Gil Schafer, the Father of my Dreams


In my last post, ahem….. back in January….. I said I’d be back to discuss neutrals and color, but I 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 another day.

You see, the February AD pictures of architect Gil Schafer’s new, creamy 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 the link between dreams, dads and interiors???

Scoot in and I”ll tell you.

It is said that every picture, (ok, interior) tells a story; and these pictures prove the point. From the start, I was captivated by their warmth and vitality, and so began poring over every detail and as I did so, began to construct the character of the one abiding there, who, I decided, exhibited all the qualities of the father I would’ve chosen, had I had any say in the matter .


And I’ll show you what these rooms told me about My Dream Dad.


We begin at the beginning.

The warmth of this space suggested a man with a nurturing, positive masculinity; the cream and brown palette and its decisiveness, the educated worldliness in its furnishings from dissimilar cultures and periods ( tribal, classical, modernist), the neatly coiffed topiaries adding whimsy and lightness, all got me dreaming about wanting a dad who would be just like those qualities.

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.


Here we get a clearer view of those steel-framed doors behind him. Their proportions are most certainly based on the golden ratio, and if not….it must be on purpose, because in the foyer this dream dad demonstrated his knowledge of traditions, along with a willingness to go his own way.

Look at the seating arrangement! he put an elegant Klismos chair opposite a tribal stool, mediating their contrast with a traditional centre hall table, all round and all brown. Big similarities mixed with big differences. that would usually be either eschewed as too dull or too crazy.. But not here. No no no no. The vitality of this mix is creates a kind of…fascination?

And I”m not done yet. There’s even more brown wood! Check out the vignette in the far left corner with the three-tiered, Edwardian looking table; the associations evoked here became the story of my dream grandmother who inherited this table from her mother and handed it down to Dream Dad, reminding me what a cozyhomey guy Dream Dad is, how he is never too sophisticated or important busy for his family or the vestiges of home.

And nimble much? Leaping with agility between traditions? I’m not going out on a limb to guess he’s a good dancer, too.


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

Again, this informal picture gallery, balanced by the ball-footed chippendale chair, evinces someone who understands tradition but is free enough to wield it in his own way.

Before we leave, note the raw, wide plank flooring; this shows a down to earth character with respect for 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.

That he has an entire area devoted to books shows he’s a curious man who takes time for contemplation and research.

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

Notice the simplicity of the bookshelves; he has 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 along with 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 Eames’ padded 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.

This is his private board where he sorts out the magnitude of inspirations and influences. busy as he is, he always makes time for me and is interested in my thoughts. Sometimes we talk all day long, me across from him at his gorgeous ( Milo Baughman?) burlwood Parsons desk. He just shoves the books off the extra chair and off we go– exploring, investigating, contemplating and laughing ourselves silly. Because, with all these wonderful qualities, he must have a good sense of fun.

And as that extraordinary table is the support beneath dream dad’s work, Dream Dad’s character is supported by integrity and authenticity and beauty.


Now we know this about fantasy father…. the devoted family man, the consummate professional… though worldly, he is tender; though decisive, warm; though sophisticated, homey; though erudite, free.

All this information from a few photographs!

This is the dad who reads to you at 4, takes you camping at 10, chauffeurs you at 14, is friendly to your friends at 16 (but not intrusive… sticking around too long, asking awkward questions). At 17 he takes you to visit colleges. And at every age he laughs at your jokes, encourages your attempts to expand, processes your misses, celebrates your hits and offers wise council at life’s crossroads.

True, this fantasy father only exists in a glamorised version of my life,
but as all characters in a dream are said to be aspects of the dreamer….maybe 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 in particular today, within all the fathers whose contributions we celebrate.

Happy Father’s Day to all!

And, uh, Mr. Schafer? Can I sit on your lap and call you daddy?


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