those are't Before - those are just how she decorated it when she first moved in.

  23. this post confirms what I have long suspected up those long driveways in parts of Atlanta sit some damn beautiful places filled with treasures ....if only

  24. Heart and Soul into the Mill?
    She put her heart and years of work into this beautiful house and its contents but thankfully not her soul.
    Onward and upward Sista! You haven't heard the last of her yet!!

    1. did I say soul? if I did - i did NOT mean that. at all. sorry. after all, it's just a house.

    2. Don't worry Joni this is a fantastic post in every way and a great way to remember the house. You are the best.

    3. Agree! I love the way you write Joni. When I read your blog, I feel like I am sitting with you, drinking coffee and sharing ideas. Such a joy to read.

    4. To me it appears she put her heart and soul into this house.
      Amen Sista.

    5. Heart and soul can be put into a house.....yes it can. I have done it. That definition of "soul" means feelings...for animals, nature, healing, love, children grandchildren....creating a haven for all of those things......yes. One can put ones heart and soul into building a house...nothing sacrilegious here...I did it. And clearly, she did too! You are right Joni!

      My theory on why she left just got to big as she got older. I am getting older....and I am so grateful I have a really small house. I can stay in it with my darling husband......I see people my age....feeling their houses are way too big....and moving out of them. We built our house and moved in 16 years ago.....we are loving that it is not too big!

      Our friends questioned why on earth we were building such a small house! Well......Adam knew! Lucky me.....and lucky us.
      Just my opinion!

  25. Wow Wow Wow and Wow! What a house! That was an epic renovation. The heart and soul that went into all of it: the furnishings, architectural details, landscaping, hardscaping, transforming objects of art into "working" objects of art (lanterns, sconces, and more lanterns and sconces) is mind boggling. I had a fly on the wall's perspective of this masterpiece creation and it was fascinating to experience! So fun to watch something being created and come to fruition...Buckets of hard work and talent went into making this house this beautiful and gorgeous home! cannot wait to see what Helen has next on the horizon!

  26. Joni, beyond fabulous post!! My reaction to the workout room was the same as yours! Hey motivation! ha. This might be one of my favorite houses ever, I know that I will be coming back to study these pictures more. Wow! and that estate sale is what dreams are made of.

  27. I live in Atlanta so I'm lucky to be able to pop into Ballards whenever I want. Unfortunately, I wasn't on the invite list for the estate sale. Darn. Thanks for sharing this house. So Beautiful. I love everything about it, especially the guest suite and the dog room. Will be interesting to see how the new owners will decorate it.

  28. Oh, Joni. Oh, my. I am drooling. The best I have seen! I cannot believe that there was an estate sale and I missed it. I must become better informed!! I have a garden table that I was told belonged to her. I treasure it! I was completely surprised to hear she is 61. Please let us know her next housing adventure!! Thank you, thank you for sharing!!
    Jamie Harris

  29. Wow, what an estate sale! I can't wait to see what her new house looks like.

  30. What an amazing home that was created by the most amazing woman out there. Every room, every view more beautiful than the last.
    Can't wait to see where her vision and expertise will take her next!!!

  31. Beautiful house!! Architecture is French and interior design is very Belgian style inspired!

  32. Helen Ballard has a rare and unique talent. The Mill was perfection in every way. Helen has boundless talent and an unerring knack for putting a room/ a house/an outfit/ or a party together. Can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

  33. Breathtaking! Helen is an amazing talent! can't wait to see what she has in store next!

  34. Great post! learned so much I didn't know about the incomparable Helen Ballard! I'm sure her best work is yet to come!

  35. Thank you for this amazing and detailed post. This may be my favorite post of yours ever. Her home and gardens are perfection. And you captured it in perfect detail. The work you put into your posts is much appreciated.

  36. the talent Helen Ballard had is truly astounding. some of the best work i have ever seen and i bet she is not even close to showing us what she really can do.

