Design today values new ways to use old things. Instead of just buying an antique to display, today homeowners want to take interesting pieces and use them in a new and modern way. Antiques are the quintessential eco-friendly way to furnish your home – #AntiquesAreGreen. Reuse, repurpose and revitalize. Antiques Diva® Architectural Salvage tours have helped clients source entire frescoed ceilings, built-in libraries, Italian roof tiles, floor tiles, reclaimed wood floors, and staircases. Whether found on tour or through our Buying Services, our Diva Guides know where to go, who to talk to about restoration, and what a fair price is. I recently spoke to Architectural Salvage & Antique Lumber News about sourcing architectural salvage in Europe and Asia:
The first client who approached me for architectural salvage was Australian in 2009. She wanted antique bricks to pave her driveway. I was perplexed – I’ve never had anyone ask me for building supplies – but I contacted a friend who had a small assortment of fireplaces in the back room of his antique shop and I asked his advice. Three days later I found myself driving my Mercedes SUV to a salvage yard after salvage yard after salvage yard on the back roads of Belgium and France, and a new addiction was born. The south of France and the Cognac region came on my radar and England and Italy or soon thereafter. But that first day – seeking sources for salvage – I learned that 17th 18th and 19th-century Flemish bricks have amazing patina and that one can tell the region by the color. But the salvage yards had more than bricks – they had balustrades and grand stone steps and terraces, Versailles parquet from France and limestone that would make your heart skip. As I would walk through these dissected château laid out like pieces of a puzzle, I realized you can give a new home an old history – and in America, where most of my clients come from, access to an entirely new way of living.
At the Antiques Diva and Co, our mission has always been to make antiques modern, sexy and fun but most of all our goal is to make antiques accessible. Our sources become our clients’ sources. My first big architectural salvage client in Europe was starting a new store specializing in American architectural salvage and she wanted to vary her inventory. Three container loads and about €250,000 later I had been educated in the best way possible… by doing.
Read more about my adventures in architectural salvage in Architectural Salvage & Antique Lumber News Business Profile: The Antiques Diva & Company.
Here are a few tips on how to buy architectural salvage.
About Architectural Salvage & Antique Lumber News
Architectural Salvage & Antique Lumber News was founded in 2004 to provide sources for salvage, project ideas, and news to architects, designers, decorators, homeowners and the architectural salvage and antique lumber industry, and to connect buyers and sellers. It is the only U.S.-based publication focused on this industry in both North America and Europe.
Special Subscription Rate for Antiques Diva Readers
Fans of The Antiques Diva are invited to enjoy a special, discounted subscription rate to the magazine. Click here and then choose the gray “subscribe” button that appears on left to receive 50% off the regular subscription rate of $20 (U.S.) This $10 subscription is for one year of the bi-monthly magazine and at this time is only available for shipping to U.S. and Canadian addresses.
Ideal for antique dealers, interior designers, builders, landscape architects, developers and homeowners, Antiques Diva Architectural Salvage Tours are available in Europe, Asia and the US – #NoPassportRequired.
Ciao for now,
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
Negotiating for antiques isn’t that difficult or scary, but this is something many people struggle with – how to bargain, what’s appropriate, and what is expected? There was a time when tourists were optimistic about finding a bargain at flea markets. Buyers have been able to unearth valuable treasures in a booth filled with junk. Let’s just put it this way… there are no longer as many fleas at the flea markets. It’s often gorgeous, high-quality inventory… in fact, so gorgeous it’s almost ALL objects that you want to bring home with you. Many flea markets in Europe, such as the Paris Flea Market, are now set up as permanent stalls – which means it may feel more like a retail experience! So the question is – can you get a bargain at the flea market? And want to know the best way to get a bargain? In honesty, my best advice is to use our Antiques Diva Guides. We do volume business. The vendors know us and know our guides. They know we are coming back week after week and that our clients are pre-qualified shoppers. You’re not given the tourist price on an Antiques Diva Paris Tour – you’re given the locals price – because the vendors have relationships with us and know that Antiques Diva clients MEAN BUSINESS!
For Americans, negotiating on antiques in Europe or Asia is more difficult than in the US due to the language and cultural differences. Part of our service is to translate and negotiate on our client’s behalf. But if you’re not with a guide, what should you do? You need to ask.
And as I always say, the best price on antiques is the price you’re willing to pay.
Negotiating for Antiques
Negotiation is a skill and an art – and not one that everyone is comfortable with. Bargaining at an online site is far less personal than negotiating with someone right in front of you – who no doubt has more haggling experience than you. Americans are used to paying the price on the price tag, while Asians believe the price tag is just the start point. Whether you’re negotiating on antiques in Europe or Asia, some bargaining guidelines will always apply. As a ground rule, expect to get at 10-15% discount. Negotiating for antiques is expected at flea markets, antique shows, stores and warehouses. But some dealers simply won’t negotiate – while others may surprise you with 25, 30 or even a 50% discount. Not all of these tips for negotiating on antiques will work with every antique dealer: but one or two should work in most circumstances!
- Be polite. The easiest most polite way to ask is to simply say, “Is that your best price?” It allows the vendor room to negotiate and sometimes they will surprise you by offering more of a discount than you expected. If you’re shipping with a reputed shipper who will give export papers you can tell the vendor it’s for export and automatically you can get a discount!
