Designer Living: Jonathan Adler's colourful, accessible approach

The American potter, interior designer and style guru on how he creates "a general feeling of grooviness" in homes.

A handout photo of Blakeley sofa; Bond cocktail (coffee) table; Bond console (sideboard); Bond end table (Courtesy: Jonathan Adler)

Where do you live and how long have you lived there?

We live in Greenwich Village, New York. We've been there for about 15 years.

What made you choose the property?

Our building is absolutely fantastic. It was built in the 1920s and the architecture is so quirky - really grand and inspiring. The living room has a wonderful double height ceiling - there's a Juliet balcony overlooking it - and a secret hidden door that leads to the stairs. Before we moved here, I admired this building and I always dreamed of living in it. Now I do.

What does your home say about you?

I suppose our home conveys my belief that interiors should be both memorable and personal. I like schemes to be bold, colourful and inspiring.

What is the key to creating a happy home?

The most important thing is to surround yourself with the things that you love.

Which item could no home of yours be without?

To be honest, I'm not very materialistic. As much as I love objects, I know that the only things that really matter in life are the people (and the pets) that you love. So I'm at home as long as I'm with my Norwich terrier, Liberace, and my better half.

Where do you like to shop for pieces for your home?

I live for the antique shops in Palm Beach, Florida. They're the best.

Do you incorporate elements of your work into your home, or do you like to keep your domestic environment separate?

My home is filled with my own pieces. I think it's important to test drive every single item before I sell it in my stores. Our company motto is: "If your heirs won't fight over it, we won't make it."

What are you working on right now?

We're getting ready to open our first international boutique in London and, as an Anglophile, I could not be more excited. It's due to open at the beginning of October.

What inspired you to choose the career you did?

The moment that my hands touched clay, I had an instant, spiritual connection to it. I didn't really choose to be a potter. As soon as I started, I knew I couldn't do anything else.

I spent my teenage years throwing pots in my parents' basement, then in 1993 I sold my first designs to a shop in New York. I opened my first retail store in 1998 in Manhattan. Now we have 11 stores and a thriving online shop, too. I take on residential and commercial interior design commissions as well as selling my own home accessories - vases, ornaments and tableware of course, but also bed linen, candles, furniture, rugs, cushions and lighting.

Who or what inspires you?

I am continually inspired by the creative designs of David Hicks, Bonnie Cashin and Alexander Girard. They're my design heroes. I find ideas in lots of places. For example, my collection of Muse vases was triggered by surrealist art and plastic shop window mannequin heads.

How would you describe your interior style?

Happy chic. It's a cocktail of style, craft and joy. I like to give homes a general feeling of grooviness. My look is colourful and accessible. I like my designs to be affordable because when things get expensive, it kills the fun factor.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I can't imagine ever leaving New York. It's such an exciting and inspiring city. I love it.

How do you like to relax?

After a long hard day at work, we like to play ping pong and discuss the day. Of course, I always win.

What is the best way to simply and instantly update a room?

Scatter cushions. They're the easiest and quickest way to add life to a room and transform your look without blowing the budget.

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