Some people feel less is more. Others believe more is more. But when it came to decorating Tony Award–winning Broadway star Sutton Foster’s home, Grace Home Furnishings co-owner and interior designer Michael Ostrow says, “more is enough.” According to the Music Man star (who recently received another Tony nomination for her role), “I love working with him because there’s no fear—we just go for it.” Foster says her LA–based friend de ella has impeccable taste and a “real sense of playfulness and whimsy.” And she should know, having already collaborated with Ostrow on a 1969 A-frame in California, an apartment in Manhattan, and a crisp house in Greenwood Lake, New York.
The bucolic environment lured the actor and her husband, screenwriter Ted Griffin, to seek a more permanent home outside the city. “We would drive by Tuxedo Park, and we were always curious what was back there,” Foster says. While she was shooting her hit television series, younger, Griffin saw an 1895 Dutch colonial home built by Gilded Age architect Bruce Price for his family, including daughter Emily Post. “He called me on a break and said, ‘I think I found our forever home.’ And the minute I walked in I felt the same way,” Foster says. “It felt like that home you want your kid to grow up in. I could see Christmases and holidays, friends, and family.”
Though it had been impeccably renovated, in Ostrow’s words the house was “so white.” It called for warmth. I have imagined an updated Aesthetic Movement vibe that was fun, not old-fashioned.” The verdant Tuxedo Park surroundings played in thematically, as did Foster’s love of butterflies, flowers, and birds, which appear in almost every room of the spirited 4,132-square-foot property. To ensure it didn’t veer toward old lady, Ostrow took inspiration from the organic style of designer Charles Voysey. “If I was going to have a very animated wallpaper, then I made the drapery and beds very simple,” he says.
And there are many animated wallpapers, including a large-scale floral example installed on the ceiling of Foster’s luminescent living room, where the furniture is new and indestructible. That’s in part due to the fact that the couple’s five-year-old daughter, Emily, and their two dogs reside here as well. And, as Ostrow notes, “It didn’t make sense to buy doll furniture when Ted is about six-foot-four.”
A seductive parlor complete with piano and Julian Chichester leather bar celebrates deeper tones and sumptuous textures, with a dark floral Designers Guild wallpaper, while the self-described crafter’s office–slash–crocheting den is clad in pink with yellow roses. (“My goal is to crochet something for every room, whether it’s a blanket or pillow or tissue box!” Foster says.) Their daughter, Emily, had a consult with Ostrow for her bedroom, during which they chose a wallpaper with trees, butterflies, ladybugs, and dragonflies, to her mom’s delight. “I love being in there because it’s magical, and it all makes sense for where she is right now in her life,” Foster says.
Even the few non-papered rooms are dynamic, such as the jewel box–like library with lacquered green walls, built-in bookcases, and auction finds including a tufted yellow leather sofa. “What I think is fun about it is each room has a definite personality, and it’s [Sutton’s] personality,” Ostrow says. The designer magically transformed the shingle-sporting abode while Foster was in London doing Anything Goes in the summer of 2021. He even stayed in the house for much of the process, and oversaw renovation of the primary bath, where the existing tub was, funnily enough, too big. “My favorite most important thing in my life is a bathtub,” says Foster, who enjoys her new “dream tub” every night after coming home from doing The Music Man.
Ostrow traveled to London during her Anything Goes run for an epic shopping day in an antiques mall where they bought portraits—inspiration struck Foster after visiting friends’ homes there—and a gold mine of embroidered and needlepoint tapestries that now cover stools and pillows or are framed and hanging throughout the home. “That was a very cool find,” Foster says. She adds, “A lot of the house is actually inspired by my time in London. The designer incorporated as much as he could from the city to spark memories. “My favorite thing to do is look for the little things that make the house complete,” Ostrow says. “And they tell stories because they have a past.”
As a California designer, to Ostrow this 1885 house was a gift. “For me it was one of my greatest joys because I got to play in a genre I don’t normally get to play in,” he says, “and it was definitely playing—Sutton lets you play.” For her part of her, Foster is thrilled to live in—and develop a relationship with—a home so bold, different, quirky, and full of life. “I love anything that feels organic, or like it’s bringing the outside in, or has a sense of humor and play,” she says, adding, “I don’t take anything too seriously.”
Mutual admiration is absolutely at the root of all aesthetic and energetic success. “You put a lot more love into the house when the customer is a friend and you love them,” Ostrow says. “You’re making it special for them. So this house is full of love, because I love all of them, but Sutton I adore.” Though Emily and her dad de ella returned to Tuxedo Park early for the start of school, Ostrow says he knew it would feel incomplete without Foster. The physical home, so highly personal and intimately curated for a singular personality, was only part of the equation. Come October, when the Broadway star walked in, she was blown away. “Sutton basically is the house to a certain extent,” Ostrow says. “When I saw her in it I was like, It’s done, because it’s all you, and you complete it.”