Dear Diva Readers,
1st Vintage Hermes Collectors Fair will take place in Paris, and it’s sure to be a Diva’s paradise! Hermes lovers from around the globe will gather at the Hotel du Louvre to partake in a French luxury Parisian weekend. Sounds ideal to me!here are certain brands, like Hermes, that instantly make me think of luxury and style. There are also specific cities in the world, like Paris, that conjure up feelings of chicness and sophistication. When the two are combined, I call that Diva Heaven! This October 23-25, the
Several international dealers from France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Germany, and Belgium will present a large range of Hermes vintage objects, many of which are highly collectable– and most likely on my Christmas list! Attendees can peruse everything from the iconic Hermes Kelly handbag to more unique & rare pieces. Whether you want to buy specific items or simply expose yourself to the highest quality vintage fashion, this fair is the place to do it. I find that attending specialized fairs like this helps me to hone my taste and train my eye to recognize the best of the best. Being able to talk to knowledgeable dealers allows me to learn more about specific areas of the vintage & antique world—in this case, Hermes!
This venue will allow you to rub elbows with fellow Hermes admirers and collectors, and even attend a Museum Collectors Exhibition to increase your knowledge of the breadth of vintage Hermes design. As a bonus, an appraisal service will be at your disposal during the event, so bring those Hermes pieces and find out how much money is hanging in your closet!
If you’re a fashion Diva, this would be the perfect time to come to Paris and book an Antiques Diva Vintage Fashion tour in conjunction with the Vintage Hermes Collectors Fair. Can you imagine a few days in Paris, being whisked from vintage store, to the flea market, to the fair, all the while picking up stylish vintage pieces from iconic fashion houses like Chanel, Dior, Pucci, and Hermes? Oh my, I think I need to sit down—and have a glass of champagne! If this sounds like your ideal weekend in Paris, email us at [email protected] and we’d be happy to give you more information.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
The HighBoy on a whirlwind VIP tour of England—and when I say whirlwind, I mean it! We were constantly jetting from one antiques fair to another, working our way from London to Wiltshire and back, stopping off at secret sources and private houses in between. Our UK Diva Agent, Gail McLeod, set the agenda and added in a very special stop near Bath. She arranged for us to spend an afternoon with renowned antique textiles dealer Elizabeth Baer at her lovely home.e recently took
Gail has been involved in the Bath Decorative Fair for years and that is where she first met Mrs. Baer in 1989 where she was a vendor. As a star attraction at this and other fairs, Mrs. Baer would sell textiles like hot cakes, often to top U.S. dealers who would wait in line to see her. She’s sold to just about every Hollywood name and supplied textiles and costumes for countless films – I was completely smitten by the fact that Anna Wintour has been a long-term client. Now in her late 80’s, Mrs. Baer is still active in the trade and sells inventory by appointment only in her gorgeous house, which is a “miniature” Georgian manor house in the heart of Bradford on Avon.
As you would expect, this quintessential English lady has a beautiful garden which welcomed us when we arrived. Seeing the large, heavy front door open, we knocked and made ourselves known, and seconds later the lovely Elizabeth appeared from around the corner. She greeted us warmly and asked us to come inside the spacious foyer, where a few bolts of fabric lay on the entry table, hinting at what was in store for us.
A tour through her home revealed generously proportioned rooms, one connecting to the next, filled with antique furniture, textiles, and special bits and bobs, all telling the story of a life well lived. When in the living room, she noted the relating color palates of a painted antique blanket chest and two pair of curtain panels. “Rather than try to invent new color combinations, look for old color recipes that work. They’ve been around a long time for a reason,” Elizabeth advised. As we made out way to the sitting room, decorated in mostly pink hues, she informed us that every piece of furniture was upholstered in old curtain fabric. While stroking a velvet cushion, she shared another wise piece of advice. “The key is to enjoy what you’ve got and not be envious of what anyone else has got.”
Climbing the stairs, we got a peek into the private life of this stylish lady as she invited us to see her bedroom and extremely chic bath/dressing room. The use of antique textiles was perfection—the bed canopy, the yards and yards of drapery panels, the upholstered furniture just begging to be lounged on—all gorgeous. We even got to see her small work room where she makes everything from totes and cushions to padded hangers and basket liners—always with bits of remnant fabric and trim.
To end the afternoon, we went to the lower level of the house where she keeps her stock for sale. After being served coffee on a tray—she is, after all, a gracious hostess—we perused shelves of fabric, trims, and remnants. We settled on a few table cloths and tea towels, finding that one was not enough according to Elizabeth, “You must have one on the table and one in the wash.”
If you’re interested in antique textiles, you must check out her blog. She tells stories of her business ventures, offers up worthwhile advice and entertaining anecdotes that are sure to leave you inspired. For more information on our English Antique Buying Tours or Antique Textile Tours in general email us at [email protected].
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Felix Bachmann Antiquitäten, I instantly knew that we were in for a treat! This store was unlike any that I’d seen in Berlin!hile my home is in Berlin, I’m the first to admit that this city isn’t booming with fabulous antique stores. The flea markets are fun to shop, and it’s true that you can unearth some gems at great prices—vintage furs are definitely a favorite among clients shopping in Berlin. But when it comes to true antique showrooms and stores, there just aren’t an over abundance of them in Berlin. However, my Office Manager Barbara recently suggested that we check out an antiques shop in Kreuzberg that she had fallen in love with so I set up a business lunch with Barbara and our Creative Consultant Andrew at a cute little Mediterranean restaurant. After our meeting, the three of us walked a few blocks, popping into a few small shops. As we meandered through various tiny rooms packed with shelves of bric-a-brac, I wondered if the shop Barbara was taking us to would be any different. Once we reached our destination,
The first room upon entering housed antiques and vintage pieces that reflected a style—not a specific time period, but rather a point of view. Pieces of differing provenance and age mixed together like guests invited to a dinner party. A mid-century chandelier hung over a 19th century table surrounded by industrial chairs, with a modern art piece—which we later learned was the work of Felix Bachmann himself— hung on the wall. I couldn’t wait to wander through the rest of the space and meet the mind behind these well-curated rooms.
Passing through to the next room, we were met by a young man coming in from the inner courtyard. Wearing a work apron covered in markings that can only be acquired by actual hard work, he introduced himself as Felix, the owner of the store. I was so interested to learn that he’s been working in the antiques industry for over 10 years (given he had to be under 30 I was so impressed with this Antiques Young Gun!) He specializes in restoring furniture, which he does in his workshop just steps away. By looking at and touching the pieces in his shop, you can tell that he is highly skilled at gentle restoration and takes great pride in retaining the integrity of each piece. We learn that he avoids using machinery as much as he can in the restoration process, opting rather to do things in the traditional way—by hand and with old varnishes, glues, and color formulations.
As we looked around the shop, I was particularly struck by an aluminum piece of a plane wing. It made a fantastic statement in the shop and I could picture it in a home as art. There was also a pair of leather chairs by Mario Bellini that were gorgeous. The overall look of the store could work in a traditional country house or a loft in the city. That’s what makes this shop so special. Felix’s taste is globally influenced which is partially inspired by internships he’s done in Germany, England, Italy, and New York. I cannot wait to see his effect on the Berlin antique scene. I have a feeling we are going to see great things from him and from Berlin in general with Felix at the head of the pack.
Bravo Felix! Delighted to have met you!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
f you’re heading to Italy for a Roman Holiday this summer, read on. The key to antiquing in Italy during the summer months is preparation – many markets close while vendors take their own holiday! A reader and former client recently emailed asking me (and my locally-based Tuscan Guide) about the markets in Italy this summer and I knew that we had to share our advice with you here on the blog.
Diva Reader Kim writes:
Could you give me ideas for markets in Italy that would be good to hit when I travel to Italy late July/early August…Venice, Rome, Florence, Portofino….
I esp. love shoes, purses, linens, etc. Thanks! Hope you are well. Love keeping up with your biz! What a life you lead! Cheers!
Thanks in advance,
Antiques Diva Guide Susan responds:
I have to confess market shopping in Italy during the summer months can be a tricky time as many of the monthly flea markets close. Those that don’t close most certainly slow down in the heat of the summer months, so the pickings are slimmer, but on a more positive note those that are open you will find have incredible deals as the competition is less fierce!
Another option are the ‘mercatini d’usato’ which are a great and growing resource; not only are pieces on consignment from private clients but the stores also do estate clearances and really have fabulous things from Murano lighting fixtures to collections of paintings as well as furniture and decorative arts from all periods.
If you’re going to Venice, Rome, and Florence, you will find these stores – we almost always include these in an itinerary on an Antiques Diva Tour. They’re sort of like the Italian equivalent of a British Charity Shop – but everything in them is Italian and vintage! Of course it’s important to check who is open and when to co-ordinate with your travels. Generally the flea markets in Florence which happen on the 3rd and 4th weekend of the month close in August. In Rome, the biggest market is at Porta Portese which is every weekend, closes for the middle of August for two weekends. Ferragosto, which is August 15, is a the most important holiday on the calendar and in true Italian style, whole families shut up shop and go to the beach or up to the mountains for their annual family vacation – so there won’t be any shopping that day either!
You mentioned that you love shoes, purses, and linens, and of course Italy being the queen of fashion is the king of vintage, having so many renowned designers. For Italians the ‘bella figura’ weighs heavily, that is, making a good impression, and it’s quality not quantity that matters. Designer labels are important but Italians are also thrifty so they look after their precious possessions and never throw anything away!
Linens too are wonderful; in the times of the share crop farmers each farm would have its own loom. You can find bolts of linen for next to nothing, as well as sheets, crochet bordered bedcovers, and monogramed pillowcases in the consignment stores, many of which have been hidden for years in the wedding chest as part of the dowry—some not even opened!
The key to antiquing during the summer months in Italy is preparation. Know where to go by finding out when each market it open and taking note of special holidays when everything will be shut up. If you’d like more information on taking an Antiques Diva tour of Italy any time of year, don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected]. We’d love to take you through this enchanting country—Diva style!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
ho hasn’t dreamed of spending a weekend in Venice? Here at The Antiques Diva & Co we are so excited to have two local Venetian Diva Guides who have insider connections, knowledge of antiques and style to boot. If you find yourself pining for a few days in this magical city, keep reading because our locally-based Venetian Guides Orseola and Chiara have put together three different ideal weekend tours that could satisfy any discerning Diva client!
Venice Tour 1. “Antique Venetian Textiles Tour”
This tour starts with a visit to a private fabric factory (not open to the public) to visit one of the most important manufacturers in Venice as it is the last textile workshop in town that still weaves traditional velvets and brocades on the original 18th century handlooms. From there take a Gondola through the Grand Canal to the nearby Rialto to try some typical “Cicheti” (Venetian small appetizers) and a glass of prosecco/spritz which always flows in abundance here. After the “aperitivo”, go shopping for antique fabrics in the historical shops in Santa Maria del Giglio and then visit an antique dealer that is actually the only place in Venice where you can find original Fortuny fabric. After having seen this shop in San Maurizio, visit an antique dealers personal residence nearby, where you can have the unique shopping experience of buying exquisite, museum quality antiques of any kind in the magical setting of an historical private palazzo. There are also great dealers in that area that offer absolutely beautiful carpets.
Venice Tour 2. “Antique Venetian Glass Tour”
For the antique glass lovers who are passionate about the authentic art of glass, we can offer a special tour that starts from Venice and ends up in Murano, where glass is designed and produced. First we’ll visit our dear friend Giuseppe, a young dealer that together with is father offers a great selection of vintage and antique glass and much more in his shop close to the Arsenale. From there we’ll take a private boat to reach Murano island. During the trip we will offer a glass of Prosecco in true Diva style! Once we arrive in Murano, we’ll have lunch there and then visit only historical glass factories and special places which are closed to the public where it is possible to buy dream chandeliers, vases, lamps, glasses by Pauly, Seguso amongst others, from the beginning of the century till 1980. Of course this is our secret source so they make special prices for our clients.
Venice Tour 3. “Antiques” (can be planned also upon specific requests)
Start the morning by meeting in San Barnaba, where we start the shopping tour visiting the historical “bottega” of an “Indorador”, that restores and sell antique frames, sculptures (think gilded antiques). Then we proceed by going close to the Accademia, at our friend Silvana’s shop, where you can find museum quality stone sculptures, some dating back to the 14th century, along with objects d’art and architectural salvage. This is Italy which means Mamma Mia, we must stop for lunch… we’ll make it fast at Fiore, with cicheti and wine, and finally reach one of the most famous antique dealers of Venice, David, a dear friend of ours who sells just amazing antiques of any kind–real collectors items, and antique carpets. One of his very special shops (his family has sold higher quality antiques for generations) is located in a beautiful palazzo in the Canareggio district. With a water taxi then, we will bring our clients to Giuseppe’s shop close to Arsenale.
Can’t Get Enough of Us in Venice? How about doing some Diva Lifestyle Venetian Tours?
As an extra, we’d be glad to plan a trip to Mazzorbo, a very special island in the Venetian lagoon, where it is possible to have a wine tasting of the amazing wine they produce there, from an old variety of grape that was historically growing in the islands of the lagoon (and in Venice itself). This is a very hidden and beautiful little paradise in the middle of the lagoon. In their restaurant, “Venissa” you can enjoy the best creative cuisine made with local products. This is one of our favorite places to eat. Coming back to Venice city center, we love to go to “Estro”, an “osteria” where you can have great wine, cicheti and creative cuisine, perfect for lunch and “Pensione Wildner”, where our friend Luca always advises with the best fresh ingredients of the day and with the best wine pairings, to have a perfect dinner.
