University of York Antiques Fair

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Dear Diva Readers,

Here at The Antiques Diva & Co we have a little black book—actually it’s NOT so little, it’s practically bulging with the best antiquing addresses in Europe.

We use this resource list to decide where to take our clients so they can find just what they are looking for.  And while the antique warehouses, private by appointment only stores are divine, there is a time and place for a good old antiques fair!!  Attending an antiques fair is down-right convenient when you get a gathering of vendors in one place – giving you the opportunity to do one-stop shopping!

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There is a prestigious antique fair this year on July 4 and 5 that promises to be a do-not-miss event. Translation— it has some of the top dealers in the area! Members are selected for their expertise, integrity, and reputation.

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The University of York Antiques Fair  will be held in the University of York Exhibition Centre and it will have approximately 40 exhibitors. Items on display will include period furniture, high quality silver including Scottish provincial items, 18th, 19th and early 20th century ceramics, antique arms and armour, high quality jewelry, art nouveau, art deco and arts and crafts metalware, glass, lighting and pottery and both contemporary and antique fine art. The event will have exhibitions from a number of Yorkshire based antiques dealers trading in items with a Yorkshire bias.

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George-Wright-Oil-on-Board-1-300x225Rose Antiques Fairs Ltd aims to establish the fair at the University of York as an annual event.  If you would like more information on The University of York Antiques Fair or any other antiques fairs throughout Europe, email us at

[email protected] and we’d be happy to discuss how we can custom plan a private tour for you, combining special fairs and our secret sources
throughout 8 countries.

Happy antiquing,

The Antiques Diva®

Create a WOW Factor with Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

A person’s home is their palace…   for me, as an American who has lived overseas nearly 15 years, I often say “my home is my country.”  When people come into my home they always remark how unique it is… and the secret to my home decor lies in my antiques.  Antiques make a home special and unique because they bring their own stories and pasts into the present, becoming a perfect way to showcase a truly individual point of view.

Every home is made up of pretty much the same elements— a living room with a sofa and a couple of chairs, a coffee table, end tables, a rug, lighting, and accessories. However, it is those “wow” pieces that really make a home stand out. So what should you look for when you shop for wow pieces?

Decorating with Antiques, WOW Factor, Decorating Tips, The Antiques Diva, Chandeliers,

Try to find things that are unique. Rather than looking for the same piece that your sister has, find something that no one you know has in their home. Even if it’s a similar style—e.g., you like the desk your friend has… you can still buy a similar antique desk but with a few minor differences. This will help your home to stand out and make a statement all its own!

Also, no matter what the size of your home is, play with scale. Finding one huge piece of furniture, whether it be an extra long sofa or a bookcase that almost touches the ceiling, really will make your space feel grand.

Decorating with Antiques, WOW Factor, Decorating Tips, The Antiques Diva, Chandeliers,

Why not hang an enormous chandelier above the dining table or in the middle of the living room or off-balanced in the corner of a room…. better yet, if going off-balance why not do a trio of chandeliers? These extra large pieces give that “WOW” moment when a guest walks in the door.  Be daring in your decor.  The worst thing you can do is play it safe.

Decorating with Antiques, WOW Factor, Decorating Tips, The Antiques Diva, Chandeliers,

Another way to create a sense of wow is with texture. Adding in unexpected textures like leather walls or raw silk curtains can completely change the feel of your room. Luxe= wow so go for the fabrics and materials that scream “oh, la, la!” Think antique rugs, but perhaps you use them to upholster an ottoman. If you want to do this on a small scale, try adding throw pillows made from antique fabrics such as velvets and silks. You can make them yourself or find a seamstress to custom make luxurious pillows that will definitely add the drama to your house.

Decorating with Antiques, WOW Factor, Decorating Tips, The Antiques Diva,

And lastly, look at items with a fresh eye. Take something like a gorgeous textile or a vintage piece of clothing and have it framed in a super modern frame—then put it in a prominent place on the wall. By framing something other than a canvas, you can make it into your own art and instantly have a one-of-a-kind piece on the wall.

Regardless of how you choose to decorate your house, use interesting antiques to create wow moments and leave guests wondering how you thought to decorate your home this way! Decorating should be fun and coming home to a space that reflects you is the ideal way to end each day. Of course then once home serving up a signature drink isn’t a bad way to cap off a day…

Happy decorating,

The Antiques Diva®

Antiques Diva Styles a Room With Chairish

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Dear Diva Readers,

Last year during Maison Objet I was delighted to meet one of the team members of Chairish, a curator approved online marketplace for vintage and used furniture.  When they recently asked me to choose a vintage rug from their site and design a style board for a room around said rug, I was up for the challenge!   When choosing a color palette for a room, it can be hard to step away from basic neutrals– going bold is a big decision. But as I always say “Fortune Favors the Bold!”… and “Go Bold or Go Home!”

Part of my mission is to make antiques relevant in today’s lifestyle. To me, that means mixing antiques with vintage and modern pieces to reflect
the way we live in the 21st century. Below you’ll see the rug I chose and then a mix of pieces—all available at Chairish.com—that I think would work
well together in a space.

Hand Woven Black & Cream Design Wool Rug, Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

I love this beautiful Mid-Century Modern style sectional sofa. It looks comfortable and sleek. It’s fairly new, being only a year old and
well maintained. Starting with this piece we’ve already got a hip vibe going, but I want to mix in some antiques that will make my imaginary room
super stylish!

Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

This suede pair of classic French chairs with nailhead trim would be the perfect foil for the modern sofa. Probably from the mid-20th century, the pair is nicely made and are in very good vintage condition, with a couple of very small spots on the upholstery—which is one reason I would suggest reupholstering them. While at the upholsterers, I’d have them painted black and recovered in a malachite patterned fabric to give them an entirely new look!

Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

This stunning vintage Neo Deco brass ram’s head coffee table is the ideal statement piece. The gleaming brass finish of the three ram’s
heads contrasts brilliantly against the shiny black lacquered bass. It features outstanding quality construction with a three quarter inch thick
circular glass top. Here is where we start to add in touches of brass and gold to warm up the space.

Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

Across the room, I’d place this French provincial Louis XV Style serpentine walnut and veneer commode. This piece would compliment the chairs while contrasting with the sofa and modern rug. Things are starting to get interesting!

Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

Above the commode, I’d hang this vintage-inspired portrait of an aristocratic lady in the 1500’s. With its ornate gold frame, this sets the tone for a dramatic room. However, I’d place some modern accessories such as this unique black glass head, which was once a display mannequin. Mixing in some modern pieces keeps the commode from feeling stuffy.

Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

While we’re dotting the room with modern touches, I love this 1960’s Noguchi styled sculpture on a custom stand.  This piece would be stunning in front of a window.

Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

For the walls, I’d hang this vintage monochromatic portrait which features a restrained color palette, offset by the gilt wood frame. Above
it I’d also hang this original 1896 framed and matted etching of whitewater rapids in Glen Affaric River in the Scottish Highlands.

Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

Over the sofa, I’d hang this French style gold leaf mirror for added glamour. Every room needs a mirror and the style of this one contrasts with the modern sofa perfectly while also tying in the French chairs and the commode.

Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

For a few pops of color, I love this purple JuJu African feather headdress along with this emerald green glazed ceramic Asian-style lamp.  With its brass neck and a new black fabric shade, it ties in nicely with other pieces in the room.

Chairish, Fortune Favors the Bold, Go Bold or Go Home, Maison Objet, The Antiques Diva, Design Style Board, Decorating with Antiques, Mid-Century Modern

For overhead lighting, I’d finish the room off with this modern brass sputnik light with a raw brass (unpolished) finish. I think it adds just the right touch to this eclectic mix of pieces!

So there you have it! A fun melange of antique furniture and mid century pieces create a playful yet stylish space that is comfortable and elegant
at the same time – exemplifying that Antiques Diva Style!!

Thanks to the lovely people at Chairish for giving me the opportunity to dream up a space inspired by one of their gorgeous rugs!

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva®

Can Comfort and Glamour Go Together?

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Dear Diva Readers,

You could definitely say that The Antiques Diva® brand is associated with a glamorous lifestyle—after all, we love fine antiques, foreign travel, chic hotels, gourmet meals and, of course, Champagne by the bucket load! But often, when it comes to homes, people think that glamour and comfort cannot go together. That’s simply just not the case! I want to share some tips on how these two can live harmoniously and make your life uber chic but still comfy cosy!

Decorating with Antiques, Chaise Lounge, Glamour, Linda Merrill, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Andrew Skipper, Comfortable Glamour, Chic Style

Photo credit Laila McCubbin Jones

 

First of all… go for the comfy couch.  Trust me, when it comes to nap time you won’t regret it.  But then add in antique French side tables and gorgeous little Louis chairs that are perfect for entertaining if not necessarily watching tv.  My home (prefire) is a great example of how comfort and glamour go hand-in-hand.  Art work, sculptures, gilt and crystal are perfect ways to up the glam factor in your home without sacrificing comfort. Ornate frames that set off grand oil paintings instantly transform a room. If your style is more chic, go with sleek black frames, thick white mats, and black & white vintage photography. That’s a sure fire recipe for chicness! Also think about adding a bronze sculpture on a pedestal to your space. I have a collections of  Art Deco bronzes that adds a luxe feel to my living room. And if your ceiling is high enough please promise me you’ll go for a chandelier like in my old apartment in Berlin above (or better yet two – like in my new home below in Berlin)!

Decorating with Antiques, Chaise Lounge, Glamour, Linda Merrill, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Andrew Skipper, Comfortable Glamour, Chic Style

andrew skipper, Decorating with Antiques, Chaise Lounge, Glamour, Linda Merrill, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Andrew Skipper, Comfortable Glamour, Chic Style

Now… there is one formula for Glamour + Comfort that is a guaranteed win!  Go for a Chaise Lounge!  It adds instant, glamourous comfort to any room.  I have a gorgeous chaise in my loft home office and it looks so dramatic with its patinated gilding and fresh silk gray and white striped upholstery (my dear friend Linda Merrill helped me source this fabric when I couldn’t find it on my own) . And the good news is that it is SO comfortable!  You’ll note my colleague Andrew Skipper who helps out at Antiques Diva Headquarters might find it… a little TOO comfortable!!! 

Antiques Diva Headquarters, Decorating with Antiques, Chaise Lounge, Glamour, Linda Merrill, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Andrew Skipper, Comfortable Glamour, Chic Style

For adding glamour into your home find antique pieces that have good proportions and have them reupholstered. That’s a great way to be sure that they’re comfortable and still stylish.   Don’t think antiques have to be fiddly and small!  Louis XIII chairs dating from the late 16th and 17th C have the most wonderful proportion to them.  And remember most quailty antiques aren’t actually that fiddly – there is a reason they’ve survived a couple of hundred years.

Decorating with Antiques, Chaise Lounge, Glamour, Linda Merrill, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Andrew Skipper, Comfortable Glamour, Chic Style

When in doubt… light candles!  What’s more glamorous than candlelight reflected in elegant mirrors? Hang a couple of antique mirrors—better yet get some antique mirrors where the mercury has melted—then sprinkle lots of candles throughout your home. This will make it feel sexy and cozy at the same time—especially after the sun goes down! At The Antiques Diva & Co we love sexy décor!

Decorating with Antiques, Chaise Lounge, Glamour, Linda Merrill, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Andrew Skipper, Comfortable Glamour, Chic Style

Photo credit Laila McCubbin Jones

 

Remember, glam antiques can certainly be part of a comfortable home. Just keep in mind proportions when it comes to seating and think about finishes for artwork & frames. And I almost forgot—antique rugs are a fantastic way to make a home feel regal yet warm (picture above of my study in my old Berlin apartment). They were made to last and the traditional patterns often lend themselves to a more upscale look. I think I’ll go sip a cocktail on my chaise lounge right now—all this talk has me feeling like I need a diva moment.

Ta Ta for now, darlings.  Be Chic.  Be Glam. And Be Fabulous.

The Antiques Diva® 

Repurpose Flea Market Finds

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Dear Diva Readers,

Everyone knows that I love to go flea marketing… I love the thrill of the hunt as well as finding the unexpected.  I also LOVE nothing more than coming up with ways to repurpose my flea market finds! My good friend Catherine Russell has traveled (and shopped) the world with me on a variety of girls trips… She’s a really bad influence because she, like me, is a repurposing genius.  I’ve asked Catherine to share some of her repurposing tips on the blog today.

Catherine writes:

Nothing beats a weekend morning spent browsing the flea markets and discovering some forgotten treasures that are too good a deal to pass by.  I’m always searching for easy, useful and decorative DIY ideas to repurpose my finds, and I found two great ways to repurpose trays and platters. If you can follow my photos and instructions, these DIY projects are great for your home.

repurposed vintage tray - DIY memo board, Repurposing Flea Market Finds, Repurposing Vintage Trays, Decorating with Trays, Catherine Russell

MEMO BOARD & CHALK BOARD

This craft project is both useful and decorative for the kitchen or office. You can find vintage trays in many shapes and sizes, so you can easily find a tray to fit an empty spot in your home to organize business cards, receipts, recipes, and delivery menus or to write messages, notes, or grocery lists.

Supplies:

1 A clean metal tray with a smooth surface

2 Chalk board paint (easily found at a craft or hardware store)

3 A paintbrush (I like the disposable sponge brushes)

Instructions:

1 Wash and dry the tray

2 Paint with 2 coats of chalk board paint, allowing to dry completely between coats. I like to paint the flat interior and leave the rim original, but you can also paint the entire surface.

Decorate the tray with fun magnets to hold your notes, and keep a stick of chalk nearby to jot down a quick note. That’s it!  I attached my tray to the kitchen wall with double-sided 3M adhesive strips so there are no holes to drill or marks left on the wall.

Et voila! Your tray is ready to use or to give as a gift.

(Hmmm… you’ll NOTE my friend Catherine has not GIFTED me one of these…. I’m putting in my request now!)

repurposed vintage serving pieces and trays- DIY art, Repurposing Flea Market Finds, Repurposing Vintage Trays, Decorating with Trays, Catherine Russell

TRAY ART

An eclectic collection of trays and serving pieces of varying sizes, shapes and colors are all that’s necessary to create an original art piece. After the fun of collecting trays is long past, your original art piece will decorate your home for years.

Tip: This is a great way to repurpose cherished family trays and serving pieces as well!

Supplies:

1 An assortment of trays that nest inside each other

2 A small mirror

3 Metal glue (I use Gorilla Glue but many craft glues are designed for metal)

 

Instructions:

1 Wash and dry the trays

2 Arrange the trays to next inside of each other to show off the trays varying sizes and colors

3 Glue each tray on top of each other and allow to dry completely

4 Glue a mirror or other decorative item (crystals, lace, a photograph) in the center of the top tray

Hang and display. A small tray collage can be hung on the walls using 3M adhesive strips, heavier trays will require a plate hanger or drilling a hole and attaching hooks and wire to hang securely on your walls.

Trays can also be organized and glued as wreaths, a collage, or other interesting shapes.

Next time you hit the flea market look for vintage trays and serving pieces. They can easily be found for very little money— $1-5, are small and light weight so they’re perfect to collect on vacations, and there are many ways to repurpose vintage trays to use in your home or as gifts.

vintage flea market trays and serving pieces, Repurposing Flea Market Finds, Repurposing Vintage Trays, Decorating with Trays, Catherine Russell

Here are a few more ideas to repurpose and showcase your vintage tray collection:

1 Group and display a collection of trays on the wall as art

2 Decoupage a photo, art or wallpaper and use to hold jewelry on your vanity or dresser

3 On your coffee table to corral a collection of books, picture frames, and small objects

4 Use your chalkboard tray to write the family dinner menu

5 Spray paint for holiday themed message boards

Happy Flea Marketing!

Catherine Russell, Toma Clark haines, The Antiques Diva, Stacey Thompson

The Antiques Diva® & Co – With a little help with a guest blog from a good friend!
Catherine Russell is a genius content marketer, freelance blogger and social media strategist who loves travel, antiquing,  and chai lattes. Contact Catherine at hireCatherine for digital marketing solutions and strategies, and follow her blog She’s Shopping Now.

 

Creating the Perfect Tablescape with Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

It’s no secret that I love to decorate my home with antiques. Since my home caught fire a couple years ago and I lost most of my material possessions in the flames, I’ve been scouting across Europe creating new collections, seeking accessories and staple pieces to complete my new flat. But now that I have my main pieces in place, that doesn’t mean that the decorating is over.  I, like many design enthusiasts, tend to get bored with stagnant interiors that don’t change or evolve every so often. (heck, every day!)  And while buying all new furniture would be a huge budget buster – not to mention a hassle – creating fresh tablescapes on a regular basis is a fun way to shake things up a bit.  (Confession… soon as I wrote “shake” I began singing Taylor Swift’s song Shake it Off!)

Decorating with Antiques, Designing Tablescapes, Artful Vignettes, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Toma Clark Haines

When I say tablescape I’m not just talking about the dining table. You can design table arrangements on console, coffee, and side tables. Even other flat surfaces like shelves, mantels, and window ledges can be used to artfully display objects. Here are some easy tips to get you started on creating beautiful vignettes using antiques in your home.

Decorating with Antiques, Designing Tablescapes, Artful Vignettes, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Toma Clark Haines

Keep it cohesive, but never boring. As with any decorating project, it’s important to know your personal style and the overall “look” you’re going for. For instance if you have a mid-century style home and theme, you probably won’t be adding heavily carved victorian pieces to your room. The same rule applies with tablescapes. Keep the style consistent with the rest of your decor and try to complement other elements in your home.

Decorating with Antiques, Designing Tablescapes, Artful Vignettes,

In order to keep it from feeling boring, mix up the heights of objects. Use books to stack things on top of and think about layering pieces of art in front of each other. I love the look of using small tabletop easels to display artwork or even photographs.

Shelfie, Decorating with Antiques, Designing Tablescapes, Artful Vignettes, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Toma Clark Haines

Add natural elements to your vignettes as well. Mixing materials such as shell, horn, flowers, and geodes with antiques really sets off the patina of the older items. Also using interesting pieces is important. That’s what’s great about antiques— they are NOT being sold mass-produced at every decor store which means when you decorate with antiques you’re giving your home a uniquely you spin!

Whether you hunt for accessories at antique shops, flea markets, or tag sales, think about what other items you can pair them with to create visually interesting tablescapes throughout your house. And remember, the same as when it comes to dating… Opposites Attract!

Happy Decorating,

The Antiques Diva® 

The ICEHOTEL

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Dear Diva Readers,

Baby, it’s cold outside! But these winter temperatures are nothing compared to -33 degrees in the Arctic Circle, which is where I spent my Christmas holiday.  Rather than running to sun for a beach holiday like I did last year in Thailand, this year I decided to embrace winter!  Let it snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow! And snow it did.  In fact, all the way from my home in Berlin to Sweden where I stayed at the world famous ICEHOTEL.  Days were filled with Bailey’s spiked-hot chocolate, dog sledding, reindeer sledding and, in general, just trying to stay warm.  You’ll note my Arctic wardrobe differed greatly from my diva-attire… I was decked out in sub-thermal snowsuit morning, noon and night!  Nights were spent sleeping on ice beds… covered with reindeer fur!!!

