Marblehead-based interior designer Megan Meyers grew up in a traditional Colonial home. Once she went off to college, her parents starting downsizing…and moving far left of modern. Today, their Naugus Avenue residence on the banks of Salem Harbor is a ’50s retro wonder.
The mid-century modern ranch-style house contrasts sharply with their previous home, which Meyers describes as very vertical and full of stairs—not ideal for a couple looking to age in place. This home affords water views, one-floor living, and a place to go a little style wild. “When I introduced my mom to the mid-century modern style, she went off the deep end,” jokes Meyers. “I had to reel her in. She wanted to get rid of all her plates and buy vintage Fiestaware—that’s how far she was going.”
Despite having adored their prior home to such a degree that they thought it could never be topped, this house has managed to do just that. In fact, they call it the best decision they ever made, though Meyers recalls her mother’s initial trepidation prior to purchase. “I walked into the house and saw that it hadn’t been touched since it was built, and I told them they needed to buy it then and there,” she says, adding that she had multiple ideas right off the bat as to how to improve the place. “I was rambling on, and my mom looked at me shell-shocked. But my dad was all in from the get-go.”
With the original plans in hand, Meyers went through the house from top to bottom, working with its throwback appeal. For instance, she took cues from the existing kitchen’s simple configuration and minimalist lines. “We wanted to pay homage to the house and when it was built, and keep a clean 1950s and ’60s vibe,” she explains.
There were some significant structural changes made, including the removal of a few walls that barricaded the kitchen and affected the experience of entering the house. “There was a big dividing line down the center of the house between the kitchen and the living space,” notes Meyers. Taking out the walls also helped to accommodate her mother’s love of cooking by making room for a true chef’s kitchen. Interestingly, they only increased the size of the room by one foot, but the maximized cabinetry and usable space make it feel much larger than its predecessor. The custom-built dark-stained walnut cabinets play a key role in the room’s feel, as does the peacock-blue run of lacquered cabinets under the window, the color of which was inspired by her parents’ velvet sofa.
Additionally, the cutout for the stove allowed the kitchen to remain open to the living and dining areas but still allowed provided space for ample cabinetry on that wall. “I thought of it all—the kitchen, living room, and dining room—as one big space that all needed to work together,” says Meyers, noting the special attention paid to the water view, which hideaway solar shades work to favor.
Keeping with the clean-lines approach, Meyers chose cable-hung pendant lighting. “We wanted to do minimalist, noninvasive lighting throughout the space, which proved to be very difficult because we also needed to maintain the integrity of the original beams,” she explains, adding that cable lighting seemed to be the logical solution, though she did want something slightly more decorative over the sink run.
Meyers got jazzy in the dining area with a Sputnik-inspired chandelier from Arteriors. “I didn’t want to do a true Sputnik because I thought it might get a little too frenetic,” she notes. The breakfront china cabinet, a yard sale find that her parents had been using in a guest bedroom, was positioned to function as it was intended.
In the living room, she opted for a mix of modern and vintage furnishings—chief among them is a vintage Westnofa Siesta chair, affectionately called the “Ahhhh chair” for its supreme comfort. The settee with carved-wood armrests was sourced from R&B Consignments in Lynn, and both area rugs are from Landry & Arcari and made of recycled sari silk. Meyers notes that the one with a central medallion picks up on all the different colors in the room. “I found it months before we did the renovation and knew we had to use it,” she says. The more vibrant of the two is meant to both balance and give weight to the sofa and peacock-blue cabinetry. “It’s a happy mix of old and new, high and low,” she says.
The master bedroom also features a mixed medley. Again, her parents wanted to use some of their own furniture but modernize it. The hardened cherry Shaker-style four-post bed harmonizes with a traditional dresser that her mother has had since childhood. “It’s a true work of craftsmanship that you don’t really see anymore,” notes Meyers. “I have counted seven or eight different species of wood in it.” And the solid cherry Paul McCobb–inspired nightstands designed by Meyers anchor the ensemble.
Guests take immediate note of the marine-blue sink in the hall bath, which originally held a pink toilet, sink, and tub and burgundy tile work—pink being popular during that period. “It really wasn’t working,” muses Meyers, who decided to move the master bath’s sink. “We wanted to keep and reuse whatever we could from the original house.” In combination with fresh modern surroundings—which include lighting from Designer Bath and a mirror by Blue Dot—the color pops, as does the encaustic cement tile from Clée Tile, which Meyers notes is a bit confusing to the eye. “It has a very M.C. Escher kind of effect.”
