WELCOME GUEST  |  LOG IN
Saunders, Real Estate, Hamptons
27east.com

Hamptons Life

Apr 22, 2019 11:26 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

At Home With Night Owl Baker Tracy Stoloff

Tracy Stoloff at home in Montauk with her dog, Murphy. KYRIL BROMLEY
Apr 22, 2019 11:47 AM

A woman cannot live on bread alone. Jesus may have needed God’s word, but Night Owl Baker Tracy Stoloff needs her design fix.

“I really like this time of year,” she said, struggling to cut branches with newly sprouted leaves. “I’ll clip anything green.”

When she’s baking or delivering bread, she wears a uniform of vintage work suits, but on a recent spring day she’s wearing a cropped cashmere sweater over a silk slip, over pants.

She’s the quintessential California girl, raised in Orange Park Acres, who fell in love with Montauk fisherman Chris Winkler. The couple moved into their rambling ranch in 2016 after searching two years for the perfect place to build, which they found on a dead-end road in the hills of Montauk.

Ms. Stoloff collaborated with Plot-1, the design team of Michael Foley and Cassandra Perez based in Montauk and Santa Monica, California, to create their home sanctuary.

“I’ve been thinking of this house for 15 years,” she said, arranging the greenery into a vase.

She’s incorporated not only the California ranch she grew up in but also the SoHo loft she lived in during the 1990s. Hands down, her biggest design influences are her parents, Arlene and Leonard Spielman, who love to mix eras and styles. “They enjoy creating a beautiful home and celebrating with friends and family,” she said. “We are a massive, giant tribe.”

Her mother has owned an “eclectic, antique consignment shop” for 32 years, called the Cannery Exchange, in Newport Beach, California, and her collecting and entertaining style has rubbed off on her daughter.

“I’ve been collecting linen napkins since I was 16,” Ms. Stoloff said. “I have quite the arsenal.” Every time she’s at a flea market, she’ll add more wares to her arsenal, making entertaining easy.

Having a mother with a shop also makes it easy. “She’ll tell me, ‘I sent you a box,’ and it will have this in it,” she said, pointing to a gorgeous crystal waterfall and brass chandelier hanging in the breakfast nook, overlooking a pond and a weeping willow tree.

“I really designed this kitchen the way a French kitchen works, where what you use is at hand,” she said.

Rustic, green stoneware plates, some of which survived a fire at her childhood home and others Mr. Winkler found at an antiques shop on Long Island, along with a variety of milk glass cups line the open white shelves. “This is the stuff we use every day,” she said.

Form follows function in the kitchen, built by Attinello Brothers from Ms. Stoloff’s specs. “Their attention to detail rivals no other,” she said of the Montauk furniture and cabinet makers. “It’s user-friendly, because this kitchen gets a lot of use.” A white marble top surrounds the white farm sink, and a black walnut butcher block tops the island counter, equipped with a BlueStar stove, made in Pennsylvania. She opens the French doors to show the hotel-sized sheet pan oven.

On one of the six burners, she’s cooking some fish for Murphy, the couple’s 4-year-old Irish water spaniel, in a vintage orange Le Creuset pot, a Paris flea market find. Although the kitchen is beautiful, it is not precious. “It’s a workhorse,” she said. “I never worry about stains on the stone countertops.”

Because Ms. Stoloff admits to being a little messy in her personal life, she wanted her kitchen streamlined, like a yacht. “Nothing protrudes,” she said, going over the drawer’s set-in handles. A rolling cabinet hides all the morning accoutrements.

Only a decorative cheese holder, from Marika’s Antiques on Shelter Island, sits out. She’s loath to give away her secret places but compares Marika’s eye to her mother’s. “She’s gifted,” she said.

The bold, brass handles on the custom refrigerator door catches my eye. “I’m obsessed with brutalist design,” she said. “I call my approach to living and design ‘the high-low approach.’” Which translates to “sometimes you gotta spend the money, and sometimes you buy things off the showroom floor.”

“I don’t like ordinary,” she said. Her least favorite things in house are two lighting fixtures over the kitchen sink, purchased off the shelf, something she rarely does. “It doesn’t excite me as much—it’s not the hunt.” In due time, they’ll end up on Bonac Yard Sale.

“I like to move my inventory,” she said. “I like the ability to send my treasures back into the world and bring in new inspiration.”

One of the most striking things in the house: the black, gray and white Escher-style “tumbling blocks,” encaustic cement tile flooring, in the kitchen and foyer. “There’s so much history behind Escher tumbling blocks,” she said. “I love enduring design.”

The foyer is small but packs a big punch. A French chandelier, with glass pears and grapes, from the 26th Street Flea Market in Manhattan hangs over a large marble-topped table, flanked with white monkey scones and stacked with vintage paintings. “I like a place you call a foyer, where you can greet guests, where you can land when you come home,” she said.

The black lacquer bathroom off the foyer is styled after a captain’s bathroom, with a brass wash basin and fixtures on black walnut, to match the living room flooring, as well as the kitchen counter. Elephant bookends, a linen towel and vintage paintings complete the look.

The main living area is anchored by a square, chunky wood-burning stove from Woodstock Soapstone Company. “It’s a beast,” Ms. Stoloff said. “It heats this whole room.”

Humongous seashells adorn the long farm table. A backgammon set sits on a green-and-white-striped daybed, across from an overstuffed indigo linen couch. Colorful sheepskin throws are everywhere. In a corner, a cowhide couch almost hides.

“This is the great room where it all happens—dining, dancing, debauchery, late-night dinner parties,” she said. In fairer weather, the Arcadia glass doors allow the party to flow out into the yard.

A breezeway separates the main living area and bedrooms. It’s challenging for the collector to keep the area clean and clutter-free. The walls are furniture-grade plywood and floors are simple black tiles. “I get a clear head walking through in the morning,” she said.

The space also allows for the couple’s completely different schedules to interact without distraction. If Mr. Winkler has to get up at 3 a.m. to pack himself a lunch for a day at sea, he can do that without waking Ms. Stoloff up, too. “Sleep is the of the utmost importance,” she said.

The master bedroom has oak herringbone floors. The bed is dressed in linen sheets. A clawfoot tub sits in the corner by a door that opens to the backyard, backed by Victorian mirrored screens and surrounded by plants. “I use it twice a day,” she confirms.

She found the “outrageous” dresser at Marika’s, a piece of mahogany Americana someone painted red, white and blue. A Meyer lemon tree with two hanging fruit stands by a tattered Queen Anne-style chair, a spotted fawn skin, “road kill,” on the seat.

Deer antlers are scattered throughout the house, but a chandelier made of hand-carved deer heads stands out. “I have a lot of chandeliers,” she said, when I counted 11 from the living room alone. “I love them.”

She bought this particular one at a Montauk yard sale and kept it in her basement for 12 years. Her father wanted her to ship it to her brother, who had the perfect home for it in the Redwoods of California. “I said, ‘No, sorry, Dad,’ even after he offered to pay for shipping. It created a rift in the family,” she said. Instead, she brought it to the Lamp Hospital in Springs, and the Lamp Doctor brought it back to its glory.

“I’m always on the hunt for new treasures. It’s my passion,” Ms. Stoloff said. “I’m all in with my true sourdough bread. Yes, I’m a baker, but I’m torn between baking and designing and collecting.”

Her family, friends and loyal following won’t hear of her dropping her “bread with benefits” anytime soon, so you’ll still be able to find her at the Springs Farmers Market on Saturdays this summer.

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in