The Green Man

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Dear Diva Readers,

As my Diva Guides and I shop all over Europe, we see a few consistent themes in antiques that span various countries and time periods – one recurring face that’s seen all over the antique world is the mythological “Green Man” which appears as sculpture, in drawings or as a representation on certain furniture pieces.

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The Green Man is usually depicted as a human-like face surrounded by or incorporating leaves, branches and vines. On rare occasions you may see a Green Woman or a Green Lion, but it is most often a male face and sometimes there is a body as well, also made of vegetation. Some representations will have a head completely covered in leaves while others depict a man’s head simply spewing vegetation from its mouth. Still others will have a more stylized head made up of vegetation such as leaves as eyebrows and vines as a beard.

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In some cultures the Green Man is thought to be a symbol of rebirth, nodding to the cycle of growth each spring. Other cultures view the Green Man as a deity, being lord over vegetation. Either way, he is a figure that has remained constant in several different cultures throughout the ages.

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The Green Man can be spotted in architecture from all over the world. Sometimes he is incorporated into a plaster ceiling while other times he is cast in brass and made into a door knocker. From secular buildings to religious places, the Green Man is a decorative element that crosses lines of class and religion. While it may seem strange that this “deity like” symbol would be seen in Christian churches, one must realize that early missionaries would sometimes incorporate local gods into architecture so they wouldn’t alienate new converts.

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Regardless of the origins, the Green Man is most definitely still a familiar symbol in antiques and architecture. The next time you’re out and about, try to spot one of these leafy faces!

Happy Hunting!

The Antiques Diva®

Antique Tapestries

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Dear Diva Readers,

Because we offer Antique Buying Tours for tourists as well as trade professionals, many of our clients are interior designers or antique store owners who want to stock their stores. Having these trade clients on tour allows us to have a glimpse into what styles are trendy now and what pieces remain classic in the world of interior decorating.  Tapestries are among the classic pieces since they have been around for centuries and continue to be used in homes across the world.

Antique Tapestries, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing European Antiques

Tapestries weren’t originally just decorative items. People of the ancient world would hang large textiles on their walls to keep the cold air out of their homes. As with most utilitarian aspects of the home, people began adding decorative elements to tapestries and eventually they became works of art in and of themselves. The weaving process became more intricate and certain weavers would create their own trademarks that they became known for. In fact, one way to identify the manufacturer of a tapestry is to look at its border. Different weavers would use unique border styles sort of as a signature to their tapestries.

Antique Tapestries, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing European Antiques

Countries like Italy, England Belgium and France became specialists in this art form, offering wealthy clients custom designed tapestries, perhaps depicting important people or commemorating important events. As with anything, tapestries were a way to show status and wealth. In Paris, high-class clients would have gold threads incorporated into their tapestries.

Antique Tapestries, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing European Antiques

Antique Tapestries, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing European Antiques

By the 16th century, the jacquard loom was developed in Flanders which made tapestries more accessible to the masses. However the skill of hand weavers cannot be matched and therefore the older and more intricate tapestries are often harder to find and more expensive.

Antique Tapestries, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing European Antiques

If you’re looking to purchase an antique tapestry, here are a few things to look for— see if there is a border on the tapestry. Often times the border is the first part of the tapestry to be destroyed, cut or deteriorate. Also observe the coloring—has the dye faded? Are the colors rich? Another thing to look at is the subject matter. Usually older tapestries depict Roman scenes while later tapestries incorporate hunts and other activities the noble class would have partaken in. Also ask the dealer if they know any history about the tapestry. Finding out where it came from and who owned it will not only be interesting but may lead to a discovery of an important historic provenance.

Antique Tapestries, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing European Antiques

Antique Tapestries, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing European Antiques

Antique Tapestries, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing European Antiques

If you would like us to help you source an antique tapestry or if you’d like to take one of our Antique Buying Tours, email us at [email protected].  We’d love to share our knowledge with you!

The Antiques Diva®

Edd in the Clouds

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Dear Diva Readers,

In July I wrote about attending the Antiques Young Guns Awards Ceremony in London.  That night I had the pleasure of meeting Edd Thomas, the mastermind  who choreographs the antiques collection at Edd In The Clouds where he focuses on antique and vintage furniture that suit the modern home.  He looks for pieces that have a real story to tell where possible. Most of Edd’s pieces date to the decorative art period of the 1850s-1950s including important designers and retailers.

Antiques Young Guns, Edd in the Clouds, Edd Thomas, Decorative Antiques, Marc Allum, The Antiques Roadshow, Gothic style Victorian mahogany dining table

Edd Thomas of ‘Edd in the Clouds’, winner of a Lorfords showcase prize during the Antiques Young Guns Awards with AYG co-founders Mark Hill and George Johnson

Edd explains, “There is nothing better than finding an unloved item from the dusty corner of one persons home and putting it pride of place in someone elses.”

Dealing is far more than just work for Edd and he is a proud member of the Antiques Young Guns movement, a passionate group of young people working in the Antiques industry.  Part of the awards ceremony in July was pairing Antiques Young Guns with trade legends for a mentorship program.  Edd Thomas was paired with Marc Allum of The Antiques Roadshow.

Antiques Young Guns, Edd in the Clouds, Edd Thomas, Decorative Antiques, Marc Allum, The Antiques Roadshow, Gothic style Victorian mahogany dining table

After the party we went for dinner with a group of Antique Young Gun friends and Edd was telling me about a recent purchase he’d acquired for his store -  a 10 seat Gothic style Victorian mahogany dining table which is one of the original tables from the opening of the Natural History Museum in London.  I love pieces with provenance.  When I buy antiques I’m looking for a story – for romance – for adventure!  I was hooked and immediately began asking questions.

Antiques Young Guns, Edd in the Clouds, Edd Thomas, Decorative Antiques, Marc Allum, The Antiques Roadshow, Gothic style Victorian mahogany dining table

Edd explains, “The Gothic style dining table seats 10 comfortably.  Constructed in solid Cuban mahogany it has aged beautifully.  With its 6 legs and very solid top, the piece dates to 1880-1881 and would have been used to display larger animals in either the main hall or one of the side wings of the museum.”  Indeed early photos of the museum show a very similar example with a giant stuffed crocodile on top!

Antiques Young Guns, Edd in the Clouds, Edd Thomas, Decorative Antiques, Marc Allum, The Antiques Roadshow, Gothic style Victorian mahogany dining table

The Natural History Museum, designed by Sir Alfred Waterhouse, remains one of the jewels of London. As with most civil projects the original costs of the building spiraled out of control. However, as Edd explains, “despite this the Treasury were still willing in Dec 1877 to sign off a substantial furnishing cost of £177,000 understanding the importance of the tables and show cases to the visitor experience. While Waterhouse designed some of the cases and benches himself, the majority of the furnishings were designed by Sir John Taylor  who was senior surveyor at the office of works and a joint designer of the British Museum. The detailing on the legs of this table is a common one found on other items throughout the museum even today and the table was most likely a designed by Taylor. It was most certainly constructed by the firm of W.Cubitt and Co.”

With changing needs this example was finally sold off by the Museum in 2005 to the previous owner and a quick tour around the museum today shows only one or two similar tables (but far smaller) still exist, making this almost unique. It comes with a letter of sale from the museum as well as relevant research Edd has collected from their archives.

Offered in good condition with great original patination to the top, this table is an opportunity to buy a piece of British history with a  story to tell!  Measuring  235cm long x 140cm wide x 77cm high – it’s priced £3700.

Contact Antiques Young Gun Edd Thomas of  Edd in the Clouds for more details.

Until Next Time,
The Antiques Diva®

French Cafe Chairs

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Dear Diva Readers,

Most often when clients come on an Antiques Diva Tour, they’re looking to purchase a piece of Europe and take it home with them. What’s wonderful about Europe is that each country has distinct historical styles and specific furniture pieces they are known for. In France, one of the quintessential pieces people think of when they imagine Paris is the French café chair.

Bistro Table, French Cafe Chairs, Paris Cafe Chairs, Rattan, Les Deux Magots

Anyone who has strolled the streets of Paris (or done so vicariously while watching a movie set in this romantic city) has seen row upon row of cafe chairs and tables, beckoning tourists and locals alike to sit and enjoy a cappuccino and a croissant.  I’ve whiled many a morning at Les Deux Magots and nearly 10 years ago when Les Deux Magots was doing a renovation I was able to buy some chairs direct from the famous café, commemorating our 5 years living around the corner from this landmark institution.

Bistro Table, French Cafe Chairs, Paris Cafe Chairs, Rattan, Les Deux Magots

Bistro Table, French Cafe Chairs, Paris Cafe Chairs, Rattan, Les Deux Magots, Antiques Diva Berlin Apartment, Terrace Furniture

I brought my Les Deux Magots café chairs with me when I moved from Paris to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Berlin where I currently call ma maison.  These chairs add a French flair to any seating area and are a great way to “bring Paris home”!

Bistro Table, French Cafe Chairs, Paris Cafe Chairs, Rattan, Les Deux Magots

Bistro Table, French Cafe Chairs, Paris Cafe Chairs, Rattan, Les Deux Magots

What I love about café chairs is that they work in so many situations. When used in a modern kitchen, they bring a sense of history and savoir flaire without being old fashioned. Use them on a front porch for effortless European style. Or do what I’ve done and use them on a terrace for casual outdoor dining that instantly transports you to another time and place.

Bistro Table, French Cafe Chairs, Paris Cafe Chairs, Rattan, Les Deux Magots Bistro Table, French Cafe Chairs, Paris Cafe Chairs, Rattan, Les Deux Magots

With a plethora of designs and colors, you can surely find a style to fit your taste. From classic and clean to whimsical and vibrant, the French bistro chair is the perfect piece to add into a space -  and being made of rattan, they’re durable! This makes them family and pet friendly, not to mention usable for outdoor rooms (thought I will note I keep mine in good condition by storing them in the covered area of my terrace when not in use).

Bistro Table, French Cafe Chairs, Paris Cafe Chairs, Rattan, Les Deux Magots, Antiques Diva Berlin Apartment

Where would you use these classic French chairs? Indoors, outdoors, in the kitchen, on a deck?

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva®

Special Group Tour in London for Designers

Special Group Tour in London for Designers

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Dear Diva Readers,

I’m delighted to announce that I’m teaming up with Steve Nobel, design industry sage and adviser, who links people, places and ideas through his consulting business Nobelinks for a special group tour in London this fall.   In addition to working privately with interior designers, Steve is renowned for taking exclusive groups of interior designers to destinations such as New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and – coming this September – London. Through exploring design abroad with like-minded professionals, designers are given the opportunity to explore first hand and sharpen their overall strategic outlook.

Nobelinks, Steve Nobel, Design Trust, Antiques Diva, London, English Antiques, London Design Festival, DECOREX, FOCUS at Chelsea Harbor, Design Strategy

For this upcoming British invasion partnering Nobel’s group with The Antiques Diva & Co was a natural connection.  The AD&CO takes people to places and introduces them to people they would not have access to on their own.  As a company, our mission is to make European antiques accessible, helping to navigate the international waters of buying overseas and introducing clients not only to antiques vendors but also to international shippers and to European life in general.  On our antique buying tours we lend our experience and long-term relationships to our clients, making introductions to off-the-beaten path antique dealers and giving designers inside access that usually takes decades to achieve. My business is based on relationships as we build a bridge between North America and Europe.

Meanwhile Steve Nobel explains, “The real benefit for the participants in my Nobelinks groups is the people; collegiality is based on trusted relationships. We give interior designers the opportunity to make not only professional connections, but, perhaps more importantly, to make personal connections. Profound connections are made in our groups that are life changing for our designers.” Past participants in these ventures include Mark Cutler, Sherry Hayslip, Skip Sroka, Wendi Young and many others.

Nobelinks, Steve Nobel, Design Trust, Antiques Diva, London, English Antiques, London Design Festival, DECOREX, FOCUS at Chelsea Harbor, Design Strategy

With the help of The Antiques Diva & Co, Nobelink’s Design Trust will delve deeply into design during the top industry events in the UK this fall, traveling abroad September 19 – 23, 2014 during the International London Design Festival, DECOREX and FOCUS at Chelsea Harbor. Going further afield into the English countryside, this intimate group tour will help designers curate resources from British town and country, visiting country houses, historic castles and some of the top decorative antiques dealers in the Cotswolds and Sussex. Designers will learn how buying antiques abroad can increase their profit margin while also giving them a competitive edge in the marketplace.

For more information email [email protected]

Cheers Mate!
The Antiques Diva®

Secret Compartments in Desks

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Dear Diva Readers,

As a continuation of our Back to School with The Antiques Diva series this month, I want to talk about something that sparks the imagination; something that brings out the inner child in all of us! I’m talking about secret compartments! What child, at some point or another, hasn’t dreamed of finding a hidden compartment in an armoire? Even as adults we enjoy reading mysteries where a secret letter is found in a hidden drawer.  Well these secret compartments are not just found in fictitious tales. For centuries, antique furniture pieces have possessed drawers with false bottoms and secret panels that were used to hold money, ancestral jewelry or legal documents.

Antique desks, hidden compartments, back to school series, Antiques Diva,

These compartments were often so well hidden that anyone who didn’t have knowledge of them would never know they existed. This was to keep thieves or snoops at bay. Today, antique collectors may find a hidden compartment in a desk or secretary that they didn’t even know was there!

