Design on TV: Jack’s Study on 30 Rock


We spent the weekend (which just like in college, still starts on Thursday) in an spiked apple cider induced haze, so it was last night when we finally got to see last week’s 30 Rock. And what a very special holiday episode it was. The magi brought us myriad gifts: a brief glimpse of Tina Fey’s small husband (he was playing the piano during the Christmas special), a Joan Baez reference that made us chortle, Jenna singing in the most tricked out shabby chic TGS with Tracy Jordan set yet, and Elaine mother-trucking-Stritch (wearing fantastic glasses BTW) reprising her Emmy-scoring role as Colleen Donaghy.

But the greatest gift — for those with a design bent — was a glimpse into eternal bachelor Jack Donaghy’s apartment (or at least the room he chose to leave his mother in during her time of need). His cozy Upper East Side study was the picture of Grecian-Trad perfection, which comes as no surprise. As Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming, Jack has the cash to hire an interior decorator (or 50), and the man knows the importance of always looking your best. (Please see Number 23.)

The impeccable level of detail shows. Down to the meticulous vase of a red amaryllis on the side table (the perfect holiday decoration that says “I know it’s Christmas” not “I shop at Big Lots and love elves”), Jack’s prepared for entertaining dignitaries or kooky former-Friends-turned-stalkers. Like the man himself, the style is classic and refined, with accessories playing in perfect harmony. The urn shape of the lamps is echoed in architectural prints in the hallway. Hints of gold are repeated with restraint, with amber-hued lampshades, a lovely glass and brass side table, and most importantly for mommy dearest, a tinkling servant’s bell. Even the wall of library books are organized by color — a decorating trick that works especially well for those that don’t read or who have help that can spend the time grouping their tomes ROYGBIV-style.

But the main reason Jack’s study was the best place for his mother to recuperate was the inviting masculine color palette. Colleen might be old, but the lady has some serious taste. The navy cocoon of the study proves that dark colors can feel warm and inviting, not constricting, which is important when you’re on the mend after being run over by your son (who then waited eight minutes before he called an ambulance). The spectrum of masculine browns and tans, from the chocolate sofa to the cherry woods to the cream colored curtains further, amp up the warmth. And Jack knows that the trick of keeping a bevy of browns from turning into a poo-hued nightmare is varying the textures (so the sofa is soft velvet, while the pillows are raw silk).

If Elaine Stritch was your fictional overbearing mom, who you discovered slept with FAO Schwartz in order to get you Christmas toys, you’d better believe you’d keep her comfy in a meticulously-decorated room, too.