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Paper Planes

Wallpaper as a getaway.


Photographs by Dean Kaufman


Jason Oliver Nixon’s future was all but set when, at the tender age of 12, a family vacation took him to the venerable Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. They had this palm wallpaper, like the kind you see at the Beverly Hills Hotel, says Nixon. It whisked me away to some magical realm.

And it’s safe to say that he’s stayed there ever since. In 2004, together with partner John Loecke, Nixon acquired a Tudor rowhouse in Brooklyn’s Prospect Lefferts Gardens as home and headquarters for their interior-design firm, John Loecke, Inc. Inside, they’ve made the place their laboratory, pushing the decorative envelope with painted floors, custom sofas with floral upholstery, and, most strikingly, dozens of whimsical wall coveringssometimes several to a room. For us, boring is death; we want the eye to be constantly engaged, explains Nixon. It’s Brooklyn. Clients don’t usually come to the office. But the duo do entertain frequently, and their rotating display of paste-on patinaswhich get switched out every six months or soalways gets the conversational wheels turning.

Nixon and Loecke (pronounced lucky) have traveled the world and brought back colorful ideas from as far away as England, Italy, and India. And though they draw inspiration from abroad, they maintain a few ground rules: They rarely purchase one-offs or antiques; even when the look is vintage, much of what you see is contemporary. Accessibility, they say, is the whole point. Wallpaper is a simple tool for taking you to another place, says Loecke. The goal is to give you a sort of escape.


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