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Designer Tom Samet on the Hamptons' Premier Antiques Event

Here now, Curbed Hamptons’ series of interviews by journalist/blogger Cara Greenberg with locals in the vanguard of many fields, including art, architecture, design, and landscaping.

The antiques circus is coming to town. The 6th annual East Hampton Antiques Show kicks off Friday evening, July 20, with a preview to benefit the East Hampton Historical Society, and continues July 21-22 under white tents on the lawn of historic Mulford Farm. “This is the one designers wait all year for,” says interior designer Tom Samet of Hamptons House Design, a member of the committee that helps insure the quality of the 55 vendors, about 15% of whom are new this year. We spoke with the Southampton- and West Palm Beach-based Samet about what he calls “a happy, joyous, old-timey country antiques show” and the importance of being early.

What distinguishes this show from others?

The quality of the selection. It gets better each year. It’s not just American or English or country French, there’s also mid-century and garden statuary, and the price point, for the most part, is excellent. The setting is beautiful, and all the booths are styled. Dealers don’t just throw stuff up, there are pretty vignettes to guide your eye.

Who comes to the show?

A lot of fashionistas and stylists show up at the opening, people who are respected for their taste. People come from all over the northeast, the midwest, and Florida; some come every summer the weekend of the show.

Do you have any special method for shopping the show?

I go back repeatedly, two or three times after the show opens. As things sell, they bring more out. Sometimes the booths are re-filled three times over the course of the weekend. I have eleven clients, from modern beach houses to traditional, and lists of things I need for all of them.

What have you bought there in the past?

Large gessoed mirrors for a Palm Beach estate, 19th century steamboat paintings, garden statuary and planters, Georg Jensen modernist silver, framed nautical flags, beautiful bamboo hat racks, vintage upholstered furniture... There are all types of wonderful things at the show, and you don’t have to go over the Shinnecock.

Name a few of your favorite dealers.

Shorr and Dobinsky for great, useful industrial furniture and a terrific selection of upholstered chairs and sofas; Faustina Pace, West Palm Beach’s finest, in the Mulford Barn; Andrew Spindler of Essex, Mass., for dramatic pieces that make a room. I can’t help lingering in Mantiques Modern’s booth. And Margaret Doyle for just the right bespoke furnishings. I bought a game table my clients still rave about.

How vital is it to get to the Friday night opening?

It’s important, if you’re really serious and want the best stuff. There’s very quiet buying being done at the preview. A lot goes right away and is replaced by Saturday morning.

Any further advice for shoppers?

Don't forget the dealers in the barn!

Tickets for Opening Preview Cocktail Party, Friday July 20, 6-8:30PM, start at $150 and enable return visits the following days. Call 631-324-6850 or buy online at Tickets may also be purchased at the gate the night of the event.

Show hours: Saturday July 21, 10AM– 6PM; early buying 9AM. Sunday July 22, 10AM – 4PM. Admission $10, early buying $20.

Mullford Farm

10 James Lane, East Hampton, NY 11937