New House, New Look

Rick and Donna Devore were ready for what they call “a lifestyle change.” They’d been married for 38 years when they decided to downsize and move into a charming Victorian in the walkable city of Birmingham, Michigan. The couple wanted a new home that was casual and livable, comfortable, with coastal notes. Lucky for them, designer Michele Nestor of our Design Center in Birmingham was up to the challenge of furnishing the house from top to bottom. Michele delivered the cool look and fresh start they were after—and so much more. Take a look and see how this lifestyle change, changed their life.

 


Crafty Ways to Decorate With Ribbon

When it comes to seasonal décor, ribbon is one of the most versatile materials there is. Everyone knows ribbon can transform a gift—even one wrapped in plain brown paper—with a simple twist, knot, or bow. Ribbon can give a tired wreath a festive twirl in seconds. It can dress your dining chairs for dinner. And it can stand in for garland, then top a tree with sparkling finesse. We love ribbon of every stripe, whether wide, wired, plaid, pinked, grosgrain, or velvet.

We unspooled some holiday classics (a pair of tartans and razzle-dazzle reds) to jazz up a couple of our favorite everyday accents. With a snip here, and a snip there, we used ribbon to create holiday statement pieces—and you can, too. Let’s get rolling!

Wrap candleholders with lovely tartan ribbon to give your tabletop or mantel a quick holiday update. We used our simple glass hurricanes, available in three sizes. Cut lengths of ribbon two inches longer than the circumference of the hurricanes. Wrap ribbon around each hurricane, folding over the extra. Secure with double-sided tape. Layer narrow ribbon over wide for added cheer!

Our Oval Link tray is fab as is—perfect for displaying decorative objects, candles, flowers, or for serving up your favorite cocktail. We used narrow, red satin ribbon to add a pretty punch of color. Just weave your ribbon through the links, leaving about two inches to neatly fold over and secure with double-sided tape.

 


Recipe: Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktail

Nothing beats the chilly autumn weather like relaxing fireside with a good book, a cozy blanket, and delicious apple cider. Just in time for Thanksgiving weekend, our social media team whipped up a mouthwatering Apple Cider Bourbon cocktail. It’s super simple – and you can easily leave out the bourbon for a delightful non-alcoholic beverage. Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!

Serves: One

  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 3 oz. apple cider (local, if you can find some)
  • ½ oz. rosemary simple syrup
  • Cinnamon stick and fresh rosemary

1. Prepare the rosemary simple syrup:

Combine equal parts water and sugar in a small saucepan, drop in 3 or 4 sprigs of rosemary, and set over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves, then turn up the heat just a tick to bring the syrup to a simmer; simmer for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture steep, about 20 minutes. Discard the rosemary and let the syrup cool. (1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar will be plenty for multiple drinks.)

2. In a shaker, combine the bourbon, cider and simple syrup with a few cubes of ice. Shake vigorously for a few seconds and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a fresh rosemary sprig.


Tips for a Stress Free Holiday

This Thanksgiving, say goodbye to entertaining stress! These simple Thanksgiving tips can help you plan a day that everyone can love.

Make a Plan

Nothing is impossible once you break it down into simple steps! So: Get your menu set and your shopping done a few days before; jot down a schedule (e.g., what’s being cooked in what order, who’s arriving when, how you’ll pace the hors d’oeuvres, dinner, and dessert) and build in some socializing time for yourself; and make sure there’s enough seating for all your guests.

 

Back to the Future

Nothing beats a recipe that’s been passed down for generations. Send happy Thanksgiving memories into the future by preparing a family favorite or two – you could even have copies of the recipes for guests to take home.

 

Get an Early Start

Check those recipes to see what you can make in advance. Stocks for gravy, sides, and dough are all good candidates for pre-prep.

 

Ready…Set…Set the Table!

Tablescaping game on. Check out our Harvest tabletop here.

 

Card Your Guests

Hosting a crowd? Assign seats with place cards, mixing friends and family to create a more social experience.

 

The Warmest Welcome

Greet your guests with a signature cocktail or a steamy mug of hot mulled cider (with or without the rum!).