  37. I want the wine cellar! Stocked with some fabulous french wine, I'm sure.

    Joni - do you know the color of the stone/ gravel in the driveway? I live in Florida and I'm finding it hard to source it here.

    1. well, John Saladino says the gravel he uses is Del Rio 3/8" - it's a mix of colors. Now, Helen's looks more light. Why not call Bill Litchfield's office. He uses a lot of gravel and he would probably know the exact kind Helen used.

    2. I use Del Rio 3/8 also! John and I love it!
      It is very subtle! More natural than the more monochromatic ones....but I love love love Brooke's!!! I discovered that one on my lane! She matched it with our landscape designer!! Margie Grace!!!

    3. Penny - how deep is your gravel? We plan to install 3 inches of gravel. The area will be used for a courtyard/ driveway. Do you think this is too much?

  38. Wow! That is one of THE most gorgeous houses you have ever posted about. The detail and work that's gone into it are unbelievable. I especially love that laundry room and the dog's room! And can I say, I am beyond jealous that people got to go to that sale. I must've seen dozens of things I would have bought in two seconds!! Wow, thanks for an amazing post Joni!!


  39. The greatest thing about Helen's talent is her ability to create all of this amazing elegance while keeping her incredibly hilarious sense of humor. She can do it all, and does with such ease that it appears she is simply having fun while creating magic. Helen's new home in Atlanta has taken on a completely different look and feel and is equally as amazingly beautiful and comfortable as The Mill. Helen's talent is leaps and bounds above the norm. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we will be seeing more and more of her creativity in 2016!

  40. It's beautiful. Staggeringly beautiful and perfectly done. I can tell that she oversaw every single little bit and detail to her heart's desire. But three years to build it and to only stay five years. I guess when you can produce something like this, life gets boring when it's done, and you have to move on to something else. I wonder what her next home will look like. I bet it will be in a total different direction, and I'd love to see that. I have loved this Belgian, whitewashed, moody yet light and airy look that's been trending, but I admit, I'm sort of ho-hum about it too. I mean, it's everywhere. I'm dying for something new. Some color. Something new, bold, deep, and intense in color.

  41. Helen has the most amazing taste! What a fabulous post on her lovely home!

  42. Helen is the most talented woman I have ever met! not only is she talented, but she is beautiful and nice too!shame she sold that house, but i'm sure her next one will be awesome too!

  43. I visited Helen's home many years ago at the time Ballard Designs was a fledgling, innovative, and successful, local catalog company. As architecturally wonderful and beautifully furnished as her home was, she was just entering her potential as an entrepreneur and a design pioneer--by having the ability to know good design and to translate it into the affordable. Her eye for detail is remarkable, her appreciation for art and beauty, her whimsical sense of color, and her keen ability to make Old World look new, are all signatures of the Ballard Home look. What would we and our children do without the ability to consult the catalog and fortunately, the outlet store, which continues to carry her trademark as the "go to" place for good value and quality. Helen's home and gardens were carefully and splendidly refined over the years, but her persona of warmth, grace and style will follow her wherever she decides to put her many talents next.

  44. Helen's work and creativity and the beauty she is able to create are just breathtaking and so sophisticated. However, this being said nothing is ever too complicated. While being so gorgeous her designs and style are also surprisingly comfortable and inviting for every room! We all need a little "Helen" in our lives and homes! She is a fantastic and wonderful friend and woman. If only you all could have seen this home in person...all I can say is you would be "transported". Let's all hope she will "unleash" her talents for us all to enjoy and help us in our own homes and lives once again in the near future! We need you Helen!!!

  45. Beautiful house and also enjoyed the way you wrote this post, awesome sense of humor!

  46. GASP! exactly, georgia or france?!?!?
    this is crazy good, everything. how about that guest kitchen, really, i could make that my kitchen and be thrilled. so much to take in but love going along with you and your attention to detail joni drawing our eyes to details i would have missed
    how can helen leave this home?????

