Designers know that pattern is a powerful decorating tool; some would argue that it has even more currency than color. Tad Donovan is someone who knows the importance of pattern—and he uses it often when he designs spaces for Ethan Allen. Tad, who is based in Fort Lauderdale, is our latest Design Star. We caught up with him recently and asked him to share his strategies for making the most of pattern in his projects. EA: What does pattern bring to the design table? TD: Pattern brings visual interest and an element of excitement to a room. It offers infinite possibilities for creating a space that really suits a client. It allows us to seamlessly integrate their personalities. EA: How did you develop such a comfortable relationship with pattern? TD: I give my parents credit; both were very talented. I was in my teens when they were building a new home, and I remember the binder my mother kept with all the samples she liked. I saw how she pulled different patterns together, making sure that each room made sense and related to the rest of the house. I think of pattern in the same way; it’s like pulling together a wardrobe—selecting ties, shirts, jackets, and accessories—with an eye toward everything working together. EA: What are your rules for designing with pattern? TD: Don’t be afraid of them!  If a client can point me in the direction of one fabric they like, I can help them conquer their fears. It not only gives us a starting point, but it also gives me a sense of who they are. From there, I can interject ideas to expand on their interests. EA: How about mixing patterns? TD: Yes, please! EA: What are some of the common pattern mistakes people make? Using too much of a similar pattern.     EA: What’s the difference between pattern and a print? Patterns are everywhere—they appear in all kinds of materials, not just fabric. A print is technically a textile that has had dye applied to it—in the form of a pattern. Informally, I think of pattern as more geometric, or a series of repetitive lines/circles/colors. When I think of prints, I think more of a floral or toile. EA: You say patterns are everywhere—where do you find them in the home? They can be in architectural details such as dentil molding; tiles (a Moroccan motif, for example); flooring (think parquet wood floors); even in brick or stone walls. EA: Do you live with patterns at home? Let me think … that would be a yes! PILLOW TALK TD: My client wanted to update a teenage girl’s room using her existing EA furniture. The daughter wanted a palette of black, white, and “Tiffany blue.” I centered the trundle bed on the papered wall and framed the custom bedcovering with grosgrain ribbon on all four sides. The pillows pull everything together: We chose a small-scale print on two pillows for a positive/negative contrast with the walls. The smaller pillow features a black-and-white geometric pattern and a fun tassel trim. We went directly to the source for the larger pillows and trims—using a box from Tiffany to get the blue just right. MASTER PLAN TD: Believe it or not, these are two views of the same room, a rather spacious master suite where my clients go to unwind. Their favorite color is blue and they already owned some pieces (which they still love) from our Swedish Home collection. We used wallpaper sparingly to separate the sleeping area from the sitting “room.”  It defined the space and gave importance to the patterns layered on the bed. We used green as an accent hue (note: the ottoman provides contrast and storage). The Adam chair in a bold windowpane fabric provides a powerful punch of color. RED ALERT TD: This dining room is open to the living room at right. The very sophisticated space was inspired by the geometric pattern on the red sofa pillows. The client loved it so much, we used the same fabric for the window treatments. We picked up the rich red hue as an accent wall in the dining room, along with the fabric on the dramatic Cassatt chairs done in a distressed black finish. BEAUTY AND THE BATH TD: Pattern plays a subtle but significant role in this children's bathroom in an antique farmhouse. Geometric sheers hung from a metal "branch" rod complement the floral pattern in the wallpaper while adding a bit of softness.  The lined, natural woven shades provide texture and contrast, plus privacy. WALL-TO-WALL WOW TD: This classic patterned wallpaper acts like artwork in a dining room full of doorways. It provides a lovely backdrop for our Hansen Indonesian mahogany dining table—the star of the room.  The blue and white porcelain lamps and bowl add a touch of color and, yes, another pleasing pattern.
