Beall & Bell has long been my favorite antique shop, and it's a great place to scope out unusual finds. Owners Virginia McFadden and Kenneth Ludacer (I call them Ginger and Ken) are a husband and wife team that have been luring customers from the City and the Hamptons since 1992. Designers, magazine editors and many others are inspired by their furnishings and accessories. For over eleven years now I have kept the shop in my back pocket as my secret designer weapon when I need that very special, unique item. I've been frequenting their shop since they were in a different location in Greenport and before they moved into the spacious former Masonic Temple on Main Street.
This expansive location suits their style well and is a perfect forum to showcase the wares with the soaring ceilings and exposed wood warehouse-like building. It is certainly worth two quick ferry rides from Sag Harbor to see what Ken and Ginger have been stirring up in their shop. I have scoped out furniture for clients' homes from the shop, and years ago I barely whispered their name to my other designer friends for fear they would grab the latests finds. Now, as I don a different hat, one of a design blogger, I am shouting their name from the rooftops. Why do you ask? because I am in constant pursuit to bring my readers interesting stories about authentic folks in the industry, not the same old stuff. Beall & Bell is no longer a carefully guarded secret on the East End, as can be noted by famous designers flocking to their shop. As a fellow designer we need to support the talents in the industry since they are a dwindling group.
What makes them so special?
Certainly there are plenty of antique shops in the fashionable Hamptons on the other fork of Long Island. For starters, the unique way in which Ken and Ginger bring together their collection of pieces (some whimsical, others quite unusual) is what makes them stand out. Ginger works her styist magic to create interesting vignettes in every corner. They both have a great "eye" and it is certainly not the same old look that can be seen elsewhere. Their prices are very fair to boot. As a designer, I become inspired when meandering through the shop, and inevitably I come away with something I wasn't in search of but now can't live without. My family has learned that if we are on a daytrip even remotely close to the North Fork, I must stop into the shop. They have plenty of interesting mirrors, framed prints, architectural remnant lamps, benches, tables, chairs and garden items repurposed. They have pieces that seem to finish off a decorating project. When the job is almost complete, the window treatments hung, the painting finalized, the furniture in place, a trip to Beall & Bell is often what I need to add a special artistic touch!
I stopped into visit them this past weekend and they were in the throes of their annual January sale -- everything 20% off for the month. There were lots of goodies that caught my eye, but I left with this unique shell lamp for a mere $140.
The conch shell is turned on its side, resting upon a slate colored base and is edgy yet beachy. I love how it holds a worn patina with even some of the paint faded on one side, glimpsing a light grey color to add to the mix. This is the magic of Beall & Bell as each and every item is a statement piece.
Ken and Ginger successfully mix American, French and English antiques with industrial pieces and garden items, blending together into a medley of design that is not easily discernible and categorized. The "regulars" pop in on Thursday to find what they have discovered on their weekly buying trips.
Ken likes to collect pieces from many genres and time frames
a cement, garden stool turtle with seat
Well, now I've really done it and spilled the beans!
I hope to see you walking the aisles at Beall & Bell some weekend soon in Greenport,
but don't think I won't fight for something I want!
I am a working NYC residential Interior Designer, author of Nest by Tamara blog, nestnestnest.blogspot.com and freelance writer for magazines and websites. I enjoy writing, interior decorating, cooking, gardening, reading, shopping for antiques.