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
No matter the style or scope of a project, Rose T. Bien-Aime says her goal is always to provide her clients with “a place of peace and comfort.” Rose, who is a consultant in our Rockville, MD, Design Center—and our latest Design Star—also believes we should infuse our homes with a little romance every chance we get. “My goal is to make my clients feel sophisticated and romantic every day,” she says. “As a designer, I love to create spaces that are timeless—and sexy!” Rose adds romance by layering rooms with classic pieces and curated touches of glam. She prefers pleasing palettes that lean toward neutral, with unexpected pops of color. She loves to marry clean lines and shapely silhouettes and thinks no space is finished until it shines—literally (she adores silver and gold finishes). When Rose is designing a room, every element matters. “Window treatments, carpeting, lighting, mirrors, accents, and art—they all play significant roles in raising levels of sophistication and romance,” she says. “But it’s the perfect mix of materials, finishes, and furnishings in a room that come together to lift your mood and warm your heart. For me, that’s romantic.” HONEYMOON SUITE Rose’s client wanted a room that exuded the luxury of a five-star hotel, “an environment that made her feel like a queen at night and even more glamorous in the morning.” Rose did it with Hollywood-inspired metallic wallpaper, wall-to-wall silk drapery panels in charcoal gray, and an oversized crystal Whitney chandelier over the bed. Gideon chairs complement the upholstered Charlton Bed. The finishing touch: All that reflected light! IN A MIDCENTURY MOOD This sophisticated living room has all the hallmarks of a period piece. It’s designed around a pair of Corrine chairs, which Rose describes as “sexy from every angle.” The cool gray-and-cream palette is inherently elegant. The perfect complement to Corrine: the curves on the glass Cirque coffee table and the Gracie end tables. The Vivica console and the Xanadu bench add midcentury drama. WINE AND DINE Rose’s clients wanted a timeless dining space that works as well for large parties as it does for as candlelight dinners for two. The stunning Barrymore table sets an elegant tone with its graceful saber legs and exotic wood finish. The antiqued mirror glass and circular-cut mullions of the Brandt buffet provide instant ambience. Rose mixed Verlaine side chairs with Verlaine armchairs for a whimsical touch. Glass, crystal, and nickel provided sparkle! GREAT EXPECTATIONS Just how romantic is a double staircase foyer?  “It’s ‘Gone with the Wind’ all over again,” says the designer. The balustrade is very refined, while the gorgeous millwork speaks for itself. Rose played up the room’s symmetry with two Wellesley benches in a neutral patterned fabric. She added glitz with the placement of Starburst mirrors above the benches, officially setting a romantic tone for the rest of the home. STYLE IN THE ROUND What happens when a dining room doubles as the entryway to a home? For Rose, the answer is “a quiet storm of classic elegance, romance, and undeniable flair.” The modern, sexy lines of the Ashcroft dining table paired with the curvaceous Penelope chairs deliver just the combination she was after. Everything else—from the chandelier and area rug and to the simple Cora bowl—enhance the core design. URBAN GLAM This space is all about modern drama, with the tufted Shelton sofa setting a sophisticated mood. Rose chose it to gracefully anchor the Kyle wing chairs, as well as the uniquely styled Grayson chair in the foreground. The
Farmhouse style has been a mainstay of interior design forever—or at least it seems that way! It’s easy to see why: It’s homey, relaxed, and authentic. Every region has its own take on it—from ranch (think Texas) and plantation (Georgia) to homestead (New England). There are style subsets, too, from traditional to Tuscan. With so many ways to crush on farmhouse style, it’s no surprise it’s branched out far beyond the countryside. Julie Goss, a designer in our Vienna, Virginia, Design Center, recently helped a downsizing couple furnish a new home in farmhouse style—in a penthouse in the heart of Washington, D.C. We caught up with Julie, one of our Design Stars, recently and asked her to share her story. EA: A farmhouse and a penthouse are as different as any two homes can be! How did you make the space into something it’s not? JG: The architecture was on our side: wood floors, French doors, nice ceiling height. It was neutral enough to let us move it in the direction we wanted. EA: What was the look your clients were going for? JG: Traditional farmhouse with a black-and-white color palette. The wife is an avid photographer, so we needed to “hide” a home office in plain sight, which we did with two Sayville double-door cabinets that flank the fireplace, and the petite Turner desk in another corner. It’s the perfect blend of style and function, in a space where every inch mattered. EA: What existing pieces did they want to incorporate? JG: There was a long list: a sofa, trunk/coffee table, a drop leaf table, ladderback chairs, an art collection, and lots of antiques. EA: What do antiques bring to the design table? JG: I love working with antiques. They deliver an extra layer of character, texture and history. Things that are handmade bring soul and make a space special. Antiques can be integrated into any type of project. I especially love to juxtapose them with very modern or tribal pieces. Antiques wake it all up. EA: How did you embrace farmhouse style with the new pieces? JG: We chose styles that are relaxed and eclectic. Twin Devonshire swivel gliders in a bold check add style without overwhelming the space. The neutral rug gives the room a cozy, cohesive feel. Many of the accents feel vintage, so they blend right in. The weathered iron armillary, which was designed to impart a feeling of age, is a perfect example. EA: The space is lovely; was there one secret to its success? JG: The black and white color palette was the “special sauce” here. It’s timeless; it works with every style: traditional and modern, casual and formal. By keeping to a disciplined palette, we could make the space feel modern. Sometimes it’s daunting to bring in so much black, but it was needed to make the white pop. It turned out to be a very airy, open, and happy space. They love it!