A Place to Call Home with Gil Schafer

Our country house is back on the market.  This is how I left it in the spring of 2012.  There have been quite a few changes since then.  Which I will detail in another post but first . . .

I have been thinking about that house lately and mostly because of the front entryway.  The front to back hallway was one of my favorite parts of the house.  The light, architectural features and unique floor sold me on the house back in 2006 when it was difficult to see much beyond the house’s poor condition.

Our oldest was barely three at the time and slipped down the wooden stairs shortly after moving in.  We installed a stair runner shortly thereafter, and it was one I never tired of.  So when it came time to choose a stair runner for our current house, I decided to go with something in the same family.

I am excited for the install as it will warm up our staircase and provide just that something special when you walk in through the front door.  The stairs are the first thing that catches your eye.

My old front hallway was also on my mind as you see this gentleman at the podium?  That is Gil Schafer.  Gil Schafer wrote one and now two of my very favorite books, and I have gleaned loads of inspiration over the years.  I remember opening his first book in a book store and turning to a page that looked remarkably similar to my country house.  

This was the picture.  I wish I had a picture of this vantage point looking from our old living room into the hallway but trust me it looks nearly identical.  The staircase detailing is precisely the same and look at the green tonal stripes.  The living room color, too!  Of course his country house is far magnificent than ours ever hoped to be but clearly I like what Gil likes and so when I heard he was the keynote speaker at the Delaware Antiques Show this year, I made a point to buy my tickets immediately.

Gil Schafer

Gil Schafer was an incredible speaker and he took us first through his story of houses -the family houses, landscapes and environments that shaped his aesthetic.  He eschewed the modern aesthetic that dominates architecture schools and stuck to what he knew and loved best:  traditional.  He said he found his niche in the Greek revival style but his new book clearly illustrates he does many styles well.

Schafer then walked us through a series of projects from his new book.  The slides were of the befores and afters and what struck me is how thoughtful he is about not just the house but the site and the eventual landscape that can transform a house into a home.  Schafer walked us through a Maine house he renovated for himself and it is clear from the interior pictures that he is just as talented in the decoration aspect as the architectural design aspect.  Schafer understands that a house is equal parts architecture, decoration and landscape and for this reason his projects are just a little more special than the rest.

I have written about Gil Schafer on this blog in the past and will likely again as clearly I am smitten!


Granny Chic

Jessika Goranson Lewand is my granny chic idol.  Her Boston house is beautiful in that undecorated, collected way.  I stumbled upon her Instagram feed and over the past few days could not stop it.  I followed her story all the way back to the beginning – it was that good.  Jessika owns a clothing boutique in Beacon Hill and bought a house in Boston a bit ago.  You quickly learn that her husband is British and her baby twins have an impossibly cute nursery inspired by her husband’s childhood toy.  Jessika’s mom does nearly all the wallpapering and fabric work – amazing!

Before Boston, Jessika and her husband lived in NYC; that apartment received some much deserved attention.  It was featured in Lonny and her fans were thrilled when they heard she was upsizing to a house in Boston.  More rooms equals more pretty Instagram pictures! 

Here is a table styled by Jessika’s close friend Eddie Ross.  I will get to Eddie another day but just know he is the author of a dog-eared book that lives close to my bed, and he sets a mean table!  He and Jessika share a love of thrifted finds and layers of color and pattern.

This is Jessika’s Boston living room.  That screen is gorgeous!  I want one.

Jessika’s Instagram feed is so warm literally and figuratively.  She loves her fires.

There is a piece like this on Craigslist right now.  Would it be wrong to pile three armoires into one room?



I love the bedroom wallpaper.  Gorgeous!

A guest room with a pretty pink Hermes throw.


Boxwood: Part II

In the years before Danielle Rollins filed for divorce and left Boxwood, she hired Miles Redd to work his magic with the interiors.  You may recognize some of these pictures as they are well-loved and pinned!

This is the entry hall.  This is probably one of those spaces that you have to see in person to really appreciate the textures and the color.  Redd covered the matching console tables in a persimmon-colored velvet which is probably beautiful in person.


Miles told Veranda that he always longed to decorate Boxwood, it is his favorite house in Atlanta.  Clearly he is not alone! He kept with his signature style by infusing bursts of saturated color throughout but said he called upon the 1950s and that glamorous time to inspire his design.

“To me, there’s a ’50s sensibility to the decorating, with nods to Babe Paley, Brooke Astor, and the Duchess of Windsor,” says Redd, who grew up in Atlanta and had ogled Boxwood since childhood. “We were definitely looking back in time to look forward.”


Miles and Danielle were a perfect pairing.  Danielle has her own beautiful sense of interior style and is not afraid of color.  This butler’s pantry is glamour head to toe and a space that has made its way around the Internet and back again. The zodiac ceiling is a nod to Grand Central Station’s and then there’s all that brass.  Miles Redd was doing brass when most of us were still eschewing it as sooo 1980s.

via New York.com
via New York.com

Danielle wanted a room just like Redd’s at his own house – a tented room and that’s what she got but with a slight modification.  Danielle was very worried that her three young children would make a mess of this beautiful Bennison striped fabric and probably rightfully so.  Redd laminated the fabric and no one is the wiser.


This may be my favorite room in the house.  The turquoise walls and rich velvety brown is such a pretty combination.  And, no, that’s not paint on the walls it’s satin.  When describing this room, Miles told Town and Country that satin when stretched is not ballgown shiny but matte and in the evenings light bounces off the walls in a way that you cannot get with paint.

Francesco Laguese
Francesco Langese

Rollins reportedly spent $4 million on renovations and decorating.  I wonder how it wasn’t more, quite honestly!

As much as I love the interiors, I am still partial to the exteriors but before I write a bit more about John Howard and his talents, next I’ll take you through Danielle’s most recent project – another house in Atlanta, this time smaller but just as beautiful in its own way.  Part III to come.

On Furlow Gatewood

One of my very favorite books is about a man in his 90s who has spent much of his life restoring and decorating several houses on his family’s property in Americus, Georgia. When you see the pictures below, it will be no surprise that Furlow Gatewood was once in the business of antiques, but it may surprise you that he has had no formal design training. And, the reason I love his story is that nearly all the work on the buildings on the property were done with just a picture from a book or magazine and Furlow’s vision. Of course, he has a wonderful master carpenter and craftsman to expertly carry out this vision but all of it without elaborate architectural drawings.

One of the more striking features of the property is the allée of 26 Nikko blue hydrangeas in clay pots. And, if you ask Gatewood how he came up with these ideas, he will tell you there is never a formal plan. Things just happen but as we all know these kinds of things just don’t happen in everyone’s yards; Furlow has an incredible sense of proportion and is blessed with an exquisite eye when it comes to house and gardens!

This is Peacock Alley, the enchanting road onto Furlow’s compound.  There are 4 houses on the property and a barn as well as several outbuildings.  One more charming than the next.

And, the man of the hour.

And, though it’s a far cry from Peacock Alley, the backyard at ‘Hackberry Hill’ is starting to take its shape.  The flagstones are going down and different from the wall, this is the lightening-speed part of the project.  Most of what you see below was done in a day’s work.

The dirt you see surrounding the patio will be grassed over and softened with trees.  Meanwhile, I am on the hunt for an off-season deal on patio furniture.


Veranda magazine featured designer Mark Sikes’ patio in one of their issues and I fell in love.  The first picture is the more recent but I do love that original blue featured below.

This house is in the Hollywood Hills but evokes that Southern sensibility that I seem to love best.  Take note of the skirted table above as I am going to touch upon their resurgence and charm very soon.