  47. Holy iron stone! More is never enough. What a place. I just don't understand why they'd leave after just 5 years! ...After all that work! Helen, call me! I need to know!

  48. Absolutely fabulous house. Joni, do you happen to know where the leopard wallpaper in the bathroom comes from? It's so hard to find the right leopard paper and that one is perfect. Any leads would be appreciated.

  49. Truly, the powder room is the best! I love it. Everything is perfect in every way! Great work! Amazing.

  50. I love this!! Joni thank you so much for sharing all this with your readers. I was one of those who bought the dolphin table base. I took the catalog to a local store looking for chairs and of course a glass top. Well, the owner of the store (Houston) had to have that base. He grabbed my catalog and kept it - I didn't care. And yes, that base was soon in his store. No doubt a hit. Love Ballards - they offer a good look and it's affordable. Thanks again Joni!

  51. What an utter thrill! This place would suit me fine,....the architecture, the bits of great colours, the furniture and the accessories. Joni, I savored every page. Thank you for sharing!

  52. Helen Ballard is simply genius! Gorgeous, fabulous livable home! I can't wait to see her next home.

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. Helen Ballard's talent is second to none. Such a remarkable home!

  55. I had the pleasure of living in this house for a short period of time. That floating canopy bed in the guest suite was my bed for a period of time, gasp! I just have to say that this is the most beautiful house I have ever laid my eyes on. No matter amount of time I spent there, it's beauty was never lost on me. I was in constant awe of the beautiful touches that Helen put on that house. It truly is a masterpiece!

    1. Wow - how lucky you are!!!!! I would love to have been a guest in that room too!!! Thanks for your comment.

  56. Lots of lovely details to admire. I especially love the airy living room, library, upstairs landing, and ironstone.

    If I were to nitpick, however, I found the yellow leather bar, leopard powder room, and paisley hallway a little out of sync with the feel of the rest of the home. I would also not have had two kitchens -- where you cook in one and carry the food over to the table in the next room. With a house that size, one could have an attractive and convenient eat-in kitchen as well as a separate dining or breakfast room. I've also never understood the idea of a designated wine room. Who wants to sit (or stand) in a cubby hole drinking wine when one can relax in a lovely living room with the same beverage? Is it all about showing how many bottles you have?

    1. The wine room is at a temperature that is condusive to holding and keeping wine sometimes below ground or temperature controlled by refrigeration. You can drink it in any room you then choose.

  57. What a fantastic post. A beautiful property, inside and out, and in great good taste. I particularly love the orange notes in the family room and the decor in the library. I appreciate every point at which she brought in contemporary pieces (except the bubble and Sputnik lights - I'm still chuckling over your post on that, Joni), but I would probably have tried for more modern and contemporary elements. Just a question of preference. Thanks for pointing out the African inspirations. I think there is no better way to tone down the graininess of our antique-filled homes than to bring in some well-chosen African or aboriginal pieces.

  58. Fabulous Joni, I love this home and how Helen made so many unique choices throughout!
    Her collections are phenomenal and the sale; I think we all wish we could have been there!
    Thank you so much!

    The Arts by Karena
    Dreams of Spring!

  59. Regret missing THAT estate sale. Didn't know about Lissy but now I do, we love Atlanta bloggers and instagrammers @lissyparkerblog I love in the library, the composition: the orange chair with the stack of art above. Bravo Joni!

  60. What an incredible post, Joni. I can't get enough of her place. Every single room is just perfection.

    I'm not in Atlanta any longer but nearly flew in for that estate sale. I was so tempted to empty my bank account and rent a truck. :-) For those in the ATL area, Peachtree Battle Estate Sales / Ahlers & Ogletree Auctions are amazing. I shed a little tear every time I see a great Buckhead, Ansley Park, Druid Hills estate sale I will miss.