- Show some love. Antique dealers are proud of their inventory and want you to value their knowledge. Ask questions and show your interest in the piece so the dealer knows you are a serious buyer, not just a looky-loo.
- Cash is king. Cash brings you greater negotiating power, but occasionally vendors will take credit cards. Considering splitting a purchase between cash and credit for a better deal on larger items. While more and more vendors take credit cards, cash still has the most buying power when you’re negotiating for antiques.
- What is it worth to you? Look at an item and come up with a figure you would be willing to pay for it. Do this before you look at the price tag! Then when you check the price, you will know whether it’s too high or just right for you. Having a set figure in your mind before you even start negotiations allows you to buy smartly and avoid buyer’s remorse later.
- Timing is extremely important. Looking for garden furniture and statues? Buy them in the off-season and you’re sure to score a better price.
- Check for damage. If you see unusual wear and tear on a piece and want to negotiate an extra discount due to damage, be polite! Never insult the vendor or his inventory.
- Check the weather. If bad weather is keeping away the buyers, dealers may be willing to negotiate bigger discounts in order to salvage the day.
- Buy multiple pieces from a single dealer. Most vendors are willing to negotiate a bigger discount when a buyer is purchasing multiple pieces rather than a single piece.
- Counteroffer. If you think you can score a better deal than the one offered, counteroffer with a reasonable price, such as splitting the difference.
- End of day is often the ideal time to negotiate for antiques because the vendor doesn’t want to pack everything up again. But beware… true finds often go early in the day. Early birds get the best selection of inventory – but not necessarily the best prices.
Some vendors, antique shows or private sellers offer special discounts and arrangements to industry professionals, such as other antique dealers, interior designers or decorators. Often you will need some type of tax-exempt number, or even just a business card, to provide proof that you are in fact a dealer.
Negotiating for Antiques in Asia
Haggling is part of the culture in Asia. And excellent bargains and unique and unusual pieces are available for Western shoppers. The key to successfully negotiating for antiques in Asia? Do your homework.
- Research the type of pieces available and what it sells for in Asia. Online research can tell you the approximate value of an item, and you can look to see what comparable items sell for in the US.
- Know the laws. There are some items that are illegal to sell in Asia and some that are illegal to import into the US. If the price seems to good to be true… it probably is.
- Shop at the right stores where the pieces are authentic and the dealers are honest. Many buyers don’t care if an antique is “authentic” – they are buying for a specific look and price. An antique dealer knows their inventory – but you still can score a find!
- Be ready to walk away. Because negotiation is a sport in Asia, the dealer may enjoy the process as much as making the sale! Demonstrate you know how to play the negotiation game.
- Learn some local terms. Being able to say hello and thank you in the local language shows you respect the seller.
At The Antiques Diva® & Co, our team of antiques and flea market local expert antiques guides know the markets like the back of their hand. Our job is to help clients find the exact market that has what they are looking for – maximizing their time, translating, negotiating, and coordinating shipping your antiques home by liaising with a 3rd party shipper. We save our clients time and money by custom planning their visit to the antiques markets and warehouses, and helping negotiate their purchases.
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
Since I first began exploring Asia nearly a decade ago, I’ve been in love with Asian antiques. When I launched Antiques Diva® Asia Antiques Tours two years ago, I knew we were ahead of the curve helping interior designers and antique dealers (as well as hoteliers and restauranteurs) source antiques in Asia. Even 2 years ago you didn’t often see Southeast Asian antiques in interior design magazines but today I’m seeing a change. When you flip open a magazine today you quickly see it’s all about the mix – globally chic interiors are mixing not just periods and echelons but geographic origins – European goes next to American next to Asian for a well-traveled interior. Globally chic interiors are on the cutting edge of design and some of the best antique dealers around the globe have started mixing Asian antiques into their traditional European inventory.
On a personal level – I want my home to be as individual as I am. I don’t want a cookie-cutter style looking like I chose my furniture from a catalog. I want my home to reflect my travels and interests. I like to mix it up: a high-end piece with a provenance next to a modern trendy piece, an Asian antique juxtaposed against a modern abstract painting, a 17th-century Venetian apartment with a global sensibility.
Each time I visit Thailand my first stop once in Bangkok is Paul’s Antiques, the headquarters for our Thailand Antiques Diva Tours and the shop owned and operated by Asian antiques expert – and Antiques Diva Asia Guide – Angela Somwaiya, one of the leading experts in Southeast Asian antiques. Angela is a long-time expat living in Thailand, and she’s who I turn to advise on all things Thai. When Angela introduced me to The Siam Hotel in Bangkok it was love at first sight! The Siam combines all my favorite things – Asian antiques with an uber-luxury hotel and exclusive service alongside some of the best food in Bangkok. It’s also a hotel interior whose vignettes could grace the pages of Elle Décor or Architectural Digest. And it’s the place I go in Bangkok for #globaldesigninspiration.
Art and Antiques at The Siam Hotel
I won’t blame you if when someone says “Thai antiques” nothing comes to mind.
However, if you ever wanted to take a crash course on Thai antiques, and learn first hand how to decorate your house beautifully using Thai antiques, a visit to The Siam Hotel, located on the banks of the majestic Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, would be a superb idea indeed.
