Sag Harbor Home Showcases Designers


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By Francesca Normile

At the end of a long driveway shaded by a canopy of full trees, is a 4.7 acre plot of land, quietly tucked away off Stoney Hill Road in Sag Harbor. Built upon those 4.7 acres is a 10,800 square foot, wood-shingled home, a swimming pool with little waterfalls pouring into it, an outdoor tennis court and a 2-tier fire-pit seating area.

This extravagant new home and its surrounding amenities— all built by Frank Bodenchak and Edge Real Estate— is hosting the 2010 Hampton Designer Showhouse, an event now in its ninth year as a benefit for Southampton Hospital.

According to operations manager of the showhouse, Mary Lynch, Bodenchak’s house is the first Hampton Designer Showhouse to be built in Sag Harbor, “and we’re very happy to be here!” she added smiling.

With her small dog ‘Lily’ in tow, Lynch zipped from room to room, explaining, as she switched on the lights in a chandelier constructed of antlers, that this is her little assistant’s sixth Hampton Showhouse.

Lynch, who was the director of special events for Southampton Hospital for 12 years, certainly has years of experience on her side, something made evident by how quickly she and Lily were able to dart around the house, keeping everything in check and asking the right people why the heck there were a bunch of “lugs” unloaded in front of the porch doors.

Despite the pandemonium surrounding her, Lynch provided a deeply informative look into each room.

The house, which showcases a total of 26 designers, hosts a huge range of aesthetics, from a hip bar/lounge on the lower level (complete with an animal skin rug and a hardcover Keith Haring book) to the master bath, which looks like it belongs in the French countryside (complete with a white, claw foot tub drowned in sunlight and sink handles labeled ‘froid’ and ‘chaud’).

“What is interesting though,” explains Lynch, “is that without consultation, the rooms take a similar pattern. Each designer takes their own space, but there is a nice blend between the rooms.”

And it is true that there is an exciting, cohesive quality to the vision of the various interior designers who worked on the Showhouse. An example is how the majority of the rooms on the home’s second floor feature purple walls, something that occurred naturally, without any discussion between the designers.

The two Sag Harbor designers who worked on the showhouse, Susanne Kelley and Robert Bakes, both described what it was like to work in a space next to another designer who was following his or her own vision in an adjacent space while staying true to their inspirations.

Bakes, founder of Bakes and Company and designer of the expansive, white marble kitchen featured in the showhouse, explained, “In other showhouses I’ve been involved with, some areas have been pretty mismatched. In this house, we had a good relationship with those working next-door to us. We painted the walls the same color and left the white kitchen as it was. It is a very soft, easy fitting kitchen. No one felt the need to create an outlandish statement.”

And when asked about the designers of the master bedroom, for which Kelley was designing a French, “Chanel-inspired” master bathroom, she laughed and said, “I can’t tell you anything about them because I never even saw them. They were in and out in one day I think. Lucille [Khornak], however— who did the photos in the hall that leads to my bathroom— was a real doll. We shared Windex.”

Bakes explained how his company, which Kelley is also represented by, came to be involved in Bodenchak’s showhouse.

“It was fundamentally because we’re local that Bodenchak decided to use Bakes and Company. I mean we are based next-door to the Oasis restaurant. We’re so local it’s not even funny […] His words to me were ‘I feel comfortable because I know exactly where you are.’” Bakes recounted. “That is something we pride ourselves on. The level of service we can give by being a local presence with local knowledge.”

Kelley also spoke about being “a local,” listing multiple stores and people in the East End who were involved in her work.

“The photos around the toilet were taken by Linda Alpern, who has been a Sag Harbor resident for something like 20 years. She’s a real Sag Harbor girl. And the wall finish was hand-painted by a local Southampton artist, Gerri Wilson,” Kelley continued, “And the armoires were made by English Country on Snake Hollow Road in Bridgehampton. That’s also where I got the accessories for the kitchen. I chose the lights and sinks in the kitchen and Robert [Bakes] did the cabinets in my bathroom. Oh, and Fisher’s gave me the stools for the kitchen. When you run around and know everyone, it just works.”

Being a local certainly has its perks, as Kelley added that she only had to go so far as her neighbors yard to get a few hydrangea for her display.

The Hampton Designer Showhouse is located at 129 Stoney Hill Road in Sag Harbor and will be open everyday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. until September 5. Children under the age of six, strollers and pets are not permitted. Admission costs $30 and proceeds go to Southampton Hospital. For more information, call 377-3500 or visit