Iconic designer Jonathan Adler aims to bring style, luxury and cheer to the home. Since opening his first boutique in 1999, the part-time Palm Beacher now has 20 stores, more than 1,000 wholesale locations, partnerships with national brands and a book series. Adler’s latest book, 100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life, hits shelves this month.
PBI: Your new book, 100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life, is about how to live happily and stylishly. What’s your personal secret for achieving this in your own life?
ADLER: It all starts with chic. Whether designing an environment—or designing your life—build a chic foundation and then layer in playful punctuation. My secret to a happy chic personal life is being part of a happy throuple with my husband of 18 years, Simon Doonan, and my Norwich Terrier of 14 years, Liberace. The people you love are the key to a happy chic life.
What decor trends are catching your eye at the moment?
There are squillions of trends—we live in an “anything goes, free-for-all” of an era, so you can do whatever you want. My personal faves are the return of brass as the metallic finish of choice (a movement I would like to think I had some role in), the advent of gray as the neutral du jour and the use of twinkly, jewelrylike stones in home decor.
Your sense of optimism is always reflected in your designs. Where do you find your influence?
Everything I do starts in my pottery studio; that’s where I work out all of my design ideas. I have an amazing career. I get to make everything I want and need, and I’m extremely lucky to be creatively fulfilled. The sense of optimism in my designs is a reflection of my own contentment.
What do you know now that you wish you known when you started your career?
If I knew then what I know now, I never would have started my career. I’ve been through so much mishegoss over the 18 years I’ve been in business that I’m glad I went into it blind. I’m also glad it all worked out! My only regret is that I didn’t have a more dissolute youth. I encourage everyone in their 20s to live a wanton lifestyle.
You’re certainly not afraid of color. What color would you say represents you and why?
When I think of Palm Beach, I think of my favorite colors: the turquoise blue of the sea and the sky, the fluffy white of the occasional cloud and the blazing orange of the sun. If I could live in a world of turquoise and orange only, I’d be very happy.
What’s the most unique item you own?
Obviously my husband is the most unique item—he’s a real one-off. Other than him, I’m pretty partial to my four-poster Paul Evans chrome bed.
Can you give us some tips for setting a chic table this Thanksgiving?
This Thanksgiving I’m keeping it simple, symmetrical, and graphic. I’m using two of my giant brass horn objets from my new collection lying the length of the table with one of my Dora Maar bowls in the middle packed with gourds. These items are unexpected—and still leave room for plates with oodles of food.
What are some of your favorite stores or boutiques in Palm Beach?
OMG, there are too many to list, but here goes:
- Dolce Antiques
- Objets in the Loft
- Erhard Dannenberg
- And Bell and Maxwell’s for a quick bite to eat