As a long-term expat living in Bangkok, I’m always looking for unique outings that will give visiting friends a taste of Thailand. Designed by globally acclaimed architect and interior/landscape designer Bill Bensley in collaboration with its owner Krissada Sukosol Clapp, The Siam Hotel does not disappoint. So when my colleague and friend, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, visited Thailand recently, The Siam was at the top of my list of places to take her. Antiques, award-winning architecture, delicious food, authentic experiences – I knew were all right up her alley.
The Antiques Diva Asia Team visits The Hotel Siam, Bangkok
Our day read like a page out of the most perfect travelogue. Like most savvy visitors to The Siam, we skipped Bangkok’s infamous traffic jams and took advantage of the hotel’s complimentary private riverboat taxi. The journey filled us with a rush as we got to experience quintessential traditional Thai living along the river, reminding me all that I love about Thailand. Cruising past golden temples, rice barges, and children swimming along the banks, we soaked up the exhilarating feel of the rich, lush and exotic life in the tropics that still is accessible despite the urbanization of Bangkok.
Once we arrived at the private pier of the hotel and were greeted by staff with a refreshing tropical herbal drink, the sense that we were about to experience something special was palpable. Owner Krissada Sukosol Clapp is a prime example of how a collector can often be a conservator, and how following one’s passion is always a sure way to success. Coming from a musical family, Krissada is not only famous as an antique collector but as an actor and musician. In the case of antiques, he has made a mark for himself as having one of the most unique and aesthetically stunning collections of antiques in Thailand.
Being the owner of an antique shop, it is hard for me to put into words how truly special what Krissada (who is an occasional visitor to Paul’s Antiques) has accomplished. He has taken the best of what Thai antiques has to offer – shop house display furniture, finely carved statues and architectural salvage, Thai traditional theater masks, ceramics and a cache of interesting curios and historical documents related to the Thai royal family – to design the interior of his hotel in a way that is stunning and unique. However, you don’t have to be the owner of an antique shop to appreciate the beauty and other-timeliness the collection evokes and to be whisked away by the ambiance. From the perfectly-patinated teak and leather art-deco club chairs to the super-rare solid teak traditional medicine shop cabinets in pairs, exquisitely carved statues, to the quirky tiger settee, old photographs and books, vintage gold shop display counters – even an antique billiards table – the collection is truly amazing.
Perhaps the pinnacle of the collection is three antique Thai teak houses on stilts (now serving as private villas for The Siam’s guests) that have a fascinating history. They originally were acquired by legendary silk icon Jim Thompson in Ayutthaya for his friend Connie Mangskau – a famous socialite and antiques connoisseur. It was in these houses that she entertained the worlds’ glitterati who visited Bangkok during the 60s, 70s and 80s, people like heiress Doris Duke, who amassed one of the largest collections of Thai and Burmese antiques which are now displayed in museums, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who visited Connie’s antique shop, The Monogram, on her visit to Bangkok in 1967.
In this YouTube video, we get to see Jackie Kennedy touring Bangkok by riverboat and shopping for traditional Thai hand-woven baskets.
If you are ever lucky enough to make this magical trip, do stay long enough to enjoy cocktail hour at sundown – one of the most enchanting times of the day when the golden rays of the sun dance upon the Chao Phraya as it sets behind the Krung Thon Bridge. It’s the perfect way to relax and take in some of the best sights and sounds that Bangkok has to offer.
2018 is the year of chinoiserie – and where better to stock your antiques store, source architectural salvage or discover one-of-a-kind pieces than on a private, customized, 1:1 antiques buying tour to Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Ayutthaya, Thailand. We will custom plan a Thailand antiques buying tour for you whether you’re looking to purchase antique furniture, textiles, decorative accessories, handicrafts and artisanal creations or architectural salvage. We will also help maximize your time and money by translating and negotiating on your behalf, and finally liaising you with an international shipper.
Toma – The Antiques Diva
I don’t often share my secret sources… else they wouldn’t be secret! But when my friend antiques dealer Bie Baert told me she’s having an open house at her personal home in Antwerp, Belgium, I simply had to share! If you don’t know Bie, start following her immediately. She not only has impeccable taste, she’s witty and fun and charming – which is why she’s my friend. The fact that she also finds the most incredible antiques and curiosities is why she has long been one of my Belgium secret sources. She has been an antiques dealer for over 22 years, and is knowledgeable and discriminating. When she’s not at home in her workshop restoring antiques or out sourcing antiques, Bie sells antiques at the top antique fairs in Europe and America.
Bie Baert: Dealer in antiques and eccentricities
Entrez sans frapper is Bie Baert’s motto when you walk through the front door of her charming house in Sint Job in ‘t Goor, 20 km from the center of Antwerp, where Bie lives and works.
I want people to feel comfortable when they come visit my house, Bie says, it has to be a bit like coming come, where you can sit in easy chairs in front of the log fire, surrounded by unusual wooden objects and quirky furniture. Where the coffee and tea are always ready and where the atmosphere is warm.
Bie’s antique collection includes furniture, objects, lay figures & mannequins and paintings.
