'A Summer Place': New book celebrates the art of living well


The 1927 colonial revival’s interior urges wiping off your counters and shelves of clutter and painting the walls white. So does the redesigned Cape

Cod cottage. There are a total of 20 Bellport and Brookhaven homes in Tricia Foley’s new book—published by Rizzoli, New York—some dazzlingly refreshing and Zen-like, including Foley’s converted barn home, others that are traditional and charming with beloved antiques, colorful nooks, warm wood and beams. Lush gardens brimming with wisteria or just green glory are in there, too.

Foley’s book, a healing antidote for winter-weary eyes, debuts in April. It’s 240 pages, 200 photos, with a range of homes from the late 1800s to a few years ago.

Chapters include By the Sea, Village Life, Country Living and Artists’ Retreats; plus, there are tips on summer entertaining, style, outdoor dining, and weekend guest suggestions.

The 20 homes featured are all owned by friends of Foley’s.

“I just called or emailed them for their permission,” she said of the mostly artists and design mavens, including Isabella Rossellini and Michael Ince. “Last spring I got the call from Rizzoli to do it, so I had to get the book going in March. About a third of the photos I bought from photographers; a lot of the homes were already acknowledged in the design community.”

As the images came in, Foley would write about the structures.

For the remaining photos, those evolved last summer, as Foley used her friend, Marili Forastieri, who traveled in on the weekends from the city.

“We had a condensed period of time,” Foley said of the Aug. 1 deadline. It meant wearing masks and gloves and not using assistants to minimize any risk of infection. “That time of year was perfect because the days are long,” she said.

Not that there weren’t challenges. Weather has its own agenda, in spite of scheduled dates. Foley and Forastieri had to dodge puddles when it rained for particular outside shots. Then there was the mosquito swarm Forastieri encountered when she traversed to a wetland, camera and tripod in hand, for a perfect shot.

It took about a day to photograph each house; Foley reported the owner’s details as she darted between styling duties while the camera clicked away.

Photos were then sent to Forastieri’s assistant, who was honeymooning in Moscow at the time. “She sent the photos to be retouched and we had to figure out the time difference,” Foley said.

It was around a five-month intensive project with, of course, editing. “We had about 15 cover choices, but Rizzoli’s president kept coming back to this one,” she said of the Jess McNamara image.

Forty houses were initially targeted, but the publisher cut the list down to 20. Each one, however, is a standout. “Some are modern and some are traditional,” she said. “But I wanted to show the owner’s individuality. While the homes are here in Bellport and Brookhaven, their styles can be adapted anywhere so people around the country can buy the book.”

Foley’s innate style sense began percolating from childhood.

“I grew up in a house in Fort Salonga that was on the cover of Architectural Record magazine; it was an architect’s weekend house,” she said. “I went to high school in a place landscaped by Frederick Law Olmstead and attended Fredonia College, which was designed by I.M. Pei. All of the jobs I’ve had involved style, whether it was advertising, product development, designing furniture, china, tea rooms, and I was a magazine editor for House Beautiful and Victoria magazines, concentrating on home design for years.” She’s also written several books on style.

“A Summer Place: Living By the Sea” will be offered on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

“We’ll launch it at the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society on May 29,” she said, where she serves as its director. “And [we] will do a PowerPoint presentation.”