Toma Clark Haines The Antiques Diva Ice Hotel, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle hotels, The Antiques Diva, Ice Hotel in Sweden, Reindeer, Swedish Christmas, Dog Sledding, Designing with Ice,

Toma Clark haines The Antiques Diva Arctic Circle, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle hotels, The Antiques Diva, Ice Hotel in Sweden, Reindeer, Swedish Christmas, Dog Sledding, Designing with Ice,

The Antiques Diva Sweden Ice Hotel, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle hotels, The Antiques Diva, Ice Hotel in Sweden, Reindeer, Swedish Christmas, Dog Sledding, Designing with Ice,

The ICEHOTEL is the largest hotel built completely of snow and ice in the world. Shockingly there are actually a handful of “ice hotels” around the world.  Located about 200 km north of the Arctic circle it calls the small northern Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi home.  At about 18,000 square feet, this gigantic igloo is constructed completely out of ice from the Torne River. And when I say everything is made of ice, I mean EVERYTHING! Even our bed was made of ice!!!   Each year between March and April 5,000 tons of ice are harvested and kept in cool storage throughout the warmer months until November when about 100 people, including many artists who are expert ice sculptors, use it to build the structure of the hotel. That’s right—the hotel is rebuilt every single year – it melts by July, running back into the river from whence it came, and then the next November they start construction again. And for my designer/architect readers….  EACH YEAR they have to get approved again for BUILDING CODES!!!  Can you imagine the administration!?!  The hotel is then open from December to April until it begins to literally melt away and return to the Torne River.

Toma Haines Antiques Diva Ice Hotel, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle hotels, The Antiques Diva, Ice Hotel in Sweden, Reindeer, Swedish Christmas, Dog Sledding, Designing with Ice,

Toma Clark Haines The Ice Hotel Sweden, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle hotels, The Antiques Diva, Ice Hotel in Sweden, Reindeer, Swedish Christmas, Dog Sledding, Designing with Ice,

Antiques Diva Ice Hotel Sweden, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle hotels, The Antiques Diva, Ice Hotel in Sweden, Reindeer, Swedish Christmas, Dog Sledding, Designing with Ice,

The Antiques Diva Ice Hotel Sweden, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle hotels, The Antiques Diva, Ice Hotel in Sweden, Reindeer, Swedish Christmas, Dog Sledding, Designing with Ice,

The “cool” thing (no pun intended) about the fact it’s rebuilt every year means each year the hotel chooses designers (who do not have to know about ice – just have to create a theme) to design new theme rooms.  The hotel is always looking for applicants so if you’re a designer seeking to expand your brand and visibility this is an incredible opportunity to shine!!   The luxury art suites are where you want to stay! My room? “Abject Beauty”.  Although the hotel varies by year, there are typically around 65 rooms which are divided into deluxe suites, art suites, ice rooms, snow rooms, and group rooms.

The Ice Hotel Sweden Antiques Diva, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle hotels, The Antiques Diva, Ice Hotel in Sweden, Reindeer, Swedish Christmas, Dog Sledding, Designing with Ice,

Toma Clark Haines Antiques Diva Sweden Ice Hotel, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle hotels, The Antiques Diva, Ice Hotel in Sweden, Reindeer, Swedish Christmas, Dog Sledding, Designing with Ice,  ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle hotels, The Antiques Diva, Ice Hotel in Sweden, Reindeer, Swedish Christmas, Dog Sledding, Designing with Ice,

While the hotel itself is quite the attraction, it isn’t the only thing worth seeing or experiencing in this region of the world. While there we were able to observe the Northern Lights which is an amazing experience in itself – and daylight was only about 4 hours a day. Reindeers dotted the sides of the road so driving was an obstacle at times! And reindeer rugs were available for sale EVERYWHERE!

All in all, it was a trip of a lifetime.  I can’t say it’s an experience I’d like to repeat… however, I would definitely say it’s something you have to do at least once in your life.  Add this one to your bucket list.

Happy Travels,
The Antiques Diva ®

Styling the Coffee Table with Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

While the primary purpose of The Antiques Diva & Co is to custom-plan and lead antiques buying tours throughout Europe, our brand encompasses so much more. It is a lifestyle brand, incorporating aspects such as travel, entrepreneurship, decorating, food, and antiques. I love the fact that many of our clients are top antique dealers and interior designers from around the world and that my Diva Guides and I get to take them on buying tours and source antiques for their projects through our Buying Services. In my own down time, one of my favorite things to do is decorate my own home, picking up pieces on my travels and creating meaningful vignettes in my flat in Berlin.

Toma Clark Haines Berlin Apartment, Coffee Tables, Coffee Table Decorations, Antiques Diva Berlin Apartment, Toma Clark Haines, Decorating Tips, Antiques Diva Lifestyle

A friend here in Berlin recently asked “What are you doing on your day off?” and I said, “Redecorating” – her response, “Oh no! But your apartment is perfect why would you mess with it!?!”  Her thinking was that once the house was decorated, the fun was over!  Not so! Never in my world!!  Even without a floor-to-ceiling overhaul there are several little areas that you can play with in your home and change up with the seasons or whenever you get the whim for something new. One of these spots is the coffee table. I love the fact that accessories can change constantly on the coffee table. It can be a space that truly reflects your mood, interests, and collections.

Antiques Diva Apartment Berlin - Toma Clark Haines, Coffee Tables, Coffee Table Decorations, Antiques Diva Berlin Apartment, Toma Clark Haines, Decorating Tips, Antiques Diva Lifestyle

There’s no rule-book when it comes to what can and cannot go on the coffee table. However, with a few tips to keep in mind, there are some tried and true pieces that will always make your tabletop a winner.

COffee Table Decor Lonny, Coffee Tables, Coffee Table Decorations, Decorating Tips,

Coffee Table Décor – Lonny Magazine style

 

1-Trays
Using trays to anchor the coffee table helps keep things “neat.” Display a collection of items on a beautiful antique silver tray, then when it’s time to serve hors d’oeuvres, you can remove the collection easily and set the snacks on the coffee table.

2- Books
There are several things that can make a house personal and books definitely fall in this category. Whether you set out a few antiques volumes—I like old leather bound books— or stack your favorite coffee table books, guests in your home will be able to tell a bit about your interests from the subject matter and titles.

3- Flowers
Having fresh flowers in the house always makes me happy. Simply picking up some tulips on the way home from running errands is an easy way to add that something special to everday.. And why not place them in the middle of the room—on the coffee table?! By keeping a gorgeous antique vase on the coffee table, you will be reminded to always bring fresh flowers home. When my antique crystal ice bucket isn’t in use with champagne… it’s a hold all for whatever flowers I find at my local train station.  Get creative with your floral vases!

marcus design inc photo, coffee tables, decorating coffee tables

Photo From Marcus Design Inc

Whatever you decide to place on your coffee table, remember to keep it interesting by adding layers— you need items of different heights— by placing objets d’art on top of a stack of books. Also think about mixing up different mediums— glass, metal, silver, wood, natural materials— to keep it interesting. I’d love to see some of your coffee table photos! Share them with me on The Antiques Diva & Co Facebook page!

Happy decorating,

The Antiques Diva® 

Getting Cozy With Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

While it may be easy to complain about cold weather during this winter season, I find that there are many ways to actually celebrate the chilly temperatures outside. Ok…celebrate may be a strong word, but there are certainly ways to make home a cozy place during these frigid months and I think that antiques are definitely one element that can transform any space into a comfortable spot to snuggle.

Think about what you do with your wardrobe when it’s cold outside—you add layers! Do the same thing in your home by layering antique rugs on top of natural rugs like sisal. Adding that extra element helps bring warmth – and cozy color – to any room. Who wouldn’t want to wake up and have their feet touch a thick wool rug as soon as they hit the floor? How luxurious! But also think about well-worn rugs. Sometimes threadbare rugs can add a dimension of timelessness to a space that transports you.

Decorating with Antiques, Cozy Interiors, antique rugs, vintage linens, vintage Champagne buckets, Decorating for Winter

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Holland Apartment, Decorating for Winter

And speaking of layers, now is the time to accessorize. Pile on antique & vintage table cloths on the dining table as well as the side tables to help soften things up and create a sense of envelopment. Mix up textures to achieve a luxurious feel. Think about textiles you want to touch— velvet, leather, silk, wool, chenille— by mixing all these textures, you’ll be creating a rich environment that feels cozy and comfortable. I’m swooning over this fur covered antler-chair available with on of our vendors in Antwerp and think it’s the perfect winter item for you home!  Incorporate antique textiles into your throw pillows – look for a seamstress (if you’re not one yourself) who can whip up your finds into liveable art for your home. Imagine having a one of a kind pillow on your sofa that’s made from a centuries old Venetian textile!  Or like the fabric used for the red pillow above I had in my home in Holland which originally was used in a church.  Not only will a piece like this set your space apart and make it feel cozy, it will also act as a conversation piece.

The Antiques Diva Toma Clark Haines, Decorating with Vintage Champagne Buckets

Of course, adding greenery to your house will instantly make it feel more homey. But simply bringing a plant home won’t have as much of an effect if you don’t have the right container. There are so many antique containers that can act as planters. Why not use a vintage champagne bucket to plant your orchids in or like I did with tulips above in my own home? What about taking a trophy cup and planting a violet inside it? Think outside the box!

Decorating with Antiques, Cozy Interiors, antique rugs, vintage linens, vintage Champagne buckets, Decorating for Winter

Candlelight is another important element when it comes to making your house feel cozy in the winter. Be sure to purchase interesting antique candle holders like candelabra, hurricanes, and perhaps colored glass vessels.

However you choose to decorate your home this winter, nothing compares to the feeling of walking through the door and instantly feeling enveloped by the space you’ve created. Here’s to warm nights snuggled up at home with those you love!

toma clark haines, the antiques diva,

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Antiques in the New Year

Antiques in the New Year

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Dear Diva Readers,

This was supposed to be my inaugural blog post for 2015… but life has a way of sometimes interfering with blogging.  But to kick off 2015 I want to share a bit about why I love antiques – and why I think antiques are relevant in today’s lifestyle.  It’s important to be informed by the past but not let ourselves be ruled by it. I believe there can be a happy medium between living in the present and living with antiques because that is precisely what I do every day!

Antiques Diva Tours, Decorating with Antiques, Live a life less ordinary, Toma Clark Haines apartment in Berlin, Family Heirlooms,

Many people ask how I got involved in the antiques world and what initially drew me to it. My first answer is moving to Paris nearly 15 years ago opened my eyes to the world of antiques through exploring the Paris Flea Markets.  But it goes back further than that.  I’m American.  But my mother was a third generation American. Her grandparents moved over from England and my whole life I grew up hearing stories of far-away places and long-ago times.  The past was always a part of my present.  As a child on special occasions my family ate with silver my grandparents carried over on the boat when they moved to America.

Antiques Diva Tours, Decorating with Antiques, Live a life less ordinary, Toma Clark Haines apartment in Berlin, Anantara Elephant Camp Golden Triangle

If I think about it in my life history, antiques and travel were always intertwined in my mind.  I’ve always been a traveller – I’ve traveled in more than 45 countries – and to me antiques are another way of traveling.  They transport you.  Pieces with a past tell a story – of other times, other places and other lives. They take you on adventure to someplace less ordinary.  My love for antiques began with a desire to live a life less ordinary.

Antiques Diva Tours, Decorating with Antiques, Live a life less ordinary, Toma Clark Haines apartment in Berlin, Family Heirlooms,

Antiques Diva Tours, Decorating with Antiques, Live a life less ordinary, Toma Clark Haines apartment in Berlin, Family Heirlooms,

In this post-modern era we live in there is an aesthetic value of literally “living with history” by incorporating antiques into our own homes whether that be through family heirlooms – such as my great grandparents silver which today I dine daily on in my home in Berlin – or through pieces purchased on your travels.

Antiques Diva Tours, Decorating with Antiques, Live a life less ordinary, Toma Clark Haines apartment in Berlin, Family Heirlooms,

My goal for 2015 is to stop using my good china ONLY for special occasions and to bring it out and use it EVERY DAY.  After all, isn’t every day a special occasion?  My goal for 2015 as a company is to help you use your antiques every day. Stop treating antiques like they should go in a museum and begin living with them! When dealing with period pieces remember they were built much better than things are today.  It’s ok to mix Ikea in with your antiques – mix whatever you want with your antiques!! This year on the blog you’ll find a lot of focus on incorporating modern convenience alongside antique craftsmanship.   So many antiques are ageless—they have just as much appeal today as they did centuries ago.

So my goal this year is to help shed more light on the livability of antiques. After all, these pieces were built to be used, to be loved and to be around for a long time. One tour at a time, we are giving a fresh life to each piece our clients purchase. If you’d like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Tour in one of our 8 tour countries— France, Italy, Sweden, England, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands or Denmark— email us at [email protected] and we’d be happy to discuss custom planning a buying tour for you!

Happy New Year,

The Antiques Diva®

Antique Barometers

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Dear Diva Readers,

Many pieces we come across on our Antiques Diva Buying Tours were originally created to be strictly functional pieces. However, as time went on, artisans added decorative elements to these utilitarian items, and I, for one, am so glad they did! Today, many of these pieces can act as gorgeous accessories in the home, even if we no longer use them as they were originally intended. Once such item that I happen to have in my own home is an antique barometer - it rests on top of a vintage Lucite desk.  The contrast between the modern style desk and the antique gilded barometer is quite pleasing and interesting!

Antique Barometers, Objet d’art, Gilded Barometers, Antiques Diva, French Barometer, Toma Clark Haines Berlin Apartment

Barometers were created to measure atmospheric pressure. The way they work is by a glass tube filled with mercury acting as a vacuum. The mercury rises and falls depending on moisture in the air. When there is moisture in the air, the level of the mercury goes down and conversely when there’s heat, the barometer rises. That’s why you may see the word “Rain” marked on the low end of the glass tube and the word “Fair” marked on the high end.

Antique Barometers, Objet d’art, Gilded Barometers, Antiques Diva, French Barometer

Because the glass tube is extremely fragile and prone to breaking, they are typically mounted to pieces of wood. These pieces of wood are often heavily carved and ornamented and often times you can find beautiful gilded barometers. Sometimes these items, which can be mounted on the wall, are mistaken for clocks because they often incorporate a dial, which makes them easier to read. But whether you need a barometer or not, their form makes them a collectable and very decorative objet d’art in interior decorating.

French style barometers in particular are extremely pretty with their ornamented cases. Whether you purchase one or collect many to form a nice display, they add a sense of history and elegance to any home. In fact, take a look at shelter publications from around the world—I bet you’ll start to notice that ornate French barometers are featured more than you thought!

When hung on the wall, they act as 3D art. And they have enough presence to be the feature piece above a mantel.

I’d love to hear from you— what do you think about French barometers? Would you use them in your home? Do you have one? Share with me in the comments below or on my Facebook page!

The Antiques Diva® 

Wrapping Up 2014 with The Antiques Diva

Wrapping Up 2014 with The Antiques Diva

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Dear Diva Readers,

As we wrap up 2014 and I reflect on this year I’m reminded of words by Charles Dickens,“it was the best of times and…” well, the best of times! I cannot help but think “Wow!” It’s been a fabulous year of growth for us here at The Antiques Diva & Co.  We’ve grown to being the largest antiques sourcing company in Europe, offering customized buying tours in 8 countries (and counting) and working with a team of 18 locally-based guides.   If I could sum up the year in three words they would be Clients, Collaborations and Celebrations!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Party, Maison Objet, Deco Off, Editor at Large, Timothy Corrigan, Paul Bert, Serpette, Michael Boodro, Elle Décor,

We kicked off 2014 in January with our first ever Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Fete coinciding with Maison et Object and Deco Off.   With over 150 mega VIP guests in attendance the event received great media coverage and we were able to film a special tour of the Paris Flea Market with Editor at Large.  Such was last years success we’re doing it again this January 25 2015 for our second annual fete at the Paris Flea Market in conjunction with special guests Michael Boodro, Editor in Chief of Elle Décor, one of my favorite “Frenchy” interior designers, Timothy Corrigan and the owner of the Paul Bert/Serpette, Jean-Cyrille Boutmy (RSVP now for details [email protected]! You’re invited!!)

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Tobi Fairley, Denise McGaha, Jon Call, Mark Cutler, Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair,

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Jon Call, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair,

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair,

In February (and again in September) we were able to once again take VIP groups of American Interior Designers to Mercanteinfiera in Parma, Italy. Attending this large antiques fair is always a treat, but most especially when the clients are as fun as Tobi Fairley, Denise McGaha, Jon Call and Mark Cutler!   Later in the fall we were delighted to film Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk along with Stacey Bewkes of Quintessence for an upcoming episode on antiquing in Italy, Diva Style at Mercanteinfiera!   Watch this space! Both trips were filled with antiques sourcing, photo shoots and copious quantities of food & wine.  This month I was also delighted to add a new member to our team at Diva Headquarters – Andrew Skipper!

Then in March I hopped on a plane and headed to the USA to speak alongside Michael Bruno founder of 1stdibs at the Design Bloggers Conference. It was such an honor to meet so many talented design enthusiasts and to be able to share my story of turning a blog into a business.  Again, many lasting relationships were forged at this fantastic conference!

Just days later I was back on a plane headed for the UK. Our lovely Diva Agent Gail and I met up with Antiques Expert Judith Miller who gave our group of clients a private tour of The Bath Decorative Fair, which happened to be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a Champagne fete.  Yes, Champagne does tend to follow me around.  At the end of the month, I headed back to NYC to speak at the IFDA New York Design Center. What a jam-packed month!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, San Francisco Cottage & Gardens, Joy Venturini,

Criss-crossing the USA, I then flew to Atlanta to speak at ADAC and then spoke in both Los Angeles and San Francisco (special thanks to Kneedler Fauchere for hosting a fete in my honor).  I was also delighted to attend the launch party of San Francisco Cottage & Gardens where I befriended fashion icon Joy Venturini who moments before this photo was taken officially told me I was the “best dressed” for the event!  What a treat it was to see so many clients and make new friends!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, High Point Market, Antique & Design Center, Mad Cap Cottage

Then it was time for High Point Market which is THE MEETING PLACE for all my clients and colleagues.  Here I hosted – what else? – a Champagne tour of the Antique & Design Center after leading a Style Guide lecture on the Louis (lest you think antiques are boring… this talk involved plenty of sex and scandal to spice up the antiques and history!!!!).

