Celebrate the season, farmhouse style

Think “farmhouse style” and a simple, country look comes to mind: A home filled with lovingly used and pleasingly mismatched pieces. It’s a look both humble and inviting, intentionally flawed, forgiving, and easy to love. Farmhouse style is authentic, making it perfect for this, the most wonderful time of the year. SET THE TABLE An actual farmhouse table (like our beloved Miller, with its hand-distressed, plank-effect top) is the perfect foundation for country style in the dining room. Everything about this tablescape is unfussy yet elegant, from the scalloped white plates to the striped linen hand towels that double as napkins. GO LIVE Bring a holiday tree in from the great outdoors and use natural greenery whenever possible.  Make place cards pop by tying tags to a few winterberry branches. SHOWCASE YOUR COLLECTIONS Display similar things together, tucked in amongst greenery, holiday ribbon, and other decorative elements. No collection? Start one for next season! Take advantage of post-holiday markdowns on snow globes, angel figurines, and stylized trees. THINK VINTAGE The past is great inspiration for farmhouse style, but you don’t have to go antiquing unless you want to. Our Kata bowls are true found objects, cleaned and retreated for you, perfect in their unique imperfection. CELEBRATE THE DIFFERENCES Farmhouse style resists the urge to make everything matchy-matchy. Our Windsor-style Gilbert chairs, finished in charcoal, look striking against the Miller table's rye finish. DO SOME HOME COOKING Embrace the farmhouse vibe and toss together this simple, delicious dessert. The scent of apples and cinnamon hot from the oven is almost reason enough to make it! Apple Crisp Ingredients
  • 6 to 8 medium baking apples
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 stick chilled butter, cubed
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Core the apples, then cut them into 3/4-inch pieces. Place the apples into a bowl and sprinkle them with the nutmeg, the cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Mix to coat the apple pieces, then spread the mixture into a baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining sugar, the flour, and the salt. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients until crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over your filling.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until the juices are thickened, the apples are tender, and the topping has turned light golden brown. Top with a scoop of your favorite ice cream and enjoy!
  BE CRAFT-Y    Humble kraft paper is a perfect canvas for creative farmhouse-style wrappings. Add a little raffia or string and a sprig of berries for supremely simple and stylish packages. Remember, you don’t have live anywhere near a farm to style your home with rustic charm. This holiday season, we send you and yours good tidings of country comfort—and joy.

How to style a mantel for the holidays

If you have a fireplace—working or not—and it has a mantel, you’ve hit the holiday decorating jackpot. A mantel, or mantelpiece (or chimneypiece in England), is by definition a shelf—but it really is so much more. It’s prime real estate in any room: an instant focal point, an opportunity not to be missed. Often, the architectural style of a mantel (and surrounding millwork) dictates how you decorate it—but not now. From candles and crystal to cherished collectibles, anything goes during the holidays. Mantel decorating “rules” still apply:
  • Choose a center of attention.
  • Design with odd numbers.
  • Keep scale and balance in mind.
  • Add depth by layering.
  • Stick with your theme.
Following these principles, we styled our own holiday mantel to show you how it's done. Let us take you through it, step by step.
  • Focus! Center a large mirror or work of art on the mantel and lean it close to the wall. For our spectacular statement piece, we chose our Aged Silver Provincial mirror; it always sets an elegant mood.
  • Go green. Place natural evergreen garland along the length of the mantel, dangling some over the sides for a lush look. Drape greenery on your mirror or artwork, too—for dramatic effect.
  • Add a little color. We chose sprigs of red winterberries.
  • Go glam with a few metal accents. Our lovely Pomegranates (available in gold, brass, or nickel finishes) and ever-popular Song Birds add some shimmer.
  • See the light. Amp up the ambience with candles in hurricanes wrapped in red ribbon. DIY tutorial: A RIBBON RUNS THROUGH IT 
  • Turn on the sparkle! We finished our mantelscape with mini battery-powered LED lights.
  No mantel? No worries! Try this on any long-ish horizontal surface: a buffet, a console table, or the top of a bookcase or china cabinet.  
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!
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!
It’s a classic. A perpetually fresh color scheme that bridges periods and styles. The go-to color story in every clever designer’s toolbox. Black and white is a high-contrast combination that’s potent enough to carry a room. It’s also a foundation on which virtually any palette can rely. Think black and white graced with silver or gold (got glam?); or black, white, and green (hello, farmhouse chic); or black and white with yellow and red (Ethan Allen | Disney, anyone?). Black and white has a checkered past (the checkerboard floor pattern dates back thousands of years). It also has a solid future in our book—and a simply enchanting presence. Ethan Allen Style Team Ethan Allen: Garden City Design Center Ethan Allen Style Team Ethan Allen Style Team Ethan Allen Interior Designer: Paige Elizabeth Mongar Ethan Allen Style Team Ethan Allen Style Team Ethan Allen Interior Designer: Natalie Lemier Ethan Allen Style Team Ethan Allen Style Team Ethan Allen Interior Designer: Britney Whitney Ethan Allen Style Team Ethan Allen Style Team Ethan Allen Style Team Ethan Allen Style Team