Bie Baert Open House
Serious shoppers in-the-know go to Belgium to buy antiques, vintage and decorator pieces at positively brilliant prices. On a Antiques Diva Buying Tour, our local Belgium Antiques Tours Guides take you to our favorite sources including European antique warehouses and by-appointment-only secret antique shops off the beaten path, all the while translating and negotiating on your behalf. From classic French furniture to tabletop items and smalls, Belgium offers a variety of French flea market pieces for the antiques lover.
Toma – The Antiques Diva
I’m flying to New York to speak at Greenwich District Design Day of Design June 5: Mixing it Up:
The Art of Combining Antiques in Contemporary Spaces – and during my flight, I’ll be watching myself on United’s Inflight C-Suite Insights! My interview with journalist Nicole Sawyer premiered on United June 1 and will broadcast throughout June.
I’d love to see you in Greenwich! Tori Mellott, style editor of Traditional Home, along with designer Robert Passal and me – The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines – delve into the topic of #MakingAntiquesModern through mixing pieces from the past with contemporary spaces. It’s all about the mix!
The Antiques Diva Reveals Secrets to Buy Timeless Treasures on Exotic Travel Tours
If you’re not flying on United in June, watch my interview here, or read the transcript below.
Journalist Nicole Sawyer interviews Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva for C-Suite Insights:
Nicole: She’s one of the most powerful women in the antiques industry. Toma Clark Haines, the founder of The Antiques Diva, the world’s largest antiques touring company, makes collecting cool modern and sexy.
Toma: This is a classic Hermes bag. Nothing says style more than Hermes
Nicole: She takes travelers looking for unique statement pieces to exotic places like Bangkok and Bali.
Toma: What’s trending when it comes to jewelry believe it or not is brooches. In the past, you know grandma wore them up here on her lapel. Now we are shaking it up – for example, the dress I’m wearing. I may wear one right here on the waistband of my wrap dress. And you know what, brooches are not just for women. Men are wearing them.
Nicole: I met up with her at the Eden Roc hotel to find out how this girl from a small town in Oklahoma built an international empire and.
Toma: I’m going to take you antiquing and it is going to be antiquing like you have never seen.
Nicole: Hi, we’re here at the U.S. Antique Show in Miami and we’re going to show you how to mix timeless treasures with modern trends.
Nicole: Why do you think the average person hears the word antique and it’s so intimidating?
Toma: I think you’ve been taught with antiques that you go into your grandmother’s house and you’re not allowed to touch things. And people have become afraid. They think of antiques as stuffy, as old-fashioned, as breakable. The reality is if an 18th-century chair has survived 200 years, don’t you think that they can survive you too? When you have antiques, they have patina. If it has a little scratch on it the fact is it’s not going to affect the value. It’s adding to the character of the piece.
Nicole: Walk me through what it’s like taking a tour with The Antiques Diva.
Toma: We meet up with the client and then we assess what is it that you’re looking for and then we’re going to custom plan the route, saving you the most amount of time and also saving you money
Nicole: I wanted to get a vintage purse. What’s in style right now?
Toma: You want handbags that are bold statement pieces and vintage handbags from the 1950s often have that great shape, the oversized skill and fabulous patina on their leathers. On our tours, we translate, we negotiate and then we help you ship the items home sweet home. Shipping large things can be a challenge.
Nicole: So what’s your advice for shipping antiques?
Toma: Shipping often is one of the most expensive parts when you’re buying antiques internationally. However, if you’re an American buying in France you can expect that the price in France is three to five times lower than you would ever find it here in the States. if you’re buying at the right price point, suddenly the cost of shipping isn’t as expensive because you’re still saving money.
Nicole: What is the most requested exotic place that you take people?
Toma: The most popular place is probably France. When you think antiques, you think French antiques. Belgium has incredible prices. At the moment what’s hip, what every interior designer in America is asking me for, is Swedish antiques. And actually, all the antique warehouses in Sweden are located down in southern Sweden. Knowing where to go is probably the most important thing we do.
Nicole: Is there are good times of year that you should be searching for antiques and when you should not go?
Toma: You need to look at when the public holidays are and the week surrounding it and avoid those periods. Otherwise, you’re going to show up and be disappointed. There’s nothing worse than getting to a destination and discovering everything’s closed.
Nicole: A lot of people think of Europe as the place to go to find fine antiques but you say that’s not the case.
Toma: I love antiquing in Europe but if you want to know what’s hot, what’s next – Southeast Asia has the two best destinations I think for what’s next in antiques are Chiang Mai in Thailand and believe it or not Bali! There is an entire strip in Seminyak, probably four miles long. You really find the Paris Flea Market of Asia.
Nicole: What do you think it’s the most challenging part about taking your clients on antique tours?
Toma: Clients don’t always know what they want. The first thing we do is say, show me photos. Pictures say a thousand words. If the client can show me what they’re looking for we can help them find it. But words alone often are not enough.
Nicole: So many people buy antiques as an investment. How do you know if it’s a good investment for the future?
Toma: Okay, the first thing I tell someone is buy it because you love it. If you love it, you’re never going to make a bad investment. Second thing is your research. If you’re buying antiques, it’s determining what price level you’re comfortable with and what’s your purpose.
Nicole: Many people have things in their home, maybe they inherit it from their grandparents or they found something really cool at a garage sale. if you’re one of those people – you’re not sure what it is or what it’s worth how can you find out more information about it.