If you have an interest in taking an Antiques Diva Venetian Tour, email us at [email protected]. We’d love to custom plan your dream tour and show you Venice through the eyes and footsteps of a local!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Las Vegas Market where I’m delighted to announce I’ll be headlining in Vegas along with a great line-up of interior design-oriented events.n honor of Bastille Day today I’ve got Paris on the mind… While that’s usually Paris, France today it’s the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas! I’m just booking flights today to go to
On Monday, August 3rd you don’t want to miss a dynamic panel discussion that I’ll be taking part in called The Secret Life of Antiques. Have you ever seen beautiful antiques on the covers of shelter magazines and wondered where they came from or how they ended up there? Have you found yourself pining after a stunning antique in a favorite showroom? Our panel is here to uncover the past of these pristine pieces and show you how they’re being reinvented and revitalized for the future. Joining me are fellow panelists Melissa Mittag of Fromental and Justin Shaulis with Heather Viera as moderator. We’ll be divulging secrets of how antiques and vintage items are sourced, how the interior design industry is making them relevant, and how they are ending up in popular design publications.
Join us from 11:30am-12:30pm in Building C, Surya Seminar Room C174 for what’s sure to be a fun and informative panel.
And because a Diva’s work is never done, at 1:00 pm I’ll be leading an Antiques Diva Curated Tour of Discoveries of The Antique Vintage Marketplace, which is housed in Las Vegas Market’s new temporary venue, The Pavilions. I’ll be showing you my favorite one-of-a-kind finds – from national and international exhibitors – jewelry, home décor, furnishings, clothing, pottery, porcelain and more. Many new exhibitors will be showcasing their wares and the inventory changes daily. Lots of surprises and inspiration are in store for this tour! The good news is that items will be available for immediate purchase and we will have an onsite shipping company ready to send your purchases directly home from Market.
These are just 2 of the events I’ll be taking part in – stay tuned for details on the Grand Opening Party & Ceremony for Discoveries – Las Vegas Market’s new antique center!!
Las Vegas Market is always an exciting time filled with parties, showroom specials, product debuts, and informational seminars. For more information on the events of this market, click here. Do let me know if you’ll be attending either of my events. I’d love to see you in Las Vegas!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
nce upon a time there was a very lucky client… who had a fabulous shopping list, seeking some Swedish painted pieces in addition to a bevy of Belgian delights luxuriously covered in linens. She didn’t just want any tour – she wanted to go to sources beyond the borders, delving deeper into the magical countryside seeking far away lands. What’s The Diva to do when faced with such a client? Take them to Wallonia of course – that French speaking region of Belgium – to an area on back roads straight out of a fairy tale.
Part of what makes The Antiques Diva Tours so special – if I do say so myself – is that we custom plan tours for each client whether they’re requesting a fairy tale or a hard core buying experience that has them sourcing from dawn til dusk (which during the long days of summer can run from 5am to 10pm). Each tour is as individual as our clients are! Once we know what type of pieces and what type of experience a particular client is looking for we delve into our little black book of sources – some public, some private residence – and map out a route specific to that person’s shopping list, planning each and every detail along the way. A comment that we consistently hear from clients post-tour is “Wow! I never would have found those places without you!” That’s our specialty: Taking you to hidden gems and introducing you to our sources so you can find the perfect pieces and have the best European experience – an experience fit for a Diva!
On a recent buying tour in Belgium, we took a client to perhaps one of the most sensational sources in all of Belgium… the Chateau de Deulin. The Chateau was built in 1758 and remains a private residence to this day – for 300 years it’s been in the same family and the family has opened up their home only on appointment to sell antiques!
First arriving the Chateau we take a long walk up the driveway appreciating the proportions of the Chateau and sighing over the fact we’ve stepped into a real life fairy tale. Entering through the center courtyard we pass through a pair of large gates – a walled garden can be glimpsed just to the north of the house. We later learn that this garden, which dates back to the 18th century, was restyled into a French garden at the beginning of the 20th century and remains as such today. The U shaped main house is comprised of whitewashed bricks and blue stone and welcomes guests with an inner courtyard surrounded by outbuildings including its own chapel. There’s even a tower that has me convinced I’m hearing “Rapunzel, Rapunzel… Let Down your Hair” echoing in the wind.
We are greeted by the gorgeous young Monsieur Simon de Harlez and his even more beautiful girlfriend, Ivy, who graciously welcome us into their home. Oh la la… both my client (and myself) feel like we’re in heaven. I’m certain God is the ultimate interior designer – and these rooms are fit for a diety. We sigh over the sumptuously decorated rooms, mostly in the rococo style with a mix of European furnishings and decorative accessories, and my client’s cries of ecstasy get louder when she realizes many of the pieces are for sale! On this particular trip we were just shopping at the Chateau but my client immediately begins making plans to return with The Antiques Diva & Co when she discovers that Chateau will open up its private guest rooms for accommodation and special meals in the dining room for clients of The Antiques Diva & Co! Incidentally I failed to mention that the gorgeous dining room… one of my favorite rooms of the “house”… is decorated with original paintings depicting hunting scenes – a reminder of the days when the Chateau de Deulin was used as a “little” hunting lodge.
Today the stable has been converted and now houses antiques that are for sale. Simon’s father, Stéphane de Harlez, is a renowned Belgian antiques dealer and takes us through each “room,” excitedly chatting in French about each piece. When he compliments me on my French, I laugh and say “Je parle comme une vache” (I speak like a cow) to which he responds… “Moi? I speak like a BULL!”
Purchases made, we’re invited to join the family in sharing some wine and nibbles al fresco While sipping our wine, we discuss Chateau de Deulin’s upcoming antiques fair it hosts every year on the 2nd and 3rd weekend of October. We’re already planning a special trip for this event in 2015!
Our lovely visit complete and purchase orders written, we are ready to depart. After many cheek kisses, we hop in the car and pull away from this lovely estate, but I can’t help wishing that we were staying here for a couple more days so we could explore this enchanting home and its grounds…. perhaps if you join me in October we can stay a while longer?
Sometimes I have to stop and pinch myself and wonder what more could I ask for. Oh, and speaking of asking for more, the family also owns and operates an antiques warehouse not far from the Chateau. Of course, we went there as well! A Diva’s job is never done!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
hen most people think of antiquing in Europe, they envision strolling through the Paris Flea Market or shopping the French countryside. Some fantasize about unearthing treasures in Italy, ambling down antique filled lanes in England or finding the perfect painted piece in Sweden. We help clients antique in all of these scenarios, however there is one teeny tiny country in Europe that those not “in the know” tend to forget. Belgium is Europe’s best kept secret. I’ve said it for years… Belgium is a girl’s best friend! For a country barely the size of Maryland, it’s positively chock full of treasures that delight from chocolate to fashion and a diamonds… and antiques. Per capita there are more antique dealers in Belgium than practically any other country in Europe, making it an ideal country to take an Antiques Buying Tour!
When taking clients on buying tours in Belgium, we typically stay somewhere central – often basing ourselves in Antwerp – and from there proceed to cover the entire country in about 3 or 4 days. If you drive an hour in any direction from Antwerp you find yourself crisscrossing the country from north to south, dipping into both Holland and France and working your way towards the German border. Each day on tour we shop a variety of places – from small antique shops to large over-the-top warehouses. The next day we’ll take clients to specific dealers hand-picked for them, often meeting the dealers at their own homes, in private residences and shops that aren’t really shops, but storage units opened only on appointment. Our third day on tour in Belgium tends to be ALL about the flea markets. For those really motivated we wake early and pillage Waterloo… but my favorite Belgium Flea Market after all these years is still the Tongeren Flea Market, which literally takes over the entire town center each Sunday of the year snow, rain or shine. On a Belgium Buying Tour our clients have usually spent the first two days of their tour buying furniture and special art pieces so the flea market day is typically all about the smalls, which when shipped are essentially shipped for FREE as they are packed inside the drawers and cupboards they’ve already purchased – this maximizes client’s shipping costs!
Tongeren Flea Market has several sections. As I always I have a plan of attack, I always begin at the stalls which line the Leopoldwal – the street opposite the old Roman wall. Here we have a few favorite dealers who consistently have excellent inventory – one of my favorite is the gorgeous blond couple with antique ironstone at incredible prices. From porcelain to chandeliers and French manequins – some of my favorite vendors set up here. Next up you have a choice – you can wrap back around towards the town square – the Veemarkt. The market weaves it’s way around several streets – from the Maastrichterstraat, de Schiervelstraat, Clarissenstraat, and Eburonenhal. But after the Leopoldwal shopping along the Roman Wall my second and third favorite spots to shop are the two indoor sections – in the Sports Hall and inside the Parking Garage. Here you’ll find everything from linens to crystal to furniture. Clients find all sorts of things such as wooden cheese boards, antique coffee grinders, mirrors, iron stone pieces, sculpture, and much more. I think the better quality inventory tends to be found inside these 2 halls.
It’s always such fun to see favorite dealers that we’ve been buying from for years. A shopping tour at Tongeren involves running into old friends – from vendors to other dealers we know. The great thing for our clients is that we have good relationships with these dealers, which means they not only give our clients the best prices they can but they also give a fun shopping experience for our clients – inviting our clients into their stalls as long-term friends rather than another tourist passing through for a day. In town – and in the area nearby – we have a slew of dealers we adore who have permanent shops where we stop of a glass of champagne or a coffee and cookies!
For anyone who loves flea marketing, Tongeren should definitely be on your list! if you’d like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour in Belgium, email us at [email protected]. We’d love to show you our version of this small-but-amazing country!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
The HighBoy, we hopped in the car and headed from London to Henley for Salvo Fair for opening trade day. Antiques Diva UK Agent Gail McLeod met us at Fawley Hill, Henley on Thames, the estate of Sir William and Lady McAlpine which was the venue for this year’s fair. Salvo is the largest architectural salvage fair in the UK.o close out a recent week-long VIP Antiques Diva UK tour with Olga Granda-Scott, co-founder of
Dealers at Salvo offer a wide variety of architectural salvage, ranging from very affordable tiles and hardware to reclaimed building materials such as a huge bridge which held court at the center of the fair. As we perused the grounds, we spotted a nice mix of garden antiques including sculpture, fountains, and repurposed items which are in high demand right now. There were also plenty of retro signs, decorative antiques, and vintage pieces. I especially liked the variety of industrial items which could be used in new construction. A pleasant surprise was the affordable prices at Salvo. Our Creative Consultant Andrew Skipper even picked up a fun antique door knocker shaped like a fox for less than half the price he would pay in the USA.
Aside from the inventory, the set up of the fair was everything you would imagine when you picture a country antiques fair in England. Old fashioned tents with bunting (strings of colorful flags) strewn from side to side set the stage for a picturesque day. There was even a charming tea tent where we attended a private party with the local Lord and Lady and the “county set” after the fair closed. Complete with champagne, roast lamb, quail eggs, smoked salmon, and scones, the evening was a quintessential English one—and the ideal way to complete a Diva tour of some of the UK’s top antiques fairs.
If you would like information on our UK Antiques Diva tours, please email us at [email protected]. We’d love to help you find the antiques you’re looking for while also giving you a truly unique experience of culture, travel, and the Diva lifestyle!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
The HighBoy on a whirlwind Antiques Diva UK experience to introduce her to a few of our favorite fairs and dealers, we attended opening day of the renowned English antiques fair Masterpiece in London. Offering museum quality pieces, this fair is one of the best in Europe, comparing often as a smaller TEFAF.hile taking Olga Granda-Scott of
Before heading to the fair we checked out Antiques News & Fairs to find out what the must-see booths were. Discovering that the Empress Eugenie’s pearl earrings would be on display, we headed straight to Siegelson’s booth upon arrival at the fair. This pair of natural grey pearl earrings appear on Empress Eugenie’s ears in a portrait of her which hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York so being able to see them first hand was quite a treat! The only disappointment? They wouldn’t let me try them on! And darling… I would have worn them well!
After meandering the antique filled aisles and stopping by the bar for a glass of champagne to sip while we shopped, we spotted one of our favorite pieces at the fair. It was a George Hepplewhite gentleman’s social table from Apter-Fredericks LTD. This rare table, one of only two known to exist, was made for social drinking. Drinking in the 18th century was prevalent at all levels of society and was so socially acceptable that by the end of the century specialized furniture was being made especially for drinking. With space for multiple champagne bottles and glasses, it’s perfect for a Diva!
Speaking of tables, we also came upon a stunning center table with a specimen marble top from Tomasso Brothers Fine Art. The overall booth was stunning and really drew us in, but this special table – complete with its original documents – is a stand out piece.
It was also fantastic to have a quick chat with Robert Young in his booth. Robert is one of the founders of Masterpiece – and is a leading folk art dealer in the UK. What I loved about his booth – and inventory in general – is that it was entirely different from anyone else’s at the fair. Surrounded by dealers offering polished furniture and glitzy jewels, Robert’s inventory celebrated the unpretentious creations of artisans, adding a creative depth to the overall feel of the fair. Because the fair is not segregated, it makes for an exciting experience to shop the fair – Russian jewels are in stalls next to English Folk Art opposite a stall filled with Neo-Classical busts. Each turn of the neck gives an experience to another land, another time.
