Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Jonathan Adler Made Me Do it

I live in New Orleans as many of you already know. And we experienced Hurricane Katrina. Our house remained intact, though our lives were shaken up. There's no sob story here, no boo-hooing. It's just a fact that Katrina changed everything for everyone who lived here when it happened.

We did not expect the storm to hit us. We left on the Friday before the storm to go away for a working weekend, a drive out to Tallahassee to teach a weekend tango workshop. We were due home on Monday.

Because of Katrina, we ended up away from New Orleans, and our home for four months. It did not look like the photos here.

Although the hurricane did not do interior destruction, I certainly did!

Somehow I bought a copy of Jonathan Adler's My Prescription For Anti Depressive Living. Maybe it was the title that attracted me, along with it being a decor book. I was vaguely aware of who JA was - I had skimmed a few magazines and thought the name and the style of work might be that of the author of the book.

Believe me after Katrina, everyone from New Orleans was depressed, whether you were in or out of the city.
Most of us ate more and drank alot more cocktails.
My addiction ended up being decorating the inside of my house, because I could not cope with the damage outside of my door.

When the book arrived from amazon, I was enchanted. It brought back my fun years in New York. I loved the color, the kitsch, the imagination, and the cheeky cheerful text. I thought it would be fun to take the medicine Jonathan was prescribing, and I thought I could do it, because to my eye it looked like alot of 60's and 70's junk I could find cheap in a flea market or second hand store.
There was only one problem -
there were no more stores like this left in New Orleans.

I had a brief experience with eBay before Katrina. I was not an eBayer YET. I had just cautiously purchased one or two things. But now I turned to eBay to look for JA junk
What an education it was. I found out about something called Hollywood Regency. I found out about Mid Century Modern. I found out that JA products existed and many sold on eBay. To my eye it was a candy store filled with things I grew up with, and mocked my mother for having the bad taste to own them!

My previous decor involved the words English Country; French Country; Hamptons Lauren Beach, and my mother was stuck mid century and I was a snot to her (sorry mom).

So it was with great amusement that I found myself so attracted to this happy world of Jonathan and his alter ego Kelly Weartstler.

The more-is-more layering of objects seemed easy enough to do. As the UPS man kept bringing me my eBay finds (I sold my designer clothes from my previous life in New York to finance my eBay Jones), I kept ordering more. I had a purpose, and I didn't have to leave the house. I was a recluse and very happy for it.

Somehow eBay led me to Rate My Space, as surfing the inter net is apt to lead to connections you never are really looking for, but then become valuable sources.

I was so proud of my handiwork, and I thought the idea of Rate My Space was so nice and user friendly, so with great enthusiasm I posted several photos of my home. I was prepared to wow them all.

Needless to say I got a big can of whoop ass. Most people thought I was insane, which I guess I was. I realized that most of the world didn't get me or Jonathan Adler or New Orleans.

I have always looked at decor books and magazines, but kind of in an off handed way, as a minor source of inspiration. Now I started really looking at the photos and analyzing what made a room look good, and what made mine look so bad to RMS!

I'm not an idiot, and even before I posted those photos, I knew something was off, but I was hoping RMS wouldn't notice. So I started to move it all around, sell most of it back on eBay, and try to find out what the hell I needed to do to make the living room not look like I was on some sort of decor crack.

In the meantime I started this blog, which really started another education onto itself. Forget books and magazines, the real information is on the decor blogs.
Little by little, the message that comes through is to just be yourself. So that's what I've been doing. Both on the blog, and with the redecorating of the living room.

I wanted you all to see the photos of my mess, alongside Jonathan Adler's work, to see where an interpretation can go. Granted I didn't have a budget to go out and buy all the JA stuff, and just copy his model rooms. But I think you can see the fun I was trying to evoke with like items.

I have to give Jonathan Adler and Kelly Weartsler alot of credit for making it look so polished. They are true originals with talent.

And guess what, so am I!

Anyway, I wanted to post the "before" pictures on their own, as there are many images of the "after" coming. I promise! I've kept some of the things, and perhaps you'll have fun seeing what's left, what's not, and how it's all been moved around in a tiny 14 X 16 room.


Design Junkie said...

I love the photo were Cholo is looking at the loaded cocktail table with a clear, canine wtf look on his face.

Dianne said...

I can't wait to see the afters. Love your blog!!!!!!