Style tips and more from TV host and lifestyle maven

Parker Kelley


The delightful Parker Kelley (writer, producer and award-winning host of “Home, Life & Style”) recently partnered with Ethan Allen to produce “Design Tips” segments for her TV show. Aired on NESN, a Boston-area network, the spots were culled from conversations Parker had with designers in seven of our Northeast Design Centers, from Connecticut and Cape Cod to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The collaborative project was spearheaded by Ethan Allen’s New England regional teams, who say the experience was “organic, not scripted, and simply awesome.” Parker says she learned a lot about Ethan Allen – from our rich American heritage to how our 3D room planner works – in the process. We caught up with her recently and asked her to share her thoughts on design in general, and our offerings in particular. Here is what she had to say:



What is your overarching design philosophy?

PK: Pleasure. Every design, whether it be in the form of a coffee mug, a chair, or a room, should give you pleasure. It’s a feeling all good designs share.


What is your favorite design tip?

PK: Mix it up! But be very intentional in how you do it. It’s not just about heaping random things together. It’s about finding the commonality, the thread, or the meaning they share. I like coordinating seemingly different things to see how they influence one another and our perception of them. I recently admired the décor in a boutique in Nantucket, where a huge and delicate crystal chandelier played against a hard, stacked-stone wall backdrop. Both are beautiful, but very different. Together, they’re beyond beautiful!


What is the color you can’t live without, and why?

PK: Blue! Any shade. To me, it’s the ocean, the sky, and the color of both of my sons’ eyes. As someone who grew up on Cape Cod, I’m naturally comforted by blue; a color like red is beautiful, but it makes me too excited. I bring a lot of my own energy into every situation, so I use most colors in moderation. Small pops here and there. Blue has just the right amount of energy for me.


Complete this sentence: Every room needs …

PK: Balance. Balance is key. In art and design, balance is about the elements (shape, color, light, value, saturation, texture, scale). How we assemble these elements is what gives a space visual equilibrium. The same applies to fashion. The longer the skirt, the lower the heel; the shorter the skirt, the higher the heel. It’s a balancing act. In music, storytelling, and the visual arts, there’s an ebb and flow, a push and pull, tension and slack, movement and stillness. In design, you can show balance symmetrically, asymmetrically, or radially. You can feel it when you walk into a room or see a tablescape that just isn’t “right.” When something is balanced, it sings.


If you could take on any project, anywhere, on any budget, what would it be?

PK: I am a lifelong boater, so my initial thought is a yacht set to cruise the globe; my design would echo and pay homage to the colors, cultures, and scenery found all over the world. But even this seems too limiting, somehow. Truly, my dream project is always my next project, no matter the budget or location, because I thrive on potential!


You’ve had an up-close-and-personal look at our Design Centers; what do you think?

PK: I have to say I used to think Ethan Allen was one style – kind of old-fashioned and dated – but how wrong was I? I admit I hadn’t been in an Ethan Allen Design Center since I was eight years old, so it was a wonderful eye-opening experience to witness the variety, quality, and craftsmanship that Ethan Allen offers. The Design Centers are up to date with the latest technology, and it’s been an incredible learning experience for me. And the designers? Unbelievable! They are such passionate, dedicated, welcoming, and knowledgeable people. I am so thankful to have met so many of them. I enjoyed making tip videos and commercial spots with all of them.


Do you have a favorite Ethan Allen look?

PK: I guess it depends on the day. I really like the globally inspired living room displays and the cozy cottage displays. If I had to choose, I’d choose a little of each.


What are your three favorite Ethan Allen pieces?

PK: Right now, I am obsessed with the Capiz chandelier. I love the look and the champagne gold tones, and how the natural beauty inherent in the shell is honored and elevated. I also am in love with the Elise bed in vintage linen, with the hand-painted lattice. This French-inspired piece is just gorgeous. The beading is so fine, and the fluted legs are stunning and romantic! I also love the round Florentine mirror, with its antiqued patina, texture, and varying shades of gold. Mirrors add light and depth to a space, and this piece does it with a Tuscan touch that I would definitely put into my own home.


Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?

PK: I live by the philosophy that if you want a glass of milk, you don’t park a stool in a field and hope a cow walks by. I am a big believer in dreams, vision boards, gratitude, and manifesting. We are here to live, so I say live as fully as you can. I absolutely adore design, and believe that designers are artists and healers. They don’t just make things pretty. They help create spaces that are safe and comfortable, stimulating and calm. They help create order and functionality. The world outside is often a chaotic and stressful place, and designers have a role in making things calmer for their clients. It is important work.

Learn more about Parker Kelley and her love of great design: and @parkerkelleytvhost

See how you can apply Parker’s design advice: go to or visit a Design Center near you!

Summer: time for long, lazy days, gentle breezes and sunkissed afternoons. Time to take the good life outdoors.

A cat-like stretch on a chaise under a canopy of trees. Welcome splashes and the sunny sounds of kids playing in the pool. A midday meal gathered from the garden, juice from a just-picked tomato running down your chin. Time spent in the open air is one of life’s great pleasures. Creature comforts and good company make it even better.

This season, no matter your style, your budget or the size of your yard, porch or patio, we’ve got your outdoor experience covered. Need some patio inspiration or outdoor decorating ideas? Get the party started by choosing from seven distinctive collections, all with the quality construction and durability you expect from Ethan Allen. (The invite list is on you!)


Vero Dunes delivers resort-worthy comfort and style, in all-weather wicker with a sleek onyx finish. Its resin-wrapped aluminum frame has the look of genuine wicker, but it’s lighter and rust-free for durability. Vero Dunes has a modern vibe, classic notes and exceptional versatility.




Design a more decked-out deck with Bridgewater Cove, a strikingly simple, relaxed and refined collection crafted of sustainable Plantation Teak. It has clean lines, tapered details and unmistakably modern notes. Its durable cushions are as comfortable as any you’ll find indoors.




Picturing a prettier patio? Biscayne is a classic that invites you to unwind elegantly. Its timeless style (transitional, with arm scrolls, gracefully curved chair stretchers and a double-X back) is at home in any outdoor space. Need shade? The tempered glass top is available with an optional umbrella hole.




Proving style doesn’t stop at the French doors, Millbrook delivers refined good looks and timeless style to any outdoor space. It’s crafted of sustainable Plantation Teak, with a look that’s part West Indies lanai and part English garden; its generous scale and beautifully carved arms and legs lend it a formal feeling.




Lounging around never looked so good, Redding Ridge is a stylish, inviting, fully upholstered collection made to weather the elements. With clean lines, deep, comfortable seats and a strong, durable frame, this gorgeous collection blurs the lines between indoors and out. Our modern concrete fire table adds warmth and ambience at the flip of a switch.




What better way to start the day than under the summer sky? Serve up breakfast or brunch on a dining table from the Nod Hill collection. With an interlocking circle design and gently curved arms, the coordinating chair is simple and stylish. Indoor/outdoor aluminum frames are powder-coated for good looks and generously scaled for comfort.




A pretty spot of shade on the lawn is the perfect place for Willow Bay, a graceful, all-weather woven collection with a fresh, updated look. A cool, contemporary, tightly closed weave gives the collection the look of genuine wicker. The rust-proof aluminum frames are durable, so Willow Bay will last year after relaxing year.


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Find your favorite? Good. Now mix things up! Many of our styles can sit seamlessly alongside others, so you don’t have to furnish your dining, lounging and conversation areas with just one collection. (Wood and all-weather wicker look great together, for example.) Use color, pattern, even greenery, to tie them together and create a cohesive look. Select from dozens of our fab performance fabrics, and add pillows, rugs and umbrellas, to create outdoor rooms you can really live in.


And boy-oh-boy, is it ever in the air on Valentine’s Day!

Ever wonder why that is? Or how such an unremarkable (often unpleasantly cold) day in February became the poster child for romantic love? We looked it up. But since the history of Valentine’s Day really is the stuff of legend, you’ll have to take this with a grain of salt (preferably of the pink Himalayan sea variety, generously sprinkled on a bar of dark chocolate).