All in all, the fair was a glamorous experience with museum quality pieces at every corner—net, net, Masterpiece is Diva-Worthy and if it’s not already on your social calendar consider it a Must Go on the London Antiques Scene! My only regret (beyond not getting to try on those darn pearls from Eugenie) was that I wish we could have stayed longer, but a Diva’s work is never done. We had to jet off to the hotel to get some sleep as the following day we traveled to the country to attend Salvo Fair, but more on that later! Stay tuned to the blog to hear about the rest of our week-long journey through antiques fairs of the UK!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
s an American who owns a business overseas, I am always asked how I did it. As with any business venture, setting up a company – whether at home domestically or abroad in a foreign country – is a process. It can seem overwhelming. I always knew I wanted to live in Europe, and I think a lot of people have the dream of living an international life, but where do you start? I’ve heard so many women say they want to move to Paris and open a business, but with legal details, visas, and currency exchange rates, it can be tricky to navigate the international waters.
One thing I’ve been able to do since I first moved to Europe is find the right people. In fact, the concept of my business is actually based upon the fact that I have best little black book of antiques addresses in the whole of Europe. My best piece of advice for anyone wanting to start a global business is to hire experts to help! Recognize what you know and what you don’t know. I had plenty of creative ideas, but I had no clue how to create a legitimate company in a foreign country. For legal matters, find an attorney who operates in the country you want to do business in to help you register the business. Have that attorney help with your insurances and confirm that you have all the appropriate licenses, etc. Find a good accountant in the country you want to move to and set up business in as well. They’ll walk you through the process and explain VAT (value added tax) as well as how to hire employees. You don’t just need an accountant in the country you’re moving to…. you also need an accountant in the country you’re moving from – the two of them will work together to make sure they’ve got your back when it comes to global taxes. Taxes are handled differently in various parts of the world and knowing what you’re getting into from the beginning is extremely important. When starting a business, start on the right foot by hiring the right people who can support you.
Getting involved in the local community has also been a key component for my success. A lot of cities have international organizations like the IWC (International Womens Clubs), AWC (American Women Clubs) and Internations (an organization for both men & women). Even if your goal is to make friends with locals while living abroad, joining these organizations when first moving to a country is key. Here you can network to find the right people to help with your business. Websites such as Expatica are also great resources. In making both business contacts as well as in making personal relationships, I want to connect with other like-minded people to bounce ideas off of and stay connected. These groups are an ideal place to do just that. See if the city you’re starting a business in has a Crave Guide which lists the top 100 Women Entrepreneurs locally – it’s a brilliant place to start networking! They hold quarterly meetings to get together and if you can attend these types of events, you’ll be placing yourself in front of the right people. I’ve also sought out the WIN (Women in International Networking) organizations. Finding and meeting these people means you have people to whom you can ask questions. When you have stumbling blocks, this network of people has already been in your shoes and can help navigate though the sometimes murky waters of starting a global company.
The reality is that most of my learning has been step by step. However gathering as much information as you can and then surrounding yourself with the right people to help guide you are two very important elements of succeeding when it comes to operating a business in a foreign country.
Don’t let fear hold you back! Just do it!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Antiques Young Guns at Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair. The party, which was held in the Club Room, was sponsored not only by The Antiques Diva® & Co but also more importantly by BADA, LAPADA, and, of course, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair.veryone knows that The Antiques Diva® loves a good party. But couple that with an entire party devoted to the world of antiques – filled with the movers and shakers of the antiques world – and I am in my element! I, along with my UK Antiques Diva Agent Gail McLeod and our behind the scenes Creative Guy Andrew Skipper, were recently in London to attend an evening to celebrate the Antiques Heavy Artillery Mentors of
Attending the party was a myriad of antiques trade professionals and journalists. We spent the evening mixing and mingling, champagne in hand of course! When it was time for the awards ceremony, I was so pleased to present the award for Most Innovative Mentor to my friend and renowned antiques dealer, Spencer Swaffer. He gave space in his own store for a pop-up shop to his mentoree Paul Jones during the busiest week of the year. The overall winner of the Heavy Artillery Mentor Program went to Robert Young who could not attend the party, so it was accepted by the Young Gun whom he mentored which happens to be our very own Swedish Divo Guide, Daniel Larsson.
Following the reception, everyone gathered at a fabulous new restaurant at Vauxhall called Counter which is owned by Antiques Road Show Host Mark Hill’s partner, Philip. Mark is also one of the co-founders of Antiques Young Guns along with Gail McLeod and George Johnson. Drinks, dinner, and lots of conversation ensued until the wee hours of the morning. A Diva’s work is never done!
Huge congratulations to Gail Mcleod who worked tirelessly to put this evening together, all while taking VIP clients on tour during the same week as this monumental event in the antiques industry. They say that if you want something done, ask a busy person… well, Gail certainly knows how to get things done! Looking forward to seeing Antiques Young Guns grow in the coming year and can’t wait for the next party!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
ur locally-based Provence Antiques Diva Guide recently led a tour for some lovely American clients and they had such a wonderful time on this dream-like adventure, treasure hunting and soaking up the scenery of Provence that Diva Guide Caren had to write to share with our readers their adventure!
Provence is especially seductive in May and June. Not too hot, nor too cold. And so alive with the colour and sounds of spring. The hillsides are covered with carpets of wild-flowers, the greens on the trees are still young and fresh, and the radiant blues of the skies are kept clear by the fresh winds of the mistral. It’s as if the wind is blowing away the final cob-webs of winter and opening the gates towards summer.
But this time, the beauty of Provence was enhanced by the unbridled enthusiasm and joyfulness of the two interior designers that hailed for an Antiques Diva tour, from their home-town in Alabama. Their gusto for this corner of the world was infectious and their appreciation and wonder of all things French made their three day antiquing foray into the south a delight for everyone. Vendors and clients alike!
I am always a little nervous when visitors come on buying tours to Provence, given the relaxed way of life here. It is the smaller, simpler things that matter. People here, in general, are not interested in the trappings of wealth. They are far more interested in what they will be having for lunch, which wine will be a good accompaniment, what their neighbours are up to and their dogs.
And so with antiquing, my concerns cover areas like, will the clients understand, for example, that the French have a two hour break for lunch, come what may, or if another client happens to be in front of us, we will be completely ignored until it is our turn to shop, after all in France, everything is at its own time.
But these ladies took to the French way of life like ducks to water.
When was the last time they actually stopped for lunch back home, I asked them? They couldn’t remember. Sometime before the children were born, one of them thought.
We spent three days exploring Provence.
We found antique doors that had once adorned the very fashionable and chic Royal Hotel in Vichy before the 2nd World War. The door-seller still had 68 of them left. His father had bought every door in the hotel. My clients bought 24 of them. This door-stop is like a museum. We found a door from the 1600s that was once a cell door in the prison in Draguignan. The door was so heavy, and had been located so deep in the dungeon, that it took 2 men and a great deal of rope to bring it up to the surface.
Don’t be fooled. Although the majority of antiques here hail from Provence, the sellers scour the French country-side as far as Normandy and Brittany as well as the neighbouring countries of Italy and Spain, so there is a wonderful choice of items to be had here. Everything from the typical provincial furniture, with wonderful patinas, to fountains and chimney places. And the brocante markets offer a wealth of smaller treasures.
Really, antiquing is the nicest possible way to spend the day in Provence if you are lucky enough to to come here. The vistas, the food and the choice of antiques cannot be surpassed anywhere else.
Just ask my clients.
By the end of the tour, their lives were changed. As one of them so aptly put it. ‘I’m spending all my summers here from now one. Where can the kids go to take French classes? How easy is it to rent a house for the summer? Should we rent by the beach or in the hills? My husband doesn’t know it yet….but it won’t be long before we’re back’.
Caren Trafford is our Antique Diva guide for Provence. She also writes children’s books (www.planetkids.biz) and lives with her two dogs and husband in a mas covered with bougainvillea over-looking the azure blue waters of the Mediterranean.
Diva Guide Caren & The Antiques Diva® & Co
Dear Diva Readers,
JVR108, contacted me and told me they were opening an antiques showroom adjacent to their boutique hotel in Antwerp, and that the inaugural inventory includes the very console table which graces the front cover of “Houses of Veranda!” I felt like I had died and gone to… Diva Heaven!t my home in Berlin, I have a stack of coffee table books in my living room which I love to peruse when I have down time. At the top of the stack is a favorite, “Houses of Veranda”, which always gives me drool-worthy inspiration. Imagine my excitement when one of our Antiques Diva sources, owners of
Philip and Frederick have purchased several pieces from the renowned Chateau Rozenhout which was decorated by Axel Vervoordt and Brigitte Garner. The inventory is so top secret that it hasn’t even been announced yet! In fact, the guys are in the process of designing their showroom so the furniture is in a storage unit at the moment. But that doesn’t stop The Antiques Diva! While recently touring with trade clients, we had the opportunity to shop the storage unit, filled with exquisite pieces in this private warehouse. It’s so thrilling when we’re able to find pieces with perfect pedigree like this and make them accessible at amazing trade prices to our clients.
Of course, after shopping the storage unit, we went back to the hotel and the boys of JVR108 had a private chef prepare a 5 course dinner for us—A Diva’s work is never done! If you’d like information on these pieces, contact us at [email protected]. And don’t forget, when you’re in the Antwerp area, stay at JVR108 for an top-notch experience. And tell them The Antiques Diva sent you to make sure you get SPECIAL BEHIND THE SCENES ACCESS not available otherwise!!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
ne of our most popular antique buying tours is our Paris Flea Market Tour! While most people have heard of this magical wonderland… you’d be surprised at the number of people who have TRIED to visit this famous flea market Les Puce de Paris but couldn’t actually find their way! I receive emails from blog readers saying… “I went to the Paris Flea Market… But all I saw was a shabby little market with t-shirt vendors, and suitcases, stolen watches and designer fakes!! What did I do wrong? Where is the Paris Flea Market of my dreams?! The one you see in all the magazines!!”
It is always difficult trying to navigate a foreign city, but Les Puces can be tricky to find.
First off – the area surrounding the Puce is always a surprise! It’s located in what I call “the armpit of Pairs”—the northernmost area of the city near the Porte de Clignancourt. This is the type of neighborhood that makes you want to watch your wallet and hold your purse close! It’s a pick-pocket’s haven so BE CAUTIOUS. My go-to technique when meandering in an area is to wear dark shades and avoid eye contact with the humanity. Oh and yes, when I pop out of the flea market the first thing I always think is… “Oh the Humanity!” Don’t let this dissuade you – you just need to push past the populous.
To get to the flea market, take the metro line 4 from anywhere in the city to the end of the line and get off at the stop Porte de Clignancourt. There will be signs that point to Puces de Paris in the metro station so go ahead and follow those. When you come up to the street exit, you’ll see on the opposite side of the road a small market set up—the kind that sells sunglasses, fake designer bags, t-shirts and even stolen cell phones. Don’t be fooled—this is NOT Les Puces! Most people go wrong at this point and give up, thinking that the Paris flea market of their dreams doesn’t exist.
What you need to do at this point is walk down Avenue Michelet and go past the overpass which is the highway periferique (it circles Paris). Turn left when you see Rue des Rosiers. Once you’ve arrived at the corner of these two streets. you’ve officially made it to the Paris Flea Market! When you get there, you’ll find 15 miles of antique filled alleyways, so it can be a bit overwhelming. Where do you go? What sections specialize in what styles? How do you get your purchases home? That’s where we come in. Our Diva Guides will take you to the best spots in this vast flea market, all the while translating and negotiating on your behalf. They’ll even help liaise you with your preferred shipper.
If you happen to be going on your own, however, I’ll give you my three favorite areas of Les Puces. The first is Marche Vernaison which will be on the right as you enter Les Puces. This market has smalls and perfectly packables which are attractively priced. You can find good jewelry, small paintings, hotel silver, porcelain, and other tabletop items. The second area I love is Marche Paul Bert which is best described as the Paris flea market you’ve always dreamed of shopping! It’s what you see in photos when you google Les Puces and it is where the magic happens. A mix of furniture, decorative antiques, industrial items and much more is all set up in proper shops rather than tents. It’s styled and romantic—just what you imagine Paris to be. Lastly, be sure to visit Marche Serpette which is connected to Paul Bert as the covered section of the market and perfect should a rainy day make you need to run inside for shelter!
So there you have it! Don’t get detoured when trying to find the Paris Flea Market. Use this guide and if you want a seamless experience, email us at [email protected] to book a tour of this world famous treasure! While you can always shop the market on your own… we save you time and money by shopping with us! You tell us what you want and we plan your day to get you directly to the areas of the market where you’re most likely to find what you’re looking for! And then we negotiate – getting way bigger discounts as locals who are seen shopping the market every weekend of the year – than you as a tourist would get. And then we liaise you with an international shipper to help you get your goods home sweet home across the pond!!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
The Highboy, for a week of antiquing in London and beyond!n honor of Father’s Day, we want to celebrate by sharing some of our favorite “mantiques.” Every man needs his own space or man cave, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish with a dash of diva, er make that divo, thrown in! See our top picks for Father’s Day gifts from our friends at The Highboy’s website below! It’s rather appropriate we’re giving a shout out to The Highboy for today I’m off to London to meet Olga Granda-Scott, co-founder of
This pair of vintage brown French club chairs from the 1970’s are fantastic. Done in the Art deco-style, they’d be the perfect place for Dad to sit back and relax at the end of a hard day. Covered in a two tone brown leather with single piping trim and removable cushions, these very comfortable chairs are also right on trend.
