Interior Designers Dress Up Watchcase Condos for Charity



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A view of the interior of one of the apartments in the Watchcase development in the former Bulova factory. Michael Heller

By Stephen J. Kotz

Sag Harbor’s past and future crossed paths Saturday when the doors of the old Bulova watchcase factory—once the cornerstone of the village’s economy and now being transformed into luxury condos—were thrown open for a coming out party.

For the occasion,  a “white carpet” was painted on the courtyard, where workers once filed to their stations in the massive brick factory, but where on this nearly perfect summer  evening, men and women, most of them dressed in white according to the theme, arrived for the second annual Holiday House Hampton to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The event was sponsored by HC&G magazine, and three of the units had been decorated by teams of interior designers and opened to the public for the first time. They will remain open daily through August 10 as part of the fundraising effort.

Interior designer Iris Dankner, the co-chairwoman of the event, and a breast cancer survivor, welcomed members of the press to a preview party, with a call for early detection.

Craig Wood, a co-managing partner of Cape Advisors, the developer who bought the property in 2006, weathered the financial crisis of 2008, and finally broke ground on the project in 2011, said he was breathing easier these days. He said he expected the project to be completed, “except for punch list stuff,” allowing the first tenants to move into apartments ranging in price from $1 million to $10 million by the end of the year.

While it will have taken only about three and a half years to turn the once derelict building into a residential showcase,  designers also worked at a breakneck pace to prepare their spaces for Saturday’s opening party. The phrase,  “You should have seen this place three weeks ago,” could be heard in room after room.

The units selected for the unveiling were a two-bedroom apartment in the renovated main building, one of 46 units in that part of the development, and two units from the newly constructed townhouse portion of the site, including a three-story townhouse and a one-story bungalow.

In the two-bedroom apartment, which looked out over Washington and Church streets, massive beams, cut from old growth yellow pine forests when the building was built 130 years ago, were left exposed, as were portions of the brick walls and arched windows, which lined both sides of the building. In all the units, rough hewn oak kitchen cabinets and Thermador stainless steel appliances continued the post-industrial theme. The space included a large terrace overlooking the courtyard. A second terrace will overlook—once it is completed—a pool and lounge area. A third looked out over Washington Street.

James Huniford of Huniford Design Studio handled the main portion of the factory unit, with bedrooms designed by Campion Platt and Tamara Magel. The main terrace was designed by Milly de Cabrol and Ani Antreasyan, who told those who stopped at their site that they sought to evoke a European garden, with olive trees, a potting table, and terra cots pots.

Ms. Dankner’s ID Creations oversaw the decoration of the main living and dining area of the bungalow, with Jen Going Interiors handling the master bedroom and Eugenia Au Kim of the Design Studio decorating front and rear terraces.

Nine different designers plied their trade in the three-story townhouse. Bjornen Design decorated a second floor bedroom; Brady Design, the master bedroom; Dale Cohen Design Studio, the terrace; Elizabeth Dow Home, a second floor study; Elsa Soyers Interior Design, a bedroom; Scott Formby, a ground level lounge; Studio MRS, a dressing room; West Chin Architects and Interior Design, the main living and dining space, and Vincente Wolf,  a tent next to the house with outdoor furnishings.

The Watchcase will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through August 10. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by visiting