In the third and final installment of our Diary of a House series, we offer you the full reveal of designer Tricia Foley’s new Bellport, NY, home. Check out parts one and two for more on the renovation process, then read on to see the light and bright space.
Stepping inside Tricia Foley’s new Bellport, NY, home is like watching the first 60 seconds of Woody Allen’s Interiors: quiet bliss. Sunlight pours through cathedral-like windows. A fire crackles in the fireplace. Outside, a white heron glides across the marshland, cutting through a soft seaside haze. And everything is white: the walls, the banisters, the furniture, the sponge in the kitchen sink. It’s a scheme that Tricia has become known for. Over the course of her career as a magazine editor, designer, and creative consultant for companies including Wedgwood and Ralph Lauren, Tricia has mastered the art of crafting colorless spaces with a sense of soul.
Built in 1992, the house was designed by an associate of Horace Gifford, an architect best known for modernist residences on Fire Island Pines. It is the newest home Foley has ever lived in, and it possesses many of the architectural signatures commonly associated with architects such as Gifford, Pei, and the Bauhaus bunch, all of whom she cites as influences. One could also easily compare its simple barnlike structure and seemingly vast interior spaces to the International Style house in which Foley grew up. But to truly grasp Foley’s style, one mustn’t look to the work of an architect but instead to the words of one of her literary heroes: Henry David Thoreau.
“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” Thoreau wrote in Walden. “Let your affairs be as two or three and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen and keep your accounts on your thumb and nail.” It’s this line that best explains the genius behind all that Foley does. Open the cupboard where she keeps her china and you will find Wedgwood plates, bowls, and pressed-glass tumblers so perfectly stacked and arranged that you wonder why she keeps them hidden. Nothing is superfluous, and as a result everything is easy to maintain.
A self-described “purist,” Foley appreciates functional design but still maintains a love of decoration. “I like to mix different shades and textures,” she says, a point illustrated by her bedroom’s taupe carpet, linen drapes, and steel canopy bed, and again in the kitchen’s quartz countertop, slipcovered stools, and semigloss cabinetry.
And though each space might make visitors think twice before accepting a glass of rosé (let alone cabernet), Foley doesn’t appear to have any issue keeping her white house clean: She cleans as she goes. Nothing is given the chance to pile up—or stain, for that matter. Even laundry is a ritual. “I’ll bleach all of the slipcovers once a year,” she says. Thinking back to life in her previous home, an 18th-century farmhouse with five fireplaces, Foley considers the upkeep here easier. She appreciates the effortlessness. Like Thoreau in the woods, she chooses to expend her energy on what excites her most: life itself.