My Slap-Happy Chat With Jonathan Adler

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Nate Berkus and Jonathan Adler more than anyone else in the design world (although I have sizable girl-crushes on Sarah Richardson and Candice Olsen) so when I got an email asking if I wanted to hop on a phone interview with J-Ad (as I like to call him in my head since we’re besties) well, I momentarily lost my mind.

I debated saying no (I’ll definitely get awkward and squeal-y and make him think I’m nuts) but after chatting about it with John, he convinced me that a 15 minute call with Jonathan Adler might end up on my highlights reel of this whole blogging “career” when we look back on this crazy ride of ours. Hubs was right, I had to do it. Clamminess and too-loud-laughs be darned.

So I emailed back a response that I hope came off cool and collected (as opposed to hyper and maniacal) and was given a Friday at noon time-slot for my call. I hardly slept on Thursday night thanks to getting all of my questions ready and second guessing myself a million times, and I even asked you guys for question ideas on Facebook. Then fifteen minutes before my time-slot for the call on Friday I got an email asking if Monday would work instead. Ahhhh! Half of me was relieved to put it off for another few days, and half of me immediately went into a bigger tizzy (the anticipation of more days of planning/waiting/second guessing every question sufficiently loosened more marbles). The good news is that I was still alive on Monday afternoon, but I wasn’t completely convinced that I wouldn’t turn into Shy Ronnie on the phone…

And then I heard his voice. And all was right with the world. Turns out I still was too giggly, talked way too fast, and generally just couldn’t help myself (as interviews go, I’m sure I was far from the smoothest or the most professional) but he was so nice. And I didn’t know this was possible going into the call, but when I hung up the phone, I loved him more. I couldn’t stop talking about it with John, and I’m SO GLAD I did it. It was definitely highlight reel material.

I’m terrible at taking notes while talking, so I recorded the interview on my phone (after asking J-Ad’s permission of course) and as laughy and loud as I am, I thought you might like to hear it all go down in real life, so here’s the clip. Update: Click here to be taken directly to the sound clip if it’s not showing up below.

Is he awesome or what? You guys. My design idol said I got his CHAKRAS TINGLING. I’m floating on air. And we exchanged I love yous. Hello? Is this real life? My favorite discussion was the whole “just start with the vibe – not the walls or the curtains – and define how you want your house to feel in three words and use those as your guide. SO SMART.

My only regret is that I didn’t make John snap a picture of me while I was on the phone. But this is pretty much what it looked like:

So I hope you enjoyed that little brain-picking session with one of my favorite designers ever. Have you ever met or phoned someone up that you’re crazy about while half worrying you’d put your foot in your mouth (or just start babbling incoherently)? I’m telling you, it can be pretty amazing, even if your heart’s beating out of your chest the whole time.

Psst – For anyone who can’t listen to it right now, or would prefer to just read the interview, here’s a general recap for ya (there’s a little more banter in the recording, it was just tough to write every line out since we overlapped sometimes, etc).


As a little Friday bonus, here are four fun projects, chats, or questions going on over on the Forums. We also announced this week’s giveaway winner, so you can click here (and scroll down to the Rafflecopter box) to see if it’s you.

by Cassandra
by wlml
by crabandfishblog by JamesBarry


  1. says

    My hub and I met online and before we met in person, I knew there was something “there,” but I told myself I wouldn’t babble like a fool when we met.

    That lasted about 10 minutes, and as I started telling him everything that I promised I wouldn’t tell.. it felt oddly okay and surreal.

    I babbled. He read me his writing. We closed with a hug. A hug that melted me.

    3 days later he left for Russia to study literature. 27 days later we married.

    Yep, met and married in 30 days to a person I was so nervous to meet and promised I wouldn’t “babble” to endlessly.

    I babble and teach. He listen and writes. We both work from home with our amazing daughter doing what we love.

    I still beg myself to be still with him and he still melts me with his hugs.

  2. says

    How stinking cool! I would have been too nervous to even talk! Do you realize that most of us would feel that way about talking to you guys on the phone?

    And I love the three words idea. I think I would define the Little House as: uncluttered, comfortable, and homey.

    • says

      Oh I love this!! Guys, feel free to list your three words for your house. It’s such a fun exercise! I’m still thinking about what we’d want ours to be!


