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News from R.H. Ballard Shop & Gallery

Planning the Perfect Dinner Party

Planning the Perfect Dinner Party

Group of friends enjoying home dinner party in brick loft

Home cooked meals aren’t as common as they used to be, but they are still very well loved and appreciated. Although it helps, there doesn’t need to be a special occasion to make and enjoy a good meal. Gather your family and friends and host a good, old-fashioned dinner party.

The Preparation

Once you’ve decided to host a dinner party, it’s important to get started as soon as possible. Make a guest list and send out invitations. Handwritten and mailed invitations are classy and fun, but an email or a phone call work well too! Avoid sending and invitation via text, though, as it will downplay the importance and atmosphere of the party.

In the invitations, be sure to ask guests if they have any dietary restrictions you should be aware of. When the RSVPs have been received, the fun can begin!

The Décor

While you wait for responses to your invitations, plan a party theme if you want one. Even if you don’t choose to go with a theme, you should choose a color scheme to stick with when planning decorations. Our Le Jacquard Francais linen collections feature beautiful, quality linens perfect for entertaining or to simply make a statement.

Dishes should also be considered when planning décor. Whether you have the perfect set of china or are looking for new statement pieces like our Vietri Lastra White to add to your collection, dishes can play an important part in the overall look and feel of your dinner party.

When it comes down to party time, set the table the night before (even if you’re planning to serve buffet style). This will help eliminate extra and unnecessary work for the next day when you’re busy cooking and prepping the meal’s courses.

The Food

The moment the RSVPs are received, you should start planning the menu. It’s important that you go shopping within a week to three days before the event to ensure that you have all of the ingredients you need and that everything is fresh.

The night before the party can be used for prep work or to make any dishes that can be stored overnight. Avoid making anything that will need to be reheated, though. Any cold desserts, raw vegetables, or salad can be prepped the night before (just leave off the dressing).

Good luck and bon appétit!

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Inn at Little Washington Wins Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award

The Inn on New Year's Eve, 2015 - all photo by Joanie Ballard
         

Our shop & gallery is located steps away from the Inn at Little Washington, here in the small town of Washington, VA. We have been in business here since 1997, and the Inn since 1978. We have watched the transformation of some of the town buildings near the Inn, the Christmas light shows, red carpets, a Hollywood search light one year, the addition of llamas and chickens, herb gardens, fountains, luxury guest houses and more. We've even eaten there a few times. :) 

 

 "The Parsonage" decorated for Christmas 2014
       

Businesses in our small town have received numerous accolades over the years, but a special award was granted today to The Inn at Little Washington.  Forbes Media announced that for the 25th consecutive year The Inn has earned the prestigious Five Star Award, making it the longest running Five Star restaurant in the world. The hotel has also received 5 Stars for the 24th year in a row.  

Congratulation Patrick O'Connell, such a wonderful and deserved award!

Click here to read the Forbes Magazine list of Winners.

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Valuable Advice from Art Gallery and Shop Owner, Joanie Ballard

Valuable Advice from Art Gallery and Shop Owner, Joanie Ballard
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DC by Design Visits R.H. Ballard Shop & Gallery

Today's post is something really wonderful. Jennifer Sergent, from DC's prominent blog called "DC by Design" (which I have been following for several years), wrote some kind words about our beloved shop & gallery. Jennifer is someone I feel I already knew even though we had never met (and she says the same!). Here's the post in it's entirety. Thank you again, Jenn!  Be sure to follow all of DC by Design's wonderful posts here:  http://dcbydesignblog.com/ 

 

Little Washington: R.H. Ballard Shop and Gallery


I’m sure every one of you have friends on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram who you consider to be really good friends, though you’ve never met them in person. Joanie Ballard, the other of R.H. Ballard, fits into that category for me — it seems like I’ve known her, and we’ve posted on each other’s accounts, for a long time—and it was surprising to realize that I’d never met her IRL (in real life).

 

Well, THAT ended on our jaunt out to Little Washington this month, when I got to hang out with Joanie and tour her gorgeous home interiors store and art gallery.

 

Joannie Ballard poses in front of her shop on Main Street.

Joannie Ballard poses in front of her shop on Main Street.

Joanie and her husband Robert decided to move out here from the DC area several years ago, and never looked back. I can see why, in this elegant little town where everyone knows everyone and you’ve got views like this out your back window:

 

This is taking from the White Moose Inn, which is right next door to Ballard's.

This is taken from the White Moose Inn, which is right next door to Ballard’s.

The store itself is filled with treasures from floor to ceiling—you could walk around for a long time and still not spot everything.

 

ballard-glasses
They've got a great collection of Moroccan rugs—and the table here sits on a base of grape vines!

They’ve got a great collection of Moroccan rugs—and the table here sits on a base of grape vines—appropriate for this part of the country.

 

More rugs in the window

More rugs in the window

 

If you love French table linens, this is the place to go.

If you love French table linens, this is the place to go.

 

Don't forget to look under the tabletops—several more levels of surprises are hiding underneath.

Don’t forget to look under the tabletops—several more levels of surprises are hiding underneath.

 

The store is so memorable for all its saturated colors.

The store is memorable for its saturated colors.

 

Watches and wallets like candy!

Watches and wallets like candy!

 

And who could resist an entire table of John Derian....

And who could resist an entire table of John Derian….

Downstairs, under the store’s gorgeous coffered ceiling (which, unbelievably, was painted by the previous owner), is the art gallery.

 

ballard-gallerysteps

My absolute favorite is this painting of Teddy Roosevelt at the top of the stairs. Can you spy Teddy posing for the sculptors at Mount Rushmore?

 

ballard-teddy

I also loved this painting downstairs, just leaning against the wall on the floor. I found myself staring at it for the longest time:

 

ballard-rugpainting

And does your spouse ever surprise you with something he or she totally falls for, which you never would have pegged for them? Well, here’s what caught Jim’s eye:

 

ballard-skinnyguy

Across the street, the Ballards just acquired a piece of land next to the adorable Rappahannock News building, where they sell all manner of architectural salvage and sculpture:

 

"Artifacts" gives the newspaper building a built-in sculpture garden (to the left).

“Artifacts” gives the newspaper building a built-in sculpture garden (to the left).

I’m already looking forward to going back to Little Washington, if nothing else for the wineries we get to stop at along the way, which is the subject of the next post… stay tuned.

 

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Washington Post ~ 2015 Going Out Guide To Rappahannock County

Washington Post ~ 2015 Going Out Guide To Rappahannock County

Jan. 16, 2015

A big thank you to the Washington Post for including us in their Going Out Guide for Rappahannock County! 

R.H. Ballard
307 Main St., Washington, Va.

With elegant china, silverware and glassware collections, R.H. Ballard provides the makings for an inspired dinner table. The shop highlights owners Robert and Joanie Ballard's Francophile tastes with goods such as Napoleonic bee glasses and French finishing salt. One facet doesn't stray too far from Virginia, though: The downstairs art gallery features works from local artists.

 

 

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