And some pieces of furniture have not one, but several secret hiding places. Some spots may only be large enough to hold a letter, while other compartments are larger. The most typical place for a hidden compartment on a desk is in the central interior section. There is typically a small door flanked by two pilasters, and this entire section may be removed to reveal a hiding place behind. One also must inspect each pilaster, as there may be tiny hiding places behind them, only big enough to store a few folded pieces of paper currency.

Antique desks, hidden compartments, back to school series, Antiques Diva,

Antique desks, hidden compartments, back to school series, Antiques Diva,

False bottoms and moveable boards are another trick cabinet makers would use. Some sliding boards can only be moved by using the fingernail or a thin knife to nudge or lift them gently, revealing shallow hiding places. Some cabinet makers also utilized wooden springs which, if pressed at the right place, would release a hinge and open to a secret compartment.

Antique desks, hidden compartments, back to school series, Antiques Diva,

Antique desks, hidden compartments, back to school series, Antiques Diva,

The lesson here is that whether you’re shopping for an antique desk or already own one, make sure that you give it a good look-over and run your fingers over various surfaces to feel for seems or indents. You never know where a secret compartment might be hiding, and what might be hidden in it!

The Antiques Diva®

Shopping in Chiang Mai

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Dear Diva Readers,

I’m delighted that my friend Carla of CF Michaels is Guest Blogging again today giving a few tips on shopping in Chiang Mai. I’m currently in Thailand on vacation and her travel shopping tips have been invaluable for me so it’s a pleasure to share her tips with you. Carla is an American who has lived around the world from Berlin to Bangkok and wherever she goes she seeks out chicness to sell in her online global boutique.

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When I told Carla I was traveling to Chiang Main in Northern Thailand she dipped into her little black book to share her tips! She writes: “If you travel all the way to Thailand you really shouldn’t miss the Northern city of Chiang Mai, an inexpensive hour flight from Bangkok. Traditional handicrafts and works from extraordinary local artisans encircle the city. Independent vintage and antique shops dot the landscape. Side-of-the-road vendors are overflowing in architectural remnants and furniture. Day and night bazaars sell it all alongside live music and endless food venues.

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You can hire a taxi/driver for the day at a very reasonable rate, right from the airport – they’re waiting for you and know just where to take you, but being specific about what you are interested in will help you make the best of your time.

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Perhaps the best place to go is the San Kampaeng District – Hwy 106 – also known as the Handicraft Highway. Famous for silk and umbrella factories there is literally shopping at every corner! Although you literally could fly from Bangkok in the morning, shop all day, and return on an evening flight, if you have the time, lodging choices are top-notch… My favorite place to stay is the Four Seasons Chiang Mai which is out of town a bit but worth the additional taxi ride!

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Shopper’s Tips – Learning the local lingo!

Certain words are pronounced differently in Thailand based on your gender.

For example:

Sa-wat-dee-kah = Hello (Females)

Sa-wat-dee-kop = Hello (Males)

Kop khun kah = Thank You (Females)

Kop khun kop = Thank You (Males)

More importantly, and same for both:

Tao rai = How much is it?

Paeng = Expensive!

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Buddhas … Reverence for Buddha is a defining aspect of Thai culture. In an effort to safeguard historical and spiritual treasures there are specific laws regulating their export out of Thailand. It is important to know that any Buddha image over 12cm (5 in) cannot be taken out of the country without approval from the Fine Arts Department / Ministry of Culture. Shop owners should have legitimate pieces tagged and can provide or assist with certificates.

chiang mai shopping

Discount… While many vendors do not speak English, they all know and use the word “DISCOUNT.” Be reasonable, but feel free to use it too indiscriminately – everything is negotiable.

Morning Price… Thai merchants believe a sale before noon will bring them good luck & good fortune for the day, so they almost always will offer you a “Morning Price.” If they don’t, be sure to ask for it.

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Attitude … Thais are extremely friendly, gracious and hospitable and like for you to be happy. However they don’t respond well to loud, aggressive, impatient behavior – having an attitude will get you nowhere. There’s a reason it’s called The Land of Smiles. So smile, a lot!

On that note – Cheese!
The Antiques Diva® & FriendsCF MICHAELS GLOBAL BOUTIQUE

 

Antique Oyster Sticks

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Dear Diva Readers,

Part of the fun of taking clients on tour is that so many of them have such creative minds!My Diva Guides and I love to see what attracts each client’s eye and hear what they plan to do with their purchases. Recently on tour, a client purchased antique French oyster sticks. You may not be familiar with these, so I wanted to share a bit of history on them and also show you some ways they can be repurposed!

Originally these wooden oyster sticks were used by oyster farmers in the South of France to raise oysters. Exposure to the elements gave the sticks a rustic weathered patina while the spots where the oysters would attach gave the sticks several indentions.

Today, this once strictly utilitarian item can be repurposed in many decorative ways! Simply standing them up on iron mounts elevates them as sculptural elements in a modern space.

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Or have them made into lamps for a beach house.

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How about creating a unique mirror?

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Or use them as a fresh take on a classically shaped chandelier.

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Simply hung on a wall, they act as 3D art pieces.

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Who would have thought that something so simple as oyster sticks could be used in so many ways? I’d love for you to share with me what other ways you could see them being used! Leave me a comment!

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva®

Back To School With The Antiques Diva: The History of Desks

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Dear Diva Readers,

As part of our “Back to School with The Antiques Diva” series this month, I wanted to give you a little background on a piece of furniture that all students use— the desk! This once strictly utilitarian object has transformed over the centuries to become not only functional, but also a beautiful addition to any home.

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Long before the printing press was invented, anyone who wanted to have a written record of anything—be it a story, a legal document, or a personal letter—had to sit down and hand write it. Imagine if you wanted 50 copies of something! They all had to be hand copied! This required plenty of surface space as well as various slots to hold writing tools. Because many manuscripts were large and heavy, most desks or writing tables of this early period were large and hefty.

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As time progressed and carpenters honed their skills, desks began to take on a bit more of a decorative feel. Drawers with dividers in them were added to writing tables with room for inkwells, blotters and feather pens. Desks of the Renaissance period began to have more delicate features as opposed to the massive desks of previous generations.

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From about 1700 onward, desks could also be referred to as bureaus. These were sloped desks with drawers below and were often used by civil servants and scribes to copy legal documents. As societal class structures were an important part of life at that time, nobility and the upper class desired a different desk style to write their own personal letters on. This is where the secretary desk came in. Secretaries have a tall hutch atop the desk portion with a lid that can be lowered into a writing surface. The upper cabinet often holds books and other writing accouterment.

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Of course as professions became more precise, the desk evolved. Architects needed larger, angled surfaces to create plans, and these desks became what we refer to today as the drafting table. Professional office workers required dividers and pigeon holes to stay organized.

By the 1800’s, the pedestal desk became the standard type of desk in England and America. It still holds a very popular status today! You can find pedestal desks being used by anyone from an office assistant to the President of the United States. I suppose the idea of class-distinction from the 1700’s no longer applies. Talk about full-circle!

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Like any piece of furniture, desks have evolved with the lifestyle and needs of humans. The great thing about antique desks is that many of them that were made before the Industrial Age were hand crafted and are of excellent quality, making them good investments. Now, I think it’s time for some more homework!

Happy learning,

The Antiques Diva®

Mandarin Oriental Hotel

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Dear Diva Readers,

While staying at the Mandarin Oriental I was reminded of the simplicity of gracious and elegant living. Each day during our stay in Bangkok a new variety of fresh fruit was left daily in our hotel room – today these are Mandarin Oranges. How easy to replicate this at home with guests staying Chez Diva! These small touches – however simple – make the experience of staying either in a fine hotel or with a friend in their guest room more indulgent. What do you do to make your guest room at your home more inviting?

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Warm regards,

The Antiques Diva®

Antiquing in Bangkok

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Dear Diva Readers,

This August for summer holiday I’m leaving Europe behind and heading to Asia! And since I was traveling abroad in Thailand I sought out advice from one of the most savvy people I know asking Carla Stopler CEO of the E-commerce boutique CF Michaels to guest blog! Carla’s guest blog proves the New York Times commentary correct, “To travel across Bangkok is to see several worlds at once…infused with the Thai village traditions of hospitality and graciousness.”

Guest Blog – Antiquing in Bangkok by CF Michaels E Boutique

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I’m always at risk of wandering madly off topic when I first attempt to set the stage and sum up the vibe of living in Southeast Asia. The cultural landscape here colors everything you do in such a distinct way that I always feel compelled – it almost seems essential. Fortunately for all of us I have no problem staying on point when the point is shopping, and the scene here is like no other. It stands to reason that ancient cultures have a lot of interesting things hanging around, and from high-end showrooms to street markets to back-alley shops and village crossroads, Thailand is rich with treasures and curiosities.

bangkok 2nd photo insert after sentence from high-end showrooms to street markets to back-alley shops and village crossroads, Thailand is rich with treasures and curiosities.

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Antique and vintage venues are peppered throughout this urban sprawl. But without doubt the most internationally recognized shopping spot in Bangkok, with the largest mix of new, vintage, antique and everything including the sink, is the Chatuchak Weekend Market.

bangkok4 Chatuchak Weekend Market

By most accounts this market encompasses nearly 35 acres, with 27 sections and 15,000+ vendors selling items in roughly 11 categories. You can find everything from framed formaldehyde insects to jewelry to crystal chandeliers, wrapping paper to vintage clothes, aromatherapy and gongs, dishes and glasses and cutlery to Buddhas and wooden boats, doorknobs and oil paintings to baskets and antique chests, to, well, live pythons. To say it’s an assault on the senses is selling it short. More importantly, it’s a marvelous place to see a true cross-section of daily Thai culture – a must for the global shopping bucket list.

(Design industry icons Vicente Wolf and John Robshaw are fans – I’m always on the lookout.)

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Shopper’s Tip: Chatuchuk is officially open on Saturdays and Sundays, but most shops in the market are open for business by 10 – 11:00am on Fridays. You’ll have about 50% less crowd to navigate through. Additionally, you can find gems hidden in nooks and crannies on most any soi surrounding the market (“soi” is the Thai word for “street”).

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A significant amount of the antique furniture you find on the market in Bangkok actually comes from 18th-19th century China, as well as Myanmar (Burma), Tibet and occasionally India. What they do brilliantly here is repurposing – the piece as a whole may be relatively new construction, but most if not all of the typically teak parts are old.

Teak has been a protected national resource in Thailand for about 25 years and harvesting is prohibited. Trees that produce the resin used to make lacquer are also indigenous to SE Asia, so you see it widely used in the refinishing process.

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But here’s an important note to keep in mind when antiquing in Thailand: This is a massive international tourist market, and coupled with the on-going, ever-growing interest in the traditional styles and cultural and spiritual symbols of the Far East, it’s also the land of extraordinary reproductions in both quantity and quality. Authenticity can be a tricky area.

An antiques dealer here shared with me a tip that made identifying a particular piece of furniture seem far less intimidating. He said if you have a table made from a very large, single slab of wood, no visible joiners, common sense tells us it had to have been cut from a very large tree. And we of course know, the larger the tree, the older the tree. I filed that one away…

All that said, legitimate pieces are plentiful here, but if you’re a stickler for provenance and pedigree, if you don’t speak the language, and if you’re not an expert in identifying the real deal, your best bet is to shop the higher-end showrooms where you can communicate with informed dealers.

CF Michael’s Bangkok Antiquing Recommendations include:

OP Place

River City Antiques and Auction House

Silom Galleria

These three resources in particular are multi-story complexes housing vendors specializing in Southeast Asian antiquities and Asian art, sculpture, furniture, porcelains and ceramics, jewelry, textiles, carpets and more. In addition to their reserve of collectibles, a couple fun notes:

OP Place happens to hold court next door to the uber luxurious Mandarin Oriental, Thailand’s oldest hotel, which happens to be home to the most luscious cocktail in the world, the Thai Noon – having one on the riverside terrace is a cool way to beat the Thai heat!

The Mandarin and OP Place, as well as River City Antiques, are also perched on the edge of the Chao Praya River and can be accessed by boat, taking the whole shopping experience up a notch.

And Silom Galleria shares the street with various antique and collectibles shops and other shopping stops, as well as numerous custom tailors and reams of Thai silk (here I could rapidly spiral off topic).

Another trusted resource showcasing a beautifully curated collection of antique Tibetan and Chinese furniture, art and décor is Amantee. Formerly located outside the city in traditional Thai-style houses surrounded by a lush Zen garden, their new location sits in Bangkok proper. A couple things are particularly lovely about Amantee: 1) the owner, who loves to talk antiques and chat about origin and history, 2) its French café and bakery – nothing like a fresh baguette and fine wine to elevate a shopping day.

BIG thanks to The Antiques Diva for the opportunity to share a small snapshot of our current side of the globe! You can find more design and travel, where to follow us, and our E-commerce boutique at www.cfmichaels.com. All images CFMichaels.

Pop kan mai – See You Later!

Carla @ CF Michaels for The Antiques Diva & Co

Sourcing Bath Fixture Salvage

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Dear Diva Readers,

When taking clients on antique buying tours of Europe, my Diva Guides and I see all sorts of architectural salvage. It’s one of the hottest requests we have right now. In the countryside we come across yards and warehouses filled with antique bathtubs, sinks, and other bathroom fixtures that are usually priced very decently. But when buying architectural salvage that you plan to use (i.e. a bathtub), you want to make sure you’re getting something that is functional as well as beautiful.

