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.
The Living Room “We initially bought paper in 61 colors and eventually chose 21 to work with,” says co-designer Gene Meyer. The color blast offsets the vintage Florence Knoll sofa, silk fauteuils, and side tables designed by Gene and Doug (dougandgenemeyer.com). The painting over the sofa is by Antonio Murado; the small painting is by Philip Taaffe. The painting on the left is by Mark Sheinkman. Photo: Floto + Warner
The Work Desk in the Living Room Gene and Doug use a Pierre Cardin–designed table as their work desk. The painting inlaid with mother of pearl in back of the desk is by Nancy Lorenz. Photo: Floto + Warner
The Hallway and Front Door Gene and Doug divided the laborious paper-installation process, with Doug creating the bedroom walls and Gene designing the hall and living room walls. The photograph of the woman in red is by Richard Avedon and the triptych to the right is by Louise Lawler. Photo: Floto + Warner
The Hallway View Toward Bedroom The runner”in what they call a Triangular Too pattern”is part of Doug and Gene’s line, which is sold at studiofournyc.com. The fashion illustration on the floor below the Richard Avedon photograph is by Kenneth Paul Block. Photo: Floto + Warner
The Art Piece Doug created this cardboard, collage, and paint sculpture in 2010. Photo: Floto + Warner