Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas by the Sea

 My first Christmas by the sea is a magical one...simple greenery and favorite white flowers with a fire burning are all I need...warm holiday wishes from my new home to yours!

                                             photographs by marili forastieri

Friday, December 8, 2017

Live on One Kings Lane !

A touch base with my friend Jon Tutolo,  the new Creative Director at One Kings Lane, led to the wonderful reportage on the transition/renovation/interior finishing of my new home...We set a date of 3 months from the closing to shoot it, and although it was tight, we made it - I love a deadline!

We had such a great team, with Editor/Writer David Bazner, Producer Niki Dankner, Stylist Michelle Wong, and my friend/Photographer Marili Forastieri.  I think David and Niki were nervous when they came out for a site visit a few weeks before and there were construction crews all over, trucks parked
on the what used to be the lawn, and everything a work in progress.  I think that they were relieved  to come back for the shoot with a car full of beautiful flowers to arrange, and find that we were ready to go. The painters moved back outside to finish painting the exterior out of sight of cameras and the grass was growing again. The sun was shining and the house was ready to shoot. My new next door neighbor Chris took us out on his boat to take a shot from the bay, and my assistant John arranged for breakfasts and lunches on the deck. I think it shows when a professional team with production experience, the same vision  and passion for one's work, creates a story like this - it was seamless.

It was hard to wait 6 weeks to show the film but it was posted on One Kings Lane today, and I'm pleased to share the story: I hope you'll enjoy it!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Room with a View

photo by gemma comas
photo by anita calero

I grew up on the north shore of  Long Island, a walk away from the beach. It's where we went after school,  learned how to skim stones with our father, dug up clams with our toes, looked for shells and wampum, had swimming lessons from the local summer school lying on the edge of the water, squealing and splashing with kicking feet...It's where I met my best friend to talk about boys we had crushes on... and when I was studying photography in college, the first place I'd go when I came home was to take pictures at Sunken Meadow Beach. I still have images of the boardwalk, the sunset, the seascapes in every season, the patterns of the snow fencing in winter, that I developed and printed in black and white.
I've spent most of my life though, living in the city and traveling around the world for work,   escaping to Long Island on weekends dreaming up ways to work and live out here. I spent many years mid-island restoring historic houses on the river, and just months ago, moved to this all white house by the sea on the south shore of Long Island about 45 minutes from where I grew up. The north shore was rocky, wooded and hilly, the south shore is soft with wetlands and reeds ringing the coastline. I hear the birds in the morning, the wind when it storms, the rain on the roof, and it is all so familiar. And from every room in the house, I have a view of the sea.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Floors

Getting closer to the finish line!  The upstairs floors have been sanded, stained, waxed....They start the downstairs floors tomorrow evening. The floor re-finisher is using a natural product called Rubio Monocoat in the Sky Gray colorway. It looks beautiful with the view of the soft seascape/landscape through the windows.  Although it would have been nice to have wide plank floors, we were able to salvage the '90's narrow oak flooring with just a few repairs, but I wanted a real wood looking finish. The walls and cupboards and trim are all white and they need something to ground them...and they transition perfectly out to the weathered wood decks outside the living room and office.  I love that it doesn't take numerous coatings and that it doesn't have toxic chemicals or a shiny gym-floor finish.  It may need buffing once a year like the old-fashioned waxed floors my grandmother had, but I'm fine with that. It's beginning to feel like home.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

White Paint

The most frequent question I'm asked is about the white paint colors I'm using!  On instagram, facebook, pinterest, other design blogs - people always want to know which are my whites....I collect all the white paint swatches from Farrow & Ball, The Paint & Paper Library, etc. and obsess over all the subtle shades that will transform a space.  In my 200 year old  farm house with small rooms and lots of moldings and window frames, I chose soft whites and have at least a  dozen whites throughout. 

But in this house, which is a modern barn style, I want a clean, fresh white, so have chosen Benjamin Moore's Decorator White, inside and out.

                                                                THE WHITE LIST

                                          Williamsburg Collection for Benjamin Moore
                                                                    Harwood Putty
                                                         Parish White

                                                                    Farrow & Ball
                                                                        All White
                                                                  Cornforth White

                                                              Ralph Lauren Paint
                                                                    Brilliant White
                                                               Picket Fence White
                                                                   Journal White
                                                                     Chalk White
                                                                 Mother of Pearl

                                                                 Benjamin Moore
                                                                    Simply White
                                                                     Snow White
                                                                Decorator White
                                                                   China White
                                                                    White Dove

                                                      Ethereal White
                                                        Pure White
                                                       Extra White

Monday, September 18, 2017

Home Work

I see a lot of white paint in my future!
The exterior is all patched and sanded, painted and trimmed - ready for new light fixtures...using Decorator White paint from Benjamin Moore for the exterior - a clean, crisp white.  The interior is a work in progress as the carpenters, plumber, electrician have been busy building in new cabinets, switching out appliances, and updating all the light fixtures. Love going over there every day to see what's new.  Another 10 days to go, the painter has started indoors  and the floor refinishing will be the last step. The punch list still gets longer every time I check things off, but the house is coming back to life !  Tricia

Sunday, August 27, 2017


As I make the transition to my new home, I realize that I have lived in 5 white houses on Long Island in my lifetime and thinking of all the memories associated with them.  Each house has a story, and I have emotional attachments to the rooms, the setting and the roles they've played in my life.

