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  • Happy Place

    Design icon Jonathan Adler brings his feel-good decor to Denver.


    “Too many opinions can spoil your loft. Trust your gut and your gay BFF.” Amen to those words of wisdom, painted on the walls of the new Jonathan Adler store in Cherry Creek North. The shop, one of more than 20 around the world, is the namesake of New York–based celebrity designer Jonathan Adler, former judge on Bravo TV’s Top Design and lover of all things unexpected.

    The airy, industrial space houses display after display of what we might describe as happy eclecticism. His bold collection of irreverent luxury housewares emits sheer fun without being garish: Embroidered throw pillows with cheeky pop-culture references and zigzag patterns complement retro-mod furniture in rich turquoises and tangerines; elaborate glittering chandeliers contrast the cement floors; and animal accent pieces (like turtles and giraffes made of ceramic and felt) line the shelves beside the simple yet sophisticated pottery that gave Adler his start in the design business.

    That’s right—before the international expansion, before the adoration of interior designers everywhere, and before partners such as Starbucks, Lacoste, and Mattel, Adler sat at a potter’s wheel for the simple love of the craft. He would eventually sell a line of pots to Barneys in New York in the mid-’90s, which led to a first store in SoHo and the enduring philosophy that you must surround yourself, unapologetically, with things that you love. And at Denver’s Jonathan Adler outpost, it’s not difficult to find something you love. The problem is finding something you don’t.

    Jonathan Adler talks Denver style, color schemes, and the beauty of brass.

    5280: A lot of people would say Denver doesn’t have the sophistication of New York or Los Angeles. So how did we reel you in?

    Jonathan Adler: In Denver, the outdoors inspires the indoors. It’s the perfect place to play with scale, natural materials, and groovy silhouettes. We’ve brought in a specially curated mix of products for the Denver store: lots of walnut finishes and nubby linen fabrics that are influenced by the terrain.

    Let’s say you’re decorating a room from scratch. Where do you start?

    Start at the top. Get a chandelier that is both bigger than you think you need and more expensive than you think you can afford. Then go to the other extreme and get a bold rug to anchor your space.

    Your entire design philosophy is about things that make you happy. Just curious: What makes you unhappy?

    Mean people, opening the kiln to find a bunch of exploded pots, and capers.

    What color schemes are you digging right now?

    The combo of gray, orange, and white is making my chakras tingle.

    Tell us about the must-haves in your spring line.

    I’m mad for anything brass, from our Brass Peacock table to our brass boxes. Brass objects are like jewelry for your home, and the color warms up and gets even richer as it patinas.

    158 Fillmore St., 303-377-1742,
    Read Up

    In Adler’s latest book, 100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life (Sterling Signature, November 2012), find decor and life tips from the designer who wants you to love what you love.

    The Year That Changed Everything


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