Paris Antiques Diva Guide Danielle: What’s New At the Paris Flea Market
Spring is blossoming throughout Paris, and the Paris Flea Market is blooming with wisteria and budding trees. Antiques Diva Guide Danielle took a stroll through les Puces, and along with the new vendors and stalls, discovered a new hotel just a couple streets away from the market.
The MOB Hotel is a great place for a drink, a lunch or even to spend the night after shopping at Les Marché aux Puces. Danielle suggests MOB Hotel is the perfect location to spend the night after a long day at les Puces and a convenient short ride to Charles de Gaule airport. MOB Hotel is part of a boutique chain of hotels launched by entrepreneurs and hospitality businessmen Cyril Aouizerate, Michel Reybier, Steve Case, Phillippe Starck, and Glynn Aeppel.
Our Paris Diva Guides … we’re just fun. Not only do we take the stress out of your day by translating and negotiating on your behalf but we tell you inside stories about living in Paris, our favorite haunts, secrets about Parisian life. But buyer beware… the very first Paris Guide hired was a client who was so obsessed with shopping the Puce I asked her, why don’t you come on staff and help lead these tours! You too might just fall in love with Paris and decide to move overseas!
Book a Private Tour of the Paris Flea Market
As the only official Exclusive Guide of the Paris Flea Markets Paul Bert Serpette, The Antiques Diva® & Co has been chosen because of our long term relationships and close contacts with les Puces. The best way to get a bargain at the Paris Flea Market is to be a local… And it just so happens we are! We can typically save clients via negotiations on antiques what they pay for our tour. Plus we save you time in addition to money. We custom plan a tour for you, helping you navigate the many markets and thousands of vendors to find just what you’re looking for. You don’t waste time digging through things you’re not looking for, but rather maximize your shopping time (and dollar) on a pre-choreographed tour.
The Antiques Diva & Co offers custom planned Antiques Buying Tours for tourists and trade professionals. Whether you’re looking to buy one specific piece or wanting to fill an entire container, our personal shopping antique buying guides share their vast knowledge of secret sources to take you to all the right places.
See you in Paris,
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
How to Ship Antiques from Europe to Your Home
At The Antiques Diva® & Co, we have been helping clients buy antiques in Europe and ship them home for nearly 10 years. Our tips on shipping antiques are based on our experiences working with thousands of antiques buyers, hundreds of antiques vendors, and dozens of international shipping companies and will help you buy antiques and safely ship them home across the pond.
My most important antique shipping tip:
Before you go abroad set up a relationship with an art and antiques shipper so you are prepared to buy and import antiques. It makes it much faster and easier if you prepare in advance! Before you travel ask the shipper to mail you a PURCHASE ORDER BOOK (PO BOOK) and SHIPPING TAGS WITH YOUR NAME ON THEM before your trip so when you’re out and about you have all you need right at your fingertips for buying antiques abroad and shipping them home.
At The Antiques Diva & Co we not only offer Antique Buying Tours: we also have an In-House Shipping Service and you don’t have to be on a tour to use our shipping service at AD&CO Logistics. Other shippers that are well known include EDET, Camard and Chudley. When contacting shippers it’s always wise to get comparison quotes from several shippers. The key thing with shipping – problems can and do occur – but if you have a good relationship with your shipper, it will make it easier to solve the problems when they do occur!
How the Process Works to Buy Antiques and Ship Them Back Home
1) You tell the vendor what you want to buy and who your shipper is.
2) If you have your PO BOOKLET you simply fill in who the vendor is including his PHONE # and EMAIL ADDRESS as well as the COLLECTION ADDRESS for the pieces you’ve purchased and fill in your delivery information as well as LIST ALL ITEMS you’ve purchased. MAKE SURE TO GET THE VENDORS EMAIL ADDRESS AND MOBILE PHONE #.
3) When paying for antiques you have a few options – you can pay the vendor cash – but if the item is a larger purchase price you probably don’t have the cash on you! No worries! Simply fill out the PO and WRITE TO BE PAID BY SHIPPER. This allows you to buy from multiple vendors ON PURCHASE ORDER: PAYMENT AT THE END OF YOUR BUYING TOUR, but a KEY POINT is that once you have issued a PO the item is OFFICIALLY SOLD to you. All Sales are Final. And there are NO RETURNS in Europe on Antiques. The item is marked sold and if you change your mind and decide not to buy the item later on, you burn bridges not only with that vendors but also with his colleagues.
4) When you’re finished buying antiques, email your SHIPPER all your Purchase Orders and your shipper will make a summary of all the items you own $$$$ for. Your shipper will then invoice you for the AMOUNT OWED in INVENTORY and will pay ALL THE VENDORS on your behalf, making the entire process easy peasy pumpkin pie saving you time so you only have to do one payment instead of several payments to various vendors.
5) Most shippers require you pay for inventory via BANK TRANSFER – but some shippers allow you to use a CREDIT CARD. Ask your shipper their payment options.
