This feature was created by Sight Unseen and excerpted from Monica Khemsurov and Jill Singer’s new book, How to Live With Objects: A Guide to More Meaningful Interiors. Purchase the title here to see how other creatives style their favorite pieces.
To make their house a home, Joey Meyers and Mark Baehser had to go through a long, challenging process of downsizing—but not in the way you’d expect.
In 2015, Meyers, who worked in the food industry, and Baehser, a pediatrician, were living in a 500-square-foot rental in Brooklyn and searching, in vain, for a comparable space nearby they could afford to purchase. When desperation brought the couple across the river to Jersey City, New Jersey, they ended up falling for a 3,500-square-foot freestanding 1880s Victorian with striking stained-glass windows, three floors, and five bedrooms. Drunk on all that newfound space and short on furnishings to fill it, Meyers began indulging his longtime thrifting obsession.
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Before long, “Every room in the house was piled high with furniture and lamps and tchotchkes and projects,” he says. Plus, much of what he was buying was the wrong scale for the home’s voluminous rooms—a vestige of decades of apartment living—and the interior felt frenetic and temporary, he recalls. One day he’d install an armoire, and the next he’d bring home one he liked better.
Eventually, the pair realized that for them to feel settled in the house, it needed more intention and cohesion. They achieved that partly by using paint to visually connect its myriad rooms and hallways and partly by renting space in a vintage showroom back in Brooklyn, so Meyers could cull his collection and off-load future finds as he learned to take a more edited approach at home. “I had to stop with the musical furniture and bring home only pieces that were more timeless,” he says.
Now, not only do they have more space to breathe and entertain, but Meyers has his dream career too, having since quit his job to become a full-time vintage dealer. “And it’s all because of this house,” he says.
Meyers found these twin midcentury Weiman sofas on Facebook Marketplace and used them to create a conversation area. The Mads Caprani floor lamp was a $25 thrift-store find. Paint: Studio Clay, Sherwin-Williams. Pendant: vintage George Nelson. Coffee table and credenza: midcentury.
A mirror reflects light back into an otherwise dark hallway, and the desk vignette expresses the couple’s “love for curvy furniture and 1980s style,” Meyers says. Paint: Ethereal Mood, Sherwin-Williams.
On the hunt for large-scale furniture for entertaining, Meyers scored this extra-long burl dining table—including a matching credenza—at a thrift store for $100. Paint: Java, Sherwin-Williams. Pendant: Menu. Chairs: vintage Marcel Breuer. Curtains: Zara Home.
Since the home’s third floor lacks any period details, Meyers felt freer to experiment there, creating this postmodern bathroom with a hand-painted tub by muralist Liz Kamarul.
Meyers wanted it to feel less like a regular walk-in closet and more like a cozy, moody lounge. Table and mirror: 1980s vintage. Art: Henri Matisse print. Chair: 1970s Mies van der Rohe.
A nook adjacent to the front door showcases the home’s original stained-glass windows, along with a standout side table Meyers found at the estate sale of a late woodworker. They scoted the mature Dracaena plant at an estate sale too. Chairs and table: 1980s vintage. Pendant: BalanceLamp, Etsy.
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