Style tips and more from TV host and lifestyle maven

Parker Kelley


The delightful Parker Kelley (writer, producer and award-winning host of “Home, Life & Style”) recently partnered with Ethan Allen to produce “Design Tips” segments for her TV show. Aired on NESN, a Boston-area network, the spots were culled from conversations Parker had with designers in seven of our Northeast Design Centers, from Connecticut and Cape Cod to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The collaborative project was spearheaded by Ethan Allen’s New England regional teams, who say the experience was “organic, not scripted, and simply awesome.” Parker says she learned a lot about Ethan Allen – from our rich American heritage to how our 3D room planner works – in the process. We caught up with her recently and asked her to share her thoughts on design in general, and our offerings in particular. Here is what she had to say:



What is your overarching design philosophy?

PK: Pleasure. Every design, whether it be in the form of a coffee mug, a chair, or a room, should give you pleasure. It’s a feeling all good designs share.


What is your favorite design tip?

PK: Mix it up! But be very intentional in how you do it. It’s not just about heaping random things together. It’s about finding the commonality, the thread, or the meaning they share. I like coordinating seemingly different things to see how they influence one another and our perception of them. I recently admired the décor in a boutique in Nantucket, where a huge and delicate crystal chandelier played against a hard, stacked-stone wall backdrop. Both are beautiful, but very different. Together, they’re beyond beautiful!


What is the color you can’t live without, and why?

PK: Blue! Any shade. To me, it’s the ocean, the sky, and the color of both of my sons’ eyes. As someone who grew up on Cape Cod, I’m naturally comforted by blue; a color like red is beautiful, but it makes me too excited. I bring a lot of my own energy into every situation, so I use most colors in moderation. Small pops here and there. Blue has just the right amount of energy for me.


Complete this sentence: Every room needs …

PK: Balance. Balance is key. In art and design, balance is about the elements (shape, color, light, value, saturation, texture, scale). How we assemble these elements is what gives a space visual equilibrium. The same applies to fashion. The longer the skirt, the lower the heel; the shorter the skirt, the higher the heel. It’s a balancing act. In music, storytelling, and the visual arts, there’s an ebb and flow, a push and pull, tension and slack, movement and stillness. In design, you can show balance symmetrically, asymmetrically, or radially. You can feel it when you walk into a room or see a tablescape that just isn’t “right.” When something is balanced, it sings.


If you could take on any project, anywhere, on any budget, what would it be?

PK: I am a lifelong boater, so my initial thought is a yacht set to cruise the globe; my design would echo and pay homage to the colors, cultures, and scenery found all over the world. But even this seems too limiting, somehow. Truly, my dream project is always my next project, no matter the budget or location, because I thrive on potential!


You’ve had an up-close-and-personal look at our Design Centers; what do you think?

PK: I have to say I used to think Ethan Allen was one style – kind of old-fashioned and dated – but how wrong was I? I admit I hadn’t been in an Ethan Allen Design Center since I was eight years old, so it was a wonderful eye-opening experience to witness the variety, quality, and craftsmanship that Ethan Allen offers. The Design Centers are up to date with the latest technology, and it’s been an incredible learning experience for me. And the designers? Unbelievable! They are such passionate, dedicated, welcoming, and knowledgeable people. I am so thankful to have met so many of them. I enjoyed making tip videos and commercial spots with all of them.


Do you have a favorite Ethan Allen look?

PK: I guess it depends on the day. I really like the globally inspired living room displays and the cozy cottage displays. If I had to choose, I’d choose a little of each.


What are your three favorite Ethan Allen pieces?

PK: Right now, I am obsessed with the Capiz chandelier. I love the look and the champagne gold tones, and how the natural beauty inherent in the shell is honored and elevated. I also am in love with the Elise bed in vintage linen, with the hand-painted lattice. This French-inspired piece is just gorgeous. The beading is so fine, and the fluted legs are stunning and romantic! I also love the round Florentine mirror, with its antiqued patina, texture, and varying shades of gold. Mirrors add light and depth to a space, and this piece does it with a Tuscan touch that I would definitely put into my own home.


Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?

PK: I live by the philosophy that if you want a glass of milk, you don’t park a stool in a field and hope a cow walks by. I am a big believer in dreams, vision boards, gratitude, and manifesting. We are here to live, so I say live as fully as you can. I absolutely adore design, and believe that designers are artists and healers. They don’t just make things pretty. They help create spaces that are safe and comfortable, stimulating and calm. They help create order and functionality. The world outside is often a chaotic and stressful place, and designers have a role in making things calmer for their clients. It is important work.

Learn more about Parker Kelley and her love of great design: and @parkerkelleytvhost

See how you can apply Parker’s design advice: go to or visit a Design Center near you!

Whether you’re oceanside or landlocked, life can be beachy with these three coastal room décor essentials.

A Palette of Sand and Sea

Anchor your coastal room décor in the essential colors of the beach: blue, white, and sand. This palette can take on a range of personalities, depending on how colors are used. A space dominated by contrast – navy and crisp white, with touches of sand – tends to be invigorating. A more neutral space – sand and white with hints of sky blue – feels more serene.

Touchable Texture

Use natural fibers with variations in surface feel: a sofa slipcovered in cotton, baskets woven from abaca or seagrass. Add grooved wood and smooth metal pieces that take you back to the boardwalk. Then, bring it back home with cozy blankets, plush pillows and a soft rug that feels good underfoot.


Coastal Accents

Choose a range of accessories, from those that are clearly nautical by nature to those with a more subtle seaside vibe. Here are a few options:


From table lamp bases inspired by coral to rope-wrapped chandeliers that can go formal or casual, you can use lighting for much more than ambience in a coastal space.


Create your own ocean views, depending on your taste. Large-scale abstract seascapes, 3D pieces crafted from shells or pressed seaweed, and beach photos can all set the scene.

Objets d’Ocean

Finish with accessories that are from the sea or inspired by ocean life, or collect pieces that tell tales of ocean voyages.

Need More Coastal Design Ideas?

Ethan Allen’s designers are always available to help you create your personal coastal getaway. Bring things that inspire you, like magazine pages and photos, to one of our Design Centers, or schedule an in-home appointment with one of our designers (their help is always free).

Next steps:

Things that are made well make the world a more beautiful place. At Ethan Allen, we take pride in crafting timeless furniture that lasts. Our reputation rests on it. A case in point: the Quincy bed, an 18th century-inspired beauty with dramatic curves, boldly turned posts and a stately Sheraton headboard. It’s an instant heirloom, a bestseller, and it’s handcrafted in our own Vermont workshop. (more…)

Summer: time for long, lazy days, gentle breezes and sunkissed afternoons. Time to take the good life outdoors.

A cat-like stretch on a chaise under a canopy of trees. Welcome splashes and the sunny sounds of kids playing in the pool. A midday meal gathered from the garden, juice from a just-picked tomato running down your chin. Time spent in the open air is one of life’s great pleasures. Creature comforts and good company make it even better.

This season, no matter your style, your budget or the size of your yard, porch or patio, we’ve got your outdoor experience covered. Need some patio inspiration or outdoor decorating ideas? Get the party started by choosing from seven distinctive collections, all with the quality construction and durability you expect from Ethan Allen. (The invite list is on you!)


Vero Dunes delivers resort-worthy comfort and style, in all-weather wicker with a sleek onyx finish. Its resin-wrapped aluminum frame has the look of genuine wicker, but it’s lighter and rust-free for durability. Vero Dunes has a modern vibe, classic notes and exceptional versatility.




Design a more decked-out deck with Bridgewater Cove, a strikingly simple, relaxed and refined collection crafted of sustainable Plantation Teak. It has clean lines, tapered details and unmistakably modern notes. Its durable cushions are as comfortable as any you’ll find indoors.




Picturing a prettier patio? Biscayne is a classic that invites you to unwind elegantly. Its timeless style (transitional, with arm scrolls, gracefully curved chair stretchers and a double-X back) is at home in any outdoor space. Need shade? The tempered glass top is available with an optional umbrella hole.




Proving style doesn’t stop at the French doors, Millbrook delivers refined good looks and timeless style to any outdoor space. It’s crafted of sustainable Plantation Teak, with a look that’s part West Indies lanai and part English garden; its generous scale and beautifully carved arms and legs lend it a formal feeling.




Lounging around never looked so good, Redding Ridge is a stylish, inviting, fully upholstered collection made to weather the elements. With clean lines, deep, comfortable seats and a strong, durable frame, this gorgeous collection blurs the lines between indoors and out. Our modern concrete fire table adds warmth and ambience at the flip of a switch.




What better way to start the day than under the summer sky? Serve up breakfast or brunch on a dining table from the Nod Hill collection. With an interlocking circle design and gently curved arms, the coordinating chair is simple and stylish. Indoor/outdoor aluminum frames are powder-coated for good looks and generously scaled for comfort.




A pretty spot of shade on the lawn is the perfect place for Willow Bay, a graceful, all-weather woven collection with a fresh, updated look. A cool, contemporary, tightly closed weave gives the collection the look of genuine wicker. The rust-proof aluminum frames are durable, so Willow Bay will last year after relaxing year.


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Find your favorite? Good. Now mix things up! Many of our styles can sit seamlessly alongside others, so you don’t have to furnish your dining, lounging and conversation areas with just one collection. (Wood and all-weather wicker look great together, for example.) Use color, pattern, even greenery, to tie them together and create a cohesive look. Select from dozens of our fab performance fabrics, and add pillows, rugs and umbrellas, to create outdoor rooms you can really live in.


Get to know the man behind Ethan Allen Day. He was a pioneer and a patriot—and a bit of a troublemaker, too!

Pioneers are the first explorers of a new territory. They start with a vision, often risking life, limb, and lucre to journey into the unknown. Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys were pioneers—let’s be honest, they were rabble-rousers, too—and their pioneering spirit was an essential ingredient in the founding of both Vermont and America itself.

In 2016, to celebrate Ethan Allen, Vermont declared June 23 to be Ethan Allen Day. To celebrate this special day, we’d like to tell you a little bit about our namesake and how we work, as a company, to keep his pioneering spirit alive.

A Youth Adrift

Once upon a time, there was a little strip of land between New York and New Hampshire. It was bordered by the Connecticut River to the east, Lake Champlain to the west, Quebec to the north, and Massachusetts to the south. Both New York and New Hampshire decided they owned this disputed territory, which would come to be known as Vermont.

New York began issuing land grants to settlers—and so did New Hampshire. New York’s grants were irregularly shaped tracts given to the wealthy and well connected. New Hampshire’s land grants were town-sized, with neat borders, bestowed mostly upon middle class frontiersmen. One of those grantees was Ethan Allen, a descendent of English Puritan farmers, who’d grown up in Cornwall, Connecticut.

Ethan became a bit of a drifter after his father’s death in 1755. He joined the militia to fight the French and Indian War, but he never got into the fight. He tended the family farm for a bit and then went into business as part owner of an iron furnace. He also dabbled in philosophy and, randomly, was kicked out of Northampton, Massachusetts; no one really knows why. In 1762, Ethan married Mary Brownson—unhappily, according to biographer Charles Jellison, for she was illiterate, rigidly religious, and quick to criticize her husband—and then fathered five children, only two of whom reached adulthood.


Statue in honor of the Green Mountain Boys

Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys

Serendipity came, in two forms, to Ethan Allen in the 1770s. First, he was asked to defend a family member’s claim to a New Hampshire land grant after King George III—among his many ill-fated decisions—ruled that Vermont belonged to New York. After some unsuccessful amateur lawyering, Ethan traveled to Bennington, where he rustled up an entourage in the form of the Green Mountain Boys. Together, the gangsters started trying to drive New York settlers out of Vermont.

A second stroke of luck came when the American Revolution began, and Vermont declared its independence from Great Britain. Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys rose in rank from hoodlums to heroes when they captured Fort Ticonderoga for the Yanks. It wasn’t too much of a stretch for Ethan—raiding New York was a thing he and his friends liked to do anyway—but the outcome had a happy result for the Americans; cutting off the fort also cut British communication lines between Quebec and points east.



After the Revolution

The Green Mountain Boys Flag

Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys achieved prime patriot status, but it took a while for Ethan to find his happily ever after. The Green Mountain Boys voted him out as their leader after the capture of Fort Ticonderoga. He then tried to invade Quebec and ended up a prisoner of war. Following his release, his wife Mary died in 1782.

Mary’s passing left Ethan surprisingly sad—perhaps she improved in hindsight. He launched a spotty writing career by publishing both a poem for Mary and a treatise called Reason, the latter of which was panned as “crude,” “vulgar,” and “flimsy.”