6) While it’s impossible to give exact shipping costs prior to you making your purchases, you can get estimates on delivery costs from your shipper before your trip by telling them your budget to spend, the types of items you’re hoping to find and providing your delivery zip code. Getting the measurements of the pieces you’ve bought is important to help your shipper quote on shipping costs.
Shipping Impulse Antique Purchases
Scheduling a phone conversation with your shipper BEFORE you travel will make the entire buying process much easier and SAVE YOU MONEY when you’re traveling abroad. Some shippers will even give you their personal mobile # (we do! 🙂 ) so you can call and get a quote mid buying spree. But if you didn’t set up an account with a shipper pre-travel- Have No Fear. If you find something while traveling and haven’t set an account up with a shipper in advance there are options:
- call one of the shippers recommended above for last minute pricing and options
- ask the vendor you purchase your antiques from to ship the item direct to you
You will get better shipping prices if you do some comparison pricing on shipping but you can ALWAYS ship impulse purchases. Don’t let fear of not knowing how to get your purchase home dissuade you from buying abroad!
Do you have more questions about international shipping services for art and antiques? Visit our FAQs, or contact AD&CO Logistics directly.
Toma – The Antiques Diva®
Let’s Meet at High Point Market!
I will be at Pandora de Balthazár’s Suite at High Point on Sunday, April 23, from 3-6pm. To schedule a high-powered business meeting with me (in bed, bien sur!) email for an appointment: email@example.com.
The Art of Sleeping
As someone who travels for both work and pleasure constantly, I find myself in many different time zones, often sleeping on planes, trains, or automobiles – hopefully not while I’m at the wheel but rather curled up in the passenger seat of the car! When I have the luxury of sleeping in my own bed, I want to enjoy every single second of it!
Becoming Brand Ambassador for Pandora de Balthazár has changed my life because she has taught me so much about the art of sleeping. Yes, it is an art! From selecting the right linens, to making the bed, to actually getting into bed and calming your body as it prepares to sleep, Pandora is an expert on getting the most out of the 1/3 of your life you spend under the covers. To help people achieve a light, soft, yet crisp sleep experience, she’s developed something called The Timeless Bed.
The Timeless Bed is the complete infrastructure that enhances the sleeper’s comfort due to its architecture of support and insulation, which assists in regulating temperature, allowing the body to breathe. How many times have you climbed into bed on a cold night, covering yourself from head to toe, only to awaken in the middle the night completely drenched in sweat? That is NOT a Diva-like experience! Hmm… Diva’s glisten and glow, not sweat! Pandora’s Timeless Bed addresses temperature issues by creating a soft fluffy feeling while also remaining airy so you rarely feel the need to toss the covers away.
The Timeless Bed starts with a natural mattress protector filled with either cotton, wool, down or batten. The protector fits tightly and protects the sleeper from chemicals in most mattresses. Next, comes the down mattress pad. Unlike a traditional feather bed, this natural, machine-washable Hungarian down and feather mattress pad comes in an 80/20 ratio. Mattress companies have been trying to address top-of-bed issues such as temperature control without much success. The Timeless Bed’s mattress pad creates a breathable corridor of air beneath the body, which is a critical element in Pandora’s success. The down mattress pad is then topped with not one but two fitted deep-pocket sheets. Why two, you ask? The bottom fitted sheet protects the down mattress pad and keeps it clean, and the top one keeps all of the aforementioned substructure firmly in place.
Next comes a flat bottom sheet of 600 to 1000 thread-count which should not be tucked in, but remain floating. These sheets are cool, crisp, and substantial. If desired, antique linens can be substituted for the bottom sheet. All of these layers are under the body, giving a cloud-like effect while remaining breathable.
Over the body, a flat top sheet drapes, again untucked. On top of this sheet goes a very light sleeping duvet. Pandora’s light duvets are the lightest on the market and are machine washable, which makes maintaining them a breeze. You could also use a heavier duvet based on personal preference. By adding Pandora’s European Sleep System to The Timeless Bed, you will complete the perfect bed!
Once this foundation is in place, it’s time to add fun pieces such as antique pillow cases, blankets and other decorative items. Throw pillows made from decorative pieces of antique textiles are a great way to add personality to The Timeless Bed as well.
Just like a fine antique French chest made from solid wood, then adorned with marquetry, ormolu, and beautiful hardware, The Timeless Bed begins with a firm foundation built for function and can be adorned to suit any taste.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
Restored Antique Frames
I am an antiques and art lover who is equally passionate about modern design and contemporary art. Finding the right frame for your art is not a simple task: the frame must complement the artwork, and many antique frames have become damaged over time. I also am attracted to design mix, and the juxtaposition of contemporary art displayed in antique frames. In my own home I practice #MixAntiquesAndModern, and art is key my design aesthetic.
