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.

Illustration of 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.

Watercolor illustration of 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.

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