‘This house is all about me, me, me – in the best possible way,’ says potter, designer and all-round style influencer Jonathan Adler. While the Greenwich Village home that Jonathan shares with his husband Simon Doonan is awash with the full-on colour and dazzling glamour you’d expect from this fêted interiors maestro, their beachside bolthole on Shelter Island taps into a different side of Jonathan’s creativity.
‘This house gave me an opportunity to get back to my roots as a craftsman,’ he explains. ‘And it is my idea of heaven.’
From ceramic wall tiles to furniture, sculptures and stacks of his covetable pottery, Jonathan relished ‘making a ton of stuff’ for this home. ‘For both of us, this setting feels très natural and rustic – this is our happy place,’ he says.
Jonathan and Simon first discovered Shelter Island, a hop off the eastern end of Long Island, some 20 years ago and loved its gentler pace. For them, its character is an antidote to the area’s more high-profile resorts.
‘In comparison, the Hamptons feels like a hub of anxiety,’ Jonathan says. ‘It’s where I’m either stuck in traffic or shopping – and both crank up the tension. But the second I get on the ferry to Shelter Island, I feel the exact opposite. It’s paradisiacal.’
The island’s air of remoteness adds to its appeal. ‘Simon is from the UK and, funnily enough, the landscape here reminds us of places such as Cornwall. Similarly, while the journey is a bit longer, it’s worth the extra effort.’
The house is set amid sand dunes and grasses and its architecture is a subtle merging of the couple’s favourite styles: ‘It’s Californian meets Swedish meets Japanese,’ Jonathan says.
Colours lean towards an earthy palette – mellow yellows, soft ochres and burnt orange. Textures are equally natural, with red cedar timber cladding, tactile grasscloth wallpaper and a screen of organic ceramic shapes dreamed up by Jonathan.
‘The house is a shell of quietude, punctuated by moments of celebratory colour and pizzazz,’ he adds.
Most of the time Jonathan and Simon’s days here are gloriously low-key and lazy. ‘Aside from paddleboarding and swimming, our main activity here is discussing at length who made the last cup of tea and whose turn it is to make the next one,’ laughs Jonathan.
Cushions, rugs, daybed, side tables, coffee table, throws, chest and ceramics throughout are by Jonathan Adler. For more JA style, visit jonathanadler.com
Report by Jo Leevers