Our latest Design Star, Peggy Fortuna, has been an award-winning design consultant in our Danbury, Connecticut, Design Center since 2012. Before that, the Baltimore native owned and operated her own design and color consulting business. Peggy and her husband have three grown daughters, one grandchild, and a chocolate lab with his own Instagram account. We caught up with Peggy recently and she shared her thoughts on design. EA: What is your favorite Ethan Allen project? PF: I had complete design freedom to decorate a client’s four-bedroom home in New Milford, Connecticut—including a large outdoor space. Every room, completely furnished with Ethan Allen furniture and accessories, is both beautiful and livable. EA: What Ethan Allen item do you currently covet, and why? PF: I love all the Dynasty and Ming pieces for all their finish options. I also love the sculptural shape and versatility of the Corbin ottoman. It can be used in both traditional and transitional spaces, and it looks great in all kinds of fabrics! EA: What is your favorite design tip? PF: I always say the rule is: There are no rules. EA: Complete this sentence: Every room needs— PF: Negative space. Color, light, volume, and pattern are important—but don’t forget the space that surrounds it all. EA: Is there a color you can’t live without, and why? PF: I love rooms that are all white, but I design using a varied palette. White is needed to balance the other colors in the room. EA: If you could do any project, anywhere, on any budget, what would it be, and why? PF: To me, nothing is more beautiful and serene than the beach—so, selfishly, I’d have to say I’d love to decorate a beach house for my family. It would be awesome. And while I am dreaming, let’s say it would be on Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman!
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