L’isle Sur la Sorgue

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Dear Diva Readers,

When I say, “Antiquing in France,” what images come into your mind? Waking in the wee hours of the morning and driving through the countryside to get first dibs on flea market finds? Perusing brocantes as far as the eye can see, bargaining in French with vendors who sip coffee as they arrange their wares? Popping into a boulangerie for a pick-me-up of croissant then dashing across the street to a warehouse filled with antiques of all ages and styles? What if I told you there is a place where you can do all these things and more… in the same day? The Mecca. The Mother Land. The village of L’Isle Sur la Sorgue in Provence – which happens to house the second largest permeant flea market in France (after the Paris Flea Market).

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The town centers around the Sorgue River in Provence between Avignon and Apt. Cutting through the town the river has always been an important part of L’Isle Sur la Sorgue. In the 12th century, it provided the main product of the area— fish but by the 18th century, large water wheels were added to the canals, generating power for the silk and paper industries. Today, the town is knows for antiques shops and markets, with the river flowing down two main channels in the town, creating an enchanting atmosphere as many shops and cafes are perched directly on the water.

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When we take clients to L’Isle Sur la Sorgue, we always go on market day. Arriving in the morning, you witness the flea market setting up along the river for several kilometers. Here is where you can find a wide variety of items all at different price points. If you’re looking for smaller antiques, this is where you should really hunt. The dealers comb the countryside in search of estate sales and house clearings, and often spend a lot of time restoring pieces they purchase. It is often worth the time to engage these dealers in conversation, as many of them have warehouses and workshops nearby and may invite you to come to their homes later. If you’re in the market for a specific piece, they may be able to source it for you.

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After perusing the market, we head across the street and begin shopping the long line of antique stores. Many two-story buildings line both sides of the main street in town and house every type of style you could imagine. From Roman antiquities to 18th century furniture, to art deco and beyond—it’s all there! When it’s time to refuel, the bakeries are to die for, and you can even purchase some sweet treats specific to Provence like callison or glace fruit.

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A favorite area of town is tucked behind a row of buildings, only accessible through a gate and a small passage—if you didn’t know it was there, you’d probably pass right by! These hidden corners are our specialty on tours. Once through the passage, you come upon several buildings and stalls that sell French garden antiques. Statues, zinc, watering cans, iron gates, and planters wait to be discovered and it always seems clients gasp when they come around the corner for the first time!

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While this may sound like a nice relaxing day, don’t be fooled! There are over 300 antique outlets and flea markets in the old mills of this village, so be sure to rest up and wear comfortable walking shoes! If you’re looking for something specific or a certain style of antique, it’s important to tell your Diva Guide. She knows many of the vendors and can help navigate the weaving streets and buildings, getting you right where you need to be to find that perfect piece you’re looking for.

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If you would like information on booking an Antiques Diva Provence Tour, email us at [email protected] We’d love to take you to this special village and even to the countryside beyond!

Au revoir,

The Antiques Diva®

Sweden- Antiques and More

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Dear Diva Readers,

We get all types of inquiries here at The Antiques Diva & Co. Some clients are on a mission to fill a container full of antiques, as they want to stock their store while other clients are tourists who are planning trips to Europe and simply want to spend a day or two antiquing as they hunt for perfectly packable souvenirs. While all of our clients are interested in antiques most of them also want to take advantage of their time in Europe and explore the countries and cultures that are at their fingertips. Sweden is one of our most popular tour destinations, as it is home to some of the most incredible antiques. But it also has a lot to offer as a travel destination. The mere mention of Sweden conjures up images of snow capped mountains, reindeer wandering through green forests, and charming country cottages that seem to come straight out of fairytales. While Sweden is a large country, there’s something special to see and do no matter what part of Sweden you visit.

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If you’re planning a trip to Sweden, one place you must go is Stockholm. Take our Antiques Diva Guide Daniel Larsson’s advice and visit the only town in the world where you can go swimming in fresh water! The City of Stockholm is situated on fourteen islands and on the banks to the archipelago where Lake Malaren meets the Baltic Sea. The city centre is virtually situated on the water. In the summertime you can go island-hopping by taking an archipelago boat from Strömkajen in front of the Grand Hotel, Nybrokajen or Stadshuskajenoutside the City Hall (Stadshuset).

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In the South of Sweden, Stenshuvud (translated as “Sten’s Head”) National Park should definitely be on your list of must-see places. The park is named for the over 300 foot high hill on the coast which resembles a head. From the famous hill you get a fantastic view of the Baltic Sea, over to the Danish island Bornholm. If you’re a nature lover, this is the ideal place to take an adventurous walk and also a dip in the sea.

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In the West, visit the Bohuslän coast and the province of Västra Götaland. This area of Sweden and its archipelago are known for their delicious oysters, lobster, and prawns. In the quaint fishing village of Grebbestad you can take an eco-friendly “seafood safari” and then enjoy you catch at Everts Sjobod, a restored 19th century boathouse. Continue the marine theme by going to Sweden’s first national marine park, Kosterhavet National Park in the Koster Islands. There you can enjoy the coastline of beaches and rocky islands along with Sweden’s only coral reef.

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In the North, there are so many things to do! From November to April you can see the Northern Lights at Abisko National Park. The Sarek National Park is filled with high alpine peaks, valleys, and foaming rivers, perfect for the nature lover. In fact, anyone who loves the great outdoors should definitely aim to visit the north of Sweden. With plenty of opportunity to get off the beaten path, it’s a must see region!

If you’re planning a trip to Sweden, why not enjoy the nature as well as the antiques? We offer 1/2 day, 1 day, and 2 day tours to antique dealers that specialize in furniture and decorative items. We take our clients to various types of antique dealers, from smaller shops with beautiful settings to big trade dealers with large warehouses. We also have access to secret sources such as one dealer that has restored a beautiful mansion to it’s original glory and has filled it with the highest quality antiques—truly like shopping in a museum.
For more information on our Swedish Tours, email us at [email protected]

Happy trails,

The Antiques Diva®

Mid Century in Florence

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Dear Diva Readers,

In most people’s minds, the phrase “Antiquing in Tuscany,” conjures up images of rustic Italian furniture, perfectly patinated terra cotta pots, hand forged wrought iron, and some of the best architectural salvage on the planet. However savvy Mid Century Modern lovers know that mid 20th century pieces also abound in Italy if you know where to look. Just as Italy revived its position as a fashion mecca in the 20th century (think Florence and Milan), so too it produced some of the greatest mid century furniture that is still highly sought after today. Though of course there are the well known names; (Paolo Buffa, Ico Parisi, Osvaldo Borsani etc…), that are sought after , it’s not neccessarily the names that count. There are so many unknown or lesser known furniture designers that possess the same quality, design, style & panache that Italy is known for– but it’s all in the detail!

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If you’re looking for mid century pieces, Florence is the place to go. When we have clients who are mad about mid century, we recommend that they stay in Florence and spend at least one day exploring the shops in the city and another day or two with our Diva Guide in the countryside. There are some extraordinary stores in the city that offer the best of the best vintage inventory. Dashing from shop to shop through tight streets and alleyways is always a thrill, and learning about specific pieces from the very knowledgable dealers is a treat any enthusiast would love.

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As with anything however, prices in the city are higher than in more rural areas. In fact, many high-quality dealers in Florence source their inventory in the countryside… and we know where their sources are! That’s why we always recommend taking at least one day with our Diva Guide to go to these sources, as she knows exactly where to go to find the best pieces at the best prices!

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After driving a short distance outside of Florence, there are several exits off the main highway that lead to different mid century shops and warehouses. Many of these places are by appointment only and have new inventory constantly coming in. These are the dealers who specialize in house-clearings and have first access to estate sales so their stock is often fresh and unique!

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If Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn shared a house, this is where they would shop! Everything from vintage chairs upholstered in velvet with sexy silhouettes to ultra modern plastic furniture can be found in these off the beaten path warehouses. If you have a thing for buttery leather upholstery and brass feet, then this is where you want to be! Rows upon rows of sleek dining chairs from the 1950s-1970s fill attics and basements while chrome and brass light fixtures illuminate the space.

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Mid century mirrors are quite popular right now and there is no shortage of them in Italy. Minimalist shapes with an organic feel, mid century mirrors blend well into most interiors. Brass frames in the style of Gio Ponti abound and polished wood or lacquered frames are all popular choices.

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It’s also good to note that if you’re looking for something specific, these dealers can most likely find it. Our Buying Service allows you to give us a list of what you’re after and we’ll canvas all our sources until we find the pieces you want, then send you photos, information, and prices. This is an excellent way of getting first dibs on unique pieces that otherwise would probably have ended up in the shops in Florence for a much higher price!

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If you would like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour or on our Buying Services, email us at [email protected]

The Antiques Diva®

Antiques Diva Styles a Diva Den for Chairish

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Dear Diva Readers,

Last year I was asked by my friends at Chairish to create a style board for a room inspired by one of their vintage rugs. For those of you who don’t know, Chairish is a curator-approved online marketplace for vintage and used furniture. This year they’ve challenged me to design a “woman cave” inspired by a set of vintage bar stools from their site! As I believe that antiques and vintage pieces are completely relevant in today’s lifestyle, I’ve chosen to create a style board using only antique and vintage items available at Chairish.com— but rest assured the vibe is anything but old fashioned and stuffy! Without further ado, I give you my “Diva Den!”

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Mid-Century Hairpin Barstools
I chose these barstools as my inspiration because I love the shape of them and brass is very “in.” I would recover these beauties in a gray velvet…yummy!

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19th Century Style Giltwood Gondola Chaise Lounge
A beautiful 1890s French chaise lounge in the Louis XVI style would be the perfect foil to the midcentury barstools. The chaise has been newly upholstered in a Stark velvet, “Velours verdi Bois de Rose”with French multicolored gimp trim all along the frame. The single down cushion is also newly upholstered with a single piping along the edges, top and bottom. This chaise has nicely gilded wood, six legs and caster wheels—the perfect spot for a Diva to perch!

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Charcoal and Cream Chairs
I would use this pair of matching round back Louis style armchairs upholstered in a charcoal and white wide stripe in the same seating group as the chaise lounge. The wood has been refinished in a semi-gloss heirloom white bringing some lightness to my Diva Den!

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Baker Dining Table by Barbara Barry
As strange as it may seem, I would include this Baker dining table by Barbara Barry in Java colored finish in my Diva Den. I love to cook and even more, I love to host dinner parties! Setting a gorgeous table for my girlfriends would be a highlight to using my Diva Den!

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Swedish Flame Birch Dining Chairs-Set of 6
This set of six fun and elegant dark golden flame birch dining chairs would be perfect surrounding my dining table. Newly restored and newly rebuilt with new padding, covered in a durable woven black and ivory Cheetah stripe fabric, makes them Diva-approved!

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Arthur Court Gold Aluminum Cast Lily Dining Table
This is an original gilt Arthur Court aluminum cast Lily table. The top of the base resembles a lily flower to support a glass top, while the bottom of the base swirls around to resemble an art nouveau inspired stem. It is an unusual piece and is oh-so-very glam! I wouldn’t use it as a dining table, but rather a side table between two chairs. This table comes with a 36″ round glass top, 3/8” thick, making it the perfect size to hold a stack of books and a couple martinis!

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Mid Century Black & White Striped Chair
On one side of my lily table, I’d use this Mid-century tufted black and ivory striped accent chair. It’s been totally refurbished with new foam padding and back and cream linen fabric with double welt all around. Carved wood trim has been stripped and waxed to let the gorgeous grain show through. The perfect chair to sit and have a long conversation with another Diva!

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Aesthetic Movement Chair
This chair speaks for itself and would go on the other side of my lily table. I love this because it’s unique and fitting for a sassy lady!

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Gilt Faux Rope & Tassel Bar Cart
Who doesn’t need a 1960’s Italian gilded iron rope and tassel bar cart? With two glass shelves, it’ll hold plenty of spirits which can be wheeled over from the main bar!

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Jonathan Adler Lucite Acrylic Brass Etagere
Bring on the tough glamour. The Jacques Collection creates a bold balance of masculine lines and feminine finishes. The étagère mixes the jewel-like sparkle of custom-tooled brushed brass with Lucite construction. The result is modern decor with an heirloom-level of quality. It’s perfect for displaying books and other favorite curiosities.

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Brutalist Tom Greene Chandelier
This modern chandelier would help bring the entire room together! What a statement piece!

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Diana Ross Framed Photo
Every Diva Den needs a photo of a true diva! Why not hang this black and white portrait of Diana Ross? In fact, I might just do an entire wall of diva photos…can you imagine? Talk about inspiration!

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Zebra Hide Rug
Underfoot you can never go wrong with a zebra rug. The average size of a zebra hide rug is 10 feet from tip of nose to tip of tail 6 feet at the widest point making it large enough to rest under a seating group.

And there you have it! My Diva Den inspired by midcentury bar stools and decorated using exclusively items from Chairish.com! What would you put in YOUR Diva Den? Leave me a comment!

Stylishly,

The Antiques Diva®

An Afternoon in Cotignac

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Dear Diva Readers,

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What antique lover hasn’t dreamed of hunting for treasures in Provence? The gorgeous landscape, the French lifestyle, the tiny villages dotting the hillsides, and lots of small shops and brocantes tucked away just waiting to be discovered…sounds like Antiques Diva Heaven! One of the idyllic villages we take clients to when they’re on an Antiques Diva Provence Tour is Cotignac. Nestled on a hillside, the village of Cotignac in the Var is surrounded by majestic cliffs which have played host to the town for centuries, and have provided shelter and refuge to humans for millennia. The Provencal village is the ideal place to take a stroll, admiring the charming architecture, quaint shops, and intoxicating blend of colors, both on the buildings and in nature.

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Driving up to the village is part of the pleasure of visiting this enchanting place. Most of the surrounding area is “zone vert” or green zone, meaning it’s protected for its natural beauty. As you weave your way through the road on the hill, you get a nice view of the village, which dates back to Roman times. Much of what must have attracted the Romans to this area still remains unchanged— the sunny climate, the excellent soil perfect for growing vines, and the picturesque views of the French countryside. But there is one more thing that attracts a Diva like me, and that is…antiques of course!

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After parking the car, the first place to head to is the raised pedestrian road in the middle of the town called the Cours Gambetta. Line with large Plane trees which cast their shadows over the stone streets, this bustling little street is where you can often find locals perched on a bench, watching passersby or admiring the fountain which no doubt has seen thousands of people make a wish.

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For an antique lover, the first thing to do after grabbing a quick coffee is to hit some of the local shops. Our Diva Guide knows exactly which off the beaten path places to take you to, where you’ll find an eclectic mix of the best inventory. One of the shops we often take clients to is called MODES. Rounding a corner at the top of one of the hills, you’ll see antiques spilling out into the square from a tiny door which faces the hillside. Each piece at MODES is a work of art, and although it’s a small shop, it certainly has big style! Original works of art, vintage furniture, fine antiques, and Italian marble sculptures are all curated by the shops stylish owners, John and Simon.

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Upon entering their treasure chest filled with antiques and vintage pieces, you’ll find there is a story behind each item they have. In fact, their home—which has been featured in several international shelter magazines– is just a short walk away, and is filled with even more antiques, all of which are quite special. And the view from this house on the hill is absolutely spectacular!

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After weaving your way between the tables that spill onto the pavement from restaurants and cafes, you may find yourself in the mood for a nice meal al fresco. The popular Cafe du Cours is certainly Diva worthy, as there is a view of the main pedestrian road, along with a nice breeze coming from the valley– and the food is divine! After lunch, Stop into several other shops which dot the hill, offering everything from perfectly packable souvenirs to mid-century modern to antique artwork.

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If you happen to be there on market day (Tuesday mornings until noon), you’ll find the village square is transformed into a colorful array of stalls filled with all kinds of French goodies! Whether you want to buy some homemade cheeses, local honey, ceramics, or baskets, the market is a lively place to spend an afternoon. Complete your glimpse into the French village life by sitting at a cafe with a coffee and people watching. You won’t be sorry!

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If you would like information on our Antiques Diva Provence Tours, where we can incorporate a day in Cotignac for you, email us at [email protected]

Au revoir,

The Antiques Diva®

Tudor Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

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A fun fact many of you may not know about me is that my university degree is in English literature with a history minor – I’ve always been fascinated with history and how life, art and culture interact. Perhaps my interest in antiques began because I view decorative objects from the past as giving me the opportunity to live with history – merging the past and present

My favorite time period in both literature (and history) is the Tudor period with Shakespeare, and Henry VII, Ann Boleyn, not to mention Elizabeth the First. It’s such rich period that it’s no surprise it was also an important time for interior design and furniture. It was during this span of time that England saw economic growth, geographical expanse, and much optimism which lead to wealthy home owners worrying less about money and war and turning their concerns to those of creature comforts at home. Plus as a sea faring nation England was gathering decor ideas from around the globe opening their collective eyes as a result of travel.

