Nostalgia and tradition cascades through interior designer Jeffrey Parker’s Georgian residence in Easton, Boxwood Hall
Written by Kristen Hampshire | Photography by Grant L. Gursky
Embellished “decorator trees” that are highly curated and coordinated certainly have a place and are admired for their designer appeal. But Jeffrey Parker takes a different tack despite his architectural and interior design expertise. “I love all of the wonderful, themed trees in retail stores and commercial spaces; however, I do not subscribe to that in my home,” says the principal and founder of Jeffrey Parker Interiors.
“At home, the holidays are a much more personal thing and steeped in tradition,” he says, dialing back to his first childhood Christmas tree — a request of his parents when he was 8 years old. “I decided I was old enough to have a tree of my own for my room, so my father went out to a wooded area and dug up a little cedar tree, put it in a pot, set it on my toy chest, and we went to the five-and-dime to buy a string of lights and some blown-glass ornaments.”
Parker also created little cardboard houses to fashion a village for his tree, complete with tiny people. Even today, “going to sleep in the glow of a tree will make any part of my adult day fade away — it’s such a warm, cozy feeling,” he said.
Memories set the tone for holiday decorating at his red-brick Georgian home in Easton, where Parker blends antiques with contemporary art and has created spaces that are thoughtful and livable. Here is a snapshot of how Parker decks the halls of his home, Boxwood Hall.
Over the years, Parker’s initial bedroom tree evolved into what is now a nine-footer “laden in ornaments, virtually all glass.” The family Christmas tree, as Parker calls it, holds ornament collections started by his late parents after they were married. As his collection expanded, he decided to add a five-foot tree atop the grand piano, which is home to the most special antique ornaments. One is a glass church gifted to him by a friend. “It was from his great aunt, and it hangs not on a hook but on her hairpin, and it’s about 175 years old,” Parker shared.
Another nine-foot tree in the family room is wide in stature and decked with the European glass-blown ornaments gifted to him or discovered in shops or while traveling. There’s a tree dedicated to wooden nutcrackers, as well.
Ornament collecting is a year-round affair, and it has always been that way for Parker. He says, “It became known that on my birthday, if you didn’t know what to give Jeffrey, buy a Christmas ornament.”
Making New Memories
The holidays at Parker’s home are about celebrating the past and welcoming the new. He holds an annual Christmas party with a jazz combo and caroling in the library, storytelling all around — especially sharing the backgrounds of the hundreds of ornaments. And though Parker travels often, he is always home for the holidays. “Home is where your heart is, and my collection and pets and family and the people I love the most… that is what home is for,” he said. CS