These Digs Aren’t Dog Houses

The designers participating in ARF’s Designer Show House gather at the thrift shop before completing their assigned spaces. Independent/Stephen J. Kotz

Looking for some good interior design tips or the opportunity buy some unique home furnishings while contributing to a worthy cause? The ninth annual Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons’ Designer Show House returns this weekend.

The event, which is held at the ARF Thrift & Treasure Shop in Sagaponack, kicks off with a preview cocktail party on Saturday, May 25, and will be open to the public both Sunday and Monday of the Memorial Day weekend.

Eight designers have come together to decorate seven rooms and one outdoor space at the thrift shop for the annual occasion.

Taking part will be Allison Babcock and Cristina Peffer of Babcock Peffer Design of Sag Harbor; Groundworks Landscaping of Amagansett; Patricia McGrath Design of Bridgehampton; Michael Murray of Rachael Ray Home, who has teamed up with Tim Croneberger of Halcyon Design LLC and Robin Theismann; Alex Papachristidis Interiors; Roller Rabbit; Laura Sanatore of LMS Design LLC in Southampton; and Anastasia Casale of Sag Harbor Florist.

“The ARF Designer Show House is a great kick-off to the summer season,” said Lisa McCarthy, the president of ARF’s board of directors. “We salute the designers who have brought such creativity to their assignment, and look forward to seeing everyone.”

ARF pointed out that all the designers are animal lovers who are donating their time and expertise to help the ARF cats and dogs, who are less fortunate than their own beloved pets. Each room will feature thrift shop items and pieces donated from the designers’ own collections. Unlike traditional show houses, every item in the ARF Designer Show House will be for sale.

On Friday, May 17, just a week before the opening, most of the designers were still scrambling to pull together their assigned rooms.

Patricia McGrath of Bridgehampton is one of several local designers participating in this year’s ARF Designer Show House. Independent/Olivia Raynor

Alex Papachristidis, accompanied by his Yorkshire terrier, Teddy, presided over a room that was dominated by a custom-made couch donated by one of his clients that he covered with a regal purple slipcover. Friends had donated ceramic bowls and plates that picked up on the purple theme.

Papachristidis, who serves on ARF’s board and is co-chair of this year’s show house, showered praise on ARF.

“It’s the most amazing charity,” he said. “It’s locally based and helps rescue animals from all over.”

Laura Maresca-Sanatore, the owner of LMS Design in Southampton, which specializes in bathroom and kitchen design, was treating her unfinished corner of the thrift shop as a fresh canvas. She said she would cover the walls with green fabric and transform the space into an elegant woman’s dressing room with a makeup table, mirrors, and other accessories.

Alison Babcock and Cristina Peffer of Babcock Peffer Design had finished their installation, which included a bust of Hobie, one of Babcock’s two Labradoodles, executed by Darius Yektai, serving as the centerpiece.

Linda Silich and her daughter, Erica Daunt, of Groundworks Landscaping, who had been assigned an outdoor space, said they would bring a selection of outdoor pots in ceramic and terra cotta as well as other outdoor furnishings, including a fire pit, outdoor rug, and a hammock from the Amagansett shop.

And Michael Murray of Rachel Ray Home was busy with Tim Cronesberger of Halcyon Design LLC, and Robin Theismann decorating a freestanding cottage on the property with a variety of furnishings donated by Theismann and her husband, former pro football quarterback Joe Theismann.

Murray likened the situation, with furniture being assembled amid piles of fragile dishes being moved into place, to a scene from a home makeover reality show. When finished, he promised a “refined rustic” summer cottage ambience.

The preview cocktail party will begin with a benefactors’ preview at 5 PM, for which tickets are $250. General admission begins at 6 PM, with tickets at $150. The show house is open from 10 AM to 4 PM on both Sunday and Monday, with admission at $10.

The Thrift & Treasure Shop is on Poxabogue Lane, just off Montauk Highway in Sagaponack. To find out more, visit

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