2- Desk Sets
Desk sets are the perfect accessory for the study—a place Dad spends many evenings. This 20th c. Italian Leather Desk Set is in superb condition and will add that pop of color to a dark-paneled room. We’re just picturing a distinguished gentleman sitting down to write a note on this desk set—very sophisticated!
3- Bar Carts
Ok, we must admit that a bar cart is an essential for any home. But this sleek Italian model from the 1950’s is perfect for Dad with its ebonized mahogany wood frame with antique brass fittings and smoked grey and black glass tiers. It’s masculine, modern, and begs the question, “Shaken or stirred?”
4- Cuff Links
A beautiful and practical gift for Dad would be this pair of 14K yellow gold and reverse painted “Essex Crystal” nautical flag cufflinks. Essex crystal is a process where rock crystals are cut as a cabochon and carved on the flat side, then painted on the back to produce a three-dimensional effect. Even when he’s not wearing them, cuff links look great just laying on a desk or side table.
Travel accessories are so on trend right now. But they are also masculine, which makes them perfect for the man cave. This original copper plate engraving with original hand color by British artist Robert Wilkinson (fl. c. 1768 – 1825), titled “An Accurate Map of the West Indies” published June 2nd, 1794 is an amazing decorative piece. The tentative British claims in Belize and on the Mosquito Coast, where English buccaneers, pirates, and privateers set up makeshift unofficial colonies from which to raid Spanish treasure fleets, are noted. As this region was highly important to British maritime commercial and military interests, Wilkinson also identifies various shoals and other undersea dangers throughout. What an exciting piece that Dad would love!
For more mantiques, check out The Highboy here.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there! And to my own “Papa Bear” Happy Father’s Day!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Nest by Tamara which was one of the first blogs I started following online back in the beginning of the blogosphere. She frequently writes about antiques and how they influence her interior design. I’ve had the privilege of taking Tamara on an Antiques Diva Tour in Milan in conjunction with Blog Tour Milan by Modenus and am always happy to paint the town red with her when in New York!s a woman entrepreneur and blogger, I am fully aware of what it takes to start a business and then keep the momentum up. You have to truly love what you do in order to maintain an energy level that allows you to grow and expand your business. That’s why I’m always excited when girlfriends of mine are able to succeed in business! My friend Tamara Matthews Stephenson has a fabulous blog,
Tamara and her friend Susan Young have recently launched Root Cellar Designs, a fabulous custom textile company, and I’m so proud of her and impressed by the Spring 2015 line that I want to feature it here on my blog! The pair of ladies have backgrounds in the fashion and interior design industries and have pulled from both of these arenas to create fabrics that are whimsical, stylish, and take cues from history, which I love of course!
The fabrics are digitally created and printed on cotton/linen fabric which means they are durable and easy to live with. I love the fact that they are using new technology along with historical influences to create an innovative product! The team says, “We like playing with history and traditional elements then tweaking them so they are fresh and new, and we are excited to note that you most likely will not see our designs anywhere else in the home marketplace.”
Their products have been featured in NY Social Diary, The Editor At Large, and New York Spaces, among others. They’ve used philanthropic causes to give back and promote the line this year including The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Black Tie Tabletop Gala, Housingwork’s 11th Annual Design on a Dime Charity Showhouse and Sale, and the Third Annual IFDA NY Chapter’s Take A Seat Auction to benefit Habitat For Humanity. Come summer, Root Cellar Designs will begin selling at various design and art shows throughout the NYC metropolitan area, and they hope to offer products online by fall 2015.
I’m so proud of Tamara and Susan for following their dreams and starting this business! I love when women can take their experiences and pair them with their dreams. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for these women and Root Cellar Designs—I’m sure we’ll be seeing some wonderful creations this year!!! Congratulations ladies!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Core One Antiques, just off the Kings Road in London, have confirmed that they will be closing their iconic Gasworks premises on 24 June 2015. Anyone who is anyone has shopped these hallowed halls… this location was one of London’s best kept design secrets. Shopping here almost guaranteed you’d bump into the crème de la crème of the design world. Yoo Hoo!? Martyn Lawrence Bullard anyone?h bugger… It’s the end of an era! The eleven dealers who share the space at
They have been unable to renew their lease due to the rampant development of the riverside area adjacent to Chelsea Harbour Design District. Finding another equally prestigious and established location to trade from together presented a huge challenge until the dealers heard that Toby Lorford and Lesley Ferguson who own Lorfords Antiques in Tetbury and the nearby Lorfords @Babdown Airfield had acquired a second hangar on the site at Babdown, which has a very similar flavour to the artisan community at The Gasworks in Fulham.
Cometh the hangar…,
Cometh the diaspora of displaced London dealers….
And so Hangar One at Babdown opens for an early bird preview from 8 June 2015 and will be fully open from 15 June 2015. The incoming Core One dealers who will continue to trade together in vast individual showrooms with the similar industrial chic aura of the Core One premises will be:
Core One Antiques opened to acclaim in 2001 with a group of elite dealers sharing the vast building showing an collection of antique furniture and objects from the very grand to the very sleek, the frankly industrial and the hugely quirky.
The dealers came from all walks of life and brought their varied taste and experience to the great mixing pot that was Core One Antiques. The combination of styles and periods provided an eye popping sensory experience equivalent to visiting the best of international antiques fairs.
Lorfords at Babdown is very much in line with the original Core One idea, to bring together an unrivalled group of dealers to provide a stage for the very best in antiques and design under two roofs @Babdown!
Toby Lorford, founder of Lorfords explains, “They say timing is everything, and acquiring the second hangar here at Babdown at just the right moment gave us the opportunity to welcome this important group of dealers from Core One to embellish our impressive line up of resident dealers at Babdown. We have been told that we now represent the most important trade call in Europe and we look forward to developing this unique space going forward.”
The Antiques Diva ®
Dear Diva Readers,
erhaps one of the best things about my Antiques Diva Guides is that they all have a passion for antiques. Even when not leading buying tours, these antique aficionados can be found perusing flea markets and popping into countryside shops in their spare time. What can I say, it’s in their blood! One of our UK Diva Guides – Alys Dobbie – recently spent the day scouting the flea markets and shares her experience with us, noting that you really can find anything when you know where to go!
“When it’s flea market day, the sleepy quintessential villages of Merry Old England become chockablock with visitors who are making their way to scout for treasures.
I recently went on a buying trip for my own website nanadobbie.com, arriving to a market which opened at 9am (You can imagine how happy I was for once that the flea market had a very manageable opening hour as most fairs in Britain start from 6am!). I took my boyfriend along for some company, as it’s always better to shop with a friend, and together we ran around like madmen as we had to leave by 1pm. Most would say this would be plenty of time to see everything, but the truth is, that we barely scratched the surface. A woman with over 200 pairs of deer antlers is placed next to a small French woman who only sells watering cans. A giant stuffed black grizzly bear (price tag £20,000) is on a stand next to a man selling baguette trolleys. The fact of the matter is that you can buy anything and everything here, for all of your houses across the globe or just your downstairs bathroom.
As for me? I managed to buy a fully functioning 1840s wall mounted roulette horse racing game, a lovely little French 1950’s sideboard and saw a hilarious knock off Bart Simpson rocking chair – which just goes to show you really can buy anything here!”
If you’d like to book your tour with Alys, who not only specialises in the big country flea markets, but also knows a thing or two about Portobello Road Market in central London, email us at [email protected]. As always, Alys can pick you up from the nearest station or airport, drive you to the fair or market and spend the day giving sound advice and introducing you to the many dealers she knows – and you, dear readers, get to shop like a dealer for a day for dear Alys is taking you not only to dealers we recommend our clients shop at but where she herself as an antiques dealer in England also shops to stock her store. Now that’s an insider’s guide to antiquing in England!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Quintessence Blog. From art and architecture, interiors and design, fashion and jewelry to books and movies, food and wine, travel and more, Quintessence has become a trusted source for well-researched, original content in the online world. I love that she takes us behind the scenes to some of the world’s most gorgeous properties and gives us a peek into some of the very best shops all over the globe. We get to tag along as she attends exclusive events, meets design icons and tastemakers and connects the dots to bring you the story behind the style. In addition to blogging, Stacey was revolutionary in the blogosphere when she teamed up with Susanna Salk to produce and edit one of the best design video series.s an antiques & design blogger myself I’m often asked what design blogs I read… and one of my favorite is Stacey Bewkes’
Imagine my excitement when these two dynamic women confirmed that they wanted to take an Antiques Diva Tour of Mercanteinfiera with me! I couldn’t wait to get these ladies to Italy and show them the ropes of navigating Italy’s largest antiques fair which takes place twice a year in Parma. With over one thousand vendors and several buildings, it can be tricky to weave your way through the thousands of international shoppers – but don’t worry, we know the fair and its vendors like the back of our hand!
Once we started shopping, I could see why these two women are known as international tastemakers. Their eyes are trained and I watched as they gravitated toward piece after gorgeous piece! Some of their favorite finds were a large mirror, a stately lion statue, a rustic armoire, architectural ornaments, and a pair of oversized urns. They also pointed out that attending fairs like Mercanteinfiera is a great way to get styling ideas as the exhibitors create interesting displays. I couldn’t agree more!
In a blog they wrote about their Antiques Diva experience, they write, “In our two days at the Parma antiques fair, we effortlessly wove through the multiple massive buildings, following Toma and Susan (our charming and knowledgeable Italian Diva) to meet special friends and dealers, from Toma’s favorite purveyor of Murano glass to the creative couple from Florence who fashion chic new treasures by blending antiques with modern artistry,to her dealer friend Maurizio from Sicily (now located in Florence).”
Read the entire blog and watch the fun video they shot in the video series Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk.
Thanks ladies for coming over and living La Dolce Diva for a few days! We certainly had a blast giving you just a glimpse of what we do on a daily basis all across Europe. When you’re ready for round two, why don’t we hit Les Puces in Paris… or The Decorative Fair at Battersea in London… or hop in the car and let us introduce you to our secret sources in the Belgian countryside… So many options, so little time!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Treillage & Darcy Fulton of John Rosselli on a special VIP tour in Italy earlier this year. It is always so inspiring to take any tastemaker on a buying tour because I get a chance to see what pieces excite them – what turns them on – but it was even more fascinating than normal to see what these managers from these two iconic companies would buy. When it comes to decorating our homes, Bunny Williams (and her husband John) has been a huge influence in the way we live and she continues to push the bar of style.was so fortunate to take Jackson McCard of
But what I love about Bunny is that she takes those interior design principles and applies them to what she calls “outdoor rooms.” Her sadly now closed shop, Treillage, had one of the most charming inner courtyards I’ve ever seen in the Big Apple. One of our top requests for tours at The Antiques Diva & Co is architectural salvage and garden antique tours. Clients are constantly looking for antique garden statues, urns & planters, gates from old estates, and even paving stones to use in modern gardens. Bunny’s new book, “Bunny Williams On Garden Style,” has so many wonderful tips for anyone who is looking to enhance their outdoor space. In fact, what caught my eye immediately was her extensive use of antique garden pieces. If you’re interested in garden antiques like the majority of our clients, I consider this book an Antiques Diva Essential Read!
While I am not a gardener myself—after all I do only have a rooftop terrace in Berlin, not a sprawling estate in New England— I can certainly appreciate beautifully laid out gardens, be they formal or more relaxed. Sourcing antique garden pieces all over Europe means that I am exposed to the creme de la creme of antique garden inventory on the market. In fact, Bunny refers to a few of the same sources we use on our AD&CO Tours! Bunny’s book is a great way to teach the eye to spot quality and provenance.
Perhaps the reason I enjoy this book more than other garden-focussed books is because it doesn’t deal so much with actual horticulture—after all, I kill any plant I come in contact with! This book talks more of the structure of a garden—likening it to a room. The focus is on the floor, overhead elements, creating walls, and utilizing ornaments (often antique garden elements) and structural pieces to form the bones of an outdoor room. The actual flowers and plants that grow within these outdoor spaces are not as touched upon, as these can change from region to region based upon climate. Rather, the mood and atmosphere of a garden are defined by the elements that remain in all seasons—the pergolas, columns, gazebos, urns, statues, and layout of the garden.
From interior design to gardening, Bunny has a way of dissecting the elements which make any space comfortable, impressive, and simply dreamy. While her shop Treillage is closing at the end of this month, rumor has it her online store is going to be BETTER THAN EVER! As for me today, I think I’m going to skip antiquing and take a day to lounge on my terrace reading On Garden Style and dreaming of someday possessing a green thumb. Hmmm… Chanel has started doing nail polish in modern colors, haven’t they?