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Blog Tour Milan

But I couldn’t stay long at High Point – I had to jet back to Milan, Italy for Salone to meet my Italian Diva Guide, Susan, to lead a VIP tour for Blog Tour Milan! Our lovely clients enjoyed this gorgeous city with us culminating in our party at the famous Campari Bar. After all that jet-setting, it was time to meet my husband in Tuscany for some much needed down days of relaxation at the Villa Bordoni.   I’ve been fortunate my husband has been able to travel with me on some business trips as I criss-cross the globe and we met in exotic destinations.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Spring Market, D&D Building, Antiques in the 21st Century,

May brought along plenty of client tours, including taking The Antiques Roadshow Magazine on tour throughout Belgium. But then in May it was back to the States for Spring Market at the D&D in New York where I spoke on a panel about Antiques in the 21st Century. Then in June a life-long dream of mine came true! We kicked off our first Antiques Diva Venice Tours with our new Diva Guides Orseola and Chiara! Exploring this enchanted city on the arms of two locals has given me access to a world I never thought I’d know as an insider.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Las Vegas Market, Antique Trend Forecast, Design Tastemaker,

July took me to The Windy City of Chicago for a speaking engagement at the Randolph Street Antique Market where I did a promo spot on ABC in Chicago! Then it was off to Las Vegas Market where I spoke on Antique Trends and was delighted to be named one of their Design Tastemakers!!

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Anantara Elephant Camp, Golden Triangle,

August brought some much needed down time in Thailand as my husband and I traveled to Thailand together to spend time at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok followed by shopping in Chiang Mai (Watch this space for upcoming Diva News! Will the Diva Do Asia?) followed by an amazing week at the Anantara Elephant Camp in the Golden Triangle learning to drive my own elephants.  Taking in this magical place was truly what we needed after all the hustle and bustle of this whirlwind year!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Steve Nobel, Nobelinks,

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Decorative Fair, Battersea, Traditional Home, Antique Markets in London

In September I was back in London, leading a VIP tour alongside industry sage and icon Stephen Nobel. Taking in exciting inspiration and sourcing unique antiques was the name of the game—along with lots of bubbly, bien sur! By the end of the month I was back again in London, taking a lovely journalist from Traditional Home on a special tour which coincided with The Decorative Fair at Battersea.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Gotha Biennale, Fall Market, Darcy Fulton, Jackson McCard, John Rosselli, Bunny Williams, Treillage, Art and Antiques Fair Parma Italy

Then in October after spending time in Italy for Mercanteinfiera I flew back to the Big Apple to speak at the D&D Building for Fall Market. But I couldn’t stay long because up next was High Point Market where I spoke yet again about my Antiques Diva Style Guide. High Point is always like a reunion! Such a pleasure to see so many familiar faces.  Before I knew it, I was back to Italy for another VIP event – attending the opening night gala at the Gotha Biennale with special VIP guests Darcy Fulton of John Rosselli and Jackson McCard of Bunny Williams’ Treillage!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Olga Granda-Scott, The Highboy, Doris Athineos, Traditional Home Antiques, Jonathan Burden, Antiques in the 21st Century

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Holiday House New York, Justin Shaulis, Gallery Hopping in Miami, Louis Navarrete,

In November we capped off the year with our last Antiques Diva event as I returned to NYC, speaking alongside the grande dame of antiques Judith Miller, Traditional Home magazine antiques editor Doris Athineos and Olga Granda-Scott of The Highboy at Jonathan Burden, Antiques and Works of Art. I was also able to go to the opening night gala of Holiday House New York with my dear friend and client Justin Shaulis whose room “Gallery Hopping in Miami” was simply a show stopper!  I was also particularly partial to client Louis Navarrete’s Bohemian Rapsody!

All these events… and I’ve not mentioned the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS YEAR.  As a company my 18 guides and I served more clients than ever before! Our busiest week of the year  we had more than 25 clients spread across 6 of our tour countries!!!!  Thank you for your support, your love and…baby, we quite simply could not do it without you.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle Dog Sledding, Reindeer Sledding in the Arctic, Northern Lights, New Years Resolutions

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle Dog Sledding, Reindeer Sledding in the Arctic, Northern Lights, New Years Resolutions

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle Dog Sledding, Reindeer Sledding in the Arctic, Northern Lights, New Years Resolutions

And that brings us to December where I’ve fallen into a pile of exhaustion as we entered our slow season,  as I spent my holiday in the Arctic Circle.  You must add the ICEHOTEL to your bucket list. It’s amazing.  I’ve spent the last week dog sledding in the tundra, reindeer sledding (and making one too many sightings as those buggers crisscross the roads in the Nordic) and stargazing while watching the Northern Lights. All in all I’d say it’s been a full, fun and fabulous year.

As we prepare for 2015, I can’t help but think that the BEST is still ahead!  This past year has had many highs (and a few lows as well) and the lesson here has been on priorities. In January 2014 I told my husband my goal for the year was to jump off cliffs…. free falling to see where these risks I was taking would take me.  The year has yielded more returns than I ever expected.

Thank you to all of my clients, friends, family and followers for everything and I look forward to seeing all of you in 2015!!! Let’s make it a great year!

Happy New Year,

The Antiques Diva®

 

Ringing in the New Year Diva Style

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Dear Diva Readers,

I hope you’re enjoying the holidays – I simply love this time of year – it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Now that Christmas is over there are still last minute things you must do to prepare for New Year’s Eve. Whether you’re still entertaining your extended family or plan to host friends, New Years tends to be a bit more glam than Christmas, which is usually family-oriented. And even if you’re planning to be a guest at someone else’s party this year, I’ve got a few tips on how to make this New Year’s Eve the best ever!

New Year’s Eve Party Preparation, Decorating with Style, Holiday Themes, Barefoot Contessa

I love New Year’s Eve because I love all things that come along with it. Everyone gets to dress up and put on a glamorous outfit along with glitzy jewelry and a pair of killer shoes. Typically there’s a fun and exciting atmosphere that people bring with them to New Year’s parties and there are certainly tried and true ways to set the stage for this atmosphere.

New Year’s Eve Party Preparation, Decorating with Style, Holiday Themes, Barefoot Contessa

First things first- everyone knows that Champagne is a must for ringing in the New Year. However, with this holiday being pretty much back-to-back with Christmas, money may be a bit tight. Don’t fret! Sparkling wines, Cava and Prosecco are wonderful substitutes for Champagne and cost less. Of course, being The Antiques Diva, I like to have antique & vintage Champagne buckets at the ready to serve the bubbly. If you’re going to be a guest at someone else’s home this year, why not take a vintage champagne bucket along with a bottle of Prosecco as a hostess gift? It’s a lovely gesture that’s also affordable. And your friend will be able to keep the champagne bucket long after the party is over!

art_deco_champagne_bucket

If you’re hosting a party, keep it easy on yourself! No one likes a stressed out hostess. I love The Barefoot Contessa’s cookbooks for finding a good recipes – however I’m a firm believer that having a host of pre-made snacks is the recipe for hosting a stress-free party.  You can never go wrong with cheese and baguette and some pate.  Olives are a MUST but pretzels, wasabi nuts and pistachios are also perennial favorites.  Ready-made mini quiches only require you to heat and serve. When hosting a party think about where you want to invest your energies and use a combination of home-made, partially-home-made and ready-made.

Also keep in mind that guests will be mingling, often holding a drink in one hand so be sure that most hors d’oeuvres are mini and can be held and eaten with one hand. Serve them in individual size serving dishes!

The truth is, presentation is key at any party. Instead of focusing on difficult and complicated recipes, focus on HOW you serve ready-made nibbles. When it comes to serving these little delights, use antique silver trays, wood cutting boards and other beautiful serving pieces to make the evening feel special.

New Year’s Eve Party Preparation, Decorating with Style, Holiday Themes, Barefoot Contessa

Of course there are three elements that can really make a party feel special and set the tone for the entire night. These are flowers, candles and music! If your budget allows, have a florist create arrangements and deliver them right to your door. But if you want to do it yourself (as I often do), grab a few interesting containers—think crystal bowls, antique trophy cups, silver urns— and fill them with the same flower. Clustering of 3 Euro roses look fabulous when presented in the right way.  It’s easy, effortless and oh so elegant.

New Year’s Eve Party Preparation, Decorating with Style, Holiday Themes, Barefoot Contessa

Sprinkle candles throughout your space and dim the lights a bit for some added drama.

And of course, create a custom playlist ahead of time so that the background sound never stops and keeps the party flowing.

However you choose to celebrate the New Year, do so with style!

Cheers to a prosperous and happy New Year and I look forward to bringing you all more antiques and inspiration in the coming year!

The Antiques Diva® 

Antique Trophies

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Dear Diva Readers,

People love antiques for several reasons. Perhaps they want to make an investment in something that will retain its quality while appreciating in value. Maybe they have a personal connection to a piece because it reminds them of their childhood. Still other times people fall in love with a specific item and begin collecting. In my own home I have a small collection of antique trophies of all different shapes and sizes. I love these pieces because they are decorative and also serve several purposes!

Antique Trophies, Repurposing, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva, Unusual Flower Vases

Antique Trophies, Repurposing, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva, Unusual Flower Vases

Of course trophies were first created to memorialize some type of victory. Long, long ago, this meant victories in battle. But by the early 18th century, sterling silver trophies were awarded to equestrians who won horse races. Over the decades the trophy evolved and came in several styles—think cups, two-handled urns, lidded vessels— and were awarded for numerous sports and other achievements.

Antique Trophies, Repurposing, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva, Unusual Flower Vases

One thing remains, however, and that is the fact that the trophy stands for success! Perhaps that’s why it is so appealing. What I love about antique trophies is that they often have gorgeous patina and can sometimes have beautiful inscriptions. While these inscriptions may be interesting, you can still find antique trophies without inscriptions, allowing you to have them engraved to memorialize your own event.

Antique Trophies, Repurposing, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva, Unusual Flower Vases

And while these timeless pieces make lovely displays on a table or mantel, they can also be functional. I often pull one or more trophies to the dining table and fill them with flowers for a dinner party. If trophies are large enough, you can fill them with candy and set them on the coffee table.

Derby-Trophy-Inspiration, Antique Trophies, Repurposing, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva, Unusual Flower Vases

Regardless of what you collect, the fun part is in the hunt. From flea markets to antique shops, searching for pieces that speak to you can become a lifelong hobby. If you’d like to source antiques in Europe, we’d love to help you! Just email me at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to answer any questions!

Happy hunting,

The Antiques Diva® 

Antique Knife Rests

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Dear Diva Readers,

When I entertain at home, one of my favorite things to do is set the table using beautiful antique pieces I’ve collected. Whenever I’m out at flea markets or antique stores, I am constantly looking for unique tabletop items to use in the dining room. From salt cellars and butter pats to silver trays and cutlery, there are so many lovely things that can be added to the table. Today I want to talk a bit about knife rests, sharing their history and the variety of shapes in which they come.

Christofle Coquille Knife Rests Mariette's Back to Basics, Antique Knife Rests, Table Décor, Dining Etiquette

It is thought that knife rests were first created in the late 17th or early 18th century. Originally, there would have been one or two large knife rests used by the master (or butler) of the house. He would carve the meat and then rest the carving knife and fork on the knife rest. By having this raised bar to rest the used knife blade on, you could save the tablecloth from being stained by cooking fluids. This was particularly useful if you didn’t have multiple pieces of cutlery so you didn’t have to exchange – or wash – the cutlery between courses!

 

Antique Knife Rests, Table Décor, Dining Etiquette

 

As time went on, individual knife rests at each place setting became common, especially in wealthier homes. It is important to note that at the beginning of the meal, knives should not be on the rests, and during the meal, in between bites, the knife should be placed on the edge of the plate, as proper etiquette dictates. The knife rest is only used in between courses, when the plate is removed.

Antique Knife Rests, Table Décor, Dining Etiquette

Most knife rests were made in the Victorian era. Of course the Victorians are known for making everything more elaborate, so it is this time period that saw the most decorative knife rests. You can find them made from crystal, glass, silver, gold, mother of pearl, porcelain, and numerous other materials. They were often purchased in sets of two to twelve and sometimes you can still find them in their original boxes. (I’m a sucker for an original box).   However be sure to check the hallmarks on each knife rest. If they are originally from the same set, the hallmarks should match. Of course, this only matters if you’re a serious collector. For me, it’s more about the look baby!

Antique Knife Rests, Table Décor, Dining Etiquette, Antiques Diva  Berlin Apartment

While it may seem fussy or unnecessary to use knife rests, I like to think of it as romantic. Just as the Victorians were known to turn strictly functional items into works of art, I believe we should make every meal a work of art with special, beautiful tabletop pieces. If you’re just starting your collection of antique knife rests, I suggest looking at flea markets. You can typically find sets for very reasonable prices – I’ve bought sets for as low as 5-10 Euros. Of course the more elaborate or unique you go the higher the price.

Antique Knife Rests, Table Décor, Dining Etiquette , Toma Clark Haines Berlin Apartment

Enjoy the hunt and then have fun setting the table for your next fun fete!

Bon App!

The Antiques Diva®

Christmas Trees From Around the World

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Dear Diva Readers,

Here at The Antiques Diva & Co we are constantly expanding to more and more countries across Europe. In fact, in 2015 we’ll be adding even more tour countries and cities to our roster so stay tuned! In the mean time, myself and my local Diva Guides are always traveling for work and pleasure (and most of the time work is pleasure!). So in honor of the holidays and our ever expanding travel schedule, I wanted to share some famous Christmas trees from around the world to inspire you to see new places, cultures and traditions—even if it’s simply from your computer screen!

Christmas Trees, Murano Christmas Tree, Christmas in Venice, Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, London Christmas, Frankfurt Christmas Market, St Peter’s Square Christmas Tree, Galleries Lafayette Paris Christmas Tree, Monte Ingino, Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington, Antiques Diva Tours

Let’s start with one of our newest tour locations, Venice. Murano Island is famous for its superb glass-work. At Christmastime, you can see the tallest glass tree in the world on this small island. It’s fascinating that this ancient place plays host to a modern looking tree, all the while using ancient glass making techniques.

Christmas Trees, Murano Christmas Tree, Christmas in Venice, Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, London Christmas, Frankfurt Christmas Market, St Peter’s Square Christmas Tree, Galleries Lafayette Paris Christmas Tree, Monte Ingino, Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington, Antiques Diva Tours

In London’s Trafalgar Square, there is a Christmas tree that has been an annual gift to Great Britain since 1947.  In gratitude for its help during World War II, Norway’s people gifted the tree as a token of appreciation. Isn’t that a lovely reminder of goodwill?

Christmas Trees, Murano Christmas Tree, Christmas in Venice, Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, London Christmas, Frankfurt Christmas Market, St Peter’s Square Christmas Tree, Galleries Lafayette Paris Christmas Tree, Monte Ingino, Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington, Antiques Diva Tours

After perusing the Christmas market—otherwise known as the Wehnachtsmarkt– in Frankfurt, many people admire the towering traditional Christmas tree that holds court in front of city hall. The scene transports you to Christmas past.

Christmas Trees, Murano Christmas Tree, Christmas in Venice, Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, London Christmas, Frankfurt Christmas Market, St Peter’s Square Christmas Tree, Galleries Lafayette Paris Christmas Tree, Monte Ingino, Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington, Antiques Diva Tours

In Rome, passersby can’t miss the larger-than-life Christmas tree which stands in St. Peter’s Square in front of the Vatican. There is also traditionally a nativity scene just in front of the large obelisk which causes one to stop and take in the Christmas spirit.

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Of course a very large and very stylish tree can be found at Galleries Lafayette in Paris. This time of year, tourists and locals alike flock to the 10 story domed building to shop and admire the beautiful Parisian Christmas tree.

gubbiochristmastree, Christmas Trees, Murano Christmas Tree, Christmas in Venice, Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, London Christmas, Frankfurt Christmas Market, St Peter’s Square Christmas Tree, Galleries Lafayette Paris Christmas Tree, Monte Ingino, Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington, Antiques Diva Tours

In Italy’s Umbria region, the largest representation of a Christmas tree rises on the slopes of Monte Ingino, just outside of Gubbio. It is composed of about 500 lights which are connected by 40,000 feet of wire. What a way to bring Christmas to this ancient city!

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And just for fun, since I am an American, I have to add the Capitol Christmas tree in Washington D.C. to this list. With 3,000 ornaments that are handcrafted by American school children, this tree is truly remarkable and a symbol of working together.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these Christmas trees from around the world. Whether you simply enjoy them from your computer screen or in person as you travel, learning about far off places is inspirational! And remember, if you are traveling in 2015 and want to source antiques in Europe, we’d love to custom plan a tour for you. Email us at [email protected] for more information.

Happy Holidays,

The Antiques Diva® 

History of The Nutcracker

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Dear Diva Readers,

I love Nutcrackers – before our house fire 2 years ago I had a holiday collection I loved displaying during the holiday season – small ornaments for the Christmas tree and  decorative objects to place on the mantel.  I’ve always wanted to buy a life-size Nutcracker to stand guard at the front door.  And while for me Nutcrackers are as synonymous as Saint Nick with the Christmas season, they weren’t always associated with Joyeux Noel! 

Nutcrackers, Christmas Traditions, European Christmas, German Nutcrackers

The term “nutcracker” originally didn’t have to do with toy soldiers at all actually. Nuts have been a dessert option in European countries for centuries and functional nutcrackers were required to open the hard shell of the nuts. As with many strictly utilitarian items, artists began to create more stylized versions. Eventually, decorative nutcrackers – many in the form of soldiers, knights and kings – were placed on dining tables after dinner to serve not only the functional purpose of cracking nuts, but also to amuse guests and act as conversation starters. It was even said that these little men served as “guardians of the house,” warding off evil spirits. Probably due to their staunch appearance! I mean really… have you EVER seen a Nutcracker crack a smile??

Nutcrackers, Christmas Traditions, European Christmas, German Nutcrackers

It was German manufacturers who started making the wooden Nutcracker we think of today, resembling a toy soldier. People who lived in rural areas or the forests would spend time carving Nutcracker figures along with dolls and religious icons. This became a main source of income for people in more isolated regions. Travelers would purchase them and eventually Americans became enamored with the Nutcracker. During WWII, U.S. GI’s brought German Nutcrackers back to the States and many families began collecting them. Even back then the American buying power drove demand!

Nutcrackers, Christmas Traditions, European Christmas, German Nutcrackers

Modern versions of this Nutcracker are typically decorative, proving that over time an item once only used functionally can transform into a completely decorative piece in the mind of the public. Isn’t it funny how that works?

Nutcrackers, Christmas Traditions, European Christmas, German Nutcrackers

In 1892 Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite ballet came on the scene and the Nutcracker figure became synonymous with the Christmas holiday throughout the world. To this day you probably see at least one performance of The Nutcracker or at least hear the music each holiday season. And you no doubt see many decorative Nutcrackers standing guard over stores, businesses and homes.

Nutcrackers, Christmas Traditions, European Christmas, German Nutcrackers

Nutcrackers, Christmas Traditions, European Christmas, German Nutcrackers

While it is more rare to find original functional Nutcrackers, it’s not at all impossible. In fact, you may be able to pick them up at antique stores or flea markets here in Germany where I live or even further afield across Europe and America. If you’re hunting for one, be sure to check online sources as well. And of course, if you’re over in Europe on an Antiques Diva & Co tour, be sure to keep your eyes out for one of these nostalgic figures!  The best time to buy is during your summer holidays – the price is always better when you’re shopping out of season for Christmas décor!