Our furniture speaks for itself. Every piece of furniture we make has a personality of its own—from the Robyn bed’s country casual vibe to the Vivica chest’s go-glam-or-go-home attitude. There isn’t a chair, chest, ottoman, or etagère that doesn’t make a statement; we designed them that way! Recently we imagined what our furniture would say—how it might introduce itself, for example—if only it had the chance. We featured some table talk in our October magazine, but the conversation didn’t stop there. Meet some of our favorites: ROBYN: I'm a sleigh bed infused with a cottage vibe—contemporary yet rustic, as cozy in a city loft as I am in a summer beach house. KINGSTON: I'm tropically inspired, with a reeded headboard and footboard design; I'll instantly transform your bedroom into an island getaway. LINCOLN: I may look casual, but I have great fashion sense. My upholstered headboard can be dressed in your choice of dozens of fabrics so I can show off your unique style. FAIRFAX: I'm proof that traditional doesn't have to be old-fashioned. I'm neoclassical with a modern twist—and I steal the show in any space. GRAYSON: I have a generous seat for roomy relaxation—and with my Chippendale-inspired design, I look fabulous anywhere, especially in the middle of a room. VERSAILLES: I’m inspired by Louis XV and generously proportioned for comfort. My hand-carved details are subtle—but stunning. VIVICA: I’m all about the glamour; my silver leaf wood frame is dressed head-to-toe in antiqued mirror panels. Va va voom! ADELAIDE: I’m Gustavian (that’s part Swedish, part French); my breakfront effect and delicate ring pulls make me one-of-a kind. BOWEN: I’m a petite beauty with a big personality, dressed in a faux snakeskin-embossed leather in white or silver, and detailed with antiqued silver nail head trim.
Take a peek at True Blue, our October magazine (download it here), and we promise you won’t feel blue in the least. Our designers captured some pretty cool blue moments—from the natty Baldwin settee on the cover (love the Greek key nailhead trim) to our sumptuous Monikka bedding (p. 22—be still our hearts!). Blue is widely considered the world’s favorite color (go on, Google it), and we know that in home décor, blues of every stripe just never seem to go out of style. Join the navy? We’re in. Reach for the sky? We’re up for it. Take a powder? We love all the baby blues. In fairness to fall, we can appreciate its fiery reds and glorious golds, but give us any hue of blue—in any season—and we’re down. Here are some of our favorite looks!
Summer is officially over.  It’s time to close the pool, rake the leaves, plant the bulbs … but whatever you do, don’t call off the outdoor entertaining—not yet. Even if you live in a region with four distinct seasons, there’s still time to get out and grill, chill, sip, and nosh, while hosting friends and family in style. Fall entertaining is all about creating a cozy vibe. Bring on the harvest hues and amp up the creature comforts. Swap the beach towels for toasty blankets and throws. Let there be light: Bring out the candles and lanterns, and build a fire. Think hot cocoa instead of cold brews. And because you never know when a chill will chase the party indoors, remember to eat dessert first—especially s’mores, everyone’s fireside favorite. Our colleague Marta Eriquez was kind enough to share her recipe for indoor s’mores with a deliciously gooey twist. The best part: You can make them all year long (no fire or charred marshmallows required). MARTA’S S’MORES BARK Ingredients
  • 24 oz. dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 3 full sheets of graham crackers, crumbled
Instructions
  1. Line a 9" x 12" rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Melt half the chocolate in the microwave and use a silicone spatula or the back of a wooden spoon to spread it on the baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Crumble the graham crackers and set aside.
  4. Heat the marshmallow fluff in the microwave. Quickly spread a marshmallow layer over the hardened chocolate.
  5. Press graham cracker crumbs into the marshmallow layer. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  6. Melt the rest of the chocolate and very gently spread it over the graham cracker layer. Refrigerate for an hour.
  7. Break into pieces and serve.
Bark can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator—if you have any left over!    
A beautifully made bed is a pleasure to behold, with its sumptuous layers and gorgeous mix of textures. It all starts with the bed, of course—and no one makes beds like we do. The bestselling Quincy is just one of the beds we manufacture right in our own American workshops. And we do it all: from sourcing timber to applying finishes by hand. Take a look and see for yourself how we bring the Quincy bed to life—from wood … to wonderful.
The ancient art of block printing has been around for 2,000 years. As a traditional method of textile design, it’s held up surprisingly well. Block printing is essentially the transfer of an image or design (in this case, coral) to a surface (a soft, white linen-and-cotton blend fabric) from a carved material (rubber, although wood is widely used) covered in ink (ours is water-based and nontoxic). PRINTING OUR PILLOW, STEP BY STEP An artist starts by carving the coral design into a piece of rubber to create a stamp that can be used again and again. The stamp is then glued to a piece of plexiglass, and ink is rolled out onto the raised stamp, ensuring the pigment is applied evenly. The pillow face fabric is placed on a padded surface, and the plexiglass is then turned over and positioned onto the fabric, inked side down. Pressure is evenly applied to the back of the plexiglass. While the fabric is held down, the plexiglass is then cleanly lifted away. The fabric is hung to dry before being sewn into the finished pillow. Our Fan Coral Pillow is a contemporary example of the time-honored technique that’s widely associated with India, China, and Japan. The beauty and fine details of the natural sea fan coral are printed by hand onto cloth to produce an original, strikingly modern design—done the old-fashioned way. Our gorgeous block-printed pillows are made close to home, in a workshop in downtown Chicago. Each print is inked by hand, so variations will occur—only adding to the natural beauty of the piece.  
As carefree summer gives way to fall, the kids transition from all-day play to schoolwork squared. Suddenly you’re knee-deep in books, binders, backpacks, lunchboxes, pencils, and permission slips. One thing is sure: The house needs organizing (and quick). Looks like clearing clutter is your first assignment of the new school year. Luckily, our Ethan Allen | Disney collection has you covered! From cubbies and craft tables to desktop caddies, we offer dozens of ways to restore order to places where kids’ stuff tends to multiply—mudrooms and playrooms included. A NO-MESS MUDROOM. We call it a fun and functional storage solution of epic proportions—and we designed it just for you. In black and white with accents of bold yellow and bright red, our Mickey Mouse Colorblocked Cubbies do more than hold jackets, hats, backpacks, gym bags, and boots. This piece cheers up an entryway in a flash. ON THE WALL. It’s bright, fun, modular storage for the kids' room, playroom, kitchen, hub, hall, or anywhere you need it. Our WOW organizers can be mounted directly to the wall with ease—or group a few together and stand them on a counter, desk, or table. NEVER FELT SO GOOD. Our Fantastic Felt baskets provide the perfect storage space for pillows, blankets, toys of all sizes, clothes, books, and so much more. Clever zippered corners let these baskets fold flat for easy storage when they're not in use; available in small, medium, or large. Add a Felt Desk Caddy (with sturdy spinning base and four spindle rods), which is designed to hold small Fantastic Felt holders. ONE SMART DESK. There’s no getting around homework, so why not do it in style? The Animator’s Desk features three drawers and three cubbies for filing stuff, a corkboard back for pinning stuff, and a roomy hutch with a charging station. Available in Snow and Mouse Grey, we give it an A+ in both functionality and stylish good looks.
This spring, designers Kate Marchesini and Andrea Pinto from our Somerville, New Jersey, Design Center participated in the area’s prestigious Mansions in May Showhouse and Gardens to benefit the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center. The designer duo had the honor of transforming the Grand Foyer of the historic Alnwick Hall  - The Abbey mansion into an impressive statement of modern glamour.  Check out how they reimagined the entranceway of this spectacular estate—and steal some of their ideas! Built in 1904, Alnwick Hall is an example of Tudor Gothic design. Its interior draws from several historical periods and boasts ornate quatrefoil ceilings with gold leafing and mahogany raised paneled walls. To complement this opulent space, Kate and Andrea conceptualized a dynamic, glamourous design, choosing stylized silhouettes and a high-fashion, high-contrast color scheme of black, fuschia, and gold. As the first room in the showhouse, the Grand Foyer serves as a place for imagined guests to await reception. Kate and Andrea chose the rich and refined Ashcroft table in a mahogany finish to serve as a focal point. Then, they gave it a fashionable twist with a luxurious shag rug, a trio of Gavin bunching ottomans upholstered in a hot pink velvet, and dazzling white, gold, and glass tabletop accents. The designers also added the Brighton cabinet with interior lighting to display artifacts they envisioned to be of interest to the imagined guests of the estate. The sinuous Selby wing chair in a dual Greek key and solid fabric treatment, paired with the Madeleine Trumeau floor mirror in antique gold, echoes the rich decorative motifs of the mansion while adding a fresh glamorous vibe. To lighten up the heavy Gothic architecture in the space, the designers framed the archway leading to the rest of the home by adding overscaled panels of cream and gold wallpaper and white floor-to-ceiling drapery. The curvy Donatella console table in white and the vibrant abstract artwork add a modern, glossy pop to the traditional space.   You don’t have to have a Grand Foyer to make a grand style statement. Here three tips for making a great entrance of your own:
  • CREATE A FOCAL POINT
A focal point draws guests in the moment they arrive. A console table or cabinet with a work of art is a quintessential and powerful pairing. Give it your own twist with additional pieces that fit your space, such as accent wallpaper, a chandelier, ottomans, or chairs.
  • GO FOR “WOW”
The entryway is an opportunity to make a great first impression about your style—so don’t be afraid to be daring! Consider pieces with striking silhouettes, captivating color and finishes, and unexpected details.
  • INTRIGUE YOUR GUESTS
Take a cue from Kate and Andrea’s creative use of the Brighton cabinet and add intriguing accents that spark conversation. Just one small unique piece can have an unforgettable effect.