Prior to this period, Medieval and Gothic styles prevailed and the majority of great homes were designed to keep intruders out. However during the early Tudor times, with King Henry VIII on the throne, a boom in housing construction occurred, causing an increase in furniture production as well. As glass became a status symbol, wealthy home owners added many windows to their houses and also turned their eyes to the interiors, making subtle changes that reflected the times.

One of my favorite period Tudor houses – a cottage really – is Anne Hathaway’s Cottage near Stratford upon Avon. A brick building with half-timbering, a thatched roof and a delightful garden, this picture-perfect country house remains in almost the exact state as it was when Shakespeare won the hand of his wife, Anne.

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Early Tudor furniture was not much different from its Gothic predecessors. Most of the population lived in modest homes and didn’t have much furniture at all. Even the upper class, who lived in large houses typically only had the basics— beds, tables, coffers, stools, and benches. It was common at the time for people to sit on stools and benches without backs, as chairs were reserved for the owner of the home, thus signifying his importance.

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While on a recent trip to England meeting Traditional Home Magazines for a Press Tour I found myself unexpectedly with some free time one afternoon – and I went to one of my favorite places in London – The Victoria and Albert Museum. If you haven’t been – consider it a DIVA MUST GO!!! The V&A’s collections cover a vast number of design styles, from the Romanesque art and architecture of the Middle Ages, to the 20th century’s radical Postmodernism exploring the trends, themes and revolutions in design over the centuries. Here I was able to walk through the ages exploring furniture throughout time seeing fabulous museum worthy examples from this period.

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Most Tudor furniture pieces were made of oak and were bulky in design. There were no delicate silhouettes or airy carvings, but rather heavy imposing pieces that were often uncomfortable, save for an embroidered cushion to perch on. The great rooms of large homes were often softened by hanging tapestries on the cold stone walls and using carpets on the chilly floors. However as time went on, it became fashionable to install wood paneling on the walls. When benches and chests were placed against the walls, those sitting on them could lean back against the paneling, perhaps leading to the idea of a free standing bench with a back attached—or what we think of as a sofa or settee today.

1502902_lThe 16th century saw many cultural developments in fashion, the arts, theatre, architecture, and furniture design. Influence of the Italian Renaissance can be seen when furniture makers began incorporating more ornamentation and carvings into pieces. As the period progressed, upholstered furniture, wallpaper, and carpets became more and more popular. However most pieces from the Tudor period remained large, imposing, and reminiscent of Medieval style.

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Today when shopping for antiques – while of course you can still buy period pieces if you know where to go and are willing to pay the price – most “Tudor antiques” you see on the market today are “reproductions” from the 19th C. Still antique – they are “style of” antiques – not period antiques. During the 19th century, Tudor style had a huge revival. One of the things interior designers comment upon about the Tudor revival pieces they buy is that they actually work well in new homes due to their massive size!

If you would like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, email us at [email protected]

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Intaglios

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Dear Diva Readers,
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When clients come on an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, they often want to purchase items that will add to a collection and pieces that they can decorate their homes with. Whether we’re whisking them from shop to shop or perusing an outdoor flea market, we often come across intaglios in Italy as well as France and Belgium – they can be a wonderful collector’s item as well as decorative!

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While they can be made in a variety of materials—including plastic— the most popular antique intaglios are fashioned from stone, coral, shell, fine metals, and glass. They were created when artists carved down into the material to hollow out a recessed image. Just as form meets function with many antiques, intaglios once served a practical purpose. When brushed with wax or ink, the intaglio was used as a seal, identifying the sender of a letter or document.

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In ancient times, intaglios were made from gems. The word “glyptic” refers to the art of carving small gem stones which could be mounted in rings. When a letter was being sent, the sender would dip their glyptic-intaglio in wax, acting as a distinctive personal signature once the wax hardened. A finely carved intaglio meant that forgery would be more difficult. The recessed cut surfaces of these intaglio gems are often very well preserved and reveal that artificial methods such as heat, sugar, and dyes were used to achieve varying colors in the gemstones.

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Intaglios have been used for thousands of years and in ancient cultures of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome. In the 8th and 7th centuries BC, carved gems in Greece often depicted geometric animal poses. By the 6th century BC, gem carvings incorporated more human and divine figures, always very detailed. In the 5th century relief carvings—similar to cameos– became popular and people began wearing them as jewelry. However intaglios have had many renaissances throughout the world, and are often associated with Italy, France, and England. From the 14th century to the early 1900’s intaglios were widely used through Europe. Many of the collections found today have been mounted and framed and are used as decorative items.

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Today intaglios can be used as decoration or even to make one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. However you choose to use them, owning a piece of history is exhilarating! The story behind each unique intaglio shows just how fascinating antiques can be. If you would like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, email us at [email protected]

The Antiques Diva®

Living with Antiques in Modern Times Talk & Cocktail Hour

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Dear Diva Readers,

If you’re planning to be in Paris for Maison & Objet – Mark your calendars!!!! As if my The Antiques Diva & Co Paris Flea Market Party at Paul Bert Serpette on January 24, 2016 wasn’t enough diva action during Maison & Objet, just wait there’s more!!! I am delighted to be joining Cathy Whitlock of Ruby LUX along with Jake Baer of Newel Antiques in a special event coordinated between Andrew Joseph PR and Beth Dempsey PR at the POP UP SHOP Ancient & Modern on Saturday, January 23 at 4pm.

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We’ll be discussing how trends come and go but style lives forever. Learn about the ins and outs behind investment pieces that will not only add taste to a home but eminent value that grows as time passes. Our group of panelists will also be discussing the differences in buying trends when seeking antiques, shopping online vs brick & mortar, and offer industry insight on what to look out for this year in 2016.

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Where: 16, rue Guénégaud, Paris, France 75006
When: Saturday, January 23, 2016 4pm

I hope to see you there!

The Antiques Diva®

Paul Bert Serpette

Paul Bert Serpette

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Dear Diva Readers,

 

Paul Bert Serpette, Paris Flea Market, The Antiques Diva, Paris Flea Market Antiques Tour Guide, World’s Largest Antiques Market, Toma Clark Haines, Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Party

In Friday’s blog I invited you to join me in Paris at our annual Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Fete Sunday January 24, 2016 co-hosted with (and at) Paul Bert Serpette.

Today I wanted to explore Paul Bert Serpette and tell you why they are our favorite section of the Paris Flea Market!

Paul Bert Serpette, Paris Flea Market, The Antiques Diva, Paris Flea Market Antiques Tour Guide, World’s Largest Antiques Market, Toma Clark Haines, Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Party

First all of you – did you know that Paris Flea Market isn’t just one flea market but rather a series of 15 markets spanning more than 7 miles of antique-filled alleyways?  It’s massive and clients can definitely feel confused and intimidated when trying to navigate the market on their own without the aid of an Antiques Diva Tour Guide, asking themselves “Where do we go? How do we find what we’re looking for?!” We know the market like the back of our hand – those little alleyways, those hidden restaurants you’d never actually find off the main road, the vendors whose inventory is half the price of the others…  Plus the vendors know us, which helps when getting the best prices on your purchases because when we walk in the stall with a client the vendor knows our client means business.  Our job is to take you by the hand and show you an insider’s guide to Paris. So often we receive emails from soon-to-be clients, saying “I went to the Paris Flea Market but when I arrived the Clignancourt Metro I got lost – and the neighborhood was actually sketchy and I never found the flea market! I only found a scary market selling t-shirt, and stolen watches, and suitcases… HELP! I want to see the Paris Flea Market of my dreams!!!”

That’s where Paul Bert Serpette comes in – It’s the Paris Flea Market of your dreams!

When you arrive the Paris Flea Market – the main artery of the market is the Rue de Rosiers  – as you walk up this main road you will pass a variety of markets – and while we love all the markets, our favorite finds are near the end of the market on your left.  That market is Paul Bert Serpette.

Paul Bert Serpette, Paris Flea Market, The Antiques Diva, Paris Flea Market Antiques Tour Guide, World’s Largest Antiques Market, Toma Clark Haines, Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Party

Do you remember the theme song to the TV show Cheers “You want to go where people know,  people are all the same.  You want to go where everybody knows your name.”  For me – that “Cheers” place is Paul Bert Serpette – the friendliest section of the flea market, where all the inventory looks as if it should go onto a magazine cover and where you find the best inventory at the best flea market in the world.

Paul Bert Serpette, Paris Flea Market, The Antiques Diva, Paris Flea Market Antiques Tour Guide, World’s Largest Antiques Market, Toma Clark Haines, Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Party

 

Paul Bert Serpette is truly the flagship of the Puces de Paris Saint-Ouen – and it’s actually the world’s largest antique market – it’s positively chocked full of the most beautiful pieces of furniture, jewelery, design and vintage clothing from Antiquity to the 1990’s!

Competition is fierce when hunting for antiques – Paul Bert Serpette welcomes 5,000 visitors per weekend, drawing passionate collectors and connoisseurs from around the world.  Walking through the market you’ll hear snippets of conversations in every language imaginable… but did you know that this market is as popular with the locals as it is tourists and travelers?  This is where Parisians go to shop on sunny Sunday afternoons!!!

Paul Bert Serpette, Paris Flea Market, The Antiques Diva, Paris Flea Market Antiques Tour Guide, World’s Largest Antiques Market, Toma Clark Haines, Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Party

Because of our close relationships with vendors, we are honored at The Antiques Diva & Co that we have been appointed as the ONLY APPROVED Antiques Tour Guide of Paul Bert Serpette.

We encourage you to stay up to date on news at Paul Bert Serpette by subscribing to their newsletter.

Paul Bert Serpette, Paris Flea Market, The Antiques Diva, Paris Flea Market Antiques Tour Guide, World’s Largest Antiques Market, Toma Clark Haines, Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Party

More than that – take some time to poke around their website – did you know you can source antiques at Paul Bert Serpette online??   And if you’re looking for something specific their new website even has a feature that allows you to set an alert, telling them what you’re looking for – and when a vendor at the market gets the item you’re looking for it emails you to notify you of the antique’s availability?!  Now that is what I call service!!!!

We are delighted to be co-hosting our Annual Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Party with the team from Paul Bert Serpette!!!

For more information on shopping for antiques in Paris email [email protected]

Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva®

You Are Invited To A Party At The Paris Flea Market

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Dear Diva Readers,

It’s time for all design lovers to flock to Paris! Maison & Objet will soon be on and Paris will be buzzing with chic designers and style setters from all over the globe. Of course I’ll be there too and I’m hosting a fabulous party at Paul Bert Serpette and I’d love to invite you as my guest!!

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You Are Cordially Invited To the 3rd Annual The Antiques Diva & Co Paris Flea Market Champagne Brunch, co-hosted in association with Paul Bert Serpette upstairs at Philippe Starck’s Ma Cocotte at the Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen! It’s on Sunday, January 24 2016 from 11am – 3pm 2016.

Paul Bert Serpette, Paris Flea Market, Worlds Largest Antiques Market, Buying French Antiques in Paris

 

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RSVP’S REQUIRED: [email protected]

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Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Rocky LaFleur of Kneedler Fauchere, Elizabeth Ralls, Editor and Chief of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and Chuck Chewning, Director of Interior Design at RUBELLI.Along with special guest Elizabeth Ralls of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine, and Andrew Joseph PR we’ll drink champagne for breakfast and snack on croissants and more while rubbing shoulders with the who’s who of interior design in an event The Editor at Large has called in years past one of the highlights during the Paris’ Design Week/ Maison & Objet/ Deco Off!

There will also be a panel discussing “How French Culture, Art and Design has Influenced the Americas,” with this year’s design panel including myself, Rocky LaFleur of Kneedler Fauchere, Elizabeth Ralls, Editor and Chief of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and Chuck Chewning, Director of Interior Design at RUBELLI.

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Paris Flea Market Party

We hope to have you join with fellow designers and influencers for a morning of networking, fun and fueling up at the restaurant Ma Cocotte at Paul Bert Serpette.

Now – you’ve heard me say Paul Bert Serpette a few times – perhaps you’re wondering what this is? The Paris Flea Market is divided into specific sections – and at The Antiques Diva & Co, our favorite section of the market is Paul Bert Serpette!  Stay tuned later this weekend for a few of our reasons why we love Paul Bert Serpette!

Where: Paul Bert Serpette, Ma Cocotte Restaurant, 106 Rue Des Rossiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen, Paris

When: Sunday, January 24, 11am-3pm

See you in Paris!

The Antiques Diva®

Please Be Seated

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Dear Diva Readers,

Confession… Before my house fire I had an addiction. Chairs. I bought them. In all shapes and sizes. Little ones. Big ones. Ones that couldn’t be sat in…. that were just for decor. You might say… I had a problem. Nothing like a house fire to do a bit of er… “Spring Cleaning”… And while I might have had a problem with never meeting a chair I didn’t like… Yes. I admit it. I was a Chair-o-Holic….. The chair is an absolutely indispensable piece of furniture that has been a part of human culture for thousands of years! I’m certain even the cave women collected them. Used for comfort or ceremony, a study of chairs and their evolution reveals much about varying cultures and time periods.

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I love nothing more than pulling up a… what else… chair and reading a good book… So I was delighted when I recently received an advance copy of Please Be Seated: Historic Chairs and The Tales They Tell by Gun Handberg Bjerkander. The author has dedicated much of her life to art and antiques as a museum curator, lecturer, columnist, and auctioneer. After much success in the author’s native home of Sweden, the book has been translated into English! Watch out Stieg Larsson… The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is getting some serious competition on the international book scene!

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The book recounts the tales of 17 chairs and the memories of the often fascinating lives they have led and of the people who have lived with them. From the 17th century to present day, Bjerkander tells the tales of these chairs with insight, wit, great affection, and a slight Scandinavian slant. Anyone with a keen interest in antiques will appreciate the stories in this book as they are informative and fun to read. Chairs from seven different countries are explored varying from doll’s house miniatures to the majestic silver throne. I find it fascinating to observe how the chair morphed over time to suit different needs and to keep up with cultural norms. Looking at how the growing importance of comfort in the 20th century changed the shape and material of chairs, and comparing that to the earlier upright style of chairs gives one an interesting perspective into daily life of people from each era.

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However, as with any antique, it’s not just the original period of the chairs that interest me. It’s the story of the chairs and how they came to be where they are now. Who owned them? Were they sold, passed down through generations, cast off and rediscovered in a rubbish heap? These are the stories that Bjerkander explores and shares with readers. To me, that’s what gives antiques and this book so much charm!

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Do you have any favorite chairs? If so, let me know in the comments or head over to my Facebook page and share photos of them with me!

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva®

Vintage Home by Judith Miller

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Dear Diva Readers,

Vintage finds are dominating the “antiques” market place… with more and more clients seeking vintage pieces instead of period antiques. From mid-century modern to retro and beyond, there are so many stylish pieces that can enhance a home. My design philosophy has always been to mix antiques, vintage pieces, and modern objects for the ideal finished product. That’s why I’m so excited the antiques expert—and AD&Co friend— Judith Miller http://www.millersantiquesguide.com has come out with a new book called Vintage Home.

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Miller has written over 100 books, innumerable articles, and is a regular guest on several television and radio shows – I may be The Antiques Diva – but Judith is unquestionably The Queen of Antiques. While I’m constantly adding her reference books which often catalogue antique furniture and objects to my personal library, this new addition showcases the best of 20th Century furniture and design and is a style guide which focuses on vintage and retro furniture. With a brief history of the Modernist movement, the book then looks at the Art Deco period, followed by the New Look & New Moderns, and finally finishing with a comprehensive directory of designers, makers, and suppliers, Judith does what she does best – She demystifies “antiques” and removes stuffy traditional rules from the genre making this “vintage” movement accessible to antiquers helping us understand no matter the age their relevance.

In the book, Miller highlights famous designers like Eames and Murano, and also sheds light on lesser known 20th Century designers. It’s a fantastic reference book for collectors and a visual feast for interior design lovers. For those looking to start or expand a vintage furniture collection, this is the book to read before heading to the auction house or buying online. It’s also a nice guide for the less serious buyer, as it covers mass-produced and highly popular designs that may be considered kitsch and not so costly, but still highly sought after.

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I’ve seen a big trend in the last year with younger clients wanting to source vintage pieces as well as antiques. Mixing in vintage and retro pieces, be it a mid-century chandelier or a funky plastic chair is what interior designers are doing today and Vintage Home provides inspiration with its gorgeous photos as well as information on specific styles and pieces. Incorporating vintage pieces into the home can be tricky, but the homes featured in this book show how to tastefully add in vintage touches for the way we live now.

If you’re a design fanatic like me, or simply interested in vintage furniture, I recommend adding Vintage Home to your library. It’s a great way to learn about what I think is the next big thing in interiors and antiques, allowing you to know about the styles, designers, and makers of vintage and retro pieces.

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva®

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2016 Trend Forecast

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Dear Diva Readers,

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, 2016 Design Trends, Trend Forecast

As we begin 2016, I’ve been asked by Antique Collecting Magazine what I think the design trends will be this year. I believe that more consumers will say, “Forget the trend,” and opt for one-of-a-kind finds that reflect their personalities. Antiques and hand-made goods will dominate the interior design scene allowing consumers to express their unique sense of style.

