Home Visit: Simon Doonan
A trip to the glamorous romper room where Simon Doonan and Jonathan Adler reside.
"Palatial gay fantasia” is how Simon Doonan described his apartment in Greenwich Village the other night, as he swept past two garden gnomes crouching under a bright-orange lacquered console in the foyer. “Glamorous romper room,” he continued, heading toward a paisley-patterned Ping-Pong table in the living room. “Because Johnny and I are very infantile.” Nesting on bookshelves and tabletops were scores of ceramic animals designed by Doonan’s spouse, the homeware baron Jonathan Adler. (“I’m just a simple potter!” Adler insisted.) A burlap bust of Napoleon was tucked into the fireplace, and about a fifth of the room was taken up by a huge black statue of a foot. “This is the antithesis of the two-room flat where I grew up,” Doonan said.Doonan’s picaresque journey from ration books in Reading, England, to palatial gay fantasia is the subject of the British television show “Beautiful People,” which was about to make its American début, on the Logo network. The show is adapted from Doonan’s memoir “Nasty: My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints.” “When the book was optioned, everyone thought I’d start flying to work in a mink-lined helicopter,” Doonan said. In reality, his compensation was a bit more modest; he wouldn’t say how much he was paid, but allowed that it was “better than a poke in the eye with a dirty stick.”