It’s Nice to Be Jonathan Adler

Courtesy of Simon Doonan

Ever wonder what Jonathan Adler‘s summer home might look like? Architectural Digest recently went inside the groovy Shelter Island abode he shares with his longtime partner Simon Doonan, a man famous for his windows at Barney’s New York and his latest book Gay Men Don’t Get Fat. The 1960s A-frame not only sports many of Adler’s playful products, but the colorful, retro-chic interior (plus outdoor space) is airy – making it the perfect getaway for this gay New York super duo … and their adorable Norwich Terrier Liberace.

Doonan tells the story about how he and Adler found the rustic beach home, and how they conceptualized it as a kind of futuristic retirement pad – complete with a “putz-worthy” garden.

“The exact vibe was to be a blend of Big Sur bohemian and rich Ibiza hippie, two of our favorite adopted personas,” writes Doonan. “To achieve it, he mixed furniture and rugs of his own design with diverse vintage finds – from a starburst mirror framed with spindle legs to industrial ceiling lights to suspended rattan lounge chairs. Ever the potter, he devised ceramic tiles for the kitchen, living room and master suite.”

The couple also commissioned original art from a few famous friends.

“Painter and designer John-Paul Philippé created a mural inspired by local birdlife for our kitchen island, while set designer Andy Harman conceived a giant macramé owl, which is now displayed on the indigo brick divider separating the entrance and the telly-watching zone,” Doonan writes. “For my part, I added some photographs taken by a roster of pals and professional collaborators: a candid fashion image backstage at a Dior runway show by Roxanne Lowit; a wicked child-pageant portrait by Susan Anderson; a haunting truck-stop bathroom interior by Henny Garfunkel; and a picture of Jonathan and me leaping off a yacht in the Mediterranean by Jonathan Skow.”

Click here to check out the slideshow.

Sibling Rivalry

Illustration by Luci Gutierrez

I was one of the lucky ones who got to grow up at the Jersey Shore. My family lived a block from the bay in Wildwood. I was a 10-year-old tomboy, the second-youngest of five, whose favorite hobbies included fishing and crabbing. After school and on the weekends you would always find me down at the bulkhead with my pole and nets trying to reel in something brag-worthy.

But one day I met Mr. Davis, an elderly gentleman who had a house with a private dock where he invited me to fish and crab whenever I wanted. I started showing up in my usual tomboy attire: Converse high-tops, a Phillies jersey and denim shorts, topped with a raccoon hat. My parents never liked the get-up, but it was my favorite. And deep down I thought I was a boy and, ultimately, had no problem convincing Mr. Davis of that either.

The first time he saw me in the raccoon hat, he asked, “Where’s your sister Stacey?”

I wanted so much to be a boy back then that I lied and told Mr. Davis that I was Stacey’s twin brother Mickey.

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Guess Who’s Coming Out at Dinner?

His life reads like a celebrity tell-all, complete with all the drama and humor one might accumulate over five decades in entertainment. “I was a kid model at four years old,” says Robert “Sandy Beach” Hitchen. A native of Atlantic City, the towhead cut his teeth doing catalogs and conventions for a line of kids clothing based on the Bat Masterson TV show. A serious case of acne sidelined his teenage dreams until he was tapped for a dance party show broadcast from Steel Pier. “There were these teenage girls throwing themselves at me,” he says. “One girl overdosed on aspirin because I wouldn’t go out with her.”

Then came a very influential summer at Bucks County Playhouse, where he got his first real kiss—from a man. “We were at the cast house for a party,” remembers Hitchen, when an older actor treated him to an “acting” lesson. “The next thing I knew he threw his lips on me,” he says. “A few seconds later, I kissed him back. And then I kissed him for a long time.”

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