Capturing the casual essence of the North Fork’s laidback lifestyle, Kathy Perretta curates a collection of furnishings and home décor in her Cutchogue store, Phoebe and Belle. Gifts, dining, garden accessories, and more are selected for their beauty, form and reflection of the local area. In addition to the eclectic collection offered in her store, Perretta guides customers looking to revamp their current living spaces or begin with a blank canvas through her own love of design.
“What I love about the North Fork is the casualness of this wonderful place, be it the farms, the beach or wine country,” Perretta shares. “So, I try to bring that casualness into the store. Unfussy but refined, easy but still sophisticated. I also strive to find timeless pieces. No one wants to buy something that is so trendy they want to get rid of it in a year.”
As a foodie with an eye for design, Perretta coupled her passions with her love for the North Fork when she first opened her store in 2014. Finding value in community, Phoebe and Belle also stocks goods from local artisans. Sherry Schreiber’s tapestries depicting various natural landscapes, hand-carved waterfowl decoys by Jack Combs, and handmade jewelry by Joanne Stoecker are a few of the local artisans showcased in the store. Local photographer Alex Ferrone and watercolor artist Melissa Hyatt’s works can also be found on shop walls.
Though Perretta does not take on jobs as an interior designer herself, she often guides customers in their purchases and can also recommend other designers. The store itself serves as a showroom of how various pieces can be paired together, prompting many who enter to find a desire to recreate the interior of Phoebe and Belle in their own homes. A neutral backdrop in its design is accented by pops of color in the décor. Varying shades of blue, green and other neutral tones are accented by pieces in sometimes bold colors like orange, a contrast Perretta finds to be a beautiful and balanced mix.
Making one’s home look just like the store, however, is not always simple. “If people just need a fresh look, we help them from within the store,” Perretta explains. “We sell a lot of furniture, from sofas to rugs to lighting to art. Sometimes a few new accessories often do the trick. Sometimes it is just a matter of adding a little color or texture.”
When starting with a blank room, Perretta works to uncover what inspires a particular customer. This could be piece of artwork personal to them, a special rug or even a favorite color. From there she can help them discover the furniture and décor that best suits their needs, allowing the design of a space to truly be their own work. “Most of our customers are afraid to take that first step in design and just need a little nudge,” she says.
Shying away from trends that go in and out of fashion, Perretta says Scandinavian design continues to be strong. Characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality, this style plays well into the local aesthetic. With cool autumn weather on the way, the North Fork itself serves as a solid inspiration for design as well.
“Just bring a little bit of the outside in, and you have it made,” Perretta explains to give living spaces renewed life for fall. “After adding those organic elements of gourds and pumpkins, add some cozy blankets and change the pillows and you probably have created a cozy home. And never forget the candles!”
The warm and casual yet sophisticated space inside Phoebe and Belle serves as inspiration for design novices and enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re looking to recreate an entire space or find a thoughtful gift, there is always something new coming through the doors. It’s a business with a revolving inventory, and satiates Perretta’s design passion.
“I am always craving the unexpected, to be wowed by something new and beautiful,” Perretta shares. “We just received a shipment of beautiful vases from Germany that are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I can’t decide which is my favorite.”
Phoebe and Belle is located at 37070 Main Road in Cutchogue. For more information, visit phoebeandbell.com.