“There’s a song I’ve carried with me for years, just looking for the place it belonged.”

That’s what Ethan Allen creative director Kemper Johnson says about “Putting It Together,” the song that inspired our new commercial, “Details.” It’s about the age-old struggle between art and business, the tension between carrying out a creative vision and earning enough approval (and cash) to keep doing the work, and the drive to keep creating work that’s fresh and inventive.

Let’s time travel behind the scenes to 1982, when Poltergeist was in theaters, “Eye of the Tiger” was burning up the charts, and Stephen Sondheim got an idea for a new kind of musical.

Sondheim in a Slump, Circa 1982

After a string of Broadway hits in the 1970s—Company, Follies, and Sweeney Todd among them—Stephen Sondheim’s first musical of the 1980s, Merrily We Roll Along, was a flop. The lackluster showing spelled the end of his collaboration with longtime partner Hal Prince. In 1982, he launched a tentative project with off-Broadway playwright James Lapine.

The two found inspiration in the pointillist painter Georges Seurat and his 1884 work A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grande Jatte.

To Lapine, the painting looked like a stage set without a main character. He and Sondheim decided that the artist was the missing character, so they went about imagining a Seurat-like persona named George. Lapine started writing and adding song cues, but when he had finished the first act and gathered the actors in for a reading, Sondheim had only just written the opening chords of Sunday in the Park with George.

Art Isn’t Easy

By the time rehearsals started for the off-Broadway workshop, Sondheim was still lagging behind; he had only completed the score for the first act. In fact, the play launched incomplete, with Sondheim and Lapine coming out on stage giving nightly speeches about how the work was still in progress. Although it may sound like a crazy way to write a show, for Sondheim, the process was ideal; he was able to meet the actors and get a sense of who they were before composing songs for them.

By the time the show made its official Broadway debut in May 1984, the second act had only been complete for a few days, and those who saw it had a range of opinions about it. The New York Daily News said it didn’t bear looking at or listening to for very long, but New York Times columnist Frank Rich loved it, calling it “a contemplative modernist musical that, true to form, is as much about itself and its creators as it is about the universe beyond.”

Sunday went on to win a Pulitzer Prize and two Tony awards. “Putting It Together” also got a boost from Barbra Streisand, who decided to record the song for her 1985 Broadway Album. Sondheim himself came to the recording studio and helped Streisand and her collaborators personalize the lyrics and the score. The musical also enjoyed a second Broadway run in starting 2017, with Jake Gyllenhaal reprising Mandy Patinkin’s role as George.

Working out the Vision

For “Details,” Kemper wanted to reimagine the song with a less agitated, more modern feel. He tapped vocalist Anna Dellaria, who infused the piece with a warmer, more laid-back aesthetic while still capturing the excitement of watching a work of art—or a room, in this case—come together.

For Ethan Allen, “Putting It Together” was a welcome reminder of our core values: bit by bit, putting it together—every detail matters in the art of what we do.

And in the spaces you create, the artist is you.

If you haven’t seen the commercial yet, here it is:

For more on the story of how “Details” came to be, check out our interview with Kemper and director Joe Wright.


“Having just a vision’s no solution / Everything depends on execution…”

Ethan Allen creative director Kemper Johnson knows a few things about bringing a vision to life. One of the minds behind the fun, fashion-forward Bull’s-Eye World campaign that reenergized Target, Kemper was also responsible for launching Sean John’s fragrance line at Estee Lauder, rebranding Coach, and revitalizing brands like Cole Haan, Express, and Kohl’s, to name a few.

Since September, he’s been crafting a vision for the future of Ethan Allen…and he didn’t have to look far for inspiration. “Immediately after I started here in September, the company was preparing for a huge conference of our retailers and designers. We had to think, What are we going to focus on? What matters today? What will matter tomorrow? There are the Ethan Allen pillars, you know: the craftsmanship and the quality, the variety of styles, the level of service, the personalization, the environmental sustainability – the details that make Ethan Allen Ethan Allen. The details are what matters. Every detail matters.” And so a tagline was born.

