Design Book of the Week: The Great American House, By Gil Schafer III

Gil Schafer III is an New York-based Architect who we have officially crowned the King of Classic. He deserves the crown for creating traditional spaces and new "old" homes that embody the beauty of yesterday while remaining fresh for today's modern family. As the subtitle of his book says, he's creating "tradition for the way we live now."

A quote from the foreword, written by Bunny Williams: "Gil's houses feel as though they have always been there. His selection of honed, mellow stones, hand-scraped polished floors, patinated hardware, and rich French-polished doors always makes it hard to believe that this is a new house."

Schafer has been in love with architecture since he summered at his grandmother's Georgia property, "Melrose Plantation". He says the house his grandmother occupied on the farm shaped him, it was "dignified and stylish but never flashy, never pompous. It was also an essay in elegant understatement..." What a lovely goal to aspire to: elegant understatement. We shall try.

Love this note in the book from Shafer as well, a painting that inspires him and why, see his note below.

Biggest Takeaway: "Traditional" and "Classic" have never been so beautifully executed. There is nothing boring, nothing ordinary in Schaffer's work. Things look as if they have been there, yet nothing appears antiquated or too formal. He does traditional in a way that makes one yearn for a classic, perfectly-crafted home. You must own this book, no question. Get it here.

Below left, don't miss those painted hardwoods, the cool gray brings this traditional hearth room to life.

Below, right, we have always loved this bathroom that feels like a parlor or sitting room. Lovely.


The details and the beauty...and this is just the stairwell! The way those traditional brown hardwoods have a few lighter boards is also something to notice.

Look at the ceiling in the sitting room and then the kitchen, so different.

The same kitchen as above from a different angle, we cannot get enough of the warm wood in one room next to all that cool white and gray in the kitchen! Notice the gold fixture in one room and the silver chrome or nickel in the kitchen, a good example of mixing done right.

Inspired and in love with our job,

Coats Homes

(Note: be sure to visit Schafer's website. The architectural drawings on his site are lovely.)