“I don’t think there’s anything like this,” Ann Grimm, Design and Decoration Chair of the Southampton Fresh Air Home Annual Decorators-Designers-Dealers (DDD) Sale and Auction Benefit Gala told us. “It’s all decorator picked and in gorgeous condition. The deals are incredible.” She was talking about the unbelievable furnishing finds at rock bottom prices that give the event a dual character. At the same time, many are sipping, snacking and socializing, others are swiftly searching to claim the special pieces that can transform their summer homes.
“All the antique dealers are here,” Jean Shafiroff commented. “They’re buying things up for next to nothing.”
Antique furniture, sofas and settees, outdoor sets and framed prints get snatched up by hungry bargain hunters. Socialites and celebrities (Aida Turturro, a regular, and Edie Falco waited an hour last year) pay $250 to wait in line to have first crack at the 5 PM hour. Many of them are already leaving — pick up slips in hand — by the time the 6 PM ticket holders arrive. Whatever is left gets slashed in half on Sunday morning, when, once again, a line forms for the 11 AM rush. For more sedate shoppers, there’s the live, silent and wine auctions.
“It’s all for the kids,” Aida Turturro likes to say. She filled her own home years ago from the sale and now shops for friends. By 6 PM she had sunken into one of the couches. “I’m exhausted,” she told us. The Southampton Fresh Air Home is a non-for-profit residential camp for physically challenged youth, now in its 113th year. The DDD raises 40% of its operating costs.
Raya Keis Knight was Honorary Chairman; Charlotte Bonstrom Assaf and Sarah Senbahar were Co-Chairmen; Nicole Miller and Silke Tsitiridis were Auction Co-Chairmen; Ide Dangoor and Lora Schiavetta were auction Vice Chairmen; Tish Bliss and Christl Meszkat were Design and Decoration Co-Chairmen; Mary Beatty, Peri Bogert, Maria del Rio, Jane J. Fear and Traudl Geraghty were Design and Decoration Vice Chairmen; Gary P. Crain, Christie Hansen and James Alan Smith were designers Committee Chairmen.