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Grays Antiques is holding a series of talks in their Music Room on Monday 15th June.AVE THE DATE! To celebrate the START OF THE OFFICIAL ANTIQUES SEASON – and a month filled with some of the top antiques fairs in England – one of our Antiques Diva FAVORITE SOURCES in London
This is an incredible opportunity to listen to lectures spanning subjects across the arts, antiques and collecting sphere! Speakers will include owner of Grays (and sister centre Alfies Antiques in Marylebone) Bennie Gray, plus my friend, BBC 2 Collectaholics favourite Mark Hill (who happens to have inventory in the Mews at Grays) as well as jewellery expert Andrew Prince.
Tickets are priced at £10 with a discount for multiple purchases and the 45-minute talks will run throughout the day.
11am: ‘Luxury: Between Opulence and Minimalism’, Professor Giorgio Riello
12pm: ‘From Downton to Gatsby, Jewellery and Fashion from 1890 to 1929’, Andrew Prince
1pm: ‘Undressing Antiques’, Mark Hill
2pm: ‘Antiques: Looking to the future’, Bennie Gray
3pm: ‘How London’s heritage brands contributed to the war effort’ with Q&A, Penelope Sacorafou and Caroline Groves
4pm: ‘Post-War Rye Pottery: History and Collecting’, Elisabeth Bogdan
5pm: ‘Contemporary Chinese Print-Making’, Dr Anne Farrer
Price: £10 per talk, £18 for two or £25 for three
Duration: 45 minutes
Tickets will include a glass of prosecco and are available online at www.foxandsquirrel.com/london-talks/ or in person from reception at Grays on South Molton Lane.
Keep your eyes out for my colleague Andrew Skipper who will be tweeting LIVE from the event on behalf of Antiques Diva & Co! Sharing a slew of antiques news!
The Antiques Diva ®
Dear Diva Readers,
o matter where I am in the world, I constantly have people coming up to me asking the same question… “How do you do it?!” They wonder not only how I juggle my slightly insane international travel schedule which has me traveling each month in multiple countries (if not multiple continents); but also how I have rapidly grown my company from being a one-woman brand into a full-on business with nearly 20 employees scattered over 10 countries.
Over the last several years my role within in my company has shifted. In addition to leading antique buying tours and offering personal shopping services, I now manage a team of locally-based “ Diva Guides” who lead tours for me across Europe. I’m managing a global company that has HR and Accounting demands as well as Marketing needs with a full-on PR machine behind it. These last several years my role has also shifted to encompass speaking at conferences and design markets – I love sharing my knowledge of European antiques, teaching clients – whether on tour or in one of my seminars – how to source antiques, explaining what to buy and where to buy it and then answering the all important question…. how to get it home. But here lately the biggest question my clients and attendees of my lectures have asked is for my advice as a woman entrepreneur…. “How do I start my own company? develop my brand? take my business to the next level? What words of advice – or encouragement – do you have for me in growing my business/brand?” They also want to know about that about that all important question of maintaining a work/life balance. How I organize my time, my to do lists, my company and my life. I’m passionate about the subject and thus this genre of questions have taken on a life of their own and I’ve decided to announce a new blog series I’ll be posting the first week of each month “On Being a Woman Entrepreneur”.
My first bit of advice I give anyone who asks me about growing their business is to Be Adaptable. Be Open to Change. Look at what the market is demanding and think outside the box regarding what you and your unique service can be to meet those needs. Many of my loyal blog readers know my story. I started my blog on antiquing in Europe with an intent to write a couple of books. What I got in return – an international company operating in 10 countries with 20 employees – was a million times bigger than my original dream.
Don’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling. Don’t be so focused on your own goals that you miss an opportunity when serendipity slaps you over the head. When the recession hit in 2008 and the publishing industry dried up, telling me my luxury-based travel books wouldn’t sell, I didn’t give up my dream of being “The Antiques Diva”.
Never Give Up. I continued working on my blog to establish a platform that would establish me as an expert in my industry. As they say when one door closes, another one opens. Readers of my blog started emailing me asking if I would take them on tour. I said Yes.
When opportunity strikes – Say Yes. For me, one “Yes” turned into another and then another and the rest is history – but I have a confession… I was tempted to let self-doubt stand in the way.
No matter how much you know – you will never know enough. There will always be reasons to doubt yourself. When readers first started emailing me asking to take tours – I could have said “I’m not an expert yet”, “I don’t know enough” or “I need more time.” And in fact – I said all these things to myself. And then I threw myself off a cliff. Okay, not literally. Figuratively. I said Yes in spite of my self-doubt and that first Yes changed my life. It can be so easy to get caught up in the small details, but remember: your objective is to grow steadily, not start out perfectly.
Advice # 6
When opportunity strikes do not be afraid to take a chance. Don’t over-think your decision. If you wait to start your business until you know everything there is to know about your industry, you are never going to start your business
Screw the business plan. Yep. This is one piece of business advice no one will tell you. Do not wait until you’ve got the perfect business plan in place to start your business. Yes, you DO need a business plan. But it doesn’t have to be perfect. A good business plan will evolve over time. My business changes, grows and adapts nearly every month – and if you want to know the secret to our success as a company – go back and see Advice #1 – Be Adaptable. But before you can adapt… you’ve got to get started first. And from my experience the biggest obstacle people have in starting their own business is they actually never start it! They spend too much time thinking about starting a business and not actually doing it.
Just Do It. The best piece of advice I can offer comes from the popular Nike slogan – Just Do It! The biggest thing that holds people back from achieving their goals the fact that they just don’t do what they say they want to do. It seems simple, but so often we think we have to be perfect or we have to have a fail-proof plan before we can even begin to take steps toward our dreams. That simply isn’t the case. You have to start somewhere and even if you don’t have all the knowledge at the beginning, you will learn by experience along the way.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You will make mistakes. Accept them. Learn from them. Apologize if you screw up along the way and move on. The only person who never makes mistakes is someone who never takes chances.
Most goals are reached by taking one step at a time. When people ask “What’s the secret to my success…” the answer is simple… for the last 7 years since starting my company I have continued to put one foot in front of the other. Every single day I have walked steadfastly in the direction of my goal. I’ve taken detours along the way, I’ve even fallen down a few times. And I changed the destination, making my goal bigger – and my destination further away – than I ever intended when I started out. But I have never once taken my eyes off my goal – my destination. Between you and me, I’m still a long way from reaching my destination – but I can see the destination on the horizon… and in the meantime, life’s a journey….
As I close I leave you with one last bonus bit of advice – consider this the extra donut in the baker’s dozen – Start now, Right Where You Are, And Do One Thing To Achieve Your Goal. And then Do It Again. And Do It Again. And Just Keep Doing It.
Until next time, may all your dreams come true.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Andrew Skipper Everyday loves to garden. And since he’s here in Berlin working with me this spring, I asked if he’d be interested in helping make my balcony look its best! I’m so pleased with the result that I asked Andrew to write a guest post for the blog, sharing some tips for creating a beautiful outdoor space.veryone knows that I have a taste for the good things in life—fashion, jewelry, shoes, fast cars, champagne, and, of course, gorgeous antiques! I also adore decorating my home and rooftop terrace. But I have a confession to make… I simply don’t have a green thumb. I kill every plant I come in contact with! So when it comes time to get my hands dirty and plant all the planters on my terrace, I avoid it at all costs. Luckily my colleague Andrew Skipper of
Andrew Skipper writes:
“As an interior decorator, I love taking a room and helping it realize its highest potential. The entire process from inspiration to installation thrills me! I’ve often had clients ask me to help them create outdoor spaces that can be extensions of their homes. At my own home in the USA, you can often find me puttering in the garden on a warm afternoon or entertaining friends with a dinner al fresco. When Toma (yes, The Antiques Diva does actually have a first name!) asked if I could help with her balcony, my reply was a resounding, “Yes!”
Her terrace has great bones to begin with. She’s got a fantastic French marble-topped butcher’s table in the center that is often used for dining or doing fabulous apertivo Italian style next to her cyprus trees. The charming bistro chairs that Toma purchased in Paris direct from the famous Cafe Les Deux Magots certainly enhance the European feel of the space but we also wanted to create a place to relax, perhaps with a glass of wine and a stack of magazines. The two lounges with black cushions which flank the table are the perfects spots for an afternoon nap in the sun.
With five window-type openings facing the courtyard, I wanted to plant window boxes that would look attractive from the interior of the balcony as well as from the ground below. Since the terrace is open to the living room, we took our color-cues from Toma’s interior decor – so chic, you would swoon if you saw the official Antiques Diva Showhouse – and decided pink and white would complement the overall scheme nicely. With our color pallet in mind, we set out to the garden center to select our plants.
Bright pink geraniums greeted us upon arriving at the garden center and we just knew these would be perfect for a bright pop of color. We also wanted to add in different textures and a bit of height. A pair of small olive tree topiaries would be the perfect way to bring height and a bit of something special to the flower boxes. We also spotted a tiny orange tree and both immediately went for it! I instantly pictured this sweet tree in one of Toma’s Chinese blue and white pots. Since Toma entertains on the terrace, (she’s famous for her house cocktails) we added in some mint plants to use for cocktail garnishes. The pair of topiary cyprus are an homage to her in laws, given to Toma by friends when her mother and father in law passed away two consecutive years.
The result is a beautiful European-style enclosed roof top terrace that’s fit for relaxing and entertaining. I can’t wait for the first party she throws this summer! Is that a cork I hear popping?”
Andrew Skipper and The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
High Point Antique and Design Center and over the years we’ve chatted about her extraordinary niche service she offers as a custom slipcover designer. While Linda’s Product Design studies began formally at North Carolina State University, her passion for fine fabrics began at an early age on the back roads of eastern North Carolina. Many hot summer afternoons were spent in the back of Mama’s Ford Fairlane, traveling from one fabric store to another, searching for fine fabrics and silver linings. Today she continues the tradition with her Raleigh based company Pencil Me In,traveling across North Carolina, fashioning classic cotton and linen slipcovers for fine furniture. Recently Linda took her travels a bit further afield and went shopping with Antiques Diva style in Italy with our locally based guide, Susan.hen Antiques Diva client Linda Meeks offered to write a blog about her recent Antiques Diva Tour I jumped at the opportunity. Linda has attended multiple talks of mine at
Linda writes about her Antiques Diva Italy Tour:
“On instinct, I contacted the Antiques Diva & Co as soon as Barton (best friend, photographer and muse) ordered cheap airline tickets and a copy of Rick Steve’s guide to Italy. You see, since hearing Toma Clark Haines speak at High Point Furniture Market Fall 2014, I knew I was destined for a fabric reconnaissance with one of her guides. Enthralled with Rick Steves’ “Europe through the Back Door” travel style, I was convinced that seeing the marketplaces that the creatives and makers move through would carbonate my experience in Italy, and I needed a guide.
Toma connected me with Antiques Diva guide Susan Pennington and it was a match made in Sienna. My wish list for Susan was simple: 1. I’d like to see and hear Italians trade wares and secrets and learn a few swear words, 2. Take in the country air, and 3. Come home with a good find and a memory or two. When tour day arrived, Susan met us at our hotel and led us through the narrow streets of Sienna, dashing in and out of secret source shops, dodging Vespas and divulging tips about the local culture. Our morning excursion included an array of haberdasheries, galleries, and consignment shops in search of linens, passementerie, buttons, furniture, and art. Then we embarked on a road through Chianti, lunching in a hill town en route to Florence.
Next stop on our itinerary was a bit of luxury. Of course I can’t tell you the name or it would not be a secret source. But I will tell you it was neither a furniture showroom, workshop, carpenter’s shop, or architectural design studio, but a harmonious fusion of all the aforementioned. A place that honors the Florentine craft traditions, this unique space specialized in items restored, reinterpreted and reimagined for the home. Exactly what I encourage my clients to do with their heirloom furniture and fabrics every day! Here in this place Susan led the way as we climbed the attic to dig in the secret archives of waitlisted projects. And there it was! The perfect example of a Florentine footrest, aged green and tiny gilded bees. Susan negotiated the purchase and arranged to have it shipped (along with other linen & lace finds) to my workshop in Raleigh, NC, where it will be reimagined with a Florentine inspired slipcover and a story to tell.
After a long day of scouting and scavenging, and double gelato, Susan left us with assignments of more secret sources to scope on our own. Now confident in our sleuthing skills, we affirmed that whether in North Carolina, Sienna, or Florence, it is in the unexpected places and on the Back Roads that we find the EXTRA that makes the ordinary EXTRAORDINARY. And so as Back Door travelers, we have memories of: listening to Susan translate our trades in her lovely British/Italian, enjoying a scenic drive through the country, and discovering THE FIND. But did we hear any swear words? I don’t know!”
Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Linda! We’re so happy you enjoyed your time in Italy and that you came away with a treasure (and I promise we’ll get you a list of ‘ approved swear words” – note to the reader, Diva Guide Susan would never mutter a curse word… but the vendors on the other hand… Mamma Mia….
For more information on taking an Antiques Diva tour, or learning to cuss in Italian :), email us at [email protected].
