antiques, gardens, inspiration, interiors

featured designer: Tricia Foley

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Tricia Foley is a woman ahead of her time. Long before the all-white, minimalist look we see everywhere on Instagram these days, author and stylist Tricia Foley captured our imaginations with her casual, chic country look. Her trademarks–all those shades of white, natural elements, textures, layers, and artful displays of treasured objects and collections—are commonplace now. But, there is only one Tricia Foley, and she is a designer whose work I return to often for inspiration.

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Before you even cross the threshold of one of Foley’s houses (she is reportedly on her third), her signature features are evident and we are introduced to her finely tuned eye. Here, at the front door of her second home, a small, old cottage in upstate New York, we are greeted with architectural elements painted white, a simple two-paneled door, and subtle details like a nickel doorknob, a vintage white lantern, an added Victorian scroll bracket, potted daisies, and a small plain, rustic basket hanging on the door.

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If the hardwood floors in Foley’s rooms are not scrubbed or painted pine, they are often glossy dark wood, which serve as a dramatic backdrop for the spare whiteness of her canvases. In this hallway, the black, modern, minimalist chair against the painted wainscoting and paneled walls, and the simple, elegant curves of the colonial wall sconce above create a striking vignette.

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I love the ordered chaos of this kitchen, where similar shades and shapes are grouped on open shelves, and a slim, dark island provides more storage and workspace, as well as adding that signature piece of dark amid the white. The single potted topiary provides a natural element (another reoccurring accessory), and a touch of formality to the relaxed mood.

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Foley slipcovers furniture in white linen or cotton, and anchors rooms with sisal rugs for texture, warmth, and simplicity.

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In a bedroom, wood floors are painted white with deck paint, natural light is welcomed thru barely dressed windows, and ceramic bowls in various sizes alongside a single candlestick adorn a cherry wood dresser.

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The question might be: can we actually live in rooms like this with our messy real lives? For Foley, the answer is unequivocally yes. It is the calmness of the white palette and the orderliness of her careful and thoughtful editing that actually bring a sense of peace, and therefore, livability to her rooms and to her life. She says that really “Color and texture are everywhere, but the white keeps it all together and creates a look, an order, a personal, easy style.”

See more of Tricia Foley’s work here and in her most recent book: Life/Style: Elegant Simplicity at Home.

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