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Interior Designer Profile: Jonathan Adler

Tracy Wharton accessories colour display interior decorating mood paint update

Interior designer Jonathan Adler is author of the book, My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living. Love his work or hate it, it is kind of hard to imagine how one could feel down in one of the quirky, colourful spaces he creates.

I wanted to profile Jonathan as a designer I admire. Admittedly, he is not going to be everyone's cup of tea, and I probably wouldn't want to live all the time in an environment that is as high energy as those he creates, but I still think he has a lot to offer as far as inspiration is concerned and because I think surroundings can certainly influence mood, I "get" what he is trying to do. 

On a recent trip to NYC, I was lucky to be able to visit one of his stores and enjoy the ambiance in person. Packed to the rafters, the word "Maximalism" was stencilled on the wall of the shop along with, "we think minimalism is a bummer". There is no shortage of bold colour, pattern and texture in Jonathan's interiors, and the desired effect is very clear. Make the homeowner feel cheerful. 

I want to point out that while the overall feel of the space is kind of wild, investment pieces are still neutral beige and most of the walls are white. This is particularly handy if you like the idea of being able to swap collections in and out. Maybe you're even the kind of person who doesn't mind repainting an accent wall every few years (or months as some of my clients do). Cushions, accessories and even rugs could be rolled up from time to time with new pieces being swapped in for a brand new look.  Light fixtures tend to also be fairly neutral or sculptural which, again, allows for versatility within the space.

Jonathan Adler started out as a ceramic artist, launching his first collection of sculptural pottery at Barney's NYC in 1993. With the success he found there, Jonathan has branched into other areas of home design.  He finds inspiration in mid-century modern, pop culture and art. I believe that by looking beyond just other interor design for inspiration, Jonathan has created a look that is unique and highly individual. 

You may not wish to replicate Adler's style in your own home, but drawing on his concept of using decor to influence mood, consider what you would like various rooms in your home to feel like.

I often go through an exercise with my clients where I have them list 5-10 words that would describe how they want a space to feel. Words like cheerful, calm, warm or peaceful are common and can help both me, as the designer, and the client to focus in more specifically on pieces that will bring that mood to a home. 

Need help with creating a mood in your home? A colour consultation and a few tips from a professional may be all you need to bring a whole new look to your space. It is often a matter of just reconfiguring what you already have, adding an accent colour or colours and some texture and accessories. With this approach, you may even be able to create a different ambience to suit each season. 



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