Toma: When you’re trying to determine the value of an antique, the reality is you want to ask someone who knows more than you know. One option: you go to an auction house and you have them do an evaluation. But not everyone has time for that and often you have to pay for that. So there’s this great new app, it’s called Chattic. And all you have to do is take a picture, upload it to the app and a community of like-minded people will give you their advice on the piece that you’re looking for information on.
Nicole: Who are some of your clients?
Toma: Antique dealers, interior designers, architects, developers, hoteliers – I will tell you some of our best clients are those mere shopping mortals.
Nicole: Some of your core buyers are female baby boomers, an interior designer. But what about the younger generation – are you seeing that they have an interest in antiques?
Toma: Absolutely. Antiques are ideal for Millennials because they want their homes to represent who they are, where they’ve been and where they’re going. Some of the younger generation – they hear the word ‘antique’ and they’re like oh, that’s outdated.
Nicole: But isn’t it true that right now one of the hottest design trends is to actually take treasures that are old and mix them with modern design?
Toma: Exactly. What I like is when you take a Renaissance piece and then mix it in a room. So throw in a nice chair, throw in a grandmaster painting simultaneously – that’s what works with AMT I would agree and that’s what you’re seeing in a lot of the designer magazines these days. And maybe an 18th-century commode with a more contemporary painting. With antiques – it’s all about the mix.
Nicole: You also work with the Antique Young Guns – those are all dealers under the age of 40.
Toma: They’re preserving the future of antiques and they’re looking at antiques in different ways. They’re going to put an antique chest of drawers in a bathroom. They’re going to mix it up and take an industrial cabinet and add it into their kitchen. And so if you want to know what’s going to be hot in antiques you need to look at the young buyers. If you think about art communities – artists will live in a neighborhood, making the neighborhood cool and then the yuppies move in and the prices raise. If you look at this exact same mentality when it comes to antiques, you have the young antique buyers who are buying what’s inexpensive. They’re using it new and innovative ways. They’re making it hip, they’re making it cool and now older people want to be buying what it is they bought in the first place.
This is my favorite find of the fair by the way – if I were to pick my top item at the Original Miami Beach Show, voila! it’s your pink flamingo!
Nicole: You’re running a business. Everyone knows you could have the greatest idea but getting your business brand out there – it’s a challenge. What is the key to creating a recognizable brand?
Toma: When you have a company it’s easy to feel like you want to give up, and even on those down days saying I’m going to get up and continue working. And the thing that happens is over time you realize I have built something awesome, and it wasn’t one single step along the way did it, it was a series of steps towards my destination.
Nicole: You’re now launching your own furniture line as well.
Toma: The Antiques Diva Collection for Aidan Gray Home. So Louis 16th furniture is my favorite style of furniture. It’s neoclassical design. King Louis – he went to Pompeii, he saw what was happening in the ruins of Pompeii. He was so inspired by the them that he had his team of craftsmen build neoclassical antiques in France for Versailles. For the last 10 years I’ve been scouring the world buying antiques, seeking design inspiration and now for the first time I get to take that inspiration and turn it into creation.
Nicole: You also just launched your own jewelry line?
Toma: Yes, I have just launched my jewelry collection and our tagline is Lush Decadence. The goal is to create jewelry that is just a little bit beyond reality.
Nicole: So where does your inspiration come from?
Toma: Vintage fashion, also my travels. I’ve done a lot of pieces that are antique botanical pieces and they actually come from Art Nouveau architecture.
Nicole: Well thank you so much. Toma. I really appreciate it.
Toma: Thank you!
Thank you so much Nicole!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
I don’t often share items for sale on The Antiques Diva blog, but this scarf by Christian Dior is so special I knew you would want to know – and maybe bid on it! My dear friend Mark Hill alerted me to this Saturday’s online auction at Dawson’s featuring this unique silk scarf.
I love incorporating vintage clothing into my wardrobe – it’s wearable art! While I often drape a boldly colored scarf around my neck or bag to add a punch of color, I also decorate with silk scarves! In my own home, I tied brightly colored Hermes scarves around pillows on my white leather couch. I’ve been shopping for a special vintage scarf to frame and hang in my boudoir – one I can easily take down and wear when the mood strikes! #DivaTip: Hermes scarf display kit attaches your precious scarf using magnets, so the material is never damaged!
Mark Hill told me the silk Christian Dior silk scarf:
was a personal gift c1955 from Christian Dior himself to concert pianist Marion Stein when she was the Countess of Harewood – it seems he gave such scarves to his favoured clients at the time, with each one personalised with the name of the recipient. Stein’s husband, the Earl of Harewood, was 6th in line to the British throne at the time, so he had to ask permission to marry her! They drifted apart when the Earl fell in love with another woman and, after her divorce, she married Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal party. Yes – this is the same Jeremy Thorpe who is currently being played by Hugh Grant in the BBC’s ‘A Very English Scandal.’
The only other examples of this scarf (given to and named for other clients of Dior’s) that I can find are in the Henry Ford Museum and the Musee de la Mode in Paris.