Chief marketing officer Bridget O’Brien walks by as Kemper shares his story and leans into the recorder. “It’s more than a tagline, even. It’s not a message, it’s the DNA of our brand. We’ve always been innovators – we changed the way furniture was sold in stores. We’ve always cared about craftsmanship and quality. We’re going to keep the tradition of making beautiful things and making them well – and we’re evolving, expanding, making room to delight an even larger audience.”

Once every detail matters came into focus, things really got rolling. “I’m a big Stephen Sondheim fan, and there’s a song that I’ve carried with me for years, just looking for the place it belonged,” Kemper confides. The song, “Putting it Together,” from Sunday in the Park with George, couldn’t have been a more perfect fit.

“It all started to come together in my mind: putting it together, bit by bit, piece by piece – the lyrics from the song, which is about the art of making art and seeing your vision come true. From there we got to the idea of The Art of Making Home, which is also all about the details, all about letting your personality shine.”

After getting the go-ahead for a major national TV commercial, Kemper turned to Joe Wright of Sibling Rivalry, who Kemper describes as “one of the A+ directors in the industry. He does, oddly enough, a lot of car commercials. He’s brilliant at bringing life to inanimate objects. So I presented the concept to him – I had boarded it in a way that it was basically about details.” [Boarding = storyboarding, a way to visually present a concept for video production.]

Joe had thoughts on it almost immediately. “I always get excited when someone comes to you with a brief and you … can create something with it that no one would have expected,” he shared.  “For me, it just felt like a very exciting project to get involved in, because I knew I could do something really interesting with it.”

See what else Joe had to say about the vision and the execution of our gorgeous collaboration in this behind-the-scenes chat!


Humans spend roughly one-third of their lives in dreamland. Yet according to the World Sleep Society, sponsors of World Sleep Day, 35 percent of people say they don’t get enough sleep, and poor sleep quality is seriously impacting their physical and mental health.

When you don’t snooze, you lose, especially during the daylight hours. In the U.S. alone, the annual cost of insomnia is estimated to be between $92.5 billion and $107.5 billion. What those figures don’t show you, however, is the personal cost exacted by restless nights. Forty-six percent of people say sleep disturbance causes them to miss work or events or to make errors they wouldn’t otherwise make.

Quality sleep has three elements: duration, continuity, and depth. In other words, good sleep lasts, it’s uninterrupted, and it’s deep enough to be restorative. When we develop Ethan Allen bedding and mattresses, we’re always thinking about how to create the best conditions for a good night’s sleep. World Sleep Day, which is March 16 this year, is a good time to take stock of how well you’re sleeping—and to do something about it if the answer is, “not so well.”

Start with a Great Mattress

A lot of details go into crafting an Ethan Allen mattress. All of our mattresses are made by hand, and we’ve developed multiple mattress options with specific features personalized to different body types and sleep preferences.

The key to a good night’s sleep starts with choosing a mattress that meets your unique sleep requirements. When you sleep with proper postural alignment, you experience fewer pressure points, you get better sleep quality throughout the night, and you can wake up feeling refreshed and alert. A mattress doesn’t necessarily have to be firm to provide a good night’s sleep; let the proper support guide you.

So how do you know when you need a new mattress? According to the National Sleep Foundation, if your current mattress is worn or sagging in the middle or at the edges, if you’re feeling every turn your partner makes, or if you’re waking up feeling achy and stiff, it’s probably time to shop for something new. We recommend starting with our exclusive Sleep by DesignTM survey to choose the right mattress type for your needs.

>>Take our sleep survey


Don’t Forget the Foundation!

We craft our flat foundations from kiln-dried Canadian spruce in both standard and low-profile options, depending on the height you prefer. In the U.S., we also offer TEMPUR-ErgoTM adjustable motion bases, which you can control with a wireless remote or a smartphone app—think endless head and foot positions and multiple massage settings for crazy-good comfort.

Our sleep survey makes proper support recommendations, but it’s always a good idea to test out mattress and foundation combos before making a purchase.

