Paper Planes

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 coverings—sometimes 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 patinas—which get switched out every six months or so—always 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.”

Thibaut’s Baron in cream (the walls) and Fanfare in brown (the ceiling) make for vinelike visual bedlam in the guest bedroom. “People say they never want to leave,” says Jason Oliver Nixon. “The paper makes the walls disappear,” adds John Loecke. Photo: Dean Kaufman

When describing the living room, Nixon quotes Diana Vreeland: “Pink is the navy blue of India.” A second, easy-to-miss strip of wallpaper runs below the molding. Photo: Dean Kaufman

The den is given a Venetian theme with a gondola pattern from Cole & Son. Photo: Dean Kaufman

View from the master bath. The caramel-colored wallpaper lining the stairwell isn’t made of paper at all; it’s cloth woven from grass. Photo: Dean Kaufman

Venice’s Hotel Gritti Palace inspired the dining room, with green chinoiserie from Thibaut. Paper adorns the wall below the chair rail, and two different patterns cover the ceiling. “Most folks would never think of wallpapering a ceiling,” says Nixon. “I love it.” Photo: Dean Kaufman

Paper Planes