A unique mid-1950s Christian Dior cream silk scarf, screenprinted in black, brown, orange, blue, and yellow with a design inspired by Prehistoric cave paintings, and the wording “ce carré de soie a été réalisé pour Christian Dior d’après les peintures des Grottes de la Dordogne et spécialement imprimé pour Madame le Comtesse de Harewood.” (This square of silk was made for Christian Dior after the paintings of the caves of the Dordogne eand specially printed for Madame the Countess of Harewood), also screenprinted ‘Charin – Paris’, 83cm by 86cm.
As it is unlikely that the descendents of the other recipients will sell such a piece, this is a rare opportunity to own a very personal gift from Christian Dior, who was at the height of his career, to a lady with a fascinating life.
Lot 322: A UNIQUE MID-1950S CHRISTIAN DIOR CREAM SILK SCARF, SCREENPRINTED IN BLACK
Cocktail hour is de riguer, ca Toma. Whatever the time of day, my antique Spanish secretary is stocked and ready to indulge. In January I shared with you one of my favorite cocktails, a French 75 – what I call Coco Chanel with a Dagger. While I’ll always be a champagne girl, since moving to Venice, I’ve adopted a new favorite aperitivo: a Spritz! sweet, bitter, citrusy, sparkling and slightly salty, a Spritz is delightful any time of day!
Nearly every trace of Austria’s occupation of Venice in the 19th century is gone, except the Spritz! Made with white wine and sparkling water, Hapsburg soldiers brought ‘sprizzen’ to Venice. While keeping the name, Venice added the attitude and the color with a dash of bitter orange flavored liqueur.
When in Venice, expect to pay around €2.50 – unless you too are addicted the Gritti Hotel, where I happily pay €15 for the ambiance and views. Your Spritz can also be made with Aperol or Campari – slightly sweeter or more bitter. While Aperol is my favorite, Select is perhaps less well known around the world so I want to share with you my recipe for a summer Venetian Spritz – Select style! If you prefer Campari or Aperol, just substitute bitters!
Speaking of substitutions, of course ca Toma I substitute the white wine with prosecco!
Venetian Spritz Recipe
• 4 ounces prosecco
• Sparkling water
• 1 ½ to 2 ounces Select
• Orange slice
• 1 green olive
In a white wine glass over three or four ice cubes, pour the prosecco, a splash of sparkling water and the Select -, in that order so the Select sinks to the bottom. Garnish with a slice of orange and an olive.
Book an antique buying tour to Italy – and be sure to include Venice on your itinerary, I’d love to introduce you to Toma’s Venice!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Unique and sustainable materials are important trends in interior design. Architectural salvage and reclaimed materials allow the homeowner to curate a unique, personal aesthetic that represents who they are – and isn’t identical to their neighbor’s home. We’ve seen architects use old French doors in new construction, interior designers source vintage sinks in multiple colors to complement a scheme, and clients buy gorgeous chandeliers to hang over their dining tables. The options really are endless. Owners of older homes often look for period pieces for restoration projects while those building new houses want something that adds the warmth and patina that only antiques can provide. Loft dwellers love finding burnished pieces and industrial salvage, perhaps from an old warehouse or factory. Reclaimed and repurposed materials add character and are one-of-a-kind statement pieces.
Where to Buy Architectural Salvage in Europe and Asia
Most of our clients purchase architectural salvage and reclamation pieces for a specific project: whether that’s an interior designer sourcing pieces to be used in a client’s home design or a developer who contacts us to find materials to use in constructing homes or hotels.
And as always – we have a slew of antique dealer clients who source architectural salvage in Europe and Asia to stock their own stores for resale.
The Antiques Diva & Co has helped clients source entire frescoed ceilings, built-in libraries, Italian roof tiles, floor tiles, reclaimed wood floors, and even staircases. Whether found on tour or through our Buying Services, our Antiques Diva Guides know where to go, who to talk to about restoration, what a fair price is, and how to ship your purchases back home. Depending on the look and style you want to buy, the best countries to buy architectural salvage are England, Belgium, France, Italy, Thailand and Indonesia.
Our English Antiques Diva Buying Agent Gail McLeod believes England is ideal to buy architectural salvage reclaimed materials.
Sussex is a key county – we have key architectural suppliers in both West and East Sussex. Somerset, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and The Cotswolds including Oxfordshire are other key locations. London has some excellent sources for both decorative antiques and architectural materials. We have worked on many projects and are aware of the detailed requirements when sourcing architectural and reclaimed material and objects for a specific project rather than for resale in a showroom.
Recent projects we have sourced for include a multi £million theme park – the theme was Victorian gothic and we spent 2 weeks on the road discovering ecclesiastical and architectural salvage and garden antiques. This included ancient fragments, stone roof tiles, Gothic paneling, crown top chimney pots by the 100, original stained glass windows 30 feet high and accurate period furniture for the interior of the various buildings and chapels on the park – all this done to a flat plan with specifications. They needed a large number of aged gravestones from decommissioned churches so I made sure our sources had plenty for them to choose from when we arrived!
Another large project was the remodeling of the former LA home of a musical superstar, restoring the house to the original Spanish Colonial style for the new owner – quite a niche sector but we found the most fabulous pieces and he was thrilled. Another couple was building a wonderful estate on the Seattle shoreline and has very specific requirements – they are currently on their 2nd tour with us to finalize the artwork.
