photographs by james merrell styling by ashley sargent text by Brooke williams
Linda and John Meyers have turned their mutual
passion for thrifting into a quirky, mostly
vintage, interior-design biz. In their two-bedroom
apartment in Portland, ME, they elevate the
mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle” to an art form.
Linda and John surround a teak
lamp whose shade comes from
the estate sale of a speechwriter
for former President Gerald Ford.
While many urbanites only fantasize about
greener pastures, Linda and John Meyers
actually ditched the NYC rat race to pursue an
artistic life in the more humane setting of coastal
Maine. “All we wanted was to make a living doing
what we really loved,” Linda says. Drawing on their
visual backgrounds—she was a graphic designer at
several top ad agencies, he designed
Anthropologie store interiors—they followed their
hearts, putting all their favorite endeavors under
the shingle of Wary Meyers Decorative Arts (Wary
is Linda’s maiden name). Linda crafts a fashion line
and John paints portraits, but their devotion to
collecting and decorating with vintage is the soul of
their three-year-old design company. The duo has
brought salvaged chic to residences mostly in New
York, purchasing all of the furniture and
accessories (even pots and pans!) and designing
custom wall coverings too. “It’s not that we’re
against new stuff, per se,” Linda explains. “It’s just
that there are so many exquisitely designed pieces
out there that are crying out for the chance to live
new lives. They’re so much better off with us and
our clients than in a landfill!”
Curatorial collectors to the core, the Meyers spend
part of nearly every day checking out estate sales,
flea markets, vintage shops—and even dumpsters.
They tote home anything that catches their eye and
keep the booty in the wings until a perfect use makes
itself evident. At home, dramatic walls set the stage
for their furniture and art decisions. The living room is
a Tiffany blue the couple had matched at the Home
Depot—“I always wanted to live inside a jewelry box,”
Linda says—and the dining room is swathed in French
chintz scored at a Brooklyn flea market and applied
with liquid starch, so it can be removed and reused.
The couple has amassed a stash of Bargello
needlepoint pillows. “They’re like the jewels inside the
box!” Linda says. The faded estate-sale sofa seemed
the ideal neutral background. And so the palette was
established: blues and greens, with pops of orange
and pink. The framed Hermès scarf and the Bjørn
Wiinblad print echo the colors of the pillows.
Imagine Linda’s joy when she came home from a day
of work to discover that John had built her the
dressing room of her dreams—especially as she’d
never had a real closet in NYC, just a rolling rack in
the bedroom. John thought of everything, from rods to
hang her collection of period Courrèges and Cardin
frocks to shelves and hooks to house her vintage
Vuitton and Gucci bags. The hot-pink window trim and
mid-’60s flower-power curtains femme things up,
while the old-school Nirvana poster brings in the rock.
A salvaged sheepskin does the job of shag carpeting,
and the delicate light of her grandmother’s Chinese
lanterns completes the scene.
Linda is obsessed with Italian
handbag designer Roberta di
Camerino’s trompe l’oeil dresses
from the ’60s and ’70s.
The couple painted the lower third of the
wall white to break up the block of blue,
like the ribbon on a Tiffany box.
A 1959 mahogany headboard
doubles as storage for the couple’s
out-of-print book collection.
What’s your decorating style?
Organic hippy, but with a serious appreciation of good
design: ’70s Terence Conran meets bohemian David Hicks.
John and I brainstorm together, then John does the drawings
for the interiors, while I’m about the finishing touches: finding
the perfect set of glasses, hanging the art.
How do you unearth good flea markets?
The world is much more savvy now than it was even four or
five years ago, what with Antiques Roadshow and all, but there
are still great finds to be had. Check local listings for estate
sales and flea markets, and the yellow pages for thrift stores.
And leave no stone unturned: what looks like a junky sale can
still have that one amazing item.
Any tips on sprucing up old furniture?
We recently painted a set of metal stacking chairs white. I find
that old furniture almost always looks great that way! The
dings magically disappear, and it becomes all about the shape.
People send in photos and
personality descriptions of
their pets, and John makes
beautiful acrylic portraits. warymeyers.com
We design modern versions
of traditional crests. This wall
stencil was made for a
woman who loves cats and
Magnolia Bakery cupcakes. warymeyers.com
This book (but only the
1974 edition) is literally
our manual. We consult
it all the time!