Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Monday, November 21, 2011

Meeting Miss Tricia (Foley)

It's always lovely when you meet a renowned interior designer and they turn out to be just as beautiful as their rooms. Tricia Foley is one such person. Charming, gracious, wonderfully hospitable and extraordinarily talented, this New York-based interior designer, stylist, author and former magazine editor can put together a space like nobody I know – and then turn around and (just as quickly) whip up a stylish spread of food and drinks to entertain people in it.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Tricia Foley at her Long Island hideaway last year. I spent the day with her, photographing her glorious riverside cottage and garden. Later, we had dinner together at a fabulous little restaurant owned by friends of hers in a village nearby. And as we were chatting, I remembered, with one of those serendipitous flashes, that her book, The Romance of British Colonial Style, had been the first design book I'd ever bought. I loved that book when it was first published, and now here we were together, sharing stories of our photo shoots, and magazine careers, and where we hoped to be in another ten years. It was one of those days, full of laughter, conversation and inspiration, that lingers in your memory for some time afterwards.

I want to share some of my images of Tricia Foley's house, which were featured in a book called Coast: Lifestyle Architecture. It's been featured around the Blogosphere before, but here are some new angles, for those who love its elegant lines and surprising details. Tricia's signature look is, as you can see from these images, derived from using an understated, mostly monochromatic palette. She's not big on colour, preferring to draw her inspiration from the classic, pared-back simplicity of early American colonial and Shaker styles. Black, white and natural tones dominate here, creating serene spaces of calm and sophistication. Vintage is mixed with modern, and high-end pieces with flea-market or hardware finds. The result is a home that has all the elegance of a styled photo shoot, and all the comfort of a much-loved weekender.

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