ARF Designer Show House and Sale is Saturday

Designers working on the Hamptons Thrift Shop Designer Show House and Sale for the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. Lisa Tamburini photo

A shuffle of furniture and home décor, donated thrift, repurposed and new pieces, is keeping a group of animal-loving interior decorators and exterior designers moving as they work to ready their respective spaces for the annual Animal Rescue Fund (ARF) of the Hamptons Thrift Shop Designer Show House and Sale preview cocktail party this Saturday. With every piece in the seven rooms and outdoor space styled by the industry pros available for sale, the designers share what makes this show house stand out from the traditional and the importance of helping rescued cats and dogs in need of a loving home.

On a mission to stock his dedicated room with as much merchandise as possible, ARF board member and event co-chair Alex Papachristidis cleaned out his own closets, pulling décor from his country home and city apartment, and also made a few phone calls to see what others could donate. Christopher Spitzmiller, Howard Slatkin, Bunny Williams, Charlotte Moss, Ashley Whittaker, Suzanne Rheinstein and Suzanne Kasler are among some of his industry pals that donated pieces, handmade items and signed books. In the eclectic mix of shop goods, a notable color scheme of varying shades of purple are present, like a sofa, once belonging to a client, slipcovered in an imperial purple fabric that makes a statement against a white backdrop.

“It’s all nice things people can take with them and to their house,” Papachristidis shared while placing pieces with his dog Teddy nearby. “Pretty sets of glasses, objects, all kinds of things. I’m a decorator so I understand all that, and thought the best thing was to have a variety of fun things people can buy and take home.”

Allison Babcock and Cristina Peffer of Babcock Peffer Design also had their four-legged pals on hand as they worked around a living room space called “Animal Kingdom,” inspired by a recent trip to Africa and their love of animals. After attending last year’s show house, the Sag Harbor-based design team found the idea of creating a room around existing thrift shop items exciting, especially as first-time participants. While waiting for a collection of pieces from various local business, fellow first-timer Laura Maresca-Sanatore of LMS Design LLC shared how her vision for the dressing room space is founded on the idea that women can be seen and be strong.

The kitchen and bath designer will line the walls with green fabric, place her own custom-designed makeup vanity with a large mirror, fluffy stool and cowhide rug to tie the space together, while also using a bookcase from the thrift store. Artwork from Eric Striffler and Booth and Williams books will also be on display. Holding a clutch that read “Just a Girl Building Her Empire” serving as her inspiration, Maresca-Sanatore said, “I wanted it to be a very empowering space for women.”

Joking that they were all tricked in some way to participate in this year’s show house, veteran Michael Murray of Rachael Ray Home and Tim Croneberger of Halcyon Design LLC partnered with friend Robin Theismann to transform the thrift shop’s barn into a refined rustic space that has a vintage estate sale feel. The theme honors the lastest collection by Rachael Ray, deemed their spiritual leader in this project. The goal for the trio is to sell as much as possible.

“We’re stealing every possible object we can from the thrift shop and we’re going to merchandise the hell out of it in here,” Murray said. “It’s going to be a really goofy, East End resale shop.”

Roller Rabbit of East Hampton and Southampton will balance warm and cool for their room “A Postcard from Blue City,” while Patricia McGrath Design outfits “Tangled Up in Blue” with pieces from Coastal Home in Bridgehampton and Coastal Cottage on Shelter Island.  Anastasia Casale of Sag Harbor Florist will create a French-inspired flower boutique with locally grown peonies bouquets from Pierpont’s Blossom Farm, petit fleurs arrangements in donated vintage containers, cement garden ornaments, fresh soaps, garden décor and more.

As it is a summer kick-off event, an outdoor space by Groundworks Landscaping led by Linda and Erica Silich, who are also participating for the first time, will take advantage of the natural surroundings while also adding landscape accents like terracotta planters, a hammock, firepit area and more to offer an outdoor living experience.

The preview cocktail party is this Saturday, May 25 at 5 p.m. for benefactors and 6 p.m. for general admission. Tickets begin at $150. The show house and sale will continue Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a suggested donation of $10.

“It’s such a good cause because it helps these beautiful, poor innocent animals who need homes and care,” Papachristidis said. “It’s also a local cause. We all love to support local businesses, charities, causes. I think it’s very important.”

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