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Secrets of the Hunt

Setting out for a day of antiquing, we all hope to find the real Mona Lisa under a drawer liner in an antiques shop. Carl Lana and Randall Beale of Beale-Lana Interior Design are not so different-except that they do manage to unearth hidden treasures.

"This is our secret," claims Beale as we pull into the Eclectiques: Antiques at Hayground (1524 Montauk Hwy, Water Mill; 631-537-9594) parking lot. "It's so disorganized in there-just the way we like to shop!" Pointing out an immense pair of white porcelain rococo lamps, Beale comments, "Anything huge we like! I think 'they're Sevres or Meissen, maybe KMP. That they're all white makes them doubly amazing."

'The approach here is like it used to be in the '60's and '70's, all sorts of things piled on top of each other," Lana notes, heading into the basement. "Now that's cool," says Beale pointing to a Lucite daybed. "And this black leather sectional couch is actually good I always find something!"

As we walk into Chez Soi (2426 Main St, Bridgehampton; 631-537-0496), smack in the center of Bridgehampton village, Beale calls it one of the most beautiful shops in the country, "Tony [Victoria] has one of the best eyes in the business for editing-no one has what he has. He's third generation!" Tucked away on a bookshelf is a porphyry vase. "I love anything in porphyry," Beale notes. 'This is one stunnmg piece in perfect condition." Meanwhile, Lana has turned his attenition to a pair of 1920's Rene Drouet satinwood dressers. "These would make perfect night tables. One drawer for socks, one for underwear, and of course, one as a personal drawer." Beale approves wholeheartedly, and then notices extremely large metal and glass hurricanes standing on the floor. "Oh those," says Victoria, "They're reproductions of the ones we made in the fifties for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor for their house in Paris."

"This chair is so Shaker-meets-Robesjohn Gibbings," Beale says, referring to a piece with a rush seat and back as we walk into R. E. Steele Antiques (Red Horse Plaza, 74 Montauk Hwy, East Hampton; 631-324-7812). "Yeah, it's great," counters Lana. "But what about the Vladimir Kagan chair? The seat looks like it's floating!" Lana and Beale have decided that it is chair day at R.E Steele as they ooh and aah over a pair of purple upholstered Gio Pomi armchairs in one corner and a pair of coral colored George Nakashima chairs for John Widdicomb out on the sidewalk. In the basement, it's more chairs, as the duo spy a pair of Thonet cube chairs from the '50's and half dozen Arne Jacobsen Ant chairs.

At Youngblood (26 Maidson St., Sag Harbor; 631-725- 6260) there's a pile of brightly colored striped Arab blankets that demand attention As Beale examines them, unexpected color combinations like orange, green and black or turquoise and red suddenly seem fresh. "We could use it to upholster some Louis XVI dining chairs," remarks Beale. "I love all of this ethnic stuff-next to high style, nothing chicer!" Susan Yungbluth, the owner of the gallery, has a master's eye for mixing and marrying interesting styles in the decorative arts. Here Wiener Werstatte is completely at home with North African craft.

Down in yet another basement, Beale has found a pair of Russian brass candlesticks and Lana is ogling a group of five or so brightly colored taxidermied birds in a bell jar. "We don't start with a list of items to buy for clients," says Lana. "Instead we go out looking for beautiful objects that will eventually find a home."

Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, October 2002