Happy Holidays,

The Antiques Diva®

Save the Date – Paris Maison Objet!

Save the Date – Paris Maison Objet!

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Dear Diva Readers,

We are over the moon excited to give you a “sneak peek” and a “save the date” for our 2nd annual Paris Flea Market Fete! 

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Paris Flea Market Party, Timothy Corrigan, Michael Boodro, Elle Décor, Maison Objet, Deco Off

If you are going to be in Paris in January for Maison Objet and Deco Off, we would LOVE for you to join us for our 2nd annual party at the Paris Flea Market!  I cordially invite you to join me, The Antiques Diva, along with my team of locally based Paris Diva Guides and esteemed special guests interior designer Timothy Corrigan and Editor in Chief of ELLE DECOR, Michael Boodro.

When:  Sunday, January 25
Where:  The Annex to La Petite Maison, 14 rue Paul Bert
What:  A lively discussion on shopping for French antiques with a Champagne breakfast (of course!)

Please RSVP to [email protected] – more details to follow as the date draws near!

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Paris Flea Market Party, Timothy Corrigan, Michael Boodro, Elle Décor, Maison Objet, Deco Off

All the best,

The Antiques Diva ®

Cocktails Antiques Diva Style

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Dear Diva Readers,

Does anyone else find it hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us? Where has the year gone?! Christmas is next week and there is always an excitement that comes with the holiday season. It seems that each weekend plays host to a holiday party where we all get to see friends and loved ones. If you’re planning to host a fete of your own, I’ve got some ideas for you! Throwing a cocktail party is a fun way to usher in this special time of year and I want to share a few ideas on how to set up a gorgeous bar cart. And as always, I’ll leave the cocktail mixing to my husband—the man knows how to make a good drink!  All photos below are examples of his brilliant creations.

Vintage Bar Cart, Antiques Diva Cocktails, Cocktail shakers, vintage cocktail picks, bar tools, classic cocktails, home bar setup

Vintage Bar Cart, Antiques Diva Cocktails, Cocktail shakers, vintage cocktail picks, bar tools, classic cocktails, home bar setup

Set the stage with a gorgeous vintage bar cart. Brass is hot right now and you can certainly find vintage brass bar trolleys at antique shops and flea markets. I found mine in Paris as at a “depot vente” – essentially that’s a used or second-hand store.  Would you believe I paid 35 Euro for this treasure more than 10 years ago and I love this bar cart today as much as I did that day I carried it home on the Paris metro!

Vintage Bar Cart, Antiques Diva Cocktails, Cocktail shakers, vintage cocktail picks, bar tools, classic cocktails, home bar setup

Next you’ll need bar tools like a martini shaker, bottle stoppers, an ice bucket and decanters.  And while you can purchase them new, why not start a collection of antique pieces? They are great for collecting! (and make great Christmas gifts for men).

Vintage Bar Cart, Antiques Diva Cocktails, Cocktail shakers, vintage cocktail picks, bar tools, classic cocktails, home bar setup

Antique cocktail picks can be quite charming and affordable. This past spring I actually found a beautiful vintage martini strainer at the Tongeren flea market and picked it up as a gift for my husband.  Our ice bucket comes from Sweden and our decanters are mostly from Belgium or France… years of presents all displayed together.  By selecting antique & vintage bar tools, you’re making your home bar stand out and reflect your unique taste!

Vintage Bar Cart, Antiques Diva Cocktails, Cocktail shakers, vintage cocktail picks, bar tools, classic cocktails, home bar setup

Of course you’re going to need something to serve the drinks in as well! Cocktail glasses, a set of old fashioned glasses, a set of highballs, and a set of stemmed wine glasses are a great start. And if you’re anything like me, you’re constantly on the hunt for beautiful stemware so you’ll most likely be storing all these glasses in another cabinet. Oh, and don’t forget the champagne flutes!

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Chili Lemongrass Martini, Vintage Bar Cart, Antiques Diva Cocktails, Cocktail shakers, vintage cocktail picks, bar tools, classic cocktails, home bar setup , Antiques Diva

Botucal, Diplomat Rum, Daquiri, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Bar Cart, Antiques Diva Cocktails, Cocktail shakers, vintage cocktail picks, bar tools, classic cocktails, home bar setup

Next on the list is linens. Be sure to have a set of pretty cocktails napkins along with a few thicker kitchen towels (to have on hand incase of spills). Last but not least, stock up on your favorite cocktail ingredients including mixers and garnishes. And Voila! It’s party time!

Vodka Sidecar, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Bar Cart, Antiques Diva Cocktails, Cocktail shakers, vintage cocktail picks, bar tools, classic cocktails, home bar setup

Mint Julep, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Bar Cart, Antiques Diva Cocktails, Cocktail shakers, vintage cocktail picks, bar tools, classic cocktails, home bar setup

French 75 Cocktail, Coco Chanel with a Dagger, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva Signature Cocktail, Vintage Bar Cart, Antiques Diva Cocktails, Cocktail shakers, vintage cocktail picks, bar tools, classic cocktails, home bar setup

I’d love to see what your home bar looks like and if you incorporate any antiques into it. Post photos to The Antiques Diva & Co Facebook page! Until next time, cheers from all of us at The Antiques Diva & Co!

Happy Holidays,

The Antiques Diva®

Saint Lucia Day in Sweden

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Dear Diva Readers,

While everyone knows that December 25 is Christmas, many are unfamiliar with the December 13 holiday Saint Lucia Day. Since Sweden is one of our popular Antiques Diva tour countries, I want to share a bit of their holiday tradition with you!

Saint Lucia Day, Sweden Christmas Traditions, International Holidays, December 13, Saint Lucia Buns, Winter Solstice, Swedish Traditions

Saint Lucia Day honors Lucia, who was a Christian that died for her faith. It is said that an angel appeared to her in her native Sicily and she became a devout Christian. When she refused to renounce her faith, she was martyred by the Romans. The feast of Saint Lucia coincides with what was once considered Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. In Scandinavian countries, this season is traditionally a time of feasting, drinking, gift-giving and gathering with friends. Due to the short daylight hours, the contrast between light and dark—both literally and metaphorically—is the main focus of this time of year.

Saint Lucia Day, Sweden Christmas Traditions, International Holidays, December 13, Saint Lucia Buns, Winter Solstice, Swedish Traditions

On Saint Lucia Day, it is customary for the eldest daughter of the house to wear a white robe with a red sash along with a “crown” covered with twigs and nine lighted candles fastened in it. She then wakes the family up while singing “Santa Lucia,” a traditional song, and serving the family coffee and saffron buns, also known as Saint Lucia Buns (see recipe below). For many, this is the beginning of the Christmas Season.

St Lucia, Saint Lucia Day, Sweden Christmas Traditions, International Holidays, December 13, Saint Lucia Buns, Winter Solstice, Swedish Traditions

Throughout the day there are candlelight processions, nodding to the return of the sun after Winter Solstice. Later that evening, women in church sing the traditional song which describes how Saint Lucia overcame darkness and found light.

Since tomorrow (December 13) is Saint Lucia Day, why not try your hand at making traditional Saint Lucia Buns using the recipe below? Exploring international holidays is a great way to expand your knowledge of the world and add new traditions to your family’s holiday season!

St Lucia Buns Sprinkle Bakes, Saint Lucia Day, Sweden Christmas Traditions, International Holidays, December 13, Saint Lucia Buns, Winter Solstice, Swedish Traditions

Saint Lucia Buns:
1 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp. saffron threads, finely crumbled (or 1 tsp. powdered saffron)
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 pkg. dry active yeast (4 1/2 tsp.)
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, well-beaten, plus one egg white
raisins or currants to decorate

Crumble saffron threads into melted butter. Let sit 30 minutes to an hour (this intensifies the saffron flavor).

Heat milk to a light boil, turning off heat when it reaches the scalding point (with small bubbles across the top). Stir in melted butter, sugar, and salt. Pour mixture into mixing bowl and allow to cool until “finger-warm” (still quite warm, but just cool enough to touch). Stir in yeast and let sit for 10 minutes.

Mix 3 1/2 cups flour into liquid. Stir in two well-beaten eggs. Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough (just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You don’t want to add too much flour).

Transfer dough to a large greased bowland turn to coat all sides. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch down risen dough. Lightly knead two or three times on a floured surface. Pinch off small handfuls of dough (about the size of a racquetball) and roll into “snakes.” Shape snakes into “S”-shaped buns or other desired shapes (please see my photo gallery of Lucia buns for traditional examples). Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with the towel again, and allow to rise until doubled (about an hour).

Decorate buns with raisins, brush with egg white, and bake in preheated 375º oven about 15 minutes, just until brown. Yield: 20 St. Lucia Buns (“Lussekatter”)

Happy Holidays,

The Antiques Diva®

Antique Christmas Ornaments

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Dear Diva Readers,

One of the most fun parts of the Christmas season is the decorating. Adding seasonal touches to your home and creating a festive atmosphere make the holidays feel that much more special. And of course, being The Antiques Diva, I love using antique and vintage Christmas ornaments! Today I want to share a bit of history on antique ornaments as well as a few ideas on how to use them in your decor this season.

Christmas Ornaments, Vintage Christmas Ornaments, Christmas Decorations, History of Christmas Tree Decorating

Christmas Ornaments, Vintage Christmas Ornaments, Christmas Decorations, History of Christmas Tree Decorating

Decorating Christmas trees originally began in Germany. People would use natural materials like nuts and fruits to don the trees. After Christmas, families could easily dispose of the decorations by leaving them outside for animals to eat. Before modern Christmas lights were invented, candles would be placed on the tree—can you imagine the fire hazard!? In modern times it is still common to see remnants of this traditional style of decorating. Nuts, pine cones and berries are all common motifs used in current Christmas decor. Why not add sprigs of berries and acorns to your tree? What about filling a beautiful urn with colorful fruit? You could even use feathers and other natural materials in your garlands & wreaths.

Johansen_Viggo_-_Radosne_Boże_Narodzenie, Christmas Ornaments, Vintage Christmas Ornaments, Christmas Decorations, History of Christmas Tree Decorating

Christmas Ornaments, Vintage Christmas Ornaments, Christmas Decorations, History of Christmas Tree Decorating

In the early 19th century, Americans began decorating trees, hanging garlands of popcorn and gingerbread cookies on them. Later that century, as Victorian traditions were born, Christmas ornaments and decorations in general became much more elaborate and detailed. Highly decorative ornaments with bits of lace, velvet, rhinestones and other materials were used to cover trees. This style is still popular in period homes. Whether you can find antiques decorations or new ones in the Victorian style, adding lush touches to your home is a sure way to usher in a classic Christmas feel.

eames-christmas, Christmas Ornaments, Vintage Christmas Ornaments, Christmas Decorations, History of Christmas Tree Decorating

Of course the mid 20th century brought on the popular aluminum Christmas trees, which were available in many colors. Does anyone remember those electric tree stands that rotated the tree as it changed colors with the help of a color wheel? What fun! These trees can still be found in antique stores and at flea markets.

Christmas Ornaments, Vintage Christmas Ornaments, Christmas Decorations, History of Christmas Tree Decorating

Christmas Ornaments, Vintage Christmas Ornaments, Christmas Decorations, History of Christmas Tree Decorating

If you’re a fan of 20th century Christmas decor but still want to have a traditional feeling, consider using bright and shiny glass ornaments. These originated in Germany in the mid-1800’s and were blown glass. The ornaments came in many shapes such as hearts, stars, angels and fruit. However, after WWI, American factories began mass producing them and they’ve been popular ever since. Whether hung on a tree or layered in your favorite bowl on the coffee table or buffet, these glass ornaments add sparkle to any space.

Christmas Ornaments, Vintage Christmas Ornaments, Christmas Decorations, History of Christmas Tree Decorating, Toma Clark Haines, Berlin Apartment, The Antiques Diva

No matter how you decide to deck your own halls, antique Christmas ornaments can certainly enhance the decor of any style home! And remember to keep your eye out for them throughout the year at flea markets and stores. Starting a collection amongst your family could be the beginning of a new Christmas tradition that is rooted in history!

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment

Happy Holidays,

The Antiques Diva® 

German Christmas Markets- Weihnachtsmarkt

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Dear Diva Readers,

While December 1 for most people starts their busy season – rushing and running and bustling about – for me, it’s the start of my slow season.  We tend to do less tours during the holiday period and colder months (thus our special Provence Sale) which means I am blissfully at home, snuggling with my husband in Berlin.  There is no better place to be for the holiday season than in Germany and I find myself singing “Oh Tannenbaum” and simply being in the Christmas spirit! What better way to celebrate than with a traditional Christmas Market.  Here in Berlin, there are over 70 Weihnachtsmarkts that pop up in late November and stay up through the four weeks of advent, creating a special atmosphere for the holiday season.

Traditional Christmas Markets, German Christmas Markets, Weihnachtsmarkts, Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin,

These street markets are set up in different squares throughout towns in Germany and are like little villages within themselves. Tents and open air stalls are filled with vendors offering seasonal handmade wares, Christmas ornaments and decorations, weird import goods from China, and traditional food and drinks. The appetizing smell of Gebrannte Mandeln (candied toasted almonds) fills the air and mulled wine is a requirement to ward off the cold. Sounds like the perfect picture of the Christmas Season, doesn’t it?

Christkindlesmarkt_nuernberg, Traditional Christmas Markets, German Christmas Markets, Weihnachtsmarkts, Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin,

1024px-Wien_Rathaus_Christkindlmarkt_Dez2006B, Traditional Christmas Markets, German Christmas Markets, Weihnachtsmarkts, Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin,

These markets date back to the Middle Ages, as early as the fourteenth century.  Traditionally, on opening night, crowds welcome a representation of the Christchild, typically played by a local child. There is usually singing (much like caroling) along with a nativity that is set up close to the center of town.

Colognechristmasmarket, Traditional Christmas Markets, German Christmas Markets, Weihnachtsmarkts, Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin,

Some people attend the markets to simply soak up the holiday spirit, while others go to shop for gifts. As for me, I recommend buying a few traditional ornaments (these make lovely hostess gifts) – I’ve also bought myself a gorgeous array of handmade jewelry over the years as often small artisan vendors set up.  My favorite Christmas market is the one at the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin – it has the highest quality of inventory.  As an American who’s lived in Germany for several years now, I must say that the Christmas Markets don’t disappoint the quintessential idea in my mind of Germany at Christmas time.

Traditional Christmas Markets, German Christmas Markets, Weihnachtsmarkts, Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin,

If you find yourself in Germany over the holidays, you simply must attend one of the markets! And then post photos of your fun time on my Antiques Diva & Co Facebook page!

Happy Holidays!

The Antiques Diva® 

Dutch Sinterklaas Tradition

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Dear Diva Readers,

Where has the time gone? Can you believe it’s December already? It seems like just yesterday I was in Italy for Easter… and now Christmas will be here before we know it.  Since I’m an American who’s lived in Europe for fourteen years I thought it would be fun to shed some light on European holiday traditions this month here on the blog. After living 5 years in Paris and before living the last 5 in Berlin, I lived in the Netherlands for nearly 5 years and they had what is quite possibly the most unusual Christmas tradition in the world!!!

Sinterklaas, Dutch Traditions, Santa Claus in Europe, Zwarte Pieten, Christmas in The Netherlands, Christmas traditions around the world

Their Sinterklaas can be compared to the American Santa Claus. In the Netherlands,  Sinterklaas is celebrated on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day (December 6) by the giving of gifts, much like Americans do on Christmas Day. However, Sinterklaas doesn’t just come on Saint Nicholas Day eve. Gone are the reindeers and sleigh… for this Juletide character traditionally arrives in the Netherlands in mid-November on a steamboat from Spain. After disembarking, he rides through the streets on his white horse Amerigo.  All over the country parades form while children flock to him and his helpers – the Zwarte Pieten – singing traditional songs such as “Hij Komt” while Sinterklaas and the Piets throw candy and other treats into the crowds.

Sinterklaas, Dutch Traditions, Santa Claus in Europe, Zwarte Pieten, Christmas in The Netherlands, Christmas traditions around the world

For the next few weeks, until December 5, Sinterklaas makes special visits to schools, hospitals and other public areas where he can see all the children and build excitement for Saint Nicholas Day eve. Throughout the year, it is said that Zwarte Piet listens at the chimneys to hear if children are being bad or good and he then reports to Sinterklaas. If the children have been naughty, Piet would punish them on Saint Nicholas Day eve. However, that portion of the traditional lore has fallen out of fashion in modern times.

Sinterklaas, Dutch Traditions, Santa Claus in Europe, Zwarte Pieten, Christmas in The Netherlands, Christmas traditions around the world

On the night of December 5, children believe that Sinterklaas sends Zwarte Piet to their houses with burlap sacks filled with presents. Typically gifts are accompanied by a poem or personal message from Sinterklaas – gatherings of friends or colleagues mean that you write these poems in secret to share about the gift recipient.

Zwartepiet, Sinterklaas, Dutch Traditions, Santa Claus in Europe, Zwarte Pieten, Christmas in The Netherlands, Christmas traditions around the world

I always find it interesting that holiday traditions throughout the world are quite similar. Of course there are certain details that are unique to each country and culture, but at the end of the day, good boys and girls receive presents while naughty ones do not. So the lesson here is: Be good!

Happy Holidays!

The Antiques Diva® 

Our Favorite Hotel in Antwerp: JVR-108

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Dear Diva Readers,

With my travel schedule, I stay in A LOT of hotels around the world. And when living out of a suitcase, discovering a comfortable boutique hotel can be like finding water in the desert. There’s nothing like finishing a long tour day with clients and returning to a stylish abode outfitted with every comfort in mind. And when I do find a place like this, I share it with my clients—and today I want to share it with you! I was recently traveling to Antwerp (I am constantly there for business) and stayed at a lovely hotel called JVR108.

JVR108, Antwerp Hotels, Hotel Recommendations Antwerp, Boutique Hotels Antwerp,

JVR108, Antwerp Hotels, Hotel Recommendations Antwerp, Boutique Hotels Antwerp,

JVR108, Antwerp Hotels, Hotel Recommendations Antwerp, Boutique Hotels Antwerp,

JVR108, Antwerp Hotels, Hotel Recommendations Antwerp, Boutique Hotels Antwerp,

The hotel is actually a historic mansion that happens to be right near the heart of Antwerp. The location is convenient to the historic city center where you can find shops, restaurants and museums, not to mention the city’s famed cathedral. Public transportation is close by and there are also bicycles available to guests free of charge. But convenience isn’t all JVR108 has to offer— from the owners & staff to the gorgeously decorated rooms, this place has it going on!

