Photography by Amber Gress

Published on June 2, 2021

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On his first trip to New York’s Fire Island 10 years ago, event planner Jove Meyer knew he had found his happy place. “I went with my boyfriend at the time, and I was like: This is the most magical place I’ve ever been to,” he says. “There are people everywhere of all ages, shapes, and sizes—and the ocean is right there. And there are drag queens! I thought, Where am I? This is heaven.”

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Tile, Mosaic House; TV, Samsung.

From that moment on, he made it a personal goal to someday own his own place on the narrow, car-free island. So he bought a small apartment in a co-op, which was great but didn’t have much space to host friends. And because he wasn’t able to buy a house in cash (as many Fire Island residents do, in order to avoid renovation permits), he was looking for a listing within his budget that he could mortgage. 

So when a real-estate agent friend showed him a pocket listing, he jumped on it, even though it needed some serious TLC. “I love a project,” says Meyer. “I saw the bones and the high ceilings and was like: This is my house.” It wasn’t until after he closed on it that he realized his new home was right next door to the house he’d rented 10 years earlier, on the trip during which he’d fallen in love with Fire Island.

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Light Fixtures, Tom Dixon; Sofa, Chair, and Coffee Table, West Elm.

Now that it was really meant to be, Meyer went to work on renovating. Serendipitously (“In the worst possible way,” he says) he bought the home in March of last year, when weddings and events across the world were postponed, so he had free time to pour himself into the project. “I used all my anger and frustration from COVID and did all the demo work myself,” he says, recalling that he had to haul the house’s old bulky furniture out onto the patio (a task that took weeks) before ripping up the carpet—and the three layers of vinyl flooring beneath it.

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Cabinets, IKEA; Light Fixture, Dutton Brown; Open Shelving, BHugh Designs.

There wasn’t a room  that Meyer didn’t touch—from the kitchen, which he opened up and replaced with IKEA cabinets (his one regret is not installing a hood over the stove), to the bathrooms, which got new tiles and fixtures. Even the bedroom, lined in a dark wood, got a fresh coat of Dunkin’-like paint colors: pink and orange.

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Headboard, The Inside.

“My job is to put a little bit of my style into my clients’ tastes, but it’s still their style, their personality, their relationships, and their stories,” he says. “So for this project, I wanted to do what made me happy with every decision, all on my own. And I’ve always wanted to create a space that is bright and joyful.” He started with eye-popping tiles, then used them as a jumping-off point for his prismatic palette.

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Wall Tile and Floor Tile, Wayfair.

In the living room, he knew yellow would be a dominant hue on the ceiling beams and fireplace, so when it came to decorating, he kept it simple, well, simple-ish. He scored three matching pendant lights from a Tom Dixon sample sale, then added a sofa and chair from West Elm that fit the room’s sunny vibe. In the neighboring dining room, a white Tulip table centers four vintage Cesca chairs that Meyer found up for grabs on the boardwalk.

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Light Fixture, Tom Dixon; Desk, Wayfair.

But then there’s the custom details, like the hand-painted chiffon curtains, a 16-panel fabric installation by his friend Josana Blue, who hand-dyed each piece on the back patio—and built tents to protect them when it rained. “They’re not perfect in any way, shape, or form, but I love that each panel has a story based on when she painted it, her learning process, the weather, and what we were doing that day,” says Meyer. “It’s all so magical because no one in the world has them.”

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Another bespoke area? The botanical bunk bed room by artist Sophie Parker of Wife NYC, whom he DMed to ask if she would paint the room as she wished—Meyer would just provide the palette. Thankfully, Parker was itching for a large-scale project like this (she usually paints flower petals), so she stayed at the house for a few weekends to cover the walls, beds, ladder, and even the undersides of the bunk beds in a custom mural that included foliage from Meyer’s backyard. 

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Daybed, Joybird; Mural, Wife NYC.

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Meyer says there’s still more to do at home, like paint the exterior (he’s debating a silver color and naming the house Silver Linings) and finally, this summer, host his friends. “Fire Island has always been a safe space to be yourself,” he says, referring to the area but also his decorating choices. “I’m sure in 10 years, I’ll be like, why did I put tile in this house? But it works now, and I love it so much.”

The Goods

Contractor I’d trust with my life: Charlie Balmer of CKP Construction.

Local countertop source: Old Stone Marble Work Corporation in Ronkonkoma.

The two paint colors that made my bedroom come to life: Gypsy Rose and Tangelo by Benjamin Moore.

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