The Style Files: Gil Schafer

If you are drawn to this blog because of your love of design, then chances are, today’s interview subject, Gil Schafer needs no introduction. The third-generation architect has designed some of the most beautiful, thoughtful homes in the American vernacular for the past twenty five years and is one of the most revered architects amongst the savviest of design circles. Prior to starting his eponymous firm, Gil worked for one of the top firms in the country, Ferguson, Murray, and Shamamian for nearly a decade. I recently attended a talk given by Gil and the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art in which he mentioned how much the houses he grew up spending time in during his childhood would spark an early interest in architecture. These homes stretched from California and the Midwest to the Northeast, Georgia, and the Bahamas. While completely different from one another, these houses would all become imprinted in his memory, influencing and informing his style and love of architecture for the rest of his life. Gil has completed beautiful homes all across the country and has a true gift for architectural details that make a house feel as if it has always been there, even if it hasn’t. The vernacular of the house is always appropriate and inspiring. Gil recently released his second book, A Place to Call Home: Tradition, Style, and Memory in the New American House, published by Rizzoli.

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Gil Schafer: Traditional, Understated, and Comfortable

PC: How has living in New York influenced your aesthetic?

GS: I love the energy, pace, and sophistication that comes from living in New York. It means that you have to bring your “A” game to everything you do, every day. The visual reference points all around you every day are highly sophisticated and refined—from the interiors you experience to the way people dress. Having grown up in the countryside as a boy, that relentless urbane energy was an initial adjustment, but now I love it. I also love, though, taking a break from it, back to the country on weekends, to escape all that just a little.

PC: What does your home say about you?

GS: That I am a hopeless collector, that I love memories, and that I need things to be comfortable.

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

GS: So many different place: to places discovered while traveling, to books, magazines, and movies, and to the homes of people who know how to live beautifully.

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

GS: Living: Lauren Santo Domingo—an amazing sense of style in both her houses and the way she dresses. Dead: David Hicks, for all the obvious reasons.

{Lauren Santo Domingo at Home in Paris | Photography via ELLE Italia}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

GS: Generosity and humility

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

GS: A new house on the coast of Maine

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

GS: My former boss for nearly a decade in my formative professional years, Mark Ferguson (Ferguson & Shamamian Architects). He taught me the importance of professionalism, being organized in your thinking, flexible in your solutions, and to nurture talent.

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

GS: Staying at a really good hotel when traveling for pleasure, price-be-damned.

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

GS: My new book A Place to Call Home was just released and I’ll be touring around the country over the next 6 months. The best part of a book tour is getting to see some of the cities I love and meeting the wonderful people who live in each of them. You can find my full tour schedule here: In addition to that, I’m working on a number of projects that are really exciting me, spread all over the country—from family compounds on Block Island and in Shelburne, Vermont, to new houses in Florida, Maine, and California. It’s a blast to work in so many different places because you are compelled to find unique solutions for each, based on the sense of place for each.

Go-To Outfit: Navy blazer or grey suit, and always a tie

Style Mantra: Always make an effort, but never try too hard.

Scent: Never wear one.

Piece of Jewelry: Watch—either IWC’s chronograph “Portuguese” or a large diameter dial watch from Swatch in a peppy color

Color I Never Tire Of: Just one??

Flower: Lilac or Peony

Indispensable Design Element: Moldings

Era for Design: First half of the 19th century in America

Dream Project: a house somewhere in the tropics—or Montecito, California

Fabric/Textile: Linen or wool felt

Drink: Diet Coke

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Watch stupid television (The Bachelor or Bachelorette or an old Seinfeld rerun)

3 Things I Love About My City: The energy, the sophistication, the talent to be found here

Weekend Destination: My house in the Hudson Valley, in Upstate New York

Hotel: Ballyfin in Ireland

City: London

Museum: Musee de la Chasse in Paris: the hunting thing is interesting, but what brings me back again and again is the chicness of the interior.

Artist: Franz Kline, Vuillard, Fairfield Porter

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “That’s the Way of the World” by Earth, Wind & Fire

Prized Possession: Old photos

Risk Worth Taking: Love

Greatest Extravagance: My house in Maine

Rule to Break: (once in a while…) Perfect correctness

Movie Set Design: “I Am Love”

I can never have too many…Ties

{Main Photography by Eric Piasecki, Courtesy of Gil Schafer}


Fabulous Room: 12.8.17

I recently got to know Mallory Mathison Glenn, a talented young designer based in Atlanta while on an antiques buying trip in Paris back in September. Mallory and I share a love for Chinoiserie and traditional design elements. This love of classic style is evident in her work, including the beautiful little boy’s bedroom she designed for the Atlanta Holiday Home. Mallory definitely knows what she is doing in designing a space for a young boy as she is the mother of adorable, three year old twin boys. For her showhouse room, affectionately named the “Little Boy Bleu” room, Mallory selected a tried and true, classic American palette of red, white, and blue, but executed it with French flair. We recently sat down to discuss what inspired this lovely space.

