Jonathan Adler’s “Happy Place” in Greenwich Village

Jonathan Adler's NY duplex

Designer Jonathan Adler’s Greenwich Village duplex was featured on the Wall Street Journal recently and shows that he hasn’t lost his love of happy colors, patterns, and animal figurines. In the WSJ interview he explained his design philosophy by saying, “When you are on your deathbed about to snuff it, you want to look back and remember your persimmon sofa, not beige on beige.”

Well, when you put it that way! Then again, I hope I’m not thinking about sofas at all on my deathbed… But I get his point.

Adler's staircase

I think this staircase would give me a migraine if I had to go up and down it too many times a day. But I’m not a big “pattern” kind of girl. Or a shiny wallpaper kind of girl.

NYC apartment-bedroom

He put a red and black paisley ping-pong table in his living room. My kids would love this! Adler says, “I think formal living rooms are a thing of the past.” I don’t think many New Yorkers would have this kind of luxury, but his duplex is a roomy 2,500 square feet.

ping pong table in living rm

In his book My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living, Adler offered his list of design rules, including “tchotchkes are life enhancing” and “colors can’t clash.”

Jonathan Adler's Greenwich Village apt

He has 2 new books out this month about creating happy places of your own — Happy Chic Accessorizing and Happy Chic Colors:

Jonathan Adler's Happy Chic Colors

Are you an Adler fan? Do his designs make you happy? You can read the article and see the slideshow of Adler’s place at WSJ. Photos by Jessica Antola.

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  1. says

    Bonjour, Julia! :-)

    Wow, thank you for waking me up! :-)
    I can appreciate Jonathan’s work, in fact I like it. But that doesn’t mean I can apply his style into my home. Maybe some of it, some punches of color here and there, with some pillows.. things that can be changed easily.
    My favorite photo is the bedroom one… it looks so fun!

    Luciane at

  2. says

    Just looking at the staircase pic almost gave me a migraine, don’t even have to run up there:), having said that, love his attitude to color!! I may not be able to replicate it but do love bursts of color. Also, great deathbed quote!

    Love your blog, its my escape-to-a-happy-place when all around me is going crazy!

  3. says

    I do like it! And I like you. Thanks for all the support you’ve been to me and my little blog over the last three years. I’m wrapping up my business now and just wanted to stop by and say I wish I could give you a hug in real life!! :-)
    .-= Courtney @ nesting instincts´s last blog ..swan song =-.

  4. says

    I love his happy style! Not sure I could live with it in my own home, but I love seeing it. My favorite of these images is the bedroom (and probably comes the closest to the one I could live with the most easily).
    .-= pk @ Room Remix´s last blog ..A Pretty Bedroom Makeover =-.

  5. says

    I love colour… but in this place they’ll all fighting for space… I mean a little colour here and there and you can still get the desired effect…. not every surface has to be a different one… pass me the tylenol! Lx
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..A beach day- for a November birthday girl =-.

  6. says

    Not for me, but that doesn’t make either of us a bad person. LOL!
    OK, you know I have to make more of a comment then that!
    I was just thinking that if an ordinary, not famous happy homemaker type person decorated their home in this style, they would be thought of as…how can I put it nicely?..eccentric, and would be fodder for some design do over on TV. But, when a designer does it…they are genius! Just saying… LOL!
    .-= Pat´s last blog ..Breaking the Silence =-.

  7. Cathy Lilly says

    Looks like a great place to work, like an office, but I wouldn’t want to live there. I want home to be much more visually quiet.

  8. says

    Hey Girl!

    I am going to be reviewing both of Adler’s new books this week. I will also have a chance to meet him Thursday night. I will take pictures! Thanks for the information on him :). I feel so much more prepared now….

    Love you-

  9. Dean says

    Happy? No. Schizophrenic? Maybe. There’s a fine line between eclectic and jarring and these spaces are too much for me. Looks like he’s trying too hard. I like some of the elements, but all together these rooms look like a yard sale.

  10. says

    Well, he certainly does love mixing his colors and patterns. One does get tired of all the “safe” beige on beige. It’s unusual to see a man using color and patterns…so many just go with the black, gray and silver look that tends to be cold. He’s a little over the top for me but I love the colors he uses… I just would tone it down a bit.
    .-= Teacup Lane´s last blog ..When Im Sixty-Four =-.

  11. Colleen says

    I’m staggering around trying to regain some sense of equilibrium…

  12. says

    Hi Julia – J’adore JA! I loved it when he was a judge at HGTV’s design star. His living room and dining room are both cheerful and comfy…I think I like it. That staircase however….100 % will give me a migraine as well.
    .-= Marie´s last blog ..Back from Charleston- Yall! =-.

  13. says

    Those Fun House stairs look like they could be a hazard to navigate first thing in the morning… or last thing at night… or after a drink… or, well, almost any time, really!
    .-= Lori-Anne´s last blog ..A Passion for the Past =-.

