Book Review: 100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life (Jonathan Adler)

Jonathan Adler 100 ways to happy chic your home, coverThis book is a collection of tips for leading a vibrant, “Happy Chic life” full of grand parties, fabulous friends, kitschy movies, exotic vacations and of course the vibrant decor style that has made Jonathan Adler famous. His advice includes:

  • Imagine a world where you’re president.
  • Bestow a moniker on your domicile to give the impression that it’s been in the family for decades, even if you moved in last week.
  • Nap in odd places.

There are lots of more practical and inspiring items on the list, but I like these because they’re free and I can do them without having to move the cat off my lap. I was a little ho-hum about #14, “Make your own decorative objet d’art”, until I realized the page folded out to reveal step-by step directions for a macrame owl. Up until twenty minutes ago, I never knew I wanted to make a macrame owl, and now I’m wondering where I last put the twine! Other fold-outs include making valentines, a paint-by-numbers watercolor, a cross stitch monogram and string art.

Jonathan Adler 100 ways to happy chic your home, macrame

In addition to many photos of interiors, artwork and architecture, there are pages of lists that include films, music, books, artists, designers, etc. – enough to keep you Googling for hours. There’s also glossary in the back that will help you understand the next time someone says, “I need some glunge mantiques to zhoosh up the neo-Neoclassical tableau on my mothic étagère.”

Adler’s writing style is quirky and charming, which makes the name-dropping and opinionated bits more endearing than not. Still, not all the advice will apply to everyone. Homeowners will get the most out of it, especially if you live in a climate to take advantage of the tips for outdoor living. Then there’s #97, `Turn a closet into a guestroom.’ Nevermind that my “guestroom” would not be suitable for anyone taller than the average six year old, but who actually has extra closets?

But this is a fun book and I do feel more energized after reading it. It would make a fabulous gift for anyone who needs a little more Happy or Chic in their lives – and don’t we all!


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