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I am all about repurposing and incorporating antiques into remodel or new construction projects. I think antiques add a comfort and warmth to any space with their rich patina. However when it comes to bathroom fixtures, you want to ask lots of questions—to the dealer AND to your plumber and contractor. Make sure that your plumber is aware that you want to use antique pieces such as sinks, tubs and faucets. If they’re not comfortable working with old fixtures, you may want to find someone who is. Secondly, ask the dealer if the pieces you’re interested in have been refurbished for modern use. This is critical as vintage plumbing is often incompatible with today’s systems. You also want to look for any damage such as cracks. Of course a bit of wear is desired and a nice patina is a plus, but if you see actual cracks in stone, enamel or ceramic, you could run into major damage down the line.

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The good news is that most specialist dealers will be able to fix these problems or connect you with a trusted person who can. Of course, this also means that that really great deal you got on the tub may very well cost a whole lot more! But it’s better to know exactly what you’re getting into before making your purchases. It’s just important to weigh your options. Most vintage fittings are better quality than new ones however there are other factors like budget, timeline and functionality that you must keep in mind.

4) Marble Bassin Angle-M

Lastly, when shopping for antique bathroom fixtures, take a measuring tape and your room/plan measurements. You’ll also want to be sure that your floors ( and ceilings for 2nd story bathrooms) are strong enough to hold a fixture you buy. Cast iron tubs are heavy, especially when filled with water so make sure there is enough support to hold them.

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All in all, sourcing architectural salvage and incorporating it into your current home should be a fun process. With a trusted dealer, a skilled plumber, and a good vision, the possibilities are endless!

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If you’d like more information on taking an Antiques Diva & Co Architectural Salvage Buying Tour in one of our 8 tour countries – France, Belgium, England, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden, email [email protected]

The Antiques Diva®

Not Your Grandmother’s Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

While on tour recently in Milan, clients spotted this lovely vignette at one of our favorite sources. One thing is for sure: There’s nothing stuffy or old-fashioned about these antique and vintage pieces! I love when we find examples of antiques that read young, hip, and oh so fabulous!

Roberta

Happy hunting,

The Antiques Diva®

Confessions of a Shoe Diva

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Dear Diva Readers,

O ver at the Daily Basics I’m coming out of the closet sharing hints and tips on diva-worthy closet décor as part of my ongoing Real Life Decorating series where I tell where I personally antique shop for items in my home, telling what I paid and where I bought the items, giving readers real access to sources (and prices) internationally! My most recent post comes out of… or perhaps goes into the closet sharing inexpensive budget friendly ways to kit your closet as well as explains why I treat the closet like any other room in the house. Plus, I share what I like to call Antiques Diva Tenents… bits of wisdom such as “You Will Never Make a Bad Buy If Buy What You Love” and “The older you get the better you look in the mottled glass of aged mercury!”

Closet

Visit The Daily Basics to read the article in full!

The Antiques Diva®

Guide to Flea Markets in Tuscany

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Dear Diva Readers,

F lea markets reflect the colour, character and culture of a country.  They tell a story about its people and places, their toils and travels and they are the best places to pick up fun and inexpensive souvenirs and gifts to take home or unique and statement pieces if you are decorating.   Often with such great prices as a dealer you can take that gamble on something special that is a real show stopper for your vetrina… and be the talk of the town.

Locally-based Italian Antiques Diva Guide Susan Pennington shares her advice on Where to Flea Market in Italy - enjoy!.

Arezzo
… the biggest and one of the best known flea markets in Italy, dealers rise at the crack of dawn to travel from far and wide to tout their wares and you need to be quick to steal their treasures.   Held on the first weekend of the month,  there are over 500 stalls selling everything  from serious antiques to fun collectibles; the weird and the wonderful make it practically impossible to leave Italys best flea market empty handed.

Italy

Lucca
… this flea market is a labyrinth to explore, meandering through the beautiful and elegant piazzas of the city.   On the third weekend of the month, come rain or shine, you’ll find the monthly antiques flea market with over 250 stalls to peruse.   The surrounding area is filled with grand and elegant villas and this market has that same atmosphere…  calm and reposed, quality not quantity is the key;  from delicately embroidered cuffs and collars to monogrammed linens and centre pieces,  fine crystal chandeliers to gilded mirrors and garden statuary.

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Firenze Fortezza
…  set in the park of the imposing 16th century Medici fortress in Florence, and surprisingly less trafficked than you would expect,  you’ll find most of the shoppers are Italian.   Although small this flea market is a treasure trove for collectables;  ceramics, mid century table ware, artwork and religious artefacts.    Third weekend of the month.   Combine it with wither Lucca or Siena for a full day of flea marketing!

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Siena
small & intimate, the flea market takes place on the third Sunday of the month in the old market square under the shadows of the towering town hall.   Most of the dealers are local, some have stores or warehouses to visit too, on appointment.   There is a great stall of mid century furniture and vintage clothing.   Look out for agricultural pieces for repurposing or simply decorating, glass and ironwork.

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Greve in Chianti

… this flea market is one of the best kept secrets.  This little Tuscan village three or four times a year (April, May, September and October)  fills its piazza to the brim with wonderful treasures pulled down from the attics.    We’ve found signed paintings, and antique hand painted Florentine pottery amongst other things for next to nothing!

One final word of advice… curate your style, stay focused, be decisive, stick with a budget… but above all have fun!

La Dolce Diva – Susan
The Antiques Diva® & Co

Picture Perfect Pochoir

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Dear Diva Readers,

I was recently in Chicago to speak at The Randolph Street Antique Market and of course that meant that I was able to shop the vendors as well!  Because I am constantly shopping flea markets all over the world, I get excited when I see items that are unfamiliar to me. These are moments that I can learn from dealers and expand my knowledge of antiques. While perusing the Randolph Street Antique Market, I spotted a stall filled with lovely framed pictures of lovely ladies from the early 20th century. While admiring these beauties, the dealer approached me and shared more information— and that is what I want to share with you today!

Pochoir, Randolph Street Market Chicago, French Stencil Technique, Antiques Diva

It turns out that these illustrations are called pochoir.  In French, pochoir means “to stencil.” While I’ve seen these pieces frequently in France I had no clue this is what they were called!  This technique was introduced to commercial publishing in France in the late 1800’s and was developed into an exquisite art form. The artist would use a plethora of tools; anywhere from 20 to 250 stencils along with numerous paint colors, each requiring their own brush or sponge to be applied.

Pochoir, Randolph Street Market Chicago, French Stencil Technique, Antiques Diva

Pochoir was most popular from 1910 to 1930 in Paris, being featured in luxury magazines such as la Vie Heureuse and Gazette du Bon Ton. These publications appealed to the upper class, providing high fashion plates and articles on all aspects of life for the elite. The paper used to print these magazines was of the utmost quality allowing the prints to be detailed and beautiful. In fact, many of of the prints were enhanced with genuine gold and silver to give them an ultra-luxe feel. Because these magazines weren’t printed for the masses, great expense was made and much time was taken to create the ultimate in print publications.

Pochoir, Randolph Street Market Chicago, French Stencil Technique, Antiques Diva

The most famous fashion illustrators of the time, including George Barbier, Leon Bakst and Pierre Brissard, would draw the pochoirs of the most talented fashion designers such as Paul Poiret, Jean Patou and Vionnet.

Pochoir, Randolph Street Market Chicago, French Stencil Technique, Antiques Diva

Pochoir, Randolph Street Market Chicago, French Stencil Technique, Antiques Diva

Readers would thumb through a pochoir-illustrated book and immediately be struck by the effects of lush, vibrant colors and bold geometric shapes. Bright oils and watercolors seem to come alive on the page in an almost three-dimensional experience. 90 years later, these elegant drawings still hold their appeal as works of art. Much thanks to Suzanne Snow of Susie’s for educating me on these wonderful pieces!

The Antiques Diva®

Back to School with The Antiques Diva®

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Dear Diva Readers,

It’s August 1st and that means it’s time to start thinking about “Back to School.” Rather than dreading this inevitable time of year, why not celebrate it with me here on the blog?!  Every student, child or adult, needs a good desk to study from, and so today we’re going to learn about a very important antique desk: The Resolute Desk which resides in the Oval Office of The White House in America.

Resolute desk, Oval Office furniture, White House antiques, HMS Resolute, FDRs desk, JFK and John Jr, Antique desks

While this desk has been used by several United States Presidents, its history actually began across the pond in England. This stately desk was commissioned by Queen Victoria as a gift to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880. The wood used to make the desk were originally from timbers of an abandoned British ship called the HMS Resolute. The ship was discovered by an American vessel and returned to the British Queen as a token of goodwill.

Resolute desk, Oval Office furniture, White House antiques, HMS Resolute, FDRs desk, JFK and John Jr, Antique desks

Queen Victoria had William Evenden craft several desks from these timbers, including a writing table for herself. The name of the desk which she had made for the United States President is derived from the name of the ship from whence the wood came. The desk has been used by many presidents, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had the desk fitted for a modesty panel carved with the presidential seal to cover the kneehole to prevent people from seeing his leg braces. However he never lived to see the modification completed.

Resolute Desk, Oval Office furniture, White House antiques, HMS Resolute, FDRs Desk, Jackie Kennedy, JFK and John Jr, Antique Desks

Resolute desk, Oval Office furniture, White House antiques, HMS Resolute, FDRs desk, JFK and John Jr, Antique desks

Nevertheless, President Truman had the modesty panel installed when he took office in 1945. Prior to 1961, the Resolute Desk roamed about The White House until First Lady Jackie Kennedy decided to move the desk into the Oval Office and it still resides in this room today. In fact, the desk was made famous by a photograph of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, sitting at the desk while his son, John Jr., peeking through the kneehole panel.

Resolute desk, Oval Office furniture, White House antiques, HMS Resolute, FDRs desk, JFK and John Jr, Antique desks

The history of The Resolute Desk just goes to show why antiques are such an interesting part of our lives. Whether it’s the desk in the Oval Office or a desk in your home office, the fascinating story of each antique piece links us to the past while serving us in the present!

The Antiques Diva®

Shipping Antiques with Consolidations

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Dear Diva Readers,

We’re continuing our series on Shipping Antiques From Overseas. In the past week we’ve discussed various options for shipping antiques.  Yesterday we discussed how much it costs to fill a container with antiques – but what if you’re not planning to buy enough antiques to fill a container? How then do you get them home?  No worries mate, it’s still smooth sailing!

Consolidated shipments, Groupage, Shipping antiques from Europe, Antiques Diva Buying Services, How do I ship antiques from Europe

If you only want to buy a few pieces of furniture on your Antiques Diva European Buying Tour and haven’t bought enough to fill a container you can still ship your purchases home.  You have the option to either Air Freight your purchases home or to share a container with someone else.  This latter option is called groupage or a consolidation – meaning your items are “consolidated” in a container with other peoples goods – or “grouped” with others goods.

While the least expensive way to ship will always be a container (i.e., the more you ship the lower cost per cubic meter) both Air Freight and Consolidations/Groupages are good options.   Air Freight is faster but it tends to be a bit more expensive.  That said, however, it’s not always prohibitively so – make sure to ask your international shipper comparison rates so you can make an educated decision.

Consolidated shipments, Groupage, Shipping antiques from Europe, Antiques Diva Buying Services, How do I ship antiques from Europe

When you do a Consolidation or Groupage your purchases are sent with a container already going to your nearest port – this tends to take longer (can take several months) but is more cost effective than air freight and if your purchases are not time sensitive can be a cost-cutting way of shipping a few items of antiques internationally.

You pay a fee per cubic foot for the space used in the container.  But remember:  if you’re buying a chest of drawers, you’re not just buying the shipping space around the chest of drawers but you’re also buying the available space INSIDE the chest…so fill those drawers with smalls because it’s “free”!  You’re being charged for the air inside the drawers so you might as well fill them up!  Maximize every space and get the most bang for your buck!

The Antiques Diva®

How Much Does It Cost to Fill a Container with Antiques?

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Dear Diva Readers,

While we don’t do international shipping ourselves here at The Antiques Diva & Co we do liaise our clients on antique buying tours with international shippers to help them get their purchases home sweet home across the pond.  As such we get asked A LOT of questions about how it works to ship antiques internationally.  In general when queries come my way I direct them to the experts – making introductions to shippers we know and trust and have worked with long-term.

Perhaps the most popular questions after “Which international shippers do you recommend?” and “How much does it cost to ship a container?” is “How much does it cost to fill a container full of antiques?”  The answer to this question lies in the answer to the question, “How many antiques fit in a shipping container?”

How Much Does It Cost to Fill a Container with Antiques, Filling a container, Shipping antiques from Europe, Antiques Diva Tours, Antiques Diva Buying Services, 20 ft container

If you visualize a 20 foot container…it can hold approximately 40 medium size pieces of furniture.  Then to determine the cost of filling a shipping container with antiques you need to determine how much you are going to spend on average per item.  Chest of drawers could range anywhere from 100 Euro to 10,000 Euro depending on the age, quality, provencance, etc of the items you’re buying.  Buying 1950’s pieces cost a lot less that pieces from the 1750’s!

How Much Does It Cost to Fill a Container with Antiques, Filling a container, Shipping antiques from Europe, Antiques Diva Tours, Antiques Diva Buying Services,

If you determine an amount that you feel comfortable with as an average item of purchase and multiply that number times 40 you’ll have a rough ball park figure on “How much it costs to fill a shipping container with antiques?”  Obviously you’re not going to be buying 40 chest of drawers so this isn’t an exact science but it leads you down the path to determining what your budget should be for buying overseas.

