When this Manhattan apartment entered our Happy Chic Home contest, it made our inbox sing. To pack a decorative punch into this 325-square-foot apartment—without overwhelming the space–our contestant, Michelle, had to do some serious editing. Her strategy? She lives by the oh-so-Adler mantra: only surround yourself with the things you love.
Here, Jonathan Adler’s room-by-room analysis on composition, flair, the all-important tchotchke and what it takes to become the Happiest Chicest Home in America.
(Above) Hallway to Bedroom
Walking down the hallway to the bedroom, I see layers, layers, and layers of unexpected touches. Most prominent is the salon-style hung art that includes an eclectic mix of fave fashion photos, watercolor sketches, and personal pics. There is an inherent chicness about framing photos of your friends, because it tells a narrative that is all your own. J’adore the Zebra print rug. Going wild with animal print is advice I give everyday.
I love how the styled bookshelves have created vignettes in unexpected spaces. I often give the advice to layer your lair with love, to love what you love and have your apartment show just that. Pictured here is a Romanesque bust modeling a beaded necklace balanced with the binding of a David Hicks design book. This bookshelf is a creative moment that gives the room an eccentric personality with pops of red, pink, orange. I see another design trick: hanging framed pictures, especially tiny frames with tinier pictures, between shelves. It gives the bookshelf depth.
Living Room/Office Area
Draping a linen slip over a table to hide desktop uglies like a printer and office supplies is a simple and easy antidote to the troubles and traumas of everyday office supplies. The bookcase from Design Within Reach stacked with a fave collection of books is a masterful way of dividing this roomscape. That porcelain bird on top of the case creates a sculptural moment and adds a bit of whimsy to the room. J’adore the pinboard hung behind the desk as a clever way to display her creativity. If you are someone who holds onto postcards or fabric swatches, art sketches and ribbon, pin them up on a board. Voila! You have art!
The living room offers an example of how to keep the color story consistent throughout the space: black and white with pops of red, and then accessorize aplenty! I would recommend covering the walls in grasscloth. Even add grasscloth on the ceiling for an unexpected dash of luxury. The chunky wallcovering made from jute and other natural fibers is back in style and I couldn’t be happier. Again, again, and again, the personal narratives throughout this apartment are what make it a happy chic home!
I believe in bold gestures, especially if you have a small apartment. This clever entrant has managed to make her 325-square-foot apartment a gesture of Maximalist merriment. I consider myself a Maximalist designer and, as a Maximalist, I combine styles with abandon and a sense of fun. Maximalism is life-affirming and Minimalism is gloomy. This apartments decor is all about mixing and matching with panache, transforming the small space into a happy home. — Jonathan Adler
Check back next Thursday for other Happy Chic Homes in the running and more of Jonathan Adler’s secrets of style.
Anne E. Collins (Editor) and Jonathan Adler (Product and Interior Designer)