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Mid-century modern a la Don Draper has been done to death. In its place, vintage finds from the 1980’s are coming back to the future and challenging the status quo. Bold Italian designers such as Ettore Sottsass and Michele De Lucchi’s shocking geometric motifs are reappearing on furniture, textiles, tabletop decor, ceramics and even jewelry.

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Clients are clamoring for color. Fearless color and form combine in a display of zany artistry. The more intense the better! Fuchsia, orange, and azure rule the scene. While we’ve always seen upholstered pieces get facelifts with color, case goods are now being lacquered in bright hues. Like a handkerchief peeking from a tailored jacket, interiors of drawers and cabinets are being given shocking flashes of color—sort of like the classic mullet— it’s all business on the outside but a party on the inside.

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“Mantiques,” Grand Tour, and country house accessories are hot. Chunky leather-clad pieces from the 1930’s to 70’s, vintage trunks, globes, maps, and vintage cartography are giving homes a collected, evolved, and well traveled feel.

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I hate to break it to you, but size matters. In 2016, bigger is better especially when it comes to lighting. Vintage Italian Murano chandeliers (pieces from the 1970’s and 80’s) which are often reclaimed from hotels are all the rage from New York to LA and Miami to Chicago.

Another theme I see appearing as we enter 2016 is that less is more. One of the biggest trends in antiques has nothing to do with style, but quality. Clients want period pieces with provenance and they are willing to sacrifice and make these purchases. Investing in one quality piece instead of several lower end reproductions is what people are doing now.

When it comes to furniture, brown is the new black. For the last decade whitewashed woods and shabby chic has dominated the interior design scene. In 2016 discerning buyers are picking up highly polished pieces. You’ll see clean lined Empire commodes as a back drop in more interior design magazines, as they add a weight to otherwise airy rooms.

And there you have it- my predictions for what we’ll see in the next year! I hope that you’ll all continue to join me here on the blog and on social media as I travel the globe searching for antiques and style in 2016!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Antique Refectory Tables

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Dear Diva Readers,

When clients come on tour, they are sourcing everything under the sun including furniture, accessories, lighting, and artwork. However some pieces seem to constantly be in demand, and tables are one of those things. Whether clients are looking for original, modified, or repurposed tables, they just can’t get enough of them! With homes being larger and open concepts being the new normal in architecture, antique refectory tables are ideal for using in dining rooms, open kitchens, and even as consoles or center tables in grand entryways.

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A refectory table is a very long table originally used for dining in European monasteries. Early refectory tables can date back to the Medieval period and often times there would be numerous refectory tables in one dining hall of a monastery where the monks would eat and listen to sacred texts being read aloud.

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Around the first part of the 16th century, these large tables started appearing in castles and large estate homes of the nobility and were used for feasts. Made of solid wood— usually oak or walnut– and crafted by hand, refectory tables were built to be used. It is thought that secular use of refectory tables began in and around Italy, and throughout the 16th century this trend of using them in private homes spread throughout Europe.

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With the wide geographical popularity of refectory tables, their styles range from ornate to rustic. Ornamental carvings and graceful iron stretchers embellish some tables, signifying the skill of their craftsmen and the status of their owners. More simple versions may have been used in country farm houses. Regardless of the style you prefer, these hefty tables can accommodate a crowd.

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Today, refectory tables are in high demand due to their generous proportions, quality construction, and lovely patina. From Italy to France to England to Belgium, we are constantly sourcing these fabulous pieces for clients all over. If you would like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour email us at [email protected]

The Antiques Diva®

Pantone Color of the Year 2016

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Dear Diva Readers,

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It seems that 2016 is going to be an interesting year of innovation and expanding boundaries throughout the world. Even Pantone is pushing the limits and doing things outside the box. Instead of selecting their usual color of the year, Pantone has announced dual hues for 2016. Serenity and Rose Quartz not only symbolize masculinity and femininity, they also embody tranquility and utilitarianism. They are straight out of Monet’s Gardens giving a soothing relief to the overworked eye, making them ideal for decorating a bedroom or pairing in comfy – yet elegant – clothes for at home entertaining. Let’s take a look at how some top taste makers and style setters would use these colors in design.

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– Sandra Espinet –
“Nude and Mikonos blue have dominated the fashion industry for the past two years and I feel Rose Quartz & Serenity are a lighter variation of those palettes. I am open to see how it translates into the interior design field.” – Sandy Espinet

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– John Rosselli & Associates –
“Serenity” is the perfect color to bring your home a sense of cool, soothing calm. We are all about pairing blue and white together, so we’d love to see this shade of blue combined with vibrant whites. Pantone’s “Rose Quartz” brings a soft component that used with serenity and neutral tones can give any interior space a natural quality.

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– Alan Tanksley –
Serenity. I love this color. There’s a freshness to it that coordinates well visually with most colors and colorful patterns. A favorite decorative scheme of mine often combines blues of this hue with organic browns and creamy whites.

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– Joe & Vivian of Global Home –
We’re all about Rose Quartz this year. We see it as a resurgence of the 80’s interiors palette. Some of our favorite pieces throughout our product assortment, are made out of actual rose quartz – a beautiful pop of color in our eclectic showroom.

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– Christina Tullock of Woven Accents –
Rose quartz used properly in a room can read like a modern neutral. It works especially well when combined with charcoal grey, taupe and shades of bone.

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– Robin Baron –
Rose Quartz is a stone that helps generate love, serenity is all about being centered and calm. The names of Pantone’s colors of the year would be enough to inspire a bedroom. The colors themselves are luxurious, soft, and romantic and are perfect for creating a special master bedroom…a retreat from the crazy world we all live in.

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– Plexi-Craft –
Plexi-Craft embraces the Pantone colors of Serenity and Quartz. We can subtly infuse many of our products with these colors, as we do with our Lane side tables (see below). Or, any fabric featuring Serenity and Quartz will look great on a Plexi-Craft upholstered bench, stool, or chair.

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– Kathryn Scott –
My first thought of these two colors paired together is one of the boys and girls playing. What better place for them than a playroom? These colors sing like a sunset/rainbow mural…I’d love to see what energy it brings your home.

How would you use these two colors in design or decorating? Let me know in the comments below!

Colorfully yours,

The Antiques Diva®

Entrepreneur Series- Starting a Company

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Dear Diva Readers,

I get so many people asking me how I started my company. They are usually people who are wanting to start their own business but have doubts, which is totally normal! They have this great idea but aren’t sure about the details and have had others-often well meaning family and friends- tell them it’s too risky. I too had naysayers when starting The Antiques Diva & Co. People thought I was crazy when I told them I was going to start a luxury-based service involving both travel and interior design at the height of the global recession.

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I originally was writing a series of books about antiquing in Europe, but with the recession of 2008, no one was publishing books. When my book series wasn’t published, naysayers encouraged me to throw in the towel and channel my energies towards more economically viable business models saying, “Forget antiques, design and travel – there’s no money to be made there.” And I ignored them. I learned early on that I had a vision that others couldn’t see. When you own your own company it’s imperative you trust your instincts. That may be one of the best pieces of advice I can give.

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You absolutely should seek advice from experts – but recognize that just because an expert has good advice, it does not mean their advice is applicable for your situation right now. Some pieces of advice I save for later. Others I negate as invalid. Above all else – do not doubt yourself. No one knows your business as well as you do and the surest way towards success is PERSEVERANCE. Gage what you have control over, set a realistic target and then steadfastly walk in the direction of that goal each day. When that goal is met – move the target – and keep going forward.

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That leads me to another very important piece of advice for young entrepreneurs. Just do it. A lot of people talk about starting a company – but the only people who succeed in business are those that just do it. Do not wait until you are an expert in your field. Do not wait until you know everything there is to know. Do not wait until you are perfect. Just do it. When it comes to brand evolution, perhaps the most scandalous piece of business advice I can share is this: Do not wait until you’ve got the perfect business plan in place to start your business. Yes, you DO need a business plan. But it doesn’t have to be perfect. A good business plan will evolve over time as you learn more about your market, discover hidden sources of incomes and grow into your service. A successful brand will establish parameters which stay consistent – within which to operate – but it will evolve with the market and economic environment.

By listening to your gut instinct, planning as much as you can, and just doing it, you will be well on the way to starting a business that is as unique as you are. It’s important to listen to the advice of others, but it’s just as important to listen to your own voice and do what you know you need to do.

Gook luck,

The Antiques Diva®

Sunburst Mirrors

2 Comments on Sunburst Mirrors

Dear Diva Readers,

I’ve always had an interest in interior design as well as antiques. In fact, I studied interior design in school and still enjoy decorating my own home when I have spare time! Perhaps one of my favorite parts of my job is to watch how antiques inspire current design trends. They say there is nothing new under the sun, and in fact, one design staple of the past few centuries has a lot to do with the sun! I’m talking about the sunburst mirror of course! This popular decorative piece has deep roots that involve religion, royalty, and repurposing, but it has been reinterpreted over the years and continues to be a fixture of home fashion today.

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It is thought that the sunburst mirror has its roots in medieval European churches, when the Catholic church would use elaborate decorations including rays of sun and gilded sunbursts around the heads of religious icons. With the plethora of saints and statues of the Holy Family, wood and metal rays of light seemed to adorn every precious relic in the church. Perhaps when churches were remodeled or torn down, these sunbursts were salvaged and mirrors were added to them, resulting in small sunburst mirrors. Today you can find many antique religious pieces which have been salvaged from Italian churches. These pieces are often priced reasonably because most Italians wouldn’t put architectural elements from a church in their home, however the trend of repurposing religious pieces is spot on in America.

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It is also known that King Louis XIV proclaimed himself the Sun King in the 17th century and incorporated rays of sun in much of his decor and architectural elements at Versailles. The head of Apollo, the sun god was a favorite personal emblem of the king, and as a result, it adorned much of the furniture of the time and was also carved into wall panels. In the late 17th century, King Louis XIV established his own glassworks factory in France, and began to have grand mirrors crafted. The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles is evidence enough of his love of mirrors and gilding. With the king’s affinity for sunbursts, it is no wonder that the motif became widely popular throughout France and continues to be a recurring theme in decor there.

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The sunburst mirror became highly sought after again in the early 19th century. Throughout Europe and America, sunburst mirrors were being produced and incorporated into homes everywhere. By the 1940’s, Hollywood Regency became all the rage and the sunburst mirror again regained its popularity. Over the next few decades it was reinterpreted in metal and plastic and at times given a more modern shape. In fact, some of these mid-century sunburst designs looked extremely modern with sharp spikes used as rays or even incorporating smaller circular mirrors along the rays to add more shine.

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Regardless of what style of sunburst mirror you prefer, it’s quite obvious that this mirror is not going out of style any time soon! From 17th century French gilded wood to Italian 1960’s metal, we see sunburst mirrors on Antiques Diva buying tours all the time and I love hearing the history of each one. If you would like more information on an Antiques Diva Buying Tour or our Buying Services, email us at [email protected]

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

AYG of the Year 2015

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Dear Diva Readers,

As the world becomes a smaller and smaller place, the importance of international business becomes greater and greater. This month as we are Going Global I’ve been on 3 continents! At The Antiques Diva & Co, one of our favorite things to do is introduce international clients, be they tourists, antique dealers, or interior designer, to our European sources. Often times, these become long lasting relationships, both personally and professionally. And speaking of international business and the future, Antiques Young Guns USA launched earlier this year after forming a strategic alliance with Antiques Young Guns UK. What a great way for young professionals in the antiques trade on both sids of the pond to connect!

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Antiques Young Guns USA promotes growth, education and exposure to those in the trade, 39 years old or younger, to a national audience of antiques enthusiasts. The program offers many member benefits, including online exposure through the Antiques Young Guns marketplace, several buying and selling events throughout the year, recognition in numerous trade and national publications, and much more.

I’m pleased to share that the 2015 Antiques Young Gun USA of the Year is Margaret Schwartz, owner of The Summer House. She is the first AYG USA winner of this award, and also happens to be a client of The Antiques Diva & Co! The award recognized Schwartz for her stellar contributions working as a young professional in the antiques industry.

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Schwartz began her career working at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which played a key role in inspiring and developing her passion for the home décor business. After four years, she left to open her own shop, The Summer House. Schwartz applies her signature styles and passion for home design to hand pick today’s best finds: upholstered furniture, fashionable jewelry, eye-catching lighting, exquisite rugs, fine art, and more.

Schwartz received a prize package valued at $10,000. The prizes, with significant contributions from the Antiques Young Guns’ industry partners, vary from complimentary booth space at U.S. Antique Shows events to free educational opportunities to advance trade knowledge.

Antiques Young Guns U.S.A. currently has more than 20 members and ten industry partners since the program’s launch this past March. In the last nine months, Antiques Young Guns has published their own website and merchandise gallery for members, set up multiple social media platforms, organized their first networking event, and provided multiple opportunities for its members’ onsite at U.S. Antique Shows’ nationally recognized events. To say the least, they have been busy creating and maintaining platforms for the next generation of antique professionals. And that’s music to my ears! To see young antiques dealers like Margaret Schwartz recognized for their vision, innovative ideas, and hard work means that the antiques industry has a promising future.

As we go into the new year, let’s all celebrate the fact that antiques are not only still relevant, they are a key factor in the decorative industry! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Long live antiques!”

Cheers and congratulations Margaret!

The Antiques Diva®

Vintage Chanel From Paris

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Dear Diva Readers,

Some people may think that I’m difficult to buy for, but the truth is, all I want for Christmas (or any time of year!) is vintage Chanel! Check out some fabulous pieces offered by one of our favorite vintage fashion source in Paris, Les Merveilles de Babellou. And if you should happen to feel generous, you can send any of these lovely pieces to my flat! And by the way, Les Merveilles de Babellou has so much more than just Chanel pieces—peruse their website for some seriously drool-worthy vintage goodies!

Now let’s talk prices! What’s it cost to buy vintage Chanel?

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A timeless Chanel bright red quilted patent leather bag decorated with a CC clasp and a silver metal shoulder strap chain interlaced with red leather. Simply perfect! 3800 Euro

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These Chanel clip earrings made of gilt metal and adorned with blue, red, and green glass paste cabochons would be perfect for the holiday season! 530 Euro

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Chanel by Gripoix atelier, a necklace made of several rows of faux pearls with an arabesque element in blackened gold metal with multicolored cabochons and four chains of red glass beads. A true stunner! 3800 Euro

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Chanel by Gripoix atelier, a demi parure consisting of a pearl necklace with a centered brooch and a pair of clip earrings both in golden metal and blue and green glass paste. 3500 Euro

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A Chanel transparent resin bracelet encrusted with black and green tweed, small CC logo and a silver metal chain interlaced with black tweed. 850 Euro

Merry Christmas, And as Coco might have said “May All Your Christmases be Stylish and Chic!”

The Antiques Diva®

Russian Sleigh

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Dear Diva Readers,

Dashing through the snow… On a one horse open sleigh…Over the hills we go… Laughing all the way!!’ Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells! Jingle All the Way!

It’s that time of year! With Christmas mere days away everyone is hustling and bustling in a last minute dash to the finish line! (Er… Make that check out line!). Shopping must be done, travel plans finalized, every last trimming must be put on the tree, not to mention the house must be cleaned and made ready for guests, food must be made, and gifts must be wrapped… Uhm… Did I just stress anyone else out? There’s a lot to do!!!! But in the midst of all the Christmas craziness, I think we all like to take a moment and reflect on the romance of this time of year.

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Images of Christmas-past come to mind, and make us realize that this season can be such a magical time! Perhaps one of the most iconic symbols of Christmas and the winter season in general is the sleigh. Whether you picture Santa Claus flying through the air in one or hum the familiar tune of “Sleigh Ride” and envision a happy couple taking a ride in a one horse open sleigh, one thing is for sure— it puts you in the Christmas spirit!

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One of our sources in France happens to have a gorgeous antique Russian sleigh in their showroom. An 18th century piece undoubtedly owned by an important family, this piece would have not only been beautiful to look at, but also a very functional part of winter life in Russia. Until the late 19th century, sleighs and sleds provided a high-speed means of transportation through the snow and ice covered regions of Russian and Siberia. Just as automobiles can be status symbols today, sleighs were often highly ornamented and the preferred means of transport for royals, bishops, and nobles.

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This beautiful sleigh in particular has a detail of a male goat on the front, carved from wood and gilded. Made for only one person, this sleigh is modest in size, but regal none the less. I think it would make a fabulous display in a store window or even in a home next to the Christmas tree!

I love finding unique pieces like this when on a buying tour with clients. It makes you wonder who owned this sleigh? Did it’s original owner use it to carry a special message or gift to someone he or she loved? How did it end up in France? It just goes to show that you never know what you’ll come across on an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, and that’s the beauty of antiques—the stories they conjure up and the way they connect us to the past.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas season!

