Gil Schafer, My Dream Dad

every picture tells a story, don't it?

In my last post, ahem….. back in January….. I said I’d be back to discuss color and neutrals, but I changed my mind. (Haha….I had a lot of time to change it in.) Neutrals…warm ones, ranging from light to dark…are still on tap but the color part will have to come later.

You see, I was transported by the February AD pictures of architect Gil Schafer’s new, creamy, browny offices and I fell 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 blog post.

So, this will be a little bit about interiors and a little bit about dreaming; that is, reading an interior to discover the character of the one abiding there and letting that tell me what my ideal father would be like.


And I’ll show you what these rooms told me about My Dream Dad.
And who knows, maybe you’ll learns something, too, about your dad, or yourself or the power of an outstanding interior.


We begin at the beginning where I was first seized by the father fantasy.

I was captivated by the vitality of this space and in breaking it down I saw the presence of a warm, positive masculinity; specifically, warmth in the cream and brown palette, decisiveness in its exclusivity, and an educated worldliness and congeniality in the furnishings from dissimilar cultures and periods. Who wouldn’t want a dad like that? And the neatly coiffed topiaries on the windowsill…well, they add a touch of whimsy that requires nurturing.

Here comes the 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 manly, steel-framed doors he was standing in front of. From what I’ve observed already about dream dad I would fully expect their proportions to be based on the golden ratio, and if not….it would be on purpose. My dream dad is educated in the traditions of design, intentional and a very free spirit.

Free spirit? Intentional?

Why do I say that???

Look at what he’s created in this seating arrangement….an elegant Klismos side chair opposite a raw tribal stool; their tension mediated by a traditional, centre hall table…..all round and all brown wood….similarities that in another’s hand might be dull….but not here, no sir-eee. I think he’s a genius.

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, telling me what a cozyhomeycomfy guy Dream Dad is, how he is never elitist or too important busy for family or the vestiges of home.

And nimble much? I’m 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, in the informal picture gallery balanced by a ball-footed chippendale chair, I see someone that understands tradition but is free enough in spirit to wield it his own way.

Before we leave, note the wide plank pine floor. I see a man, down to earth, with respect for the simple and authentic.

That’s my pa.

Lets move on to the library.


He has a library, of course, because my dream dad, as we have already noted, is a man of culture and erudition.

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 a deployment of 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. ) 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.

My dad makes time for me and is always interested in my thoughts. Sometimes we talk all day long, me sitting across from him at his gorgeous ( Milo Baughman?) burlwood Parsons desk. He just moves the books off the extra chair and away we go– exploring ideas, mine and the abundance of his percolating through his protean mind; we already know he’s open minded; see where he sorts out the plethora of his inspirations and influences on the bulletin board behind his desk.

And just like that extraordinary table supporting dream dad’s work, the support beneath Dad’s entire being is integrity and beauty of character.


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

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, at every age he laughs at your jokes, encourages your attempts to expand, processes your misses, celebrates your hits and offers wise council at all life’s crossroads.

Truly, this fantasy father only exists in a glamorised version of my life,
but as all characters in a dream are aspects of the dreamer….maybe I”ve uncovered some aspects of 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!


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