JVR108, Antwerp Hotels, Hotel Recommendations Antwerp, Boutique Hotels Antwerp,

JVR108, Antwerp Hotels, Hotel Recommendations Antwerp, Boutique Hotels Antwerp,

Proprietors and owners Phillip Ver Hoeye and Frederik Aers play an integral role in the day to day operations of JVR108. In fact, they live in a private section of the mansion. Together, the pair have transformed the interiors as well as the secluded garden which is open for guests to use. Indoors, a tasteful combination of antiques, custom throw pillows and hand painted chinoiserie wallpaper set the tone for a luxurious experience. I found myself wanting to pack up many of the objects and take them home, and in fact, several antique pieces throughout the hotel are for sale! From paintings and mirrors to furniture and throw pillows, JVR108 allows you the opportunity to take a piece of it home with you – to me that’s the best type of hotel! One at which you can also shop!!!

JVR108, Antwerp Hotels, Hotel Recommendations Antwerp, Boutique Hotels Antwerp,

JVR108, Antwerp Hotels, Hotel Recommendations Antwerp, Boutique Hotels Antwerp,

JVR108, Antwerp Hotels, Hotel Recommendations Antwerp, Boutique Hotels Antwerp,

Each guest room is individually styled which is a welcome perk as I’ve stayed in just about every chain hotel in this hemisphere! Add to that the fact that the bedding is so lush you simply melt into it, and you have The Antiques Diva’s seal of approval. I can’t tell you how welcome we felt while staying here. It takes special people to make you feel at home and in fact, we recently invited Phillip and Frederik to our home in Berlin for dinner because we enjoyed them so much and appreciate their hospitality.

JVR108, Antwerp Hotels, Hotel Recommendations Antwerp, Boutique Hotels Antwerp,

A section of JVR108’s website describes the hotel as “A place best shared only with the closest of friends. Pleasures, delights and elegant bliss that you might prefer to keep to yourself…a well-guarded secret.” Well, I guess the secret is out, but at least it’s been shared with friends—you, my dear diva readers!

Happy traveling,

The Antiques Diva®

The HighBoy’s Gift Guide

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Dear Diva Readers,

With less than a month until Christmas, the count down has officially begun! While I tend to buy presents all year long on my travels, the big gifts tend to be those I save until November and December.  After recently speaking on a panel in New York about The Future of Antiques with The HighBoy’s Olga Granda Scott, I asked our friends at The HighBoy to share some of their favorite items for sale on their site right now. Consider this your Holiday Gift Guide and get shopping for unique gifts for your loved ones…or even yourself!

The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Holiday Gift Guide, Swedish leather books,

1.  Set of six Swedish leather-bound antique books.  Who wouldn’t want to receive this lovely set of antique books with marbled papers? Both useful and decorative, antique books always make a lovely gift.

The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Holiday Gift Guide, Mid-Century Lucite Clock

2.  American mid-century solid lucite clock in style of Charles Hollis Jones.  For the sleek and sexy design lover, this extraordinary Mid-Century lucite clock  is magnificent in quality and design. And since the clock mechanism has recently been replaced and it works perfectly, the recipient of this piece will not miss a beat.

The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Holiday Gift Guide, Apothecary Jars

3.  Set of 3 apothecary jars.  A lovely set of three turn of the century, porcelain labeled apothecary jars would be a beautiful decorative gift. While this style of jar has been reproduced and is widely popular now, owning an original set would be quite special.

rene lalique rampillion vase, The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Holiday Gift Guide

4.  Rene Lalique “Rampillion” vase with blue patina.  This lovely “Rampillion” Vase with a blue patina would be an ideal present for a collector or anyone with discerning taste. Divided by thickly cast glass diamonds and a floral pattern, the effect is one of visual texture. This vase still retains it’s beautiful blue patina that stains the floral pattern. Fill it with flowers all year long for the gift that keeps on giving.

The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Holiday Gift Guide, Ice Bucket, Drulane

5.  Hollywood Regency glossy black and gold ice bucket by Drulane.  This lovely Hollywood Regency glossy black and gold ice bucket is by Drulane – c. 1960-70 – and, a must-have for the upcoming holiday party season. It is a class act with a gold handle accented by black insert and a very regency ribbing design! It offers a glossy black exterior, gold trimming around rim and handle and a clear lucite lid topped off with gold ball- the ideal piece for the elegant hostess!

The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Holiday Gift Guide, Jardiniere

6.  French gilt bronze mounted turquoise blue earthenware jardiniere.  This elegant jardiniere in style of Theodore Dek would make a very special gift. With it’s classic style, it certainly will become an heirloom to whoever receives it.

pair-of-leather-and-brass-horsehead-bookends, The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Holiday Gift Guide

7.  Pair of leather and brass horse head bookends signed “Asprey”.  For the man who appreciates quality (or the equestrian lady), this pair of stately bookends would be the perfect gift. In the study, den or at the office, this pair will add instant class.

The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Holiday Gift Guide, Grand Tour Antiquity

8.  Grand Tour “Antiquity” Greek oinochoe form vessel with black painted figures.  This beautiful and highly decorative European Grand Tour pottery wine vessel with black hand painted figures from Greek mythology is certainly a unique piece. The vase has been intentionally damaged and pieced back together using rather overt restoration techniques in order to give it a more “authentic ancient” feel. Interestingly, it was probably originally sold to an unsuspecting American tourist in the late 19th c. as a genuine antiquity. However it would make a great gift to someone who appreciates history.

The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Holiday Gift Guide, Sandor bracelet

9.  1950’s Sandor bracelet.  Give the gift of elegance with this 1950’s Unsigned Sandor Bracelet in Bronze/Gold tones. Woven metal chain makes up the base of the Bracelet, with the center holding a Topaz colored stone surrounded by Clear Rhinestones. The sides of the Bracelet have a raised band of Clear Rhinestones as well.

The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Holiday Gift Guide, Art Nouveau bronze

10. Fine Art Nouveau figural bronze of a “Scantilly Dressed Woman” by P. Tereszczuk.  For the person who appreciates beauty, this Art Nouveau bronze with outstretched arm holding a pair of game birds would make a nice addition to a collection.

I hope this Gift Guide from The HighBoy inspires you to start your Christmas shopping! This year, make gifts personal and buy antiques!

Happy shopping,

The Antiques Diva®

Setting A Thanksgiving Table

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Dear Diva Readers,

This time of year makes me think of warm sweaters, roaring fires in the hearth, mulled wine and dinners with all the trimmings shared with family and friends. With Thanksgiving only hours away, I want to share my tips on how to get a festive feel when it comes to setting your Thanksgiving table, and, of course, give you some ideas on how to incorporate antiques!

Setting a Thanksgiving Table, How to decorate a table, Festive Holiday decorating tips, Unique Centerpieces

When setting the table I always start with the tablecloth.  For my own dining table, which is an oval shape, I cheat and use simple king size bed sheets in a luxe high thread count silky finished Egyptian cotton as I love the way a large tablecloth drapes and falls nearly all the way to the ground around the table. The holidays however are a good time to add in rich colors and patterns.  Paisley is always a good idea.

Next comes the centerpiece and nothing says autumn like natural materials. Begin with a unique container—maybe an antique silver trophy cup or a beautiful vintage champagne bucket. You can never go wrong with a clustering of gourds.  Fill it with roses – all in one color –  and mix in pheasant feathers or bits of evergreen. Combining these natural textures will certainly set the scene for a festive meal.

Of course no table is complete without candles—lots of them! Scatter a mixture of votives around the table and utilize the silver or brass taper holders for the center of the table. In my dining room I have two floor-standing candelabras on either side of the dining room that add a grand yet intimate feel. Floor-standing candelabras also allow you the luxury of candlelight even if you’re running short on table space!

Setting a Thanksgiving Table, How to decorate a table, Festive Holiday decorating tips, Unique Centerpieces

Speaking of table space, I love to lay the table with antique china and serving pieces. Nothing says “holiday” like using fine tableware. And don’t worry if you don’t have a complete set of china or even flatware for that matter. Mix and match patterns—just make sure the colors coordinate. I may use one pattern of silverware for the salad forks and pair them with knives and dinner forks from a different set. Trust your eye and don’t be afraid to get creative!

By taking cues from formal tables of the past and mixing in pieces that reflect your tastes, you’ll be creating a highly personal atmosphere for you and your guests to enjoy. Remember, the holidays come but once a year so why not have fun and step outside your usual comfort zone. Be bold and have fun – and most importantly, make sure to invite friends and family around for the holidays.

Setting a Thanksgiving Table, How to decorate a table, Festive Holiday decorating tips, Unique Centerpieces, Antiques Diva Home in Berlin

From my house to yours Happy Holidays,

The Antiques Diva® 

Customizing Antique Fireplaces

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Dear Diva Readers,

A
rchitectural salvage is one of the most sought after items on our clients’ lists as of late. People are transforming antique zinc window frames into mirrors, taking gorgeously carved doors and creating headboards, and using decorative architectural fragments and making them into lamps. While all these ideas are wonderful (and put antiques to good use), some architectural salvage pieces are being used for their original purposes.We recently helped a client source antique European mantels and fireplaces for their new home in the USA. And you may not know it, but our favorite vendors have the ability to take a centuries old fireplace and customize it to fit into a brand new home, thus giving a new space old world charm!

Chimney S819

While visiting one of our sources in the Belgian countryside, our clients were struck with the vast array of fireplace styles he offered. The lovely antique dealer had laid out a beautifully simple spread of sandwiches and wine in his garden for us when we first arrived. While sitting in the sunshine, our clients were able to discuss with the vendor what type of pieces they were looking for, and they even came prepared with photos of their new home along with measurements. Upon finishing our delicious meal, we entered the nearby warehouse which was filled with gorgeous architectural salvage!

After perusing several buildings of fireplace mantels, the clients eventually came back to one in the first row we’d looked at. Isn’t that always how it is? There was only one problem with this fireplace…it was too big for their space! But the vendor took out a sketch pad and assured us that it is common for him to customize mantels to fit into new construction. Relieved, we began the customization plans right there in the warehouse. See below the sketches of the original state of the mantel piece and the adjusted drawing.

Present State

Original State of Mantel

Adapted

Adjusted State of Mantel

Once the clients were back in the USA, they were able to work with their stone mason to determine exact measurements and requested that the antique dealer in Belgium source additional stone for the hearth floor surrounding the fireplace as well as for the back of the fireplace.

Comparison

After modifying sketches and measurements, the fireplace is ready to go! The lesson here is that when you’re working with the right people—skilled artisans and knowledgable antique dealers— dreams really CAN become a reality. Many of our sources have excellent workshops on sight where they are able to restore, modify or adjust pieces of all kinds. Just because you spot something that isn’t exactly how you’d like it doesn’t mean that it can’t be transformed into the perfect piece for you!

The Antiques Diva®

Swedish Mid-Century Furniture

Swedish Mid-Century Furniture

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Dear Diva Readers,

One of our most popular tour countries  — and one of my personal favorites to shop— Sweden offers an excellent variety of quality antiques. Of course, when most of us think of Swedish antiques, we picture Gustavian chippy furniture and Mora Grandfather clocks, all with beautifully worn white or pale blue patina. And while these are lovely classic antiques, there is also a huge modern mid-century movement in Sweden. If you’re a modernista, Sweden may be just the place for you to start sourcing abroad!

Swedish Antiques, Mid-Century Design, Trends in Antiques, Sleek mid-century chairs, Swedish Design, The Antiques Diva, Modernista,

hans-wegner-folding-chair, Swedish Antiques, Mid-Century Design, Trends in Antiques, Sleek mid-century chairs, Swedish Design, The Antiques Diva, Modernista,

If you look at companies like IKEA or France & Son Furniture, you can see that mid-century Danish and Swedish designs are enjoying a renaissance and have been for the past several years. And I’ve got to tell you – I track the trends in antiques – I don’t see this trend changing any time soon. The design language of popular Swedish designers of the 20th century is still so relevant in the interior design world. Look at the pieces designed by Hans Wegner— several of his designs have been reinterpreted and reproduced for the masses. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to own an original piece by this renowned designer?

panton chair vitra com, Swedish Antiques, Mid-Century Design, Trends in Antiques, Sleek mid-century chairs, Swedish Design, The Antiques Diva, Modernista,

Swedish Antiques, Mid-Century Design, Trends in Antiques, Sleek mid-century chairs, Swedish Design, The Antiques Diva, Modernista,

Swedish Antiques, Mid-Century Design, Trends in Antiques, Sleek mid-century chairs, Swedish Design, The Antiques Diva, Modernista,

Even if you don’t have the budget, however, for collector pieces, there are other lesser-known Swedish designers of the mid-twentieth century who produced a similar aesthetic. Alvar Aalto, Finn Juhl and Poul Kjaerholm are a few talented names to look for when sourcing Swedish mid-century. From sleek chairs to tables, you can incorporate these pieces into a modern or traditional space. And don’t forget designers such as Verner Panton Dana who experimented with plastic chairs, all made from one piece of plastic. Quite chic and forward for the time, and oh so hot right now!

Swedish Antiques, Mid-Century Design, Trends in Antiques, Sleek mid-century chairs, Swedish Design, The Antiques Diva, Modernista,

There are vendors in Denmark and Sweden who deal in this style and time period. The good news is that it’s going to be more affordable to source these pieces in Sweden than in America, and our Swedish Divo Guide Daniel Larsson knows exactly where to go to find gorgeous mid-century pieces.

Swedish Antiques, Mid-Century Design, Trends in Antiques, Sleek mid-century chairs, Swedish Design, The Antiques Diva, Modernista,

If you’d like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour in Sweden or any of our 8 tour countries—France, Italy, England, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands or Sweden— email us at [email protected]. We’d love to help you find the antiques of your dreams!

The Antiques Diva®

Off Season Provence Sale

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Dear Diva Readers,

Antiques Diva Provence Off Season Sale, Antiquing in Provence, Sourcing Antiques in Southern France, Buying Tours in Provence, Inspiration Tours in Provence, The Antiques Diva

The best time to get a bargain when buying antiques is to go shopping when the competition is low.  The less people buying, the more motivated the vendors are to sale!   Between November 17, 2014 and February 28, 2015 you can save on a multi-day Antiques Diva® Buying Tour in Provence.  Book a 2 Day Provence tour and receive an additional half day free.  Better yet book a 3 Day Provence Tour during this period and we’ll give you an entire free full day extra making it 4 Days of Antiquing – Diva Style! Mention Off Season Sale when inquiring [email protected].

Bonne Shopping!

Toma Clark Haines

Original or Repurposed Antiques?

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Dear Diva Readers,

Part of why I enjoy leading antique buying tours is I love to tell a good story. And when it comes to antiques there is always a story to tell… about the history of the piece, how it was used and why. My guides and I get to share our passion and knowledge with our clients and we believe that educating clients about their purchases is important.

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Repurposing Antiques, The Antiques Diva, Tijdloos Antiques, French country farmhouse table

As Europe’s largest Antiques Sourcing Company we work with a large range of clients with a variety of knowledge levels. When taking a client on tour our objective is to first find out what they’re looking for – if they want period pieces or simply a certain style. Once on tour, educating our clients on all parts of the buying abroad process is part of our job. We try to give tips so the clients know the difference between a “period piece” or a piece that’s just in the style of a certain period.

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Repurposing Antiques, The Antiques Diva, Tijdloos Antiques, French country farmhouse table

A big movement as of late is repurposing antiques and this can be done any number of ways. You might repurpose a vase so it’s made into a lamp, or, on a bigger scale, imagine a French country farmhouse table custom-made to size using antique wood. It could be 18th C wooden flooring repurposed into a table. (see a gorgeous example here where you can order wooden planks made into a table). While the materials are still antiques, these pieces wouldn’t have the same inherent value as an original 18th C farm table – that said they are still gorgeous and still have value. Just a different value than the one made 200 years ago!

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Repurposing Antiques, The Antiques Diva, Tijdloos Antiques, French country farmhouse table

I love antiques and vintage pieces of all kinds, whether a pure period piece or a repurposed piece – I’m all about equal opportunity antiquing! But the key thing for my clients is that they UNDERSTAND what they are buying and that it’s the right price for the piece they’re buying. Obviously a repurposed piece costs less than an original piece, but if the price is right on a repurposed piece, then my recommendation is go for it!

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Repurposing Antiques, The Antiques Diva, Tijdloos Antiques, French country farmhouse table

Knowing the difference between original and repurposed antiques comes down to knowledge and trust. That’s why we build lasting relationships with vendors and dealers whom we know and trust – one of my favorite vendors for buying antique farm house tables in Belgium is Roderique and Evy at Tijdloos Antiques. They have a gorgeous inventory but also really spend time with clients to educate them on what they’re buying. If a client is looking to purchase original pieces, we know exactly who to take them to. On the other hand, if they’re wanting to source pieces made from antique materials but are perhaps better price points, we also know the perfect dealers for those repurposed pieces.

The important thing to remember as you train your eye to differentiate between original and repurposed antiques is that it all comes down to trust. If you can learn from someone, be they a dealer, a restorer, or one of our Antiques Diva Guides, you’ll know that you’re getting correct information and being led in the right direction!

Happy hunting,

The Antiques Diva®

Paris Hotel Recommendations

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Dear Diva Readers,

While our specialty at The Antiques Diva & Co is custom planning Antique Buying Tours, when clients are traveling abroad they often ask our advice…“Where should I stay?” and “Are there any good restaurants you’d recommend?”  With 18 locally based Diva Guides in 8 different countries, we certainly try to help our clients by giving them a short list of our favorite European hotels and restaurants.

When choosing a hotel in Paris, you first must decide what sights you want to see.  This will help you determine which arrondisment to stay.  As they say it’s all about LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION!

Today, Paris Diva Guide Danielle shares a few of her hotel recommendations for a trip to Paris!

Paris Diva Guide Danielle, Paris Hotel Recommendations, Where to stay in Paris, Paris hotel tips

Paris Hotel Recommendations, Where to stay in Paris, Paris hotel tips,

Paris Hotel Recommendations, Where to stay in Paris, Paris hotel tips

Paris Hotel Recommendations, Where to stay in Paris, Paris hotel tips

If you want to be in the vicinity of the Palais Royal, Danielle’s recommendation is the  Grand Hotel du Palais Royal because it literally overlooks the Palais Royal Garden. Just steps away from the Louvre Museum, the Comédie Française theater, rue Saint-Honoré, and the Tuileries Gardens, this luxury hotel is in an ideal spot. If you’re looking to shop exclusive boutiques, eat at superb restaurants and enjoy classic architecture this is an excellent choice.

marquis faubourg saint honore hotel domino 002

Paris Hotel Recommendations, Where to stay in Paris, Paris hotel tips

Close by is the Marquis Faubourg Saint Honore which is located in the intimate setting of the 18th century private mansion at 8 Rue d’Anjou. Also walking distance to the Louvre, Opera House and the Champs-Elysées this boutique hotel retains the feel of a private mansion. With impeccable personalized service, your stay in Paris will surly be memorable!

pbanner_citadines_suites_louvre_paris_facade_01, Paris Hotel Recommendations, Where to stay in Paris, Paris hotel tips

pbanner_citadines_suites_louvre_paris_premiere_suite_02 Paris Hotel Recommendations, Where to stay in Paris, Paris hotel tips

There is also in the same area the Citadines Suites Louvre Paris which is walking distance to the same attractions as the previous two hotels mentioned. Danielle had clients stay there recently and they were very happy with their stay.