The Antiques Diva®

Gifts of Provence-Olive Oil, Soap, Lavender

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Dear Diva Readers,

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As Christmas draws near, it’s got me thinking about all kinds of gift ideas in general – little things you can stock in your gift closet to use through out the year. As someone who travels a lot for work and pleasure, I try to pick up little gifts that will fit into my suitcase wherever I go. You never know when you’ll need a hostess gift or a last minute birthday treat to take to a friend! Many clients also enjoy stopping into small shops in between antiquing appointments to purchase locally made goods to take home to friends and family. Provence is a fantastic place to find antiques as well as some regional goodies such as olive oil, handmade soaps, and of course, dried lavender.

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Olive oil has been a staple product of Provence for centuries. Olive trees were planted by the Greeks around 600 BC and continue to thrive in the area around the Mediterranean due to the dry, stony, limestone soil. Most archaeological museums possess large pottery which would have been used to store oil during these ancient times. During the Renaissance, olive trees covered nearly 300,000 acres of land in France, making olive oil production an extremely profitable and important business. But as with any business that depends on nature, olive oil production was dealt a hard blow in 1956 when temperatures dropped below zero degrees fahrenheit, causing 1/3 of the olive trees in Provence to die that year. While that has slowed olive oil production in France, there are still some wonderful places that sell artisan olive oils. In fact, a new generation of oil producers have started small-scale local farms, offering specialty blends, gourmet oils, and other products. The thing to remember is that unlike Italian and Spanish oils, French oils come from limited crops and you won’t find many of them for sale outside the Provence region.

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Another fabulous gift you can find in Provence is savon (soap) de Marseille. Whether you’re in a metropolitan boutique or strolling through a small village market, gorgeous soaps of all shapes and sizes can be found. Another tradition that goes back hundreds of years, soap making in Provence lives on and continues to thrive. Savon de Marseille is only produced around the Marseille region and is made from olive oil and vegetable oils.

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The traditional way to make this special soap is by mixing water from the Mediterranean Sea with olive oil, sodium carbonate, and lye. All these elements are mixed in a cauldron and heated for several days while being stirred. After the mixture sits, it is poured into molds. Before it is completely hard, it is cut into bars and stamped, then left to set until hardened. It can take up to one month to complete this entire process. Recommended by dermatologists, this soap is perfect for dry skin during the winter. Of course, it’s been used for centuries in France to clean everything from skin to linens!

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Lastly, and perhaps the gift most synonymous with Provence, is lavender. A visit to the distilleries, farms, and shops can enhance a trip to Provence while also allowing you to pick up several perfectly packable gifts that anyone will enjoy. Sachets filled with lavender are a wonderful gift, and so are lavender scented soaps, lotions, and other bath products such as essential oils that sooth and calm. Don’t forget a lavender scented candle to place near the bath!

There is just something special about giving gifts that are hand made, and infused with local traditions. Provence’s rich history and bountiful natural resources makes it the ideal place to stock up on these wonderful gifts, and that’s why clients love perusing for antiques and regionally made items at the same time. If you would like information on an Antiques Diva Tour in France or any of our 8 tour countries, email us at [email protected]

Au revoir,

The Antiques Diva®

Candles Stick Together-A Pop-Up Shop in Amsterdam

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Dear Diva Readers,

I’ve got good news for you if you’ll be in Amsterdam today through 20th of December! European silver specialist Jacob J Roosjen is having a pop-up shop at the Galerie Prinsengracht, a gallery close to the Spiegelstraat and headquarters of antiques dealing in Amsterdam, which happens to be nearby the Rijksmuseum.

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Jacob will be hosting this pop-up shop together with Paul Klunder, a renowned decorator from Belgium. The successful theme of “Dining and Shining” during the most recent PAN Amsterdam http://www.pan.nl inspired Jacob to continue his celebration of light into the holiday season. The motto for the pop-up of “Candles Stick Together” will carry on the idea of candlelight during winter and add to the festive mood in Amsterdam as well as help usher in the New Year ahead.

If you would like to join in the experience, be sure to stop in to Galerie Prinsengracht at Prinsengracht 795 in Amsterdam from 16-20 December from 14:00-19:00 and tell Paul Klunder or Jacob Roosjen that The Antiques Diva sent you!

Happy holidays,

The Antiques Diva®

Biedermeier Furniture

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Dear Diva Readers,

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When it comes to antique furniture, different styles often reflect what was happening during the era. Much like today in the post 9/11 era we’ve seen a shift towards comfort and coziness in the home, in earlier times shifts in politics, reigning monarchs, industrialization, and war had a lot to do with the way furniture was made and the materials that were used to make it. The Biedermeier style is a fabulous example of this – it emerged in central Europe after the Napoleonic Wars. Since Napoleon had conquered most of Europe, his defeat at Waterloo in 1815 brought many changes, including a shift in preference from popular French Empire style to a more clean-lined look that is still popular today. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.”

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During this time of peace, a growing urban middle class shifted its focus towards home making and interior design – there was a focus on today what we’d call nesting. However, the mood during the early Biedermeier period was still cautious, and is reflected in the simpler forms of furniture, essentially Empire style stripped of its ormolu mounts and gilding toning it down a bit. As Mies Van der Rohe said, “Less in More.” Pieces were also made more on human scale and were created to be functional as well as beautiful. While these pieces had less ornamentation, they were not devoid of detail -(God, I’m full of quotes today… wasn’t it Mies who said, “God is in the details?). By 1830 craftsmen began to include simple carvings of sphinx, swans, lion paws, acanthus, and lyres.

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While Empire pieces were usually made from dark mahogany woods, Biedermeier furniture was typically made of lighter woods such as birch, ash, pear, and cherry giving the styles a decisively different feel. Viennese craftsmen began to use local timber, often finishing pieces with walnut veneer over a soft wood frame. They also started using original designs rather than taking inspiration from French, German, and Italian designs. Sometimes black poplar or bird’s eye maple were used and artisans would adorn furniture with gold paint rather than gilding them. While bronze appliqués were popular on Empire pieces, less expensive stamped brass wreaths or stars could also be added to Biedermeier pieces.

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As politics changed from 1815-1848 furniture makers gradually shifted from a utilitarian mindset to a more romanticized style, where straight lines became curved and simple finishes became embellished with inlay and other decorative elements. The serpentine shape began appearing in chair arms and table legs. Pleated fabrics became popular and were used in upholstery as well as on walls, ceilings and in alcoves. As craftsmen travelled throughout Europe looking for work, they brought traditions from their native lands and incorporated local styles, which is why we see so many variations of Biedermeier furniture. A slight alteration to a chair leg, a curve of a table’s foot, an experimental finish— all of these elements make the Biedermeier style so interesting and diverse.

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After WWII Biedermeier furniture became popular in Britain and America, and its influence can even be seen in the early 1920’s when Art Deco came into fashion. Today, many furniture makers still take inspiration for modern furniture lines from the Biedermeier style because it has clean lines and is popular with city-dwellers throughout the world. It’s no wonder this style has endured for over a century—we still long for perfectly proportioned pieces that offer functionality and are aesthetically pleasing too.

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If you would like information on our antique buying tours or buying services, email us at [email protected] We’d love to help you source the pieces you’re looking for!

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Until next time,

The Antiques Diva®

Windsor Chairs

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Dear Diva Readers,

While we offer antiques buying tours in eight European countries, we seem to consistently get inquiries about a few specific locations. With a rich history in furniture design, it’s no wonder the UK is one of our top tour countries when it comes to client requests. There are certain pieces that instantly make one think of England, and the Windsor chair is one of those.

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Recognized for its spoke-like spindles on the chair back, Windsor chairs also feature solid wooden seats which were often carved into a saddle shape to make them more comfortable. The seat is typically made from a thick timber which is strong and durable that provides strength and stability but also is able to be shaped to the desired look of a Windsor chair. That’s why elm is often used for the seat of an English Windsor chair, because it has interlocking grains which give good cross-grain strength that resists splitting once the holes are drilled for the chair back near the edge of the seat.

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While it is not known when the first Windsor chairs were made, it is speculated that chair spindles were crafted by the same men who created wheel spokes as early as the 16th century. As all design seems to adapt from earlier models, the Windsor chair may be derived from the stick-back chairs of Wales and Ireland. By the 18th century steam-bending was being used to form the bow of the Windsor chair and they were being shipped from High Wycombe where they were made to the town of Windsor, Berkshire where they would be sold, often to London dealers.

Regardless of where the idea originated, the name for the Windsor chair probably comes from its use at Windsor Castle in England. In the 18th century the Windsor chair was used in the gardens of Windsor Castle, and they soon became popular garden seats throughout the country. In those early years they were often painted green or simply left to weather, but by the late part the the 18th century they could be found indoors in darker tones being used everywhere from taverns to meeting houses to libraries.

Windsor Castle Please credit the photographer: Peter Packer

Windsor Castle
Photographer: Peter Packer

The English settlers brought Windsor chairs with them to America in the 18th century and they began to manufacture them in Philadelphia soon after. By the 19th century Windsor chairs were being produced in factories and shipped all over the United States. The chairs were usually painted and sometimes had stenciling on them as decoration. If you find an antique Windsor chair today, check to see if it has its original finish, as this will affect its value. As with many antiques, the finish will have worn with use, usually around the edges, so check the unworn areas such as the bottom of the seat to see if the piece retains its original finish or paint color.

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If you would like information on an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, please email us at [email protected] We’d love to take you to our sources to help you find exactly what you’re looking for!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Presepe Christmas Figures

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Dear Diva Readers,

The Christmas season is upon us! Chances are you’ve already started your holiday shopping and decorating and are looking forward to partaking in annual traditions in the coming days. Since our tours are offered in several countries throughout Europe, we are always learning about different cultural traditions and today i want to share a bit about Christmas in Italy. Anyone who has shopped the Tuscan countryside has surely seen nativity scenes for sale, whether they are antique or new. But the tradition of setting up a nativity goes back quite some time.

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In Italian, the nativity scene is called the presepe or presepio, meaning literally “in front of the crib.” For centuries this scene has appeared in churches, piazzas, and in homes beginning on December 8 of each year as that is the day for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Presepi remain up until the Epiphany on January 6, as this is the Feast associated with the Three Magi’s visit to the nativity.

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It is thought that the tradition of the presepe originated in 1223 AD in the town of Greccio when St. Francis had a theatrical mass performed, using a live ox and ass, along with a straw-filled crib to bring the story of Jesus’ birth to life. The mass was not held inside the four walls of a church, but was set up outdoors in a wooded grove to make the scene appear more real. Centuries later during the Counter-Reformation of the 1500’s, people began to set up presepi in their private homes as well. It wasn’t until the 18th century however that presepi became extremely popular and were a standard fixture of the Christmas season, as they are today.

Photo from Collezione Cassese, Presepe napoletano del Settecento

Photo from Collezione Cassese, Presepe napoletano del Settecento

Presepi can include just a few familiar figures such as Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and the Magi or can be made up of hundreds of figurines, which can occupy entire floors of grand palazzi. A visit to the city of Naples can reveal some of the most elaborate presepi collections as it is known for having workshops that create the nativity sets which have been in operation for centuries. Families all over Italy often set up presepi in their home using figurines that have been passed down for generations. Building the presepe is often quite the feat as it may include a water feature—symbolic of baptism—and a cave or stable where the birth is thought to have taken place. But for many Italians, the presepe is a symbol of their culture, and building it each year connects them to their family’s past and their faith.

As we celebrate this season, I’d love to hear what some of your traditions are. Share them with me in the comments below or on The Antiques Diva & Co Facebook page!

Happy Holidays,

The Antiques Diva®

What Differentiates Swedish Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

While Swedish antiques are trending they’ve always been en vogue in my book. In Europe each country had their own distinct styles and when examining antiques you can identify their origin by their region or culture. We asked our Antiques Diva Guide in Sweden, antiques dealer Daniel Larsson, to help us understand what distinguishes Swedish antiques from other European antiques.

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Daniel Larsson explains: When talking about Swedish antiques the most representative period is the 18th Century with its Rococo and Gustavian styles. Named after King Gustav III of Sweden, Gustavian pieces have strong influences of neoclassical French design as well as Italian classicism. King Gustave III spent a lot of time in France. He was very interested in arts and clothes, architecture, style and design. He was very influenced by the French Neoclassical designs and he brought this style to Sweden, simplifying it with cleaner lines.

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Compared to French antiques however, Swedish antiques are very similar, but they are more rare because there were less that were made. French pieces often have a lot of intricate detail, and while Swedish pieces were similarly made, they were not as heavily ornamented. Swedish craftsmen focussed on quality and cleaner lines rather than an abundance of carving.

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English antiques are complete opposites to Swedish antiques. The style is completely different English antiques are traditionally made of dark more exotic woods because England had colonies in several regions.

However, as with any country’s antiques, many have been exported to various countries. It’s important to educate yourself about Swedish antiques before purchasing them in any country because provenance plays a huge part when it comes to price.

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The reason Swedish chairs, for instance, can be more pricey than the French chairs, is that not a lot of dealers possess original Swedish chairs. Even Swedish dealers pay a lot of money for original chairs. However, it can be a benefit to purchase Swedish antiques in Sweden because these Swedish dealers can typically tell the difference between original and 19th century reproductions which have been made in the Gustavian style. Foreign dealers often cannot tell the difference between original Gustavian pieces and 19th century reproductions, which results in higher prices being charged for reproductions.

Knowing the difference between an original chair and a chair re-made of old pieces can mean the difference between paying a few hundred Euro to several thousand Euro. Knowledge truly is power and that’s why we’re so fortunate to have Daniel as out expert in this field!

We offer 1 day and 2 day antique buying tours in Sweden to antique dealers that specialize in furniture and decorative items. We will to take our clients to various types of sources, from smaller antique dealers within beautiful settings to larger trade dealers with 3000 square meters of space. We also know places that are like secret pearls such as one dealer that has restored a beautiful mansion to it’s original glory and has filled it with the highest quality antiques. Places like this are must visits— the type of once-in-a-lifetime experiences that The Antiques Diva & Co loves to give our clients. To book a tour email us at [email protected]

The Antiques Diva®

Architectural Salvage

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Dear Diva Readers,

W e’re all familiar with the saying, “They just don’t make things like they used to,” and I know this to be a true statement! That’s one of the reasons many people come on tour to search for architectural salvage. Whether clients are building their dream home, adding a special addition, or purchasing inventory to stock their store, architectural salvage tours seem to be one of our most popular request. It makes sense to me—when you spend your money on something, you want to know that it is made of quality materials that will stand the test of time. What better way to ensure that they’ll last than to buy something that’s been around for over one hundred years?! Speaking of quality materials, antique architectural salvage can often by purchased at a fraction of the price it would cost to reproduce them.

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Price and endurance aside, architectural salvage pieces allow you to add something unique to your home. In a cookie cutter world, it’s becoming more and more important to incorporate unique pieces into your life, better reflecting your style. Whether you’re incorporating antique mantels or lighting fixtures into your home or reinventing salvage by creating furniture from recycled items, antique pieces add character to any space.

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We’ve seen architects use old French doors in new construction, interior designers source vintage sinks in multiple colors to complement a scheme, and private clients buy gorgeous chandeliers to hang over their dining tables. The options really are endless. Owners of older homes often look for period pieces for restoration projects while those building new houses want something that’s going to add that warmth and patina that only antiques can add. Loft dwellers love finding burnished pieces and industrial salvage, perhaps from an old warehouse or factory.

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In fact, we’ve helped clients source entire frescoed ceilings, built-in libraries, Italian roof tiles, floor tiles, reclaimed wood floors, and even staircases. Whether found on tour or through our Buying Services, our guides know where to go, who to talk to about restoration, and what a fair price is. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re on the hunt for architectural salvage:

Shop First
If you wait until the last minute to try and find a mantel or door that will fit the exact spot that’s already carved out, chances are it’s going to be difficult to source. Instead, find special pieces you love and ask your contractor to create a space for it.

Measure twice 
The last thing you want to happen is that you buy a beautiful piece only to find out that it won’t fit through your door or up the stairs! Take measurements of the space you want to fit it in as well as all doorways and hallways it will need to pass through.

Rely on Restoration
Many times you’ll come upon an item that could use some TLC. That’s ok! It’s normal to purchase something in its “original state,” often meaning that it hasn’t been restored or changed at all because the seller wants to let the buyer choose how much to restore it, what finish to use, and to advise if size adjustments need to be made. A lot of antique dealers do their own restoring or have workshops they trust to carry these wishes out. Don’t be afraid to ask about a piece just because it isn’t in pristine condition.

Get the Right Team
Make sure the contractor you are working with understands architectural salvage. Often times if someone isn’t used to working with reclaimed materials, they’ll say that something isn’t possible, when in fact, it is. Interview your contractor and trades men to make sure they appreciate repurposing.

See Green
Not only is architectural salvage a green choice for the environment, it also can save you money. For instance, you can find antique cast-iron tubs for about a tenth of the price of new ones. Of course, you may need to refinish the tub, but you’ll still be ahead of the game financially. Installation of these antique tubs requires common plumbing techniques and they can be outfitted with reproduction faucets. Solid wood doors are another place to save by using salvage. Just be sure they have no rot on the bottom and that they aren’t warped. Compared to modern doors that are often made of lightweight pine, old doors offer much more value.