Paloma Contreras: What was your inspiration for your “Little Boy Bleu” bedroom at the Atlanta Holiday Home? Did you design the room around a specific piece or idea?

Mallory Mathison Glenn: My initial inspiration for “Little Boy Bleu” was the benefactor of the Atlanta Holiday Home, Children’s Health Care of Atlanta, and the many children they care for so lovingly every day.  Next I thought about the past few children’s rooms that have been in Atlanta area showhomes and they have all been for a little girl.  Since we have three year old twin boys at home it was a natural fit to design a room for a very special little boy.  There were three main design inspirations for this space after it was decided to be for a little boy; 1) tented rooms 2) the French flag 3)Schumacher’s Plaisiers de Chine fabric.  I’ve always loved tented rooms, as many designers do, and have studied and admired images from Malmaison to Madeleine Castaing and in current day Miles Redd to Alex Papachristidis.  So the first element we decided on was a must have tented space! The French flag was also of paramount inspiration for the color palette.  This fall, I was a part of an inspiring, outstanding antiques buying trip to France and was fortunate enough to meet a group of brilliant, like-minded women.. including you!!  Having such a fantastic trip on my mind as we began to design this space led me right to the color combination of rouge, bleu and blanc!  Red is one of my all time favorite colors and I use it in many of my designs.  Blue and white is of course always classic, chic and fresh so I wanted to combine those to develop a cheerful, crisp yet layered space.

Last, the Schumacher Plaisers de Chine fabric.  This fabric has been a beloved pattern for as long as I can remember in the Document color way and I have it in my home.  When this fabric was recolored a few years ago I fell in love with it all over again in ALL the new color ways and especially the Bleu/Rouge.  We have used this invigorating yet calming color palette for a client and were so happy with the way it turned out I immediately knew it was the right lead fabric for “Little Boy Bleu”.  The fanciful, whimsical Chinoiserie “pleasures of life” that are depicted in the vignettes in this fabric have me forever entertained. 
PC: I love the color palette of pale blue and classic red as well as the mix of textiles in this room. What advice can you share for mixing multiple patterns successfully?
MMG: This palette is quickly becoming one of my favorites! I’ve used blue, white, and red in a few spaces for clients but this was the first time I could really unleash and use it freely at my own inclination; which is the most fun part of designing a showhouse room!  We were very fortunate to work with F.Schumacher & Co. on this space and they do such a splendid job with their fabric design.  They are a “go-to” for my office on the daily for interesting patterned fabrics.  Traditionally tented rooms utilize the same fabric on the walls and the tented ceiling treatment so we wanted to mix that up and layer the color, texture and pattern to create an unexpected twist on the classic “tent”.  For the walls we selected Belvedere designed by Veere Grenny for Schumacher for it’s scale, beautiful soft sky blue and white color and the garden like trellis pattern then brought in a pinstripe for the tented ceiling.  Recently Schumacher introduced a new collection of stripes in various sizes/scales and I couldn’t love them more – a stripe is of course always timeless and for us a perfect complement to the trellis wallpaper. 
PC: You used several pieces of interesting, abstract art in the space. Could you tell us a bit about how you selected the various paintings?

MMG: My love of original art goes back to day one. My mother is an artist and I was lucky to grow up around an ever changing environment of art and visual inspiration. I’ve taken this longtime passion for original art and infused that into my own home, client projects, and always into a showhouse space.  When I was creating this dear, little imaginary client, “Little Boy Bleu”, I wanted his room to be a place that evoked creativity and imagination – and what better way to impress that on a child that surround them with bright, colorful, thought provoking original abstract art!  The selection of art was curated from various artists and Atlanta galleries that represent Southern artists.  While there are artists from around the country and world that I am drawn to and yearn to collect, my love for regional art is very strong.   This space’s collection includes art by Atlanta-based Sally King Benedict and Blayne Beacham, Charleston-based Brian Coleman, Birmingham-based Lindsey Porter, New Orleans-based Alexis Walter, Auburn-based Montaigne Mathison, and Vero Beach-based Tommy McDonnell.  It was very important for me to curate a collection that felt appropriate for any age; so it works in a child’s room but could also be ideal in a family room.  One way to introduce children to art is to gift them a small piece of local or regional art each year for Christmas or a birthday.  It doesn’t have to be expensive and is a great way to identify and support emerging artists.  By the time your child is in high school they will have not only a special collection but hopefully a life long love of original art and collecting.

PC: What is your favorite element of the room?
MMG: There are a few things that could qualify as my favorite but I’m going to go with a bit more of a general answer; the details.  The details in this space are what gives it a sense of surprise, wonder and interest.   From the hand written note to Cher Papa Noel (created by Monteigne Mathison) to the darling custom lampshades the details make the difference.  