Bellechasse, Paris Hotel Recommendations, Where to stay in Paris, Paris hotel tips

Photo credit: Small & Elegant Hotels

Ahhh… then there is the left bank.  Rive Gauche.  My ‘hood in Saint-Germain des Pres – the neighborhood where I lived for 5 years.  You can stroll down the Boulevard Saint Germain shopping it’s boutiques and then pop over the Musee D’Orsay before meandering your way back to the boutique hotel – the Bellechasse.

Hotel Derby Alma, Paris Hotel Recommendations, Where to stay in Paris, Paris hotel tips

Photo credit: Agoda.net

Now while I love to meander the back streets of Saint Germain the fact is many people’s dream when visiting Paris is to crawl out of bed and take a stroll each morning by the Eiffel Tower.  Danielle recommends a hotel just a couple of blocks from the Eiffel Tower called the Hotel Derby Alma.  A modern convenience hotel Danielle’s last clients who stayed here were thrilled with this 4 star hotel.

Thanks Danielle for your expertise in not only antiques but also in fabulous places to stay in Paris!

Bonne Nuit! Sweet Dreams of Paris!

The Antiques Diva®

The Future of Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

I am delighted to be speaking alongside some major players in the antiques world coming up on November 20 in New York City! Join us for cocktails, a book signing, and panel discussion on The Future of Antiques: Antiques & Design in the 21st Century.  The panel will be moderated by Doris Athineos, of Traditional Home Magazine, with antiques experts Judith Miller, Olga Granda-Scott of The HighBoy and myself – founder and CED (that would be Chief Executive Diva) of The Antiques Diva® & Co.

Doris Athineos, Traditional Home Magazine, Judith Miller, Millers Antiques Guides, Olga Granda-Scott, The HighBoy, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, The Future of Antiques, Antiques and Design in the 21st Century, Alhambra Antiques, The Pier Antique Show

Doris Athineos, Traditional Home Magazine, Judith Miller, Millers Antiques Guides, Olga Granda-Scott, The HighBoy, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, The Future of Antiques, Antiques and Design in the 21st Century, Alhambra Antiques, The Pier Antique Show

Moderator DORIS ATHINEOS is Senior Antiques and Art Editor, Traditional Home magazine.  She writes about fine and decorative arts, artisans, design, and collecting. Her job involves tracking down culturally significant one-off designs, whether a Chippendale chair, a Tiffany lamp or a freshly-made Moulthrop bowl. Prior to joining Traditional Home, Athineos served as an editor at Forbes magazine, where she covered the art market. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Observer, Architectural Digest, Wine Spectator, Art & Auction, and other publications.

judith miller antiques, Doris Athineos, Traditional Home Magazine, Judith Miller, Millers Antiques Guides, Olga Granda-Scott, The HighBoy, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, The Future of Antiques, Antiques and Design in the 21st Century, Alhambra Antiques, The Pier Antique Show

Perhaps the Queen of the Antiques Scene is JUDITH MILLER, – Antique Expert & Author, Miller’s Antiques & Collectibles.  She is one of the world’s leading antiques experts and has authored more than 100 books, including the newly published Arts& Crafts: Living with the Arts & Crafts Style and the international best-seller, Miller’s Antiques Handbook & Price Guide, founded in 1979. She appears regularly on British television, pens an antiques column for Forbes, and lectures around the world including the V&A in London and the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

Doris Athineos, Traditional Home Magazine, Judith Miller, Millers Antiques Guides, Olga Granda-Scott, The HighBoy, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, The Future of Antiques, Antiques and Design in the 21st Century, Alhambra Antiques, The Pier Antique Show

OLGA GRANDA-SCOTT is the Founder of The HighBoy a curated marketplace for Antiques & Fine Art. As an antique dealer herself for over a decade at Alhambra Antiques in Miami, Olga was frustrated by the lack of technological innovation in the industry, and thus The HighBoy was born. Dubbed “a hip contender to the antiques throne” by The Wall Street Journal, The HighBoy marries the beauty and sophistication of antiques, decorative arts, and jewelry with the innovations of 21st century technology.

Doris Athineos, Traditional Home Magazine, Judith Miller, Millers Antiques Guides, Olga Granda-Scott, The HighBoy, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, The Future of Antiques, Antiques and Design in the 21st Century, Alhambra Antiques, The Pier Antique Show

While you probably already know me since you’re reading my blog – I thought you might enjoy finding out a bit more about me too! I’m TOMA CLARK HAINES – founder and entrepreneur of The Antiques Diva & Co European Tours.  Since opening in 2008, The Antiques Diva® & Co. has become Europe’s largest antiques touring company, offering customized, private one-on-one antiques buying tours in 11 countries to both private individuals and to the trade. When I’m not on a buying tour, I’m also a freelance travel and design writer and an international public speaker.

Join us in NYC!
Thursday November 20, 2014 7:00-9:00pm
At Jonathan Burden, Antiques and Works of Art
180 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013
RSVP is required – email me [email protected].

All attendees will receive complimentary tickets to The Pier Antique Show on November 22 & 23 – where if you didn’t yet know it – The Antiques Diva & Co is delighted to be a sponsor!!  Admission is free for all attendees who confirm their attendance at futureofantiques.thehighboy.com.

See you in NYC!

The Antiques Diva®

U.S. Antique Shows

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Dear Diva Readers,

One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting interesting antique lovers from all over the world. Recently while taking clients on an Antiques Diva Tour at Mercanteinfiera in Italy I was fortunate enough to meet the team from U.S. Antique Shows and we just hit it off!  If you’re not familiar with U.S. Antique Shows, you should be. That’s why I’m happy to announce that I will be collaborating with them on some special stateside events in the USA next year!

Pier Antique Show, Pier 94, U.S. Antique Shows, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera in Parma Italy, Miami National Antique Shown, Antique Shows Calendar, The Original Miami Beach Antique Show,

Pier Antique Show, Pier 94, U.S. Antique Shows, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera in Parma Italy, Miami National Antique Shown, Antique Shows Calendar, The Original Miami Beach Antique Show,

As the world’s largest producer of indoor antique shows, U.S. Antique Shows focus is on serving the unique needs of both customers and the entire antique community by featuring internationally recognized dealers and a wide range of antiques, antique jewelry and watches. With nine shows, collectively spanning 400,000 square feet, U.S. Antique Shows attracts more than 3,000 dealers from 22 different countries. No other show producer brings together experts in every category and discipline from all over the world. I love the fact that vetted dealers are able to expand their audiences while collectors and shoppers are able to buy with confidence and learn more about antiques. I can’t wait to share more about U.S. Antique Shows in the near future!

Pier Antique Show, Pier 94, U.S. Antique Shows, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera in Parma Italy, Miami National Antique Shown, Antique Shows Calendar, The Original Miami Beach Antique Show,

Pier Antique Show, Pier 94, U.S. Antique Shows, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera in Parma Italy, Miami National Antique Shown, Antique Shows Calendar, The Original Miami Beach Antique Show,

In the mean time, here are the dates for their Antiques Shows that are coming up— Mark your calendars!

2014-15 U.S. Antique Shows Dates:

Pier Antique Show
Nov. 22-23, 2014 & March 28-29, 2015
Pier 94
www.PierAntiqueShow.com

 

Miami National Antique Show
Jan. 24-26, 2015
Miami Airport Convention Center
www.MiamiNationalAntiqueShow.com

 

The Original Miami Beach Antique Show
Jan. 30-Feb. 3, 2015
Miami Beach Convention Center
www.MiamiBeachAntiqueShow.com

 

Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show
May 28-31, 2015
Paris las Vegas Hotel and Casino
www.VegasAntiqueJewelry.com

 

New York Antique Jewelry & Watch Show
July 24-27, 2015
Metropolitan Pavilion
www.NYAntiqueJewelry.com

 

LA Antique Jewelry & Watch Show
August 14-16, 2015
Hyatt Regency Century City
www.LAAntiqueJewelry.com

 

Not only will I be attending the Pier Show this November 22-23 but The Antiques Diva & Co will be one of the sponsors of the show!!! Please join us there as we shop New York!!!!

The Antiques Diva®

Venetian Textiles

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Dear Diva Readers,

Every antiquer has their little obsessions… pieces that capture their imagination and their mind.  For me it’s antique textiles.  I have a weakness for them, running my fingers over pieces I shouldn’t touch, fascinated with texture and patterns.  While I love French and Belgian fabrics, it’s the Venetian textiles with their rich 1000 year long history that most captures my imagination.  Famous fabric weavers like Bevilacqua, Fortuny and Rubelli represent three different stories of a 12th Century tradition which turned Venice from an importer of luxury Eastern goods exported to the Western market into a producer of lavish fabrics. Woven on enormous and complicated looms, the production was regulated and protected by a strict legislation. The earliest precious textiles, the “samites,” were inspired by the East, especially Byzantium. The decoration was reproducing wheels with symbolic animals like lions and parrots and were enriched by other details that were brought to Venice from China by Marco Polo at the end of the 13th Century.

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

And while we always think of the east influencing the Venetian textile design in fact one of the most important contributions to Venetian style actually came from within Italy.  The weavers of Lucca sought refuge in Venice for political reasons in the 1300’s – with them they brought and shared their traditions, cultural styles and creative talents, weaving them – if you will – into their adopted culture. This unique sharing of practical knowledge made possible the production of velvets that incorporated spectacular motifs and designs.

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

In the 15th Century new floral patterns came from the East and inspired fresh Venetian designs. This combination of East and West is always present in Venetian textiles and is what makes Venice’s art, architecture and products special and unique. Our local Venetian Guide Orseola  explains, “We were the gateway to the East.  The Serenissima Repubblica – as Venice was known in the past – imported Eastern luxury goods.  Not just art and architecture but they imported carpets and textiles and different ideas and ways of thinking.  Venice is very different from the rest of Italy.  We’re not just divided by our canals, but rather we’re divided by our mindset –  we always look outward for inspiration.” 

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

Today, gorgeously preserved textiles can be purchased and incorporated into traditional or modern homes. One of my favorite sources for textiles happens to be our Venetian Diva Guides antique business O&C Antiques that they run in addition to leading our Veneto Antique Buying Tours.  They’ve taken fragments of a highly ornamental Venetian textile and framed them in contemporary, minimal ways making antique textiles some how feel modern and relevant.  Appreciating antiques textiles as art is an excellent way of incorporating them into your home.  While I’ve always had a passion for textiles I’ve found over the years I tend to pick up little pieces here and there… but they get tucked away in a cupboard.  Thanks to O&C Antiques I’m thinking outside the box with my antique textiles.  Do you have any ideas on how can you display them as art.

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

If you’re as interested in Venetian textiles as me – consider booking our Venetian Textile tour that not only allows you to shop but delves deep into the local culture and historical traditions.  But don’t stop there… moving beyond in Tuscany you can continue this textile tour in a sensational way, exploring the culture of Italy through art, politics and local traditions.  Our Tuscan Guide Susan has some amazing secret sources up her sleeve that we can’t wait to share with you.

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy, Toma Clark Haines

Ciao Bella,

The Antiques Diva®

Winter Art & Antiques Fair at Olympia

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Dear Diva Readers,

Coming up on November 3-9 2014 is the longest running London Winter Fair, the 24th Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia. It is the only high calibre art and antiques fair between October and March and a highlight of the Winter art season. For the second year running it coincides with Asian Art in London, making London the focus this week for serious collectors.

London Winter Fair, Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia, Olympia, Asian Art London, English Antiques, Modern British Design, Buying English Antiques in London, Antiques Diva

London Winter Fair, Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia, Olympia, Asian Art London, English Antiques, Modern British Design, Buying English Antiques in London, Antiques Diva

The fair showcases over 100 top dealers selling the finest British craftsmanship through the centuries. There’s sure to be a variety of offerings with 30,000 pieces available for sale including furniture, 20th century design, jewelry, art, Asian pieces, ceramics, sculpture, silver, mirrors, lighting, fossils, clocks, textiles and glass.

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Popular with collectors, interior designers and those looking for something different, the stock on sale ranges from 16th century to Modern British and from dining tables to diamond rings. In fact,  jewelry is one of the top sellers at this fair…after all, Christmas is coming!!! Maybe I should send my husband!

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Every piece on sale is strictly checked by experts before the fair opens to ensure it is authentic so visitors can buy with confidence. Incorporating a Mosimanns Bistro and champagne bar and with stylish presentation of the 130 stands, this is a glamorous event that is certainly a Diva Destination!

London Winter Fair, Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia, Olympia, Asian Art London, English Antiques, Modern British Design, Buying English Antiques in London, Antiques Diva

Last year one of the more unusual items for sale were a pair of glasses given by Humphrey Bogart to his publicist to say thank you for all his hard work. As expected, the glasses sold very soon after the fair opened. It’s pieces like this—with a story and with provenance— that are fun to shop for! This year there are rumored to be a few stand out pieces available, including an enormous American Civi War flag, an oil painting by Sir Alfred Munnings (for £750,000) and works on paper by Hirst, Picasso, Banksy and Warhol.

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If you plan on attending the fair, we’ve got a couple of tips for you. Definitely go on one of the free highlights tours. This is the first year they will be available and Vanessa Curry is a knowledgeable art historian who will bring the pieces to life. She also offers jewelry and furniture tours. And don’t forget, if you want to get back into the fair on another day, ask for a pass from the security desk when you leave. It may take more than one day to soak in all there is to see at Olympia!

Happy hunting,

The Antiques Diva®

Spooky Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

Happy Halloween – Antiques Diva Style! In honor of this spooky holiday, I had to share some ghostly ideas on how you can use antiques and vintage pieces to add a touch of mystique and the macabre to your home. Many items may already be hidden away in your attic or cellar but they also can be found at flea markets throughout the year, (yes, I’m the girl who does Christmas shopping in March at the flea market as I believe in buying for holidays all year long).  With a bit of imagination, antique accessories can create the ideal haunted atmosphere for a Halloween party or just for seasonally witchy décor.

Decorating for the holidays with Antiques, Holiday antiques, Decorating for Halloween, Decorating for Thanksgiving,

Decorating for the holidays with Antiques, Holiday antiques, Decorating for Halloween, Decorating for Thanksgiving,

Masks are a Halloween staple, but they don’t just have to be for wearing to a party. Affix masks to vintage photos or antique portraits and you’ll have an inexpensive tongue in cheek easy decoration around the home!

les-fleurs-du-mal-baudelaire-charles-first-edition-first-issue-paris-poulet-malassis-et-de-broise-1858, Decorating for the holidays with Antiques, Holiday antiques, Decorating for Halloween, Decorating for Thanksgiving,

Decorating for the holidays with Antiques, Holiday antiques, Decorating for Halloween, Decorating for Thanksgiving,

Decorating for the holidays with Antiques, Holiday antiques, Decorating for Halloween, Decorating for Thanksgiving,

You know I belive that antique books are a fabulous decorative accessory any time of the year, but during the ghost days of autumn search for books with creepy titles to set out on the coffee table.  The Headless Horseman? Check.  Also pay attention to the covers and bindings—anything having to do with skeletons, spiders and bats make perfectly spooky tabletop or shelf decorations.

Decorating for the holidays with Antiques, Holiday antiques, Decorating for Halloween, Decorating for Thanksgiving,

Speaking of books, always be on the lookout for natural history books. They are filled with beautiful prints that can be framed. For Halloween, search for scientific illustrations of bats and spiders—how creepy!  And oh my goodness don’t get me talking about taxidermy.  I personally happen to love taxidermy anytime of year (I’m still trying to get my husband to let me buy that ostrich for our living room) but taxidermied birds and rodents could be particularly useful for Halloween décor.

Decorating for the holidays with Antiques, Holiday antiques, Decorating for Halloween, Decorating for Thanksgiving,

Pewter candelabras are the perfect accessories to use on Halloween. Unlike polished silver, pewter’s dull finish lends itself to a time-worn, earthy look. Let wax drip down for an even more foreboding feel! In fact, candles in general are great for creating fall ambiance. Every once in a while I line my stairwell with votive candles to create ambiance for my husband when he comes home from work.

Decorating for the holidays with Antiques, Holiday antiques, Decorating for Halloween, Decorating for Thanksgiving,

For something a bit on the lighter side, fill antique apothecary jars with mini gourds and pumpkins and set them on your sideboard or kitchen counter. You can also use vintage cake stands with pumpkins perched on top to line the dining table as a festive centerpiece.  A trend in recent years has been painting pumpkins black.

jane_howarth-bonne-bouche, Decorating for the holidays with Antiques, Holiday antiques, Decorating for Halloween, Decorating for Thanksgiving,

No matter how you decide to decorate for Halloween, antiques are positively perfect for creating ambiance.  We’ve been discussing accessories – but even antique furniture in general creates a spooky past lives vibe.  If you want to go all in with Halloween Décor pull out some Neo Gothic or Hunt Style Antiques (those heavily carved pieces with the dead animals) to add splash from the past for your Halloween Decor. I’m loving this Jane Howarth interpretation with pearls of bird guts!!

Decorating for the holidays with Antiques, Holiday antiques, Decorating for Halloween, Decorating for Thanksgiving,

If you’re decorating with antiques this Halloween I’d love to see your décor and more!!  Visit The Antiques Diva & Co’s Facebook page to share your spooky photos of how you do seasonal décor with antiques! And while today’s post is about Halloween – let’s get a headstart on Thanksgiving!!!  Show me how you use antiques in your THANKSGIVING DÉCOR by posting photos on our Antiques Diva Facebook Page and our favorite image wins an Antiques Diva Tote Bag!!!

The Antiques Diva®

Layering Antiques into Your Rooms

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Dear Diva Readers,

Autumn is the perfect time to think about decorating your house. As the days get shorter and cooler, we spend more time at home and that means it’s time to add those warm touches that make your rooms comfy and cozy! And what makes a room more comforting than nostalgic antiques?

Layering Antiques, How to make your room warm and cozy, Antique Rugs, Sheep skin, Reindeer hides, Perfectly Imperfect, Antiques Diva, Bric-a-brac

Create a sense of warmth by layering antiques into your rooms. What do I mean by this? Add antique rugs—thick wool rugs that keep warmth under toe are ideal. Or why not layer a few rugs—think sheep skin or reindeer hides placed on top of oriental rugs or worn persian rugs. And don’t be afraid of a bit of wear… rugs that are threadbare in a few spots can be charming!  We’re talking perfectly imperfect is charming!

Layering Antiques, How to make your room warm and cozy, Antique Rugs, Sheep skin, Reindeer hides, Perfectly Imperfect, Antiques Diva, Bric-a-brac

Layering Antiques, How to make your room warm and cozy, Antique Rugs, Sheep skin, Reindeer hides, Perfectly Imperfect, Antiques Diva, Bric-a-brac

Now is also the time to bring out the bric-a-brac that you’ve packed away during the summer when flowers from the garden are filling the coffee table . A bare coffee table can play host to a stack of books topped by a small sculpture and a beautiful bowl filled with potpourri. When you’re at the flea markets, look for items with lots of texture— i.e. small wooden boxes perfect for hiding clutter like remote controls, marble bookends, leather bound books, pretty dishes and small paintings to prop on easels.

