Known for giving classic furniture a twist, Ethan Allen is adding quirkiness to its design vocabulary.
The American furniture company is creating its own spin on the “New Eclecticism,” a décor genre that doesn’t adhere to any style and allows individuals or homeowners to express themselves.
“The new direction will be fresh and fashionable. For a long time, there was a focus on neutrals and grays because they were easy to do. As we are coming out of a recession, people are becoming confident. Colors are more optimistic,” says Farooq Kathwari, chairperson and CEO of Ethan Allen.
Early this year, Ethan Allen splashed orange, turquoise and yellow on its leather upholstery and room accents.
Although the company is targeting the Gen X-ers, the customers who bought a bright orange sofa were 78-year-old twins.
“People still think we are traditional. If you still see a wagon-wheel chandelier, let me know,” said Jim DeBernardo, director of Display Planning at Ethan Allen. Philippine lifestyle media visited the headquarters in Danbury, Connecticut.
The showroom suggested the possibilities of the furniture and the accessories and how they looked when combined with other elements.
A display showed how a transitional style Hepburn sofa, with its sleek camelback, rolled arms and tapered legs, matched the subtle curves of the 17th century-inspired Pembroke end table.
The classic sofa was given a modern treatment with trendy white leather upholstery.
A popular eclectic look was “Rustic Meets Refinement.” A vignette with a rustic table highlighted the gracefulness of the crystal table setting and the crystal chandelier.
Although people want elegance, they want to live comfortably,” said the designer. Color is the least expensive way to spruce up a room. “If you want to redo your room, change slip cover. Black accents spell pop modern.”
DeBernardo added, “Not everything has to be matchy-matchy or perfect. People live and dress eclectically. Their homes reflect that. A couple of years ago, would you put a pink chair with a Penbrook table? Probably not. Would you put a carved silver table with a raspberry bookcase? Probably not. Today you can. We want people to be inspired.”
Here are DeBernardo’s picks
1. Pink is a big color for 2014. “We call it raspberry. It brings a fresh accent.”
2. In the era of digital tablets, people are displaying their curiosities in book cases. Color the shelves and shafts brightly.
3. Glass makes a room look modern and casual yet elegant. “Sparkle is good for the soul.”
4. White leather is white hot.
5. Black-and-white rooms will never go out of style. If only we have a fun piece to pop in it.
6. Like old pieces, beat-up or weathered finishes have more soul. People like beat-up finishes, leathers, worn-out materials that are distressed to look old.
7. Add polish with polished silver.
8. Mix high with low. Silk drapery on a casual wood pole is like pairing diamonds with denim. Casual fabrics such as polyester and nylon can be as elegant as silk for window treatments.
9. Solid rugs add warmth and texture.
10. Animal prints are strong and will never go out of style.
11. Simplicity is key in drapery—straight, linear panels, textured blinds, neutral shades, bamboo rods.
12. Fake coral is big. Get them in bright yellow and orange.
13. Graphic designs are the favored wall décor. The repetition in their display creates a dynamic rhythm. The neat grid of framed graphics is a foil to mismatched furniture and various patterns.
14. Bamboo adds casualness and brings nature inside the home.