Marc Allum is one of the BBC Antiques Roadshow experts and is also a historical buildings expert. He lives in an Elizabethan house just outside Bath where they recently found Roman remains when excavating the garden. England is a treasure trove for sourcing architectural salvage and reclaimed materials!
Read more: Tips for Buying Architectural Salvage
If you need to shop for architectural salvage and reclaimed pieces but don’t have time to travel, our Antiques Diva Buying Services will work with you to source, purchase and ship pieces that meet your exact requirements.
Toma – The Antiques Diva
One of the curses of loving your work is that in your downtime, you find yourself working! That is always true for me. Even when my brain and body are exhausted from The Antiques Diva® tours and strategy calls, emails and meetings, my mind craves… Design Inspiration! Since launching our Antiques Diva Asia Buying Tours, I can’t get enough of Asia. I’m planning a trip to Asia this summer to work on both our Antiques Diva tours and my TCH Collection jewelry line, and absorb some southeast Asia design inspiration.
When I can’t travel to Asia, I immerse myself in books and magazines featuring Asian design. One of the things I love about working with Angela, our Asia Antiques Diva Guide, is that she is an intellectual – and her tips on reading books about Asia reflect that. Me? I tend to like something that spoon feeds me #DesignInspiration and have four great books about Asia on my shelf, and I’ve ordered Angela’s recommendation Four Reigns for summer reading on the beach.
Southeast Asia Design Inspiration On Toma Clark Haines’ Bookshelf
Burmese Design & Architecture
by John Falconer and Elizabeth Moore
It is the first book to showcase the amazing diversity of architecture, design and art found in Burma (Myanmar). Ranging from the monumental pagodas of Pagan (Bagan) to the architectural heritage of Rangoon (Yangon), religious as well as contemporary secular buildings are presented in rich detail. A series of authoritative essays by archaeological experts highlight the major influences and styles found throughout the country, while chapters on Myanmar’s rich art and craft traditions provide a wealth of information on Buddha images, lacquerware, painting, ceramics, woodcarving, bronzes, textiles, costumes and much more.
Tropical Asian Style
The first book to showcase contemporary residences throughout Southeast Asia from Chiang Mai to Bali, Kuala Lumpur to Java highlighting tropical dream houses in their breathtaking natural environments.
What’s On Asia Diva Guide Angela’s Bookshelf?
Angela Somwaiya has lived in Bangkok for 24 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Japanese Studies and master’s in Thai Studies. In 2008 she took over Paul’s Antiques which has built its reputation as having one of the leading collections of colonial-era Burmese teak furniture. Since acquiring the business the collection has come to reflect her tastes and love of unique market finds throughout Asia. Innovative and entrepreneurial by nature, Angela developed a bespoke furniture service using reclaimed teak and enjoys up-cycling and repurposing found items. Angela is considered one of the leading experts in Southeast Asian antiques.
Sacred Skin: Thailand’s Spirit Tattoos: A book about sacred tattoos in Thailand that reflects animistic beliefs prevalent in Thailand. You can see many Thai symbols, designs and motifs in traditional tattoos.
by Sacred tattoos, called ‘sak yant’ in Thailand, have been around Southeast Asia for centuries and afford protection from accident, misfortune, and crime. Young women get tattooed with love charms in order to attract partners, while adolescent men use the protective power of their yants in fights with rival youth gangs. For most though, the tattoos serve as reminders to follow a moral code that endorses positive behavior.
The Buddha in Lanna: Art, Lineage, Power, and Place in Northern Thailand: Having a basic knowledge about Buddhism is helpful. Any books about Buddhist art or symbols would be useful.
by For centuries, wherever Thai Buddhists have made their homes, statues of the Buddha have provided striking testament to the role of Buddhism in the lives of the people. The Buddha in Lanna offers the first in-depth historical study of the Thai tradition of donation of Buddha statues. Drawing on palm-leaf manuscripts and inscriptions, many never previously translated into English, the book reveals the key roles that Thai Buddha images have played in the social and economic worlds of their makers and devotees from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries.
Are you craving Asian design? Armchair travel is nice, but there’s nothing like experiencing southeast Asia first-hand. Book an antique buying tour or design inspiration tour with The Antiques Diva.
Chan khoy tii jah daii jerr khun
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Summer is simply the best time to visit Sweden – the daylight never seems to end, stunningly beautiful hills and orchards and shimmering lakes, enjoying a crayfish boil and icy vodka at an outdoor café… and antiquing! Sweden is HOT for sourcing antiques this summer… and Sweden is on sale at The Antiques Diva® & Co!
The summer season is the low season for Swedish antique dealers – and those crafty Swedes use this season to stock up on new inventory. Which means for foreign buyers coming abroad to source antiques in Sweden they get 1st dibs on seeing new inventory their competitors (who are also shopping in Sweden) have not yet seen! Swedish Antiques Diva Guide Daniel can’t wait to introduce you antiquing in Sweden!
BUY 1 / GET 1 SWEDEN SUMMER ANTIQUE BUYING TOUR
• Book a 1 Day Sweden Antiques Buying Tour, Get a 2nd day FREE
• Tour Dates: June – July 2018
Get a two-day custom, private antique buying tour in Sweden for the price of one day! Learn more here.
(The event was streamed on Facebook LIVE by Aspire magazine, watch here.)