I’ve been called an antiques matchmaker: someone introduces antiques to the people who will love them. As part of Antiques Diva services, we also connect our clients with antiques trade artisans and craftsman. I was delighted to be introduced to expert frame and art restorer Diego Salazar, who I think of as a frame matchmaker who matches frames to artworks by Rebecca Vicars, and am delighted to share Rebecca’s guest post with you.
The frame is the Cinderella of the art world
“The frame is the Cinderella of the Art world”, Diego Salazar once remarked. There was a time, in the not so distant past, when a paintings’ original, period frame was often disregarded in favor of a more contemporary frame choice. Over the last 30 years, however, these antiquities have become increasingly admired and are now regularly honored with exhibitions around the globe.
Diego’s collection is a veritable museum where the evolution and nuance of this specialized architectural language can be explored. Here, you can literally walk through and experience hand-carved visual vocabularies from around the world and throughout time.
A spectacular and comprehensive collection of hundreds of original European and American frames dating from the 15th to 20th centuries are found here on display. Upon entering the grand and lofted hallways, with each corner turned, another enclave of history and place is revealed. Light diffused through tall and broad arched-top windows serves to illuminate the patina of the centuries-old gold and ebony finishes.
Creating the perfect marriage between art and frame is an art within itself. Scale, ornament, the karat and patina of gold, the specificity of the character revealed over time. The frame specimens in this collection have been collected over 40 years and are a direct reflection of Diego’s finely honed eye and sensibilities. From the rippling details of a 17th c. Dutch profile, to the continuously carved panel of a Louis XIV, the examples you’ll find here are exquisite representations of each particular genre and style.
In addition to his knowledge and experience in antique framing, he is an expert in frame restoration, conservation and one of America’s premier dealers in museum-quality antique and replica frames. His work can be found at El Museo del Prado, MoMA, Chicago Art Institute, Cummer Museum of Arts & Gardens, Parish Museum, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, as well as in private collections around the world.
You are invited to experience this world of lovingly curated group of antiquities with us.
Please contact us to schedule an appointment for viewing and consultation.
- 21-25 44th Ave, LIC, NY, 11101
The Antiques Diva™ & Co now offering contemporary art tours in select cities in Europe and Asia.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Toma – The Antiques Diva
How To Buy Antiques in Sweden
If you’re an antiques dealer wanting to buy antiques to stock your store, it’s hard to know how far the US dollar will go when buying antiques abroad – especially when you’re sourcing high-end Swedish antiques, which are the most prestigious and best quality of European antiques – but also the most expensive. Daniel Larsson is our native-born Swedish Divo Guide. Daniel enjoys helping clients find the right piece at their desired price point. With his extensive travel including trips to the US, England, India, Norway, Spain and Holland, Daniel comes to the table with an international mindset. When he’s not guiding Diva clients, he runs a very successful business called 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 & decorative items. Daniel’s extensive knowledge of Swedish antiques is a huge asset to our company and to any client who books a tour with him, as he is sure to pass on some of his wonderful insights.
When antique dealers come overseas to buy antiques to fill a container with European antiques purchases to stock their store they often come to me with a budget of anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000. Their goal is usually to multiply their purchase cost 3 to 5 times.
We asked our Sweden Antiques Expert Divo Daniel, What can an antiques dealer buy in Sweden for $100,000?
Daniel recommends dealers stocking their store with Swedish antiques buy at least 30% STATEMENT PIECES – these are higher priced items and higher end in terms of quality – that will help establish your reputation as a dealer.
Also, remember when doing display space – Swedish antiques need air to breathe… room around them to look their best. And with your display space you’ve got the room to create the environment needed to set the tone of the collective!
Antiques Diva Tip:
Mix Mid-Century Modern in with these Period Pieces to Make Both Periods Pop.
Eclectic Mix of Perfectly Paired Contrasting Inventory Draws a Crowd.
General Price Points
- Pair of Arm Chairs $4000 – $6000
- Chest of Drawers (veneered) $3000 – $6000
- Cabinet $4000 – $5000
- Buffet $2500 – $4000
- Mirrors $2500 – $3500
- Sofa $2500 – $4000
- Console tables $3000 – $5000
- Chairs $1000 – $2000
Antiques Diva Tip:
For mirrors I often recommend clients go France as the price point on French mirrors is much lower than on Swedish – similar age and style for half the price.
To Stock Swedish Inventory in Your Store
You should consider stocking 3 kinds of Swedish pieces:
1. Period – Original Paint
2. Period – Repainted, Scraped, Retouched
3. Finer Statement Pieces
So much of what is on the market in the USA is “style” pieces – pieces that look like the period, but aren’t of the period. You want to be known for having REAL ANTIQUES. You want to set the bar that you are offering the best antiques money can buy. In my opinion the best quality – with the best profit margin – is Swedish.
Stay Tuned to Learn More Details about the upcoming Master Class Daniel and I will be leading at Dallas Market Center this June 2017.
How Much Can I Buy?
If you budget $100K to fill a 40-foot container, you can get approximately 50 Swedish pieces, including a combination of top quality statement pieces as well as a wide variety of excellent quality mid-range 17th and 18th C period pieces.
