Furlow Gatewood came across my radar more than a decade ago. He was the longtime business partner of John Rosselli up in New York, and together they built an antiques and decorating business that is now world renowned.
What intrigued me the most at first was that he lived in Americus, Georgia, which is a stone's throw away from where my parents grew up. We're talking Deep South Georgia - the U.S. Census Bureau accounts for 15,989 local residents as of 2021, so the fact that the who's who of interior design fans would constantly trek out there to see his home speaks to his genius!
He was a big animal lover, and spent his life sharing his property with many peacocks, chickens, and dogs. Can you imagine seeing these majestic creatures all over your property all the time?!
In the 1940s, he began a lengthy restoration on a carriage house on his family's property, and he finally retired here and continued working on more homes on the property. I have Julia Reed's book "One Man's Folly: The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood" and I love looking through it for inspiration, especially since he never designed homes for others, but still had such an eye for detail, antiques, and a whimsical take on decor.
It was always a fantasy of mine to go and meet him in Americus. I secretly wished that he would go to my dad's hometown, buy my grandmother's house, bring it to his property and completely restore it, as he was so famous for doing.
His photographer friend, Rod Collins, would visit him every Friday and take photos of him, his animals on property, and his home, and he just posted his menagerie of those photos, including celebrations like this dinner set up for Furlow's 101st birthday shortly before he passed.
Furlow always had a reputation of being quite the gentleman, and treating women in his life very well throughout his 101 years on earth so I appreciate him that much more for his good character and not only his incredible design genius.
I just really think he was a secret gem that didn't get his true due in his lifetime, and I really hope Rod Collins publishes a book with these photos.
His family has decided to put many of his pieces up for auction, and I will definitely be ready and waiting to see what is included. I'm hoping I can find something with peacocks, that would be a great reminder of his genius and another thing besides interior design and the deep South that I'm enamored with.
Boy I would have LOVED to have been there in New York for this book signing!
I highly recommend picking up his book - I guarantee you'll smile looking through his divine spaces!
And what a smile he had. Rest in peace, dear sir - you have a left a legacy to be proud of!