Layering Antiques, How to make your room warm and cozy, Antique Rugs, Sheep skin, Reindeer hides, Perfectly Imperfect, Antiques Diva, Bric-a-brac

Think about creature comforts as well. Having a nice tea set is always a good idea whether you’re enjoying a hot cup of tea while curled up in your favorite reading chair or sharing tea time with a friend.

Layering Antiques, How to make your room warm and cozy, Antique Rugs, Sheep skin, Reindeer hides, Perfectly Imperfect, Antiques Diva, Bric-a-brac

No matter how you choose to warm your home up this fall season, layering antiques into your decor is a sure-fire way to create a cozy atmosphere that will have you and your loved ones spending quality time in the most important place—home sweet home.

The Antiques Diva®

Sourcing in the Venetian Countryside

Sourcing in the Venetian Countryside

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Dear Diva Readers,

Mamma Mia…..  Here at The Antiques Diva & Co we custom plan each client’s tour route, taking into account their travel time, budget and what type of antiques they are looking to source. This means that sometimes we take them to specialized shops in the cities and other times we schedule their tours around specific flea markets. And still other times we go off the beaten path to warehouses and private residences in the countryside to find the perfect pieces. This is pretty much the case for each of our 8 tour countries, but today I want to talk about Venice—or rather, Veneto!

Sourcing antiques in Italy, Venetian Antiques, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Veneto Antiques, Architectural Salvage, 15 Century Antiques,

Sourcing antiques in Italy, Venetian Antiques, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Veneto Antiques, Architectural Salvage, 15 Century Antiques,

Sourcing antiques in Italy, Venetian Antiques, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Veneto Antiques, Architectural Salvage, 15 Century Antiques,

Sourcing antiques in Italy, Venetian Antiques, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Veneto Antiques, Architectural Salvage, 15 Century Antiques,

Yes, we lead fabulous tours in Venice proper, guiding clients through canals and hidden alleyways to shops which house museum quality pieces. But we also are excited to start offering tours in Veneto! Imagine the experience of our local Diva Guide picking you up from your hotel and whisking you to a small town in the north area of Vicenza where 15th century architecture dots the landscape. In fact, we can recommend a 15th century castle in the area where you can actually stay! Now that’s traveling fit for a Diva!

Sourcing antiques in Italy, Venetian Antiques, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Veneto Antiques, Architectural Salvage, 15 Century Antiques,

Sourcing antiques in Italy, Venetian Antiques, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Veneto Antiques, Architectural Salvage, 15 Century Antiques,

When it comes to sourcing antiques however, we drive you to a 17th century palazzo filled with furniture, objects and art—all for sale. You’re greeted by the owner, a kind man who lives in this historic palazzo and has aptly named it “The Palace of Old Things.” And old things he has! Meander though the grand country house itself, complete with its stone walls, wooden beams and private courtyard, shopping for not only architectural salvage but also antique furniture from Veneto, France and other European countries. If you happen to have something specific that you’re looking for, just tell Francesco and he can find it for you.

Sourcing antiques in Italy, Venetian Antiques, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Veneto Antiques, Architectural Salvage, 15 Century Antiques,

Sourcing antiques in Italy, Venetian Antiques, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Veneto Antiques, Architectural Salvage, 15 Century Antiques,

Sourcing antiques in Italy, Venetian Antiques, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Veneto Antiques, Architectural Salvage, 15 Century Antiques,

Sourcing antiques in Italy, Venetian Antiques, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Veneto Antiques, Architectural Salvage, 15 Century Antiques,

From 17th century pieces to vintage furniture from the 20th century, you can find restored or unrestored condition. As many of our sources offer two prices (restored or unrestored), the same goes in Veneto. This is a convenient option because it puts the decision in your hands whether you want to do the restoring yourself or have your purchases arrive ready for use.

Sourcing antiques in Italy, Venetian Antiques, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Veneto Antiques, Architectural Salvage, 15 Century Antiques,

Sourcing antiques in Italy, Venetian Antiques, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Veneto Antiques, Architectural Salvage, 15 Century Antiques,

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

Ciao Ciao,

The Antiques Diva®

Revival of the Salon

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Dear Diva Readers,

My love for antiques got me into this business and being surrounded by like-minded people and sharing this passion with clients, vendors and colleagues is part of what makes my job such a joy.  When I first met Chiara Zanella and Orseola Barozzi Rizzo  – who later became our Antiques Diva Venice Antiquing Guides – they confided, “We want to create a different concept of selling antiques and of antiquing in general; we’d like to bring antiques to a younger target of collectors.  We believe people are beginning to reflect more on what they will buy for their home décor. We all need more personal spaces, reflecting our personalities and taste.”

O&C Antiques, Salon, Drama, Antiques Diva & Co, Venice Antiques, Chiara Zanella, Orseola Barozzi Rizzo, Design network, Artist network, Berlin Salon

O&C Antiques, Salon, Drama, Antiques Diva & Co, Venice Antiques, Chiara Zanella, Orseola Barozzi Rizzo, Design network, Artist network, Berlin Salon

These two ladies who not only lead our Venetian and Veneto antique buying tours also co-own O & C Antiques.  They are filled with youth and vigor and the kind of energy that makes one think they could singlehandedly stop Venice from sinking.  Explaining to me about their store, they said, “The world today is so connected on the internet.  It sometimes feels people have stopped living real life in lieu of an online life.  We think the future of antiques is in Salons  – real life meetings of the minds.”

O&C Antiques, Salon, Drama, Antiques Diva & Co, Venice Antiques, Chiara Zanella, Orseola Barozzi Rizzo, Design network, Artist network, Berlin Salon

At the mention of the word “Salon” my mind immediately races to the salons hosted by Ayn Rand in New York in the 1950’s but I am quickly reminded the would-be Americans such as Rand weren’t the ones who invented the concept.  Orseola explains, “The Salon is an Italian  invention from 16th century Italy when circles formed in the smaller courts with patronesses such as Isabella d’Este or Elisabetta Gonzaga.  Later the movement moved onto 18th century France with some of the last Salons hosted in the 20th century by Marie-Laure de Noailles with guests such as Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dali.”

Chiara continues, “Women were always the center of the life in the Salon and they carried a very important role as regulators. They could select their guests and decide about the subjects of their meetings. Those subjects could be social, literary, or political. They also had the role as mediator by directing the discussion. They were called Salonnières.”

O&C Antiques, Salon, Drama, Antiques Diva & Co, Venice Antiques, Chiara Zanella, Orseola Barozzi Rizzo, Design network, Artist network, Berlin Salon

Orseola cries…. “We’re bringing back the Salon.  We host mobile events in our homes.  While we’re in Venice this could be held in any city of the world – gatherings  in private spaces with  sellers, artists and designers combining discussion with antiques, contemporary art and vintage furniture.” During these events Salonieres educate their guests about cultural topics, all the while enjoying antiques, art, music and scintillating conversation meant to enhance the participants’ taste and increase their knowledge. These gatherings consciously followed Horace’s definition of the aims of poetry, “either to please or to educate” (“aug delectare aug prodesse set”).

O&C Antiques, Salon, Drama, Antiques Diva & Co, Venice Antiques, Chiara Zanella, Orseola Barozzi Rizzo, Design network, Artist network, Berlin Salon

And you, dear diva readers, are invited to the first of their salons…..  Chiara and Orseola have teamed up with their friend Jens Soneryd to organize the first of their Salon style evenings on October 31 in Berlin, Germany.

The theme of this inaugural Salon is “DRAMA”— a word which relates to any aesthetic experience—that through visual art, poetry, music and literature translate intuitions into beauty. The goal is to have these Salon evenings in several different cities throughout the world, almost as an international movable Salon!

The evening will be more the launch of a different way to meet like minded people, giving the chance to make a network in several different cities, between interior designers, antique dealers, designers, artists and collectors. In the frame of a private space that for the occasion, will be used as the visual platform where people can have the experience of distinct elements combined together in the same “exhibition” concept. The meaning of this gathering is also to provide collectors with a different way to look at art, design and antiques, and to make an ideal background for discussion for all guests.

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For that, the hostesses have selected artworks and photography (by artists based in Berlin, NYC and Warsaw), some objects from a contemporary design store in Berlin, some pieces of O&C Antiques inventory and guests will be delighted by an Opera singer and nice Italian wine.

The entrance to this exciting evening is free (although a donation is encouraged). If you’d like more information on the Salon concept, email us at [email protected]. Whether you’re interested in attending the inaugural Salon or if you wish to come to or host a future Salon, we’d love to hear from you!

The Antiques Diva®

The Antiques Diva Shops Guinevere in London

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Dear Diva Readers,

While on tour in London recently, I was very excited to take our client to an iconic London antiques establishment called Guinevere . This store, famous for its showroom displays which are to die for, juxtaposes the old and new, east and west, wild and sober in a way that reflects how the stylish set live now. From the moment you set foot in the door, you know that you are somewhere special where quality is prized above all else.

Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in London, English Antiques, Guinevere, Marc Weaver, Genevieve Weaver, Kings Road, Chelsea,

Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in London, English Antiques, Guinevere, Marc Weaver, Genevieve Weaver, Kings Road, Chelsea,

Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in London, English Antiques, Guinevere, Marc Weaver, Genevieve Weaver, Kings Road, Chelsea,

Co-owner Marc Weaver was kind enough to meet us at the door and take our group on a private tour of their meandering, multilevel store. From small Chinese sculptures and Asian screens to European oil paintings and mid century lighting, everywhere you look vignettes are thoughtfully put together. The buying team at Guinevere scours the globe for the most exquisite pieces, resulting in an interesting mix that’s both inspiring and informing.

Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in London, English Antiques, Guinevere, Marc Weaver, Genevieve Weaver, Kings Road, Chelsea,  Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in London, English Antiques, Guinevere, Marc Weaver, Genevieve Weaver, Kings Road, Chelsea,

And their textile collection, which is put together by Heather Weaver, is a go-to source for those in the know. A combination of antique dhurries, French linens, embroidered napkins, tablecloths, and cotton bedspreads from India, the inventory is always coming in the door and flying out.

Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in London, English Antiques, Guinevere, Marc Weaver, Genevieve Weaver, Kings Road, Chelsea,

Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in London, English Antiques, Guinevere, Marc Weaver, Genevieve Weaver, Kings Road, Chelsea,

Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in London, English Antiques, Guinevere, Marc Weaver, Genevieve Weaver, Kings Road, Chelsea,

The founder was French-born Genevieve Weaver who trained as a hat designer in Paris in the 1950’s. After moving to London, she became intrigued by antiques and opened Guinevere in 1963 in what was then a “not-so-nice” end of Kings Road in Chelsea. It’s funny how time changes things, as today that same area is a very prominent section of the neighborhood.

Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in London, English Antiques, Guinevere, Marc Weaver, Genevieve Weaver, Kings Road, Chelsea,

Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in London, English Antiques, Guinevere, Marc Weaver, Genevieve Weaver, Kings Road, Chelsea,

Her flair for mixing styles and eras has continued with her sons Marc and Kevin who now run the company. Their forward-thinking combinations of antiquities and mid-century modern are unique in the antiques trade where dealers often specialize in one era or style. Their desire to mix things up puts them at the forefront as innovators in this industry rather than trend followers.

Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in London, English Antiques, Guinevere, Marc Weaver, Genevieve Weaver, Kings Road, Chelsea,

Today the company caters to discerning collectors and interior designers from all over the world. Their international following is loyal, consistently coming back for more. And more is something Guinevere always has. Consisting of four adjoining shops and windows on Kings Road, this showroom is constantly evolving. In fact, they were changing some of the windows the day we dropped in. It was such a delight to tour this famous store – a landmark on Kings Road – and hear a bit of its history from Marc himself. Thank You Guinevere for being such gracious hosts on our recent visit!

Consider this shop a Must Visit Antiques Diva London Resource!

Happy shopping,

The Antiques Diva®

Fromental

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Dear Diva Readers,

While recently taking a group of top American interior designers on an Antiques Diva tour in conjunction with Nobelinks, we stopped into the Fromental Showroom in London for inspiration and a little fete, Diva style! Known for its gorgeous hand-painted wallpapers, Fromental is a leader in the design industry, using traditional styles and elements but bringing them into the twenty-first century, making luxury wallpapers for the way we live now. Of course, they also produce luxury fabrics, often times adding hand embroidery depending on the client’s needs.

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

Keeping in mind that the owner is the former creative director of de Gournay, the Fromental look is informed by historical patterns, but isn’t married to them. They’ve taken these classic patterns and injected new life into them by playing with color and scale. Think classic chinoiserie in a monochromatic color story. And traditional isn’t the only look you’ll find at Fromental. Bold patterns playing off of the current London fashion scenes liven up the show room. And what I love is that whether traditional or modern, Fromental’s wallpapers make a lovely backdrop for antiques!

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

All of Fromental’s products are made to order, making it the perfect choice if you’re looking for something custom. Color, composition and technique can all be modified to fit each client’s needs. Isn’t that a luxurious experience?! Imagine ordering a customized wallpaper to use as a backdrop for a stunning antique console table. Divine! See for yourself—here are some photos from our lovely evening at the Fromental Showroom. Thanks to the staff for being such welcoming hosts and thanks again for that gorgeous dinner next door!

The Antiques Diva®

Colefax & Fowler

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Dear Diva Readers,

While in London on an Antiques Diva & Co tour with a journalist recently, we stopped into Colefax & Fowler for a private tour of the showroom and a look at some of the archives from this prestigious decorating firm. While it was a treat to see some of the original design boards used by the firm for high-end international clients, it was also interesting to meander through the rooms of the shop, which once had a life as a town house.

Colefax & Fowler, London Antiques, Nancy Lancaster, Using Antiques in Modern Ways, Antiques Diva, English Designers,

Colefax & Fowler, London Antiques, Nancy Lancaster, Using Antiques in Modern Ways, Antiques Diva, English Designers,

Colefax & Fowler, London Antiques, Nancy Lancaster, Using Antiques in Modern Ways, Antiques Diva, English Designers,

Each room of the rambling building is decorated with the company’s highly sought after wallpapers. But a pleasant surprise is that the rooms are also sprinkled with some of the firm’s bespoke pieces and antiques they offer for sale. From antique chest of drawers and sofas to mirrors and engravings, the hand-selected pieces are displayed in thoughtful groupings as if Sibyl Colefax or John Fowler had arranged them.

Colefax & Fowler, London Antiques, Nancy Lancaster, Using Antiques in Modern Ways, Antiques Diva, English Designers,

Colefax & Fowler, London Antiques, Nancy Lancaster, Using Antiques in Modern Ways, Antiques Diva, English Designers,

Colefax & Fowler, London Antiques, Nancy Lancaster, Using Antiques in Modern Ways, Antiques Diva, English Designers,

Yet the rooms are not exactly 1940’s English Country style— as one thinks of Nancy Lancaster’s interiors. Instead they are decorated in what you might call “updated traditional”, with perhaps a bit less decorative items. In other words, every surface on every table isn’t filled with objects! Nevertheless, these rooms exude comfortable, relaxed elegance just as they once did when John and Nancy worked in them.

Colefax & Fowler, London Antiques, Nancy Lancaster, Using Antiques in Modern Ways, Antiques Diva, English Designers,

Colefax & Fowler, London Antiques, Nancy Lancaster, Using Antiques in Modern Ways, Antiques Diva, English Designers,

Colefax & Fowler, London Antiques, Nancy Lancaster, Using Antiques in Modern Ways, Antiques Diva, English Designers,

Colefax & Fowler, London Antiques, Nancy Lancaster, Using Antiques in Modern Ways, Antiques Diva, English Designers,

What I love about the Colefax & Fowler showroom is that it proves that antiques CAN be used in a modern way. You don’t have to choose just one end of the spectrum—chintz and tchotchkes or sleek and minimal. You can decorate a space with traditional principles but in an updated fresh way, still using classic antiques of course! And for me, that’s the way of the future.

Toma Clark Haines, Colefax & Fowler, London Antiques, Nancy Lancaster, Using Antiques in Modern Ways, Antiques Diva, English Designers,

Happy decorating,

The Antiques Diva®

Nancy Lancaster’s Yellow Room

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Dear Diva Readers,

Nancy-Lancaster-sitting-room-main, Colfax & Fowler, London Antique Shops, Antiques Diva, Nancy Lancaster, Yellow Room, Avery Row, Yellow Drawing Room, Barrie McIntyre

While the majority of my time spent on tour with clients is jotting from antiques warehouse to flea markets to by-appointment-only antique stores helping our clients source the right pieces, sometimes we get special requests from press clients. We recently took an American journalist on an Antiques Diva & Co experience in London and one of our stops was the historic showroom of distinguished designers Colfax & Fowler.

Colfax & Fowler, London Antique Shops, Antiques Diva, Nancy Lancaster, Yellow Room, Avery Row, Yellow Drawing Room, Barrie McIntyre, Toma Clark haines, Andrew Joseph,

With a special appointment, we were guided around the first 2 floors of the showroom by archivist, Barrie McIntyre. What a treat it was to meander from room to room having Barrie tell poignant stories about the decor of each space, highlighting the names of wallpaper patterns and fabric collections. After passing through a small corridor on the second floor (or the first floor as it would be known in the UK, since the ground level floors are typically known as floor zero), we came to a beautiful, high-ceilinged drawing room radiating an egg-yolk yellow from the walls and curtains in the afternoon light. Yes, we had completed our pilgrimage to Nancy Lancaster’s iconic “Yellow Room.”

Colfax & Fowler, London Antique Shops, Antiques Diva, Nancy Lancaster, Yellow Room, Avery Row, Yellow Drawing Room, Barrie McIntyre

Colfax & Fowler, London Antique Shops, Antiques Diva, Nancy Lancaster, Yellow Room, Avery Row, Yellow Drawing Room, Barrie McIntyre, Toma Clark Haines

To give you a little history, Nancy Lancaster purchased Sybil Colfax’s decorating business and, as a result, inherited business partner John Fowler. The two were described by Nancy’s aunt, Lady Astor, as “the most unhappy unmarried couple in England.” What a duo they must have been! Their business, however, consisted of an inventiveness which was well received after the second World War.

In 1957, Nancy decided to live above the shop on Avery Row in London. Together, she and John transformed the private quarters into a sort of stage set for their designs. In a way, I suppose, they were able to show clients how a home decorated by them would feel. Once the drawing room was painted a rich color of yellow and the baseboards given a faux marble paint treatment, it was filled with an eclectic mix of 18th, 19th and 20th century English and continental furniture, mirrors, paintings, china and other decorative objects. The result was a space that was both grand and comfortable all at once. This room became and still remains one of the most renowned rooms in London.

