Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New European Gourmet Gifts: Our Harvest Food Gift Section is Filling up!

We've just received some new and delicious Gourmet French, Italian and Spanish products that are perfect for gift giving and make a great hostess gift! Pair these delectable gourmet gifts with one of our beautiful Le Jacquard Francais Tea Towels and you are ready to go.

We also ship everywhere, so don't be shy about calling us to put together a gorgeous gift basket (540)675-1411, or email us at customerservice@rhballard.com. We are Open Every Day!

Our lovely shop is located only a block from the spectacular Inn at Little Washington. Come on out to Rappahannock County for a special foodie experience that is out of this world!

More food items will be added as our Fall season is now heating up here in Little Washington, VA.

Here are a few images of the delicious items now available in our shop!

Pur Terroir Provence Olive Oil in large jug.
Spanish Olive Oil with Basil, French Black & White Truffle Oils
Our Harvest Gourmet Gift Section is filling up fast!

Italian Gourmet Spice Gift Set.

Italian Peppercorn, Chili Pepper and Seat Salt Mini Grinders

French Farm Butcher Salt with Mini Olive Wood Salt Shovel
My favorite French Farm Lavender Honey and Cherries!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Patton Wilson Painting For Sale

We just received a new Patton Wilson painting, "First Blush", in our gallery. As his collectors know, his work is absolutely beautiful and difficult to come by as he only paints a few pieces every year.

Please contact Art Director Robert Ballard for more information: 540-675-1411, and visit our website to read Patton's Bio

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rappahannock County Visitor Center

Our new Rappahannock County Visitor Center just opened in our sweet part of the world, Little Washington, Virginia.  It is an old farmhouse called Avondale that was lovingly restored, and it is located on a main road Route 211 on the way towards Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Mountains, and near the Inn at Little Washington. I had my first day of volunteering there and took a few pictures of the property.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Love for Le Jacquard Francais Tablecloths

My personal obsession for the last 12 years has been Le Jacquard Francais Tablelcoths.

We have carried these amazing textile creations in my shop since 2002, and each year I am always excited to see what new designs are coming. To say I am "obsessed" is a slight understatement. In 2005, Robert and I visited their mill in Gerardmer, France, and were sweetly hosted by Monsieur LeCroix, the LJF Manager at that time. We stayed in the LJF Suite right on the Lake (drapes, pillows, seat cushions, and curtain were all made with LJF fabric)
Beau Rivage Hotel in Gerardmer, France
It was an unforgettable experience for both Robert and I, and one we will cherish.  For all the fun images, see our R.H. Ballard Facebook page for the album of pictures from our lovely trip: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1438782308#!/album.php?aid=97993&id=108010513801

My obsession started on my honeymoon in Paris, 1998, when I purchased a beautiful tablecloth & napkin set called Ispahan in green (a color no longer available, however they still have this design in their line in a gorgeous color called Brick---rusty-orange). 

I could go on and on about the joys of Le Jacquard Francais, however I thought showing nice images of their exquisite designs would be a better idea!

Go to my shop link to order anything you love: www.rhballard.com

There will be more posts with new images of their Fall 2010 creations, so stay tuned and enjoy!

Art Deco, Agate
Cite Imperial, Jade
Fleurs Gourmandes, Raspberry
Kabuki, Lacquer
Mandarin, Ivory
Marche Chinois, Saffron
Rajasthan, Curry
Terre Australe, Indigo
Terre Australe, Terra Cotta
Villa Toscane, Clay
Villa Toscane, Slate
Villa Toscane, Marble

The Ace Hotel, NYC

I really love hotels.

I try to stay in a different hotel each time I travel just to experience something new. My husband and I recently stayed at the Ace Hotel, NYC on a business trip to the New York International Gift Show. Our stay at the Ace Hotel was an inspirational, quirky, and invigorating experience and we will definitely go back.
The New York Times declared the Ace Hotel “the country’s most original new hotel,” and once you stay there you will understand why. There are three other Ace Hotels in Portland, Seattle and Palm Springs, and all are known for their strong collaborative efforts with artists, designers, and small independent businesses within the community where they are based. This is a refreshing and daring approach in the hotel industry. They go for the unconventional in all aspects of their branding and each property has their own particular aesthetic. They lovingly restore historical buildings to create artistic and unexpected visual experiences for travelers. This approach is more important to them than re-creating “hospitality clichés,” or in other words, just repeating the same old hotel environments over and over again.

The Ace philosophy permeates the NYC hotel with feelings of community, art, freedom, history, and independence. The NYC locale was formerly the Breslin Hotel, built in 1904, and the area was historically known as a hub for artists such as Alfred Steiglitz and Edward Steichen, who were once neighbors. The eccentric Harry Smith was an artist who actually lived there; his enlarged b&w photograph taken by Allan Ginsberg is displayed high on a lobby wall at the hotel.

Roman and Williams, the hotel’s interior design firm, imbued other-worldly romance into the rooms and interior spaces of the NYC hotel. Turn-of-the-century furnishings co-exist with modern details with much success. For example, dark-wood Victorian chairs are paired with 1960’s plush velvet U-shaped “conversation pit” sofas in the expansive lobby. It all works. The Ace Atelier, the hotel’s design team headed by Demitri Fregosi and Jeremy Pelley, are credited for the dynamic use of block typography in the branding and in the creation of the “modern bohemian” style for the rooms, wall, and lobby spaces. Their use of cool, art-centric block typography and black and white graphic imagery is everywhere in this hotel from the moment you enter the building.

Typographic Messages: Black and white are important colors here. Blackboard paint has been applied to most of the rooms and hallways, and there are black wall-to-wall rugs covering all floor space. Each guest room has stamped canvas utility bags for “LAUNDRY,” hair dryer and iron (these graphic statement bags are also for sale behind the reception desk).

There are also guitars and turntables in some rooms (not ours). The maid service message “NOW” is a reversible magnet that also states “NOT NOW” on the other side when you want privacy.

Another fun visual element in our room, besides the gigantic canvas artwork hanging behind our bed, is the rock band roadie rolling mini bar and ice bucket. The mini bar was well-stocked with champagne, beer, liquor, and fizzy sodas.

The biting sensibilities of all things “Ace” can be found by reading their Ace Hotel Survival Manual which helps guide you through the hotel’s offerings and those of the surrounding area.

A funny guide to the city and all things "Ace"

Going back and forth between the dark room, hallway, elevator and lobby, we encountered strange little mottos painted on black wall and computer stations and large graphic images designating what floor we were on. No wall is left untouched in some unorthodox way, to get your attention or make you laugh.
This big sign was what we saw when we got out of the elevator to our floor.
A door leading I don't know where.....
Entrance to the basement Gym. This is where you work it out...
A Private Office with attitude....
Our room keys
No, it's supposed to be that way...the ball room in the Gym.
The phrase “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT” was applied to some marble steps and also on the back of the hotel room key. And that just about says it all.

Go to the Ace Hotel, NYC website to learn about all things ACE and to book a fabulous & fun stay.