  • It’s generally agreed the holiday was named for a Roman priest called Valentine who lived in the third century. The then-emperor, Claudius II, believed that single men made the best soldiers, so he pronounced it unlawful for young men to marry. Valentine saw a terrible injustice in that and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When he was found out, Claudius had him sentenced to death; the priest was executed on February 14, 269 AD.
  • It wasn’t until the late fifth century that the Catholic Church declared February 14 the Feast of St. Valentine.
  • The day’s association with romantic love began in the Middle Ages (Fun fact: It was a common belief that February 14 was also the beginning of the mating season for birds, so that helped.)
  • The holiday evolved through the fourteenth century (during the heyday of courtly love) through the eighteenth century, when lovers began expressing their affection in earnest, with flowers, confections, and greeting cards (known even then as valentines)—and beyond.
  • Today, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, Italy, and Japan.



Americans began exchanging handmade valentines in the early 1700s. At the time, they were elaborate affairs made with lace and ribbons. The first mass-produced valentines in America were sold by one Esther A. Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1849. Hallmark offered its first Valentine’s Day cards in 1913 and began producing them in 1916. Today, more than 141 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, according to Hallmark, not counting the packaged valentines kids exchange at school.


Back in the day when PDAs were frowned upon and your relationship status wasn’t something you posted, couples had to find clever ways to express sentiments of love and affection—and one of them was with flowers.

Floriography—the language of flowers—blossomed during the Victorian Era, when a strict code of etiquette governed daily life. Because flowers were assigned special meanings, they became a way for lovers to send coded messages. Thankfully, we can be a lot more upfront about our feelings today. But should you want to charm someone with your knowledge of floriography this Valentine’s Day, here are the meanings behind some favorite blooms, according to the flower pros at ProFlowers.

Red Rose: Love, romance

Pink Rose: Love, gratitude, appreciation

White Rose: Marriage, new beginnings

Orange Rose: Enthusiasm, passion

Yellow Rose: Friendship, joy, good health

Tulip: Perfect love

Iris: Faith, hope, wisdom

Carnation: Love, fascination

Chrysanthemum: Friendship, love, joy

Gladiolus: Strength, honor, infatuation

Gerbera Daisy: Beauty, innocence



How much money will Americans spend this Valentine’s Day? Hint: It’s a lot.

  • With 55 percent of the population celebrating the holiday this year, total spending is expected to reach $19.6 billion, according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. That’s up from $18.2 billion last year—and an average of $143.56 per person.
  • Skewing the stats are consumers between 25 and 34, who’ll be the biggest spenders, at an average of $202.76.
  • The breakdown: Most will spend an average $88.98 on a spouse or significant other; $25.29 on children, siblings, or parents; $7.26 on kids’ classmates/teachers; and $7.19 on friends. Interestingly, they’ll spend more on pets ($5.50) than co-workers ($4.79).
  • Gifts, in order of spending, from most to least: jewelry; an evening out; flowers; clothing; candy; gift cards/gift certificates; greeting cards.


This is one of our favorite ways to celebrate the day (with or without a Valentine).

Makes 2 cocktails


4 oz. vodka
2 oz. cranberry juice
1.5 oz. fresh lime juice
1.5 oz. triple sec
Lime wedges for garnish


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, and triple sec. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain cocktail evenly into two martini glasses and garnish with lime wedges.

For a non-alcoholic version, add a splash of cranberry juice to 5–6 ounces of sparkling water and garnish with lime wedges and/or raspberries.


Winter Solstice: A Time of Renewal

Today is the shortest, darkest day of the year. It’s when the sun is at its southernmost point in the sky, marking the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere. While the Winter Solstice is a time of celebration in many cultures, it’s also a time of rest, reflection, and renewal. This year, we invite you to join us as we pause, take a breather, and drink in the beauty around us—both indoors and out—knowing that starting with tomorrow’s sunrise, there’s more daylight on the way!