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If you are interested in one of our Architectural Salvage Tours, email us at [email protected] We’d love to help you source the perfect piece!

The Antiques Diva®

Savonarola Chair

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Dear Diva Readers,

W hen antiquing throughout Europe, one often comes across curious pieces of furniture. While many pieces are beautiful to look at, they frequently have interesting characteristics that one can discover with further inspection. One such item is the Savonarola chair. You’ve probably seen this type of chair before, known for its unique X-frame. Having been around for centuries, this style of chair was made for a specific purpose and its construction, consisting of multiple slats in the legs which cross each other and rise to form the arms is quite interesting. It is this crossing of the legs that creates the X shape.

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Developed in the late 15th century in Italy, the Savonarola chair was originally created to be foldable, and thus a more portable, version of the ancient Roman curule chair. The Savonarola however had more angular legs and the addition of a low back and though the basic construction of the chair was simple, there are many variations in armrest, backrest, and feet, as well as the type of wood used. The woodward was often covered with silk or velvet and the seat would have had a cushion. Typically the Savonarola chair had a wavy-shaped X, similar to the Dante chair, another X shaped style of seating.

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Of course as time went on, the style and features of the chair were adapted and in the 19th century during the Renaissance Revival, versions of the chair featured iron pins for folding, higher backs, and more ornate details such as carving and inlay. The more ornate and larger they became, the more difficult they were to transport, thus altering their original purpose. These Renaissance Revival remakes began to look more like thrones!

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The Savonarola didn’t get its name until the 19th century when homage was paid to a famous Renaissance Dominican friar, Girolamo Savonarola, who led Florence during the late 15th century. This moralistic religious leader is best known for his Bonfire of the Vanities, and it is quite possible that Friar Savonarola did possess a chair like this, since monks typically used folding chairs in their small rooms.

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Today this style of chair still holds much of its aesthetic value. While we have much more portable folding chairs made of plastic, the Savonarola chair remains a favorite decorative piece for interior designers and those with a love of Renaissance style. In Italy you can often find these lovely examples of ingenuity from a bygone age at antique warehouses, second hand stores, and even house clearings.

If you would like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Tour in Italy or any of our other tour countries—France, England, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany— email us at [email protected]

The Antiques Diva®

Treats from Provence

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Dear Diva Readers,

W ith the holidays upon us, it’s got me thinking about entertaining and also attending holiday parties! Whenever I have guests over, I try to offer them tasty treats that I pick up on my travels. And of course, when attending a dinner party, I always bring a hostess gift— a bottle of Antiques Diva champagne is my standby gift— but it’s fun to bring something special from another country too. To me, some of the best little treats can be found in Provence!

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Many clients who shop Isle sur la Sorgue with us will stop into little shops and also pick up candied fruit, also known as crystallized fruit or glacé fruit. This sweet treat has been around for centuries and continues to be a favorite especially during the holiday season. The fruit is placed in heated sugar syrup which absorbs the moisture from within the fruit which in turn preserves it.

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By continuing to dip the fruit in the syrup, it becomes crystalized and takes on a glass-like appearance. Once it’s had its final bath, the fruit is placed on a drying rack before it is packed. Shiny and soft, the fruit is tasty and beautiful to behold! Anything from dates, cherries, lemons, oranges and pineapple can be used—even ginger! There is a small shop in Isle sur la Sorgue called Lilamand that not only makes some of the best candied fruit, but they also have beautiful wrapping, making these little packages the perfectly presentable petite cadeaux!

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Another delicacy that can be found in this same shop are calissons. These are traditional French candy made from two ingredients: Almonds and candied fruit. The candied fruit acts as the first layer of the calisson which is then topped with ground almonds and finished with a layer of royal icing. Almond shaped and decadently sweet, these little morsels are a favorite treat after dinner and seem ideal as a treat during the holidays.

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Lastly, you can find gorgeous little biscuits in Provence called Navettes. These small boat shaped biscuits are typically served on February 2nd to commemorate the arrival of the Three Mary’s to the Camargue by boat. However, I say they are good to eat any time! The delicious crunchy biscuit can be flavored with orange blossom, anise or even lavender. Wouldn’t these little biscuits be the perfect companions to a nice hot cup of tea on a cold day?

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Talking about all these treats has made me hungry! I think I’ll just go look in the cupboard and see if I’ve stashed any away from my last trip to France…

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Gray’s & Alfie’s Christmas Shopping Parties

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Dear Diva Readers,

C an you believe that Christmas is just around the corner? With all the shopping I do, you’d think that I would have my Christmas shopping done by now, but I must confess, I am way behind! If you’re in the same boat as me, it can be helpful to shop antiques stores and markets since there is such a wide variety of items and price points all in one place! I’ve just received word of two fabulous Christmas shopping parties coming up in London and wanted to share them with you all in case you happen to be in London soon! (or better yet are just looking for a reason to book some travel!)

The legendary Alfies and Grays Late Night Shopping events are a fantastic way to shop for rare and beautiful Christmas gifts.

Grays Antique Center is home to a diverse collection of luxury antiques, fine jewelry, silver and Asian art. Seconds from Bond Street and Oxford Street, Grays is a focus of the London antiques trade and is home to over 200 of its finest dealers.

They are located at 58 Davies Street & 1-7 Davies Mews, London W1K 5AB and the late night shopping event takes place on Thursday, 26 November 2015, from 5pm-8pm.

Alfies Antiques Market (formerly Jordan’s department store) has around 75 antique dealers trading there along with a fabulous rooftop cafe. The adjacent part of Church Street also has some 20 shops selling twentieth century antiques. At Alfies you will find a huge range of antique and vintage goods including vintage fashion and accessories, modernist furniture and lighting, costume jewelry and 20th century decorative arts.

They are located at 13-25 Church Street, Marylebone, London, NW8 8DT and the late night shopping event takes place on Thursday, 3 December 2015 from 5pm-9pm

At both events you can enjoy vintage inspired music and entertainment, plus complimentary canapés and drinks to add to the festive atmosphere while you browse. There are over 300 dealers across the two markets, so take advantage of this opportunity to shop after hours in two of London’s largest and longest-standing antiques centers and, if that is not enough, for those last-minute shoppers both Alfies and Grays will be open right up until Christmas Eve!

Their in-house services range from engraving a personalized message on your presents to creating a bespoke piece with one of their jewelers. The two centers also offer a personal shopping service and gift certificates as well. There is no better place to find that one-of-a-kind gift!

Alfies and Grays are never short of the perfect gift. With a varied selection of items— from fine jewelry to homewares— and a divers price range, you’re sure to not leave empty handed! I’ve even had a preview of some of the pieces which will be available and want to share them with you below. Here’s a little sampling to whet your shopping appetite!

Linda Bee - 18ct gold plated snake necklace by Askew London £250

Serhat Ahmet Antiques - A selection of European porcelain scent bottles and stoppers from Meissen and the Paris manufactories.

1950s leather desk lamp. Matt Mitchell London

Arabella Bianco - Gold Tone Crystal Calla Lily Brooch by Nolan Miller£75.00

Horner Antiques - Japanese gold lacqueur tray and martini glasses £325

Diem - 1960s snake stick pin set with ruby emerald and diamonds, 18ct gold

Happy shopping!

The Antiques Diva®

Megan’s Cafe in London

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Dear Diva Readers,

W hen it comes to antiquing in London Kings Road is a guaranteed to result in a successful afternoon shopping. Whenever I ‘m in the area I have one place I have to go – and that’s Megan’s Cafe. It’s an institution in Fulham (their other cafe is in St. John’s Wood High Street in Chelsea). Coming here guarantees I get a healthy incredibly delicious lunch while out antiquing – and better yet – almost guarantees I’ll run into some of my antiques industry friends! Given it’s location opposite Guinevere’s this cafe frequented by some of the antiques industry’s most well known dealers and shoppers alike. Whether you’re there for brunch—try their freshly squeezed juices paired with a free-range eggs Benedict— lunch, afternoon tea— the fresh baked cakes are to die for— , or dinner, you’re sure to enjoy a gorgeous meal prepared with fresh and often organic ingredients.

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I’ve spent many afternoons at Megan’s with clients and colleagues, discussing our recent finds and upcoming projects over a bottle— or two— of champagne. A favorite place to sit is the beautiful courtyard, with quaint tables pulled together – you’re in the heart of London, but somehow the ambiance feels quintessentially French country to me. There’s nothing like savoring excellent food while being surrounded by flowers. I often wish I could take a piece of Megan’s home with me!

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That’s why I’m so excited that the cafe has come out with a book called, “Friends Around the Table,” chock full of mouth watering recipes.

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Whether you’re entertaining a group of friends or simply cooking for two, this cook book has something for everyone. Eating should be a communal activity, and as someone who loves to cook and entertain, I can’t wait to try some of these recipes, such as the grilled squid, chorizo and asparagus salad! Doesn’t that sound like the perfect lunch for me to make friends for lunching on terrace? (winters only just beginning but I’m already fantasizing about summer again). And as I have to accept that the weather is going to get cold… perhaps I should look for a heartier winter dish to fix friends and family? What about the pot-cooked beef fillet with pea puree and hasselback potatoes…yummy! Delicious. I”m an arm-chair recipe reader and Meghans cookbook has already transported me to a dozen tables in my mind!

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I’d love to hear what some of your favorite restaurants are in London – or elsewhere – and if you have any preferred recipes from them! Head over to The Antiques Diva & Co Facebook page and share them with me on the wall.

Until next time, bon appetit!

The Antiques Diva®

Venice Salon Recap

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Dear Diva Readers,

A s many of you know I recently attended a very special event hosted by my two Diva Guides in Venice, Orseola and Chiara of O&C Antiques. These ladies delivered once again by creating a fabulous Salon style evening where artists, designers and collectors came together from all over the world for a few hours of thoughtful discussion while viewing some very special pieces of art and antiques. The mobile Salon (last year I attended their event in Berlin) encourages guests to learn about the pieces which have been curated by Orseola and Chiara, all the while enjoying antiques, art, music and scintillating conversation with like-minded people. The great part is that every piece, be it a rare antique or modern art piece, is available for purchase.

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While everything at the Salon was gorgeous, I wanted to highlight five of our favorite pieces here on the blog to give everyone an idea of the type of objects these ladies are bringing together – better yet – it just so happens these are still for sale so even if you missed the salon you still have the opportunity to shop it!

First up is the sleek RM58 Classic chair originally designed by Roman Modzelewski in 1958. This fiberglass chair is one of the earliest Polish designs of polyester-glass laminate furniture and has no counterpart from that time, either in Poland or the rest of the world. One of the original chairs was purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and was displayed at the “Cold War Moder: Design 1045-1970” exhibition which was the first to explore the works in modern design, architecture, film and pop culture developed in the context of the Cold War, on both sides of the Iron Curtain. This design is currently available in red, black, white, yellow, and green and is priced at 934€.

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A digital print on photographic paper by Costanza gianquinto also caught my eye. Every shot this artist takes represents a moment which lends itself to the story of his mind, an esoteric and symbolic path that enables him to sneak in his perception. In the artist’s own words, “I do not take pictures in order to create, I do photography to communicate, to release myself. I seek to express what I imagine in a tangible way, to discover what makes me worried and what trickles down from the scraping walls of my thoughts. There is not reasonable research, neither an obsession or cruelty but only the sweet
tones of aromas and vibes that lay soaking while they wait to be discovered.” The untitled print is priced at 750 € and would make a fantastic addition to a private collection.

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A 1964 fresco on plywood titled, immagine n°509 2b, by artist Gino morandis is another show-stopper. I love the colors and composition of this piece. It is priced at 2500 €.

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Dating back to the first half of the 17th century, a pair of miniature Italian portraits of Bianca Cappello and Giovanni di Bianca Cappello added depth to the Salon. These very special enamel on copper portraits of the Florentine School are priced at 4800 €.

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I was thrilled to see the work of a friend displayed at the Salon as well. Dutch designer Mariska Meijers is a multi talented artist, boasting her own fabric lines and wallpaper designs. She also paints and offers all of her designs at her showroom in Amsterdam. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the Salon was seeing her stunning Venetian style lamp shade in Bold Cubisn Parisian Pink (298€) atop an antique lamp base (300€). The juxtaposition of the modern shade and the antique lamp seemed to sum up the feeling of the evening. Mixing the past with the present and curating objects from all time periods is the name of the game and Orseola and Chiara have a flair for winning at that game.

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If you’d like more information on any of these pieces or on future Salon events, email us at [email protected]

The Antiques Diva®

Modenus Talks & Blog Tour Reunion at Art Basel in Miami

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Dear Diva Readers,

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O ne thing I love about my job is that it is NEVER boring. While our main focus at The Antiques Diva & Co is custom planning antique buying tours in Europe for our clients, my Diva Guides and I also stay on top of what’s happening in the design world in general. I’ve been privileged enough to have many great friends in the design industry, but perhaps—no, definitely— some of the most fun people I’ve met have been through Modenus-Blog Tour! I’ve been a blogger on Blog Tour NYC and Blog Tour New Orleans and I’ve also been a sponsor of Blog Tour Milan and in Veronika Miller’s newly formed Design Hounds London, an evolution of BlogTour!! I’m so excited to be heading to Miami in December for Blog Tour reunion and Modenus Talks Miami ! In fact, yours truly will be giving a talk on December 2, 2015.

As lovers of all things design, the Modenus ladies have planned their fabulous agenda in conjunction with Art Basel and Design Miami, so it is sure to be a fun and informative few days! Modenus will be bringing together a wonderful group of speakers as well as hosting two events for design professionals and social media influencers.

The schedule begins with opening night cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at the Ritz Carlton Coconut Grove on December 1. The following day, Modenus Talks takes center stage at the Ritz. With topics focussing on licensing opportunities to styling photo shoots, to how to sketch, it’s sure to be a full and fun day! I’ll be speaking about the antique and vintage styles of Europe and how to avoid pitfalls when buying abroad. That evening, we’ll all board The Venetian Lady for a fabulous dinner cruise hosted by Mr. Steam and Modenus.

For a full look at the schedule, including special art & design events during Art Basel, visit the Modenus website here There you can find out how to join us and even get a good rate on a room at the Ritz! I hope to see you in Miami!

Artfully yours,

The Antiques Diva®

Chez Sarah in Paris

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Dear Diva Readers,

D ressing in vintage fashion allows me to drape myself in the past – taking my passion for antiques a step beyond interior decor! There’s something special about the style, the cuts, and the attention to detail that went into vintage attire and accessories that makes my heart pitter patter a bit more. Any time I’m at a flea market, I always keep my eyes peeled for a piece of vintage fashion that may be calling out to me, and I know I am not alone in this! One of our most popular antique buying tours in France is our Vintage Fashion Tour in Paris. Seriously, what better place to find fashion than Paris? Oh La La!

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While our vintage fashion tour includes many sources, shops, and stops along the waywe certainly have our favorite places that specialize in high quality vintage fashion. One of those places is Chez Sarah located off the beaten path in the Lecuyer Passage at the Paris Flea Market. I love to go in and sift through the historic clothing and textiles.

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Chez Sarah is not just flea market finery – it has evolved into a real shop that is beyond imagination! It’s the ideal place for anyone with even the slightest interest in vintage fashion—whether you are a serious collector, a fashion designer, or someone looking to purchase a piece wear everyday. From clothing to laces & ribbons, hats, lingerie & corsets, bags & shoes, fabric samples, vintage jewelry, and even men’s vintage fashion, Chez Sarah has something for everyone! Its positively huge!

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Being born into the business—Sarah is the granddaughter of a chiffonier— she took over the business from her mother and inherited the eye for quality and detail learning her trade at her mothers knee. What I enjoy is hearing the story behind each piece and imagining myself giving it a new life or rather continuing its story. When shopping for vintage fashion I can’t help but to ask myself… “Who wore that hat before? What events has that gown been to? Whose closet did that outfit hang in?” I suppose vintage fashion is similar to vintage and antique furniture in the fact that each piece has a story to tell. But that’s the charm of the past… other lives, other times, other place and other stories.

When you’re shopping the Paris Flea Market – Chez Sarah is a must-visit! And if you’d like more information on our Paris Vintage Fashion Tour or any of our Antiques Diva Buying Tours, email us at [email protected] We’d love to share more of our secret addresses and share with you our Europe!

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Be Chic, Be Stylish. Always Dress Like a Diva.

The Antiques Diva®

Antique Tuscan Amadias

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Dear Diva Readers,

O ne thing I love about antiques is the fact that they connect us to the past. And while some pieces of furniture are no longer necessary due to today’s technology, they are still beautiful and can be adapted for new uses in modern life.Take for example the Amadia, an Italian piece of furniture that once graced the kitchens of every Tuscan home, great and small. Originally it was pressed into service while preparing dough for bread-making—a daily activity in each household 100 years ago. Today you can still see amadias in Tuscan country kitchens, but more often than not, they are used for storage rather than a place to store and knead dough.

