Lonny Loves: Jon Call
The Manhattan-based interior designer talks great entries, dark walls, and his cedar-scented childhood home.
Name: Jon Call
Occupation: Interior designer, Mr. Call Designs
Resides in: New York City
Best known for: Masculine, lush interiors that feel at once classic, urban, and deeply liveable.
1. Antique or modern?
2. City or country?
3. Which colors do you use most?
4. What are your favorite materials or textures?
Natural materials that beg to be touched: oiled leather, pure cashmere, sea grass, and natural iron are staples.
5. What is your favorite interior design-related word or phrase?
Proportion, proportion, proportion.
6. Does your current home look like the one you grew up in?
It does. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and my family home reflected that with a mix of Arts and Crafts furniture, Native American baskets, and a soft, light-enhancing color palette. I remember the smell of the home I grew up in: fresh cedar. Many of these elements are in my home now and continue to influence my work.
7. Does a room need a view?
Absolutely not—a room needs a focal point. A view is merely one way to achieve this. If you don't have the luxury of a view, buy art. Real art. Something that you can sink your teeth into and make your neighbors jealous.
8. Who are your favorite designers or architects?
Jean Michele Frank is my all-time favorite. Simple, polished, and refined. I’m a die-hard fan of some of my contemporaries as well: Robert Stilin, Ilse Crawford, Annabelle Selldorf, Axel Vervoordt, Jean Louis Deniot, Atelier AM. We are in a very good period of design with a diverse group of talent that speaks to many aesthetic viewpoints. It’s exciting.
9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
Currently I am addicted Design Sponge. I’ve been traveling a lot lately, and I particularly enjoy the “City Guides.” They have been an invaluable tool as I set out to explore a new area in an attempt to discover new treasures.
10. What qualities do you most admire in a room?
I like them to make sense. I don't value silliness or haphazard gestures. I like them to be be perceived as simple, yet upon closer inspection reveal a fineness and detail.
11. What are some forbidden words in your house?
"Pops of color.” It generally refers to whimsically colored throw pillows— which I try to avoid.
12. Which design rule do you love to break?
Throw out the outdated rule that dark colors make rooms look smaller. Instead, utilize deeper hues for spaces that you will use in the evening. The rich shades will make the walls recede and the space will feel larger. I know it’s counterintuitive, but trust me.
13. What is your favorite room in the house?
The entry. Like a good book, I love it when the first steps into a home capture your imagination and hint at the adventures ahead.
14. What is your most treasured possession?
A Swedish amorphic crystal bowl I bought with my allowance when I was 12 at a vintage shop. It was $22 and for some reason I remember it being very expensive. Today the bowl is displayed in my living room—a constant reminder of the curious kid that I used to be, a trait that continues to influence my work.
15. What do you wish you could do without?
Cable boxes. I have wireless headphones—why can’t the cable company come up with a wireless cable box? Or at least one that looks better.
16. If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be?
Duncan Grant. His house in Sussex named “Charleston" was the Bloomsbury Group's country retreat, where he entertained Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, and John Maynard Keynes. They painted all over the walls, wrote incredible works of fiction in the dimly-lit rooms, and carried on long dinners and mad affairs. The reckless creative and intellectual indulgence informed the design of every room. I don’t think there is another home like it in the world.
17. On what movie sets would you like to live and why?
The Talented Mr. Ripley. I've studied that movie backwards and forwards—and Dickie Greenleaf was quite the accomplished interior designer!
18. To which city or country would you move for the design?
Nowhere. New York fuels all of my designs in ways that other cities just cannot.
19. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be?
A library table. I like being useful and enjoy being surrounded by books.