For Yale-educated architect Gil Schafer, the most successful homes are infused with classic charm and personality, and help owners live in a modern way and create memories. His brand of “comfortable classicism” uses traditional principles to facilitate a wide variety of architectural styles. Recent projects in his new book, A Place To Call Home: Tradition, Style and Memory in the New American House, include an Adirondack camp-inspired house perched on the edge of Lake Placid, a charming cottage in bucolic Mill Valley, California, a hunting preserve in Georgia and Schafer’s own surprisingly modern house on the Atlantic Ocean in Maine. The volume also highlights recent homes that are more classical, such as a family-friendly Fifth Avenue apartment with a panoramic view of Central Park, a timber and stone barn on a spacious property in New England and a colonial house in the woodlands of Connecticut.
The book reveals what techniques Schafer consistently turns to when completing a project, including reading the landscape, juxtaposing fancy and simple styles and focusing on the details. He explains that frequently forgotten areas such as closets, mudrooms and laundry rooms can make each project extra special and livable. Schafer gives the the same attention to the small details of his homes as he does to the grand gestures. Ultimately it is Schafer’s grasp of the power of place, skillful balance of traditional and modern aesthetics, and attention to final touches that bring his homes to life. He explains: “I design houses not for an architect’s ego, but the beauty of life, the joys of family and, not least, a heartfelt celebration of place.”
Photos by Eric Piasecki