How Much Does It Cost to Fill a Container with Antiques, Filling a container, Shipping antiques from Europe, Antiques Diva Tours, Antiques Diva Buying Services, Export Antiques,

Clients come to me with budgets ranging from 20,000 Euros to 100,000 Euros, saying this is the amount they have to fill their 20 foot container.  On average, serious buyers – Antique Dealers – seeking to fill their container with decorative vintage and antique pieces – the type that you see in all the magazines, chic and stylish, with a degree of age on them but not necessarily uber high-end – come to me with a budget of approx. 40,000 Euro knowing they may spend less or they may spend more depending upon the price point of the items they fall in love with.  The client I was just with found a slew of cocktail tables at 50 Euro each – this brought her average purchase down exponentially and she managed to save a significant amount of money off her anticipated budget.  However…cocktail tables weren’t on her buying list.  Sometimes in order to get the best deal you have to be open to what’s on the market when you’re seeking to buy.  The client will be able to retail those cocktail tables for about $600 USD each – so she is getting a heck of a profit on them!

How Much Does It Cost to Fill a Container with Antiques, Filling a container, Shipping antiques from Europe, Antiques Diva Tours, Antiques Diva Buying Services,

When shipping remember it’s better to overbuy and overfill your container than underbuy – the less you buy the more it costs per item in the container.  The best way to save money shipping is to squeeze as many items into the container as possible! And remember – shippers use every square inch! If you have a chest of drawers you can easily pack those drawers full of smalls so there is no wasted space!

Net, net – there is no easy answer on how much it costs to fill a container – but if you use this as a guideline for shipping antiques you’ll have a starting point in determining your budget for buying antiques overseas.

Happy Shipping,
The Antiques Diva®
(Hmmm…. today perhaps you might want to call me The Shipping Diva!)

Antiquing is Match-Making

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Dear Diva Readers,

Today our Antiques Diva Guide in Provence is sharing her thoughts on what her job leading buying tours really means.  Enjoy!

Caren writes:
Antiquing is a noble profession, a bit like match-making. For what could be nobler than to introduce two entities that were made for each other? I’m talking about match-making the past with the future: the bringing together long-forgotten treasures belonging to a past era with the hosts of special people, that set out every weekend to hunt for antiques- crazy for the vintage charm of pre-loved objects of art from another age. These people are exceptional. They can appreciate the value and history of pre-loved treasures. Their thumbs start twitching and they get excited when they see items with gilded patinas and irregular scratches. And in turn, the pieces from eras gone by are waiting, anticipating…sometimes restored but always lonely and forgotten.

Antiques Diva Provence Tours, Sourcing antiques in Provence, Diva Guide Caren, French Antiques, L’isle sir la Sorgue, Flea markets in Provence

For these items, there is now the hope for a new life. And it comes in the form of the recycling treasure-lovers. These are the people, the connoisseurs, who admire distressed furniture, rusty light-fittings, old paint buckets and rutted cutting boards. They can see the value of the history of a piece of furniture; they appreciate the significance and will treasure these objects, proud to have them in their care.

For many, the hunt is the fun, and where better to start than in the village of L’isle sir la Sorgue, a small town lying on the Sorgue River, between Avignon and Apt in Provence, France.

Antiques Diva Provence Tours, Sourcing antiques in Provence, Diva Guide Caren, French Antiques, L’isle sir la Sorgue, Flea markets in Provence

In the 12th century, L’isle sur la Sorgue was a small fishing village where the houses were built on stilts above a marsh. Later, in the 18th century, huge water wheels churned the water on the canals, creating power for the silk and paper industries. Today, the waters flow down two main channels in town, and many shops have their back-doors opening over the water, creating shady and pleasant nooks and crannies to explore.

Known also as the Venice of Provence, the town is a delightful destination for anyone interested in antiquing, decorative arts, brocante markets or gastronomy. It is here that you will find more than 300 antique outlets and flea markets in the old mills and weaving factories: a huge selection of antiques and decorative arts and sellers who cater to all tastes.

Antiques Diva Provence Tours, Sourcing antiques in Provence, Diva Guide Caren, French Antiques, L’isle sir la Sorgue, Flea markets in Provence

A wander through the village will uncover an astonishing range of antiques, suitable for all budgets. This is the perfect spot to find a treasure for your home. It’s like being in a museum but better, as you are allowed to touch and handle all of the art pieces on show.Whether you are looking for something small to display on a side-board or considering remodeling your entire house, this is the place to be.

Choose a perfect 18th century iron gate, formerly part of a French chateau, or a stone chimney piece. Or perhaps you’d prefer a grand marble stair case or a 19th century mirror that once adorned the entrance foyer of an art deco theatre, reflecting the images of opera-goers as they added their finishing touches.

If these items are too large, why not hunt for something smaller? Like kids on a treasure hunt, it’s a joy to rummage through the layers of history, looking for the piece that says, “Take me home!” From egg baskets to light-fixtures and antique iron watering cans, L’isle sur la Sorgue has it all.

Antiques Diva Provence Tours, Sourcing antiques in Provence, Diva Guide Caren, French Antiques, L’isle sir la Sorgue, Flea markets in Provence

During the week, the antique dealers comb the country-side, often driving huge distances to estate sales on the other side of the country. House clearances are holy grails for dealers. If successful, they return to their workshops where they may spend many painstaking hours reupholstering a chair, repairing a door or examining various points of workmanship on their newly acquired items, so that when the markets open again for business the following weekend, there will be a whole new selection of artifacts to offer, available for eager buyers and collectors.

No divining rod needed. Introducing a beautiful vintage antique to an antique lover can be a match made in heaven. It means that fine pieces of our history will once again find a home. What could be more perfect? Old pieces, recycled by those who appreciate the craftsmanship and at the same time, indulge their passion for the old and beautiful. What better profession is there than to be an antique guide in this paradise?

Antiques Diva Provence Tours, Sourcing antiques in Provence, Diva Guide Caren, French Antiques, L’isle sir la Sorgue, Flea markets in Provence

Diva Guide Caren Shopping in Provence with a Friend

Provence Diva Guide Caren – Filling in For The Antiques Diva®

 

 

 

How To Ship Antiques From Abroad

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Dear Diva Readers,

When you’re traveling overseas and shopping for antiques you have a few options on how to ship antiques home from abroad.  The first option is to only buy what you can pack in your suitcase.  This costs nothing and is perfect if you’re looking to buy a few trinkets or smaller items – but what if you’re really wanting to buy a lot when you’re overseas? The second option? Buy an extra suitcase.  When you’re at the Paris Flea Market they actually have stalls with suitcases for sale.  Pick up an extra suitcase and fill it to your heart’s content.  (It’s not a bad idea to bring a hand-held luggage scale with you on holiday so you can weigh to make sure you’re in the weight limit).

How to ship antiques from Europe, Perfectly Packables, Mail Boxes Etc, International shippers, Recommended International Shippers, Antiques Diva Tours

But what if you’re buying porcelain or other breakables? Do you really want to risk putting that in your suitcase? I didn’t think so.  Then we’re talking either the local post office or FedEx – hint the post office in Europe is always much cheaper than FedEx.  Plus at the post office you can buy the box for packing your purchases.  Investigate in the town you’re traveling if they have a Mail Boxes, Etc. I often pay to have Mail Boxes, Etc pack my breakables for me.  When Mail Boxes, Etc finds out that I’m using the post office to mail my box instead of them they often offer a discount off their services.  They are faster than the local post office so if you can get a bargain here it’s worth paying a little more for special handling to go this route.

How to ship antiques from Europe, Perfectly Packables, Mail Boxes Etc, International shippers, Recommended International Shippers, Antiques Diva Tours

How to ship antiques from Europe, Perfectly Packables, Mail Boxes Etc, International shippers, Recommended International Shippers, Antiques Diva Tours, La Poste

Now – you may not know this – but if you want to get a bargain in Europe – RARELY will you get that bargain on smalls.  The smaller, the more perfectly packable, it is the more expensive the price tends to be when comparing it with American standards.  On the other hand if you fall in love with an armoire it’s likely to be 1/3 the price you’d pay stateside. As I always say “Go Big or Go Home.”  The bigger the antique the better the price. But if you want to ship an armoire what’s a girl to do?  Hire an international shipper!   They will give you a cubic meter price – an estimate on the cost of shipping the item.  You’ll want to ask them door-to-door and specify that they include insurance on the delivery.  The price they give you may not be exact – it’ll probably be an estimate.  You’ll have the option to air freight the item or to put it in a consolidated container to ship home on the slow boat.  Find out the price difference between the two methods.  Be aware that delivery ALWAYS takes more time than you’re expecting.

How to ship antiques from Europe, Perfectly Packables, Mail Boxes Etc, International shippers, Recommended International Shippers, Antiques Diva Tours

For more help with your international antique shipping goods, contact The Antiques Diva & Co.  While we don’t do shipping ourselves we do liaise you with some of our preferred international shippers.  We’re always happy to help you get antiques home sweet home across the pond.

Happy Shipping!
The Antiques Diva®

Client Question- Sourcing Mid-century in Italy

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Dear Diva Readers,

As owner of Europe’s largest Antiques Touring & Sourcing company, I get inquiries of all kinds. While our tours are available for tourists and individuals looking to purchase antiques for themselves, we also get quite a lot of trade professionals (antique dealers, store owners and interior designers) looking to buy enough pieces to fill a container (or two!). I recently received an email from a client who wants to stock her store with Italian and French mid-century modern pieces. She had a few questions before booking a tour that are quite common, so I wanted to share my answers with you today on the blog!

Our client asks:
I own a store in America that specializes in vintage modern furniture and décor. Most of our Italian pieces we purchase through auction and they have strong provenance. I would like a more cost effective way of acquiring these pieces. Would you recommend taking a tour and if so, where should my buying tour be?

Mid-Century Modern in Italy, Mid-Century Modern Milan, Sourcing antiques in Italy, Antiques Diva Italy Tours, Sourcing Mid-Century in Europe, Filling a container, How to organize international shipping

Answer:
We are delighted to help you source mid-century pieces abroad by custom planning a tour to get you exactly what you’re looking for! I would recommend a three day tour in Italy to source Italian mid-century pieces. We would be taking you to our sources in Milan and further south into Tuscany for the best prices. Here’s a sample itinerary to give you a feel of what you’d be doing:

Mid-Century Modern in Italy, Mid-Century Modern Milan, Sourcing antiques in Italy, Antiques Diva Italy Tours, Sourcing Mid-Century in Europe, Filling a container, How to organize international shipping

Day 1Milan is brilliant for mid-century.    You’ll visit a variety of vendors from big to small, criss-crossing the city.  To save time we actually suggest doing this tour on foot and using public transportation (or, when needed, taxis – to be paid direct at taxi) as it’s the most efficient way to cover the ground needed without dealing with parking, etc.

Mid-Century Modern in Italy, Mid-Century Modern Milan, Sourcing antiques in Italy, Antiques Diva Italy Tours, Sourcing Mid-Century in Europe, Filling a container, How to organize international shipping

Day 2 -  You really need to go further afield, delving deeper into the countryside. Florence is 1 hour 45 minutes on the train from Milan and do-able in a day trip if you’re up for a long day.  You’ll find good prices and a great variety of inventory.

Mid-Century Modern in Italy, Mid-Century Modern Milan, Sourcing antiques in Italy, Antiques Diva Italy Tours, Sourcing Mid-Century in Europe, Filling a container, How to organize international shipping

Day 3 –  If you have the time I’d encourage you to consider the area in/near Arezzo for a 3rd day tour as you’ll find a plethora of mid-C pieces.   Here, our Guide will take you to our sources, helping you find the right pieces for your store.

Mid-Century Modern in Italy, Mid-Century Modern Milan, Sourcing antiques in Italy, Antiques Diva Italy Tours, Sourcing Mid-Century in Europe, Filling a container, How to organize international shipping

Your guide would custom plan your route, she will translate, negotiate and liaise you with international shippers to relieve all the stress from you!

We look forward to helping you source Italian mid-century abroad!

The Antiques Diva®

Antiques Diva Cocktail Hour: French 75

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On Friday evenings Chez Antiques Diva, Mister Divo (aka the Wine Guy) takes off his sommelier hat and tries his hand at mixology.  While each week he personally likes to try something new, testing new recipes for Blood & Sands, Horses Necks, Sidecars and various type of Martinis, I tend towards having a favorite drink – a signature drink.  9 times out of 10 when he asks my flavor I respond with a sigh…. “Give me Coco Chanel with a Dagger” –  my code name for the French 75.  It’s elegant yet packing heat!

Toma Clark Haines, French 75 Cocktail, Signature Drink, Champagne cocktail, Gin, The Antiques Diva

French 75 Recipe, per my husband:

  1. Put Champagne flute in freezer
  2. 1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
  3. 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  4. 1 1/2 oz rich simple syrup
  5. Fill shaker with ice, gin, lemon juice and simple syrup
  6. Shake like mad until well-chilled, then strain into chilled Champagne flute
  7. Top with Champagne (do NOT use a low quality sparkler…)
  8. Stir gently and rim the glass with the lemon
  9. Garnish with a long, thin lemon spiral and a cherry (I like to use a bing cherry if available)

 

Summer Antiquing in The Hamptons

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Dear Diva Readers,

We’re delighted that Tamara Stephenson, interior designer and author of lifestyle blog Nest by Tamara is guest blogging today, sharing her favorite design sources with The Antiques Diva & Co.  Out on the East End of Long Island in the area known as The Hamptons there are many shows, flea markets and specialty shops.  Tamara sources vintage and antique pieces regularly for herself and her design clients and today shares one of her favorites stops with us.

Guest Blog: My favorite antique shopping in summer allows me to gain more knowledge about items I collect.

By Tamara Matthews-Stephenson

Photographs by Gabby Stephenson

It is no secret that the annual East Hampton Antique Show is my favorite in the area, and set on the bucolic and historic Mulford Farm it is a special place to pick up quality pieces from reliable dealers.  Drawing from some of the best shops around the east coast, this show offers something for everyone’s taste from mid-century to Victorian era furniture and accessories.  I have gotten to know many of the dealers personally in this informal setting, which is located every mid-July on James Lane in the heart of the village of East Hampton on 3.5 acres of historic land, complete with a restored 17th century farm house and several barns and outbuildings, some of the oldest in Long Island.  The farm is even home to a historic windmill built by Dutch settlers centuries ago here in eastern Long Island. The show is set up with large billowing white tents spread throughout the grassy, pretty farm giving visitors plenty of room to meander the property and inspect the goods.

Nest by Tamara, Tamara Matthews-Stephenson, Antiquing in The Hamptons, The Antiques Diva, East Hampton Antique Show, Mulford Farm, Gabby Stephenson

Over the years I have found a cornucopia of lovely antique textiles, outdoor garden sculptures, furniture, mirrors and lamps.   I have even added to my Majolica earthenware collection.  One of my favorite antique dealers hails from the north shore of Boston’s seaside town of Essex. Andrew Spindler hand picks items both locally and internationally for his shop and the shows where he exhibits.  His booth shows rare and unusual furnishings that he arranges together in a stylish manner.

Nest by Tamara, Tamara Matthews-Stephenson, Antiquing in The Hamptons, The Antiques Diva, East Hampton Antique Show, Mulford Farm, Gabby Stephenson, Majolica

Each summer while visiting this show I find pieces to add to my collections.  This year I found vintage hand towels and monogrammed linens from a local vendor to give as a hostess gift.  Last summer, I picked up a cute, Irish impish-looking painted cement garden gnome from a Vermont dealer, promising to bring good luck to my garden.  I also found a pair of Faux Bois metal outdoor chairs for under my client’s pergola.

Nest by Tamara, Tamara Matthews-Stephenson, Antiquing in The Hamptons, The Antiques Diva, East Hampton Antique Show, Mulford Farm, Gabby Stephenson, Majolica

Over the past few seasons, I have added to my collection of Majolica earthenware from this show where a few dealers bring select and unusual pieces.  Majolica is a very specific looking, unique pottery often adorned with flowers, crustacean, seashells, vegetables and fruit, all of which were applied as tiny sculptures layered on top.  It was first made in Staffordshire, England around 1850, and taken from earlier tin-glazed procedures made by craftsmen in Italy during the 15th century. It became very popular during the opulent Victorian era when entertaining in the home was popular.   Majolica is a lead and tin glaze process that creates an opaque white film that is painted on the surface of pottery. First the piece is fired then a tin enamel is applied that once dries forms a white opaque porous surface. The complicated process produces unique pieces that are often colorful and bold.  I learned much about Majolica at the East Hampton show, and while talking directly with the knowledgeable dealers.  The informal atmosphere at the show is a perfect environment to learn more about items you enjoy collecting.

Nest by Tamara, Tamara Matthews-Stephenson, Antiquing in The Hamptons, The Antiques Diva, East Hampton Antique Show, Mulford Farm, Gabby Stephenson, Majolica

Each year the opening of the show is marked by a celebratory cocktail evening/gala where champagne and delicious food is served and provided by local caterer Brent Newsom.   Renowned interior designer Celerie Kemble hosted this year’s gala with live music performed by Jane Hastay and Peter Martin Weiss. Sponsors of the antique show include BNY Mellon Wealth Management, House Beautiful magazine, Channing Daughters Winery and Charlie Whitmore Gardens. The show is managed by Ferguson & D’Arruda of Providence, Rhode Island.

Nest by Tamara, Tamara Matthews-Stephenson, Antiquing in The Hamptons, The Antiques Diva, East Hampton Antique Show, Mulford Farm, Gabby Stephenson, Majolica

Thanks Tamara for sharing an insiders glimpse on antiquing in The Hamptons!

The Antiques Diva®

Meet Me at Market in Las Vegas

Meet Me at Market in Las Vegas

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Dear Diva Readers,

The Antiques Diva® is heading to Las Vegas!

Las Vegas Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva Speaking Engagement, Timothy Corrigan, Susanna Salk, Thom Filicia, Michelle Nussbaumer, Scott Eckman, Trends in Antiques, Trends in Vintage

Join me Tuesday July 29 from 3 to 4pm at Las Vegas Market in Building C – Room C174 as I discuss The Anatomy of Antiques: An Insider’s Guide to Trends in Vintage & Antiques, Sourcing Secrets Locally and Abroad and Must-Knows of Style”. I’m delighted to be one of the speakers featured in this original series of programs and educational sessions led by top industry influencers including Timothy Corrigan, Susanna Salk, Thom Filicia and Michelle Nussbaumer as well as a slew of other top names in the design industry! Scott Eckman, chief marketing and strategy officer of International Market Centers, explains, “We aim to deliver a compelling slate of programs that adds value to attendees’ experience and gives them meaningful takeaways that will benefit their businesses. This summer we are pleased to present a platform for thought leaders from both inside and outside of the home furnishings and gift industries that covers hot-button business issues facing retailers today, along with inspired trend presentations from top design authorities.”

Can’t wait to see you in Vegas!

The Antiques Diva®

Largest Louis Vuitton Collection in North America

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Dear Diva Readers,

While I’m traveling stateside this week speaking in Chicago and for Market in Vegas my dear friend and mentor, Catherine Russell, a writer, blogger for hire and social media consultant is helping out by sharing a guest blog post!

Catherine is one of those amazing people who divides her time between 3 residences – Chicago, Southern Florida and New York.  This not only makes her a great friend to crash with when traveling, but also means she is a great local “tour” guide, always showing me her newest discoveries. I particularly like visiting her in SoFlo as there are a plethora of brilliant antiques under the Floridan sun.  Today she’s sharing with you a recent “Divascovery” in Florida.

Catherine writes:
The storefront is attractive but not attention grabbing: I drive past ACP Home Interiors several times a day, always meaning to stop in and investigate what’s behind the Antiques & Country Pine sign. Finally, after several years of drive-bys, I stopped in. And discovered a South Florida gem I’d been missing out on.

ACP has been in Delray Beach, Florida for nearly 20 years, founded by Brit expat Bernard Molyneux and now run by Bernard and his wife Stephanie. I learned The Bernard Molyneux Collection is carefully curated with crafted reproductions of European-inspired furniture and is available in 30 retail stores across the country (as well as the Florida store, they have a shop and showroom in Atlanta that sells the collection).

ACP Home Interiors, Louis Vuitton Trunks, Delray Beach Florida, Bernard Molyneux, Lifestyle shop,

From my first steps into the lifestyle shop I loved the mix of light wood French Country reproductions, furnishings and accent pieces, blended with the blues and greens of seaside living: coastal chic, the way I live today. As I wandered from room to room of this former home which showcases the furnishings in a homelike setting, it reminded me of a designer showcase home: but with every nook and corner accessorized and styled to the hilt! The displays are luxurious, indulgent mélanges of practical necessities of daily life and totally decorative and charming imaginative vignettes depicting a charming but elegant seaside home.

Speaking with the team staffing ACP, I learned two things:

  1. There is a HUGE warehouse about 20 miles south filled with both reproductions and antiques furnishings.
  2. That warehouse holds most of Bernard Molyneux’s collection of refurbished Louis Vuitton trunks and cases.

Yes – you heard me right.  The REAL reason I’m sharing this discovery today isn’t the reproductions (which are gorgeous) but the gold mine off site.

ACP Home Interiors, Louis Vuitton Trunks, Delray Beach Florida, Bernard Molyneux, Lifestyle shop,

I had accidentally stumbled across one of the largest collections of vintage Louis Vuitton trunks in North America! I wandered the store, asked a few more questions, and promised to come back a day or two later with more questions.

ACP Home Interiors, Louis Vuitton Trunks, Delray Beach Florida, Bernard Molyneux, Lifestyle shop,

On my second visit to ACP Home Interiors, I reintroduced myself, and was surprised to find the gentleman answering my questions was Bernard Molyneux himself! Tall and charming, he told me a bit of his background, and when I explained my double-mission of exploring ACP for my own home décor needs, and sharing ACP with my friend The Antiques Diva®, he welcomed my interest, but assured me he was not involved with “blogging and twitter.” (This is clearly true: I’m a blogger for hire at HireCatherine and  my research proved that while ACP Home Interiors has an easily found website and Facebook page, the website has beautiful photos but is not updated: the most recent update on ACPInteriors.com appears to be 2012; however Facebook has regular updates- including some gorgeous photos!)

ACP Home Interiors, Louis Vuitton Trunks, Delray Beach Florida, Bernard Molyneux, Lifestyle shop,

I made the 20 mile trek down 95S to Deerfield Beach, followed some winding and confusing roads through a large warehouse are filled with look-a-like low rise building, and after a few missteps found a small sandwich board saying Antiques and Country Pine OPEN. I started wandering room to room, saw some LV cases interspersed among the stylized room settings, and the jackpot! The Louis Vuitton Room. Several dozen Louis Vuitton trunks and cases, an LV golf bag, framed LV ads, as well as several non-LV trunks cowhide, aluminum and leather. Jackpot!

ACP Home Interiors, Louis Vuitton Trunks, Delray Beach Florida, Bernard Molyneux, Lifestyle shop,

A few facts about Bernard Molyneux and his collection of refurbished vintage Louis Vuitton trunks and cases:

-Bernard began collecting vintage Louis Vuitton trunks and cases as a hobby over 20 years ago

-He amassed such a collection he could no longer keep them at home, and began re-selling them in his shop and at antiques shows.

-The collection is one of the largest of LV trunks and cases in North America.

-Most of the collection is now at the Deerfield warehouse and available for sale.

-Select pieces are featured in the ACP online catalog.

The Details:

-ACP Home Interiors 2050 N. Federal Highway, Delray Beach, FL 954.481.1917

-ACP Warehouse 1240 E. Newport Center Drive, Deerfield Beach, FL 954.481.1817

-ACP Home Interiors 1452 Chattahooche Ave, Atlanta, GA 404.231.1233

My tip: When shopping at ACP, ask if the market price is their best price. The ACP team seems very open to making sure the customer is happy and negotiating a special price!

Catherine Russell
HireCatherine
http://hirecatherine.com

Catherine Russel, HireCatherine, Blogger, Social Media Guru, Maven

Finding The Beauty in Everything

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Dear Diva Readers,

Vintage pigeon nesting bowls, Antiques buying tour Belgium, Sourcing antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva,  Repurposed Antiques, Decorative antiques

When I’m asked about my personal interest in antiques I’m often asked my favorite style – and while I can talk for ages about why I love 18th C pieces if I’m honest my tastes for antiques in general tend to be very eclectic.  For me, it’s less about the period and more about the decorative effect of the patina and the lines.  I’ve always believed you can find beauty in anything – these vintage pigeon nesting bowls are a case in point.  Found recently on a “to the trade” antiques buying tour in Belgium my clients and I were utterly smitten when we found them.  Though they fit into no real antiques category they are a wonderful example of how you can repurpose something purely utilitarian into an objet d’art.  Originally used as a place for pigeons bread in captivity to build a nest, they have a unique look that will add a funky, personal flair to my client’s home décor store!  When buying antiques think outside the box – utilize utilitarian pieces as decorative accents for chic diva-worthy décor.

Happy Nesting,
The Antiques Diva®

Best Hotels in Venice

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Dear Diva Readers,

Having recently launched our Antiques Diva® Venice Tours, I wanted to share a few favorite hotels on the island that our native Diva Guides and Antique Dealers Orseola and Chiara of O&C Antiques have hand selected for our Antiques Diva® clients! Should you find yourself traveling to this enchanted city on the water (or better yet, if you are booking an Antiques Diva® Venice Tour – mamma mia, the antiquing is shockingly good!), consider checking out these historic luxury accommodations.

Best Hotels in Venice, Metropole, Antiques Diva Venice Tours

Hotel Metropole

The atmosphere of this historic hotel is charming and cozy. Set over looking the lagoon, you are surrounded by gorgeous views of San Giorgio. With a convenient location just steps from the Art Biennale and the Piazza San Marco, this hotel also possesses an amazing collection of art and antiquities. An onsite restaurant that is surprising for the creativity of its award-winning cuisine also has a Michelin Star. Nothing is left to chance here and attention is paid even to the smallest detail.

Best Hotels in Venice, Palazzina Grassi, Antiques Diva Venice Tours

Palazzina Grassi

This 5 star hotel designed by Philippe Starck instantly makes guests feel like they are “temporarily Venetian.” Surrounded by houses of nobles, stores of merchants and a health spa, you couldn’t ask for a better location! No need to travel far if you’re hungry—the open air restaurant has a stunning view of the Grand Canal and the hotel itself is a stone’s throw from Piazza San Marco. Many international celebrities stay at this hotel, so don’t be surprised if you’re rubbing shoulders with the stars!

Best Hotels in Venice, Hotel Centurion, Antiques Diva Venice Tours

Centurion Palace

The motto of this hotel is “An antique setting with a futuristic spirit,” and that is exactly the way to describe it! Set in a period palace with an elaborate Gothic façade, you would imagine the interior to be classic old-school Venice.  Instead you are greeted by a futuristic decor and modern design. Surrounded on one side by the waters of the lagoon, and the other by alleyways of Venice, the palazzo is in the heart of this romantic city. And what’s in a name? A coin with the image of  the ancient Roman centurion Antinoo was found in the foundations of the hotel and has inspired its name. As if the glorious Roman empire wanted to pay homage to the grandeur of Venice, the greatest trading port of the ancient world.

Best Hotels in Venice, The Antiques Diva, Bauer Hotels, Palladio at Giudecca

Bauer Hotels (especially the “Palladio” at Giudecca)

While all 4 Bauer hotels are gorgeous, the Palladio at Giudecca is a favorite. Its main building was originally a XVI century convent, and has been converted to 37 rooms and 13 Suites.  The soft color palate of the decor is both warm and welcoming. Many rooms have beautiful lagoon views or enchanting garden views, some featuring small balconies. Some views look across the water to the Doge’s Palace, setting the scene for a romantic and dream-like experience.

The Best Hotels of Venice, The Antiques Diva, Ai Reali

Ai Reali

This 4-star Luxury rated Hotel is located in an ancient aristocratic Venetian palace of the 17th century, in the historical center of the city, between Rialto and Piazza San Marco. On site are a restaurant, a bar, a conference center and a wellness center—everything you need! Another Palace, Palazzo Gussoni, which dates back to 1500 and was supposedly designed by Pietro Lombardo, is located on one of the hotel wings.

Best Hotels in Venice, The Antiques Diva, Palazzo Barbarigo

Palazzo Barbarigo

Almost like the set of a 1940’s glamorous movie, the guest rooms and suites of Palazzo Barbarigo are situated on the two floors of the palace and overlook the Grand Canal. The interiors are decorated in Art Deco style and are oh-so-chic! Feathers, fringe, and plumes pay homage to the Venetian setting while adding the glam factor to this beautiful palace.

Best Hotels in Venice, The Antiques Diva, Liassidi Palace

Liassidi Palace

Looking over the Rio di San Lorenzo o ‘dei Greci’, a typical Venetian canal, the Liassidi Palace Hotel is set in a 15th-century palazzo. With a concierge service available 24 hours a day, your wish is their command.  The decor marries contemporary design and 18th-century Venetian Style. Arrive in true Venetian style through the ground floor’s direct water entry from Canal San Lorenzo. Perhaps enjoy a drink at the hotel bar where they specialize in several international cocktails. The hotel is equipped with an elevator and equipment to provide access to all areas of the hotel for guests with limited mobility.

Best Hotels in Venice, The Antiques Diva, Palazzo Priuli

Palazzo Priuli

A short distance from Piazza San Marco, this palace is situated on the banks of two canals in a charming corner of the city. The facade of the structure features original frescoes by Palma il Vecchio, which bear witness to the Priuli family’s wealth and prestige. The interior of the hotel maintain classic Venetian character and charm with late 20th century Renaissance style furniture, wrought iron chandeliers, Murano glass, and oriental rugs.

Best Hotels in Venice, The Antiques Diva, PALAZZO VITTURI

Palazzo Vitturi

Hotel Palazzo Vitturi is located in the heart of Venice, a few minutes from Saint Mark’s square and Rialto Bridge, and a stone’s throw from many of Venice’s other treasures. Located in one of the most prestigious areas of Venice, this 13th century Venetian palace boasts fresco paintings, gothic architecture and elegantly furnished rooms. This 3 star boutique hotel also has all the modern amenities any guest would require.

Best Hotels in Venice, The Antiques Diva, La Porta D Oriente

La porta d’Oriente

“The Door of the East” lies in the heart of Venice and offers a more quaint Bed and Breakfast style stay. The B & B overlooks the beautiful field of Santa Maria Formosa, and is just 5 minutes from San Marco. Occupying the first floor of a Venetian palace, it is accessed via a private bridge. Being a private residence, guests experience Venetian daily life, including beauty, magic, dreams and a life that still runs with the natural rhythms where the measure of time is marked only by the speed of our steps.

Ciao,

The Antiques Diva®

Special Group Tour During Maison Objet Fall 2014 Paris

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Dear Diva Readers,

For those of you who are coming to Paris this September for Maison Objet I’ve got a SPECIAL OFFER for you!

The Antiques Diva, Paris Tours, Maison Objet Group Tour, Sourcing Antiques in Belgium, Shipping Antiques from Europe

Oh la la… Extend your stay in Paris during Maison Objet this September 2014 to antique in the Belgian countryside where the bargains abound. Join Toma Clark Haines, CEO of Europe’s largest antiques sourcing and touring company The Antiques Diva® & Co, on an exclusive, all-inclusive, jam-packed 2 Day Group Tour buying antiques in Belgium, departing Paris 7am September 10 and returning back to the City of Light the night of September 11, 2014.  Choreographed specifically for interior designers to build their little black book of sources, this intelligently composed antiques buying tour takes you off the beaten path to antique warehouses, by-appointment-only stores and to some of the best Belgian sources for buying abroad.  Liaising with international shippers we’ll help get purchases home sweet home across the pond, taking the mystery out of sourcing abroad.

All Inclusive Group Tour includes:

    • 2 fully-packed days off the beaten path on an antiques buying tour in Belgium, visiting more than 10 secret antique sources – some of the largest antique warehouses and most exclusive by-appointment-only stores.
    • Round trip ground transportation from Paris to and throughout Belgium
    • 1 night hotel in Belgium
    • 2 breakfasts
    • 2 lunches
    • 2 dinners

Wine and other beverages and snacks on tour

 

Price 1100 EURO per person (approx. $1500 USD).
Deadline date August 1, 2014 

To RSVP or for more information contact Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva & Co European Tours – [email protected].  In addition to this special GROUP TOUR going on during Maison Objet as always each weekend of the year we offer our private, one-on-one custom tours of the Paris Flea Market as well as further afield in 8 countries – France, Belgium, England, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden.  Private tours in Provence & London pair perfectly with Parisian trips to Maison Objet.

See you soon!

The Antiques Diva ®

Bright Bazaar

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Dear Diva Readers,

I read blogs for several different reasons. Sometimes I want inspiration; other times I need information; still other times I just want to see what is going on in the world. But what I love about decorating and design blogs is that they inspire us to live better at home. Most of us spend a majority of time (and if not quantities of time, then most definitely quality-time) at home. One blog I follow is Bright Bazaar by Will Taylor.  I first met Will when we were both selected for #BlogTourNewYork several years ago and have been following his catapult to fame ever since!  His keen eye for spotting and using color takes the fear out of decorating with hues of every kind.  And now, his musings on color can be found in a fabulous coffee table book calledBright Bazaar: Embracing Color for Make-You-Smile Style.

#BlogTourNewYork, Will Taylor, Bright Bazaar, Inspirational Design Blogs, Decorating with Color, The Antiques Diva,

#BlogTourNewYork, Will Taylor, Bright Bazaar, Inspirational Design Blogs, Decorating with Color, The Antiques Diva,

The book features over 350 photos of interiors from all over the world. Will shares his tips on introducing color into your home whether that be through accessories, painted furniture or bold patterned wall paper. Not only does the book provide inspirational photos (inspiration often being the first step of the creative process), it takes readers to the next practical step of decorating by giving advice on how to incorporate certain color palettes into specific rooms.

#BlogTourNewYork, Will Taylor, Bright Bazaar, Inspirational Design Blogs, Decorating with Color, The Antiques Diva,

#BlogTourNewYork, Will Taylor, Bright Bazaar, Inspirational Design Blogs, Decorating with Color, The Antiques Diva,

#BlogTourNewYork, Will Taylor, Bright Bazaar, Inspirational Design Blogs, Decorating with Color, The Antiques Diva,

What I love is looking through the book and seeing the connection between antiques and color. Vintage furniture is given a new life with a couple coats of brightly hued paint. Pillows add personality to a room when their covers are made from antique patterned fabrics. Even serious antiques like Bombay chests can have a fresh lease on life when lacquered in a bold color. If these dynamic photos don’t prove that antiques aren’t boring, I don’t know what does?  Will’s youthful perspective takes color (something that’s often scary) and antiques (something that’s often intimidating) and shows how both can live together in a modern, fun and playful way.

Now that’s what I call Make-You-Smile style!  Well done Will!

Colorfully,

The Antiques Diva®

Dries Van Noten Vintage Fashion in Paris

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Dear Diva Readers,

Dries Van Noten Vintage Fashion in Paris, Antiques Diva Vintage Fashion Tour in Paris, Paris Antiques Diva Tours, Les Arts Decoratifs, ,

Our Vintage Fashion Tours in Paris are among the most popular of our tour offerings – clients love vintage fashion shopping in Paris!  But have you ever wondered where fashion designers get their inspiration?  Paris Diva Guide Jennifer who leads our vintage tours gushed about how much she loved the Dries Van Noten Inspiration exhibit at Les Arts Décoratifs – Mode et textile  - at # 107, rue de Rivoli.   The first exhibit devoted to the Belgian designer the exhibit has been a raging success – it runs until November 2014.  Bringing together the elements that inspired Dries Van Noten, it’s an intimate journey though the artist’s universe, giving a rare inside glimpse into how one of the world’s leading fashion designers gains his inspiration.  Including everything from Renaissance curiosity cabinets to 19th C works by emblematic couturiers such as Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior, this exhibition highlights the passions that make this designer one of the best in the world.  Thanks to exceptional loans the exhibit is chocked full of multi-media masterpieces guaranteed to inspire vintage fashion fans!

The Antiques Diva®

Louvre Decorative Arts Gallery in Paris

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Dear Diva Readers,

It’s time to study abroad. No need to waste time at the La Sorbonne -  it’s time to go study arts and antiques at the Louvre!  I’ve always said that anyone interested in antiques should really spend time indoors at the museums in addition to at the flea markets so they can educate their eye on quality, but now more than ever I encourage you to take my advice!  The Louvre has finally reopened its 18th-century decorative-arts galleries after a nine-year, $35 million renovation during which time this wing was closed. The project was spearheaded by who else? That bastion of French Interior Design – Jacques Garcia!  But Monsieur Garcia didn’t make a dime off the project – he donated his time to the Louvre for the love of antiques.

French Interior Design - Jacques Garcia, The Louvre, 18th Century Decorative Arts Gallery, Lessons in Art and Antiques, The Antiques Diva, French Antiques

French Interior Design - Jacques Garcia, The Louvre, 18th Century Decorative Arts Gallery, Lessons in Art and Antiques, The Antiques Diva, French Antiques

French Interior Design - Jacques Garcia, The Louvre, 18th Century Decorative Arts Gallery, Lessons in Art and Antiques, The Antiques Diva, French Antiques

This 23,000-square-foot space has 33 galleries, including 14 period rooms faithfully recreated covering the period from 1660 to 1790.  With more than 2,000 objects spread over 35 rooms consider this the ULTIMATE LESSON in French Antiques! The Louvre’s collection of eighteenth-century decorative art – royal furniture, decorative bronzes, rugs, tapestries, gold and silver ware, porcelain, jewelry and scientific instruments – is one of the richest and most comprehensive public collections of its kind.  Each room is accurately reproduced with pieces only from that period. I’m not only going to go visit the new exhibit myself I’m scheduling an outing for my entire Paris team to go together with me this fall!

The Antiques Diva®
(seen here at the Louvre with my darling husband before a gala I attended there one magical night in Paris several years ago)

Antiques Diva at the Louvre, Toma Clark Haines, Paris, Louvre Pyramid,

Antiques Young Guns

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Dear Diva Readers,

This Independence Day I spent the day in London celebrating the 4th of July at an English antiques celebration!  While my American readers were watching fireworks I was hanging out with a whole bunch of fire crackers!  The Antiques Young Guns!

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

On Friday July 4th, The Rooftop Restaurant at Alfies Antiques Market in London was the place to be! The much anticipated awards ceremony for the Antiques Young Guns took place and I was delighted to be in attendance.  The Antiques Diva & Co has strong representation in this esteemed group of young people involved in the antiques trade. Two of our Diva Guides, Alys Dobbie of NanaDobbie and Daniel Larsson of D Larsson Interior, are members along with our Creative Consultant Andrew Skipper.  And, most importantly, our English Antiques Diva Agent who leads our tours in the UK, Gail McLeod, is one of the founding members of Antiques Young Guns along with Mark Hill and George Johnson!

 

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

There were eight winners of a showcase at the prestigious Lorfords@Babdown kindly donated by Toby Lorford and Lesley Ferguson, owners of Lorfords Antiques and one of these winners was our very own Antiques Diva London Guide Alys Dobbie! It was also announced that eleven entrants will be mentored by renowned antiques experts and dealers.  We are so excited that our Swedish Guide Daniel Larsson will be mentored by Robert Young! (Alas Daniel was busy leading a VIP client on a Diva Tour in Sweden so he missed the event – here I am on stage accepting the award in his place).

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Toma Clark Haines, Daniel Larsson

If you recall, earlier this year, I announced on the blog my favorite dealers at The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair.  Well one of my top picks, James Gooch owner of Doe and Hope,was presented the prestigious award of Antiques Young Gun of the Year 2014 by winner in 2013 Timothy Medhurst. I have to tell you, I really think James is “one to watch!”  He has an amazing eye and will be shaping the way we decorate in the future.

James Gooch Awards, The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

All in all it was a fabulous evening celebrating the next wave of antiques enthusiasts. A highlight of the evening was meeting Steven Moore from the Antiques Roadshow (a twitter friend turned Real Life friend).  From dealers to journalists to auctioneers, these young people are changing the world of antiques for the better!

Rock on Antiques Young Guns!

The Antiques Diva®

 

Portobello – Modenus Hotel Recommendation

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Dear Diva Readers,

We’re always looking for tips on favorite Hotels and B&Bs in our tour areas so when Veronika Miller, founder of Modenus commented on a Google+ photo we posted of Portobello Market saying that her favorite B&B was just around the corner from Portobello Road with its boutique shops, restaurants and teeming flea market, I knew I had to tell you about it – especially when I discovered what a wonderful bargain it was with rates starting at £ 55 per person per night!

The Main House, Portobello, London Hotel Tips, Veronika Miller, Modenus, London B&Bs,

The Main House
6 Colville Road
Notting Hill, London W11 2BP

Veronika explains, “I travel a lot, for business and pleasure and do what I can to stay away from big hotel chains in search of places that are intimate, have character and allow me to experience my destination as if I were a local. The Main House is a classic, small boutique hotel that feels more like you’re staying at the very stylish home of a good friend rather than a hotel.  The rooms are a fabulous Left Bank chic with hardwood floors, crisp white linens on the beds, Belgian linen drapes and original artwork. There are only a handful of rooms and very beautifully appointed so it’s hard to choose.  We loved ours for the very spacious bedroom (how often do you get that in London), huge bathroom complete with claw foot tub and of course the style of the place.  Caroline Main, the owner, took every care and made sure we had what we needed, including fresh brewed coffee served in silver and delivered to the room every morning at the time we asked. We never felt rushed to leave the room for the dreaded housekeeping call and with our own key to the building did feel like we actually lived there. So, from someone who spends half her life in hotels: If you love individuality and a very private ambiance with class at every turn, you’re headed to the right place.”

The Main House, Portobello, London Hotel Tips, Veronika Miller, Modenus, London B&Bs,

The Main House, Portobello, London Hotel Tips, Veronika Miller, Modenus, London B&Bs,

The Main House, Portobello, London Hotel Tips, Veronika Miller, Modenus, London B&Bs,

Thanks Veronika for a great London hotel travel tip!

The Antiques Diva®

Bastille Day

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Dear Diva Readers,

Everyone knows that I love all things French! So in honor of the French holiday Bastille Day on July 14th, I wanted to give a little history behind this “French National Day!

Bastille Day celebrates the beginning of the French Revolution when the Storming of the Bastille happened on July 14th, 1789 in Paris. The Bastille was a medieval fortress and prison located in Paris, and it was a symbol of the monarchy and their abuse of royal power over the masses. At that time, there were only seven prisoners in the Bastille but the people wanted access to the large quantities of arms and ammunition that were being stored there. Needless to say, they were successful at gaining access through force and thus began the revolution which would lead to a new government structure that would spread throughout France. The days of royal rule were numbered.

Antiques Diva, French history, Bastille Day, Bastille Prison, French Republic Guard on Horse, Eiffel Tower Fireworks, Toma Clark Haines

One year later, on July 14th 1790, the Fête de la Fédération was held to commemorate the Storming of the Bastille. King Louis XVI took an oath to the constitution. After the end of the official celebration, the day ended in a huge four-day popular feast where the “sans-culotte”celebrated with fireworks, and balls all over the streets. The “sans-culottes”, were the poor people, the working class and the peasants, who were not wearing the “culotte”, a kind of knicker-bocker which was the mark of nobility. They were wearing large pants instead. A few years later, when everyone became a citizen, the “culotte” disappeared.

Antiques Diva, French history, Bastille Day, Bastille Prison, French Republic Guard on Horse, Eiffel Tower Fireworks, Toma Clark Haines

One hundred years later in 1879, feasts were held to commemorate the Storming of the Bastille. In 1880 the Senate approved July 14th to be a yearly national holiday to celebrate the Revolution. Today, that celebration consists of a military parade on the Champs-Elysees, and in the air. It is actually the only day planes and helicopters are allowed to fly over Paris. The ceremony is followed by the president giving an interview to the press, talking about the situation of the country, recent events and projects for the future. At nightfall, fireworks light up the skies of Paris as well as all the cities and villages in the country, and everywhere in France you have balls in the streets and squares.

Eiffel Tower Fireworks, Antiques Diva, French history, Bastille Day, Bastille Prison, French Republic Guard on Horse, Eiffel Tower Fireworks, Toma Clark Haines

So there you have a little history on the day that the French Revolution began and the stirrings of democracy rumbled through Paris. For me, I think I will celebrate by opening a nice bottle of French wine!  Santé! Vive La France!

Antiques Diva, French history, Bastille Day, Bastille Prison, French Republic Guard on Horse, Eiffel Tower Fireworks, Toma Clark Haines

The Antiques Diva®

Save the Date: Chicago July, 26 at 2pm

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Dear Diva Readers,

randolph street market, Chicago Flea Market, Antiques Diva Speaking Engagements, Toma Clark Haines Public Speaking, French furniture styles

Oh La La… The Antiques Diva is bringing Paris to Chicago!  We’re excited to announce that Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 2pm I will be will be speaking in the VIP Cabana in Randolph Street Market giving a Style Guide Presentation and Tour of Chicago’s Randolph Street Market.   In a talk that discusses the major French furniture styles, identifying their key characteristics and utilizing modern day metaphors, this talk promises to share plenty of slightly scandalous stories from the past.   If French Royal gossip isn’t enough to bring you in for the event there will also be free French wines paired with cheese while The Diva shares stories from the past.  All attendees can enter to win 1 Free Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Day Tour and 1 Free Antiques Diva Chanel Day Tour in Paris.

To RSVP and pre-register for the Grand Prize, email our Antiques Diva Office Manager [email protected].

Meet Me In Chicago!

The Antiques Diva®

Flea Marketing in New York

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Brooklyn Flea, Flea Markets in New York City, Green Flea, Hells Kitchen Flea Market

Last week The Antiques Diva took to the streets in New York City with New York Spaces Magazine,sharing tips on where to shop in the Big Apple this summer for vintage fun in the sun!  Don’t forget – while I may be a European Diva, I was Born in the USA!

My NYC Top Flea Market picks include:

  • Green Flea
  • Brooklyn Flea
  • Hells Kitchen Flea Market
  • Artist & Fleas

Read more at New York Spaces Magazine!

The Antiques Diva®

Grand Hotel de Bordeaux

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grand hotel de bordeaux and spa, The Antiques Diva Bordeaux Tours, Sourcing French Antiques, Best Hotels in Bordeaux

One of the perks of being a Diva Guide is that you’re really required to check out fab hotels so we can make recommendations to our clients – and, as a result, we  test a lot of hotels from luxe high-end boutique hotels to more budget-oriented places to rest your head for our clients.  Last week Diva Guide Tara, our locally based Bordeaux Antiques Guide, spot checked The Grand Hotel de Bordeaux and she has declared this hotel 100% Diva Worthy – the perfect place for a splurge when traveling in Bordeaux.  Of course this classification comes as no surprise it was decorated by Diva Favorite Jacques Garcia!  And if the neo-classical façade in the “quartier des Grands Hommes” looks familiar then that’s because this mansion was designed by the same architect who designed Bordeaux Grand Théâtre.  Five stars now shine above this historic building which has succeeded in finding the perfect balance between its rich past and luxury services.

The Antiques Diva®

Save the Date: Paris Antiques Trade Fair

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Dear Diva Readers,

Often when working with trade clients we take them out of the cities to the countryside in Northern and Southern France to help them score better prices beyond la peripherique… but trade fair prices are coming to Paris this October 2014.

Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

It’s common knowledge that the best prices in antiques tend to be in off the beaten path places –  in addition to shopping the antique warehouses in the countryside there are great antique trade fairs in Avignon, Bezier, Montpellier, Chartres and Lyon.  But I’ve got great news – our friends at Cipolat who host those gorgeous antique trade fairs in Lyon and Montepellier are bringing the antiques trade fair out of the countryside and into Paris, making it easier than ever before to do wholesale antique shopping in the city of light.

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Join The Antiques Diva & Co for our inaugural tour of this special trade fair October 28, 2014 by emailing  [email protected] for reserving your tour!

  • This fair will have more than 15 nationalities of vendors represented!
  • And the buyers? More than 54 nationalities will be shopping the fair!
  • There are more than 500 vendors offering wholesale antique prices in Paris

How the tour works?

  • We’ll pick you up at your hotel and drive you to the suburbs where the fair takes place.
  • At the trade fair we’ll  translate, negotiate and liaise you with a shipper to help you get your goods home sweet home across the pond.

And if one day on tour is good – I must tell you a 3 or 4 day would be even better.  Consider booking  a multi-day tour to stock your store visiting the Paris Flea Market and then go beyond into French countryside in both the North and South of France as well as Southern England and Belgium.

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Montpellier, Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva®

 

Lavender & Antiques

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Lavender in Provence, Antiquing in Provence, The Antiques Diva Tours in France, Antique buying tours in south of France, Antiques Diva Provence Tour

While doing an Antique Buying Tour in Provence is divine pretty much any time of year, when you take an Antiques Diva Provence Tour in the summer months you get to combine Lavender & Antiques!  The prime season for viewing the lavender is from mid-June through early August when it’s harvested.  The scent of lavender is the essence of Provence. Each time I visit the south of France I bring home a tiny bit of Provence with me.  At the markets you can buy  hand-made linen sachets filled with dried lavender.  Tuck them in your chest of drawers and armoires so that when you open them you’re immediately transported to the south of France.

The Antiques Diva®

Greetings From America and Andrew Skipper

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Dear Diva Readers,

You may not know me but I’m Andrew Skipper and I’m one of the team members working behind the scenes at The Antiques Diva® & Co headquarters helping to make the magic happen!  You’ve heard the expression “it takes a village”? You may not realize this but The Antiques Diva® team is comprised of 18 people scattered across the continent.   As for where I’m based…that’s a difficult question to answer.  You see, I live 3 months in Europe then 3 in the USA, then it’s back to Europe for another 3 months then back again to the USA for another 3.  As an American interior designer, antiques dealer and lifestyle expert I was hired to help the company keep a fresh eye on an American perspective.  Toma (aka The Antiques Diva®) has lived outside of America for 14 years and she felt she needed a breath of fresh American air to remind her how we do things in the good old USA.  That’s where I come in… I am from a small town in northern Indiana, USA. So when the opportunity to live and work in Europe came, I was beyond excited! I had been on a tour of Europe just after college, which gave me enough time to do all the “tourist things,” which I loved. But this time I would be traveling throughout Europe for extended periods of time!  I was enamored with the thought of scouring flea markets, warehouses, and antique stores with Toma and her Diva Guides. Who better to introduce me to the antique world in Europe than The Antiques Diva?!

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

One thing that attracted me most about this opportunity to work with The Antiques Diva & Co was the European lifestyle—laid back, wine with lunch, beautiful historic surroundings— it all sounded so different from my life in Indiana. I planned to purchase treasures from each place that I travel. What I love about shopping, and antiquing in particular, is that each object has a memory attached to it. Not only the history of its former life, but the memory of how I acquired it.

The Antiques Diva, Tiger Rug, Belgian Antiques, Antique Shopping Tours in Beligum,

Every time I look at an antique tribal urn I purchased in Belgium, I am reminded of the day Toma and I spent, laughing with each other, sipping prosecco with vendors while she lay on a tiger rug (that’s a whole other story!). When I see the collection of pewter trophy cups on my coffee table, I think of my friends Scott and Jennifer, who were always up for hitting the Berlin flea markets with me on the weekends. A horse-hair covered pill box takes me back to the market in Parma, Italy, where I shopped with my new friends Carol Lee and Miller until we finally had to stop for a cappuccino break!  The top hat that hangs on my wall reminds me of my fantastic day spent at the Paris Flea Market with Paris Diva Guide Danielle, and then the macaroons and wine we shared afterward…how divine!

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

The vintage Turkish slippers I purchased in Bath make me laugh out loud, not just because of their fun appearance, but because the day I bought them was filled with laughter with my new friends Diva Agent Gail McLeod, Judith Miller and the Antiques Young Guns. The bird figures resting on my mantel bring back memories of slipping in and out of stalls at the Portobello Market in London with Diva Guide Alys Dobbie then popping into a pub for steak and ale pie. Yum! The antique white collar in my study makes me think of Anna from The Antiques Roadshow and our wonderful day in Antwerp. There are so many more objects and stories…too many to tell here.

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

I suppose, after thinking it over, that when I look at these various trinkets, I am taken back to a time and a place, and I am reminded of the people I was with. The people that effected my life and my outlook on the world. I am taken back to conversations— moments spent getting to know strangers who would become new friends.

Perhaps one of the most important lessons my time in Europe has taught me is that we are all more alike than we are unalike.  When it comes right down to it, we all just want to be validated. We want to connect—to know that we matter. We want to be heard.  Underneath the surface we are all asking, “Do you see me?  Do you hear me?” I had this notion that people in Europe would somehow be different from my fellow Americans. And while there are some differences, at the end of the day, we are all on this planet and in this life together. Antiques bring us together by allowing us to share stories.  They help us connect with the past and acknowledge our humanness. Through connecting and sharing, we realize that people are the most important things in life. It’s relationships, not stuff, that truly matter.

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

By surrounding ourselves with objects that have a story, we can remember the people in our lives each and every day. That, to me, is the real gift of shopping, antiquing and decorating. Collecting mementos that enrich our everyday lives by bringing back memories of happy times with people who we enjoy. For me, these various treasures are not just pieces of Europe I’ve brought back to America with me. They are pieces of memories, connecting me to the wonderful people who I met and shared some of the best times with. I’d say it’s time to get our there and make some more memories (and purchases!).  Who’s with me?

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

Be well,

Andrew Skipper

Say Cheese! It’s Another Shelfie

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Swedish Rococo secretaire, Shelfie, antique coral, taxidermied doves, apothecary jars, silver cache pots, vintage ink wells

In honor of yesterday’s dental appointment we’re discussing eclecticism in home decorating.  Tucked into one of the shelves in the Swedish Rococo secretaire in the corner of my living room I’ve displayed my dental mold on a shelf along with antique, leather-bound books and an inkwell.  I liked the way the white popped against the red shelves.  And while I thought this was a humorous accent I think my husband might just think it’s creepy!  Other shelves hold more antique coral, taxidermied doves, apothecary jars, silver cache pots and shells gathered on long ago vacations.   What are the eclectic touches you do in your home décor?

The Antiques Diva ®

Fish & Fleas

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Rialto Fish Market, Mercato del Pesce, Venetian Flea Market, Flea Marketing Tips, Flea Markets in Venice, Italian Antiques, The Antiques Diva Tours

When traveling in Venice one of my favorite things to do is wake early and walk to the Rialto Fish Market (Mercato del Pesce) to see the stallholders receiving their barge loads of seafood that feeds the locals and tourists for the week and the local chefs in town buying food they’ll be serving on that evening’s menu. But on Sunday the fish market closes and in its place a Venetian Flea Market (Mercato Della Pulci) pops up at the Fish Market!

Don’t you just love shopping for Fish & Fleas!

The Antiques Diva®

Travel Tuesday: The Antiques Diva’s Favorite Places

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Dear Diva Readers,

When being interviewed one of the questions I am most frequently asked is “If you had to choose one favorite place in the world, where would it be (and why)?” Such a tough question, but there are things I love about each place I travel.

As an American who has lived in Europe nearly 14 years (5 in Paris, 4 in Amsterdam and currently reside in Berlin) I have to say Europe is my playground.  As the owner of Europe’s largest antiques touring company I travel in 7 or 8 countries each month.  Waking up I never know which language to greet the day!  Saint Augustine said, The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”  If that’s true my life is a well-read novel… to choose only one favorite place feels quite simply an impossibility.

Top Travel Destinations, Paris, New York, Tuscany, Oklahoma, Thailand, Asia, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines Interviews

Top Travel Destinations, Paris, New York, Tuscany, Oklahoma, Thailand, Asia, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines Interviews

I love different places for different reasons. I grew up in Oklahoma  – and I love the serenity of slipping a saddle on a horse and riding across the salt plains.  In Paris I slip into my European life like someone else does their favorite little black dress.  I was born for Paris and it is here I feel most at home.  I dream in French.

new yorker hotel, Top Travel Destinations, Paris, New York, Tuscany, Oklahoma, Thailand, Asia, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines Interviews

tuscany, Top Travel Destinations, Paris, New York, Tuscany, Oklahoma, Thailand, Asia, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines Interviews

And I love New York. The excitement. The lights. The feeling that I’m in the center of the world that’s really just a small town where everyone seems to know everyone else. Meanwhile Tuscany takes me out of the city and reminds me of my country girl roots.

Top Travel Destinations, Paris, New York, Tuscany, Oklahoma, Thailand, Asia, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines Interviews

But to escape from reality I go to Asia which feels like a mysterious wonderland so foreign, pushing me out of my comfort zone and out of my own skin.  My husband and I area heading back to Thailand for our big vacation this year to go elephant trekking in the Golden Triangle and shopping in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  (Note: Watch this space – with the help of some of our locally-based Thai design and antiques industry friends we’ll be sharing some shopping tips this summer on Where to Antique and Shop in Thailand).

All said and done, at the end of the day, it would be impossible to choose one favorite place.  There are too many pages in the book of life to read.

Happy Traveling,

The Antiques Diva®

Rooftop Gardening Diva Style with Wine Corks

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Dear Diva Readers,

Rooftop Garden, Repurposing wine corks as mulch, The Antiques Diva, Berlin terrace

You know repurposing is the name of the game here at The Antiques Diva® & Co so it should be no surprise I even repurpose everyday items such as wine corks! My favorite place to end the day is on my rooftop terrace with a glass of gorgeous Chablis in hand and the summer sun on my face.  While I must confess I’m not much of a gardener, preferring to keep my rooftop garden simple and easy to maintain, if you look closely you’ll see that the mulch for our topiary trees is repurposed wine corks!

Rooftop Garden, Repurposing wine corks as mulch, Berlin terrace, Toma Clark Haines

Gardeners know that topping dressing garden soil with mulch is an effective step in conserving soil moisture and retarding weed growth. You can also use corks in lieu of pebbles in the bottom of planters! Now that, my dear readers, is what I call Gardening with Diva Style!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Chez Coco Chanel

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Dear Diva Readers,

Here at The Antiques Diva & Co, we often get tour inquiries from clients who want to purchase a piece of “Chanel history.” Of course our Paris Diva Guides know all the hot spots to score vintage Chanel garments or jewelry but they also know the classic haunts that Mademoiselle herself would frequent.  As you’re out and about shopping for vintage Chanel in Paris you can’t help but sashay past some of these landmarks while meandering from vintage Chanel shop to vintage Chanel shop. One such place on our Must See Diva Guide is 31 rue Cambon, Chanel’s apartment above her flagship store.  While not open to the public, from time to time  – on mega VIP occasions – we’ve been admitted entrance.  But even if you’re just walking by you can almost smell #5 in the air as you look up to her window from the street and imagine Paris as it was decades before… After all, not much has changed.

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

If you’re as enchanted by Madamoiselle as I am I want to share some photos and a bit of history about Gabrielle Chanel’s private apartment. One might picture a chic black and white flat, something similar to a classic Chanel suit. But the rooms above the Chanel store reflect anything but simplicity.  Coco lived large.  A smart mix of color and pattern saturate the place. The apartment is infused with rich details including shelf after shelf of leather bound books, most with red accents in the bindings. Black lacquered furniture and Chinese screens mix nicely with French antique pieces, allowing East to meet West.

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

Symbolism is another prevalent theme in this private residence. The camellia flower was an important symbol to Coco Chanel perhaps because it represents purity and longevity in Asian culture. She kept ears of golden wheat near the fireplace.  One might think this strange—until you know the meaning behind it. Wheat symbolizes prosperity and wealth, things that Chanel had not grown up with, but rather worked her way to.

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Coco Apartment

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

chanel-spring-2010-black-cuff-bracelet-with-gold-logo-print-profile, Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

These themes have continued to work their way into collections and ad campaigns even to the present day. Since Karl Lagerfeld took over the House of Chanel, he’s been incorporating Coco’s inspirations. For instance, his Spring-Summer 2010 collection featured golden wheat ears on belts, jewelry, and was embroidered on garments.

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Coco Apartment

Whether you’re designing an outfit, a room or simply looking for inspiration, Coco Chanel certainly offers plenty of ideas through the time capsule that is her apartment. I suppose one lesson here is that our experiences and aspirations influence our surroundings, and our surroundings, in turn, inform our work. Whether you’re a diehard Chanel fan or not, strolling the haunts of this iconic lady is something that should definitely be on your to-do list when visiting Paris!

If you would like information on booking an Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Tour or Vintage Chanel Shopping Tour, email [email protected].

Au revoir,

The Antiques Diva®

Portobello Market

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Dear Diva Readers,

The Portobello Market is one of the most famous markets in the world. It is actually many markets combined into one giant market selling bric-a-brac, second hand goods, vintage clothing & accessories, antiques as well as new items mixed in with fruits and vegetables.  Perhaps the crown jewel of the Portobello Market is the antiques section which is squeezed into a half mile of the Portobello Road near the Notting Hill Tube station. It may not sound like much, but believe me, there are enough shops and stands crammed into this vibrant section of the market to make one dizzy! The area is heaving with crowds on the weekend and it’s easy to get washed away with the tide of people working their way down the street and to miss the fabulous antiques galleries that line the road.

Portobello Market, Buying Antiques in London, Vintage shopping in London, Portobello Flea Market Tours, The Antiques Diva, Alys Dobbie

And while today it’s like Grand Central Station, Portobello Road was once just a country path leading from the Kensington Gravel Pits in what is now known as Notting Hill Gate, up to Kensal Green in the north.  In 1740, Portobello Farm was built nearby. The farm got its name from a town in Panama called Puerto Bello, because during the War of Jenkins’ Ear, Admiral Edward Vernon captured this town. Prior to 1850, the path near Portobello Farm was surrounded by nothing more than fields and orchards. But in the second half of the nineteenth century, Portobello Road began to take shape.  Shops and food markets started popping up to serve the wealthy dwellers of the crescents. As it developed over the next hundred years, other items were offered along this stretch of road and by the mid-twentieth century, antiques shops and stalls became the main-stay.

Portobello Market, Buying Antiques in London, Vintage shopping in London, Portobello Flea Market Tours, The Antiques Diva, Alys Dobbie

Today, every Saturday morning hundreds of dealers open their shops and set up their stands to reveal a diverse display of vintage treasures. While it’s best to arrive at some markets just after dawn, Portobello is a bit different.  There’s no need to beat the sunrise because many dealers won’t be set up that early. Get there around 8:30 a.m. and most vendors will be ready. You’ll want to get your bearings and hit the stalls you know you want to shop first thing to avoid shoulder-to-shoulder crowds which tend to begin forming around 11:30 a.m. One thing is for sure— you don’t want to arrive too late because the market starts to close down at 4:00 p.m.

Portobello Market, Buying Antiques in London, Vintage shopping in London, Portobello Flea Market Tours, The Antiques Diva, Alys Dobbie

While there are dealers that offer furniture and other large items, Portobello Market is the ideal place to search for smalls, tabletop pieces, and what I like to call “perfectly packables” — little treasures that fit nicely in your suitcase. From glass & crystal to silver and brass, there are certainly deals to be had. This market is also a great place to pick up antique books, lighting, small statues, and linens. Second hand and vintage clothing also abound. Shoes, handbags, jewelry and vintage garments line the walls of several shops, allowing you to purchase a piece of the past.

Portobello Market, Buying Antiques in London, Vintage shopping in London, Portobello Flea Market Tours, The Antiques Diva, Alys Dobbie

It certainly can help to have someone who knows the lay of the land and can ask for trade discounts. That’s where we come in!  Our Antiques Diva Guide Alys Dobbie loves taking clients through this jam-packed market, helping them find the perfect pieces.

If you would like to book a Portobello Flea Market Tour in London, email [email protected].

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

 

Client Feedback on England Antiques Diva Tour

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Dear Diva Readers,

We love nothing more than when a client takes the time to write a Thank You note after their tour.  This week our English Diva Gail Mcleod has been leading back-to-back clients on tour in England taking them to Sussex, The Cotswolds, down on the English Coast in Kent and through London.

gail mcleod, Antiques Diva, Antiques tour in London, Antiques Tour in Cotswolds, Antiques Tour in Sussex, Antiques Diva Tours

English Diva Gail Mcleod

After one of those tours, a client wrote:

“My mother and I had an absolutely fabulous time with Gail.  I could easily see why you named her the most knowledgeable woman in Antiques in England.  Gail took us to some truly fantastic shops and we were able to purchase even more than we thought we would.  This has been above and beyond our expectations and we’re so happy we did this!  I hope to be back again soon.

All the best,

Margaret”

Delighted to have another happy Antiques Diva client!

The Antiques Diva®

Secret Source: An Italian Tastemaker

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Italian vendor Salici Maurizio, Secret Source in Italy, Italian Tastemaker, The Antiques Diva, Decorative Antiques, Decorative Trendsetter,

Photo Credit: Jose Manuel Alorda

In the world of decorative antiques there are a handful of dealers who are the world’s top secret sources. These dealers sell to the top decorative dealers and in turn those dealers sale to the next rung of dealers on the chain and the process carries on until entire decorative movements – trends – are set based upon the inventory of a handful of vendors with artful eyes.

Italian vendor Salici Mauriziohas a collection of both old and new “lifestyle” inventory and he has created a style that has clients from around the globe flocking to him. As charming as he is stylish, Salici Maurizio is one of those trendsetters whose signature look is influencing the way we decorate today.

 

 

Bringing Antiques into the Present

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Venetian Antiques, Italian Antiques, Decorating with Antiques, O&C Antiques

While in Venice researching an article I was writing on O&C Antiques I had the opportunity to spend time in the Venetian home of Orseola Barozzi Rizzo. Visiting her family home tucked away near the San Toma Vaporetto stop I was reminded of how Europeans live everyday with the past a part of their present. In one corner of Orseola’s living room, on the edge of her 13th C courtyard which was once part of the local convent, she assembled a collection of pieces from the past used for the present. The Italian Chair is from the 18th C nestled against a 17th C armoire from Bologna. Positioned behind the chair on the radiator cover an 18th C Venetian Ecclesiastical alter candlestick shares space with a 16th C copper Tuscan Amfora – a jug once used for carrying water. Beside it sits an Indian gilt pedestal and above the setting – crowning it – Fritoer hangs on the wall. This 19th C plate from the Veneto was used originally for serving sweets. I loved how in one corner of the room each item came from the past but was very much a part of the present.