(Interior Motives)

Stacked Books As Decor? This Home Hack Keeps Jewelry Designer Amanda Assad Mounser Inspired

It’s the anti-bookshelf.

In TZR’s franchise, Interior Motives, celebrities and tastemakers discuss their unique approach to home design and how it reflects their personal aesthetic.

When Amanda Assad Mounser, the founder behind the jewelry and art line MOUNSER, moved from her Brooklyn brownstone to Los Angeles with her husband a few years ago, she experienced a newfound lightness. “Because of the way that our space is — there's a skylight, there are these clean windows everywhere — it literally feels like you're in a light box,” she tells TZR over the phone. “And so I feel almost like the clutter and the darkness of living in a brownstone where we lived before has lifted.” Amidst the challenges of the past year, that newfound feeling of lightness is one of the many things that’s been keeping her inspired.

“Everything is literally lighter — like there is actually more light — and it metaphorically feels lighter,” she continues. “And I think, with a metaphorical lightness, you almost become more malleable, more flexible; there's more fluidity to the way you approach everything.”

That said, the artist, who is known for her sculptural approach to design and accessories, relies on more than light to keep her creative juices flowing. Though Mounser recalls many sources of inspiration during our chat, she specifically singles out a nook in her home she often turns to for relaxation and resources. And while she typically keeps things pretty minimal design-wise, this particular spot features a jumble of items placed together to help spark new ideas.

Courtesy of Amanda Assad Mounser

“I like to be able to see all of my inspirations, which is why I included all these stacks of books in the nook,” says Mounser, who mentions that she has a penchant for art books in particular. “That's kind of the only thing clutter-wise that I have. I just use them so much as resources.”

Being an artist, too, she likes to highlight anything she’s creating. That can include her small sculptures or paintings — she usually has a few out on display. And, of course, she always has some greenery implemented as well. “I try to surround myself with plants,” she explains. “I feel like the living green kind of brings another element of calm to the space.”

Ahead, Mounser talks more about what keeps her inspired at home, the role nature plays in her creative process, which books she can’t get enough of at the moment, and more.

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Tell me about your nook and how that spot came to be in your home.

Where those books are is between our living space and my work space, so I wanted a spot where I could kind of go to. That's where the bulk of my book stacks are. We didn't have room for the big bookshelf that we had back in our place in Brooklyn, so I wanted to replicate that magic gathering of books. So a lot of times if I'm relaxing, I'll take a book and just kind of casually read through it. But then there are other times when I'll take it into the work space and integrate it more into the creative process in terms of inspiration.

Books seem to play a really big role in your creative process.

Definitely. I have a ton of art books. We used to live in a brownstone when I was in New York, and I had an open wall for a big bookshelf, which was so nice. But books would randomly fall off the shelf when there was absolutely no reason why they should be falling, and they would always kind of do that at a time when I felt creatively blocked. I found that every time I picked up one of these books, there was something in there on the page that it opened to that was sort of pivotal. A message or something. I feel like I've always looked to books to open my mind in a new direction.

Do you have any favorites that you turn to often, or are loving right now?

My favorite book right now is on Alvar Aalto, and I actually have vases by him as well. They have kind of those curvilinear bases that make an amorphous shape. I love them so much, because they're clean but sculptural. You kind of feel a sense of calm from that. So I've been looking at a lot of books that have his pieces.

I also have a book by a skateboarder named Tino Razo called Party In The Back. It's about the swimming pools that skateboarders used to skate in in Southern California. So it's kind of looking at the same idea of something that's really basic and regular but also sculptural. There's this architectural background through the lens of SoCal skateboarding.

Does nature play an important part in your creative process?

Yes, definitely. When we moved into this space, one of the driving forces of it is that we had this really nice, private outdoor space. We have a giant bougainvillea, it goes from the ground up to like 15-feet high, and it takes up the whole back wall of our garden. When you look out the window in the front, all you can see is flowers. So that view of the outdoors is really important, and then I try to put as many plants in the space as we have room for. We love plants, I'll always surround myself with them.

How would you describe your interior design style as a whole?

I work from home, and it can get kind of messy with all of the jewelry and art things that are happening. So I usually like to keep it pretty minimal. I like mid-century modern design as well as Scandinavian design. Everything has clean lines; it isn't super ornate in terms of furniture.

What do you think has had the biggest influence on your interior style? Do you think being a jewelry designer has played a big role?

Totally. I love to experiment with different projects and make different things. So a lot of times that gets incorporated into my style. Like I was saying before, it kind of inspires me on what projects are next. I love mid-century modernism, I love Scandinavian design, but I also love that ‘80s, '90s minimalism, too, that happens in interiors. So I try to infuse those ideas where I can, and then inject a little bit of color without it being too overwhelming.

You moved from New York to L.A. a few years ago. How did that move affect your style at home?

I feel like my home style hasn't changed too much. I would say my personal style has changed more. I wear more color here, and I feel like my style is a little bit more carefree. Whereas in New York, I feel like it was more serious and tailored and layered.

We ended up moving here after we had taken two kind of long trips [to California]. On the second trip we really just fell in love with it — the nature, the weather, and just being able to access so many different places within one state. We ended up taking the plunge and moving here, and it's been great. It was really one of those pivotal life decisions that felt right.

What are some of the go-to brands or retailers that you love to shop for home decor?

Alvar Aalto — I collect vases by him. Also Georg Jensen; he does all these beautiful silver sculptural platters and trays, and he has a whole beautiful silver homeware line. So I collect some of those pieces too. Ssense, which is actually a retailer I sell my jewelry to, has an amazing home section now. I love what they have curated, I think it's amazing. In terms of bed linens, I love Matteo, which is L.A.-based. I think [its sheets] are just so soft and wonderful.

A lot of my plants, I get from Plant Proper. They have amazing quality plants that you can order online. The plants we've gotten from them have thrived and exploded with growth. And in terms of aspirational resources, I'm inspired by anything that comes out of The Future Perfect.