“I believe that chic should be accessible, and the key to achieving accessibility is injecting your personality. My antidote to tired tastefulness is to lay the foundation of good decorating and then punctuate with a dash of levity. Just a dash!”
Last Friday, the charming and witty Jonathan Adler—home-décor and interior designer extraordinaire—stopped by our Seattle flagship store to meet his fans and introduce his two new books on achieving home décor with personality, Happy Chic Accessorizing and Happy Chic Colors.
We wanted to know more about his unique take on interior design and how to become a little more “Happy Chic” ourselves. Before meeting his many fans eagerly awaiting his appearance, Adler sat down with us to answer a few questions about his work and aesthetic.
What is “Happy Chic,” and can it transcend décor into a lifestyle, or way of dressing, etc.?
Absolutely. “Happy Chic” is about creating an environment that is unimpeachably chic and luxurious and gorgeous but has an element of levity. Its spirit can be translated in décor and in life. It’s basically just a reminder to be fab and be bold and be memorable in everything that you do.
Your Design Manifesto lists a number of your muses. What do they have in common that inspires you?
When I think about my muses, and I have many, sort of the holy trinity of muses for me is Bonnie Cashin, Alexander Girard and Bjørn Windblad—all of whom were designers who had really idiosyncratic spirits evident in all of their work. And they all made stuff that was of beautiful, impeccable quality and design. The thing they have in common is that their work expresses the joy of design.
And I’ve never said no to Ruben Toledo either. Love him. He’s a friend, and I’m a huge fan. He’s so brilliant.
Color and changing décor can be scary. What are two baby steps someone could take right now to incorporate a little “Happy Chic” into his or her home?
Baby steps for adding color are a throw pillow—because I think pillows are perfect punctuation—and a powder room. I think powder rooms are great, because they should be bold and a little surprising and a little trippy. So whether it be lacquering it red or doing a wild wallpaper, a powder room is a great place to start, and you won’t be able to stop. You’ll find that happy color and pattern has an infectious spirit.
It’s my belief that at the end of the day when you’re about to snuff it, you want to look back and remember the bright-orange breakfast nook rather than a beige-on-beige nothing.
What’s your favorite accessory in your home?
[Gasps.] My husband and my dog.
SHOP JONATHAN ADLER