When I spoke to a room of design professionals on How to Source Antiques like the Pros with interior designers Robert Passal and Garrow Kedigian at an event at the D&D Building hosted by The Robert Allen Duralee Group, the audience asked the panel, What are the most popular European antique sourcing destinations? My answer:
Why Sweden is HOT for Sourcing Antiques
Today in interior design, its all about the mix: what I call global chic. People don’t want one specific style in their home, they want their home to reflect their travels and their interests. They like to mix it up: a high-end piece with a provenance next to a modern trendy piece, an Asian antique juxtaposed against a modern abstract painting, a mid-century home with a European sensibility. Swedish antiques marry perfectly with pieces in different styles, and different price points. With their clean lines and typically soft, muted paint colors, Swedish antiques blend beautifully with pieces in many other styles.
Compared to other French or English antiques, Sweden antiques are rare because they did not make as many. And because provenance plays a big part when it comes to pricing – it’s a tricky field to enter. There is – or rather SHOULD BE – a significant price difference between 18th C and 19th C pieces of the same style. And as it’s a case of “Buyer Beware” it’s important to educate yourself so you know what you’re buying to guarantee you’re paying the right price.
International buyers sourcing in Sweden aren’t just competing with an international market when it comes to sourcing – Swedish antiques are popular in Sweden with the Swedes too: and because Swedes appreciate quality, they are willing to pay the price for authentic Swedish antiques. When sourcing Swedish antiques, knowledge is power!
Shopping at the antique warehouses in Sweden is an education. From painted Gustavian pieces to Rococo, Baroque, or Empire pieces we’ll educate you on what differentiates these periods. Opening the by-appointment-only-door is like treasure hunting: Everywhere you turn you will see something unexpected.
When you’re antiquing in Sweden, walking in with AD&CO is instant validation. Not only do we have access to private antique warehouses that aren’t online, dealers know The Antiques Diva means business. When our clients come in the door they are typically there to buy. And not just buy one piece – but container loads. This means that when you come with us sourcing antiques in Europe, you as our Antiques Diva client you have NOT ONLY your own buying power – but the reputation and the buying power of all our clients behind us! That power and those relationships help us negotiate on your behalf.
The key thing is this – our Antiques Diva Guides are local experts and personally know most of the dealers. We have the dealers’ private phone numbers and when our clients have questions or needs we can call up the dealer direct and talk to them on your behalf.
Daniel Larsson is our native-born Swedish Divo Guide. Daniel takes pride in helping clients find the right piece at their desired price point. Daniel has an international mindset and has traveled to the US, England, India, Norway, Spain and Holland; and runs D.LARSSON Interiör & Antikhandel which deals in fine Swedish antiques ranging from 18th to late 19th century, specializing in high-quality Rococo and Gustavian painted furniture, Swedish country and decorative items.
One of things Daniel warns clients is, “When walking into a Swedish antique warehouse you can have no expectations – you must be open to what’s in stock at that time.”
When Daniel takes clients antiquing in Sweden he provides an education in antiques:
• You need to understand the story behind the pieces, the romance, and connect each piece to its period.
• More than that you need to understand what lies underneath the pieces – understand restoration, what creates value in the pieces and what doesn’t.
• He teaches you about famous artisans in Stockholm and the countryside, explaining about various furniture makers, mirror makers and clockmakers.
• He teaches the differences between Swedish and other pieces – Sweden had periods that ended and unlike France where the periods often overlap in Sweden they never continued making them, so more limited editions because periods were finite.
I always say that taking an Antiques Diva Sweden Tour is like taking a Master Class on Swedish Antiques! Last summer at the Dallas Market Center Daniel and I presented a Swedish Antiques Master– see our slideshow below to learn about the three important Swedish furniture periods.
- At first look, the presentation can seem unorganized and random: then our Diva Guide helps you zoom in, find what you’re attracted to and you understand the differences in an antiques warehouse and an antique store.
- Inventory isn’t random. Antique dealers often specialize in a particular style – one of our vendors happens to be a museum curator who also sells antiques.
- Dealers enjoy talking about their pieces and sharing their knowledge. But its also important to understand the difference between style and period, and original and rebuilt, because there are disreputable dealers in all fields.
Antiques Dealer (and US Antique Diva Guide) Margaret Schwartz of Modern Antiquarian took a recent antique buying trip to Sweden with Daniel:
Swedish antiques are very much in demand. We had someone come in recently and practically buy out the Swedish inventory we had at The Antique & Artisan Gallery in Stamford, CT. Swedish furniture is timeless elegance at it’s best. Swedish looks good in every style interior and as a major benefit, they tend to hold their value in the marketplace if you ever tire of them and decide to sell. Not that you would tire of them! If you are looking to buy Swedish antiques I wouldn’t wait too long because we the price is very much on the rise, as is the demand. More buyers mean higher prices and less availability of period and quality pieces. There is a lot of reproduction and component pieces our there so do your reading, know what you’re looking for, and ask the questions. We dealers love to talk about all our inventory so don’t be shy in asking (appropriate) questions.
Act Fast: our Sweden 2-for-1 tour promotion is only available until July! We’d love to take you on an antique buying tour to Sweden, and introduce you to our expert dealers and secret sources!
Toma – The Antiques Diva