2017 LDV Gift Guide: Under $150

As I have worked on this year’s holiday gift guides, I have been surprised to see so many stylish, quality gifts for under $150. In fact, most of the items on today’s list are under $75! The items in today’s gift guide prove that no matter who you’re shopping for, you don’t have to spend a fortune to give a fabulous gift. Happy shopping!

{1. 2018 Desk Diary in Grey Napa Leather | 2. Addison Weeks 24 Karat Star Stud Earrings | 3. Le Labo Santal 26 Classic Candle | 4. Donald: The Book by Donald Robertson | 5. Taylor Tassel Drop Earrings | 6. J.Crew Vintage Pajama Set | 7. Vogue Living: Country, City, Coast | 8. J.Crew Medium Genuine Calf Hair Pouch (on sale!) | 9. Men’s J. Crew Ribbed Crew Neck Sweater |10. Kiel’s Men’s Starter Kit | 11. Tan Leather Valet | 12. Men’s Striped Wool Smartphone Gloves | 13. Engraved Cufflinks | 14. Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs’ Favorite Restaurants | 15. Men’s Cotton Pajama Pants in Dog Print | 16. Ralph Lauren Wyatt Triple Nut Bowl in Silver/Saddle Brown | 17. Parker Thatch Wine Tote | 18. Addison Weeks Middleton Corkscrew in Brass/Moonstone | 19. Set of Handpainted Blue & White Chinese Vases | 20. Set of 4 Embroidered Plastered Cocktail Napkins | 21. Set of 3 Forma Gold Objects | 22. Parker Thatch Classic Clutch | 23. Living in Style: How We Live Book | 24. Set of 3 Copper and Brass Clip Bookmarks | 25. Crewcuts Girls’ Striped Tee with Bows | 26. Set of 10 “Dive Into the Past” Book Collection | 27. Fredericks & Mae Dominoes Set | 28. Boys’ Colorblocked Cotton Crewneck Sweater | 29. At Home with Dogs and their Designers by Susanna Salk | 30. Harry Barker Personalized Vintage Stripe Dog Bed}

Annabelle Moehlmann’s Land of Belle

I was recently introduced to Annabelle Moehlmann by our mutual friend, Stacey Bewkes of Quintessence. Annabelle is a tastemaker whose glamorous East Hampton wedding was profiled in Vogue last year. Most recently, Annabelle launched the chic Land of Belle, a stylish holiday pop-up shop in Amagansett, New York. Annabelle and I share the belief that the pieces we surround ourselves with have the power to influence our mood and our day to day experiences. Inspired by her love of travel and the beautiful things she had seen on her adventures abroad, Annabelle decided to curate an assortment of tabletop items and decorative accessories crafted by skilled artisans. The result is a shopping destination where design lovers can find beautifully crafted gifts and home decor items with old-world style than can exist seamlessly in the homes of today, just in time for the holiday season. 

Paloma Contreras: What was the impetus for launching your pop-up, Land of Belle?

Annabelle Moehlman: Similar to the gap in interior design we are seeing today, the same exists for consumers in the home decor market. As a shopper, there are few places I have been able to find where I can go and shop for small brands and producers that fit my aesthetic, where the product is unexpected, globally sourced, and accessible to the luxury shopper. I wanted to create that space for people to come and have fun exploring. Where there might be items that shoppers are aware of and already love but can’t currently buy stateside (like murano glasses by Laguna B) and then other objects are new and surprising, but still resonate with the shopper and bring back memories of past travels or places they might like to visit one day (such as decorative ceramic kaftans from Istanbul and painted sea urchins from Capri). I also craved a place where shoppers can find beautiful tabletop that isn’t available at every department store, and while high-end, is relatively easy for people to reconcile buying as it’s not a fine china-level investment. 

PC: How do you define your style?

AM: I feel as though there is currently a divide in the world of interiors between a maximalist style more refitting of a bygone era and an often monochromatic, sparse contemporary look. What interests me is the space in between; meaning, how does old world beauty exist harmoniously with contemporary lifestyle. I exploring how the two styles can be mixed to really showcase beautiful antiques and home accessories, while still feeling fresh and airy. To that end, I would say my style is old world updated: layered but not overdone, grand but not pretentious, and fun but not kitsch. I like a mix of old and new, of neutrals and color, and think it is imperative t to surround yourself by items that inspire creativity and also bring to mind memories of past experiences.  

PC: What inspired the product offering for Land of Belle?

AM: I take great inspiration from my travels and my longtime love of and background in interior design. I love discovering new products and small producers on my travels and bringing things home to see how they live and take on new meaning in a different environment. 

PC: What’s next for you and Land of Belle?

AM: I plan to do additional pop-ups in 2018 and to launch e-commerce in Summer 2018.

Visit Land of Belle:

Dates: November 23 – December 26
Located at Communitie East a chic clothing boutique by John Patrick 
Amagansett Square631-267-5411Opening Hours: Sunday, Monday & Thursday 11am-5pm; Friday & Saturday 10am-6pm*Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays