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One Man's Folly: The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2014
Where has this gentleman been hiding ? His homes are the most inspiring exteriors and interiors I have ever seen . His style is relaxed & innovative , while evoking a very sophisticated country feel . If it was one structure , you might assume his style got lucky on that one project . Yet , with the numerous homes featured , his genius is undeniable . This book gives the reader so many lessons in style and correctness of scale and correct material use . A million words could not convey the schooling that these pictures will give you . I have a huge library on architecture and design and this one is my favorite . It would be a bargain at twice the price . Thank you Mr. Gatewood , for letting us into your world. With the current hideous trends in design , this is a real treat .
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Four houses, fourteen acres and forty peacocks, along with a sweet menagerie of cats and dogs, gardens, and outbuildings (including a peacock hospital) compose Furlow Gatewood's compound in Americus, Georgia. Furlow bought his first antique treasures, milk glass chickens, from his paper route earnings eight decades ago and hasn't stopped collecting since. This book features the splendor of his collections. His homes have been built to house his treasures including antique furniture, salvaged doors, mantels, windows and shutters. Furlow's four "follies" which we visually tour in this book include:

* The Barn or Carriage House ~ on the property initially and first renovated by Furlow beginning in 1950 when he was home from NYC visiting his mother, and foraging for antiques, and noted her carriage house was disintegrating. Original layout was a large center room with two wings. Furlow added porches, bedrooms and a dining room. This is Furlow's home base where he sleeps and dines with a view of dogs and peacocks.

* The Peacock House ~ started out as a house built around a fabulous door with Gothic window Furlow had found. So, obviously to accompany the door, you need a house. Furlow's carpenter Joe added a bedroom, bath, kitchen and back porch. Makes sense.

* The Cuthbert House ~ a mid-nineteenth century Gothic Revival dwelling formerly located in Cuthbert, Georgia. It was going to be demolished to make way for a church parking lot. Furlow moved it in two pieces to this property and added a kitchen, bath for first floor bedroom and back porch. We have seen some of the rooms in this home in magazines. Enchanting.

* The Lumpkin House ~ found in 2010. Furlow says he bought it for the front door and gingerbread trim. It was a one story cottage with center hall and two rooms on each side. Furlow created a kitchen on the left, and a bed and bath on the right side of the center hallway.

Bunny Williams who is a great friend of Furlow's - Furlow was her husband's business partner and they all go around the world antiquing and foraging for beauty - deconstructs Furlow's design style for us at the end of the book in the "Lessons Learned" section. She notes what she believes makes his style beautiful and original. His "grand sense of scale" is one element of his style says Bunny. Large frame sofas with an array of diversely framed chairs around them is another feature of his style. Fascinating to read the many things Bunny believes we can learn from Furlow's original style.

Some of what I noted regarding design ideas perusing this book: have a painter paint a painting based on antique wallpaper panel, use the backsides of fabrics for more muted colors, put mirrors in French door frames to reflect light and add sparkle to a room, paint old furniture white if the wood isn't in good condition, if you have a carpenter friend copy antique tables, and ask a painter to paint floor designs from antique estates on simple wood floors.

If you like classic salvaged architectural pieces, antique furniture from around the world, blue and white china, a mix of global fabrics, canopy beds, painted floors, delft tiles, dhurrie rugs, stripes and checks, gilt frames, and dogs, cats and peacocks, you will be enchanted by this book. Everyone wants to know how to combine eclectic elements gracefully - this book demonstrates how. There's a little narration at the beginning of each chapter by Julia Reed, and then the glorious images by photographer Paul Costello dominate. The pages are thick, the colors are true ~ it is one of my favorite design books of all time. You can study Furlow's rooms for hours.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2014
That Furlow Gatewood is not the equivalent of a household name in the design world is soon likely to change with the publication of his new book. Of course, having the likes of Bunny Williams, Julia Reed, and John Rosselli behind him doesn't hurt either.

I first became aware of Furlow Gatewood, a now-ninety-something year-old non-designer, former antiques dealer, and native Georgian, two decades ago when the historic Savannah house he co-owned with John Rosselli was published. It was memorable enough to grab my attention a year ago when the Cuthbert House, one of the "follies" on his Americus, Georgia property hit Veranda magazine. And then along came this book, the story of how a compound of buildings, each exquisitely built and furnished as an antidote to both over-buying and boredom, came to exist on his family farm.

In touring the four houses and gardens presented, a portrait of Gatewood emerges: humble (the book is not about him, it's about his houses), plain-spoken with a droll and direct sense of humor, passionate for and about beautiful objects, and possessed of a wicked collecting streak. He confesses that once finished, his houses don't get much use because "the fun is in the doing."

