Gil Schafer, my Dream Dad


In my last post, ahem….. back in January….. I said I’d be back to discuss neutrals and color, but changed my mind. haha.I had a lot of time to change it in. Neutrals are still on tap but the color part will come later.

You see, the February AD pictures of architect Gil Schafer’s creamy, new offices threw me into a reverie about the dad of my dreams and what with Father’s day being here, it seemed a good time to take it on as a post.

So, what’s up with dreams, dads and interiors ???

Scoot in and I”ll tell you.

It is said that every picture tells a story; and these pictures knocked me over with story; seized at first glimpse, I pored over every detail of every image, constructing the character of the one abiding there, who, I concluded, exhibited all the qualities of the father I would’ve wanted, had I had a say in the matter.


And I’ll tell you what these rooms told me about my Dream Dad.


We begin at the beginning.

First, the exclusively cream and brown palette, both soft and decisive, felt like a warm hug– a warm, masculine hug. Then, furnishings from dissimilar traditions… tribal, modern, classical… placed in unexpected proximity suggested worldliness, education and daring-do. And finally, the neatly coiffed topiaries, speaking of whimsy and nurturance, cinched the deal. This was the guy for me. I mean my inner child me, searching for her ideal father.

Here comes Dream Dad now to greet us.

He looks like a kindly man.

And dapper is as dapper does.

But we’re going to focus on the interior for our clues, because this is about reading interiors….not people.


Let’s take a closer look at that seating arrangement… an elegant Klismos sits opposite a tribal stool, mediated by a traditional centre hall table; all round, all brown, all wood. Aren’t there rules about that? Like…DON’T do that. Well, he does it. Cause he’s brave and he’s original. And just that smart. My Dream Dad.

Here we get a clearer view of those handsome, steel-framed doors, the proportions of which are surely based upon the golden ratio, and if not….it’s on purpose, because we know Dream Dad knows his stuff and he’s not afraid to do his stuff, his way.

And there’s more brown wood. Check out the vignette on the left with the houseplant atop the three-tiered, Edwardian looking table ( from your grandmother’s living room?) convincing me what a homey guy Dream Dad is, never too sophisticated or important for family and the vestiges of home.

How he leaps between traditions, styles, and epochs. I am not going out on a limb to claim Dream Dad is a good dancer, too. Exactly as Dream Dad should be.


Let’s see what I found out about Dream Dad from the hallway.

An asymmetrical picture gallery, balanced by a ball-footed, Chippendale– announcing once again, one who knows tradition but wields it in his own way.

And before we leave, note the raw, wide plank flooring; this is a down-to-earth man who respects the simple and the authentic.

That’s my pa.

Lets move on to the library.


He has a library, of course, because my dream dad is a man of culture and erudition, with an open, inquisitive mind.

Notice he has labelled his shelves….a curious and tidy mind has my dad. Keeping all that knowledge straight.

The simplicity of the bookshelves reveals his serious side, his no nonsense, get to the point side.


The conference room spotlights Dream Dad’s professional character.

It makes me proud.

Again, we see his facility with wide-ranging epochs and traditions. And what kind of a man puts a fireplace in their conference room? A nice man. That’s what kind.

Those Greek urns…do you think they’re original? Could be. He would know provenence.

Note more house plants, or at least green branches nestled in nourishing water.

And the drum lampshade adding modernity above the practical, classically contemporary Parsons table– large enough for a collegium. (Because he works with serious people doing serious work. ) And, of course, he’s a gentleman who keeps his colleagues comfortable in padded, Eames’ desk chairs.

Practical, stylish, erudite, and homey. How does he do it all?


Now we get to the private man, the soul of my Dad.

Peeking in here feels like a trespass… dream dad’s dreams splayed over every surface, tender as an open diary; observe the bulletin board, layered with his private imagery, and then all his personal effects, books and artwork scattered casually about, like notes to himself. Well, he did let them in to take the photograph, so I shouldn’t feel too guilty.

Back to the story…

Busy as he is, he always has time for me. Sometimes we hang for hours, me sitting across from him at his gorgeous burl wood desk; I just shove the books off the extra chair and away we go– chatting, conferring, speculating and absolutely laughing ourselves silly, because with all his other wonderful qualities, he certainly has a vibrant sense of fun.


Now we know dream dad is a devoted family man, consummate professional, and creative boundary-breaker… qualities girded with integrity, authenticity and beauty… just like that gorgeous Parsons desk beneath his papers.

What a trove of insight from a pile of furniture and accessories… proving the adage I just made up that the work space reflects the soul.

I admit, Dream Dad is just a dream,
but as all characters in a dream are said to be aspects of the dreamer….perhaps I”ve uncovered something about myself ?

THAT would be nice.

In any case, I honour the presence of the positive masculine within each of us, and particularly today, in the fathers whose contributions we celebrate.

I wonder if Mr. Schafer would let me call him daddy?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *