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If He Builds It…

Sometimes, as the old adage goes, it’s all about the chemistry. That’s why Annie turns to John Gilmer, an ace architect who also knows way more than a thing or two about interior design, when she needs a home design, a building, and even a decorating sounding board.

John grew up in the architecture-rich town of Kingsport, Tennessee, where homes and buildings from the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s abound. At age three, his parents built a new home and took young John to the construction site. He was immediately hooked, and grew up knowing he wanted to be an architect. His mother, an antiques and custom-reproduction furniture dealer, also instilled a deep knowledge and level of taste that he first put to use building furniture for her business at the ripe old age of twelve. “I love furniture,” John explains. “I can see the potential in pieces. I look for pieces that are sculptural, well-made, somehow emblematic of their time period.”

Fast-forward a few years, and John earned his master’s in architecture from Yale, which he credits with diversifying his interests and approach to design. After a ten-year stint working for master architect Bob Stern, where John learned “you don’t have to have one style that you do over and over again,” John hung out a, um, shingle for his own company, where he specializes in an integrated approach to architecture and interior design that fuses the modern, eclectic, and classic into timeless, comfortable, contemporary living and working spaces. He’s designed everything from luxury retail stores in New York City to high-end apartments in Beverly Hills, historic homes in Philadelphia, and a boutique hotel and spa in Palm Springs.

Two of John’s favorite projects are the home renovations he’s done with Annie, first on her postdivorce midcentury modern ranch, and now on the reimagined Cape Cod previously owned by her mother. John loves working with Annie for a variety of reasons, among them, “she’s smart, she has a good eye, she’s open to suggestions, and she’s a very quick study in terms of knowing what she wants and being able to communicate that. It’s an easy back-and-forth.”

John and Annie are knee-deep in the current renovation (click on any of the posts in the “Annie’s Renovation” sidebar on the right to get up-to-date on her adventures), with John not only reconfiguring the space, but also offering advice on everything from furniture to paint colors. He says, “I want it to be a warm, welcoming home for Annie as she enters into yet another new phase of her life. It’s large enough that she can entertain graciously, yet cozy enough for one person.” Stay tuned as we bring you every step of the redesign.



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