His style, intuitive and self-guided, has produced stunning results. Here are marvelous photographs of rooms filled with incredible and lust-worthy furnishings and objects, all put together with an unerring sense of scale, that never feel cluttered. These are elaborate arrangements that mix the rare, the antique, and the unusual with the everyday and charming, and yet always feel fresh, light, and livable.

A tension exists in Gatewood's rooms that makes them sing: the elegant and polished contents against architectural envelopes sheathed in wide rough boards painted in a limited palette (mostly white or gray); with floors of old brick, dark-stained or painted wood, and the occasional sisal or striped dhurrie rug. Envy-inducing paintings hang between windows that are left bare except for shutters or wood-slat roll-up porch blinds, when the expected finish would likely include yards of linen or taffeta. Simple white cotton duck is the upholstery fabric of choice here, and it is layered with throw cushions of everything from antique Fortuny to blocked cottons from India to linen tea towels, all counterpointing the lines and profiles of the pieces they cover. It is all really quite brilliant.

If there really is an afterlife, I'll choose to spend mine at Furlow's. But for now, his book will suffice. Don't miss out on it.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2014
Furlow Gatewood is definitely a collector...of everything, but clearly of architectural pieces, small to house-sized. He has created several unique, but elegant and beautiful dwellings on family land in Americus, Georgia, chronicled in this new book written by journalist Julia Reed. Several of the houses were moved from other locations and others, already on site, added on room by room, to accommodate purchases of large quantities of furniture.

Although Mr. Gatewood has a lot of "stuff," I thought the interiors were open and inviting. The bare floors and simply trimmed windows added a coolness, which is no doubt welcome in warm Georgia. I also appreciated that the four dogs and two cats were welcome on the furniture, and in the case of one kitty, the dining room table.

If I could have a summer house, any one of Mr. Gatewood's follies would be ideal!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2014
Thank goodness John Rosselli & Bunny Williams had the good sense to get Furlow Gatewood to publish his incredible rooms, and Rizzoli was wise enough to print these gorgeous photos to fill pages edge to edge. Few words are needed, the charming, welcoming rooms tell you all you need to know. What a treasure !
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2014
Each page is delightful, idea provoking, and simply an amazing example of a life well lived in complete creativity and an appreciation
of living outside the box with quality and beauty! The photography is simply a work of art and a keen eye for perspective. This will be my go to gift for all my friends this year...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2014
On great British estates, they created "follies," and this man has four. every picture makes me want to walk right into the room. Every room has comfort and style - always a place to sit down with a table nearby for a drink or cup of tea, a lamp for reading, and surrounded by beauty. But there is a sense that these are set-pieces, stage-sets. The text mentions the houses are always finished with state of the art kitchens 'rarely used.' i would have liked to see a bathroom or kitchen, or a closet. i don't know where Mr. Gatewood actually lives and sleeps. I am assured he is a courtly southern gentleman who entertains beautifully, but part of me wants to know how it all works backstage - who cleans and cooks and rearranges and plumps the pillows? What is the structure that holds it all up? Oh never mind, I'll just enjoy it like the iridescent soap bubble it is, a thing of beauty and we are privileged to have it shown to us.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2015
I ALWAYS read the Amazon Reviews before I buy something, they are so useful and have encouraged me or stopped me from buying many items - yes I am greedy. However, I simply can't understand the bad reviews regarding this book.

I have bought many beautiful decorators books over the years but I can safely say that not one single one of them comes close to One Man's Folly. AT LAST I have found a book full of fabulous pictures that I can delve into whenever I feel like it and NEVER be disappointed.

Furlow Gatewood has exceptional taste - like mine of course - and each page of his book is a delight to look at. I covert every single thing he has collected and put in his houses over the years and wish fervently that I had a few - what the heck - all of them in my house.

Please, please, please somebody do another book of Mr. Furlow's houses.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2014
This book is the most inspiring and creative book on design I have ever read. It's wonderful when you have millions to have your architect build something fabulous and your interior decorator find rare pieces from all over the world. But Furlow does it all on a more limited budget. His work is visually stunning and joyful. Genius! I wish he'd do my grandparent's home in Atlanta!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2014
This is a lovely book. Creative and not showy, over the top style. Very much enjoyed it. It is fun to dip into a few pages at a time after the first plunge. While it's clear that the style is friendly and fun like Bunny Williams, Furlow Gatewood is very much his own designer.
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