as told to Ashley Riegle
Nathan Turner is a style guru and icon of California-inspired design. He recently partnered with The Village at Westfield Topanga to create pop-up shop, “American Style,” stocked entirely with 100% American made goods in Woodland Hills, California.
We stopped by Turner’s eponymous West Hollywood shop to learn some of the designer’s core pieces of design and style advice.
1. be open
Have an open, free mind and be willing to try different things. It’s important to draw inspiration from wherever you can. The more you’re open, the more you’re going to be able to take in and the more that will reflect in your work. Be open to trying and doing new things. We’re all just big sponges, and our experiences add to who we are especially creatively.
2. don’t put limits on yourself
When I first opened my shop I didn’t know where it would lead. I’ve had so much fun in this industry starting out as a shopkeeper and antique dealer, and then doing entertaining and television and my first book and work in magazines and product development. All of that stuff is really fun and keeps it fresh. That’s what I love about the design industry is there are no limits. There are so many facets in a creative industry so don’t put limits on yourself.
I was so fortunate to travel as a kid, we’d take off and have an adventure and that definitely plays a part in my style. It doesn’t have to be some far flung place. I’m incredibly inspired going to Austin, Texas, for example. And while you’re there, be open! You may be drawn to a color or a weird detail on a door or anything. Similarly, remember and embrace where you came from, let your roots inspire you.
4. embrace nature
Nature is hugely inspiring to me - we have everything in California. For me nature is just as inspiring as the travel aspect when you go to like Istanbul or Mexico City and these exotic places where you’re seeing all this stuff you’ve never seen before. I think that nature is inspiring in the opposite way. It lets everything clear from your mind and then you tap into your own creativity. It’s never been literal for me, like oh I’m going to go put redwoods on the wall, but it’s a refueling of my creativity - it’s very clearing for me.
5. invest in a few special pieces
There are certain things that are great to spend money on- and other things are kind of silly to spend money on. Personally I think you can never go wrong with art and antiques, and I don’t say that in a pretentious way like go buy a Warhol and an early 18th century Louis XV commode. But finding a painting or lovely chest of drawers that speak to you- those are the items that will stay with you for the rest of your life. It’s cool to see the many iterations when you move to a new house and a chest that you had as your entry piece goes in your bedroom as a nightstand. Stuff like that gives soul to a room.