A man after my own heart. He has impeccable taste and is a master at restoring old homes and renovating new homes with an eye trained on the details. This is what makes a house feel warm, lived in, and special. If you are looking for that historic home but want the modern amenities (pipes, bathrooms, and infrastructure) than Gil is your man.
G.P. Schafer Architect, PLLC, is a small, full-service architectural firm specializing in traditional residential architecture. Based in New York City, it is directed by Gil Schafer III, who won a Palladio Award for a Greek Revival home in upstate New York in 2002.
Gil renovated his 900 square foot apartment in a west village town house and it is perfection. While 900 square feet may not be a lot of space, it can still feel like home. His careful use of detail and space planning turned this apartment into a beautiful livable space. The apartment features 12-ft. French windows that overlook the street. The windows were rebuilt and the integral jamb-panel folding shutters were re-created to match the ones that would have been there originally. The dining table doubles as a desk.
When he purchased the apartment it had 13-ft. ceilings, 12-ft. windows and a few original Italianate/ Victorian elements remaining from its original form: three adjacent parlors in an 1850-60s townhouse. The previous owner had renovated and overlaid Modernist elements on the historic interior.
This was all to change as Schafer “sought to restore period detail to a much-altered fabric while exploring several architectural themes.” After 18 months of design and construction, completed in May 2002, the apartment now resembles a “Minard Lefever interior of the 1830s with the glamour and mischief of a David Adler/Frances Elkins interior of the late 1920s and 30s.” Where plain, pallid walls had existed previously, a rich terra-cotta finish now furnishes a backdrop for Ionic columns, custom moldings, a scagliola mantel and other details.
“One of the challenges was the high ceilings,” says Schafer. “There is actually more square footage on the walls than on the floor, and this enormous height was a daunting problem. It was a challenge just trying to proportion things to the scale of the space. The doors are taller, for example, and I had some new furniture built to accommodate the ceiling height. The volume of the space makes lighting a challenge, too.” Schafer’s solution was to use numerous lamps throughout the apartment, combined with strategic uplighting, following the examples of David Hicks, a decorator he admires.
A tall bed inspired by a French steel “campaign” bed from the 19th-century was used in the cube-shaped bedroom, which, like the other rooms, has 13-ft. ceilings. The walls in the rear of the apartment were upholstered to create a quieter environment.
His country home “Middlefield” outside of Millbrook, NY. He bought the land and started construction in 1997. He was finished 14 months later ( he knows how to stay on schedule- what a dream!)
Determined that his house look as if it had been built in the 1840s, reflecting the local Hudson Valley vernacular, Mr. Schafer studied local examples and consulted sources including pattern books by the 19th-century architects Asher Benjamin and Minard Lefever.
The end result, a temple-with-wings structure, is rich in period details. Doric columns front a two-story central portico flanked by a lower kitchen wing on one side and an enclosed porch on the other. The pediment above the portico has a fanlight, and the front door has sidelights and a transom window. The main entrance opens onto a long hallway, with a double parlor dining room and living room off to the side. Mr. Schafer also incorporated historically appropriate molding profiles, stair balusters and pocket doors.
When you enter his website the logo “Creating Places That Enhance The Enjoyment of Life” greets you. I couldn’t agree more.