Removing the master bath sink was just the beginning of that room’s transformation. Because it had been quite small, and the couple didn’t need four bedrooms, Meyers suggested getting rid of one to make room for an en suite bath—in red, a color specified by her mother. The shower features a combination of ceramic wood-look tiles—also used for the floor—and a stained glass tile from Oceanside Glass. The barn-door glass slider, infinity drain, and floating walnut cabinetry are in keeping with the minimalist program.
Of the final product, Meyers says: “This is probably my proudest project to date. It was really fun to be able to collaborate with my parents. They were great about pushing themselves outside of their comfort [zone], which is really refreshing. The biggest joy is that I get to see them use it day in and day out, and they tell me on a daily basis how much they love it.”
Interior Design: Megan Meyers Interiors, 561-346-5660, meganmeyers.com
Builder: Harbor Homes, 508-540-6699, harborhomesbuilding.com
Plumbing: Blaisdell Plumbing and Heating, 781-249-2390
Landscaping Maintenance: Lassana’s Landscaping Inc., 781-631-1938, lassanaslandscapinginc.com
Cabinets: Aco Rakic, Exclusive Furnishings, homefurnishings.com
Custom lacquer finish: The Paint Shop, 978-744-7467, nspaintshop.com
All cable lighting and pendants: Tech Lighting, techlighting.com; Newburyport Lighting, 978-499-9777, newburyportlighting.com
Shades – sun shades: Smith and Noble, 888-214-2134, smithandnoble.com
Countertops: Silestone, White Zeus, silestoneusa.com; Italmarble, 781-595-4859, italmarble.net
Backsplash: The Tile Source, (978) 921-8453, tilesourcema.com
Table & Chairs: Vintage, client’s own
Breakfront: Vintage, client’s own
Window treatment (sun shades): Smith and Noble, 888-214-2134, smithandnoble.com
Chandelier: Currey and Company, 877-768-6428, curreycodealers.com
Area Rugs: Landry & Arcari Rugs and Carpeting, 978-744-5909
Peacock velvet sofa: TCS Designs Inc., 828-324-9944, tcsdesignsfurniture.com
Fabric: Duralee, duralee.com
Striped chair: TCS Designs Inc., 828-324-9944, tcsdesignsfurniture.com
Fabric: Fabricut, fabricut.com
pale gold chair: R & B Consignments, 781-592-2124
Cable lighting: Tech Lighting, techlighting.com; Newburyport Lighting, 978-499-9777, newburyportlighting.com
Beige sofa: R & B Consignments, 781-592-2124
Leather chair: Westnofa Siesta Chair
Pendant light: Tom Dixon, tomdixon.net
Runner and stair carpet: Landry & Arcari Rugs and Carpeting, 978-744-5909, landryandarcari.com
Tile (encaustic cement): Clè Tile, cletile.com
Plumbing fixtures and lighting: Designer Bath & Salem Plumbing Supply, 978-921-1200, designerbath.com
Shower door/surround: Beverly Glass Company, 978-922-2123, beverlyglass.com
Window treatment: Smith and Noble, 888-214-2134, smithandnoble.com
Grasscloth: Phillip Jeffries, phillipjeffries.com
Nightstands: Custom, manufactured by Aco Rakic of Exclusive Furnishings, homefurnishings.com
Mirror: Cooper Classics, cooperclassics.com
Sconces: George Kovacs, minkaaire.com/george-kovacs
Bed and tall dresser: Harden, hardenfurniture.com
Window treatments: Smith and Noble, 888-214-2134, smithandnoble.com
bertch Cabinets: Designer Bath & Salem Plumbing Supply, 978-921-1200, designerbath.com
Plumbing fixtures: Brizo, brizo.com; Designer Bath & Salem Plumbing Supply, 978-921-1200, designerbath.com
Pendants: Tech Lighting, techlighting.com; Newburyport Lighting, 978-499-9777, newburyportlighting.com
Tile: Tile By Design, 978-750-6650, tile-by-design.com
Window treatment: Smith and Noble, 888-214-2134, smithandnoble.com
Shower door-custom: Beverly Glass Company: 978-922-2123, beverlyglass.com
Wall-to-wall rug: Landry & Arcari Rugs and Carpeting, 978-744-5909, landryandarcari.com