A 35-foot hallway became a glorious showcase for decorative enhancements of all kinds at Brookwood, the Junior League of Montclair-Newark Spring 2006 Show House. The mansion, built between 1906 and 1909 and designed by the architectural firm of Van Vleck and Goldsmith, is considered a fine adaptation of an English country manor, with an early American spin.
A home of remarkable bones and beauty, it was selected by the Junior
League of Montclair-Newark as the sole source of fundraising this
year to support the volunteer efforts on behalf of programs devoted
to children at risk in the northern New Jersey area. Well-known
New York designers, including Jamie Gibbs, donate their time and
talents to creating their own signature area within the home. More
than 15,000 paying attendees were expected to view the results.
"The elegant gallery hall was a challenge,” says New
York designer Jamie Gibbs, principal of Jamie Gibbs and Associates,
a landscape architecture and design firm. “While it was a
large space, 16- by 37-feet, it was also a high-traffic area. We
needed to create drama and impact using a few really well thought
out furnishings. We concentrated on very fine antiques, rare accessories,
fine art and fabulous window treatment designs."
Mahogany paneled and with a dark hardwood floor and arched plaster
ceiling, the hallway also boasted leaded glass windows and stacked
mahogany crown moldings. After examining the space, Jamie Gibbs
and Associates decided to highlight the rich, detailed architecture
of this classic circa 1909 gallery and add decorative elements that
would pop it into the 21st century.
“A custom field and border carpet was selected to mimic the
outline of the plaster frieze moldings on the ceiling, directly
above,” said Gibbs. He also chose to paint the arched ceiling
with a whimsical mural to add illusionary height and openness to
the area. Note that the ceiling also matches the dramatic domed
uplight fixtures, which wash the ceiling with light, lighting up
the space considerably. Furniture was placed to emphasize the setbacks
within the hallway and highlight the niches.
“The window niches presented a challenge all in themselves,”
says Gibbs. “Luckily, we found a pair of early 19th century
consoles that were shallow and that started the design for the draperies.”
THE WINDOW TREATMENTS
As with any Gibbs installation, the window treatments are always
exceptional. Beginning with the two 32-inch window niches, Gibbs
took advantage of the deep recesses by top-mounting one panel into
the opening. Its companion panel was mounted to the wall framing
nearer to the leaded windows.
The drapery panels, beautifully executed by Royal Windows and Interiors
of Brooklyn, NY, are of plaid silk with over-embroidery and generously
puddle to the polished hardwood floor. Overscaled tassel tiebacks
hold the drapery panels perfectly in place, so the view into the
“This was a team effort,” Gibbs enthused. “Plumridge
Silks gave me the plaid silk taffeta used for the drapery ruffles
and a companion plaid for the chair slips. We also used Plumridge’s
new silk linen faille for the lining of a silk embroidery panel
from Galaxy and as the frontal fabric for the rear drapery panel.
D’Kei gave me yards of my Vintage Collection for all the drapes
and the slips.
“The finishing touch was made after the initial installation.
Althea of Royal Windows ran back to the workroom and whipped up
the two large rosettes from Plumridge and D’Kei scraps. They
were pinned into place and then the treatments looked balanced and