Liz Lange, whose fashionable line of maternity wear is worn by celebrity moms like Jennifer Lopez, found her dream decorator in her best friend from college, the irrepressibly chic Jonathan Adler. Liz and Jonathan attended Brown University together and has remained friends ever since. For her country retreat in an idyllic small town in Upstate New York that’s also conveniently just a stone’s throw away from Manhattan, Liz, a former editor at Vogue Magazine, naturally enlisted the help of her interiors-guru friend. Jonathan, the potter-turned-designer with a penchant for fun interiors, describes the house as a “classic American center-hall Colonial built around the turn of the century.” Rather than opting for a “beige haze of graciousness,” Liz and Jonathan saw “the potential for this traditional background to make a great foil for a graphic, groovy interior,” said Jonathan. More importantly, Liz also wanted the house to be “happy, bright, informal, and unpretentious.”
To start, Jonathan painted all the floors white, “for instant happiness,” as he explains. To express playfulness, he added a healthy dose of bright colors – yellow, turquoise, lime green – with black and white as a foundation. “One of the nice things is that it’s a light-filled house, and the colors just crank that up to the next level,” says Jonathan. Furthermore, “there is a purity to the colors and the purity of the design that reflects Liz’s strong sense of who she is,” he added. In keeping with the buoyant spirit of his design philosophy, Jonathan freely mixed his colorful furniture with classic modern pieces. In the dining room, he loves “the vibrant Chinese Chippendale chairs around the modern Warren Plattner table – they add a festive and electric vibe to the room.” The mix of graphic colors and eclectic juxtaposition of styles creates a country retreat that is at once fun and unexpectedly glamourous. In the sun room, Jonathan created his own modern take on the traditional screened porch by adding a rattan hanging chair and a wool zebra rug. “I prefer cruelty-free animal-print rugs. It’s more modern and much more fun,” said Jonathan.
Fun and glamour aside, Jonathan also believes in the importance of functionality as a foundation for good design. Nowhere is this more evident than in his design of the upbeat green and white kitchen, “a room that you want to be in,” according to Jonathan. The green color was chosen to reflect the outside, where the view is nothing but greenery. “We upholstered the Norman Cherner stools and and chairs in this lime green print that’s sort of crisply modern and floral-viny at the same time, perfect for the country. It’s on the drum shade, too.” As this is a family home with young children, Jonathan had all the fabrics laminated so that everything is super easy to clean. Ikea cabinets were chosen because, as Jonathan explains, “You can get a kitchen that looks this fabulous without spending millions.” “To me, if things are too expensive, and perhaps even too considered, it can be a bit lugubrious, which strikes me as antithetical to the spirit of a family home,” he adds.
With top-of-the-line appliances and wireless internet reception, the kitchen is a sunny gathering spot for the modern family. As Jonathan explains, “It’s the family’s everything room – computers going and cookies being baked and all the typical mayhem. Their meals in here range from proper breakfast or dinner at the Saarinen table to snacks in front of the computer.” Indeed the whole house is just what the young family needs in a country retreat, with all the functionality of modern life and a fun, bright and groovy interior set among the woods. It’s simply perfect.