Here is a sample client budget for buying antiques inventory in Sweden:
30% STATEMENT PIECES
Price Range for Higher Priced Items and Higher End Quality
- Pair of Arm Chairs $4000 – $6000
- Chest of Drawers (veneered) $3000 – $6000
- Cabinet $4000 – $5000
- Buffet $2500 – $4000
- Mirrors $2500 – $3500
- Sofa $2500 – $4000
- Console tables $3000 – $5000
- Chairs $1000 – $2000
Statement Pieces You Can Buy
- 1 x Pair of Arm Chairs $5000
- 1 x Chest of Drawers (veneered) 5000
- 1 x Cabinet $4000
- 1 x Buffet $3000
- 1 x Mirror $3000
- 1 x Sofa $3500
- 1 x Console table $5000
- 1 x set of 8 chairs $8000
SubTotal: $36,500 – Approx 8 – 10 important pieces
70% NICE QUALITY PIECES
- Cabinet ca $2000 – $3000
- Chest of Drawers $1000 – $2000
- Tables ca Prices $500 – $1500
- Sofa $1500 – $2500
- Buffet $1000 – $2500
- Mirrors $1500 – $2500
- Chairs 500 – 1000 (per chair)
Nice Quality Pieces You Can Buy
- 5 x Cabinets ca $12500
- 5 x Chest of Drawers $8000
- 10 x Tables (includes side table and console) ca Prices $10000
- 5 x Sofa $12500
- 5 x Buffet $10000
- 5 x Mirrors $10000
- two sets of Chairs of 6 – 8 $12000
SubTotal: $75,000 – Approx 35 – 40 Pieces
TOTAL – $100,000K – Approximately 50 Pieces Total
What will it cost to ship these pieces to the US?
Assuming you’re shipping a 40-foot container and crate a lot of what’s going in the container, it’s a safe assumption to budget approximately €15K for shipping 1 exceedingly well container door to door. Granted –prices vary – so this is just a guideline – you could save thousands depending on your packing needs.
How long after my Antiques Diva buying tour will it take to receive my purchases?
Estimated lead time from payment of vendors: 2 – 3 weeks for collection and preparation + 25 days transit time + door transport.
- handling + container traction harbor € 700,00
- unloading collections + storage + charging packed goods into container € 1.100,00
- export packing /m3 € 45,00 OR
- crating for fragile items (based upon level of protection and m3) /m3 € 60,00-150,00
- fumigation (if needed: based upon nature of shipped goods) € 200,00-400,00
- weighing container (for customs) € 145,00
- ocean freight (port-port) Europe – US 40-ft € 3.400,00
- insurance 1,50%
- banking on behalf of buyer: included
Does not include duties and import taxes, demurrage or unloading at destination.
How do I price Swedish antiques for sale in the US?
We are not antiques dealers, but we work closely with dealers and designers to buy European antiques and negotiate the best price possible. Based on our experience, we find that dealers typically sell their pieces for at least 3 times over the purchase price.
Interested in booking an Antiques Diva Sweden Buying Tour? Email email@example.com to schedule a phone call to discuss your needs.
Toma – The Antiques Diva®
Myanmar Antiques Tours with The Antiques Diva
Myanmar – formerly known as Burma – is one of the least visited countries on the globe. Known as “The Golden Land” for the sheer amount of gold used to embellish everything from temples to lacquerware its a place where the men wear skirts known as longyis and the local women apply yellow looking make-up – thanaka– to their faces. The elderly warmly greet you with their blood red teeth (as a result of chewing betel nut) and monks making alms rounds are a regular sight. After years of being virtually closed to the outside world, economic sanctions have been lifted on Myanmar making this country one of the new frontiers for antiques sourcing.
Historically prominent when it comes to Southeast Asian antique furniture, Burmese teak has been always been highly prized and sought after. Few woods match teak for its durability and beauty, and the older the wood, the better the quality. But the variety of inventory available in Myanmar isn’t simply limited to Colonial, Victorian and Art-Deco Burmese antique furniture. An array of antiques abound from religious and temple architectural salvage and fragments to lacquerware, Chinese pottery, tribal Burmese textiles, antique wood carvings and Nat figurines, as well as brass and bronzeware. Our Myanmar (Burmese) antique tours Guide will custom plan an Asian antiques buying tour for you taking your wish list into consideration, maximizing your time and money by translating and negotiating on your behalf, and finally liaising you with an international shipper.
Do note that a visa is required for traveling in Myanmar and traveling with sufficient American cash is essential in the buying abroad process.
To book an Asia Antiques Buying Tour contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Antiques Diva™ & Co offers custom antiques buying tours for tourists and trade professionals to 14 countries in Europe and Asia. Whether you’re looking to buy one specific piece or fill an entire container, our personal shopping antique buying guides share their vast knowledge of secret sources to take you to all the right places. You can now book an Asian antique buying tour with The Antiques Diva to Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia – along with our repertoire in 8 European countries.