 

Open with a Wow

Feel like stretching those creative culinary muscles? Start with one over-the-top appetizer to get your party started.

 

Child’s Play

Set up games, an easy craft, or a space where the little ones can put together a simple yummy dessert, and they won’t have time to ask, “Is it ready yet?”

 

Pass the Sanity, Please

If there are lots of people or lots of dishes, simplify your hosting duties: Set up a buffet near the table and let guests serve themselves.


How to Set a Thanksgiving Tablescape

Setting a deliciously chic table for Thanksgiving is surprisingly easy—if you have a plan. We think the holiday lends itself to a harvest-inspired, rustic farmhouse look, so we chose a subtle seasonal palette: Think fall leaves (taupe, gold, burnt orange) and blue sky. We used natural materials as well as Ethan Allen decorative accents, to complete our tablescape.

Step 1: Start with any table that will comfortably seat your guests—we used our classic, plank-top Miller table to set a “country” tone.

Step 2: Lay a foundation with a few basics—be creative! Instead of using a traditional tablecloth, we draped a plaid throw (a good friend routinely uses her favorite Tartan wool blanket) diagonally across the table to show off the beautiful wood. Brilliant idea, right? One caveat: be sure you don’t mind if your tablecloth stand-in gets a little messy. Next, create a “frame” for your centerpiece using natural fall foliage from your yard and add candlesticks for height (and later, ambience).

Step 3: Can you set a fall table without pumpkins and gourds? We think not! We placed them in and around our leafy branches, mixing colors, shapes, and sizes.

Step 4: Add volume and a little bling; a few of our faux Gold Artichokes did the trick.

Step 5: Fill in the “blanks” with some seasonal fruit; we scattered a few gorgeous pears. And remember: The more imperfect it looks, the better!

Step 6: Set the table with neutral white plates or use a combo of your favorite flea market finds. We added pops of color with a mix of cloth napkins, and gave each plate a final flourish with a sprig of bittersweet berries.

P.S. After the holiday, use your greenery to make small wreaths to hang around the house—because everyone knows that leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving!


Behind the Design: How One Partnership Turned into a Friendship

When design consultant Gabriella met her client, Renee, to go over ideas for her master bedroom, the women had no idea that a “wow factor” project would bloom into a fabulous friendship. Renee is now married with a baby—and she’s still happy to call Gabriella a friend.  “As my life has grown and evolved, Gabriella has grown and evolved with me,” she says.

At Ethan Allen, we like to think of it as added value!


At Ethan Allen we’ve been on the move, to bring global design home to you! We call it Passport.

At Ethan Allen, we’ve been on the move, exploring new places and styles, new colors and finishes, new fabrics, and fresh, new pieces designed to bring the world home to you. We call it Passport, home furnishings and accents inspired by the rich tapestry of cultures from around the globe.

Passport is drawn from looks past and present, near and far—from India’s hand-knotted rugs to campaign-style dressers, from Ming Dynasty-inspired display cabinets and occasional tables that hint of pagodas, to woven rattan chairs designed in the rich tradition of British Colonial style.

Passport is exotic yet warm, collected, authentic, and livable. There’s something for everyone to love, whether you’re an armchair tourist (by the way, have we got an armchair for you!) or an intrepid traveler. Passport is your license to live adventurously, anywhere in the world.

We invite you to indulge your wanderlust in the comfort of your own home. Take a look—and come along for the ride!


Tips From the Design Star

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!


Dealing With Client Anxiety and Second Guessing? You’re Not Alone

When it comes to decorating, we sometimes second-guess ourselves to the point of never, ever making a change. From something as simple as introducing a color to something as complicated as replacing a family heirloom, our fears often keep us from taking action:

  • “What if I decide I don’t like it?”
  • “What if other people don’t like it?”
  • “What if I offend Aunt Jane?”
  • “What if it goes out of style?”
  • “What if it doesn’t work and I end up spending more money to make it right?”

We think it’s time to say “boo!” to your decorating fears and chase them away—once and for all.

You’re Not Alone

If you think you’re the only person spooked by decorating choices, we have good news: you’re not. “I had a client who had a real tough time parting with things,” recalls Joseph Panzer, a design consultant in our Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Design Center. “I understand; you get attached.”

