Gil Schafer PortraitFor 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.

Gil Schafer Porch
An Adirondack sitting porch provides stunning views of Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain.
Gil Schafer Kitchen
This Adirondack kitchen banquette offers water and woodland views and a farm table that seats ten people.

Gil Schafer A Place To Call Home Book CoverThe 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.”

Gil Schafer Living Room
A Joan Mitchell abstract painting is an ideal contrast for the traditional French-inspired décor in this Manhattan apartment.
Gil Schafer Fireplace
A New York City apartment features an antique French stone mantel.
Gil Schafer Painting
A modern painting and antique cabinet share space in a Greenwich Village townhouse.

Photos by Eric Piasecki