Chief Asian Diva Guide Angela Somwaiya has one of the most highly respected antiques shops in Bangkok, Paul’s Antiques, and over 20 years expertise sourcing Asian antiques. In fact, Angela is taking you to the many antique stores where she personally has been sourcing for her store. As one of the leading experts in Southeast Asian antiques, Angela’s design eye understands how to create a modern global mix with Asian and European antiques and art. Angela is an expert guide to sourcing Asian bespoke furniture makers using reclaimed teak, and how to up-cyle and repurpose found items.
The Antiques Diva & Co offers 2 private Myanmar antique tours; custom Myanmar tours can be combined with other Asian country itineraries and designed to meet our client’s needs:
1. Burmese Antiques Tours In Yangon, Myanmar
Available 7 days a week
One to Three Day Tour
Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is the largest city in Myanmar and home to Burma’s most iconic landmark the Shwedagon Pagoda. The glittering skyline dotted with the golden temples of Yangon is juxtaposed against the crumbling remnants of the bygone British era. This phenomena of the existence of a local and an imported culture gives rise to a selection of antiques that is vast and varied. While the British ruled for over 100 years, the Burmese do not consider these colonial-era pieces as part of their artistic heritage, thus offering an opportunity for savvy buyers in the know to source some of the most scarce antiques in Southeast Asia.
On this Myanmar (Burmese) antique tours your guide will take you into both private homes and antique warehouses as well as formal antique emporiums and markets. Having been a closed country for nearly five decades, American buyers are few and far between – giving you the opportunity to be first on the ground sourcing antiques in Myanmar. With very few antique dealers working with export licenses, knowing where to go, what you can buy and how to get your purchases exported is key to your success in buying antiques in Asia. While Colonial Era pieces are top in buyers’ minds, one should not neglect to remember there is so much more on offer in Yangon including religious and temple architectural salvage to lacquerware, Chinese pottery, tribal Burmese textiles, antique wood carvings and Nat figurines, as well as brass and bronzeware. On tour we will translate and negotiate on your behalf, maximizing your time and money. We also liaise you with a shipper to get your purchases home.
2. Bogyoke Market – Formerly known as Scotts Market, Yangon, Myanmar
One Day Tour
Weaving your way through cobblestone streets into the sprawling colonial maze of this famous covered market, the Bogyoke Market is essentially a Burmese Bazaar. As a foreigner shopping in Myanmar it’s an essential stop for buying tourist goods from handicrafts, jewelry and art to antiques. While the general perception is that not many antiques worth collecting remain on this tourist track, our guides know where to go – up back alleyways and stairs – where the truly hidden sources with noteworthy collections are tucked away. Experts in navigating the markets and separating the kitsch from collectibles, your guide will point out the antique of tomorrow as well as share her favorite sources for antique Burmese textiles and lacquerware, carvings and statuettes. On the surrounding streets around the market vendors set up shop offering antique opium weights and tattoo needles, old tools and antique implements such as measuring scales and irons.
Knowing when to go to score the best deal and how to bargain like a native are just a few of the skills your guide will teach you as she takes you on a Myanmar (Burmese) antique tours. On tour we will translate and negotiate on your behalf, maximizing your time and money. We also liaise you with a shipper to get your purchases home.
In addition, The Antiques Diva & Co offers Asian antique sourcing services for when your schedule does not allow Asian antique buying trips.
tip: To learn more about how to buy Asian antiques
Angela and I have an online course at MyAntiqueSchool: the 1st global course on how to buy antiques in Asia
Book a Tour with The Antiques Diva
Toma – The Antiques Diva
2017 European Contemporary Art Scene
cover image: Frieze London
If you’re interested in sourcing art in Europe for your design projects or private collections there are some MUST attend events in the ART SCENE in several of our tour cities; while traveling abroad for attending these art fairs why not also book an AD&CO custom antiques buying tour or art tour.
The Antiques Diva and Co provides custom, curated contemporary art tours in Paris, Berlin, Bangkok, London and Venice, and by request in our other European and Asian tour cities.
To inquire about an art tour contact email@example.com.
Berlin Gallery Weekend 2017
The 13th Annual Berlin Gallery Weekend will feature emerging and established artists from 47 galleries representing the diverse art scene in Berlin.
- Friday, April 28, 2017
- Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, 2017
11 AM – 7 PM
The 57th annual international Venice Biennial entitled VIVA ARTE VIVA will include 87 exhibitors and is “dedicated to an open dialogue between artists, and between artists and the public.”
- May 13 – Nov 26, 2017
Documenta Kassel, Germany
Documenta 14: Learning From Athens features contemporary and modern art and occurs only once every five years, 2017 venues have not been announced but will include a dual exhibition with Athens.
- June 10 – September 17, 2017
ABC Fair Berlin
Art Berlin Contemporary is held by Berlin galleries as a platform for international galleries to present individual works of contemporary art in Berlin; 2o17 is their 10th annual exhibition.
