I was standing in front of a beautiful breakfront cabinet listed for $150 at the Southampton Fresh Air Home's 25th annual Decorators-Designers-Dealers Sale and Auction Benefit Gala that was speaking - no! issuing a siren's call - to me. When at last I could avert my gaze, I saw Aida Turturro giving that same look of love to the oh-so-perfect-for-the-Hamptons piece. "I want it but I have no room for it," I said. "Neither do I and neither do any of my friends," she bemoaned. We hugged it out.
Aida and Carolyn Sandoval have been waiting on the 5 p.m. VIP line - some years with Edie Falco - to shop their way through the D-D-D sale, since time immemorial. Turturro has bought for herself, for her friends and now, she was laughing, she had bought a few things and already donated them back. "After all," she loves to say, "it's for the kids." The sale raises about 40 percent of the funds needed for the not-for-profit camp for physically challenged kids, many of whom come back with testimonials of the self esteem, maturity and independence they gained there.
This beautiful hand-painted armoire was $75 at the free to the public, morning after half priced sale. (Photo: Lee Fryd)
Now that I could no longer squeeze another ornate mirror, chandelier, armoire or iron table into a home, I turned my attention to the wine. The auction boasts rare vintages and perennial favorites, all outrageously priced. We asked Vittorio Assaf - who with Patricia and Daniel Hope and Emily Chien Mahoney and Thomas Mahoney chairs the Wine Auction - to give us a virtual taste.
The three liter Whispering Angels and Veuve Clicquots were getting lots of attention, he told us, but the Chateau d'Esclans that size could be had at $150 a bottle, "a $600 value, if you can find it," he said. There was also a three liter Simi Alexander Valley for $100. "People should jump on that," he advised. "They are all donated by the producers, so they are kept in a temperature controlled environment. If it's not kept the right way you never know," he added. "Next year, Veuve Clicquot agreed to donate a gigantic 12 liter bottle engraved in 24 karat gold to the charity." That would make any party.
Nicky Grant and Silke Tsitiridis were Honorary Chairman with Laura Blair and Susan Nappa Cocke as Chairmen. Charlotte Bonstrom Assaf, Sulaika Zarrouk Gormley, Amanda Homen, Raya Keis Knight, Valerie Post, Vanessa L. Rooks and Dara Tomanovich served as Auction Chairmen with Emily Chien Mahoney and Barbara L. Vogt as Sponsorship and Underwriting Chairmen. Ann R. Grimm was Design & Decoration Chairman with Tish Bliss and Christl Meszkat as Design and Decoration Co-Chairmen. Peri Bogert, Grace Bollo, Maria del Rio, Jane J. Fear, Traudl Geraghty and Ann Yawney served Design and Decoration Vice Chairmen with Gary P. Crain, Christie Hansen and James Alan Smith as Designers Committee Chairmen.
Founded in 1901, the Southampton Fresh Air Home, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is a not-for-profit residential camp that presents summer sessions and year-round programs and opportunities for physically challenged youth. Funds raised at D-D-D accounts for nearly 40 percent of the Southampton Fresh Air Home's annual operating budget.
For more information about Southampton Fresh Air Home, visit www.sfah.org.