The Great American House

“Mom, can you do me a favor?”

“What’s that?”

“Can you pour the milk right into the center of the cereal?”  I looked up, standing in my pajamas and slippers, the simple white bowl filled with still-crunchy cornflakes, rested on the marble counter.  He looked back at me with blue-eyed earnestness.

“Does it matter?”

“A lot.  Don’t worry, Dad does it wrong, too.”

And try as I might, it was difficult to be annoyed because his needs were so exacting. That intolerance for the just-not-quite-right is not a latent gene, but a product of both nature and nurture.

This attention to detail and devotion to exactness are shared by architect Gil Schafer.  My files are filled with tear-sheets of Mr. Schafer’s work and I am happy to have many of these images captured handily in his new book, The Great American House; Tradition for the Way We Live Now.

The book holds not only pictures of the gracious buildings themselves, but the interiors by noted designers such as Miles Redd, Michael Smith and David Netto.  For the true devotee, elevations and drawings of both floor plans and garden plans are plenty.  In addition, Schafer offers candid perspective on renovating and building; this advice would be handy for anyone looking to start from scratch no matter the aesthetic.

This is a remarkably good book season; plan accordingly (some birds large, medium and small have mentioned to me that there is a gift-giving holiday just around the corner.)  The Great American House, available here, should be on your list.

All images courtesy of Rizzoli, New York; from top photography Paul Costello; design, Schafer in collaboration with Miles Redd, photography John M. Hall; photography Carter Berg; design, David Netto, photography Jonathan Wallen; landscape design Deborah Nevins, photography, Schafer.

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9 thoughts on “The Great American House

  1. huge fan of Gil Schafer, pre-ordered this did not disappoint. Was just in Charleston this weekend admiring the William Gatewood House…renovated under his direction. Have always dreamed of its interiors, thankful his book (and website) revealed these breathtaking rooms

  2. A delicious book, and one that I have pored over for hours already. I have been a fab of Mr. Schafer's work for many years now, and to have this book in my collection is a dream come true. Reggie

  3. I am so thankful we still get these morsels from you and that you have not left us totally.

    Anyways I fully agree the book is outstanding. He comes across as gracious, and humble while being one of the absolute best residential architects of our day. This book lived up to expectations completely.

  4. A son to be proud of! He might even be trusted with a wonderful antique cow creamer that could accompany his cereal bowl and he could pour it himself!
    The images are wonderful – and though I keep promising myself that I don't need one more book nor have room for more, this might be a MUST!

  5. Hi Patricia, Thank you for sharing "The Milk Issue"–I can relate so many memories to this one genetic gene. And now I have it with my grandson–like me in so many ways. Have a wonderful week–Gil Schafer's book is on my list.

  6. You made my day and Gil Schafer made my Christmas list! It was, however, a frenetic choice: read the post, linger over the pictures? Linger over the pictures, read the post? Your prose won. Oh, those Darling Boys!

  7. Of course the best way to channel not-quite-right is to let him do it himself! It is wonderful that each individual is so thoroughly himself right from the beginning.

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