  • Head into a Design Center to test out your Sleep by DesignTM survey recommendations. Find your nearest Design Center.
  • Chat with a designer online if you have more in-depth questions, so you can purchase your mattress with confidence. Visit our website and click the Chat Live button at the top of the home page to connect with a designer.

Create a Relaxing Environment

Seventy-five percent of people surveyed by the National Sleep Foundation said that comfortable sheets and bedding are essential for great sleep. Choose pillows that support your neck and head so that they line up in a neutral position. If your pillow has lumps or sags, it’s time to replace it with something better.

A great sleep environment isn’t just about sheets and pillows. It’s also about choosing beautiful bedcoverings and a soothing palette. A bedroom that speaks to your style sensibilities becomes a much easier place to relax and unwind.

  • If you like rich colors, paint your walls a lush blue, emerald green, or blue-based purple.
  • Some people find neutrals calming. If that sounds like you, go with a light tan or gray on your walls, or choose a pastel hue of a strong color, like a pale sage green or light lavender.
  • Others like a bedroom that reminds them of a special place; in this context, even bold colors can feel soothing. Transport yourself to your favorite island getaway with bold turquoise, bright coral, or sunny yellow wall color.

Once your wall color is in place, choose bedcoverings and decorative pillows that set the right mood. If you prefer solid or neutral colors, make them special with a beautiful pattern or texture. In a blue or neutral room, our Lorelle paisley duvet cover offers a soft paisley pattern, while our Gresham coverlet gives you the chance to dress your bed in sumptuous blue velvet.

>>Check out this look

Make Your Bed

A National Sleep Foundation poll found that many people say a neat, clean bedroom is critical to a good night’s sleep. People who make their bed are 19 percent more likely to report fewer sleep problems. We recently published a post on how to make your bed like a design pro. It includes can’t-miss, step-by-step instructions for inserting a coverlet into a duvet cover quickly and easily—not wrestling with a duvet cover sounds mighty relaxing!

If you’re not getting the rest you need, the right mattresses and bedding can mean less time counting sheep and more time getting quality Zzzs.  And if you like expert tips like these, don’t miss out! Subscribe to our blog by adding your email address in the box to the right.

Get a behind-the-scenes peek at the “Details” behind our biggest ad ever.

Get a behind-the-scenes peek at the “Details” behind our biggest ad ever. And if you haven’t seen the commercial yet, click the link below! Does the music sound familiar? It’s Stephen Sondheim’s catchy tune from his musical “Sunday in the Park with George.”  We are working on a story about this award winning American composer and lyricist- so stay tuned! We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed creating it.


Garnets and rubies and sapphires, oh my! Such precious stones. Such rich colors. What a  way to add a glint of gorgeousness to a room! Decorating with jewel tones instantly infuses a space with sophistication and luxury, but it can have a cozying effect, too. Warm hues naturally give a room an intimate feel. From topaz to tourmaline, jewel tones create a stylish palette with tons of potential. We love using deeply saturated shades to define a room; think vivid emerald walls (not just one, thank you). But even a single piece, like our mouth-blown Lucira emerald vase, can add a lavish touch. Nothing lights up a room faster than jewel-toned accents, from lamps and throws to pillows and trays.

All jewel tones are gems in our book—but two of our favorites are emerald (surprise!) and amethyst. They’re the stars of our new national advertising campaign—just take a look at our TV commercial and the stills we’ve captured here. See for yourself how the gem-inspired colors we love can embellish a room. Do try this at home.




When we last met up with Jonathan Parks, he was packing for a month-long trip to China, Shanghai, Thailand and India. As Ethan Allen’s Senior Director of Hard/Soft Accents & Outdoor Living, Jonathan takes two to three trips a year, to meet with the artisans and vendors who supply the unique products we offer. As always, he was looking forward to his travels because he loves exploring, meeting people – and most of all, seeing how things are made. Here are just a few photos from his trip – enjoy!



Five ways with the versatile Lora

She’s pretty and practical, our Lora bar. She’s sturdy, with a solid wooden frame, rugged rattan top and shelves, and rails that keep bottles and barware in place. But Lora’s more than a suitable spot for stashing spirits and stemware. She’s exotic, with a refined silhouette, wafer-thin mahogany veneers—and a tropical air. She’s an island girl with an easygoing attitude that can work any room—and is she ever helpful around the house!

Want high style in a small place? Look no further. Need a place to store (and show off) pretty things? Three roomy (2-by-3-foot) shelves at your service. Serving cocktails? Lora is always ready for a party. Taking tea? Totally! Will your guests be staying the night? Think outside the tissue box and furnish your guest room in luxury and style.

You can dress Lora for any occasion—here are a few ideas for inspiration. Check back for posts on how to get all five looks: Traveler, Tea Time, Silver Jubilee, Comfort Zone, and Mixed Drinks. Meanwhile, use your imagination; we’d love to see how you style the best bar in town. Tag photos on Instagram and we might feature them on our site. #ethanallendesign


Meet Jonathan Parks, our Senior Director of Hard/Soft Accents and Outdoor Living.

Jonathan Parks is a thoughtful man with a passion for beautiful things.

He is Ethan Allen’s go-to person for lighting, artwork, hard accents, outdoor, and rugs. On paper, he’s in charge of design, product development, production, merchandising, and sales management. But ask him what he does, and he’ll say simply: “I’m responsible for creating beautiful products that our customers need and want.”

Jonathan has a interior architecture and business management background, and a resume that includes stints at Calvin Klein Home; Christopher Radko, where he designed exquisite glass ornaments and snow globes; and Julie Baker Design, where he helped manage the bespoke jewelry company. He’s been at Ethan Allen for four years.

When we caught up with Jonathan, he was preparing to embark on a month-long trip to meet with artisans and vendors in four countries. He takes two to three such trips a year and yet seems to travel effortlessly, going heavy on the planning and light on the packing. Even as this trip loomed and he was rushing to tie up loose ends, Jonathan welcomed the opportunity to tell us why he loves his job.

He says he’s been preparing for this position his entire life. “I knew, even as a child, that I’d be involved in interior design. I was always rearranging the furniture in my mother’s house, drawing room settings, drafting floor plans, and making sketches.” (He texted his mother in the middle of this interview to verify the claim.)

His outgoing personality is well-suited to working with vendors all over the world. “We have multiple vendors with multiple materials, but when you’re looking for something in particular—whether it’s a price point or a proprietary design—you start thinking of every vendor and who would do the best job,” he says. “I truly enjoy working with them to build up their potential and competencies. We help them go beyond what they thought they could do.”

For his part, he’s always thinking of ways to incorporate accents into Ethan Allen’s overall line. “One of my favorite things is developing a product for a certain launch, but making sure it’s saleable in all our projections,” says Jonathan. “That’s the challenge, and it’s a great challenge to have. I’m very lucky to get to do what I do.”

Most heads would spin at his itinerary. Among the stops: China to meet with lighting vendors; workshops  outside of Shanghai to look at samples for an upcoming outdoor collection; Vietnam to discuss concepts for lacquerware; Thailand to inspect natural materials for an array of accents; and finally, India, for a four-day “rug retreat” timed to coincide with inspections.

When he returns, he’ll gather his staff and hit the ground running. But not before he relaxes for a bit in the midcentury patio house that he shares with his partner, Tony Phillips, in rural Connecticut. Jonathan describes Tony, a Pilates instructor and massage therapist, as “very mellow, very Zen, the complete opposite of me.” Jonathan has two children: a 14, soon to be 24-year-old daughter, Bleu, whom he describes as “fiercely independent, and a teenager in the truest sense of the word.” His son, Lucas, 11, is “a remarkably sensitive person who is also an incredible athlete.”

Jonathan enjoys living in a period home with furnishings that are, not surprisingly, globally inspired. Also in residence: a Coonhound rescue named Loretta Lynn and Argusaurus P. Rex, a fluffy Coton de Tuléar. “We love the space and the privacy, and we love that it’s quiet,” he says. “We heat the house with wood in the winter and garden in the summer, and we’re an hour from New York City. It really is the best of all worlds.”