  61. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  63. Oh.... MY!!! This post is AMAZING! I could drool over each picture again and again! So many lovely details packed into every space. Thank you for sharing Joni! Your posts continue to inspire me! Each and every one!

  64. Joni, Wow is all I can say, Wow!! I love the mix the patina of all the flooring and wood. Every single detail was addressed. I love the mix of the old and new, makes it look more current but to be honest it is done in such great taste and style. Thank you for taking so much time to put this together for us to read, sheer enjoyment!!

  65. Hi Joni, Remember, a few years back there was a hot and heavy discussion about who is "qualified" to be a designer / decorator. Wonder what Helen's qualifications are? Did she "study" or was she simply an Atlanta socialite with lots of money, a great eye and incredible taste.

    Surely, you will know.

    1. This is the greatest question, Charlotte! Brilliant question. I would never even guess the answer. I cannot wait to hear it!!! I am completely fascinated. Every "GREAT" decorator I have ever known of has a different story!!

    2. I don't know. I don't think she has a degree. Don't forget that she did have the help of Carolyn Malone on this house, but obviously, Helen is incredibly talented. It was her first condo that she won the Met Home contest with and then she started one of the best home decor businesses with Ballard Designs - using her style, designs, aesthetic - it was ALL her. I have no idea if she has a degree, but does she need one? I guess if she wanted to design a hospital ward using all the proper ASID guidelines. Or if she had a hotel client and she needed to know where to place fireproof wallpaper, etc. But obviously (unless she IS ASID) she got along just fine without it.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  66. I live right up the street from the condo building pictured at the top of this post (The Villa). Not only did Helen start Ballards there, but my understanding is that several successful entrepreneurs started their businesses while residing there, including Charles Brewer, founder of the internet service provider Mindspring (now Earthlink). I furnished my first apartment in Atlanta 20 years ago almost exclusively with art, accessories, rugs, and small furniture pieces from the Ballard's outlet (now a retail store as well as an outlet), as did many of my post-college/grad school friends. Great post! Wish I had known about the estate sale!!

    1. Holly! when are you going to start blogging again?!?!?

    2. Ha--You are thinking of a different Holly in Atlanta, and I too am wondering when she will start blogging again!!! I am so appreciative of those of you who keep at it because I know it is hard work!

  67. how beautiful this post is!..the spaces are soulful, original, and the inspiration came from many places,
    and people, a tribute to Helen and to all who worked with her...she is a visionary and will continue to
    fascinate us!....

  68. Wow! What a beautiful house. That is one estate sale I am sorry I missed. I am only an hour and a half from Atlanta! I love your blog and enjoy your posts.

  69. Beautiful places :)
    Maria V.

  70. Wonderful Joni. This made my day. Thank you for writing about Ballard's and Helen.

  71. Joni, Thank you so much for featuring my photos on the your blog! This sale was the sale of the century and I am sorry you missed it. That pair of beautiful lanterns came home with me—along with several baskets, a set of china, fabric, small paintings...the list is endless. Thank you for this beautiful story.
    xo, lissy


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  73. This post is AMAZING!! Thanks so much for taking the time to gather so many images and stories from past to present. What a lovely place!

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  75. lol about the "Helen, call me." If she calls, you're going to have to tell us! :) I live in Metro Atlanta and missed the sale. Wonder what things were going for and if there were any good deals to be had.

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  77. Absolutely beautiful home full of soul. Had I the funds, would have bought it. Helen Ballard Weeks is a gifted designer and an incredible patron. She was divorced recently, so I am sure that played into her decision to move on—and I am looking forward to her next project!!
    Does anyone know (and I am surprised there aren't any comments about it in the blog or previous comments) who made/manufactured the plaster chandelier in the kitchen (with all the geometric shapes). This is incredible. Is it one-of-a-kind or available for purchase? Any information is appreciated. Thanks.

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