Joseph urged his to repurpose some pieces; they explored ways to mix them in with new Ethan Allen furniture. “Sometimes, just reupholstering a piece can make a client see it a new light and add a nice uniqueness to a space.”

Julie Goss, a design consultant in our Vienna, Virginia, Design Center, had a client who needed a pair of chairs for her living room and a few things for her family room. They looked at many fabric samples together, but her client grew so anxious that became flushed, agitated, and broke out into a sweat.

If you’re feeling anxious about making decorating changes, we have some tips that can make it easier to take baby steps—beautiful baby steps—toward the project of your dreams:

  • Do your homework. Gather inspiration by clipping photos from magazines and tagging websites you like. If you see something that works over and over again, you’ll be more inclined to give it a try.
  • Start small. A whole house redo can be terrifying even if you have all the confidence in the world. Select one room, and then make it over, one component at a time.
  • Remember less is more. Keep things simple; choose a single piece that you love and build a design around it.
  • Lead with functionality. Start with something practical, like switching out a loveseat for a sectional now that their kids are older. If it’s a change you need to make (rather than just one you want to make), you’re more likely to take the plunge.
  • Resist the urge to follow trends. Just because everyone is doing something is usually reason enough not to. Choose looks that will never go out of style—you won’t regret it.

Eventually, Julie persuaded her client to place an order, but even when the furniture came in, it stayed in the service center for months. But when the client took a deep breath and finally accepted delivery, and the pieces were in place, she was delighted. Decorating fears are a lot like ghosts; when you turn around to face them, you see they’re not real.

Decorating doesn’t have to be frightful with the help of an Ethan Allen designer. Treat yourself to our complimentary design service, and we’ll show you our tricks for taking the fear out of decorating.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM ETHAN ALLEN!


How to Mix Dining Chairs: Start With Doubles

If you’re looking for a good recipe to shake up your dining room style, then start mixing things up with mismatched chairs. This eclectic style has become a here-to-stay trend we love—and why not? Mingling different chairs opens up countless ways to play with color, texture, and scale. When done right, it creates a fresh, unexpected look.

So how do you make it look so—well, put together? Here are a few tips from our designers to help you master the mismatch.

START WITH DOUBLES

You don’t have to start over to get in on this look. Ease into it by introducing one set of chairs in a completely different design at the head and foot of the table. If your current style leans toward traditional, swap out your armchairs for a pair of modern ones, or add a duo of dramatic wing chairs to make a statement.

HOW IT’S DONE: Our Jayden host chairs bring a modern, dramatic  vibe to this elegant dining room with high backs, sinuous lines, and sleek tapered legs. Our designers tie the look together by dressing them in bold, blue-and-white Greek key fabric to  coordinate with the upholstered seats of the Chauncey side chairs.

SET A BENCHMARK

To create a relaxed feel, rethink your seating arrangement and replace a set of side chairs with a stunning upholstered bench. This look is not only fresh and fashionable—it’s also great for comfortably fitting in more friends and family on one or both sides of your table.

HOW IT’S DONE: The Clinton bench, upholstered in a striking black-and-white striped fabric, cozies up this dining room with a fashionable edge and invites gathering, lingering—and tons of compliments!

MIX, THEN MATCH

Maybe you’ve got a host of vintage chairs you’ve been collecting, or you have an eclectic taste for all sorts of styles. If you love a cool, collected look, then go ahead—mix it up! Just keep this pro tip in mind: Dress your chairs in a similar color or pattern to tie the look together.

HOW IT’S DONE: Our designers chose a pair of Drew armchairs and Mackenzie armchairs to create this eclectic dining room. While these styles are quite different, they pulled off the look with a couple of expert tricks: choosing chairs that share similar silhouettes, scales, and finishes, and dressing each pair in its own globally inspired pattern to create a collected yet cohesive look.

Hungry for more inspiration? Here’s a look at a few more mismatched dining looks we love!

Berkshire Armchair + Clinton Armchair

Berkshire ArmchairBlake Armchair 

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