Colfax & Fowler, London Antique Shops, Antiques Diva, Nancy Lancaster, Yellow Room, Avery Row, Yellow Drawing Room, Barrie McIntyre

Colfax & Fowler, London Antique Shops, Antiques Diva, Nancy Lancaster, Yellow Room, Avery Row, Yellow Drawing Room, Barrie McIntyre

Fast forward to our lovely afternoon spent there with Barrie who has a knack for telling stories and making these characters come to life. He pulled out a box containing stacks of samples and room boards that were put together for some of the firms most distinguished clients. We were treated to seeing the original fringe and wallpaper that was designed for clients such as Bunny Melon, Mrs. J.F. Kennedy and Baroness Pauling de Rothschild. Can you imagine!?

Colfax & Fowler, London Antique Shops, Antiques Diva, Nancy Lancaster, Yellow Room, Avery Row, Yellow Drawing Room, Barrie McIntyre

Before leaving this inspiring room, we were able to sneak a peek behind a set of double doors at the far end of the room, which hide a small kitchen. The Yellow Drawing Room also boasts gorgeous views of the picturesque courtyard below, which beckons one to come down and enjoy a nice cup of tea.

Colfax & Fowler, London Antique Shops, Antiques Diva, Nancy Lancaster, Yellow Room, Avery Row, Yellow Drawing Room, Barrie McIntyre

I cannot be more grateful to Colfax & Fowler and Barrie for allowing us a glimpse into the life of one of the 20th century’s top decorating talents. I’ve come away with inspiration and a greater appreciation for thoughtful design.

The Antiques Diva®

Preview Party for The International Fine Art & Antiques Show

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Dear Diva Readers,

I am so thrilled to be attending the 26th Annual Preview Party for The International Fine Art & Antiques Show hosted by The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) in New York on Thursday October 16! While the show itself promises to be a feast for the eyes with many of the world’s most prominent art and antiques dealers bringing pieces, the Preview Party will kick off the weekend with over 1,000 guests enjoying a night of glamour, culture and philanthropy. Now if that isn’t a Diva-style party, I don’t know what is!

Preview Party for The International Fine Art & Antiques Show, The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering, Park Avenue Armory in New York, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Elle Décor, Michael Boodro, Maison Gerard,

Preview Party for The International Fine Art & Antiques Show, The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering, Park Avenue Armory in New York, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Elle Décor, Michael Boodro, Maison Gerard,

Stars of the design world, including Editor-in-Chief of ELLE DECOR, Michael Boodro, will gather at the Park Avenue Armory in New York to get a first look at art, furniture and rare books, jewelry and glass being offered by sixty-five high profile dealers. Before opening to the public, serious antiques connoisseurs and collectors on the guest list to the party have a chance to peruse the show and sip champagne— how glamorous!

Preview Party for The International Fine Art & Antiques Show, The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering, Park Avenue Armory in New York, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Elle Décor, Michael Boodro, Maison Gerard,

Preview Party for The International Fine Art & Antiques Show, The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering, Park Avenue Armory in New York, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Elle Décor, Michael Boodro, Maison Gerard,

Now it’s not all about glitz and glam that night. The Preview Party is a wonderful way to raise funds for The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering, a volunteer-led organization within MSK dedicated to promoting the well-being of patients, supporting cancer research, and providing public education on the early prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer.

Preview Party for The International Fine Art & Antiques Show, The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering, Park Avenue Armory in New York, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Elle Décor, Michael Boodro, Maison Gerard,

Preview Party for The International Fine Art & Antiques Show, The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering, Park Avenue Armory in New York, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Elle Décor, Michael Boodro, Maison Gerard,

If this sounds like the kind of event you’d be interested in attending, contact Elizabeth Howard at The Society by phoning 212.639.7972 or emailing her at [email protected] for ticket information. And if you’re at the party, please find me and say hello! It will be a fabulous night of culture, philanthropy, and of course, antiques!

Preview Party for The International Fine Art & Antiques Show, The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering, Park Avenue Armory in New York, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Elle Décor, Michael Boodro, Maison Gerard,

A few of the things I’m interested in seeing first hand at the show include the  Maison Jansen Unique Bibliothèque – Corner Bookcase and the Vittoria Limited Edition Contemporary Chair presented by Maison Gerard Ltd.

See you soon in New York!

The Antiques Diva®

Battersea Decorative Fair Autumn 2014

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Dear Diva Readers,

The Decorative Fair, Battersea, Buying Antiques in England, The Antiques Diva, Mid-Century Modern, Battersea Decorative Fair, Antiques Buying Tours, European Antiques Fairs

It seems like my travel schedule has been insane lately! Between taking private and trade clients on tours, international speaking engagements and press trips, it’s been a whirlwind! But one of the perks of my job is being able to attend some of the best antiques fairs in the world. This week I had the privilege of taking a journalist from America on an Antiques Diva & Co tour of London which was perfect because it was in conjunction with The Decorative Fair at Battersea Park!

The Decorative Fair, Battersea, Buying Antiques in England, The Antiques Diva, Mid-Century Modern, Battersea Decorative Fair, Antiques Buying Tours, European Antiques Fairs

The Decorative Fair, Battersea, Buying Antiques in England, The Antiques Diva, Mid-Century Modern, Battersea Decorative Fair, Antiques Buying Tours, European Antiques Fairs

The Fair opened on September 30 and we were privileged to get a handful of Press passes which allowed us to enter the fair before the public. Being able to meet with dealers and see the inventory before it flies out the door is always a thrill. And being one of the top antique fairs, there are trays of champagne being passed, which fits perfectly with the Antiques Diva experience! As people line up outside to enter the fair, they are also served glasses of champagne… now that’s the kind of line I wouldn’t mind  waiting in!

The Decorative Fair, Battersea, Buying Antiques in England, The Antiques Diva, Mid-Century Modern, Battersea Decorative Fair, Antiques Buying Tours, European Antiques Fairs

The Decorative Fair, Battersea, Buying Antiques in England, The Antiques Diva, Mid-Century Modern, Battersea Decorative Fair, Antiques Buying Tours, European Antiques Fairs

Of course there is so much to see at this fair— styles range from French and English antique furniture to tabletop to mid century modern. And what I love about the Battersea Decorative Fair is that not only is there something for everyone’s taste, there is also a range of price points. If you want serious antiques, you can find them. But you also can find very decorative pieces that won’t cost you a fortune and may even fit in your suitcase!

The Decorative Fair, Battersea, Buying Antiques in England, The Antiques Diva, Mid-Century Modern, Battersea Decorative Fair, Antiques Buying Tours, European Antiques Fairs

However, there are definitely serious shoppers at this renowned fair. Famous actors,  international socialites and philanthropists all frequent Battersea. In fact, just a few days after we were there, Oprah Winfrey dropped by to peruse the stalls. Nothing like bumping elbows with celebrities while sipping champagne and shopping for antiques!!!

The Decorative Fair, Battersea, Buying Antiques in England, The Antiques Diva, Mid-Century Modern, Battersea Decorative Fair, Antiques Buying Tours, European Antiques Fairs

All in all I’d say that this is certainly a “do not miss” event. More than just shopping, The Decorative Fair at Battersea Park is an experience. And my team at The Antiques Diva & Co feels so privileged to count several dealers at the 2014 fair as friends and favorite sources that our clients consistently have access to. Sometimes it’s surreal to think that we have the same sources as celebrities and royalty…but the truth is, we do!

If you’d like information on taking an Antiques Diva & Co Buying Tour in any of our 8 tour countries, email us at [email protected].

Happy Shopping,

The Antiques Diva®

Decorating with Antique Books

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Dear Diva Readers,

While I love to shop (and take clients on shopping tours), I also love to decorate! I think a great way to add personality and a sense of history to any space is by using antique books in your decor. Not only do they look beautiful, but they also are practical—you can actually READ them! When my husband started collecting first editions he made a promise to himself that he would always read the books regardless of how many zeroes were included in the price tag.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Decorating with Antiques Books, Shelfie, Ashley Hicks, David Hicks, The Grove, Ronda Carmen, Susanna Salk, Judith Miller, Mercanteinfiera

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Decorating with Antiques Books, Shelfie, Ashley Hicks, David Hicks, The Grove, Ronda Carmen, Susanna Salk, Judith Miller, Mercanteinfiera

Now whether you’re placing antique books on shelves or using them as art in themselves, I’ve got a few easy ways that you can incorporate antique books into your home.

Of course if you have built-in shelves or even just a bookcase, books are the perfect way to fill these spaces. You can mix up the colors or color block them in groups of green bindings, red bindings, etc for more of a statement. I recently had the opportunity to visit Ashley Hicks – son of designer David Hicks – at his home in the English countryside and was able to sneak a picture of his famous father’s red office fitted with gorgeous antique red leather books.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Decorating with Antiques Books, Shelfie, Ashley Hicks, David Hicks, The Grove, Ronda Carmen, Susanna Salk, Judith Miller, Mercanteinfiera

Make sure you intersperse some books that are stacked horizontally so you can sit a small object d’art on top of them. This is a great way to show off a special piece.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Decorating with Antiques Books, Shelfie, Ashley Hicks, David Hicks, The Grove, Ronda Carmen, Susanna Salk, Judith Miller, Mercanteinfiera

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Decorating with Antiques Books, Shelfie, Ashley Hicks, David Hicks, The Grove, Ronda Carmen, Susanna Salk, Judith Miller, Mercanteinfiera

If you come across antique books that aren’t in the best shape, consider bundling them together with twine and sitting them on a table. It’s a cost effective and fun way of displaying tired books almost as sculpture. You could also remove the bindings and just use the monochromatic pages lined up on a shelf as a modern take on the classic library. In Designer David Hicks’ personal bedroom at his house, The Grove, his books are all white toned and rumor has it that when the famous designer had insomnia he would wash the spines of his books keeping them shelves spic and span in lieu of counting sheep!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Decorating with Antiques Books, Shelfie, Ashley Hicks, David Hicks, The Grove, Ronda Carmen, Susanna Salk, Judith Miller, Mercanteinfiera

If your table lamps are sitting just a bit too low, perch them atop a stack of antique books.   In David Hicks’ office I loved his specially designed “library lamp”  in which the shade is cut in half in an updated modern version of the Italian shades to shine light on the books behind it.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Decorating with Antiques Books, Shelfie, Ashley Hicks, David Hicks, The Grove, Ronda Carmen, Susanna Salk, Judith Miller, Mercanteinfiera

The principle of using books as risers can apply to any object you’re wanting to elevate. Place a beautiful bowl on top of a stack of books or sit a sculpture on top of the stack. It will make the object seem more important, as if on a pedestal of its own!  In my own secretaire in my living room at home in Berlin I’ve stacked a giant inkwell on the shelf.  These books were a gift from an English friend – which reminds me – antique and vintage books make great presents! You can be really creative in picking books that have to do with your friends interests, travel plans, or even use their name in the title.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Decorating with Antiques Books, Shelfie, Ashley Hicks, David Hicks, The Grove, Ronda Carmen, Susanna Salk, Judith Miller, Mercanteinfiera

Regardless of how you use antique books, they are sure to add personality to your space. Books tell people about your interests and they create dimension in interiors. While my husband collects first editions from Parisian expat writers in the 1930’s – I collect interior design books – both vintage books such as David Hicks as well as current day books from friends such as Ronda Carmen’s book Designers at Home to Judith Miller’s latest tome.  On my reading list at the moment is Susanna Salk’s Decorate Fearlessly.  We’re traveling together in Italy this week doing some stylish shopping at Mercanteinfiera and I’m excited to get to spend time IRL with a favorite author shopping by her side!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Decorating with Antiques Books, Shelfie, Ashley Hicks, David Hicks, The Grove, Ronda Carmen, Susanna Salk, Judith Miller, Mercanteinfiera

Whether an antique or vintage book – a brand new book from a favorite designer – I want to know what are you reading?

The Antiques Diva®

 

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Decorating with Antiques Books, Shelfie, Ashley Hicks, David Hicks, The Grove, Ronda Carmen, Susanna Salk, Judith Miller, Mercanteinfiera

Photo Credit: Laila McCubbin Jones

Top Flea Markets in France

Top Flea Markets in France

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Dear Diva Readers,

Top flea markets in France, Villeneuve Les Avignon, Porte de Vanves in Paris, Allées Jules Guesde, Paris Flea Market, Buying antiques in France, The Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in Provence

While there are several flea markets throughout France, each offering something unique and specializing in different types of antiques, it’s easy for me to choose the TOP TWO flea markets in France!  Without a doubt the top 2 flea markets in France are the Paris Flea Market and L’isle sur la Sorgue in Provence.  Here you can find absolutely anything and everything French & chic from antique furniture – chest of drawers, Bergers and Fauteuils oh my – to art de la table and art for your walls, impossibly gorgeous kitchenalia and divine vintage frocks and jewels. The more important question is, what won’t you find?

Top flea markets in France, Villeneuve Les Avignon, Porte de Vanves in Paris, Allées Jules Guesde, Paris Flea Market, Buying antiques in France, The Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in Provence

Top flea markets in France, Villeneuve Les Avignon, Porte de Vanves in Paris, Allées Jules Guesde, Paris Flea Market, Buying antiques in France, The Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in Provence

But to choose a 3rd favorite flea market in France?  Oh la la… I fear that’s almost impossible! Of course I’ve spent many a morning wandering the stalls at the Porte de Vanves in Paris. It’s ideal for smalls.  But I fear if I mention Porte de Vanves I’m only focusing on Paris… and there is a whole nation out there ready and waiting for Diva Readers to shop. Villeneuve Les Avignon is one of my favorite Provence markets tucked away under the shadow of the town’s chateau and Allées Jules Guesde, in central Toulouse has a plethora of perfectly polished collectables.  Carpentras is worthy of a hit as well.  And buyers looking for a day trip out of Paris are sure to enjoy the amazing prices on inventory at the Orleans market in the Loire Valley!

Top flea markets in France, Villeneuve Les Avignon, Porte de Vanves in Paris, Allées Jules Guesde, Paris Flea Market, Buying antiques in France, The Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in Provence

Top flea markets in France, Villeneuve Les Avignon, Porte de Vanves in Paris, Allées Jules Guesde, Paris Flea Market, Buying antiques in France, The Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in ProvenceTop flea markets in France, Villeneuve Les Avignon, Porte de Vanves in Paris, Allées Jules Guesde, Paris Flea Market, Buying antiques in France, The Antiques Diva, Shopping for antiques in Provence

brocante market Isle de la Sorgue

So the next time you’re planning a trip to France, just know that there is a plethora of flea markets just waiting for you! If this seems overwhelming, we’re here to help. For more information on booking a French flea market tour, email us at [email protected]. We’d be happy to custom plan an antiques buying tour to suit your needs and your budget.

Bonne shopping,

The Antiques Diva®

Belgian Boot Scrapers

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Dear Diva Readers,

While taking a client on tour in Belgium recently, my American colleague Andrew Skipper was walking with me to the car in Antwerp when he asked, “What is that, a mouse entrance?!” pointing to the left of the base of a doorway to a townhouse.

Antiques boot scrapers, Belgium Boot Scrapers,

Having been to Belgium more times than I can count, I have gotten used to the small arched niches at the base of entrances that line the streets of European cities. While they may look like little mouse entrances, they serve quite a different purpose!

Antiques boot scrapers, Belgium Boot Scrapers,

These ground-level cut outs are actually boot scrapers, used by visitors to clean the mud off their shoes before entering the house. They’ve been around since the 18th century and are almost like a pre-curser to the modern door-mat. Like any functional piece of architecture, many of these iron pieces are highly decorative, complementing the overall design of the building they are attached to.

Antiques boot scrapers, Belgium Boot Scrapers,

Of course they served an important purpose in daily European life before streets were covered with bricks and asphalt. Can you imaging the amount of mud that would be tracked into the house after walking home on a dirt road? During the 19th century, it became socially acceptable for the upper class to walk along dirt footpaths rather than strictly riding in their horse-drawn carriages. It is during this time that the boot scraper became highly decorative and a necessity for every house in urban areas.

The next time you’re in an urban city in Europe, particularly Belgium, take notice of these tiny remnants of days gone by. I always find it fascinating that we sometimes overlook the things that we pass by on a daily basis!

The Antiques Diva®

Antiques Diva at Fall Market NYC

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Dear Diva Readers,

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva Speaking Engagement, D&D Building, New York City, Eco-Elegant Interiors, Fall Market, Trudy Dujardin, Le Cuona Showroom, Kerry Howard

Making your home “green” has never been so chic.  Join me Wednesday, October 15 at 2pm at Fall Market at the D&D Bldg in NYC to learn how to create an eco-elegant interior.

Along with LEED accredited professional, designer and author Trudy Dujardin, I’ll be discussing how to achieve green spaces and the ways in which antiques can play a roll.  This event is moderated by Atlanta-based designer and Bravo’s “Top Design” star Kerry Howard.

A book signing of Trudy’s latest book, “Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior,”  published by Pointed Leaf Press, and light snacks and refreshments will follow at the de Le Cuona showroom at the D&D Bldg.

See you in New York!
The Antiques Diva®

Paul Jones Pop-up Shop at Spencer Swaffer

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Dear Diva Readers,

Recently on an Antiques Diva Tour, renowned antiques dealer Spencer Swaffer played host to a group of Designers on an an Antiques Diva / Nobelinks Design Tour in the UK.

Spencer Swaffer, The Antiques Diva, English Antiques

The role of host is a well-known role for Spencer and his wife Freya.  Spencer continues his hospitality hosting this month a pop-up shop as part of a mentoring program offered through Antiques Young Guns.

As part of the Antiques Young Guns awards earlier this year a young Welsh dealer named Paul Alexander Jones won a coveted spot to open a small pop-up shop within Swaffer’s store for the next ten days (cleverly in conjunction with Battersea Decorative Fair which is less than a two hour drive from Swaffer’s store).

image001

Much of the stock offered by Jones does not appear online so venturing to the pop-up gives would-be clients a glimpse into an exclusive inventory of antiques. Hailing from a very rural North Wales town, Jones offers ‘country’ style pieces- think richly glazed potter, beautifully figured timbers and charming, naive folk art. Paul confided he’s bringing some warm Welsh tapestry blankets to sell—perfect timing if you ask me, as Autumn is upon us!

Antiques Young Guns, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones, English Antiques, Country style decorating, Battersea Decorative Fair, Nobelinks, Steve Nobel,

Antiques Young Guns, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones, English Antiques, Country style decorating, Battersea Decorative Fair, Nobelinks, Steve Nobel,

As I’m constantly combing over Europe for the best antiques dealers, whether that be quality of pieces or best prices, I’m always thrilled when new talent developed in the antiques field. Having opened his shop in July 2012, Paul Jones is sure to learn a lot about the antiques trade while being mentored by sage Spencer Swaffer. I’m excited to hear more from Paul and see how networking with other established dealers enhances his business!

If you’ll be in the Arundel area over the next week, stop by and say hello to Paul and Spencer. Tell them The Antiques Diva sent you!

Happy shopping,

The Antiques Diva®