Has anyone ever said “doing your own home is easy”?

When you spend most of your time designing the homes of others, it’s a big challenge to place that focus on your own space.  But looking at designer Ellie Bale’s house, you wouldn’t think she stressed a bit! Incorporating French, Italian and Swedish antiques amidst contemporary art, she is a master at creating a comfortable, welcoming environment with an old world feel.  Although the colors and wall treatments change from space to space, the rooms flow together while still maintaining a their own uniqueness.


The entrance, leading to the study, dining room and living area, sets the tone of the entire house. The plaster treatment chosen completely changed the feel of the entrance, adding depth and intrigue of what’s to come – the light just seems to reflect off the walls! By doing both the ceiling and the walls, the subtle shape and curve of the architecture is showcased. Ellie knew she wanted the piece in the entrance to be painted but not too overdone.  It’s a Louis XV style 1900’s commode from Paris. The 19th Century French mirror is from Joyce Horn Antiques.  The pairing of the two becomes a perfect place to freshen up on your way out.


Just off the entrance way, this study has the perfect mix of symmetrical and asymmetrical design. The mirrors and ceiling beams provide balanced lines, while the furniture and French iron desk grouping mix it up a little bit. The neutral palette makes this combination of different elements really work! The plaster brings in elegance and depth without being too formal. I love the ornate, leafy light fixture and cathedral wood beam ceiling – they open up the space while the neutral browns keep the room extra cozy.


I just adore this “d”–an old iron letter from Found.  It was a gift to Ellie’s husband, David,  for his birthday.  It’s interesting and unexpected–just like the house!

The dining room, featuring a wonderful collection of French and Italian antiques, is elegant without seeming too formal.   The soft and varying intensities of coral in the fabrics, rugs and art provide a great, subtle burst of color against the neutral, stenciled walls. The striped curtains also offer a beautiful counterpoint to the intricate Fortuny fabric on the chairs. Mixing these different patterns together creates interest without one overpowering the other.

The tone-on-tone damask painted wall treatment creates a subtle design that complements the pattern on the dining chairs. Using various tones of neutral creams and beiges on the walls from room to room maintains the home’s flow and offers an interesting backdrop to the pops of color brought in through furniture, fabric and art.


One thing I really adore about Ellie’s design style is her ability to mix contemporary, colorful art and ground it with cozy and comfortable furnishings. This painting entitled “Reconnaissance” is by local Houston artist Jane Eifler. Ellie and her husband started collecting art about 8 years ago.  “It’s something we enjoy doing together–going to galleries, looking at all the different styles of art. It adds something fresh and unexpected to a space.”  This particular painting was a gift from Ellie’s husband.


The kitchen is open to the breakfast area, sitting area and living room so it had to flow and blend together. Inspired by the fabrics, the walls were painted a very soft blue.  By adding a finish on the cabinets, they turned into furniture pieces, dressing them up and making them a part of the design.  The island was glazed in a different color to ground the space while adding something unexpected to the room.   An area where guests seem to congregate, this is a perfect spot to read or have a morning cup of coffee.   Ellie’s 5 year-old daughter has been known to take naps on the couch here every once in a while – it’s comfortable and close to the kitchen.


This room was designed around a pair of 18th century doors that Ellie found on a buying trip to Dallas.  What a brilliant way to hide all the audio equipment, videos and games–turning utilitarian into interesting!!!  The Italian candelabras on the mantle from Joyce Horn Antiques and the Italian candlesticks and pastry table behind the sofa from Area add a sense of establishment and charm to the space.


The mood in the bedroom is soft and romantic!!! The walls are covered in a lovely neutral wallpaper, and I just love the contrast between the mahogany armoire and the muted hues of the bed and walls! Ellie created a relaxing retreat with a plush feel to it.


  Needing the perfect blue green hue to match the floral fabric, Ellie had the cornice custom built had us  re-finished it.  The cornice now looks like an antique rather than a brand new piece!


Ellie did a great job designing her home! The soft color palette throughout, along with the interlacing of antiques with modern art, gave this home a definite style of its own with an incredibly cozy feel. We’re already discussing the next project…

The master bathroom! She’s looking to add an aged look to those plain white cabinets. Stay tuned to see the finished product…

So sorry the entry’s have been inconsistent.  We will post a new entry every Monday now, and after the book is off to press try to post one twice a week!! If you register for the blog, it will let you know when there is a new posting!!  Please send me any ideas on what you would like to see or hear about!!!  I have hired a cute Nicole, cute as she can be, to help me keep up!!  Have a great day!!  Leslie

An Exclusive Sneak Peak at Joyce Horn Antiques' Newest Shipment and a chat with Joyce!!!
A Charming Renovation for this Family of Five!


  1. Liz Birch says:

    I love the button tufted loveseat with the pleated skirt that's in the bedroom. May I ask where it was purchased? It's beautiful and I'd like to add it to my bedroom sitting area.

    Thank you,

  2. Elizabeth Stephens says:

    Dear Leslie,

    I just love everything you do!!! I really like the light fixtures (lanterns) over the Kitchen Island and was hoping you could tell me where to find them. I am in California and was hoping to find something like those in California.

    Thank you so much