S@H: What are your decor pet peeves?
JA: I want people to design their homes to make them happy, so I suppose the only real pet peeve I have is when people design their homes to impress somebody else rather than themselves.
S@H: How do you strike a balance between a personalized home with the tchotchkes you love and a clean, uncluttered home?
JA: Some people think design is something that should happen easily and automatically, but it isn’t. Even I have to spend a long time thinking about how to arrange things on a shelf – I try symmetry, I try asymmetry, I try different things. With enough effort, you can make anything work together. I really believe that.
S@H: What are your favourite kinds of clients?
JA: Ones with really deep pockets! And ones who don’t have any preconceived ideas about how things should be. I had this fantastic client in Boston who moved into a house with super formal drapes that didn’t suit his style. When he asked what he should do about a window covering, I said, “Why don’t you just take the drapes you have and deface them? Just have your kids paint all over them!” And he said, “Great!”
S@H: How did you come up with the idea to do that?
JA: They were so perfectly done but completely inappropriate, it seemed a shame to waste them, and I thought the client just wanted things to be fun.