Inside Tracy Reese's New York Getaway
Cheap & Chic
When fashion designer Tracy Reese, a Manhattanite, started to experience "trapped-in-the-city angst" six years ago, she never once contemplated a weekend place in the chichi Hamptons. "I've been there maybe four times in my life," she explains. "It's too much of a scene." The same cannot be said of the tiny village in upstate New York, where Reese ultimately staked her claim. "The town consists of a post office. It's quiet, surrounded by farms, mountains, and the Hudson River. It reminded me of summer camp."
In this photo: Stripes add preppy zip to the floors—including a riotous chartreuse-and-orange rug that Reese cut into individual runners for her free-floating stairs. "I attached them with Velcro," she says, "so I can wash them from time to time."
Reese's parents, an entrepreneur mother and a father who retired from Chrysler after 35 years, taught their daughter to value hard work and thrift—virtues that came in handy as she fixed up her rural retreat, an 1850s farmhouse. "I painted and scrubbed, ripped out lots of ugly carpet," the designer says. "I didn't want to blow my bank account. I didn't think I needed to."
Table, $599: Reese ordered the kitchen's pedestal table from Ballard Designs—which now carries a version for only $399. (ballarddesigns.com)
"There are so many good antiques stores in Hudson," Reese says of one nearby town. In another, Red Hook, she stopped by an auction and won an entire box of vintage art for $35. And Reese acquired her living room's sheepskin rug at the Duchess County Sheep and Wool Festival.
Paint, $46.65: Benjamin Moore's Peach Kiss covers the living room walls. "A fearless paint color makes a huge impression for just $47 a gallon," says Tracy Reese, "and eliminates the need for art on every wall." (myperfectcolor.com)
Curtains, $64 each: Steel grommets punctuate West Elm’s linen panels. (westelm.com)
Hutch, $250: This 1940s Federal-style cabinet from Supermarket, in Hudson, cost much less than new repros. (518-822-0028)
Sofa, $3,500: Design Within Reach’s sleeper sofa earns its keep, allowing this space to multitask as a luxe guest room. (dwr.com)
Much of the home's decor—from curtains by "good old West Elm" to an Urban Outfitters lamp to a Ballard Designs table—hail from national retailers. Reese shops Walmart regularly, and considers a Design Within Reach sofa her biggest splurge. And yet the overall vibe shrugs off big-box sterility, because she fills in the blanks with wild and wonderful choices that feel anything but safe.
Chairs, $649/set: Pottery Barn's sea-grass armchair and ottoman blend interior comfort with outdoorsy charm. (potterybarn.com)
Throw pillows, $75: Proceeds from this Aid to Artisans owl pillow go to workers in Egypt. (Aid to Artisans, 860- 756-5550)
Carpet, $385: A striped wool rug introduces subtle pattern to the otherwise neutral sunroom. (laylagrace.com)
"I'm crazy for color," Reese declares. "Color embraces you. It wakes you up and keeps you present." It can help you sleep soundly too, she discovered, after painting her bedroom a deep black. Though most of the other rooms sport shades of pink and peach, all benefit from bold pattern play. Saturated florals reminiscent of an Eastern bazaar dress the beds.
Lighting, $70: Reese spied this 1950s lamp at an antiques store that's since gone out of business.
Headboard, $349: Pottery Barn no longer stocks this toile headboard, but the company still sells the matching dust ruffle, $109. (potterybarn.com)
Nightstand, $275: Another Carousel Antique Center treasure, this Chinese table dates from the 1940s. (518-828-9127)
Straw bags, about $10: "Straw bags and baskets—the kind you pick up on vacation—are my go-to for adding texture and hiding life's clutter," says Reese.
Light & Dark
Hooks, $26: A Walmart rack displays one of the designer's frocks. (walmart.com)
Chest, $450:The master bedroom’s 100-year-old chest came from Carousel Antique Center in Hudson, New York. (518-828-9127)
Chair, $184: Reese bought this slipcovered seat at Ballard Designs. (ballarddesigns.com)
Bold Bedroom Walls
Walls, $46.65/gallon: Benjamin Moore's Onyx bathes the master bedroom in a dark, cozy glow. (myperfectcolor.com)
Beautiful Spare Bedroom
Lighting, $24.99: Reese purchased this guestroom lamp at Urban Outfitters. To locate lookalikes on eBay and Etsy, use the search terms: "Asian," "figurine," or "blanc de chine," plus "lamp."
When Reese went in search of the finishing touch for her "kitty cat room"—a snug loft space tucked above the stairs—she hit a wall. "I'd been all over the Internet," she explains, "and in order to get a small ladder, you have to buy a whole bunk bed!" Then a friend saved the day with a secondhand find whose provenance doesn't faze Reese one iota: "This ladder came from an alley, but we cleaned it up, stained it, and voilà!"
Walls, $96.14: Reese painted the walls Benjamin Moore's Salmon Peach ($46.65/ gallon), then applied the brand’s Strawberry Shortcake-tinted acrylic glaze ($49.49/gallon; myperfectcolor.com).
Bedding, $0: The designer lifted the loft's linens from her now-defunct bedding line. "Vibrant sheets, pillows, and throws provide major bang for your buck, and are inexpensive to swap out when you're ready to move on," says Reese.
Ladder, $0: A friend found this little step-up in an alley!