what’s in your toolbox: sasha adler

Today we get a glimpse into the world of Sasha Adler, one of the driving creative forces behind Nate Berkus Associates. Sasha is a self-taught designer with an impressive educational background in fashion, art and architecture, which are effortlessly infused into every space she touches. Her signature flourishes of bright color and layers of texture lend an almost sartorial approach to interior design. Read on for a fun peek into the world of this talented lady! — Ginny Branch

1. Design*Sponge: What is in your toolbox?

Sasha Adler: iPad, personalized stationery from The Printery, Farrow & Ball paint wheel, Hermes notebook, a variety of finish samples, Pellegrino water.

2. Design*Sponge: Fill in the blank, “When I am in my studio, I feel _____________.”

The full interview continues after the jump . . .

3. Design*Sponge: What is on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now?

Sasha Adler: My book collection includes everything from books on travel and modern art to antique jewelry, but I am always looking for inspiration from books on interiors, as well. My favorites are Jacques Grange, Bill Blass, Jansen and Frances Elkins. Of course, fashion magazines (including the international editions), as well as artnet.com, style.com, Net-a-Porter, 1stDibs and eBay.

4. Design*Sponge: How do you keep yourself organized? Time management is often one of the biggest obstacles for creative minds. Do you have an agenda book, and do you make to-do lists?

Sasha Adler: My blackberry, iPad and notebook. I keep a notepad next to my bed because I often think of things in the middle of the night.

5. Design*Sponge: If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be and why?

Sasha Adler: There is absolutely nothing practical about this answer, but I have always wanted to fly because I think it would be the most outrageous experience.

6. Design*Sponge: What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young artist/designer?

Sasha Adler: I think the best advice I ever received is to really do something you love and the rest will fall into place. I would also tell young designers to look for inspiration everywhere, as you can often find it in the most unexpected places. Just the other day, my daughter used an amazing and totally unexpected color combination when we were coloring, and I tried to replicate it with textiles for a client.

7. Design*Sponge: How do you combat creative blocks?

Sasha Adler: The best thing for me is to travel, either to an inspiring location or just a beach to relax, but since that is not always an option, sometimes I just need to step away for a bit. I take a walk on the lake with my daughter, spend an afternoon at The Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing, catch up on magazines or look through my library. After a brief pause, I can look at something with a fresh perspective.

8. Where do you like to shop for inspiration? This can be anything — bookstores, museums, flea markets, boutiques, etc.

Sasha Adler: I shop for inspiration absolutely everywhere, from the flower market to a vintage jewelry store to a rock shop.

9. Design*Sponge: If you could peek inside the studio/toolbox of any designer/artist/craftsperson, whose would it be and why?

Sasha Adler: Definitely Coco Chanel. She was a true genius. Her revolutionary perspective on textiles, color, hardware and trim extends far beyond the realm of fashion and is still so relevant today.

10. Design*Sponge: If you could make a master mix-tape of music that is inspiring you at the moment, what would it include?

Sasha Adler: I love listening to music, but I never know who sings anything. My sister makes the best mix-tapes that have everything from The Rolling Stones to Jay Z, as well as some more obscure new artists she is trying to introduce me to, so I would definitely outsource the master mix to her!

  1. What a fabulous interview (and gorgeous interior shots)!
    Loved getting to know Sasha. Her passion for what she does every day is inspiring ;)

  2. dardar says:

    The light, above the table (round one, like a globe) – where did you get it?

  3. Danielle says:

    I want that Steel Cabinet – where can I get it!?!?

  4. ashley says:

    Great post, love her lipstick! Ginny, she’s rocking your signature!

  5. kate says:

    hello design sponge & sasha adler,

    love the post and sasha adler, where O where did you get that lovely blouse?

  6. lesley says:

    i love that she feels grateful when she’s in her studio. that’s how i feel, too!

  7. Mariah says:

    Thank you for that! I love the Nate Berkus and it was wonderful to meet the designer behind the scenes.

  8. Stylons says:

    Oh my Gosh thats an amazing studio. I lovit. I think everybody could be crative in this kinda place!

  9. April Neylan says:

    Great interview, thanks for sharing :) Merry Christmas to you!

  10. Lauren says:

    So fun reading this! I’m on my way to a creative career in interior design and felt inspired by this post. Thank you.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    The Steel Cabinet is so beautiful, and as are all your pics:)

  12. Great interview – very inspiring!

  13. Loved reading about Sasha. She’s an inspiration. Love her work and broad scope of submersions.

  14. Stephanie Daigle says:

    Also want to know the source for the hanging pendant over the table, have been looking for it for a year!! Thanks!

  15. Susan says:

    An inspiring lady!

  16. Sarah says:

    Yes, please tell us where the globe light above the table is from! xoxo


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