Finding a gifted and discerning interior designer who “gets” you can be one of the most satisfying aspects of decorating your home. It can give you the confidence you need to push your creative envelope. It can make the difference between a good experience and a great one. Just ask Jennifer Coleman, who lives with her husband, Sean, and their children outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. A while back, Jennifer decided it was time to refresh her home—starting with a new sofa. “We’d put decorating on the back burner for a long time,” she says. “It was time to love our space.” By the time Jennifer walked into our Design Center in Cary, North Carolina, she’d already fallen for the Mansfield sofa. “Jennifer had done her homework,” remembers design associate Daniel Sawyer. “She brought sketches and dimensions, and had her eye on certain pieces.” “I knew the look I wanted,” says Jennifer. “I just had no idea how to piece it together.” Her first meeting with Daniel lasted more than three hours. “I embrace the ‘first date’ philosophy with a client,” he says. “I like to learn about them in a very genuine way. What colors they like—and hate. What they like about their space—and what needs improvement.” Once Daniel visited the Colemans’ home, Jennifer started thinking beyond the Mansfield. Her list grew to include accent chairs, ottomans, a rug, lighting, and a (mandatory) leather recliner for her husband. When the conversation turned to accessories, Jennifer wanted to hold off. Daniel knew the difference those little pieces would make, so he showed up on installation day with his car loaded with artwork and accents. Jennifer was surprised—and pleased. “I’m good at the big picture, but not accessories,” she says. In the end, she kept everything but a single piece. With complete confidence in her designer by then, Jennifer asked Daniel to help decorate the master bedroom. “The room was a joy to create,” says Daniel. “Our full design plan included custom bedding, new Hunter Douglas shades, and custom window treatments. Jennifer and Sean now describe it as their sanctuary.” And the decorating’s not over yet, laughs Jennifer: “Remember, we really didn’t plan to get more than a piece or two … but I think we’ll do the dining room next!”    
The couple walked into the West Des Moines Design Center on a whim. They weren’t at all sure they were in the right place. They told design associate Paige Mongar they had a statement room to furnish, with a very particular look in mind: modern, with midcentury and Scandinavian notes. “They thought Ethan Allen was only associated with traditional and classic design,” says Paige, our latest Design Star, but they knew our quality was unparalleled, so they were curious to see our product line.”  Without hesitation, she reassured them that Ethan Allen offered the chic, minimalist styles they were after. “They needed to furnish the vaulted living room of their 1988 contemporary,” she explains. “There’s a balcony above, and the living room is open to a well-defined dining area. They wanted to improve the flow and make the space more conducive to entertaining.” The couple “favored a monochromatic palette with minimal pops of color,” says Paige. “They were looking for furniture that would reflect their love of Scandinavian and midcentury design. They wanted to highlight their artwork—and a beloved midcentury dining set and bookcase they’ve had since the 1960s.” Paige confidently pointed them in the direction of modern, streamlined pieces, such as the delicately curved Apollo sofa, the Elgin chair, and Rowan buffet. She followed up with a house call and a detailed proposal—and the end result is this stylish and sophisticated space.   Facing Apollo sofas provide pleasing symmetry; their subtle curves invite conversation.   The scale of the room allows for generous seating—and good flow. The Elgin chair is a midcentury-style icon; a variety of textures adds warmth to the room. The Rowan buffet provides storage, a serving surface, and a base for showcasing art. The vintage midcentury dining set is complemented by a Woven Symmetry Rug. Corinne chairs create a lovely vignette—and an appealing corner reading nook.   Ethan Allen Design Star, Paige Mongar