Chloe Ball and Kathleen Conroy don’t just finish one another’s sentences; they finish one another’s thoughts. It’s a relationship that serves them, and their customers, well.
Ball opened Kenny Ball Interior Design & Consulting in Charlottesville in 2009, as a companion to her father’s antique store, Kenny Ball Antiques. Conroy, who had been a customer, stepped in to fill a gap.
“It was fate,” Ball says. “An employee quit before my father and I were leaving for France [on a shopping trip]. I needed help desperately.”
Each brings her own perspective to design work.
Ball studied communication in college, but had grown up alongside her father and his Charlottesville business. Conroy had been involved in product packaging design in the cosmetics industry then worked as an event coordinator. Friends often asked her for assistance with their home design projects.
“Chloe and I are both creative people and we love doing creative things,” Conroy says. “We have been very fortunate that we have something in our genetic makeup that fosters this ability.”
The two take a tag-team approach as they work with their Charlottesville-based clients to discover what is needed and makes sense for each project. “We play to our customers’ style,” Ball says. “And also challenge them,” Conroy adds.
Several years ago, their go-to wallpaper hanger retired. They were referred to H.J. Holtz & Son by Stephanie Cullen Snyder at Palette Paint in Richmond. The partnership has thrived.
“Nobody hangs wallpaper better than Holtz,” Conroy says. “If the wallpaper is the least bit complicated, they’re the ones you have to call.”
“It’s like laying tile,” Ball says. “There’s a real art to [hanging wallpaper]. You need professionals.”
With more wallpaper options than ever – luxe materials, artistic prints and bold patterns – a surge in demand sometimes means installation takes longer than expected. “We tell our customers, ‘You’ve got a lot invested in this paper; you’ve got to wait for the professionals to hang it,’” Conroy says.
To ensure efficiency, Ball and Conroy meet weekly with company president Rick Holtz and project coordinator Holley Nilson, reviewing the shipments that have arrived and the status of ongoing projects. “He meshes with us,” Conroy says. “Our personal ethics and our business ethics – they’re very dear together.”
Ball adds: “We’ve navigated difficult situations together; it’s a real blessing to have them part of our team.”