Photographs by Floto + Warner
Just this past summer, interior designer Doug Meyer’s West Side apartment overlooking the High Line and the Hudson River was submerged in soothing layers of cool greens: chartreuse floors, Kelly walls, upholstered furniture the shade of asparagus. But, as he’s prone to do, Doug got antsy. “I keep one incarnation for several months while new ideas are incubating for the next version,” he says of the apartment where he’s lived for three years.
Along with his brother and design partner, Gene, Doug had long been a bit of a paper fetishist, fascinated by the effects of layering tones and textures. And having grown up in Kentucky with a mother who preferred bright-orange living spaces to the neighbors’ usual eggshell-and-avocado schemes, both brothers are color enthusiasts, to put it mildly. (Says Gene, “It hurts when I see the modern world dressed in black. The right colors can transform anything into something arresting that transcends style.”) So together they began papering over Doug’s bedroom walls with colored sheets of 8½-by-11-inch paper, each digitally printed with one of 223 designs. “The idea was a riff on early wallpapers from the 1400s, which were actually small squares of paper printed with wood blocks,” Gene explains.
Three months later, the Meyers, who split their time between New York and Miami, had transformed the entire one-bedroom rental into a live-in kaleidoscope using only their own four hands—and 2,398 sheets of paper. The Technicolor living area (which doubles as local headquarters for Doug and Gene’s design business) and the print-motif bedroom walls are visual feats in their own right, though one of the brothers’ favorite effects is to layer pieces of artwork on top of the wild backdrops. “I don’t love art on white walls,” Doug says. “Okay, I don’t like anything that anyone else has.” Not that copycats would have it easy.