Don’t miss Instagram takeover day with Jonathan Parks on February 23. Jonathan will be posting pix from his trip @ethanallen all day long!

2018 is the year you’re going to get organized—we believe in you. We have eight great pieces and some room design ideas to help you get your house in order.

1. Colton Storage Bed

Tuck away extra blankets, linens, shoes, kid toys—these roomy drawers can make clutter disappear. The Colton bed is a workhorse with the beauty of a thoroughbred. It’s also one of our most versatile beds, available in three sizes (Queen, King, California King), three headboard heights (40″, 55″, and 70″), and three headboard styles (smooth, grid tufted, or button tufted), with nailhead trim options, in your choice of hundreds of fabrics or leathers, with or without contrast welting.

Pro tip: Leave plenty of clearance in front of your Colton bed’s footboard so the drawers have room to open. You may need as much as 48″ so the drawers can open fully with you also having room to stand in front of them.

2. Ming Small Media Cabinet

Ming is for those treasures you want to display, not hide away. It features gorgeous Asian-influenced design and a variety of hand-distressed finish options.

Pro tip: This Ming cabinet would look beautiful in a small dining area, but it’s also vented for wire access in back, so you can also use it in your living room for your television, sound system, or gaming console.

3. Logan Hall Tree

Are you sick of disorder in your entryway? Our Logan hall tree is the answer. It uses one of our favorite room design ideas, which is to take advantage of height so you can get more storage without taking up too much floor space.

Logan has hooks for coats, hats, and scarves, plus a deep bench for bags and backpacks. Even better: It has two spacious storage drawers at the bottom. Plus, check your look in the mirror on your way out the door; you deserve to look as (or more!) flawless than your foyer.

Pro tip: Insert a lined shoe tray in each lower storage drawer. Then, when you need to let a pair of snow or rain boots dry, you can tuck them in the drawers and out of sight.

4. Handwoven Flo Baskets

Large floor baskets are great for storing throws, fire logs, laundry, toys, and so much more. They rest neatly against the side of a larger piece or furniture or slide discreetly beneath it.

Our Flo baskets are woven by hand in the Philippines, where artisans collect bulrushes that are as much as 6′ long. They dry each strand in the sun before weaving them—without a frame—into these gorgeous baskets.

Pro tip: Stash one of these baskets in your living room. At the end of the day, when your child has played with toys (you don’t want to step on stray Legos!), encourage them to throw the toys in the basket, take the whole basket to their room, and then put everything away.

5. Editor’s Modular System

Our Editor’s modular series is from our Ethan Allen | Disney line, and it’s an organization powerhouse. The open storage system has a variety of bases, cubbies, corner units, and even a tower so you can customize the layout to fit your space. Tuck baskets into each cubby to corral small items (our Fantastic Felt baskets will brighten up any space) or stack books, collectibles, electronics, or more inside.

Pro tip: Don’t just envision these modular storage pieces standing against a wall; the Editor’s system lets you be much more creative with your room design ideas. Try wrapping it behind a sofa or sectional or placing units back to back for use as room dividers.

6. Spindle Glass Jars

One of the biggest organization challenges is finding a way to corral small items. Our Spindle glass jars, another Ethan Allen | Disney design, provides a home for crayons, office supplies, sewing supplies, art supplies—the list goes on. It’s available in both small and large sizes for some visual variety, and you’ll love the look: It’s made by master glassmiths in Portugal.

Pro tip: Use Spindle jars and other clear jars for storage in your pantry. They can hold dry goods, like beans, pasta, and rice.

7. Chevron 24″ Square Bone Tray

Do you ever look at your coffee table, end tables, or dining table and wish you had a way to group your tabletop décor? Trays like our handcrafted Chevron bone tray put small decorative items in order. On your coffee table, use them to hold books, small plants, or remote controls; in your dining room, group a vase of flowers alongside your napkin and silverware holders.

Pro tip: This tray isn’t just for holding decorative accents. When you have a party, use it to corral chips and dips, or stash bowls of candies or nuts inside.