  14. says

    I love that he isn’t afraid. We all get stuck in what we “think” our homes should look like by society’s standards. It’s gets to be so blase’ and boring. I also love that he builds all of these funky colors and patterns over easy to look at and interesting furniture. Brings a little new to the old! BRAVO!

  15. says

    What I find interesting is that, where Adler’s choices in pieces is most definitely edgy, how he uses them is quite traditional. Other than the colors he uses, and placement (ie: ping-pong table in a living room), I find the over-all feel of his space to be quite traditional/conventional.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Diving Bells or Butterfies =-.

    • mike says

      70’s functionality with a fairly deep sense of traditionalism.

      It’s wonderful.

  16. says

    Whenever I see a space that is wild with pattern and color I am curious about how the owner thinks. Obviously there’s a lot going on there. :)
    .-= Kimberlee J.´s last blog ..SRNI was =-.

  17. Kim says

    Not my style. I have never been a fan of modern or contemporary. That’s why I could never live here.

  18. says

    Oh I love Jonathan so much!!! Such a wonderful space! I want to be this bold and confident with color. His spaces always look so happy. I need to paste these images on my fridge as a reminder not to chicken out and get yet another neutral.
    .-= hip hip gin gin´s last blog ..Kate Spade Giveaway Winner! =-.

  19. Deb in Oz says

    Way too much going on for me. I don’t like all of those patterns everywhere. Too confusing and distracting. And not calming at all.

  20. says

    I was noticing that in every picture (minus the bedroom and crazy stair well) the walls are stark white, and the furnishing and details are crazy bright. I definitely prefer interesting architecture in a house over exciting furniture and details any day. To me that is similar to having beige furniture inside of painted/wallpapered walls. Things would get really crazy in these Adler designs if the walls were as busy as everything else.

    I would choose a beautifully designed space over furnishings for myself, but not everyone loves the same designs… if they did, there would be a lot of designers out of work!
    .-= Ashley´s last blog ..Inspiration =-.

  21. says

    I like his style. If you notice, most of his rooms are white or neutral with (ok-many) pops of color. As an artist, I like neutral walls, and I like to move my art around from room to room. I also like to change out accessories. I would probably go for neutral sofas with crazily colored chairs because they are easier to reupholster and slipcover.

    Thanks so much for sharing Adler’s duplex with us! I love it! My only complaint would be navigating the stairs after a couple of cocktails….in heels…could be dangerous……
    .-= Ricki Jill Treleaven´s last blog ..Carol Marines Daily Paintings =-.

  22. Cindy says

    I totally agree with Pat #9 and I think it’s where our culture is right now. You get more recognition the more freakish and oddball you are and it has spilled over into decor too. Put any weird thing with other weird things and you are BRILLIANT.

  23. says

    Wowza! That is a whole lot of look happening there! But he’s campy, fun and deliciously irreverent so Mazel Jonathan Adler. I wouldn’t expect anything less. I love his design philosophy and his quotable quips. I’ve seen some of his hotel spaces, it’s always fun to see designers’ homes. For my own space, I’d like to interject some of his use of color and fun elements. Some, not all. It’s nice when a home has some personality, I’m a big fan of surprises. AKA a rhino in the living room.

    P.S. I’m with you on the migraine inducing staircase.
    .-= Bre´s last blog ..Gather Around the Table =-.

  24. says

    Those colors are sort of like candy–love it at first, but too much makes my head hurt.

    On the other hand, I love this line: “Then again, I hope I’m not thinking about sofas at all on my deathbed.” True that!
    .-= jennifer´s last blog ..Justice or Mercy =-.

  25. says

    Could not decide if it was more Willy Wonka or Mr. Magorium…what fun! I think I could have maybe one of those rooms, but not all…and definitely not the stairwell. : )

  26. says

    In his recent NYT Mag column Jonathan Adler wrote about the EXACT modern fireplace that I found on Craigslist and then didn’t buy because Sonoma County, CA no longer gives out permits for wood burning fireplaces. Sob. But maybe I can find some other common ground with him…
    .-= beth´s last blog ..Floors- 1- Can this floor be saved =-.

  27. Mimi Linna says

    too busy for this girl. I want my surroundings to be calm and relaxing.

  28. says

    love, Love, LOVE his philosophy and his happy colors! I’m SICK TO DEATH of going on so many blogs and seeing white, white, white and Paris this and that….thank you for the cheery post!
    .-= Tammy´s last blog ..Pump it up! =-.

  29. Lisa T. says

    I really really like it. There is so much energy in all of that color. It would make it more difficult to veg at home, but with me that would probably be a good thing. Get me to get up and do a good work-out or a project I had been putting off. Very cool, except for that wacky stairway.