Interior Designer Athena Calderone’s 12 Home Decor Essentials


AD presents the Clever Guest Edit, a shopping series in which our favorite design enthusiasts share the products and collectibles that bring their homes to life. This week’s special guest is Athena Calderone, a lifestyle guru, best-selling author, podcast host, and creative director. Get the exclusive on what’s at the top of her wish list here and don’t forget to subscribe to the Clever newsletter to get these picks delivered straight to your inbox each month.

Athena Calderone is the definition of a woman with a vision. A long time AD favorite who was once hailed as a modern Martha Stewart by Vogue, the EyeSwoon founder has proven to have a special eye for interior design that has redefined the art of entertaining. Not even a pandemic could slow her down: In fact, Athena dropped her second book, Live Beautiful, and ventured into the podcast world with her series, More Than One Thing, last year. (In her own words, the book is a “showpiece of exquisite design and a guide to creating a home that’s thoughtfully put together.”)

Through her various mediums of work, Athena provides us with a smooth (and stylish) road map to better understand the principles at play behind design. When she’s not curating or cooking, Athena is preoccupied with decorating every inch of her impeccable spaces in New York (she lives between her Brooklyn town house and Hamptons beach house). Leaning more toward modern organic, Athena’s signature style incorporates layers of natural materials that are accented by sculptural objects.

Here, the culinary and visual storyteller tells us about the 12 products that she’s currently obsessed with. “I’m more inclined to break the rules than follow them, but there are two I generally abide by—less is more, and contrast and juxtaposition are far more interesting than anything one-note,” she explains. “So when I’m designing a space, I typically gravitate toward pieces that have patina and touchable texture to bring depth, personality, and soul home. This also lets your eyes do the talking as you flit from one piece to the next, letting your curious nature lead the way. Just like this curation, you want to encourage an unspoken dialogue between you and the room. That’s how you create design magic!”

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“One of my favorite plates at the moment! This beautiful piece has that touch of the hand I crave that’s perfectly imperfect.”

“An elegant and versatile way to up your lampshade game! Etsy is full of affordable and beautiful pleated shade options.”

“Each earthenware terra-cotta bowl features a unique shape and patina, while celebrating the beauty of imperfection. The petite footed bowl was initially envisioned as a ceremonious vessel to burn my palo santo each morning. The handcrafted petite vessel also makes a great catchall for jewelry.”

“Greens, ranging from deep olive to subtle sage, have made their inevitable comeback. I love a pop of green in a neutral space.”

“This curvy hand-forged iron candleholder will add visual interest to your space and dial up the mood.”

“This dark stoneware clay is oh-so-dreamy. Perfect for creating contrast when styling a space.”

“I’m constantly asked about my favorite tapered candles. I love the moss color of these—they play well with any decor and tablescape setting.”

“I love to light candles and create a cozy ambiance throughout my spaces… which means a chic match striker is never out of reach!”

“I’ve never met a sculptural vessel I didn’t like.”

“If there is one thing I’ve become known for, it’s my fondness for decorative branches in vintage vases. I’m constantly finding and creating beauty at home and one of the places I keep coming back to is nature—it’s a continual source of inspiration for me.”

“The textures in this papier-mâché collection drew me in immediately.”

“This sculptural sconce was my first collaborative venture into product design led by the ever-talented ceramic artist Simone Bodmer Turner, and I absolutely adored the process and final result!”

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