An Ode to Nancy Meyers

September 12, 2021

Living room with fireplace and coffee table from movie Home Again

Father of the Bride. That’s the first time I fell in love with an interior in a Nancy Meyers film. I had no idea it was a Nancy Meyers film, or who Nancy Meyers even was, I just knew that I loved everything about that house. The kitchen, with it’s butcher block counter tops, glass front cabinets and patinaed copper pots was warm and cluttered in the homiest of ways. The living room was the perfect combination of elegant and welcoming- slip covered sofas and chintz pillows, botanical prints and a grandfather clock. The sofas were set in the center of the room, facing each other. TWO SOFAS? In the center of the room?! It literally blew my teenaged mind. And, of course, that staircase. It was everything I thought a home should be.

So, who is Nancy Meyers? The New York Times Magazine calls her “the most powerful female writer-director-producer currently working”. She is the highest-grossing female director of all time and has a film career that spans almost 40 years. Home Again, The Intern, It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday, The Parent Trap, and Father of the Bride; Meyers’ movies are known for featuring strong successful women living their wonderfully messy lives. They are also known for their stunning interior design.

Kitchen from It's complicated Movie

Kitchen from It's Complicated

One of the most well-known Meyers sets is Meryl Streep’s kitchen in It’s Complicated. Open shelving, skirted base cabinets, a marble topped French bistro style island, pendant lights and potted herbs- and Streep’s character, a baker, was just about to renovate. Can we get a sequel based around that reveal, please? More recently, Anne Hathaway’s contemporary Brooklyn brownstone and industrial chic e-commerce office in The Intern, had me wondering what I’ve been doing with my life. And in Home Again, a movie produced by Meyers’ and directed by her daughter, Hallie Meyers-Shyer, Reese Witherspoon’s character, interior decorator Alice Kinney, gives a master class on how to achieve an eclectic and seamless blend of styles using rustic coffee tables and Wishbone chairs.

Kitchen from The Intern Movie
Kitchen from The Intern
Living Room from Home Again

Each character’s home directly reflects the stage of life and situation of its inhabitant beautifully. To this end, one residence will often serve as a foil to another, highlighting differences in age (Hathaway and De Niro’s Brooklyn brownstones in The Intern) or geography (the contrast between California and the UK in the homes of both The Parent Trap and The Holiday). But I think the real charm of a Nancy Meyers interior lies in her well known, obsessive attention to detail. With the help of set designers and sometimes her personal interior designer, James Radin, Meyers creates homes that, much like the characters who inhabit them, are not perfect. They have a layered and slightly lived-in appearance that is endearing. They are lovely, to be sure, but not so pristine that you can’t imagine a stack of mail sitting just out of sight. They are infused with the stuff of life in a way that makes you believe that with a few tweaks, and perhaps a new sofa, your stuff of life could look exactly like that. It could also have you contemplating the cost of bulldozing your home and starting from scratch, could go either way depending on your mood.

Who's up for a Nancy Meyers marathon? I’ll bring the wine and treats and promise to keep my design related commentary to a minimum. Until then, for a look at the inspiration behind The Intern, follow Meyers on Pinterest or check out her Instagram.

PS: Special thanks to 2 AM Illustrations for the lovely illustrated reproductions of these magical spaces.

Leave a comment

Also in AHR Dispatch

Dressed in Holiday Style
Dressed in Holiday Style

December 11, 2022

Whenever I hear that verse of Silver Bells, I always imagine myself bundled up in a long coat, wearing a jaunty little hat (not unlike the one worn by Mary Steenburgen in Elf) and carrying several brown paper Macy’s shopping bags. I am standing outside of a store gazing at its Christmas window display while around me the shoppers rush home with their treasures. All at once, I am jostled by a passerby and one of my packages drops to the sidewalk. I bend down to pick it up and come face to face with the stranger, who has also bent to retrieve it. He looks alarmingly like Jude Law as he did in the movie The Holiday, his eyes- how they twinkle, his dimples how merry! When he speaks, I swear I can hear a hint of an accent, ”Drop something?” he says, his droll little mouth drawn up like a bow. I have only slightly regained my composure when Clint sidles up behind us and says “I’m so tired. Why do malls make me so tired? Where did you get that hat?” And as I turn back to thank my kind stranger, I hear him exclaim, as he walks out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

Continue Reading

AHR's Guide to Being Scared Silly
AHR's Guide to Being Scared Silly

October 16, 2022

Allow me to immediately absolve you of the illusion that I’ve been a lifelong fan of all things scary. It’s true that movies like Nightmare on Elm StreetFriday the 13th and Halloween were all the rage when I was a teen but, unfortunately for me and my street cred, I was the kid who’d leave the room at the mere mention of them. I once found myself in a situation where I was forced to watch Children of the Corn and it traumatized me for YEARS. For literal years, every time I thought about the movie, I’d get a chill that would run from the front to the back of my left shoulder. I literally have no idea how I ended up in a situation where I watched this movie, but it probably involved a boy and dear reader, it was not worth it. I’m still not into slasher flicks, mainly because I just find them a little ridiculous, but I am into psychological thrillers and have a passion for true crime that occasionally concerns my husband (but also keeps him on his toes?). Apparently, I’m only engaged if these horrible things are within the realm of possibility? I’d prefer not to look too closely at the psychology behind that, so let’s get down to business!

Continue Reading

Get the Look: You've Got Mail
Get the Look: You've Got Mail

September 11, 2022

"Don’t you love Okotoks in the Fall? Makes me want to watch You’ve Got Mail."

Well, I guess if I’m being completely honest, I always want to watch You’ve Got Mail, but the urge is especially strong at the first hint of Fall. In a lot of ways, I’m not typically nostalgic when it comes to the 90’s. I’m not eager to revisit my grunge phase, but I do have a special place in my heart when it comes to 90’s interior and set design. Enter You’ve Got Mail and, more specifically, Meg Ryan’s apartment.

Continue Reading