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Windsor Smith’s book “Homefront: Design for Modern Living,” I knew she was a soul sister, a kindred spirit! Reading in her intro about her travels overseas, shopping the same paths I shop from Provence down to Spain and back up to Paris, I knew we’d been educated by the same École Française.f I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Antiques make a modern setting even better! My own home in Berlin is a very modern loft space, clean and contemporary with a minimalist edge, and yet almost everything in it is antique or vintage! Bring on the Rococo Baby! The outcome is (if I do say so myself!) super stylish and highly functional for the way we live. When I came across interior designer
One only has to flip through a few pages of this book to see that Windsor (by the way, doesn’t she have a great name?) knows how to create a comfortable room that’s also hip, relevant and achingly stylish. And if you dissect the details—which is something I think all of us design-lovers do—you will see that in almost every room she’s decorated, she’s used vintage or antique pieces. Imagine that—design for modern living—using antiques! She even says, “It’s important for every space to have a piece with a provenance, even a breakfast room needs to have some history in it.” Every home I’ve ever had has had an antique in the loo for this exact reason – this lady is speaking my language!
What I love about Windsor’s style is that she’s not afraid to be playful. She takes serious pieces and makes them approachable, friendly. In fact, one of the rooms in her book is painted a moody black along with black flooring and a crisp white fireplace—and a vibrant blue ping-pong table in the center of the room! How fun is that?! But perhaps what really strikes me is her ability to combine modern style with antique pieces. For instance she’s paired antique dining chairs with a country table in a beautiful modern kitchen. This juxtaposition works beautifully as it really does reflect the way we live today—mixing pieces from all time periods.
Sometimes antiques conjure up feelings of formality and rigidness. You think of your mother saying, “Don’t touch that! Use a coaster! Take your shoes off!” But the reality is that antique pieces have been built with quality materials and were made to be durable. They’ve stood the test of time this long, which means they are ideal for people who actually want to LIVE in their homes! Windsor’s interiors illustrate this point perfectly. Whether it’s an 18th century commode she’s used in an entryway or a pair of mid century chairs in a living room, none of her spaces feel stuffy, overly formal or unapproachable.
She breaks down her process into five chapters, one of which is all about mixing the past and present. She says. “Giving the old a new perspective is critical to good design, but so is imparting a sense of history to the new. If I’m in a room where everything is raw, featureless, and brand new, I feel either uncomfortable or disappointed, as if I’ve arrived too late to the party. I want a story, to be surrounded by things that hold a vibration and note of history.” I couldn’t agree more! If you haven’t already bought your copy of “Homefront” honey don’t delay. Order that book right now. It’s getting premier placement front and center on my coffee table! With 250 pages of inspiring photos and informative text, you certainly won’t be disappointed!
Bravo Windsor! And please tell me our paths will cross in Paris and we can become best friends…. would love to know you darling.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
amma Mia! If Heaven were a place on earth, I’m certain it would look like a Tuscany! Who hasn’t dreamed of taking a trip to Tuscany? From sipping gorgeous Tuscan reds to soaking in the vistas and villas – it sounds like perfection! Add hunting for antiques into the mix and you’ve got the recipe for the perfect holiday! But if you’re want to find vintage and antiques treasures where should you focus your energies to find diva worthy treasures and what sorts of pieces will you find once you get there? Our Tuscan Diva Guide Susan gives us her top 5 types of places to go antiquing in Italy!
1. Architectural Salvage
With so many large and lovely villas set in sprawling parks and gardens coupled with abandoned Tuscan farmhouses dotted across the landscape, it’s little wonder that there is a wealth of Architectural Salvage materials to be found. Regal marble bathtubs and delicately carved sinks (just perfect for a powder room), old weather worn barn doors… still complete with original locks and hardware, soft grey ‘pietra serena’ stone fireplaces impregnated with decades, if not centuries of smoke, garden statuary, terracotta tiles and worn stair treads… each piece has a story to tell.
2. The consignment stores
For the die hard flea marketer and bargain hunter there is no better place than the consignment stores. The thrill of uncovering hidden treasure and the satisfaction of getting a bargain to tuck into your suitcase is exhilarating. Often old estates are cleared and you can really find some gems buried under the clutter; from signed oil paintings and watercolours for less than €50, mid century glass going for a song, crystal drop chandeliers (as well as extra crystals so no need to worry when you find a great pieces with missing ones) and furniture too. Once we had someone find the most delightful ‘Murphy bed’ that folded out of a gorgeous carved wood cabinet… it weighed a ton!
3. Little stores along the road
Of course the beautifully decorated antique stores filled with elegant pieces of 17th century furniture, old master paintings and richly gilded mirrors are intoxicating, but we like to get off the beaten track and explore the Tuscan countryside, climbing ladders in barns stacked sky high, picking our way through private collections and visiting restorers who always seem to have something hidden away. We’ve unearthered some real treasures; huge terracotta oil urns, bread chests (every home should have one!) and rustic painted furniture… just to whet the appetite.
4. Flea markets
The weekend flea markets are a must, usually held once a month, each falling on a different weekend, old books, textiles, religious artefacts and great agricultural pieces to repurpose. Depending on weekend we might hit Lucca, Florence or Arezzo. It’s fun meeting all the characters and really are the perfect place to find small pieces too to take home to friends as unique gifts or to keep and use as house gifts, though I have to confess we have found some pretty big ones too… a 5 foot high shield for one.
… it’s impossible not to have it on the list, a renaissance city with precious works of art and fine antiques. But really what I enjoy are the vintage stores full of designer fashion, Gucci, Ferragamo, Pucci to name just a few. But perhaps rather unexpectedly it’s also a great source for mid century pieces with amazing prices as it’s still not fully appreciated in Tuscany. There’s nothing better than spending an afternoon in the Oltrarno browsing… and trying hard to be restrained at the irresistible.
If you would like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour in Italy, email us at [email protected] We’d love to help you source antiques in Tuscany!
The Antiques Diva® with help from her locally-based Tuscan Guide La Dolce Diva – Susan!
Dear Diva Readers,
f there’s one thing a Diva needs, it’s her jewels! And of course, being The Antiques Diva I prefer antique jewels! And there happens to be a source in Amsterdam that has some of the most stunning jewelry including antique Dutch regional pieces—you know, the type that the Queen of the Netherlands wears!
When walking in Amsterdam, from the Rijksmuseum towards the antiques district of Spiegelstraat, the first antique jeweler on the right is Dekker Antiquairs, and this is where you will find some of the best museum quality inventory. Ron and Dick Verburg-Dekker’s collection includes earrings, brooches, necklaces, rings, and watches that are sure to be coveted by those with discerning taste. Here are a few of my favorite drool-worthy pieces!
1. Antique Dutch jewelry – Queen Máxima’s earrings
Dekker Antiquairs has a collection of antique Dutch jewellery, mostly 19th century. These jewels were worn by the farmers’ and fishermen’s wives, but nowadays Queen Máxima of the Netherlands wears these glamorous earrings that were not bought at Dekker Antiquairs, but are indeed from this collection. When these type of earrings were made in the mid to late 19th century, there wasn’t much money to purchase expensive gemstones, so the goldsmith would instead spend much time in working the gold. The result is filigrain that looks like golden lace, another status symbol at the time. The limitation in materials brings out the creativity of the goldsmith, who would create intricate patterns. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, who is Argentinean born, showed her style and sense of history in wearing these earrings: she premiered them in the province where they are from, and the second time in India, a very appropriate country for wearing intricate gold jewelry. It’s lovely that the Argentinian born Queen of the Netherlands has reminded the world of the beauty of these antique Dutch jewels.
For more on Queen Máxima’s earrings, read this in-depth article by Erik Schoonhoven. At €2.750 these gorgeous earrings would be a lovely addition to one’s collection!
Watches are a speciality of Dekker, i.e. Dick Verburg specifically. This Art Nouveau lady’s pendant watch is a stunning piece. Made in America c.1900-1930, it is adorned with diamonds, rubies, fashionable green demantoid and pearls. Signed Bailey Banks & Biddle means it comes from America’s oldest jeweler and also America’s leading luxury jeweler, with more branches from coast to coast than any other.
Are you a watch collector? Check out this ultra-rare 1954 platinum and diamond Patek Philippe wristwatch that just came in.
3. Gautrait bracelet
The great jewellers from 19th century Paris is another speciality of Dekker, for example this bracelet by Gautrait which is 18ct gold made up of alternating links both with a jour guirlande motifs decorated with white enamel and chased gold. The delicate design of the bracelet makes it extremely feminine and the detail is just breathtaking!
4. 19th century gold, diamond and pearl necklace
This French antique 18ct gold necklace from the 19th century is adorned with natural pearls and diamonds. It reflects the opulent glamour of the time, but would make a perfect statement piece of work today. What makes it extra special is that the brooch/pendant is detachable! How fun is that?
5. 19th century French bird of paradise brooch
How sweet is this French Paradise bird brooch? Comprised of 18k gold, decorated with polychrome translucent enamel and set with rose-cut diamonds, the bird holds a natural pearl.
Another very special piece that is so Diva-worthy is this 1625 clothing rosette. Dating back to the Renaissance period, this brooch is made of rare jewels from the beginning of the 17th century. Rosettes like this were sown onto garments and into the hair. What’s extra special in this rosette are the chiffre cut diamonds, which have a flat bottom surface and three triangular facets on the top. This produces the optical illusion of 9 facets, while in reality it is only 3.
If you find yourself in Amsterdam, I certainly recommend stopping into Dekker Antiquairs to take a look at the rest of their impeccable collection. I’m saving my euros in hopes of adding to my own collection soon! For more information on how you can take an Antiques Diva Jewelry Buying Tour, email us at [email protected]
Have a stylish day,
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
hile many of our clients are trade professionals—antiques dealers who come abroad wishing to stock their stores with European antiques— we also get tourist clients, mere shopping mortals, who are looking to purchase special pieces for themselves. One such couple was Kirk and Cookie who contacted us, as they were renovating and redecorating their home in the USA and wished to buy several specific pieces to use. Of course we were happy to help and scheduled them for a multi-country tour which included stops in Paris, Belgium, and Bordeaux.
We first met face-to-face in Antwerp—they’d just arrived from Paris where they’d shopped the Paris Flea Market with our Diva Guide Debbie. Since they were staying at our favorite hotel in Antwerp, JVR108, we sat down there and went over their list of desired items. What impressed me about them was their organization! They had a folder containing photos of each room in their home along with dimensions. This meant that while we shopped with measuring tape in hand, we would know whether certain pieces of furniture would fit in their rooms at home. They were also looking to source antique European fireplaces and other architectural salvage to incorporate in the renovation.
I knew exactly who to take them to! We have a few wonderful sources for antique fireplaces and upon arriving at one of these locations, the charming vendor had prepared a gorgeous luncheon which he’s laid in the garden behind his store. We sat in the warm sun, sipping wine and enjoying delicious sandwiches while Kirk & Cookie told the vendor what they were looking for—using visual tools like the photos and layouts they’d brought.
After lunch, we walked through the vendor’s warehouse which is full of fireplaces and architectural salvage. The dealer explained that in his workshop he could altar any of the fireplaces, thus making it possible for them to select one which had the color, type of stone, and motifs they desired. After gathering information on several candidates, the couple selected a spectacular fireplace that the vendor agreed to measure and send 3D plans via email before altering the existing piece.
Afterward we headed upstairs to the loft, where Kirk found the perfect pair of leather club chairs for his home study. We went to several other places and they were able to purchase several decorative items as well as a priority on the list—a desk for Kirk! Upon departing us in Antwerp, Kirk & Cookie met up with Paris Guide Debbie in Cognac, France, where she and her husband invited them to join their table at a prestigious charity event where they happened to be sitting at the table next to Fergie—that’s right, the Duchess! At the end of their buying trip, they shopped in Bordeaux with our Diva Guide Tara where they found even more lovely pieces for their home.
Once the shipment was received back in the USA, Kirk sent photos of the pieces after installation. I love seeing the end result of a buying tour! Everything in the photos he sent was sourced with The Antiques Diva & Co with the exception of the chair behind the desk. Kirk writes, “We Can’t thank you enough. Cookie and I had the time of our lives and would go back tomorrow to work with you and do it again! Thank you for all of your help and for the experience and knowledge of your team. We had a great time and met some amazing people in each of you. The cognac experience was fantastic and one of those “once in a lifetime” events that only happen when you have completely flexible plans and are willing to take a chance.”
Well Kirk & Cookie, we enjoyed having you on tour and hope that each time you sit down at your desk or ease into the club chairs that you think of us with fondness! Your home is absolutely beautiful and we’re glad that we could play a part in making your dream a reality. After all, helping people source their dream pieces is what we do – At The Antiques Diva & Co we make dreams come true! And we love to see people living modern lives alongside antiques!
If you would like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour or utilizing our Buying Services, email us at [email protected]. We’d love to help make European antiques accessible to you!
The Antiques Diva®
P.S. I’m closing with quite possibly the worst photo ever taken of me. It was the end of a very long day shopping. I must confess I look exhausted… but I’m smiling from ear to ear as I simply adored these clients!
Dear Diva Readers,
The castle’s history is fascinating! Everyone from the current Queen of England to Thomas Jefferson, Sean Connery, Elton John and Mel Gibson have stayed there. Built in the 13th century by John “the Black” Comyn, Lord of Badenoch and Lochaber, the structure itself remains largely unchanged since its construction. It is said that the site had been a fort some five hundred years prior. In 1863 a Scottish baronial style mansion called Inverlochy was built to the north-west as a private residence. Since 1969 this grand house has operated as a hotel with 18 bedrooms (all with private baths). Between the frescoed ceilings & Venetian crystal chandeliers inside and the splendid views of the grounds & mountains outside, it is the ideal place to relax in the Scottish countryside—perhaps with a nice cup of tea!
