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A Design Expert on Finding (and Falling for) Her New Home

A Design Expert on Finding (and Falling for) Her New Home
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Design expert Tricia Foley is known for her good taste. A creative director, interior designer, author, and historic preservationist, Tricia possesses a style that’s simple, clean, and packed with soul—and her current home, a renovated 18th-century farmhouse on Long Island, offers a glimpse into her ethereal world. As documented in Tricia’s 2015 book, Life/Style: Elegant Simplicity at Home, the house is a study in white, showcasing Tricia’s pristine aesthetic as much as it does her way of living. Pages brim with images of kraft-paper-lined drawers, bleached slipcovers, and meals by candlelight, pointing to Tricia’s mind as one of an artist—and her work is never done.

Now, 15 years after the completion of the farmhouse renovations, Tricia has bought and begun remodeling another property. Only minutes from her current home, it will be Tricia’s fifth white house and the most contemporary of the bunch. Built in 1994 and perched by a bay, it’s full of potential—but the kind only someone like Tricia could see. We’ll be following along as Tricia undertakes this latest project, shedding light on what it takes to plan a successful renovation and sharing a full tour of the finished space at the end. Be sure to check back here for updates—but first, we asked Tricia to tell us how she knew this was the house for her. Read the story in Tricia’s own words below.

The Beauty on Bay Road

I had driven past this house before, all closed up with not much paint left on it, weathered by the sea and neglect over the years. It was nestled in the reeds, a modern barn-style house, with a deck overlooking the bay. I had been there for a party years before and had a sense of the layout inside—an “upside down” house it’s called when the living space is upstairs for the view, and the bedrooms are downstairs.

It kept haunting me, as I looked online for houses for sale, checked in with local real estate agencies, and drove around the neighborhood looking for something I responded to. I was ready for a change, a new project, but nothing was just right—too traditional, wrong neighborhood, no character, no views. But this house had it all. I knew the previous owner had moved out and saw that it was boarded up and ready for its next chapter (and had great potential).

Winter came on with a vengeance, months went by, then, on an icy day in March, a friend called and said there was a house she thought I’d like with a new “for sale by owner” sign on the door. She gave me the phone number, I made an appointment for that afternoon, and when we pulled up at the address, I saw that it was the house I had wanted all along. Within an hour, it was mine. It was cold and damp and had damage from a recent hurricane, but I could see it all freshly painted in shades of white, with my white sofas and painted furniture, the floors sanded and stained like the worn deck, my books in the bookcases, art on the wall. One look at the view of the sea from the living room and I was in love. The rest, as they say, is history.

Note: Clockwise from right, the above photos show Tricia Foley’s five white houses: the home where she was born; her first white house renovation; her third white house renovation; another of her childhood homes; the most recent residence in the works. 

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