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Bread is a staple food in all cultures, and has been for centuries. Each corner of the world seems to have its own take on this ever present food, offering diverse shapes and flavors. The preparation of dough was once a common task that relied heavily on traditional methods, always involving water, flour, yeast, and of course strong hands to knead the mixture. Today as you travel in India and Asia you often still see this bread making ritual a part of daily life in their households. If you’ve ever tasted Tuscan bread you’ll know it’s unique in the fact that it is prepared without salt. Legend has it that around the year 1100, the salt trade was interrupted due to a war between Pisa and Florence, resulting in a very high cost for salt. In turn, Florentines adapted by making bread without salt, gradually adjusting to this new taste, referred to as “sciocco,” (without salt), and thus what should have only been a temporary fix has evolved into tradition. (Plus it happens to taste fabulous when dipped in Olive Oil with fat salt and fresh pepper!)

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Prepared once or twice a week, Tuscan bread would be made with locally produced flour, and once baked, would keep for about a week. Every kitchen would have had an amadia, a sort of dough trough, where the dough was kneaded. The amadia was equipped with a board to grind the flour, a rolling pin to roll out the dough, and a storage area. Once the dough had risen, breads were placed on a prepared canvas, the fabric making a fold between each loaf. In the mean time a fire would be made in the oven, and once its flames had died down, the embers would be set aside while most of the ash was removed.  Then came the time to bake the bread! Of course, if there was stale bread still left in the amadia after a week, it would not go to waste. Instead it would be used to prepare a list of exquisite dishes which utilized stale bread such as ribollita, panzanella, aqua cotta, pappa al pomodoro, fettunta, and black cabbage soup.

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Today you can find several different styles of amadias dating from the 19th century up to the 1950’s, each with their own unique patina and style. Clients that take our Antiques Diva Tuscany Tour often remark on these pieces, as they can be found in second hand stores, antique shops, and warehouses. And while their function is no longer necessary, they can still add to the look of a kitchen and act as extra storage or prep space, proving that objects from the past can still be made relevant, even in new ways!

If you’d like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Tour in any of our 8 tour countries—Italy, France, UK, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, or The Netherlands— email us at [email protected]

Ciao,

The Antiques Diva®

Book Review- Carrier and Company Positively Chic Interiors

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Dear Diva Readers,

O ne of my favorite things to do in my down time is flip through design books. With inspiring photos and thoughtful text, these books not only keep me informed of what’s happening in the design world, but they also give me fresh ideas about how I can decorate my own home. While I enjoy a variety of styles, the magic of “the mix” is what really resonates with me. When I come across a design book that mixes antique pieces with contemporary style, I’m immediately drawn in! A recent book that does just that is Carrier and Company Positively Chic Interiors by husband and wife duo Jess Carrier and Mara Miller.

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With a combined total of 30 years experience working with New York’s premier design firms before opening their own in 2005, Carrier and Company boasts high profile clients including Anna Wintour – Vogue, Bob Pittman, Jane Rosenthal, Catie and Donald Marron, Jay Fielden – Town and Country, Jason Wu and Annie Leibovitz to name a few. Their work has been published in Elle Decor, The World of Interiors, Vogue, Traditional Home, Town and Country, W, and House Beautiful . I’d say this couple knows a thing or two about what people want when it comes to mixing styles to satisfy the way we live now!

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Jesse and Mara touch on something that I completely agree with—in the book they explain that their goal is the “perfectly imperfect,” meaning they want to achieve spaces that combine various elements that may not necessarily “go together” but that work harmoniously in a room. This mix allows for more freedom in design, and results in an interesting and beautiful place to live.

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While it’s evident that they use modern pieces in their projects, the team also takes on projects that lean on the traditional side. They honor the past but aren’t bound by tradition. “Tradition for us is something of a loose fantasy, rather than a tight construct of provenance and period,” they say. I couldn’t agree more! When living with antiques, I always tell people to reimagine how to use them. While it’s important to understand the function of a piece and how it may have been used in the past, it’s also fun and exciting to pair it with modern objects and give it a whole new lease on life! Jesse and Mara certainly have an eye for mixing antiques and vintage finds with modern art and case pieces from sources like Restoration Hardware, proving that items from the past and present can mingle together in the same space to create a warm and inviting home—that’s also functional!

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This new book—and all of its gorgeous photos— shows why Carrier and Company are the chosen designers of so many clients with discriminating taste. They understand the art of mixing high and low, old and new, form and function, and ultimately achieving timeless interiors that reflect the way people want to live. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you order this chic design book as I know it will inspire you!

Happy designing,

The Antiques Diva®

Entrepreneur Series- Strengths and Weaknesses

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Dear Diva Readers,

To continue our Entrepreneur Series, I want to talk about something that all aspiring business people should be aware of: their Strengths and Weaknesses.

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My Biggest Weakness in both my professional and personal life is Time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and it is crucial to identify what you can do well and what you can’t do so well in that time in order to grow a thriving business. Due to a constant travel schedule, time is one thing that seems to always allude me. I have to be aware of what I’m able to accomplish within a 24 hour period and what I need to delegate.

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Running a company is a sure-fire way to guarantee you’re sleep deprived. In the beginning I didn’t have the money to hire staff or outsource certain services so I did everything myself. Today even with a team of 18 people, there is still never enough time to complete the tasks that need to be done each day. I spend more than 200 nights per year on the road traveling so managing my schedule takes a lot of prioritizing. And at the end of the day I’ve had to accept that some things simply don’t get done.

I have, however, created a system for organizing my schedule that time-blocks certain tasks so that I maximize my energy mode. For example, administrative tasks, when lumped together in an hour, go faster than if randomly done throughout the day. If I do all my creative tasks at the same time, my brain needs less “warm up” time when starting new projects and I get in the “mode” and am able to work faster. By time-blocking tasks by category – administrative, financial, creative, marketing, follow up/clients contact, etc I’m more productive and am able to get more done during the allotted time.

I’ve also learned to listen to my body in determining my natural rythym and thus work when I am most productive. For me it’s in the early morning hours – I wake daily around 4am and have 4 hours in my office before most people leave to go to work. During those 4 hours I am able to accomplish twice as much work as I’m uninterrupted and have high energy.

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And believe it or not – one of the biggest solutions to managing my time crunch – has been learning to take a break. Each morning after my first 4 hours in the office – I go for a walk. Exercise gets the blood flowing and wakes up the brain. I’m able to use this time to process and think through things that need more dedicated time, while doing something healthy. It also enables me to think more creatively about work problems, finding solutions while in that new environment walking in nature or working out with my trainer.

While my company might be called The Antiques Diva® & Co but there is no room for being a diva when it comes to running a successful business. The key to my professional success has been an utter lack of ego. Yep! I catch the irony that I am BRAGGING about lack of ego…. but hey let’s face it – my company name Diva wouldn’t work if we really were divas in the shoe throwing since the word! Lack of Ego as a strength means recognizing it’s NOT all about me. The client comes first. And I dont always have to be right or know the answer – I’m not afraid to admit to myself, an employee, or even a client when I don’t know the answer to their question. While I may not always know the answer – I usually know how to find those who do know the answer – that’s another of my strengths – my global network. We’ve grown as a company because I’ve surrounded myself with experts who strengthen me and my brand. Externally we’ve hired graphic artists, lawyers, accountants, publicists and social media gurus, while internally I’ve hired a slew of people who have different skills, knowledge levels, languages and contacts to serve as our locally based Diva Guides as well as Office Staff.

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A big realization that has allowed my company to grow is the realization that just because I can do something within my company doesn’t mean I have to be the one doing it or that it is the best place for me to be spending my time. I assess where my time is best spent and prioritize my schedule to align with what yields the greatest results for the company overall. Sometimes this means more time is spent on stage front and center while other times it means I’m stepping behind the scenes spending more time on strategy instead of implementation.

Regardless of what type of company you’re running, it is crucial to understand that time is one of the most valuable assets you have. Learning what you can do (and do well) in a day, and what needs to be outsourced or delegated can really give you an edge when it comes to growing a business.

Go Rock the World.

The Antiques Diva®

Staying Chic When Packing for Travel

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Dear Diva Readers,

W hile I technically live in Berlin, Germany, it seems that I am hardly ever there! Due to my extensive travel schedule for work, I spend much of my time in planes, trains, and automobiles which take me to hotels and homes of friends, Air B&B properties and vacation apartments around the globe. Whether I’m on the road with a client, traveling to a speaking engagement or simply heading somewhere exotic on holiday, one thing is certain—I have become a master of packing! From the pre-packing checklist to editing out anything I don’t need, I’ve got some tips to share with you all about how to select the perfect items to take with you and how to organize it all so you’re not bogged down with unnecessary items you have to lug around for weeks at a time! And I’ve also got some tips on what I consider IMPORTANT essentials when it comes to traveling… those essentials might surprise you!

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First things first, I lay everything out in advance so I can see exactly what I’m taking. I organize outfits by what I can multipurpose and wear multiple ways and I always dress in layers – short sleeve dress sweater and scarf – when on road for several weeks at time which allows me to adapt my wardrobe to current weather no matter where I’m going. I wear almost exclusively jersey because it’s easy to pack – roll it up on a tight little ball and into the suitcase it goes! The exception being that I wear leopard print silk PJs of course, but those too are easy to pack.

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The first items that go into the bottom of my suitcase are shoes. This allows me to fit soft clothes around them. Now – you will note I bring ALOT of shoes. When I’m on tour I tend to wear practical shoes but when doing public speaking and guest appearances my brand is defined by a few things – a glass of champagne and great shoes are part of that brand image so I pack a LOT of shoes.

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But when traveling, clothes aren’t the only necessities. Two essentials that go with me are make-up removal cloths and anti-humidity spray for my hair. Travel is difficult on skin and mid-day these make up removal clothes allow me to do a full on make over when necessary to keep me looking fresh when hopping on multiple stages in one day! I also always pack masks for my face to use at night and serious deep lotion for feet. After all, I spend a lot of time walking and it simply won’t do for my feet to be neglected!

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Now I’m going to share my real secret with you–Yves Saint Laurent Touché Eclait Foundation in addition to their signature wand! Touche Eclat is a cult favorite among top makeup artists, models, celebrities and women everywhere for a reason. This golden pen is not just a concealer, but is the original face highlighter. It emphasizes radiance over coverage and does not mask the skin for a more natural, luminous complexion. You won’t see makeup, you’ll see the light that is reflected off it, which helps to erase fatigue, highlight features and lighten dark spots and circles. The evanescent texture blends seamlessly on bare skin or over makeup. It literally is my magic pen that helps me look refreshed and photo-ready even if I’ve just hopped off an international flight.

Speaking of being photo ready on the go, the ever fabulous Denise McGaha gave me the best advice – wear red lipstick and you’ll never look tired! So I’m always sure to have some with me for those days when I’m just simply really really tired from all the travel.

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My carry on is the last thing I pack and it contains shoes for the gym or early morning walks, a bundle of jewelry and Antiques Diva essentials such as gifts for clients (a few boxes of DIVA chocolates perhaps?). If I’m on the road for a month I need multiple purses which can all stack inside themselves so as to minimize the space they take up in my carry on.

Okay so multiple pairs of shoes and handbags might not be on everyone’s essential travel packing list… but if you’re looking to stay chic on the road… they are a great way to keep your look fresh on the road! And hey, they dont take THAT much space.

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So there you have it! These are all tidbits I’ve learned by experience over the years that have helped me stay organized while on the road. Do you have some travel tips of your own? Head over to my Facebook page and share some of your travel secrets with me!

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Bon voyage,

The Antiques Diva®

Lorfords Antiques at Babdown Airfield

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Dear Diva Readers,

A big part of my job is being “in the know” when it comes to the antique and design world. I constantly keep tabs on what’s happening in the interior design industry—specifically on what types of pieces designers are looking for and what styles are popular with the public. I also keep my finger on the pulse of the antiques trade, always looking out for new antiques sources to take our clients to. Having knowledgeable people on my team who are well-connected is one way I stay on top of what’s going on and one of those people is my Diva Agent in the UK, Gail McLeod. One of the many hats Gail wears is marketing manager of Lorfords Antiques in the UK. Lorfords, an institution in the antiques trade, has some exciting things happening, and I want to share a bit about them with you all!

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IMG_9215Since Gail has her office for Antiques News & Fairs  at the new Lorford’s location, that also means that The Antiques Diva & Co has an official office in the UK at Lorford’s! By the way be sure to check out the recently launched sleek new design for Antiques News & Fairs website! There is now an Events Calendar to join the top ranked Fairs Calendar and we love the crisp new look!

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IMG_9499We recently visited the Hangars at Babdown where our offices are, and I have to tell you, it’s pretty fab! They’ve moved into an entire airport. That’s right—in addition to their main showroom at Tetbury, Lorfords now has a new location at Babdown Airfield, a former WWII RAF airfield, and makes its offices and showrooms in the hangars!

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IMG_9450What I love about Lorfords is that they bring together a few components that to me, make up what customers are looking for in today’s market. They offer fabulous antiques, which are available through 30 dealers and are thoughtfully displayed throughout the hangars. From 18th century pieces to mid century modern, there really is a mix which offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a trade buyer or a private client, the prices are good, the quality is excellent, and the inventory is varied enough to engage people with many different tastes and styles.

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IMG_9211Lorfords also offers independent interior design services, specializing in residential projects. Their knowledge of antiques and the history of interior decorating make them an authority when it comes to designing well-thought out spaces that are never short on atmosphere. Having access to the antiques in their showrooms while also being able to utilize their contemporary range of furniture and lighting called “Created,” allows the team to mix old and new, reflecting the way people actually live today. Many of the new products they offer are hand made by trusted local craftsmen in the Cotswolds or sourced from artisans they’ve met around the world, making Lorfords a destination for global design.

We’re so excited to have an “in” at Lorford’s with our very own Gail McLeod establishing her Antiques Diva office there! It’s just one more way we can stay in the know when it comes to the antiques scene in the UK. If you’d like information on taking an Antiques Diva UK Tour, email us at [email protected] We’d love to take you to Lorfords and several other sources in England to help you find your ideal purchases.

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Saint Emilion in Bordeaux

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Dear Diva Readers,

M ost of our clients want to maximize their time in Europe, which is why they call us to custom plan an antiquing route, introduce them to our sources, translate and negotiate in order to save them time. However many clients decide to add on days to their trip with pre or post tour to enjoy a mini-vacation. Think about it—if you were flying all the way to Europe, wouldn’t you want to see the sights and soak in the atmosphere? Our Diva Guides are always happy to recommend places for clients to experience while in whatever region they happen to be antiquing. Our Diva Guide Tara in Bordeaux recently recommended the medieval town of Saint-Emilion and since I’ve been to this charming place, I wanted to share a bit about it here on the blog.

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Saint-Emilion is in the heart of the Bordeaux wine region and is known also for its gorgeous architecture, making it the perfect place to enjoy the European (and Diva) lifestyle. It was named after Emilion, a hermit who is said to have performed miracles in this area and eventually converted it to a religious epicenter. From the 9th to the 19th century, the soil was mined and extracted, thus creating the the look of the town we see today. The underground galleries beneath the villages in this region still exist today and contribute to the vineyards’ successes.

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Saint-Emilion’s soil is a mix of sand, clay, and limestone, which, when combined with the micro-climate which exists here, makes it the ideal place to grow grapes for merlot, which is often blended with cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon or malbec. This results in a wide range of aromas and flavors for which Saint-Emilion is known for worldwide. In fact, wine has been important in this region as far back as 1199 AD when John, King of England delegated his economic, political, and legal powers to the noblemen of the region to let them rule. This wine-brotherhood still promotes Saint-Emilio wine around the world and organizes the Spring Feast every year.

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One of my favorite places to stay is the gorgeous chateau in the heart of the town called Hostellerie de Plaisance. With it’s terraced gardens that overlooks the bell tower of the monolithic church – it’s fit for a diva! The buildings are carved in the rock and you almost feel enveloped by the massive stones. The views, the architecture, the wine—it’s like a dream world!

If you find yourself in the Bordeaux region, we highly recommend stopping off at Saint-Emilion for a glass—or two—of wine as you take in the beautiful scenery and savor the European way of life.

Au revoir,

The Antiques Diva®

Images from: http://www.bordeaux-tourism.co.uk/Discover-Bordeaux/Bordeaux-and-surroundings/Our-surroundings/The-Saint-Emilion-s-village-a-World-Heritage-Site

Foire de la Bastille

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Dear Diva Readers,

I’m sad to say that it is the end of an era….The renowned Foire de la Bastille will set up its tents alongside the Seine for one of the very last times this November 2015. The final edition of Bastille’s infamous antiques fair will take place next spring, but now is the time to savor this extraordinary fair which began in 1969.

