Jonathan Adler Talks Turkey (Legs): The Designer on Holiday Traditions and Design Trends
If you're reading this, Jonathan Adler probably needs no introduction. In addition to his own impressive home decor enterprise, he's brought his brand of mid-mod flair to everything from hotels (The Parker Palm Springs) to coffee mugs (Starbucks). I caught up with him to check out his latest creative collabo — a collection of Moto X Pure Edition phones — and to get his thoughts on design trends, holiday traditions and gift-giving.
Spoiler alert: If you're Jonathan's husband, Simon Doonan, you should stop reading now, unless you don't want your present to be a surprise.
JA ... on Design Trends
What's the one design trend you wish would go away forever?
[Real] Taxidermy. I get it. It's supposed to make people seem edgy, but to me, it just makes me feel very sad.
And one design trend you’re obsessed with right now?
Oooh, mixed metals! Can't get enough. For me as a designer, it's a fabulously liberating trend, because I like to mix my metals and work in different metals. It's a great "more is more" era.
JA ... on Holiday Traditions
What's your favorite holiday tradition?
Well, Simon and I are both sorta Christmas elves all year round, so when it comes time for the actual holidays, we keep it super low key. But, we have these fab Christmas balls that we bought at the Liberace Museum 20 years ago. We kept them in their original packaging and we just put them on either side of the mantel. That's the beginning and end of our holiday decor.
What's your must-have holiday dish?
I'm like Henry VIII; if I have a gigantic turkey leg in my hand, I'm happy!
What's your favorite holiday gift that you've ever received?
I should say something very sweet and sentimental and pure, like an experience, but the truth is, the best gift I ever got was my super-fancy Rolex watch from my husband. So, when you get right down to it, I think my favorite holiday gift was my most expensive holiday gift!
JA ... on Tech
I hear you that you designed some phones especially for the gifting season, is that right?
I collaborated with Moto X Pure for rad Jonathan Adler-designed phones in trendy yet timeless patterns that make fab holiday gifts. I think technology is always a surprise gift, and it's strange to me that people don't think of gifting technology more, because it's as essential these days as the air that we breathe! So, I know my hubby will be getting the Honeycomb pattern. That hits all the right notes: masculine, feminine, timeless but "today."
If you were an emoji, which one would you be?
I think I'd be that one, I don't know what it's called, but the one where it's like, one eye closed and one eye open —
And he's like, sticking his tongue out? Yes!
What do you think that's supposed to mean?
I think it's like, being cheeky?
Like a little sassy? Mm-hmm, I like it. It's sassy.
Clean Lines, Natural Hues
Midcentury furniture pieces are characterized by their clean, simple lines. Wood pieces, often made of teak, are simply finished to showcase their natural beauty. Here, designer Beth Haley paired this traditional midcentury table with clean-lined contemporary chairs and bold teal walls.
Let Wood Details Take Center Stage
Don't hide wood details; let them shine. In this living room, a neutral wall color and soft-hued fabrics lets the handcrafted arms of these Danish modern chairs be the star. Design by Domicile Interior Design
Less Is More
Subtlety and thoughtful craftsmanship are much of what makes midcentury style timeless. When Eero Saarinen designed his modern classic, marble-topped table in 1956, he wanted to eliminate any extra parts, including extraneous table legs. Paired with molded plastic Eames chairs, the simple lines of the table still look fresh and modern in this slate gray contemporary kitchen. Design by Joel Snayd
Let There Be Light
Midcentury table lamps lend themselves well to any space featuring low-slung furniture, and they're easy to find at vintage stores. Look for curvy bases in bold hues, paired with tall, slim lampshades, like this Murano glass lamp designer Kenneth Brown used atop a vintage Knoll nightstand. Photo by Mayer Bowden Photography
An Affordable Focal Point
Flea markets are another great source for retro lighting. A brass helix-style chandelier purchased for $200 is the focal point in this midcentury-menswear mashup. Black, silver and gold pinstripe wallpaper covers the walls and lets the entryway's bargain chandelier stand out. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn
Find Retro Art
Add an unexpected element to your home with a vintage art piece. Look for graphic wall hangings using squares or circles, like this red, orange and brown piece. Or, find a vintage-inspired print on sites like Etsy.com.
Pick a Traditional Color Scheme
Embrace the era of mustard, avocado and tangerine with a '60s-inspired color scheme. This living room from designer David Scott nods to the classic hues without seeming like a movie set.
Keep the Walls White
Midcentury style is all about showcasing quality pieces, so try keeping your walls white. This room's neutral palette allows the artwork and the rich blue velvet on the vintage Robsjohn Gibbings chair to stand out. Design by David Scott
Embrace Pattern and Texture
Graphic patterns and midcentury modern style go together like milk and cookies. In this vintage-inspired room, a neutral palette allows designer Sarah Richardson to play with pattern and texture, from the angular gray-and-white upholstery to the textured wallpaper and throw pillows.
Try a Bar Cart
If you've ever watched an episode of Mad Men, you know cocktail culture was almost as important to the show (and the era) as Don Draper's hair gel. Embrace it by picking up your own bar cart and stocking it with vintage glassware, cocktail shakers and ornate decanters. Design by Emily Henderson
Go Totally Retro
Take the midcentury look a little further by creating a space entirely furnished with '60s-inspired pieces. A George Nelson bubble lamp floats atop the vintage table and chairs, and retro vases, sunbursts and abstract wall art adorn the mustard-hued walls. Design by Alicia Friedmann
Mix Traditional and Modern
Midcentury style isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. This bachelor pad combines the clean lines of the tufted midcentury sofa and table lamps with more traditional elements, like the bronze-and-glass coffee table. Photo by Brian Patrick Flynn
Feature One Standout Piece
Even if you're more contemporary than retro, a single midcentury piece can warm up your space. In this red and white living room, an iconic wood-and-glass Noguchi table is an unexpected focal point. Design by Marie Burgos
Cozy Up With Midcentury Style
Midcentury furnishings in a nursery? Believe it. Designer Sarah Richardson used this orange chair, inspired by Danish designer Arne Jacobsen's iconic egg chair, as cozy seating in a nursery on Sarah 101. Find an iconic piece for your nursery to give it high style and a shelf life long past toddlerhood.
Restyle Classic Pieces
Don't be afraid to update midcentury pieces to suit your style. In this Los Angeles home, a classic Eames chair is reupholstered with an African fabric to add a bold pattern to the space. Design by Commune Design
Try Modern Industrial
The clean lines of midcentury modern furnishings are the perfect juxtaposition to rough-hewn industrial spaces, which makes this mix of styles ideal for urban loft living. Image courtesy of CB2
Shop New Midcentury-Inspired Pieces
As midcentury style grows more popular, many retailers are stocking new pieces that evoke the feel of midcentury greats. These chairs from CB2 are inspired by classic Bertoia Knoll wire chairs, but offer a slightly more streamlined silhouette and an on-trend, emerald-green hue. Image courtesy of CB2
Preppy style and midcentury modern pieces can be a design match made in heaven. Here, designer Tobi Fairley used an iconic midcentury accessory, the sunburst mirror, to create a quintessentially preppy look with houndstooth pillows, a classic color scheme and lots of symmetry. Photo courtesy of Tobi Fairley Interior Design
Modern Eclectic Style
A vintage Mies chair is right at home in this reading nook. The geometric leather pillow from South America adds dimension to the space. Design by Luis Caicedo