ABOVE “Prints, pillows, and other items intended for children can bring a lot of fun to a grown-up space,” says Meghan Palmer, whose new Freeport shop specializes in gifts and décor for youngsters and the young-at-heart.
TEXT BY SARAH STEBBINS
PHOTOGRAPHED BY KRISTINA O'BRIEN
Since she was a kid growing up in Cumberland, graphic designer Meghan Palmer dreamed of opening a store. “I wanted a place where the line between kids’ and adults’ stuff is blurred,” she says, as is the case in her Freeport home, where framed children’s-book illustrations perk up the mudroom and stuffed rabbit heads donning party hats preside over a family hangout space. After the pandemic slowed their lives down, she and her husband, Ben, a builder, decided to turn a Freeport building that had been languishing on the market into “a general store of fun things.”
The 2017 space had been a restaurant, then a Harry Potter–inspired dinner theater with ochre- and eggplant-colored walls when the couple purchased it last year. Ben gutted the downstairs kitchen/bar area, built poplar shelving, and hung Scalamandré’s famed ruby-red Zebras wallpaper behind the cashier’s desk. “I’ve loved that paper since I saw it in Margot’s bedroom in The Royal Tenenbaums,” Meghan says. They named the shop Palmer and Company, after the circa 1860 Portland department store Ben’s great-grandfather founded, and Meghan modeled the logo after the sweeping script on one of the former store’s clothing tags.
“I love the idea of everyday objects, like a water bottle, being amazingly fun and cute,” says Meghan, who stocks W & P and Corkcicle ones in pastels and color-block patterns, as well as whimsical Meri Meri partyware and prints that are intended for kids (but will delight fun-loving adults); botanical Rifle Paper Co. pillows, rugs, tea towels, trays, and wrapping paper; clean-lined Danish Maileg dollhouses; and, naturally, a menagerie of wall-mounted felt animal heads by Fiona Walker England.
ABOVE Ben Palmer, a contractor, renovated the building last year.
Moody, semi-abstract prints by Falmouth’s Sarah Madeira Day; fanciful patterns on pillows and totes by Gorham’s Erin Flett and tea towels by Freeport’s Abigail Gray Swartz; aromatic coconut-wax candles by Freeport’s Tide and Isle Co.; and Meghan’s taste in greeting cards, which ranges from sweet to irreverent. “Therapists could do field trips here and people would feel better,” she says.