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Beginning November 5th and running through November 15th, 2015 this fair which includes offerings from 350 vendors will take place at the Place de la Bastille including each side of the Arsenal basin along the boulevard Bourdon and Bastille. The fair will be open each day from 11:00 to 7:00pm and costs 10 € to enter. This has consistently been one of The Antiques Diva & Co’s favorite French antique fairs as it has been a Parisian institution filled with charm which always welcomes our clients with open arms. From fine antiques which are beautifully displayed to junk stalls that require a true hunter’s eye, this fair offers something for everyone.

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The theme of this season’s show is “The Mountain Cottage Mind,” and will feature dealers from all over France displaying furniture, paintings and engravings, pottery, silverware and old glasswork, ceramics, dishes, and antique linens. While the items for sale will vary vastly, the overarching theme of a French mountain cottage will prevail. As always, it is sure to be an antique hunter’s dream!

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I remember past times shopping this antique fair – even before I became “The Antiques Diva” – it was a brocante I visited and shopped with my friends. I helped my friend Tamara hunt for paintings when she was returning home to Tampa after living in Paris. And I shopped with Stacey for a dining table and chairs. Catherine was on a quest for Baccarat knife rests (if I recall she ultimately found those she was looking for in Chatou at the Ham Fair). Meanwhile Lisa and I sought out vintage fashion. And I came home with more than a piece or two of crystal and porcelain for my personal collections. The Bastille Brocante is as much of part of my personal past as it is my companies past – each season we’ve taken clients to find treasures along the Seine when it returned for it’s twice annual fair dates.

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If you would like to book an Antiques Diva Paris Tour in conjunction with this fair, email us at [email protected] We’d love to custom plan an antiques buying tour for you, taking you not only to the fair, but also to Les Puces and other secret sources just outside of Paris to help you find the perfect pieces you’re looking for. As always, our Diva Guides can translate and negotiate on your behalf, helping you maximize your time and money while abroad.

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Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva®

Salon in Venice by O&C Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

Do you have plans for Halloween? If not, you are officially invited to join me in Venice! I’m thrilled to be the special guest at the 2nd Salon hosted by our Venetian Diva Guides, Orseola and Chiara of O&C Antiques. The first Salon event they hosted in Berlin last year was themed around “Drama,” and showcased a wide range of antiques and modern art including ancient textiles, precious jewelry, works in mixed media, and photography. This Salon which will take place on October 31 at 6:30 PM is called “FOHAT,” and will be in a gallery space in Venice. Guests will have the exclusive chance to see and buy gorgeous pieces of contemporary art and antiques showcased together for the first time.

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The Salon will feature a selection of antique art objects (O&C Antiques, ANTICHITA’ MARCIANA, Antichita’ Pittarello, Trame d’incanto – Venice), contemporary art (John Kleckner – Berlin, Marco Thiella – Venice), photography (Costanza Gianquinto – Venice) modern art (Gino Morandis, Alberto Gianquinto) design (Mariska Meijers – Amsterdam, NO WÓDKA – Berlin) and a music permormance (Francesco Enrichi – Venice), in an extraordinary visual and conceptual dialogue between objects and time. The event will be curated in collaboration with Venice Actually and Luca Caldironi.

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If this sounds like the type of event you want to attend, RSVP to [email protected] to be registered and to have more details about the event. Of course, if you’d like more information on future Salon events or if you’d like me to source pieces for you, please contact me! These international Salons are a truly unique way to acquire one of a kind artworks and antiques. I cannot wait to spend the evening sipping champagne, discussing unique objects, and possibly purchasing something for my own collection!

Ciao for now,

The Antiques Diva®

Swedish Cupboards

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Dear Diva Readers,

W hile my Diva Guides and I love taking clients on antiques buying tours throughout Europe, did you know we also offer buying services for those time when you can’t shop abroad?

Whether a client doesn’t have time to take a trip to Europe or if they simply want to source a few pieces for a project, we act as the “man—or woman as the case may be—on the ground to help find exactly what our client needs. And like most shopaholics, we love a challenge. We recently had a client who is an interior designer in New York email us with a request. He was looking to source an antique Swedish cabinet for a project. His client had seen one she liked on an antiques website, no names mentioned, but didn’t want to pay the exuberant price. What attracted them to the cabinet was the patina and style. While they wanted something authentic that would retain its value, they also knew that they’d be utilizing the cabinet and would most likely need to adjust the interior – and they didn’t want to pay to high of a price for the piece.

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As soon as I received this request, I knew that our Swedish Antiques Divo Guide Daniel would be the person to contact. Of course Daniel quickly responded with this email:
“Authentic examples of antique Swedish cupboards like this with original paintwork have become increasingly rare. Much of the Swedish furniture currently available on the “antique” market has been comprehensively rebuilt and restored, often repainted in popular pale colours and sadly some of these created or “style” pieces are sold as period.
But we are in luck! I think I have found the perfect cabinet by reading your requests. I have found a fantastic Gustavian cabinet in excellent condition retaining it’s original paint (gray/blue). This piece has never been over painted and scraped which ads to it’s desirability, rarity and value. The Gustavian expressions are evident in the small tapered feet, restrained carved details and well balanced proportions. The price is 1/4 of the cabinet your client first saw. This piece is a very good investment in my opinion as the market prizes original paintwork when talking about Swedish painted furniture.”

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While I often say that the power of the internet is amazing and makes our job so efficient – I seriously could not do my job with out it – you also have to remember that computers are not people. Simply typing in a product that you want may pull up an item on your screen, but how can you be sure that you’re getting the best value or price? That’s where we come in time and time again by acting as our clients’ man on the ground and putting the word out to all out sources and physically eyeing pieces ourselves in person to give our opinion. Within no time, in this instance, we were able to find exactly what the client wanted at a quarter of the price (that’s including our Buying Services commission, by the way). With the right people, the internet can truly be a great tool!

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If you are interested in more information on our Antiques Diva Buying Services, email us at [email protected] We’d love to help you find exactly what you’re looking for!

The Antiques Diva®

Design & Wine at Palazzo Rocca

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Dear Diva Readers,

A
s we’re looking ahead to a new fabulous 6 day tour called “Design & Wine”  , which will start April 30 2016 in Italy, I can hardly contain my excitement for each part of this experience which will be a combination of dazzling design destinations and delectable wine, food, and antiques. Adam Japko, founder of The Design Bloggers Conference , Jeremy Parzen, founder of Do Bianchi  , and me have worked very hard to put together an itinerary that will thrill the senses and inspire the creative mind.

PalazzoContariniCorfù0I’m particularly pleased to announce that we will be kicking off this tour with welcome cocktails and dinner in a 16th century palazzo called Palazzo Rocca in Venice! This Venetian Gothic fortress palace happens to still be privately owned and is also the place where Prince Charles and Princess Diana stayed in 1985 when they visited Venice.

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Set on a stretch of the Grand Canal between the museum of Ca ‘Rezzonico and the Academia Bridge, the palazzo is a unique magical place—truly a landmark on the Grand Canal— and seems to float on the water. Accessing the palazzo by water, one can simply pull up to the private dock and step into a grand reception hall. If you arrive on foot, you are welcomed into a private courtyard which leads to the same reception room that spans the entire building. Either way, upon arrival at this palazzo, one can’t help but be awed by its beauty.

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We’re so thrilled to welcome guests of our tour to this historically significant place which has played host to important figures including royalty, nobility, poets, composers, and great thinkers throughout the centuries. Inspiration is sure to flow as we discuss the interesting historical treasures relating to the art and architectural attributes of the palazzo, all while enjoying a glamorous cocktail party in what is considered the most exclusive and aristocratic Gothic palace on the Grand Canal.

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For more information on the upcoming Design & Wine tour or to reserve your spot today, email us at [email protected] Space is limited so advance reservations are required. We’d love to have you join us on this fabulous 6 day tour of beautiful Italy!

Ciao,

The Antiques Diva®

Entrepreneur Series Continued – Be Adaptable

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Dear Diva Readers,

P eople often ask me how I got the idea to start The Antiques Diva & Co….. Did I always want to be involved in the antique industry? Was I always interested in tourism? And was I always a Diva?  While traveling and antiquing have always been my passion – and yes, I was born a diva –  I never actually intended to start a European antiques touring and sourcing company. In fact, you might say that I started my company by accident and then followed that up with a lot of hard work. The reality is that an opportunity presented itself. I recognized the opportunity for what it was and took a chance to do something I never intended to do. You’ve heard the expression, “When one door closes, another opens.” That is the case with how The Antiques Diva & Co came about. I set out to do something completely different and ended up stepping through the door of serendipity. In fact, I sometimes say serendipity slapped me in the face!

My initial idea was to write a series of guide books on where to go antiquing in Europe.  In order to promote the series I started writing a blog in 2007 affectionately titled The Antiques Diva which followed my adventures antiquing and traveling as an American living in Europe. I shared antiquing advice mixed with a heavy dose of diva-lifestyle – the best places for cocktails or high tea, which restaurants to dine, hotels to stay and, of course, where to go for vintage fashion.  After all, a girl can’t live on antiques alone!  When the recession hit, publishers were afraid to invest in a luxury travel antique shopping guide and the project was killed.

I was devastated – but failure turned into opportunity when blog readers started emailing, asking me to take them on antique buying tours.  At first I said “No, I don’t do tours – I’m writing a book” – but when the 3rd potential client emailed, asking for me to provide a service I realized I was an idiot! People were emailing me… asking me to take them antiquing… doing something I would have already been doing in my free time… but for which I was not getting paid!!!  A business was born.  I said “Yes” and took that initial client on tour and it changed my life.

This is what I mean by recognizing opportunity when it knocks. People were literally asking me to offer them a service – to take them on an antique buying tour – before I even realized that there was a need.

Taking a step back and listening to what my readers were asking from me and then custom choreographing a business that met their needs allowed the business to evolve organically.

But a business shouldn’t be stagnant.  It needs to be dynamic.  My business continues to grow and adapt nearly every month.   In fact… if you want to know the secret to our success as a company… we’re Adaptable.

So what’s changed since I started the company?

Firstly –  Our target audience has changed as I’ve better defined our place in the market which means we offer more services for both tourists as well as the trade.  We started out appealing to tourists as those were the initial clients who approached us but within 2 years of being in business I realized our client base had changed and was 75% trade. I adapted our service to fit those needs. That’s been a key component to our success—not getting stuck in a certain mindset that says, “We only do this.”   When I started my business, the recession meant, in theory, that American antique dealers were not buying overseas as much as they had previously – and while this was true, there was an entirely new segment of dealers who had never bought overseas who were trying to differentiate their business and came to me to help them increase their profit margin.

Secondly – The company has grown from a one woman operation, population “me”, to a full on team of 18 team members! We grew and continue to grow each day.  We’re looking to hire in several of our tour countries at this moment and I anticipate my team to reach 25 by early next year.  We’ve not just increased in numbers –  but also in skill sets. My objective as CED (that would be “Chief Executive Diva”) of the company is to hire a team of experts who are more knowledgeable than myself.  If each person who joins our team adds to our skill sets and contact list the company overall profits.

Thirdly – We are looking at ways to diversify our income streams, adding new legs to the business- doing everything from offering sourcing services for shoppers who can’t go on tour – to leading interior design showrooms on inspiration tours for creating their own lines of furniture – to meeting with a furniture manufacturer to discuss launching our own line of furniture.  We’re in discussions on a slew of new business opportunities.  (#WatchThisSpace, #TopSecretDivaNews)  Will ALL of these new ideas stick? Nope. It’s like throwing pasta at a wall… some of the noodles will adhere to the wall while others will fall to the floor.  But we are continuing to listen to what the market is asking from us… and researching ways in which we can meet those needs.

Fourthly – We became our own competitor.  When our competitors started asking to outsource their tours to us – we began offering a white label service where by we can fulfill competing companies tours group tours without cannibalizing our own audience.

If you’re starting a company, my advice would be to steadily take a step back and see if you’re giving customers—and potential customers— what they want. Are people asking you for a service that you’re not currently offering? If not – can you offer it? Are there additional things you can provide customers with that can improve their experience of working with you? Are these areas valuable and profitable to you? Ask yourself lots of questions and be open to trying new things. Growth and change are scary but the only way to improve! Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith.

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The Antiques Diva®   

Currey & Co

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Dear Diva Readers,

As I’m gearing up for High Point Market next week, I wanted to invite you all to a party I’m hosting in conjunction with Currey & Co called Midnight in Paris with The Antiques Diva & Co! It will take place in the Currey & Co showroom on Saturday October 17th from 3 to 5 PM and is sure to be one of the most fun events at High Point, as everyone knows Currey & Co’s showroom is THE place to be for a good time! The idea of the party came when we had the pleasure of taking the Currey & Co team on an Antiques Diva shopping tour of the Paris Flea Market this year during Maison Objet. Their team came over to Paris for inspiration and boy did they find it! We were able to take them to sections of the market they didn’t even know about. In fact, their PR Maven Bethanne Matari says, “The Currey & Co design team spent a full day with Toma & Dive Guide Danielle at Le Puce de Paris. Having been to the market more than 20 times on our own, they took us to the back side of the flea market where we’d never been before – and it was all NEW to us. We found lots of inspirations and a few concrete ideas on new furniture designs. The best part of the day (other than a superb lunch) was a tour of vintage clothing & fabric shops. We could have spent all day there! Toma and Danielle seemed to know just about every vendor at the flea market and were full of historical information on how Le Puce came to be. All in all, it was a thoroughly entertaining day—oh,  and did I mention champagne!  Bubbly always makes an excursion more fun.”

Currey & Co, High Point Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Midnight in Paris Party, Maison Objet, Paris Flea Market Tours, Sinclair Bar Cabinet, Bar Carts, Odeon Bar Cart, Zhin Cabinet, Chinoiserie, Hester Table Lamp, Clara Folding Screen, Bethanne Matari

While Currey & Co is known for their lighting lines which include chandeliers, wall sconces, table and floor lamps, they also manufacture a wide range of home furnishings, garden furniture, and accessories. In fact, they’ve been a purveyor of distinctive garden furnishings since 1988. The essence of Currey & Company is not only the product for which it is known but also the very important people who help to create the product and carefully deliver it into the hands of those other important people, the customers, in a timely fashion. While people are key, the product is also the lifeblood of the company and at Currey & Company they take pride in their original design work , meticulous craftsmanship and careful attention to all details of a product. The effort of their multi-step hand-finishing process manifests itself in the richness and depth of the final finish of many of their products. The appearance of these pieces speaks of the human hands that have touched them as well as of the design skills and craftsmanship that have created them. They have the willingness to do what many other manufacturers regard as too difficult or too time-consuming, and it certainly shows.

Some new products we love that will launch at this market are:

1. 3249  AR 4497  Sinclair Bar Cabinet

50.25″w x18.25″d x54.5″h

Material: Wood/Printed Glass

Finish: Black Lacquer/Emerald Green Lacquer/Malachite

A provocative mix of gloss black lacquer and reverse painted malachite glass panels make you want to see what’s inside this beautiful bar cabinet. Features include a gloss emerald green interior, lit with under-mount lighting, touch on/off, wine bottle storage for up to 13 bottles, a pull out tray and adjustable glass and wood shelves

Currey & Co, High Point Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Midnight in Paris Party, Maison Objet, Paris Flea Market Tours, Sinclair Bar Cabinet, Bar Carts, Odeon Bar Cart, Zhin Cabinet, Chinoiserie, Hester Table Lamp, Clara Folding Screen, Bethanne Matari

Currey & Co, High Point Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Midnight in Paris Party, Maison Objet, Paris Flea Market Tours, Sinclair Bar Cabinet, Bar Carts, Odeon Bar Cart, Zhin Cabinet, Chinoiserie, Hester Table Lamp, Clara Folding Screen, Bethanne Matari

 

 

2. 4217  Odeon Bar Cart

36″w x19.75″d x35.5″h

Material: Wrought Iron/Mirror

Finish: Gold Leaf/Black/Light Roche Antique Mirror

Modern chinoiserie story with geometric patterning and shallow curved detail reminiscent of Chinese architecture

Currey & Co, High Point Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Midnight in Paris Party, Maison Objet, Paris Flea Market Tours, Sinclair Bar Cabinet, Bar Carts, Odeon Bar Cart, Zhin Cabinet, Chinoiserie, Hester Table Lamp, Clara Folding Screen, Bethanne Matari

 

3. 3258  Zhin Cabinet

33″w x23″d x62″h

Material: HDF/Solid Steel

Finish: Snow White/Molten Lava/Contemporary Gold

This Modern Chinoiserie cabinet has crisp lines, bold color and geometric hardware from an Asian motif. The lava red inside adds drama and the hardware is a statement on its own. The cabinet features ample storage with soft close drawers, cubbies with cord management and an adjustable shelf than can be removed to accommodate a small flat screen TV.

