Celebrity News: Family Home at Lake Placid by Architect Gil Schafer – On the picturesque shores of Lake Placid, architect Gil Schafer crafts a family house inspired by the character and charm of classic Adirondack retreats.
Such is the endurance of childhood memories that anyone who has ever grown up with a summer home can’t help but view all family getaways through the prism of those early experiences. It’s something one New Jersey couple was well aware of when planning a vacation residence along the pristine shores of Lake Placid, in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Having spent summers on the lake since they were children (they met there as kids, and their families have had homes in the area for generations), the two have a deep respect for the region’s architectural heritage, particularly the rustic-formal retreats known as great camps. “We wanted something in keeping with the lake’s camp tradition, that looked as if it had been here for a long time,” says the wife.
Equally important to the pair was to create a home that is in harmony with the rhythms and lifestyle of the lake, where days spent on the water or picking blueberries in the mountains are followed by breezy cocktail parties on a boat or on one of the capacious porches most houses here seem to have.
But rather than the log-cabin vernacular often associated with the area, they were drawn to a more tailored though still classic Adirondack style: “the kind of place with brown clapboard siding, a green-shingled roof, and white trim,” says the husband.
Finding the right architect was paramount, and the couple turned to Gil Schafer, whose New York City firm, G. P. Schafer Architect, is noted for designing structures that reflect contemporary needs while easily passing for something built a hundred or more years ago. The owners were convinced Schafer was their man after seeing his widely published upstate home, a highly convincing faux-19th-century Greek Revival. “You want to learn from the historic precedent,” Schafer says of his design approach. “But you don’t want to make it too perfect—an old house feels charming precisely because there’s something a little off about it.”
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