1.  White Cape Cod House
My parents bought their first house when they married, a small white Cape Cod style house on a leafy street with neat rows of new post-war houses, and I was born and brought home there a year later.  It was the shape of the classic American house, the shape of the houses on a Monopoly board or that of a child's drawing to symbolize home.  They planned to have a big family and after several years, we had a few more children, and it was time to move to a bigger house with more property.

2.  White International Style House
They bought a larger house outside of town when I was 14, an International Style house, 3 white cubes re-assembled in the countryside on 5 acres, surrounded by parkland.  It was built 30+ years before and introduced as a modern "machine for living"  at the Building Exhibition at Grand Central Terminal in the 1930's.  It had blown cork ceilings and a big hook in the ceiling for a hanging seat, graphic black casement windows and lots of architectural details and futuristic building materials. The NY building consultant who designed it transported it to this idyllic place near Sunken Meadow Beach where a group of like-minded architects like Albert Frey were building summer houses made of canvas and new lightweight modular materials.  They were called the Fort Salonga Colony.  The downstairs of our house was an open plan space with a fireplace in the  dining/living room, a white wall with a firebox cut into it, no mantels or trim, a minimal look that I was influenced by for many years to come.  The kitchen in my farmhouse has a version, and the new house has a tall white column with this same style fireplace, so it feels very familiar. My parents bought this house for more space and the grounds -for a basketball court, a 2 car garage for my father to work on his cars, a place for a pool- a house for 7 kids to spread out in, but little did they know that my sister and I would become designers, influenced from an early age by the design of this special house we grew up in.

3. White Shingled Cottage
I lived in the city working for many years as a magazine editor and author of design books, traveling around the country and the world,  but always missed Long Island and came home on weekends bringing friends and coworkers out for relief from the steamy summer city, until I found a house of my own.  In a small village, an hour from the city,  a half hour from my family home, and a half hour from the Hamptons, I found a wreck of a cottage, a "Long Island Half House" in need of saving.  As a young editor at House Beautiful, I spent time working on house projects,  always looking for  locations with a charming fireplace, interesting windows and paneling and this fit the bill.  My father helped me buy it, the whole family pitched in and we spent weekends painting and cleaning, putting up shelves, fixing the porch, and going to yard sales and junk shops to find the furnishings to set up my first home.  For many years it was where we all spent Christmas holidays and summer weekends.

4.  White Farmhouse Compound
Then I received a call from a friend in the historical society, who told me about a bigger house down the road which was now for sale.   I was outgrowing my first house, and wanted a new project.  I had passed this one for years, and wondered what the old-fashioned white house looked like inside, with its sweet-pea covered fence, stone chimneys and big wooden garage. I was ready for more than my tiny 2 bedroom cottage.  I drove out from the city, and went over early in the morning, and walked around. It was a damp morning and down an overgrown, wooded path to the lake, the leaves were falling gently, and it was like stepping back in time.  At the end of the path, was a dock with a magical boathouse and a pair of swans glided over to greet me.  That was it.  Love at first sight. I wandered around the property taking pictures of the chicken coop, the tiny outhouse, the garden shed filled with pots and a garage/barn structure filled with old cars and tools and I could see myself living here. It took  6 months to work out the sale with the estate selling it, but it happened.   It has been 15 years of clearing things out, restoring the main house and all the outbuildings and adding the house next door to the compound as a guest house.  The story of the restoration of this property is the theme of my latest book, Life|Style: Elegant Simplicity at Home.

5. White Modern Beach House
And now, the next chapter in my Five White Houses story.  Time for a new project, one with less property to take care of,  something with a big open space for living and the opportunity to streamline my life. I had been driving around for a year or so in nearby neighborhoods to look for somewhere to move to, somewhere I could find another house to save and restore and call home. But it had to be special to leave this house.   There was nothing available here on the lake, but I loved the neighboring community where a lot of friends live, and they were on the lookout for me.  I got a call that a house I had been driving past and loved, had actually been to years before, was "for sale by owner."  I called and and we went over on a cold snowy day in March, and as soon as I saw the view of the sea from the  upstairs great room, I felt at home.  It is a 1990's architect designed house near the beach, a house with a view.  The closing was in July and it's been under renovation since that day. It hadn't been taken care of for the past 25 years,  there was some water damage from Hurricane Sandy, but the house is solid.  I can't wait to be in it, in about 6 weeks from now.

Will be writing about the new house here weekly as it progresses- the renovation scope; scheduling; what goes, what stays; how to create a comfortable modern home;  the yard sale; the white paint palette, etc.   Stay tuned! 

Christmas by the Sea

 My first Christmas by the sea is a magical one...simple greenery and favorite white flowers with a fire burning are all I need...warm hol...