Currey & Co, High Point Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Midnight in Paris Party, Maison Objet, Paris Flea Market Tours, Sinclair Bar Cabinet, Bar Carts, Odeon Bar Cart, Zhin Cabinet, Chinoiserie, Hester Table Lamp, Clara Folding Screen, Bethanne Matari

 

4. 6258  Hester Table Lamp

34″h

Material: Ceramic/Metal

Finish: Gold/Black and White Stripes/Satin Brass

Shade: Off White Shantung

18x18x10/150w/1w/A

And an exclusive sneak peek only here on The Antiques Diva Blog

Currey & Co, High Point Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Midnight in Paris Party, Maison Objet, Paris Flea Market Tours, Sinclair Bar Cabinet, Bar Carts, Odeon Bar Cart, Zhin Cabinet, Chinoiserie, Hester Table Lamp, Clara Folding Screen, Bethanne Matari

 

5. 3244 Clara Folding Screen

78″w x2″d x74.25″h

Material: Wood/Brass/Linen

Finish: Natural Black Linen/Brass/Bronze

Inspired from a bangle bracelet this screen is full of drama. The black linen texture compliments the hand finished brass cladding that is inlayed into the piece. Each panel is hand wrapped in brass cladding to frame out the design with class.

Currey & Co, High Point Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Midnight in Paris Party, Maison Objet, Paris Flea Market Tours, Sinclair Bar Cabinet, Bar Carts, Odeon Bar Cart, Zhin Cabinet, Chinoiserie, Hester Table Lamp, Clara Folding Screen, Bethanne Matari

Cannot wait to see all these new products in person! Be sure to join us at the Midnight in Paris with The Antiques Diva & Co party as you can enter to win a tour of the Paris Flea Markets with the DIVA. Join us for lively conversations about antiques, design, travel and more while sipping a champagne cocktail, listening to live music and viewing new Currey products on the first official day of market.  SPECIAL 100 EURO OFF Diva Tour Gift Certificates will be given out at this fete in everyone’s favorite showroom at High Point! See you there!

Ciao,

The Antiques Diva®   

DesignHER

DesignHER

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Dear Diva Readers,

I am so honored to be part of an exciting project which is being celebrated this month at High Point Market.

Julianne Taylor, Taylor Burke Home, Gretchen Aubuchon, Fashion Décor, DesignHER, High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Wesley Hall Showroom, Design Inspirations

Julianne Taylor, Creative Director Taylor Burke Home

I first met Julianne Taylor, founder of Taylor Burke Home last year at High Point Market through the formidable Gretchen Aubuchon of Fashion Decor.  Immediately I knew this woman had it going on. A family woman and an entrepreneur, Julianne understands the struggle that many business women face when it comes to maintaining work/life balance. We instantly connected, having a shared past as expats. Julianne’s vision to start her company started when she herself lived overseas in Asia.  Her story of the start of her business echoed my own and she inspired me to continue to pursue my dream.  We have stayed in touch through various social media outlets, operating our lives in concentric circles—don’t you just love social media?!  This month, Julianne has a new book coming out called DesignHER. The book highlights 35 inspiring women who are shaping the interior design world. I am delighted to be included in that list of go-getters and I cannot wait to read the book and gain insights from the lives and careers of the 34 other inspiring ladies!

Julianne Taylor, Taylor Burke Home, Gretchen Aubuchon, Fashion Décor, DesignHER, High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Wesley Hall Showroom, Design Inspirations

Julianne Taylor, Taylor Burke Home, Gretchen Aubuchon, Fashion Décor, DesignHER, High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Wesley Hall Showroom, Design Inspirations

There will be a special pre-release party on Saturday October 17, 2015 from 5:30-7:30pm at the Wesley Hall Showroom in High Point. I’m thrilled to be able to attend the fete, as I’ll be in High Point for market (stay tuned to see the 5 – yes count them, 5 – events I’ll be taking part in from a panel, to a tour, to a book launch and more.) After this pre-release of 300 numbered and signed, advanced copies, the book will be available for purchase in early February 2016. I hope you’ll pick up a copy for yourself or a friend, as there are bound to be several tips, stories, and advice from women who have started their own businesses and continue to lead the design industry into the 21st century.  If you’re interested in obtaining a copy email me and I”ll make sure you’re on the list (toma(at)antiquesdiva.com).

Julianne Taylor, Taylor Burke Home, Gretchen Aubuchon, Fashion Décor, DesignHER, High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Wesley Hall Showroom, Design Inspirations

Julianne Taylor, Taylor Burke Home, Gretchen Aubuchon, Fashion Décor, DesignHER, High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Wesley Hall Showroom, Design Inspirations

Julianne Taylor, Taylor Burke Home, Gretchen Aubuchon, Fashion Décor, DesignHER, High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Wesley Hall Showroom, Design Inspirations

Join me in congratulating Julianne along with all of the women involved in the creation of this book which I believe will inspire modern women all over to live out their dreams. To the women entrepreneurs of today—Bravo!

Julianne Taylor, Taylor Burke Home, Gretchen Aubuchon, Fashion Décor, DesignHER, High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Wesley Hall Showroom, Design Inspirations

To the little girls dreaming of changing the world and leaving your mark on it—You can do it!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva ®

Randall Weeks for Aidan Gray

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Dear Diva Readers,

Since I’m getting ready to head to High Point Market this month, I’m putting together my own personal list of must-see showrooms and organizing my schedule for doing High Point, Antiques Diva Style. Imagine my delight when I received news that Aidan Gray, one of my favorite companies, will be opening a new showroom at High Point Market! The four-story, 7,000 square foot showroom (located at 201 Main Street) will be jam-packed with European-inspired inspiration. The new collection they’ll be releasing will reflect timeless, tried-and-true looks with just a little edge. Focusing primarily on accent pieces, the showroom will be filled with tables of all sizes, dressers, benches, chairs, and statement pieces. Aidan Gray also creates unique accessories including candle fixtures, lighting and garden pieces.

Aidan Gray, Randall Weeks, High Point Market, Design Inspiration, Antiques Diva

Aidan Gray, Randall Weeks, High Point Market, Design Inspiration, Antiques Diva

Let me share with you a preview of this year’s premiere pieces that will be seen at Aidan Gray’s High Point showroom!

The Shield Back Upholstered Chair

Aidan Gray, Randall Weeks, High Point Market, Design Inspiration, Antiques Diva

The Parker Gray wood finish combined with black leather gives it a modern sensibility. Aidan Gray offers the Shield Back Chair in upholstered and cane back options with 9 choices of wood/fabric combinations.

The Blue Silver Lamp

Aidan Gray, Randall Weeks, High Point Market, Design Inspiration, Antiques Diva

The dark navy glass base has been overlaid with an intricate pattern of embossed motifs in silver leaf. The combination of navy, silver and black makes this lamp a classic right from the start.

In celebration of the showroom’s opening during High Point Fall Market, Aidan Gray will host a Crown & Glory chandelier giveaway. Crown & Glory was conceptualized from the “Ray of Light” motif that surrounds the dove found on most alter carvings in and throughout Europe. The rays represent beams of light radiating from the sun, arranged in a slightly tapered manner. Carved from solid wood and finished with proprietary distressing techniques, each light is unique in its own right. The first 201 High Point customers to write an order of $1000 or more will receive the Crown & Glory chandelier complimentary with their High Point order.  And why 201?  Because that’s their new address at High Point!  201 Main Street.

With Aidan Grays signature combination of textural finishes, graceful lines and understated elegance, I’m sure to find many favorites at this showroom. I can’t wait to take a tour and see what they’ve got to offer the market!

See you at High Point!

The Antiques Diva®  

Design & Wine Italy

Design & Wine Italy

1 Comment on Design & Wine Italy

Dear Diva Readers,

What happens when you add equal parts Design and Wine, pour in Adam Japko magic with Jeremy Parzen pizazz and top of with the effervesce of The Antiques Diva & Co?? You get Design & Wine Italy! A Once In A Lifetime Opportunity for a Luxury Small Group Tour to travel to Italy with the 3 of us (2 Divo’s and a Diva) on an unforgettable journey drinking wine, shopping Italian antiques, touring behind-the-scenes design destinations in Venice and the Veneto with an optional trip to Fruily-Venezia! How divine does that sound?!

Design & Wine Italy, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Wine Tours of Italy, Venice Tours, Adam Japko, Esteem Media, Jeremy Parzen, Italian Wine, Italian Design Tours, Fruily-Venezia

Adam Japko is the founder of Esteem Media, the largest network of regional luxury shelter media properties for Network Communications, Inc. Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, Design Bloggers ConferenceGarden Bloggers ConferenceHome Design Digital Marketing Summit, WineZag, and New England Home all leverage events, print media, social media, blogs, and digital marketing…but overall, community connection is the catalyst for their constituents’ commercial success. Adam knows a thing or two about design, but also has had much success with his wine blog, WineZag, which led to an idea…why not combine Wine and Design for a fantastic way to connect professionals in both areas?

Jeremy Parzen is a food historian, Italian wine expert, and author of the popular Italian wine and lifestyle blog DoBianchi.com. Jeremy’s writing on Italian wine has appeared in mastheads as diverse as DecanterLa Cucina Italiana, and Men’s Vogue. He’s regularly cited as one of the leading authorities on Italian wine in the U.S. today.

Born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in La Jolla, California, Jeremy Parzen is a widely published author and translator. His feature articles on food, wine and food history have appeared in nationally distributed cooking magazines, cookery books and academic journals. He’s lived, traveled, worked, and studied in Italy as a graduate student. For two years he was the chief wine writer for La Cucina Italiana (1998-2000) in New York. His translation of the first modern cookery book by fifteenth-century Italian celebrity chef Maestro Martino was published in January 2005 by the University of California Press.

And then there’s me, The Antiques Diva! Of course I am heavily involved in the design world, both in Europe and the United States, and I also love wine, champagne and cocktails for that matter! Being in Italy frequently, I have had the pleasure of learning about Italian wine and also Italian design. Historic Italian design as well as Italian artisans of today have informed the design world and continue to influence global design. I’m so excited to be a part of this Design & Wine Tour in Venice and the Veneto. Those who want a few more days can add on a side trip with us to Fruili-Venezia at one of my favorite off-the-beaten path places to stay in Italy.

Space is limited. First come, First served so don’t be late or you might miss the Prosecco!!!

More Details.

Design & Wine Italy, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Wine Tours of Italy, Venice Tours, Adam Japko, Esteem Media, Jeremy Parzen, Italian Wine, Italian Design Tours, Fruily-Venezia

Design & Wine Italy, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Wine Tours of Italy, Venice Tours, Adam Japko, Esteem Media, Jeremy Parzen, Italian Wine, Italian Design Tours, Fruily-Venezia

And here is a taste of what we’ve got planned:

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Six days of dazzling design destinations paired with delectable wine, food, and antiques

  • Tour Venice, Asolo, Murano, Burano, Venissa, Verona, and Valpolicella
  • Entire tour organized and personally escorted by Adam Japko, Design Bloggers Conference and WineZag founder; Jeremy Parzen, food historian, Italian wine expert; and Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, founder of Europe’s largest antiques touring and sourcing company
  • Design point of interests: Liugi Bevilacqua for traditional Venetian fabrics, Antolini for stone craftsmanship, a visit to a family-owned Murano Glass factory, and Antique Shopping in secret sources in private palazzos in Venice and the Veneto countryside.
  • Shipping services available on request for all design, wine, and antique acquisitions and purchases  (Shipping fees additional)
  • Wineries and Vineyards: Bele Casel, Bisol, Sartori, La Biancara (Maule), Barone Pizzini, and Valentina Cubi
  • 6 nights double or single occupancy: 3 night’s stay at JW Marriott Venice Resort and Spa on the private island of Isola de Rose; and 3 nights at the luxurious Villa Quaranta Park Hotel in Verona
  • Transport from JW Marriott Venice hotel to other destinations on tour and to airport upon conclusion of the tour
  • 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Optional  2-day weekend excursion to La Subida, in the quiet pastoral region of Fruili Venezia, one of Italy’s finest hidden Italian/Slovenian gourmet and wine destinations
  • Not included: Airfare and meals not listed on your final itinerary
  • Reservation Deadline: December 1, 2015
  • Price: $3,800 per person/double occupancy
    ($600 per person/single occupancy surcharge)
  • Optional weekend in La Subida:
    Additional $300 per person/double occupancy
    ($50 per person/single occupancy surcharge)
    Includes all transfers and occupancy

I hope you can join us on this exciting adventure! For any questions, more information – or to book your seat ASAP – please email me at [email protected].

See you in Italy!

The Antiques Diva®

The Antiques Diva Does High Point Market

The Antiques Diva Does High Point Market

2 Comments on The Antiques Diva Does High Point Market

Dear Diva Readers,

I cannot believe that it is almost October already! It seems that this year is flying by, but October means that it’s time for autumn High Point Market which is one of my favorite times of the year.  I’ll be there giving my behind the scenes tour of The Antique & Design Center and also throwing a Midnight in Paris party at the Currey & Co showroom! I’m also speaking on a panel and taking over the High Point Market’s Instagram account for a day – not to mention standing in when Julianne Taylor of Taylor Burke Home does the pre-release of her book DesignHer, listing 35 Inspiring Women Who Are Shaping The Interior Design World.  I’m so excited she included me – ME!!! – in that list! In fact, I’m excited in general as the reason this is my favorite time of year is that High Point is all about People. It’s when I get to connect with industry friends and brands, colleagues and clients – and not to mention – BLOG READERS! I’d LOVE to invite you to attend one of my Antiques Diva events at High Point Market!

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines Speaking Engagements, The Antiques Diva, Currey & Co, Midnight in Paris, Julianne Taylor, DesignHer, The Antique & Design Center, Paris Flea Market, Modenus, Veronika Miller, Robert Passal, Lowy Frame & Fine Art Services

1.  The Antiques Diva Happy Hour Tour of The Antique & Design Center 

Date: Friday, October 16th 2015 at 4:00pm
Location: The Antique & Design Center Ground Level of Market Square

The early bird gets the worm at the ADC with me, Toma Clark Haines, owner of Europe’s largest antiques touring and buying service company, as I take you on a tour of the major antique periods and styles to identify their key characteristics utilizing modern day metaphors and featuring inventory found at the Antique and Design Center in High Point.  No passport required.   Focusing on the antique trends in Europe- I’ll take antiques out of the past and bring them into the future of design. Visit the High Point Antique Center Blog for details.

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines Speaking Engagements, The Antiques Diva, Currey & Co, Midnight in Paris, Julianne Taylor, DesignHer, The Antique & Design Center, Paris Flea Market, Modenus, Veronika Miller, Robert Passal, Lowy Frame & Fine Art Services

2.  Midnight in Paris with The Antiques Diva & Co

Date: Saturday, October 17th 2015 from 3:00pm to 5:00 pm
Location: Currey & Company Showroom – IHFC M110 on Main Street, Street Level

Join me, The Antiques Diva, and win a tour of the Paris Flea Markets with the DIVA. Join us for lively conversations about antiques, design, travel and more while sipping a champagne cocktail, listening to live music and viewing new Currey products on the first official day of market.  SPECIAL 100 EURO OFF Diva Tour Gift Certificates will be given out at this fete in everyone’s favorite showroom at High Point!

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines Speaking Engagements, The Antiques Diva, Currey & Co, Midnight in Paris, Julianne Taylor, DesignHer, The Antique & Design Center, Paris Flea Market, Modenus, Veronika Miller, Robert Passal, Lowy Frame & Fine Art Services

 

3.  DesignHer Pre-Release Party 

Date: Saturday, October 17th 2015 from 5.30pm-7:30pm
Location: Wesley Hall Showroom
310 N Hamilton St, High Point, NC 27260

Julianne Taylor, IIDA Founder + Creative Director of Taylor Burke Home is doing a SPECIAL PRE-RELEASE Party for the launch of her new book DesignHer – listing 35 Inspiring Women Who Are Shaping The Interior Design World.   I happen to be one of those 35 profiles and will be attending this fete with other featured women in design.  After this first release of 300 numbered and signed copies, the book will be available for purchase in late January/early February 2016.

 

4.  Mastering the Mix of Antique and Contemporary Art & Decor in Interior Design

Date: Sunday, October 18th 2015 from 2:00pm-3:00pm
Location: Theodore Alexander, 229 West Russell Avenue, High Point, 27260

Join industry experts and masters of mixing materials, periods and styles as they discuss how to create designs that look collected, curated and current. Panel: Antiques Diva CEO, Toma Clark Haines; Interior designer Robert Passal; and Lowy Frame & Fine Art Services Co-Owner, Brad Shar. Moderator: Veronika Miller, CEO Modenus.

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines Speaking Engagements, The Antiques Diva, Currey & Co, Midnight in Paris, Julianne Taylor, DesignHer, The Antique & Design Center, Paris Flea Market, Modenus, Veronika Miller, Robert Passal, Lowy Frame & Fine Art Services

 

ALSO ON SUNDAY 

5.  #HPMKT Instagram TakeOver

The Antiques Diva & Co has been tagged with the task of taking over High Point Market’s Instagram Account! I’ll be posting up to 15 photos on High Points very own Instagram site sharing some Diva Style. Make sure to follow @TheAntiquesDiva on Instagram and High Point Market.

I hope to see many friends and colleagues there! If you can’t make it to market, stay tune to our social medias and the blog as I’ll be keeping you up to date on what’s happening at #HPMKT.

The Antiques Diva®