Gil Schafer’s latest book – A Place to Call Home – is out this September and with that we get a glimpse into seven wonderful projects set in different locations across the country, spanning styles that are vastly different. I am beyond happy to revisit the Mill Valley home that Schafer conceived for Blythe Harris and her family, but this past week we also got a glimpse into another home from his book through a New York Times article. It is Schafer’s own seaside house in Brooklin, Maine. It is beautiful of course but it will surprise many who are familiar with this utterly traditional architect because it is… well, modern! Yeap, that’s true! Gil Schafer went modern! As he candidly confesses, you cannot experiment with your client so you better experiment on your own home and see where that leads. In this particular case, what started as an unattractive rental property became a lovely project that is a departure from Schafer’s more historically appointed houses.
Childhood memories of summers on the Maine coast led Schafer to purchase a vacation home with breathtaking views but little architectural character. Of course, the architect thought the house was ‘fixable’ and by ‘fixable’, he meant of course gutting it to the timber frames and rebuilding it inside and out. With the exception of the bedrooms, everything – wall, ceilings, floors – was painted Benjamin Moore’s Seapearl White. Huge windows and tall glass sliding doors offer expansive views of Blue Hill Bay. The bedrooms still retain a warmer, more traditional feel – wallpaper and faux canopies and wall-to-wall carpeting cozy up the space. As for furnishings, Schafer’s personal collection spanning over two decades found the perfect backdrop in the all-white and modern interiors. Vintage 20th-century cantilevered armchairs, 18th-century antiques as well as contemporary Sawkille furniture create an eclectic mix that works beautifully.