Last Years in Vermont

Maturity brought an end, as it does for so many, to Ethan Allen’s wandering ways. He wrote a sequel to Reason, remarried (more happily this time), and fathered three more children. By the time of his death in 1789, he was revered for his role in establishing the state of Vermont, which achieved official recognition in 1791.

In death as in life, Ethan Allen seemed to be one of those people about whom there was no indifferent opinion. He was described by one local reverend, according to Jellison, as “a profane deist, who died with a mind replete with horror and despair.” On his tombstone, however, inscribed by those who apparently liked him better, were these kinder words: “His spirit tried the mercies of his God, in whom he alone believed and strongly trusted.”

Of course, someone stole Ethan’s tombstone in the early 1850s. The state of Vermont kindly replaced it in 1858.

Ethan Allen, the Company

About one hundred fifty years later, When Nat Ancell and Ted Baumritter bought a Vermont sawmill and started manufacturing furniture, they named their 1939 new releases after a local hero: Ethan Allen. That line of furniture became the Baumritter Company’s most popular; eventually, Nat changed the company name to Ethan Allen.

As it has grown from a local furniture producer to an internationally renowned brand, Ethan Allen the company has drawn on the best of the pioneering spirit that characterized its namesake. In the 1960s, Ethan Allen unveiled a whole new way to shop for furniture. Instead of arranging furniture in rows—lines of chairs, lines of tables, etc.—the company asked retailers to showcase each piece as part of a room setting.

Ethan Allen expanded this practice further in its own stores, creating gallery showrooms that made it easier for clients to picture how new furniture would look in their homes. The company made that visualization even easier in the 1990s, when it started hiring designers and offering free design service to anyone who shopped at Ethan Allen.

As 2020 approaches, the company continues its pioneer journey by embracing technology both in and out of the Design Center: in, with an incredibly realistic design studio experience; and out, with the Ethan Allen inHome augmented reality app. We aim to be less troublesome than our namesake, but we try to bring a little of his fearlessness into everything we do, from the styles we create to the way we market—and to our willingness to embrace the opportunities that come our way.

Join us in lifting a glass to Ethan Allen, a mischief-maker turned philosopher turned statesman. Here’s to those who embody the pioneer spirit, in business and in life.

The iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel once said, “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”  We couldn’t agree more, and you’ll see just how true her statement is in our new selection of relaxed modern styles.

With an eye on livability and a nod to midcentury modern and Hollywood glamour, our designers have created an exciting array of furnishings that dispel any notions about elegant design being fussy or formal. The styles have an overall modern sensibility with low profiles, and sleek lines, yet they are exquisite in their details. What’s more, they’re surprisingly versatile and comfortable. If you’re seeking out modern furniture ideas for your home, you’ll want to give these new styles a closer look.



Minimalist looks, like the Braemore coffee table, get a casual feel from a unique wire-brushed stain in gray, alabaster or mink. Many pieces feature metal accents in satin nickel and champagne gold finishes, and modern forms, like the McLevin open cube table, are wrapped in fabric to become bold fashion statements.



The looks are unfussy, but far from unfashionable. A unique mix of materials like marble, mother-of-pearl, clear acrylic, faux shagreen and recycled glass, distinguish many of the pieces, adding unexpected texture and dazzle to clean, modern settings. The streamlined Rambert oak buffet serves up many chic suprises with fabric-wrapped doors and stainless steel pull knobs with capiz shell inlays.



A tranquil palette of blue, gray, white and sand creates a relaxing, feel-at-home vibe. These sophisticated neutrals are always fresh and can go from coastal charm to city chic.  The lustrous Salena quilted bedding in mist blue and Loren mother-of-pearl stool are just a couple of our favorites for bringing these hues into your home.



Hand-tailored sofas and chairs with tall backs, sleek profiles and subtle curves deliver luxurious everyday comfort with understated glamour. The Channing sofa brings back the Deco curved sofa in a small-scale design that suits small spaces, while the Averill shelter-arm sofa, with your pick of a tailored waterfall skirt or tapered legs, looks stunning dressed up or down.



Whether your taste leans modern or glamorous, eclectic or classic, our new relaxed modern designs can bring a sophisticated flair to your home. Head to your nearest Design Center to see them up close and personal, or to speak with a designer who can help you create a simply elegant look of your own. Their services are always complimentary.