- September 14 – 17, 2017
Featuring over 1000 leading artists from more than 160 international galleries, Frieze London 2017 is their 15 annual 4-day art fair.
- October 5 – 8, 2017
Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain in Paris is a contemporary art fair that features established and emerging contemporary artists and offers a wide range of price points to ensure art is affordable to art lovers and collectors at all price levels.
- October 19 – 22, 2017
Heirloom Linen Trousseau: A Treasured Tradition
One of the reasons I love antiques is because they give a window into the soul of a country – it’s like anthropology or sociology! We can study how people lived in the past through their furniture, jewelry and textiles. Many customs have evolved over the centuries – as technology advances, we no longer need certain items which once were of great importance. However, some things in life remain constant—the need for sleep being one of them.
In the past, brides-to-be would build a linen collection for their future homes, an ongoing task that involved much care and excitement as they dreamed of the big day. Building a trousseau could be likened to registering for china and silver today. The goal was to amass a collection of bedding, table linens, and other household textiles by the wedding day to last for many years of happy marriage. Though some modern brides-to-be still practice the custom of building a trousseau, the tradition rarely involves the attention to detail it once did. Is this any wonder with the mass-produced bedding available in big box stores? While it may seem easier to simply purchase off-the-rack linens, I’ve got a special source that can change the way you think—or dream—about bedding. As Brand Ambassador for Pandora de Balthazár, I want to share some insider tips with you on the importance of building your own trousseau and just how to go about doing it – and best of all, this is something you can do for yourself. It doesn’t require a groom or bride. We spend 1/3 of our life in bed… should that time be spent with the most luxurious linens we can afford?
Collecting Beautiful Linens
Collecting beautiful linens in a meaningful way starts with knowing what your personal style is and what your needs are. Do you prefer sheets with delicate lace trim or are you a fan of a more minimal look? Are monograms your thing? While collectors can certainly value heirloom linens, anyone with a discerning eye and good taste can appreciate and use them. Many antique linens have been passed down for generations and can still be enjoyed today. Pandora de Balthazár happens to have one of the most notable collections of antique linens in the world, and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to building your own trousseau.
“In most European countries, and with a few American families, the preparation for a young bride’s trousseau once began at birth and often before,” she says. “Years before her betrothal, the future bride amassed enough linens for her bedding and tables to sustain her family throughout their lifetime.”
One thing to look for when considering longevity is a blue tint in antique linens.The bluing is usually in the thread and rarely fades, making these particular pieces highly sought after, as they are often ready to use. Trousseau Blue linens were especially a favorite for bridal bedding as only the best would do for the place where the bride and groom would consummate their marriage.
Determine A Budget
When building your own trousseau, it’s important to determine a budget first. This budget should include professional cleaning as well, since you want to maintain your antique linens. Next you want to decide what style fits your personality and home. From Victorian and Edwardian to Early American or even Asian linens, figuring out which style you love will help guide your future purchases. Speaking of future investments, it’s a good idea to come up with an initial plan for how you plan to use your trousseau. What sizes of linens do you need? How many sets of sheets would you like? Write all of this information down and keep it with you when you shop. And remember: Pandora advises you change your linens frequently – up to several times a week – not just once a week or every other week!
It’s also wise to consider repurposing linens. Since sizes of antique linens are so varied, pieces that were once tablecloths may make ideal bedcovers with a bit of alteration. The key is to choose pieces you connect to. Touch the embroidery, lace, and appliqués. This will aid you in understanding your tactile personality. Remember it’s not only about how pieces look, but also how they feel.
Regardless of the size or style of your trousseau, building it should be fun. It’s a great way to carry on a treasured tradition which will keep you in comfort for many years to come. Looking for an ideal place to start building your trousseau? Contact us at The Antiques Diva & Co and begin by perusing the inventory of Pandora de Balthazár.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
I’m beyond thrilled to share with you a guest post by Margaret Schwartz, owner of The Summer House, and the inaugural USA Antiques Young Gun of the Year. Margaret is an antiques powerhouse: she began her career working at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which played a key role in inspiring and developing her passion for the home décor business. After four years, she left to open her own shop, The Summer House in New Canaan, Conn. Margaret applies her signature styles and passion for home design to hand pick today’s best finds: upholstered furniture, fashionable jewelry, eye-catching lighting, exquisite rugs, fine art and more.
I have a confession. I am an antiques junkie.
Three years ago by a stroke of luck, I discovered The Antiques Diva through another favorite blog, The English Room. I was planning a trip to London and just by chance The English Room posted about antiques tours offered by The Antiques Diva, the brainchild of Toma Clark Haines. I was very intrigued because I love antiques but was hesitant to buy because I don’t have a degree in Decorative Arts. The Antiques Diva gave me the opportunity to buy with confidence. The moment I laid eyes on a lavender glass mid-century chandelier on Lillie Road, I was hooked. That was nearly three years ago, and I am about to embark on my next adventure with Gail McLeod, UK Antiques Diva, and Daniel Larsson, Swedish Divo.