    • Pam the Goatherd says

      The three words idea is soooo good! The first two came to me right away – comfortable and fresh. Have to think a bit more about what the third should be.

    • Rachel says

      I also LOVED the three word idea and instantly had to think of mine! I’m going with happy, homey, and bright.

    • Heather W says

      I love this idea of three words to describe your home… I also think if you buy what you LOVE and not what you think you should buy because others do or it’s a trend etc. I have found buying what I truly love and makes me gasp when I see it then you don’t have to worry about matching and all that because it just naturally will…Hope this makes sense. I always ask myself do I REALLY love this and if the answer is yes. I buy it.

      My three words would be inviting, happy and comfortable.

    • says

      It is seriously amazing that you got to interview Jonathan Adler! The closest I’ve gotten is religiously visiting his store in Chicago!

      I think my three words would be cheerful, fun, and comfortable.

  3. says

    That is awesome! So fun you get to talk to one of your faves. Funny that i thought about the vibe I wanted for my wedding and worked from there, but it never occurred to me to think about it our house! Off to do just that…

  4. says

    I remember you mentioning talking to Jonathan Adler. I so expected your “secret project” to be that you two were collaborating on a line together. The interview is a cool second to that! Glad you got to talk to your design crush!! Happy weekend!

    • says

      I also wish you guys would collaborate on a line together too!….. Next phone convo you two have, be sure to mention readers are requesting it.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if this time next year YHL has their own line of ceramic animals at Target. I would be a customer for sure! I mean I only have 3 animals… I need at least 5 more. hehe

  5. maria says

    that is so awesome! he is totally my life hero, i have all of his books. i met him at a book signing on my birthday no less and he was the nicest person in the world. fun fact, my sister was hanging out outside and had a wonderful and long conversation about Marilyn Monroe with Simon Doonan, Jonathan’s husband. they are the nicest and most interesting people. I want them to adopt me :)

  6. Kimberly says

    Oh my goodness – I was an insane idiot before my girlfriends and I came to your book signing in Richmond! And then when I met you guys, I totally clammed up. By the way, I didn’t listen to it, but just the synopsis of your chat with J-Ad was adorable! I’m so excited for you that you had the opportunity to do that. And so glad you didn’t talk yourself out of it.

    • says

      Aw thanks Kimberly! I feel like we went back and forth between clamming up and chatting way too much and being crazy-hyper on tour, so I promise we didn’t feel smooth at all! Haha!


  7. erin says

    Fun stuff! I’m curious as to how/why you were chosen to interview JA. My guess would be his people are asking the most awesome DIY bloggers to chat so he can target the readers who will buy his JC Penny line. Not judging or criticizing. Just wondering.

    • says

      It was arranged through a PR company but they never mentioned his JCP line or his stores or his books, and I asked “do I need to plug anything or link to anything in the post, because we don’t do that” and they said “Nope! Just chat with him about whatever you’d like and there are no images or links you’re required to use!” I was so grateful! I think that was part of my nervousness, that there was some sort of catch, but there wasn’t and he was just awesome to talk to. I hung up completely inspired by those 15 minutes. I think I’m still floating a little.


  8. Sharon says

    OMG!!! Soooo uber exciting to have had some 1 on 1 w/ J-Ad !!

    PS – re: the U-Fab winner…Could I possibly be “that” Sharon? How would I know for sure…
    Have a great day!

    • says

      We email the winner, and they usually swing by and comment too (we’ve already heard back from the winner via email and she commented on the post, so that’s a nice way to see if it’s you). Also, entering with a last initial or a nickname (ex: SharonG-Money) might make it easier to pick out your name if Rafflecopter lands on you!


  9. Rachel says

    Love this! I swoon every time I’m in one of his stores. I have to say though, it makes my heart a bit sad to hear that you have a girl crush on Candice Olsen. She’s jus the worst to me.

    But I won’t hold it against you, so I hope you won’t hold it against me either ;)

    • amy says

      Oh, the things I would have Chico do if he was in my house…
      It’d be gettin’ hot up in hur…if you know what I’m sayin’!
      (Because lots of accent lights around your house would be very warm. In case you actually didn’t know what I was sayin’.)


    • says

      Haha! We want Chico! I wish I could do a “where are they now” series and hunt them down and ask them questions and tell them how much I love them. I would do one for Clive Pierce too. Remember when he hosted Design Star?


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