8. Callum Single-File Bookcase

We like file storage that doesn’t look like file storage, and that’s why we love this Callum bookcase. At the base is a roomy file drawer; above that file drawer are two storage drawers. On top of that base storage, open bookshelves store your favorite novels and your collectibles. Also, we’ll let you in on a secret that makes this bookcase incredibly versatile: It has venting and an opening to pass wires through its backpanel, so you can use it in your living room just as easily as you can use it in your office.

Pro tip: You don’t have to line up books in boring rows. Place your most beautiful books with their covers facing out, supported by spined-out books on either side. You can also place books in vertical stacks, sorting them by like colors.


What’s the secret to changing the world? Making your bed.

At least, that’s what Navy SEAL Admiral William H. McRaven thinks. In a University of Texas at Austin commencement speech, he said making your bed gives you a small sense of pride. If you do the little things right, he says, you’ll get the big things right, too.

No one gets bed-making right like Missy Grasso, one of our senior designers. If you love the bedroom design inspiration photos in our magazines, on our blog, and on our social networks, then you’ve seen her work. We asked her for the inside scoop on how to make a bed worthy of a photo shoot. Here’s how she does it, step by step.

Gather Your Bed Linens

  • Pillows: 2 to 4 standard or queen, 2 euro
  • Shams: 2 to 4 standard or queen, 2 euro
  • 1 down comforter
  • 1 duvet cover
  • 1 mattress pad with elastic edges
  • 1 fitted sheet and 1 flat sheet
  • 1 or more blankets, quilts, or coverlets
  • Plenty of accent pillows

Make It Gorgeous

  • Insert the pillows into the pillowcases and shams. Also, insert the comforter into the duvet cover—we have some great drawings in our sidebar that will make it so much easier to deal with duvet covers.
  • Put the mattress pad and then the fitted sheet on the mattress. Tuck both in tightly on all four sides, and pull them taut so that everything is smooth on the top and corners.
  • Lay the flat sheet on top of the fitted sheet, finished side down. We want the cuff to show when we fold it back later. Center the flat sheet on the mattress, with the cuff 6 to 8 inches from the headboard, and make sure it’s even on all sides.
  • Add a blanket, quilt, or coverlet. Center it on the mattress and make sure the top touches the headboard.
  • Fold the layers back so that your sheet cuff is about 12 to 16 inches from the headboard. Then, at the foot of the bed, tuck both of these layers in tightly; we love hospital corners, but if you don’t use them, we won’t tell.

  • Add another blanket, quilt, or coverlet if you want. Lay it on top of the mattress, and fold about a quarter of its length back so the first decorative layers are exposed. At the foot of the bed, you can leave the corners untucked.
  • Drape your comforter and duvet cover. Give it a quick shake to fluff it, and lay it on top of your mattress so the top is touching your headboard. Fold the comforter and duvet cover back; you can fold it back to one third or one half its length, depending on the look you want.
  • Pile on the pillows. Prop the euro pillows against the headboard first, and then rest the other pillows against them. You can also drape a throw over the top near the foot of the bed.
  • Finish it off with accents. As you add decorative pillows, play around with colors and textures. These are a few of our favorite looks:


No more pulling, prodding, or praying to get your comforter inside!

  1. Turn the duvet cover inside out and lay it flat on the bed (with the opening at the foot). Lay the comforter on top.
  2. Starting at the closed end, roll both duvet and comforter together.
  3. Invert the duvet opening around the ends of both sides of the bundle (like a sandwich bag)
  4. Button or zip the duvet closed.
  5. Unroll the bundle in the opposite direction (back toward the head of the bed). Give it a few shakes, then fluff


Show Us How You Style It

This is how we style a bed, and we’d also love to see the way you do it. Share your bedroom design inspirations on Instagram and tag them with #EthanAllenDesign.

Finally, look to the right: You’ll see a place to type in your email address and subscribe to our blog posts. It’s a great way to get more tips from design masters like Missy, right in your inbox.

Go ahead—make your bed! You just might change the world in the process.

—The Ethan Allen Design Team