I’ve taken a half-dozen tours with The Antiques Diva and I’ve learned quite a bit about how to prepare for a buying trip. Let me give you some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way.
Tips for An Antiques Buying Trip
Do Your Research
Antiques Diva tours are incredible regardless of how much prep you as a client do. However, these guides are seasoned vets and know all the best places to go for that perfect Venetian mirror your client covets. For instance with this upcoming trip, I am looking for pairs of chests, pairs of nightstands, cabinets, side tables, mirrors, and lighting. We usually create a shared photostream on our phones and post photos of past items I’ve purchased and loved, things I’ve seen and loved, or items that clients have requested I locate. Pinterest or a shared visual board would work, but we prefer the shared photostream because you can add detailed descriptions, measurement, and budget info and it’s private. Once the Diva or Divo Guide has an idea of what you’re looking for, he or she will tailor the itinerary to your needs.
Trust in your Guide
Your Diva or Divo Guide is there for you, no matter what you need. This is something that differentiates them from other buying agents. Your guide has access to some of the best secret sources in Europe. When I say I’ve bought from castles, I mean actual, real fairytale-esque castles. I’ve also dug through dirty warehouses because you really can find a diamond in the rough. If you prefer to only shop castles, let your guide know as far in advance as possible so she can schedule those calls for you. No need to storm the gates down; when they see it’s an Antiques Diva client, they will roll out the red carpet for you.
There is an art to negotiating, and in Europe you need a trusted hand to guide you through any cultural barriers. They will translate for you and help you negotiate prices. The dealers offer good prices because The Antiques Diva brings so many clients through, and there is power in numbers. Be prepared to bargain, but don’t insult them and your Diva Guide will help you walk that fine line.
Your Diva is also an expert in the industry. She can help you spot a piece that you might have overlooked, or conversely a piece you are interested in, but you didn’t see that replacement leg that would turn off your clients. You make your own decisions, but they will keep you informed and point out things you might not be aware of. Listen to what they have to say because they will impart wisdom to you and teach you so much about the industry. Gail McLeod, UK Diva Extraordinaire, has been such a tremendous source of wisdom and support, helping me grow my business and career, and she’s been with me every step of the way on all my antiques tours. She has become a fast friend too. I don’t know what I would do without Toma and Gail!
I cannot stress this enough. Set. Your. Budget. And then add 20%, minimum. There will inevitably be an absolute to-die-for must-have piece, and of course it comes when you’ve already spent your budget. Your budget can be anything. There is no minimum spend on these tours, but communicating your budget in advance with your guide will help set you up for success! Price-point is key so they know where to book your calls. A quick note, even when you do set your budget and go over, there will still be the one that got away.
I had the opportunity to buy the console from an Axel Vervoordt-designed castle that was on the cover of The Houses of Veranda book. What was I thinking passing it up? I was thinking, “Oh my god, I’ve been on tour for two weeks, and I’ve completely blown my budget!” There will ALWAYS be the one that got away! And that’s ok. My mom likes to say that it’s good to not get everything you want. Naturally, she is referring to the sable coat she has always wanted, but she got a gorgeous sheared mink with sable cuffs and that will do. Haha!
How can you help stick to your budget (+20%)? Transfer funds ahead of time! One of the best tips I’ve learned is that you transfer your budget, plus the 20% slush fund, to your shipper. While you are out on your trip, your Diva Guide will be writing up detailed purchase orders and you can keep track of your spending that way. If you don’t use the 20% extra (I’ve never been that disciplined) that’s fine. Your shipper can deduct their charges from that leftover amount. It’s all very tidy when done this way.
I learned the hard way that the dealers need to be paid immediately. Your reputation over there is everything, and if you drag your feet on payments, other dealers might hear about it. So pay promptly. Seriously. These dealers work so hard sourcing and restoring, and this industry already has razor thin margins. In order to keep these wonderful dealers in business, we must pay them promptly.
Just as important as the relationships you build with your Diva guides is the relationship you build with your shipper. Your Diva Guide can help you with that, but better yet, you can conveniently use the in-house The Antiques Diva shipping service. The Antiques Diva & Co. kicked off their shipping service last year, and using them will help streamline your experience. The fewer moving parts the better! And you absolutely need a trusted shipper. There are so many forms to fill out and information that customs needs. Getting a shipper who understands that process and guides you through it, or manages it for you, is absolutely vital. Plus, you want someone reputable, reliable, and experienced and The Antiques Diva knows quality when she sees it!
Day to Day Tidbits
- Wear comfy shoes. While Toma is always clacking in heels, my days of Barbie Feet (look it up, it’s real) are over since I moved out of the Upper East Side, and now I prefer a pair of fly-looking Chiarra Ferragni slip-on sneakers so I’m still stylish but can navigate barns and fields.
