ARF Celebrates All Year, Showhouse This Saturday

2015 ARF Showhouse designer Kevin Hart with Lakshmi
2015 ARF Showhouse designer Kevin Hart with Lakshmi, Photo: Courtesy ARF

They sleep on our beds, shed on our clothes, star in countless YouTube videos, and brighten our lives in every way imaginable. There is nothing like the unconditional love pets give us, and ARF, the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Inc., has brought that love to hundreds of Hamptons homes. In 2014 alone, ARF found homes for over a thousand cats and dogs, a number that definitely calls for celebration.

ARF has been one of the Hamptons’ best-loved organizations since its beginning in 1974, a no-kill shelter that cares for animals until they find good homes. Their kennels have indoor and outdoor dog runs, and the catteries have scratching posts and screened-in porches. All of that ritzy real estate for Fluffy and Fido is payed for with private funds, largely raised at ARF’s summer events.

Saturday, May 30 is the opening of ARF’s Designer Showhouse. Designers, including Brian P. Brady, Jamie Drake, Kevin Hart, Tamara Magel, Mark Schryver and Peri Wolfman descend upon ARF’s Thrift and Treasure Shop in Sagaponack to turn it into a designer show stopper using whatever catches their eye among the thrift shop inventory, supplementing with items from their own collections. “It’s the fifth year for this event,” comments Jamie Berger, Director of Marketing and Communications. “It started in 2011. We were planning to renovate our thrift shop—15% of our income each year comes from there.”

Jennifer Rockford, ARF’s Director of Philanthropy adds, “The event was created to introduce a new audience to the thrift shop.” For animal lovers and design fans, the ARF Designer Showhouse has a unique feature—everything is for sale, even the items coming from the designers’ own collections. “That’s what differentiates this designer showhouse from others,” Rockford points out. “You can buy everything!” Berger remarked, “The different designers have put together some unique rooms—one is on the theme of birds.”

At 5 p.m. on May 30, there is an exclusive viewing for those who want to have first dibs on their favorite items. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the event opens up to general admission. With 100% of the proceeds going directly to ARF, the price of admission, either for the preview hour at 5 p.m. at $250, or the general admission at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for $150, your purchases will go a long way to making our furry friends comfortable and happy. As an additional draw, there will be a book signing by Jorge Bendersky, author of DIY Dog Grooming, From Puppy to Best in Show: Everything you Need to Know, Step by Step. Bendersky will be donating 100% of the proceeds of his book sales at the signing to ARF. The Designer Showhouse will be open the following day, Sunday, May 31, to the general public, with a suggested $10 donation.

Saturday, June 20 is the date for ARF’s much-loved garden tour. This year the focus is on the gardens of Southampton. Running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine, this self-guided tour has always been extremely popular. Berger observes, “You can walk it, bike it, a lot of people come to the ARF Garden Tour from mid-island and Nassau County.” The Garden Tour concludes with a cocktail party at Blue Haven, the home of Lisa and Donald Jackson. The tour alone is $85, the tour and cocktail party is $175.

ARF will wrap up their summer season with their third annual Bow Wow Meow Ball on August 15. “It’s our biggest fundraiser of the season,” Rockford says. “We’ll have a sit-down dinner, a vegetarian meal catered by Glorious Food, and music by Peter Duchin. We tent the grounds and we have the same design team as last year—David Monn and Alex Papachristidis. We are so excited to announce this year’s honoree, [architect] Peter Marino.”

The proceeds from all these events will help fuel ARF’s future plans, Berger explains. “We’re on the verge of another expansion.” Which just means that ARF will be able to help more of our furry friends find loving homes in the Hamptons.

ARF Designer Showhouse 2014
ARF directors, designers, devotees at the 2014 Designer Showhouse, Photo: Richard Lewin

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