From the December/January 2013 Issue:

A Simple Holiday

    Writer: Robin Amster | Photographer: Peter Rymwid | Designer: Jeffrey Brooks, Allied Member ASID, Member IDS |

A Long Valley designer focuses on clean and informal for his home’s holiday design scheme

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enlarge | Jeffrey Brooks doesn’t ignore the back of his home when it comes to Christmas decorations. A wreath on the door to the kitchen sports silver and pink balls with a flourish of wine and silver gray ribbon. A handmade brass lantern strung with bead lights and a silver gazing ball from the garden—doing double duty for Christmas—complete the festive picture.
“It’s a bit like casting against character,” Jeffrey Brooks says of the holiday décor for his 1898 Queen Anne Victorian. “A simpler, looser informality against a more formal envelope makes the scheme lively.”

Brooks, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers, member of the International Design Society and principal of Jeffrey Brooks Interior Design, says decorating his Long Valley home for the holidays is akin to the Christmas projects he does for clients. “It [the decoration scheme] has to come from the setting and the customer,” he says. “We’ll get as playful and as whimsical as we can; some clients let me push the envelope, others don’t.” At his own home, Brooks doesn’t want “heavy Victorian” for the holidays. “I want the architecture to speak for itself,” he says.
Each year Brooks and his wife, Pam, do something different, and she inspires much of their holiday decorating, he says. Her collections of Santas and teddy bears, for example, are always in evidence. “She inherited a collection of Santas from her parents, and there’s also a set of about a dozen she made as a childhood arts-and-crafts project with her mom and grandmother,” Brooks says. “The Santas come out every year; some years they’re on the tree, some years on table tops.”

For last year’s Christmas celebration, featured here, about three dozen Santas—wood, fabric and ceramic—grace a Christmas tree in their dining room. Brooks added a carved winged Santa from Bali on top of the tree.

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enlarge | Set for Christmas lunch, the table in the dining room is a mix of country and contemporary that defines Jeffrey Brooks’ style. Decorations on the Christmas tree pick up colors throughout the room, including the red stripe in the drapery, the red silk chair cushions and celadon walls.
Focus on Nature
The Christmas décor was mostly about a particular color palette, coupled with Brooks’ love of the natural: flowers, fruits and vegetables. He says shades of red in the stripe of the dining room drapery and on the silk dining room chairs were carried through to the tree ornaments and the greenery on the dining room server. A natural element took center stage in the living room in an arrangement of kale, grapes, apples and pink roses on a small table. Two of Pam’s teddy bears relaxed on the sofa.

Set for a Christmas lunch, the dining room table defined Brooks’ style. “It was a little bit of country and a little bit of contemporary,” he says. “The linen tablecloth with stitchwork is British, the napkins are a mix of two paisleys, the goblets are Ralph Lauren Baccarat and the china is an antique Noritaki pattern in pale green and white with bits of gilt.

“I like the light touch in all of this as opposed to everything being festooned with something,” Brooks says. “I don’t have anything against doing more embellishment. I have clients whose homes I deck out, and we’ve done over-the-top for this house in past years. The next time it may be something altogether different.”


Overall: holiday design, Jeffrey Brooks of Jeffrey Brooks Interior Design in Long Valley. Living Room: sofa, Jeffrey Brooks Interior Design; cocktail table, Newel in New York City; drapery fabric, Nobilis; carpet, J&S Designer Flooring in Morristown. Dining Room: table, Baker Furniture in Chicago; chairs, Designlush in New York City; chair fabric, Fortuny; server, Stanley Furniture in Stanleytown, Virginia; mirror, Christopher Guy in Fort Myers, Florida; drapery fabric, John Hutton; carpet, auction.

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