- Pack light, re-wear items. The dealers don’t know that you’ve worn that sweater twice before, and the Diva Guidess don’t mind. Trust me on that one.
- Take breaks throughout the day. Your Diva Guide will keep you fully caffeinated and fed, but you will both need mental breaks to review what you’ve purchased throughout the day.
- Take photos of everything. Now on your iPhone you can write directly on the pictures so you remember what the price was, the measurements, and what restoration was promised or that you need to do on your end.
- Be social! Get your booty into high gear with social media. Post multiple times a day and have a little fun with it. Yes, this is a serious job with serious people, but it’s also an absolute joy. And even though the company is called The Antiques Diva, the guides and you will get down and dirty so have fun with it! Show people what the behind-the-scenes of the business is!
Margaret (Modern Antiquarian)
How To Shop For Vintage & Antiques at French Flea Markets
Marché aux Puces and Brocantes
In France, flea markets are known as marché aux puces or simply, les puce, (the fleas). But googling “brocante” will take you off the beaten path to traveling flea markets that are only held a few weekends a year. They can be held anywhere from 1 day to a full 2 weeks. Bigger traveling flea markets in France will have billboards all over town advertising them – so when you see a sign stuck to a lamp post or a giant poster in the metro with the word brocante highlighted, get ready to shop! Brocantes attract vendors from all over France, selling everything from high-end antiques to vintage pieces and simply second-hand junk. Prices here are usually better and take you into neighborhoods you might never have reason to visit on your own. A great website for finding brocantes is www.brocabrac.fr. While the Paris Flea Market is a personal favorite and must-do (and The Antiques Diva & Co are the only official tour guides of Paul Bert Serpette at the Paris Flea Market), visiting other French flea markets in Paris and across France is ideal to shop for antiques and vintage pieces. Here are my top 3 brocantes in Paris – and my all-time favorite French flea market starts next week!!
tip: Check out our Antiques and Design Markets and Fairs 2017 Calendar for flea markets in France and across Europe!
While there is nothing more fabulous than getting lost in France and discovering some place (or something) magical, shoppers in the know research where to go before traveling overseas. We suggest you book an Antiques Diva tour so you can shop on the arm of a local who knows the area like the back of their hands – plus more importantly – has relationships with the vendors which allows you to get the best prices possible when negotiating. But if you decide to give it a go on your own, be prepared and do your research. Google the cities where you’re planning to antique, using keywords for the antiques and vintage pieces you want to buy.
On brocabrac.fr you will also find vide-greniers – essentially attic sales – set up in the center of town with anywhere from 50 to of 1000s of people participating. These aren’t professional vendors, but instead they private people wanting to sell their goods – think of it as a town-wide garage sale where anything and everything is for sale. While you’ll have to dig through second-hand clothes and used toys you can also find gorgeous antiques going for a song!
Salon des Antiquaires
If you’re looking for high-end antiques you want to go to a salon des antiquaires – a step up from a flea market or brocante – which can have second-hand and decorative objects. This will be more high brow and have higher quality pieces – but don’t let that phrase scare you – there are still bargains to be had. Remember French antiques are often 3 to 5 times less expensive in France than they are in America or Australia. Something selling for 2,000 Euro in the North of France might go for $6-10K in the USA. You have to spend money to save $$$!
Key French Shopping Phrases
Now that you know where to go whether it’s a puce, brocante, vide-grenier or salon des antiquaires you should know a few key phrases in French to get the ball rolling! Even if you don’t speak French, learning some basic vocabulary is worth it’s weight in golden Louis 15th antiques.
- Always start the conversation with a simple, Bonjour Madame or to catch the vendors attention try S’il vous plaît (SVP) Monsieur.
- Point then to the item you are interested in and ask how much it costs: C’est combien, SVP? or try Vous voulez combien?
- Ask how old it is? Quel âge a cette chaise? Ça date de quand? What wood it is? C’est quel type de bois? And where it comes from: Quelle est sa provenance?
- Don’t be shy – negotiation is expected. Ask for a good deal. Vous pouvez faire un meilleur prix? Will you make a better price? or C’est votre meilleur prix? or Vous pour faire mieux? Is that your best price? It’s best to ask the Vendor to tell you their best price BEFORE you offer a number – because sometimes they offer you more of a discount than you would have expected. If the piece is 100E and you ask for a best price, the vendor might come back and say 80E. You can then continue the negotiation – Will you take $70? Prenez Vous 70E? If said this way, the vendor might compromise on 75E. 25% is a reasonable amount to expect for a discount.
Be willing to walk away in order to get a discount. Leaving then returning to the piece helps with negotiation… but beware… you might just return and find your item SOLD to someone else!
- Verify they are giving you the export price – C’est le prix pour exportation? Is it too expensive? C’est trop cher! (said while batting your eyes!) A good deal? C’est bon marché – C’est un bon prix – C’est raisonnable. I’ll take it! Je le prends!
- And don’t forget to say Merci! Au Revoir!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva