Blog

Italian 18th and 19th Century Furniture

Dear Diva Readers,

W hen clients come on tour to source antiques, it’s important that they do a little homework before crossing the pond. While we’re always happy to share our knowledge knowing for yourself what you’re looking for and what you’re looking at are important as you embark on the hunt – this knowledge will give you confidence in buying overseas whether our Diva Guide is taking you to the countryside to visit antique warehouses, city flea markets, or both. In Italy, Diva Guide Susan often takes clients all over Tuscany, scouring shops, markets, warehouses, and private residences for everything from ancient pieces to Mid-century modern. When looking at typical Tuscan antiques from the 18th and 19th century however, there are really three main styles to recognize. I asked Susan to explain a bit about those styles here on the blog.

Italy, as a peninsula, is an ancient country but in fact it was only united as one country in 1861. Up until that time is was ruled by various dominions, including those of neighbouring countries; France, Austria, Spain and naturally the customs and styles of these dominions were influenced by their rulers.

Even though Tuscany is a central region of Italy, Lucca, Florence and Siena each have distinct regional styles of furniture, in particular those of the 18th and 19th century. Nobel families dating back many generations were prominent in each province but there was also a burgeoning wealth from the textile industry in Lucca, banking in Siena and foreigners in Florence which further influenced the demand for important pieces.

The Lucchese Style
With the growth of the affluent middle classes large villas were built during the 18th and 19th century around the Lucca area, and many of these were silk and textile merchants. With new grand homes being built, the demand of larger proportioned and more elaborate furniture grew. More exotic woods were also available such as mahogany and fruit woods. Much of the 19th century Lucchese style was influenced by Elisa Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister and Princess of Lucca crowned in 1805. At the time, in fact, to adapt their homes to the evolution of the Empire style, the family commissioned local artisans to create furnishings in the main inspired by the French style, though suitable to the local taste. These “corrections ” in effect created a new style, best in features and lighter in the forms. While making clear reference to the Empire, still the variation is recognized as Lucchese style.

Neoclassical Carved Side Chairs
See a fabulous example available on 1stDibs of Italian (Lucca) Neoclassical Carved Side Chairs c.1810-1820

Neoclassical Carved Side Chairs-detail

The Siena Style
Siena did not fall under the same influences or dominations that Lucca or Florence did, being that it is a little further south. From ancient Roman times as a city, it has always enjoyed wealth, with large agricultural estates and summer houses for the wealthy city dwellers. Much of Siena was built on banking; in fact the first banks were introduced in the medieval period, as lending institutions along the old pilgrim’s path. Little has changed in Siena since that period, which is still strongly felt. The Palio horse race which takes place twice a year has changed little since its introduction. It was then that the city was divided into what are known as contradas, and it remains so to this day which has kept it a closed society. More local woods were used for furniture, such as cherry, chestnut and oak. The pieces, although large in proportion to the house or room were more functional than decorative. Furniture from Siena was a little heavier in style to that of Lucca.

Neoclassical Hand Painted Two Door Buffet
1stDibs Provides another wonderful example of this style! Neoclassical Hand Painted Two Door Buffet

The Florentine Style
Florence too has been influenced by many rulers and styles. Although there is much wooden furniture, perhaps one thing to look out for is its beautiful decoration. These Florentine artisans are still appreciated today for their delicate handwork, finely painted pieces and gilding. The latter a much softer colour with the gesso beneath than its southern counterparts. Decoration and colours tend to be more neutral and softer than those in Venice, but no less lovely and are most sought after.

Three Florentine Nesting Tables
A nice example of Florentine style is this set of Three Florentine Nesting Tables from 1stDibs
Florentine Sofa Table
Florentine Sofa Table from 1stDibs

As you make your way through Tuscany, you will be able to pick up on the different styles of furniture and decoration. With a keen eye, you will know exactly what you are looking at and be able to speak intelligently to dealers about their inventory. As anyone in the antiques industry knows, part of the joy of antiquing is knowing the story and history behind each piece. Hopefully this blog helps you distinguish between Italian styles!

Ciao,

The Antiques Diva®

Mid-Century in Belgium

Dear Diva Readers,

Serious shoppers in-the-know go to Belgium to buy antiques, vintage and decorator pieces at the positively brilliant prices. While it may be our smallest tour country geographically, Belgium makes up for its modest size with amazing finds at great prices! While you can certainly find fantastic antiques of several different styles including Flemish, French, English, and Swedish, Belgium is also home to some of the best Mid-century modern dealers in Europe.

Mid-Century in Belgium-Chair

Mid-Century in Belgium-side tables

Pick up any international shelter magazine and you will find Mid-century pieces being incorporated in every type of interior imaginable. In Belgium you can find an entire range of Mid-century pieces. From larger furniture pieces like seating, desks, dining room tables, and commodes to smaller furniture like side tables, livingroom tables, and side chairs, Belgian dealers are scouring Europe for the sleek silhouettes and sexy lines of Mid-century style. But they’re not stopping with furniture. Several of our sources offer gorgeous mirrors, decorative objects, and lighting as well. In fact, a lighting is one of the most popular categories clients are looking for right now. Belgian dealers stock a range of lighting options from huge mid-century glass chandeliers, to smaller chandeliers, standing lamps, desk lamps, and wall-fixtures. While it can be more difficult to find Mid-century artwork, we do have sources that deal in unique, qualitative and quantitative are from paintings to objects.

Mid-Century in Belgium-Chandelier

Mid-Century in Belgium-brass table

Some clients are looking for specific designer pieces that command a higher price due to their provenance. This is where our Buying Services can come in handy. We have very good sources for top-of-the-range exclusive and rare pieces of Mid-century furniture. We put the word out to our vast list of secret sources in our little black book, and when a particular piece becomes available, they let us know before putting it on the market. It’s a great way to add to a collection or source highly specific pieces.

Mid-Century in Belgium-buffet

For those who want the Mid-century look without the costly price tags, we certainly have seen a vast amount of pieces which are “in the style of” famous designers, but are offered at much lower prices. This is the perfect way to get the look you’re after without paying for the designer name. Regardless of whether you want to source designer furniture or simply get the look for less, you can find very reasonable prices in Belgium compared to what is for sale in larger American cities, or international websites which sell antiques.

Mid-Century in Belgium-metal chair

As far as trends go, we’ve seen clients buy a lot of Mid-century credenza’s, desks, seating, and lighting as of late. That means these items are popular and will be showing up in America stores, homes, and on magazine covers in the near future.

Mid-Century in Belgium-desk

If you’re interested in booking an Antiques Diva Mid-century Buying Tour in Belgium, I’d recommend a 2 to 3 day tour depending on the scope of your interest. Send me an email at info@antiquesdiva.com and we can talk about your wants & needs to determine the perfect custom tour for you! if you can’t make it over to Europe but still want to source Mid-century pieces, email me about our Buying Services. You may just find it’s easier to source antiques in Europe than you thought!

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva®

English Tea Caddies

Dear Diva Readers,

Here at The Antiques Diva & Co we offer Antique Buying Tours in 8 different countries. And while our Diva Guides are all united by their love for antiques, it seems that each country has something unique to offer. Whether it is a certain style, a way of living, or particular pieces specific to a certain country, we always try to show clients what makes each locale special. Often times clients want to take a piece home of whichever tour country they’re in, and we love that! Whenever I’m in England it seems that there are a few key things that come to mind—The Royal Family, great country houses, and of course TEA! Clients always enjoy stopping for a spot of tea in between antiquing appointments and participating in this quintessentially English tradition. Of course, many of our sources sell antique tea services, spoons, and caddies. Tea caddies make wonderful decorative accessories and can be beautifully displayed alone or in a collection. With a wide variety of caddies out there, here’s a bit of history on them.

English Tea Caddies-Silver
George III Sterling Silver Tea Caddy London 1783-1784 by Thomas Daniell
English Tea Caddy- glazed
Early Staffordshire Green Glazed Tea Caddy

Tea was introduced to England from China sometime in the middle of the 17th century. As it became popular and more in demand, the price went up and so did the tax. People began incorporating the ritual of tea time into their daily lives at home, making tea a necessity. Tea was taxed at an extremely high rate in the 17th and 18th centuries, therefore it needed to be kept under lock and key and this is where the invention of tea caddies came into play. 17th century tea containers were bottle-shaped jars made from glass, china, silver, and metal. However it was during the 18th century that tea caddies, box-shaped containers, became a typical accessory in private homes. As with any functional piece, tea caddies became more decorative with time and adapted to the needs of changing tastes and traditions.

English Tea Caddy-Regency
Regency Period Burr Yew Shaped Box
English Tea Caddy- Chinoiserie
English Chinoiserie Papier Mâché Tea Caddy with Pewter Fitted Interior

Some caddies had two compartments—one for storing green tea and one for storing black tea— as it became desirable to offer both types of tea. Many caddies also had a space to store sugar which was an integral component to tea drinking. During the early 18th century, tea caddies were made primarily of wood or silver and shaped like small chests. Caddies from the second half of the 18th century began to incorporate painted decorations, Chinoiserie motifs, and even straw work. Other materials used to make caddies included papier-mâché, tortoiseshell, and ivory. Cabinet makers and woodworkers began offering tea caddies to their clientele as well. The late 18th century caddies were made of pine, oak or mahogany and veneered in different woods such as native fruitwoods as well as more exotic imported woods, which gave the cabinet makers more scope for designs. This enabled the makers to make the best use of rich figuring in the wood as many surfaces could be cut from the most beautiful pieces.

English Tea Caddy- Tortoiseshell
Regency Period Tortoiseshell Tea Caddy

When it comes to early 19th century, we begin to see the Regency style reflected in tea caddies. With improved transport and trade, the culture in England had changed somewhat. The natural progression toward incorporating different cultures can be seen in the style of that time, and a departure from the old English forms. Anglo Indian and Chinese Export lacquer styles as well as materials like mother of pearl can be seen in the styles of tea caddies during this period. The neo classical influence of the 18th century began to effect the construction of tea caddies. Straight shapes and stylized ornaments were translated in the style of classical architectural forms in tea caddy design.

English tea caddies-collection
Collection of Late 18th / Early 19th Century Tea Caddies Variously Mounted

The second half of the 19th century brought changes as well. Social and economic growth as well as medial enhancements meant the population had grown exponentially. Increased trade gave opportunity to more people to increase their wealth and social standing. This meant the the demand for tea sky-rocketed. As tea drinking became a reality for people in small villages, as well as those in crowded cities, the English government was pressured to reduce prices on tea, and they withdrew the monopoly of the East India Company to import tea. With tea being imported from China as well as India, it became much more accessible. Of course this meant that all of the tea accoutrement increased in demand too, including the tea caddy. With new mechanical processes, it was easier to cut veneer. By this time timber was being imported from the Far East, Africa, the Americas, and New Zealand, meaning the options for variety were endless. From basic caddies for the average citizen to rare and valuable caddies made for Nobility, tea caddies, as with most material possessions, became status symbols.

English Tea Caddy-Silver Double
Silver Plate Double Tea Caddy, circa 1940

Today they can be pressed into service for their original purpose or simply enjoyed aesthetically for their beauty. Whether you prefer intricately detailed tea caddies crafted from exotic materials or a clean-lined elegant silver caddy, there is a style to suite every taste! If you would like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour of England, email us at info@antiquesdiva.com. We’d also love to help source English tea caddies for you though our Buying Services! It’s a great way to buy antiques abroad even if you can’t travel yourself.

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Sweden- Antique Buying Services

Dear Diva Readers,

While we are Europe’s largest antiques touring company, The Antiques Diva & Co also offers Buying Services for clients who can’t come abroad but still want to source antiques in Europe. With locally based guides in eight different countries, we have access to thousands of pieces and hundreds of sources throughout Europe. My email inbox is constantly filled with updates from my guides as they share fresh inventory they’ve found.

I recently received an email from our guide in Sweden, Daniel Larsson and had to share some of the fabulous pieces that are available through our Buying Services here on the blog! The fact that Daniel lives and works in Sweden means that he has the ability to source the best items Sweden has to offer. His experience in the antiques industry has given him the eye to discern whether pieces are period or reproduction and whether they are in original condition or if they have been restored. That means that if clients are looking for period pieces with original paint, Daniel can find them. Conversely, if clients want to spend less and are merely interested in the Swedish look, he can find 19th and 20th century pieces “in the style of” 18th century. The reason it’s so important to have an expert like Daniel with a keen eye is that the earlier period pieces cost quite a bit more than the later ones. If you’re not aware of the subtle differences, you may end up purchasing something at a high price, but with a lower value.

For those looking to source pieces that have all the style that is quintessentially Swedish, but at a much lower cost, here are some examples of pieces that are not period originals, but offer that Swedish look. Prices are listed in Swedish Kronor with estimated conversions to USD.

1. Gustavian style buffet / sideboard, ca 1890, H 101 W 150 D 50 cm, 18000:- Sek ($2209)

Sweden- Antique Buying Services-Gustavian style buffet

2. Pair of Gustavian style demi lunes, ca 1850, 8000:- Sek ($982)

Sweden- Antique Buying Services- Pair of Gustavian style demi lunes

3. Large Gustavian style cabinet, ca 1850, H 224 W 202 D 41 cm, 28000:- Sek ($3436)

Sweden- Antique Buying Service-Large Gustavian style cabinet

4. Pair of pedestals, ca 1860, H 90 W 37 cm, 7000:- Sek ($859)

Sweden- Antique Buying Service-Pair of pedestals

5. Empire style sofa, Ca 1890, H 100 W 180 D 66 cm, 18000:- Sek ($2209)

Sweden- Antique Buying Service-Empire style sofa

6. Gustavian style dinning table, H 76 W 260 D 91 cm, 15000:- Sek ($1840)

Sweden- Antique Buying Service-Gustavian style dinning table

If you are interested in our Antiques Diva Buying Services for any of our eight tour countries— France, Belgium, England, Italy, Germany, Holland, Denmark, and Sweden— email us at info@antiquesdiva.com. We’d love to help you source antiques abroad!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces

Dear Diva Readers,

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces-Toma

My personal fashion style is all about accessories. Fab fur stoles, big earrings, big rings, big necklaces… Hmm… I see a pattern here! I once shook hands with a man who commented on my ring… “You must have a really big personality to go along with that rock!” I absolutely adore jewelry – especially unique jewelry and I’m not alone when it comes to wanting one-of-a-kind statement pieces. In addition to helping clients buy antique costume and paste jewelry we also get frequent requests on Antiques Diva Paris Tours from jewelry designers asking for our help sourcing bits and bobs to make jewelry. A recent query got me thinking about all the things that could be used to make special jewelry pieces! Besides, whenever you combine three of my favorite things—antiques, jewelry, and Paris— you’ve got a winning recipe in my book!

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces-MarketOne thing I love about the Paris Flea Market is that you can find anything and everything there. As the official Tour Guides of Paul Bert Serpette, our Diva Guides know the market like the back of their hands. When clients come on tour and are searching for bits and baubles to make jewelry with, we take them to several of our favorite stalls to hunt for just the right pieces.

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces-Chanel

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces-Charms

When you’re meandering among furniture, chandeliers, taxidermy, and linens, you have to have a keen eye to spot the little boxes filled with jewelry pieces. And it’s important to understand what price point and style you are after. There really is a range available. Some vendors carry turquoise, coral, and sterling which can run a bit higher in price. Other dealers specialize in religious icons, medals, and rosary beads. If you’re looking for really special things, there are places to find them. Why not make a necklace from an antique vinaigrette? These pieces once held vinegar-soaked sponges to block odor if you felt faint, but their intricacy make them ideal pieces for a modern day necklace! Scraps of vintage fabric, buttons, lace trim, and ribbon all make for great crafting projects and can be incorporated into eclectic jewelry items. There are some great stores that sell mini vintage bags and wrapping that make a great finish to wrap your products for sale or as gifts.

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces-Vinaigrette

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces-Vinaigrette Open

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces-Vinaigrette fullWe often encourage clients to look for the junk drawers in stalls that don’t specialize in jewelry at all—and these are the stalls where you can really find bargains! In general, if something is locked behind a closed case, it will be more expensive. Rummaging through junk drawers or boxes may require you to wash your hands afterwards, but you’ll come away with some wonderful items at excellent prices! Some clients find the most broken and tarnished items possible, which helps keep the prices low. These people really have a vision for the potential of these disparate pieces and know that once they get them home, they can create beautiful jewelry. If you can think outside the box, you can pick up small sterling purses that tailors once used for keeping pins in and transform them into unique necklaces! It’s all about seeing the possibility behind objects! Perhaps one of the most unique objects we’ve seen turned into jewelry are antique baby items such as teething rings! One client made them into beautiful pendants!

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces-Luggage Tag

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces-Religious medal

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces-Rosary

We also love to take clients to a place in Marché Malassis which is very famous and has beautiful and great quality passementerie, accessoires de mode, perles, broderies. If time permits, we’ll also visit Porte de Vanves where you can find everything from old coins to medals, charms, silver luggage tags, chatelaine perfume bottle pendants, folding eye glasses, cameos, brooches, and rings. It’s literally like a treasure hunt!

If you’re not heading to Paris and want to buy one of these repurposed necklaces, one of the dealers in the USA who is doing a brilliant job creating inventory from French Finds is French At Heart. Take a look at some of her beautiful creations below and on her Pinterest page!

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces-necklace

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces-coin purse

If this sounds like your idea of a heavenly day, then the Antiques Diva Paris Tour is for you! Email us at info@antiquesdiva.com for more information and we’d be happy to put together a custom tour just for you!

Sourcing Paris Flea Markets for Jewelry Pieces-Paris Guides

Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva®

London in June!

Dear Diva Readers,

While spring is just now arriving, it’s time to start thinking about June here at The Antiques Diva & Co! June is fair month for arts and antiques in London where all month long beautiful art and antiques are celebrated. With so much going on, we always turn to our UK Diva Agent’s website Antiques News & Fairs which tells a bit about each fair and provides the necessary information for attending. It’s great to combine these fairs with going on the road and hitting the small shops and large warehouses, which is why every June is jammed packed with Antique Buying Tours in England! We’ve got access to trade days, preview parties in the city, and then can take you to our secret sources in the countryside as well… call it a Town & Country Tour! Just to whet your appetite, below are a few of our favorite antiques fairs happening in London this June. Mark your calendars darlings.

London in June-Antiques News And Fairs

Art Antiques London
The Albert Memorial and Kensington Gardens once again provide the stunning backdrop to one of London’s most exciting and glamorous art and antique fairs. From June 12 to 18, the lovely bespoke pavilion opposite the Royal Albert Hall and close to the site of the Great Exhibition of 1851 Art Antiques London plays host to leading international dealers and discerning visitors from all over the world, who can buy with confidence at this strictly vetted sumptuous summer showcase for the arts.

If quality art and antiques are what you’re looking for, this fair definitely delivers! And who wouldn’t want to shop for special pieces on the grounds of Kensington Gardens? Very Diva-worthy!

London in June-Salvo Fair

Salvo Fair
Salvo Fair, Britain’s largest Architectural Salvage Fair, brings together dealers from the UK, Europe, and beyond. It takes place Saturday and Sunday June 18-19 with a trade day on Friday June 17 at Fawley Hill, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. This will be the fifteenth year for the fair, which attracts some of the best interior designers, architects, builders, developers, and dealers to shop for architectural salvage. This legendary fair is also frequented by celebrities and billionaires, looking for the perfect pieces of antique garden art, sculpture, and reclaimed materials.

London in June-Salvo Fair Tub

Just a taste of what one can expect to find at Salvo Fair includes: Fireplaces, chimneypieces, doors, windows, radiators, statuary, seats, urns, troughs, tubs, garden, sundials, birdbaths, pergola, rose arches, railway sleepers, furniture, bathrooms, baths, basins, taps, toilets, tiles, brassware, knobs, handles, knockers, hinges, balls, finials, chairs, pews, altars, lecterns, stained glass, staircases, spirals, flooring, parquet, woodblock, floorboards, bricks, pavers, flagstones, york stone coping, pediments, balustrade, timber, oak pine, marble, trusses, beams, columns, pilasters, portico, cornice, dado, skirting, roof tiles, slates, ironwork, gates, railings, lighting, lamposts, kitchens, kitchenalia, sinks, post boxes, telephone boxes, cartwheels, shopfittings, butchers block, and shingles.

The Art & Antiques Fair, Olympia- Summer Session
The Art & Antiques Fair, Olympia celebrates it’s 44th edition with a showcase of 160 of the world’s leading specialist dealers. This fair is always a treat as first time buyers rub shoulders with seasoned collectors and connoisseurs. While this fair is considered one of the most prestigious fixtures in London’s summer season, it also has strong international ties, particularly with America. A social as well as cultural experience, Olympia attracts a strong US VIP following, with guests in recent years including Oprah Winfrey, Dustin Hoffmann and Kanye West.

Taking place June 27 to July 3 at Hammersmith Road, W14 8UX, London, this fair is loved by collectors, interior designers and those looking for exceptional pieces for stylish interiors. The Fair offers the finest array of objects drawn from antiquity to the present day. Every item for sale is checked by a team of experts to ensure quality and authenticity before the Fair opens to the public – enabling you to buy with confidence. Buyers looking for one-of-a-kind and high quality pieces—this is the fair for you!

London in June-Masterpiece

Masterpiece
From June 30 to July 6, the renowned English antiques fair Masterpiece in London will occupy the South Grounds of The Royal Hospital Chelsea. Offering museum quality pieces, this fair is one of the best in Europe, often compared to a smaller TEFAF http://www.tefaf.com

London in June-Masterpiece Entry

Because the fair is not segregated, it makes for an exciting experience to shop the fair – Russian jewels are in stalls next to English Folk Art opposite a stall filled with Neo-Classical busts. Each turn of the neck gives an experience to another land, another time. A bonus is that we’ve got VIP tickets to the preview party!

All this talk has me excited for the London antique season! If any of these fairs perk your interest, email us at info@antiquesdiva.com. Now is the time to book an Antiques Diva UK Tour for June— the perfect time to hit the popular world-renown fairs and also to comb the countryside for treasures from our secret sources! Keep up to date to see fair details and other events on the calendar at Antiques News & Fairs website  and we’ll look forward to seeing you in London in June!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Architectural Salvage- Barn Door Trend

Dear Diva Readers,

One of our most popular requests is for architectural salvage. Whether clients are coming on tour or utilizing our Buying Services, we are constantly scouring Europe for all types of salvage and reclaimed materials. One trend that is very popular in the USA right now is the barn door—a type of sliding door you would typically find in a barn. But now people are using them in homes, restaurants, and hotels to divide spaces and add instant character and diva charm!

Architectural Salvage- Barn Door Trend- Hinged Door

Architectural Salvage- Barn Door Trend- Rounded DoorsAs with any design trend, the specifics of each project vary, but the overall concept remains the same. All you need are door track hardware and wheels, which you can find at many big box or hardware stores (or even online), and a door of course! Here at The Antiques Diva & Co we recommend using a vintage or antique door to make your project that much more special and unique. You can make this a DIY project or entrust it to your contractor, but be sure to select a door and hardware that enhance your particular space. This look works great in a traditional setting as well as a contemporary room. It all depends on the door you choose—the age, patina, finish, color, and style will all play a part in how the overall project turns out. For a more modern look, why not choose an industrial door? For a casual feeling, opt for warm wood tones with just the right about of wear.

Architectural Salvage- Barn Door Trend- Metal Door

Architectural Salvage- Barn Door Trend- Bookcase

We love taking clients to warehouses that are literally filled to the brim with doors. Perusing row upon row of every type of door imaginable is always a thrill. We’ve seen some beautiful old church doors as well as tall imposing doors that once hung on hinges of great country houses and chateaus of Europe. Many of our sources have excellent workrooms where their craftsmen can help get your door (or any other architectural pieces you find) ready to your specifications before shipping it. This means they can adjust the height, width, drill necessary holes for hardware, stain, paint, sand, and distress to your liking. We’ve even had pieces lacquered in Europe before having them shipped to clients across the pond.

Architectural Salvage- Barn Door Trend- Warehouse

Depending on the size of your space, you may want to consider using a pair of doors for your barn door project. It’s not uncommon to come upon a pair of matching doors that may have once been used as pocket doors or as double doors. Mounting them in the barn door style gives them a fresh life and what’s old can become new again. Another bonus is that older doors are often solid and made of the upmost quality. Think about it—if a door has been around for 100 years, it has proven that it can stand the test of time.

Architectural Salvage- Barn Door Trend- Double Door

If you would like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour or if you’d like to learn more about our Buying Services, email us at info@antiquesdiva.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Creatively,

The Antiques Diva®

Sourcing Vintage & Antique Lighting in England

Dear Diva Readers,

While The Antiques Diva & Co offers Buying Tours in 8 different countries, each country—and even region— seems to have its own distinct style and a few specific types of pieces that it is known for. As trends change and clients begin asking for different items, we keep a close eye on where these pieces are and which dealers are offering them. It seems that lately the UK has been a fantastic source for vintage and antique lighting of all types. From traditional English chandeliers and sconces to industrial fixtures, the UK is shining a new light on the design world.

Sourcing Vintage & Antique Lighting in England-Repurposed lamps

When it comes to design trends, the industrial look is definitely on point. People all over the world are converting old factories, schools, and other vintage public buildings into chic residences. Whether you have a converted barn in the country or a loft in the city, using reclaimed materials to renovate these spaces is ideal. Many of the dealers we take clients to specialize in industrial lighting, often restoring fixtures they’ve acquired so that they’re ready to use in a new project. From semi-flush mounts to pendant lights, this style can be used in new and creative ways. In fact, it’s also become a huge trend to take repurposed items and convert them into lamps. Think old signs, posts, columns, architectural pieces…the options are endless.

Sourcing Vintage & Antique Lighting in England-Industrial Scone

Sourcing Vintage & Antique Lighting in England-Lorfords Scone

Even one of our favorite sources in the UK, Lorfords Antiques has started its own bespoke lighting range with industrial chic flavor. Playing on the strengths of their in-house lighting designer and restorer, the lovable Laurence, they are able to restore, re-wire, and test antique lighting. They even color match chains and ceiling hooks for a flawless finished product. Utilizing vintage materials as inspiration, their lighting line allows customers to have pieces custom made—that means whatever finish and whatever size you want.

Sourcing Vintage & Antique Lighting in England-Architectural Fragment Lamps

Of course, if industrial lighting isn’t your cup of tea, many of our sources carry traditional pieces as well. Chandeliers, sconces, and lanterns are all popular choices that can add a sense of history to a room. Our little black book of dealers includes those who specialize in house-clearings, which means they get first access to fixtures and lamps from great country houses of England. Often times a beautiful floor lamp or table lamp can make a space feel complete and cohesive. Some client favorites include marble, bronze, brass, and crystal lamps. Regardless of genre, our dealers carry substantial stocks of lighting in all styles.

Sourcing Vintage & Antique Lighting in England-Traditional lamps

If you would like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour in England or any of our other tour countries—France, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands, or Denmark— email us at info@antiquesdiva.com. Don’t forget our Buying Services as well! If you can’t come over to Europe but still want to source European and English antiques, we’ve got you covered.

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Garden Antiques in England

Dear Diva Readers,

It’s officially March, and while it still may feel like winter in some regions of the world, we’ve got garden antiques on the brain here at The Antiques Diva & Co headquarters! We get clients from all over asking to take Garden Antiques Buying Tours and now is the perfect time to book a tour for late spring. Whether you’re a tourist who simply loves gardening and want to add to your collection of garden antiques or an antique trade professional looking to stock your store with fabulous patinated finds, we recommend setting your sights on the UK!

Garden Antiques in England- English Country House

Garden Antiques in England- Ivy Hedge

Because our tours are custom planned and a-la-carte, clients often book tours —anything from one day to one week— in addition to other travel plans. For garden lovers, this is an ideal situation. England looks its best in late spring and early summer as the trees are filling out and flowers are bursting open. Planning a trip to tour several country estates and gardens while also stopping off at secret antiques sources is a dream come true for many clients! You can often gather inspiration while touring gardens of the great houses of England as well as strolling through cottage gardens. In fact, our Diva Agent in the UK recently put together a list of her favorite gardens and English country houses here.

Garden Antiques in England-Gate

Garden Antiques in England-Pathway

Once you’re inspired, it’s time to go shopping—our favorite part! From beautifully curated shops filled with special pieces to vast warehouses which stock rows and rows of garden antiques, our Diva Agent has all the contacts in her little black book. Finding weathered terra cotta and stone pots, planters, and urns is always a treat, as these can be used indoors to start seeds during late winter months, then moved out to the garden once the weather breaks.

Garden Antiques in England-Climbing Roses

Garden Antiques in England-Garden Hedges

But it’s important to think outside the box too. We’re seeing a lot of people looking to source architectural reclamation, as these elements can be transformed into one-of-a-kind statement pieces. Architectural fragments can act as decorative objects on their own, but they can also be made into functional items. Think beautifully scrolled iron work converted into table tops or reclaimed timbers made into an arbor. From gates, fencing, doors, shutters, and trellising, creative people are designing unique pieces for the garden.

Garden Antiques in England-Planter

Garden Antiques in England-birdhouse

There are plenty of classical garden antiques available as well. When designing a garden, scale and texture are key elements to consider. Even if you only have a balcony at home, a patinated watering can and a few zinc finials can really add character to your small space. If you have a large garden, antiques such as fountains, statues, and sundials can help add structure and formality.

Garden Antiques in England-trees

Since many of us love spending time outdoors, garden furniture is a necessity. Unique outdoor tables and chairs used to dine al fresco can often be snatched up for a song. Stone, metal, and wood benches can also be used in various parts of the garden, allowing you to perch and contemplate. One of my favorite pieces, which I have two of on my rooftop terrace in Berlin, is a chaise lounge! Who wouldn’t want to take in the view of the garden from a lovely lounge, perhaps while sipping on a glass of bubbly?

Regardless of what your style is, the UK has something to offer for every garden lover. From formal gardens and traditional garden antiques to rambling cottage gardens and rustic pieces, England is the place to be. If you would like information on booking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, simply email us at info@antiquesdiva.com. We’d love to custom plan a tour for you!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Sourcing Tuscan Pots From Estates

Dear Diva Readers,

IMG_3182

For hundreds of years the best terracotta in the world has come out of Tuscany. From floor tiles and roof tiles to sculptures and decorative pieces, the Italians have used their natural resources along with an artistic perspective to craft exceptional products which are known worldwide. Perhaps the most popular terracotta items associated with Tuscany are the pots and jars which often grace Italian gardens. Originally, these were created from the rich clay of the surrounding hills for agricultural use. They were used for storing water and olive oil, and after being left exposed to the elements, these pots developed a rich patina which makes them perfect decorative items today whether you own a Tuscan villa or a ranch home in suburban USA.

IMG_3187

Italian terracotta pieces from Impruneta and Siena are arguably the best, as the land in these areas is naturally rich in iron, copper, calcium, and aluminum. Clay from Impruneta is a rich red color blue to the concentration of iron in the earth, while the crete Sienese is a softer yellow color due to the gray clay in that area.

IMG_2325

Terracotta has been made from the earth in these Tuscan hills since Etruscan times—before Christ—and the tradition continues today. The hard gray earth is mined, then ground into a powder which is mixed with water to make the coarse bodied clay. After it’s put through the firing process which helps it withstand extreme temperatures, the clay develops a pale terracotta color. Clay from Impruneta is higher in iron than clay from Siena, and the resulting terracotta from Siena is more refined which gives it a smoother texture. Although terracotta from both regions can withstand cold temperatures, it is wise to shelter them in extreme winter climates where temperatures drop below 10 degrees fahrenheit.

IMG_3186

Traditionally, olive jars are glazed on the inside and have a very distinctive shape. The large oval bodies taper at the base, which allowed the jars to be stored upright in clay or metal rings and also in wood braces aboard ships when they were being transported. Many of these olive jars also have handles at the top. Olive oil must be stored in a cool dark place in order to preserve it, therefore the jars made perfect sense. Since they are fashioned from fired-earth, they make ideal planters today and that is what many people use them for. Due to their shapely bodies and lovely patina, they can also stand alone in a garden, grouped in threes or flanking a pathway.
When searching for antique terracotta pots it’s important to note any details or markings. Antique pots usually have the name of the kiln and the estate for which they were made, often with the family crest!

IMG_2329

IMG_2331

Decoration on large pots are rare as these were created as functional pieces, but the agrumi pots are often adorned with swags. These pots were traditionally placed on pedestals in formal gardens during the summer, then rolled into the “limonia” during the winter.

IMG_3188

When clients come on an Antiques Diva Tour in Tuscany, they often find terracotta pots to use indoors as well. Large or small, simple or ornately sculpted, these pots make perfect decorative accents. Our Diva Guide can also take you to small potteries which dot the Tuscan countryside between Florence and Siena. These artisans often have original molds which they can make replicas from, giving you the option to purchase matching sets of pots which can be harder to find if you’re looking for antique pots. However, several of our antique sources have antique pots from Italian estates just waiting for a new home. Their crusty exterior, aged by years of use and exposure to the elements make these vintage and antique pots all the more desirable!

IMG_3175

When a Tuscan estate goes up for sale, there is often a house-clearing sale. This is the best time to find antique terracotta jars and pots! They are often tucked away in corners of the villas or stored in out buildings and haven’t seen the light of day in years. These forgotten treasures can be plucked from obscurity and given new life by the discerning customer with a keen eye. But how can you find these house-clearing sales and what do you do if you are only in Tuscany for a few days? And most importantly, how do you get these pieces home? That’s where we come in. Through our Buying Service, we can help you source these pieces and liaise you with a shipper to get them home sweet home. Our Diva Guides are constantly on the go, shopping in stores, warehouses, private estate sales, and flea markets, covering urban and rural areas, and can take your shopping list with them, being your eyes and ears on the ground. Whether you’re searching for a few pieces or want to fill an entire container, we’ve got you covered.

Ciao for now,

The Antiques Diva®