And while it’s lovely to do tea abroad with castles and crumpets, perhaps what I love most about the art of British tea is that the castles are merely optional! You can take time out of your schedule to indulge yourself at home any day of the week. My travel schedule can be horrid so I love inviting girlfriends around to catch up over a cuppa. It’s an easy and elegant way to entertain – Diva Style!
Here are some of my Antiques Diva Essentials for Afternoon Tea:
- First and foremost you have to have an antique tea set! Whether your style is more formal (a silver or porcelain set) or casual (maybe mix-matched pieces), I think it’s important to have at least a tea pot, cream & sugar, and a tray. You can always purchase full sets which include coffee pot, waste bowl, strainer, and tea caddy.
- I like to use beautiful tiered etageres (think a 3-tiered cake plate) which you can find at flea markets to serve cakes and snacks on. Serve a mixture of sweet and savory indulgences like scones, biscuits, cucumber sandwiches, and other little bites you can prepare in advance. Be sure to set out cream, sugar, and lemon slices to accompany the tea. I also suggest having a pressed set of antique linen napkins that each guest can drape over their lap. I often come across lovely embroidered linens in Belgium and these are ideal for tea time!
- Remember, tea time needn’t be fussy. It’s all about the time-honored tradition of pausing in the afternoon and catching up with friends. Enhance this social time with a few gorgeous antique pieces, and everyone around your table will be reminded to “use the good stuff” and take time to stop and smell the roses!
If you want to host a Tea Party at home you can follow some tips in our Antiques Diva/Chef in Berlin video or catch up on some recipes via BBC’s Good Food Afternoon Tea Party. You know I love sharing recipes… and Ina Garten’s – the Barefoot Contessa – is one of my time-tested tea time favorites…. She makes a simply divine orange cranberry scone recipe!
Until next time, I say cheers darlings!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
ere at The Antiques Diva & Co we love taking clients on buying tours, introducing them to places and people that can help them find exactly what they’re looking for. With tours operating in 8 European countries, our locally based guides stay busy taking both tourists and trade professionals on tour! But did you know we also offer Buying Services for clients who want to source antiques in Europe, but can’t come over due to scheduling issues? We act as the “man on the ground,” reaching out to our trusted vendors and dealers to find specific pieces that our clients want. And while buying online has made international shopping a bit easier, we offer the service of loyalty to our customers, ensuring that what we’re showing them via email is of quality and up to their standards because we’ve actually seen each piece in person!
Recently one of our long-term clients (who just so happens to be a big name in the hotel world) reached out to us wanting to incorporate more antique architectural items into the hotels he designs. So who better to source unique and special architectural salvage than The Antiques Diva & Co!? This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve sourced architectural salvage for a client. From antique gates to doors, to fireplaces to floors and even a cathedral ceiling, we’ve found it all. We adore the idea of creating new spaces using one-of-a-kind antique elements. Antique architectural salvage is often very well-designed and made of solid, quality material but yet it comes at a fraction of the price of producing the same thing nowadays.
So while I was visiting a dealer in Italy, I came across a very handsome semicircular walnut bookcase circa 1810 which had a fabulous price. And because we all love a good story, I asked the dealer for a bit more information. It was originally built for the Court of Appeals in Brescia, which is a city in Lombardy. It is composed of five elements; a central entrance (which probably concealed a secret passage), flanked by two bookcases on each side. With original patina, it is the perfect piece to design a room around. I could picture a chic hotel bar utilizing this circular bookcase.
This is just one example of gorgeous architectural elements that come out of important historical European buildings. From chateaus that are being torn down to governmental buildings that are being renovated, our sources have access to some pretty awesome pieces. Staircases, boisserie, windows, doors, flooring— you name it, we can find it. And for an antique lover like me, knowing that these pieces will have a new life for many years to come is quite a rewarding prospect!
If you would like information on our Buying Services or even an Architectural Salvage Buying Tour in Europe, email us at [email protected]. We’d love to help you find just what you’re looking for.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
ere at The Antiques Diva & Co we have resources galore when it comes to antiquing in Europe whether you’re looking for architectural salvage, 18th century French furniture vintage fashion, garden items, and more. In fact, once clients tell us what they’re looking for, we custom plan their tours in order to make the most of their time. We recently had an inquiry about antique jewelry – and while I personally am not an expert on jewelry that didn’t stop me from coming up with an answer. What’s so great about my company is that it’s not just me…. we’re not called The Antiques Diva & Co for nothing. The “Co” in Antiques Diva & Co have a wealth of experience and resources that stretch beyond my own bejeweled fingertips. So when a client wanted to know where to buy antique jewelry in Europe I went straight to my Diva Guides to find out what they would suggest when it comes to sourcing antique & vintage jewelry in Europe.
The question the client posed was… “Are there dedicated jewelry shows or fairs? Where can clients find a good assortment of pieces”? So many questions, but of course, we’ve got the answers and I want to share some of them with you!
Our Belgian Diva Guide Lucretia is a collector of antique jewelry herself so she is always looking for specialized shops with great bargains in Belgium and Holland. She says, “Every Antiques Fair like TEFAF in Maastricht, PAN in Amsterdam or Art Breda, has a fairly large selection of jewelry dealers, but be prepared to pay higher prices for high end pieces. Small antiques fairs are probably much better to find attractively priced jewels.” She tells us that there happens to be a special fair coming up soon in the Netherlands which is totally dedicated to jewels. It will be June 12 -14, in Driebergen, near Utrecht. It is a relatively small show with only 25 participants, but the inventory will be quality—if you are a serious collector, it’s the place to go.
Now – here’s the inside scoop…. while I love shopping a fair – it’s the fastest way to see the best quality inventory in one locale – if you like digging for a bargain the best places to buy vintage and antique jewelry are auctions. This is where you’ll find the best deals. Almost every major city in the Netherlands has an auction house, many of them also sell on-line.
Here’s Our Dutch Auction House Resource List:
De Zwaan, in Amsterdam
De Eland, Diemen
Van Stockums, in Den Haag
Oprechte Veiling, in Haarlem
Veilinghuis Peerdeman, in Utrecht
Venduehuis der Notarissen, Den Haag
Dickhaut, in Maastricht
Van Zadelhoff, Hilversum
Van Spengen, Hilversum
Onder de Boompjes, Leiden
Twents Veilinghuis, in Enschede
Notarishuis, in Rotterdam
And of course Christie’s is still active in Amsterdam, and has special jewelry auctions which always contain high quality items.
Gail, our Antiques Diva Agent in England, says while there aren’t any specialist jewelry shows in the UK, there are a few places she’d recommend to source antique jewelry. Grays Antiques in London is something of an institution in the antiques trade – It’s located in the heart of Mayfair and houses about 150 exhibitors. From vintage to very high end jewels, Grays houses a nice concentration of antique jewelry dealers under one roof. She also advises checking websites of national antiques fairs to see if antique jewelry dealers will be selling at upcoming shows – the best place to find out about what antique shows are going on in England is Gail’s own website Antique News and Fairs.
And our Paris Guides Debbie, Danielle, Katie & Jennifer, don’t want you to forget that in Paris, of course, there is the famous Hotel Drouot Auction House. While I LOVE Drouot for vintage fashion and haute couture you can also pick up gorgeous pieces of antique jewels here going, going, going, for a song!
And there you have it! What I love about my Diva Guides is that no matter what the challenge, they always come up with solutions and answers for our clients. By being locally based and well versed in a variety of sources, our guides across 8 countries possess a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the antiques trade. If you have questions about sourcing antiques in Europe, please email us at [email protected]. We’d love to help plan a tour!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
hile most of our clients come on buying tours with serious agendas—they often want to fill a container with European antiques in a matter of days — some people also choose to add on time at the end of their tour for more of a vacation since they’re already over in Europe! And believe me, after power shopping with an Antiques Diva Guide, a little R&R is necessary (hmmm… perhaps we should start including massages at the end of each tour)! Often times while on tour, our Diva Guides will point out interesting places along the way—after all, our guides are all locally based so they know the surrounding areas very well!
Recently one of our Diva Guides in France, Katie, was taking clients on a buying tour in Normandy, which is a great place to source antiques at discount prices from Paris prices. Along the way, Katie passed right by the Monet house with clients and they decided to stop en route to sneak in a little design inspiration visiting his famous house in Giverny. With warm weather just beginning, Spring time is a perfect time to take in the gardens and the scenery in this charming part of France.
Claude Monet lived in the house for forty-three years (1883-1926) and as you can imagine, like any artist would, he made many alterations to the original structure over that time. Originally the house was called House of the Cider-Press as an apple-press was located on the nearby square. It was a small home compared to the long, spread out place it is today. As his family and career grew, Monet had the house enlarged on either side, resulting in the structure we see today. The barn next to the house became his studio and above that is an apartment he used while he worked.
The distinct color palate (pink and green) of the exterior of the house was chosen by Monet. Rather than go with the traditional grey shutter of that time, Monet opted for green and planted Virginia creeper on the facade of the house so it would blend in with the surrounding landscape—almost like a Monet painting! From his bed he had beautiful views of the garden which he loved.
The property is divided into flower beds where flowers of different heights create depth and volume. Ornamental and fruit tress are mixed in as well to add to the character of the garden. A mix of rare flowers as well as common ones such as daisies and poppies populate the beds. The central path is covered by iron arches that support climbing roses. However Monet’s gardens are not structured. He preferred to pair flowers according to color and then let them grow rather freely.
But the garden isn’t only about plants. The water garden was cultivated ten years after he moved to Giverny. A small brook runs through the property and Monet had a little pond dug, which was later enlarged. Inspired by the Japanese gardens Monet had the Japanese Bridge built by a local craftsman and then planted it with wisterias. For more than twenty years he found inspiration for paintings from this very garden.
After Monet’s death in 1926 the house passed through various family member’s care until 1977 when his son bequeathed the estate to Academie des Beaux-Arts. After much neglect, it took almost ten years to restore the property to what we see today. With a crumbling staircase, trees growing in the studio, and much of the garden grown over, it took many donations, mostly from Americans, to bring the place back to its former glory. And since September 1980, the house has been opened for visitors.
Just like Monet was inspired by the gardens and home he created, our clients were inspired after their visit too! Whenever you’re traveling it’s so important to take in the historic and cultural places that you come across. You never know what you might learn and what ideas you may have after touring a historic property. That’s why I love our Diva Guides—they know this all too well and always go above and beyond for our clients.
If you’d like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour in any of our 8 tour countries, email us at [email protected]
Until next time,
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Salvo Fair will be held on 27-28 June with Trade Day on Friday 26 June, at Fawley Hill, Fawley Green, Henley-on-Thames RG9 6JA, Oxfordshire and will be open 11am – 5pm.henever clients reach out to us for information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, one of the first questions we ask them is for which type of pieces they will be looking. Architectural salvage has been high on client’s lists for the last few years and the desire for these types of pieces hasn’t slowed down in 2015. While we have wonderful sources for architectural salvage, the largest architectural salvage fair in the world is coming up in June which will bring together dealers from the UK, Europe, and beyond. The
This is the fourteenth year for this fair which is legendary in the trade, often bringing in some of the best interior designers, architects, builders, developers and dealers to shop. Even celebrities and billionaires are known to peruse the fair for just the right pieces of antique garden art or reclaimed building materials. Anything from antique flooring and bricks to vintage lighting, antique fireplaces, and decorative antiques can be found at Salvo Fair.
This year it will be held at Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine’s extraordinary private estate near Henley-on-Thames. And it’s the weekend before Henley Regatta and Wimbledon and just after the Royal Ascot races. It’s at the centre of the English Social calendar! Ruby Hazael, co-organizer of Salvo Fair says, “Sir William McAlpine has built an extraordinary home on the outskirts of Henley with a full size steam railway, a railway museum and 400 rescued animals. We are honoured to be able to hold the Salvo Fair at Fawley Hill, and very excited that our visitors will not only be able to browse and buy at the largest salvage fair in the country but will also be able to experience Fawley Hill’s attractions which are not normally open to the public.”
Just a taste of what one can expect to find at Salvo Fair includes: Fireplaces, chimneypieces, doors, windows, radiators, statuary, seats, urns, troughs, tubs, garden, sundials, birdbaths, pergola, rose arches, railway sleepers, furniture, bathrooms, baths, basins, taps, toilets, tiles, brassware, knobs, handles, knockers, hinges, balls, finials, chairs, pews, altars, lecterns, stained glass, staircases, spirals, flooring, parquet, woodblock, floorboards, bricks, pavers, flagstones, york stone coping, pediments, balustrade, timber, oak pine, marble, trusses, beams, columns, pilasters, portico, cornice, dado, skirting, roof tiles, slates, ironwork, gates, railings, lighting, lamposts, kitchens, kitchenalia, sinks, post boxes, telephone boxes, cartwheels, shopfittings, butchers block, and shingles.
In other words, if you can’t find it at Salvo Fair, you can’t find it!
If you’d like more information on Salvo Fair, check out their website or email us at [email protected].
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
he county of Sussex, in the South East of England, is in my humble opinion one of the most beautiful places in the country to visit, and therefore a perfect location to base an Antiques Tour. When locally-based UK Diva Guide Alys Dobbie recently took a client named Shannon on a buying tour, she had such a ball with our client that she though it would be interesting for you, dear Diva Readers, to read about the tour from a guide’s perspective!
Diva Guide Alys writes:
“I met Shannon at the Lewes train station – how very strange it is to meet someone you’ve never clapped eyes on before. It feels like a blind date when meeting a client for the first time – we’d even told each other what we would be wearing (Purple coat for one and green tights on the other)!
Once safely into the right side of the car, Shannon told me her wants and her needs for antiquing in England. She’d already emailed a superb list ahead so I could really research and find the ideal dealers to visit in the South East. Upon hopping in the car we were fast friends – it usually works this way on tour with the guide and client as automatically you have so much in common with the shared interest of antiquing. Plus, our clients tend to be the most interesting people. Shannon is American but lives in Amsterdam and I was fascinated by her fabulous expat life.
Our first stop was a humble little town on the south coast where you wouldn’t expect to have an exceptional array of buildings all owned by one dealer…. of course that’s why you’ve booked a buying tour with us… to take you those places you wouldn’t find on your own!
Shannon wanted a statement dining table for her kitchen that would house her and her family comfortably. There were lots and lots of lovely reclaimed railway sleeper tables and others with centuries of history. We were in our element! She also found a beautiful Jacobean chest of drawers – not particularly her style admittedly but it’s hard to find anything better than a piece of furniture that’s over 300 years old (at a reasonable price!). We spent an hour or so here and then moved onto our next appointment.
Meeting our next dealer was a funny one – he had just moved into a new warehouse that had been newly built that week! But he was friendly and helpful. Shannon fell in love with a French baguette trolley – she told me herself that she has a real weakness for anything on wheels.
After which we carried on to Brighton passing over The National Park that is The South Downs. It was a typical British day – drizzle and wind, but the great hills still looked fantastic. Shannon was delighted we were going to Brighton for our next visit – seeing the pier even from the comfort of a car was a great treat.
We next dropped off to a friend of mine’s shop – he had just been on a buying trip to France so the timing was perfect – he had lots of lovely weird and wacky decorative pieces as well as some great tambour fronted storage solutions .
After a quick spot of lunch (no rest for the wicked! we often eat on the run when on a buying tour), we moseyed on out and followed the coast west to Worthing.
I had been recommended a place by my good friend Henry Nicholls and he came up trumps – the second we walked into the door, Shannon was in her element. She was grinning ear to ear – it’s always so great to meet another furniture enthusiast. She in particular fell in love with a huge gorgeous French grain store – the paint hadn’t been touched and it was in lovely condition.
I was certainly saving the best until last and we visited a very well known dealer at the next location and were shown around personally. It really was an incredible experience for me, too – as a young dealer, this man has always been something of an inspiration. Shannon fell in love with a lot of his stock! Especially a very large 12′ table which would have been ideal for her kitchen. The patina and condition was beautiful.
After 8 hours our tour was complete…. sometimes the days go longer because you’re buying on the road so it’s easy to lose track of time! I love this job – I got to take a very nice woman shopping in my home county!”
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Puces du Design in conjunction with the Puces de Paris and save 100 EURO!!! The Puces du Design is the only event of this size and quality to be open to the public. With over 100 dealers, our Diva Guides can help you navigate the booths, translate with dealers, and negotiate on your behalf.ttention, attention! We’ve got a last minute special happening in Paris! Book a SPECIAL TOUR of the
When the fair was first founded in 1999, it was absolutely audacious to propose in Paris a market with dealers specialized in Post War 20th century design. Who would buy it, the French wondered…. But the bet of fair founder Fabien Bonillo paid off and his Puces du Design has been going strong for 15 years! The Puces du Design is the only design event of this size and quality (100 exhibitors among which 40% of non French gallerists ).
Among the hundred of antique dealers and gallerists coming from all over Europe you’ll find some of the most famous designers of the period – Eames, Panton, Saarinen, Matégot, Prouvé. And did I mention they also do fashion at the fair…
Paris Flea Market, Puces du Design, Antiques Diva Tours, Mid-Century Modern, Tours of Paris.
Get bit by the fleas. Book a tour now and save as the Puces du Design runs May 28-31. Email us at [email protected].
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
The Antique & Design Center of High Point. If you missed part one make sure to go back and read it HERE. Now, last time I wrote, you’ll recall, I was delighted to lead a tour of the Antique & Design Center during Spring Market. For those of you who missed market, I had to share some of my top picks from market.oday we’re continuing our Favorite Finds from
Normally specializing in painted pieces of Italian, Swedish and French provenance, Mitra of Art & Antique Hunter found a sublime Swedish walnut table that she instantly knew was a show stopper. This piece is stunning in person – photos simply cannot do it justice. The pattern of the wood grain is gorgeous in an of itself, each piece specifically cut to make a starburst on the table’s center, with the woodgrain gorgeously flowing down the legs.
There weren’t a lot of garden antiques at the Antique & Design Center of High Point, but the pieces that were there were stellar. Perhaps my favorite garden piece at the fair was this pair of rare 1920’s sculpted garden statues from Gallery at Summerhill. Australian vendor Chris O’Brian found this pair in a Palm Beach House – constructed entirely from one piece of carved limestone. The quality is exquisite. I loved their pose- the way their forms embraced – it’s actually quite rare to find both male and female pieces together this way. And if you look closely, the male figures have classic Baroque putti faces… but the females… have you ever seen anything quite like them? Probably not! There is no tradition for a female “putti” face so the sculptor had to imagine them himself, breathing his own life and inspiration into them.
Another fabulous garden piece, this pair of Romantic Revival Movement garden statues circa 1800 from Hank Kozlowski are grand and fun all at once. They’d be just as appropriate today in a boxwood garden as they would be in Marie Antoinette’s hamlet where she used to frolic pretending to be a peasant!
Next door to Hank Kozlowski is Halsey Dean Antiques which gives vintage and antique pieces a new lease on life. They silver and gold leaf vintage pieces so they simply shimmer. One of our favorite finds in their stall was a reinvented Tomlinson piece made in 1962… RIGHT HERE IN THE VERY BUILDING where the Antique & Design Center of High Point now calls home! At The Antiques Diva & Co we believe in making antiques & vintage pieces relevant. I give Chris and Tim a round of applause for making vintage pieces that might be overlooked more marketable and applicable for today’s interior.
I love it when vendors think outside the box. And that’s exactly what vendor Heidi Jones of Punch Jones does. By nature she is a storyteller and her inventory is choreographed in a way that it reads as if it were a novel. Sometimes it’s a historical novel, other times a mystery. While almost all of her pieces were statement pieces, perhaps the piece that caught my eye the most was an antique black dress framed in a shadow box. With such graphic punch it could work in a modern space as well as a traditional space!
Speaking of vendors with great eyes, Sandy Luther has a fantastic eye. Her entire booth is a favorite from market because of her divine style – we couldn’t choose just one piece to highlight – so we’re highlighting Sandy’s style overall. Correction make that “Sandy’s Style” overall… the word style needed a capital S! Specializing in 18th C Italian religious relics and fragments, Sandy does like to shake it up from time to time. She’s recently started mixing in mid century pieces with her inventory and she has me smitten with a capital S.
Speaking of being Smitten, you’ve probably heard me say before that Alhambra Antiques is one of my favorite vendors in the USA, selling divine European inventory. Ignacio (and his daughter Olga who is co-owner with husband Doug Scott of The HighBoy) have a great eye for sourcing in Europe! Alhambra Antiques consistently has top quality, creative inventory that punctuates spaces with a European vibe. His first time displaying at market, vendor Ignacio’s stole the show with his chandeliers. While he had chandeliers dating several hundred years old, perhaps my favorites were the vintage Italian Murano and Art Glass. Talk about a statement piece! WOW!
Sometimes my favorite items in the booth, weren’t the oldest or the most precious, or even the best value. Dealers Richard and Tatiana of Rue Auber Antiques had a wonderful assortment of pieces that were under-priced! They buy low at auction (or house clearing sales nearby their New England home) and thus they pass along their savings. One painting in their booth was estimated at $3-5K at auction and they were selling for $1200 and they had an Italian Carerra Marble fireplace that would have sold in New York for 12K going for 4K! They pride themselves on seeking quality and selling for a good value. The piece that struck me in their booth was a designer’s dream – it was a faux malachite table from the 1960s. The color, the pattern, the shape were all perfect and I can imagine it showing up on the cover of House Beautiful or some other shelter publication in the coming years!
Last but not least was Marshall Clements from Little Rock, Arkansas. They have some of the most to-die-for inventory – my particular favorite piece in their booth was a 19th C Sculoa Baroque Table – similar to Pietre Dura (which is comprised of semi-precious stones). This is a pigment version from a church in Rome. I think it was one of the most special pieces at the fair! I also loved their Pair of 19th C bibliotheques as well as their assortment of well priced 18th C walnut tables selling for 3-5K.
Hope you’ve enjoyed our Antiques Diva High Point Antique and Design Center Round Up!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
High Point Furniture Market where each season Spring & Fall I offer a slew of events Stateside (No Passport Required) at the Antique & Design Center of High Point. This year – in addition to speaking on a panel on The Secret Life of Antiques – I was delighted to lead a special tour of the market, pointing out new dealers, old favorites and highlighting some of my Favorite Finds at the fair! With a crew of 40+ shoppers in tow we had an enthusiastic group eager to learn how to shop – Antiques Diva Style!wice a year I cross the pond and head to
Without further ado, here are my top finds at this Spring 2015 High Point Market … Alas there were so many goodies to be found this blog post can only fit Part 1…stay tuned for Part 2 on Friday!
Perhaps my favorite piece in the whole of the fair was this repurposed 18th C Italian Alter from B. Kelley Antiques – who displayed for the first time ever at this fair. Sharing a booth space with Old & The Proud (who has some great ironstone) this piece is originally from a church in Italy. In excellent condition – the piece is married from 2 pieces – the top entirely original patina while the bottom had been made from old wood with additional 18th C Italian fragments added to complete the piece. I can picture this in an entry way, a living room, even a dining room – regardless of which room of the house it ends up in it would be an ideal statement piece in any home.
Next up we’re doing a total flip flop on style – flashing forward a couple of hundred years! This Walter Von Nessen swing-arm lamp from the 1930’s – available at Metropolitan Interiors – caught my eye because it was the very first prototype of this type of lamp. While today swing arm lamps are incredibly well known it was innovation at its finest back in the day!
A step into Anne’s booth Antiques on Holiday was just that… a vacation for the eye, filled with gorgeous one-of-a-kind pieces. I was downright smitten with this French globe from the late 1800’s. I loved the scale – oversized with a gorgeous color scheme – I felt like the whole world, er, make that Le Monde (all the writing was in French) was at my finger tips!
There was definitely a trend towards religious pieces at The Antiques & Design Center of High Point – most of which have a Catholic origin. Perhaps one of the most unusual finds at #ADCHP was a 17th century cabinet from Arcanum Antiques & Interiors. Of Jewish origin, probably from Eastern Europe, it is believed to be a Torah Cabinet— used for transporting the Torah and all of its accoutrement. It’s got handles and comes apart in various pieces for easy transport.
Another of my long-term favorite vendors at the fair is Tuesday on the Boulevard. This vendor sells exclusively at High Point – so if you want to shop their quirky finds – which almost ALWAYS SELL OUT – you need to buy from them the Antique & Design Center of High Point. One of my favorite items in their stall this year is a fun and happy mid-century painting in the style of Miro. The vendor found this painting while cleaning out the contents of a chi-chi Manhattan apartment. Now… this painting is a great example of mixing modern with antique. It would be the perfect foil for a serious antique chest of drawers in a dark wood! I’m imagining it against an Empire commode.
I can not mention my favorite vendors at the Antique and Design Center of High Point Market with out giving a great big Shout Out to Nancy Price. I love her and her entire team…. they are as beautiful as their inventory! Choosing only 1 piece to highlight in her stall was next to impossible… but I finally settled on this Italian Altar Piece with candle holders dated circa 1750 (shown at the bottom of this photo). Now… this piece is particularly special… most of our trade clients have us sign a confidentiality agreement when we do sourcing for them but Nancy was happy to tell her clients that she’d sourced this piece (as well as several others) with us in Europe though our Buying Services! It’s so fun to see pieces from one of our favorite vendors across the pond make their way to America with one of our favorite vendors stateside!
Speaking of fun… the guys at BoxRoad.net are so much fun—and so is their inventory. The team comprised of Michel, Stacey and Donny has a great eye with an electric mix of inventory. These aren’t the people who follow the trends… they set them. While numerous pieces in their stall caught my attention from paper mache molds, to the “instant collections” of mirrors to Lucite barstools and industrial tables perhaps the most quirky of the inventory in their stall was this horn chair from Texas.
Now last but not least, before I bid you adieu in PART 1 OF MY HIGH POINT ROUND UP, let’s talk about one more stunning piece…this vintage 1920’s Italian backdrop. Vendor Antoinette of A. Vincent Antiques and Interiors bought this from a dealer’s personal collection and she was only allowed to buy the piece if she promised to make sure it ended up in a good home. Hmmm….. I give my antiques the best attention, love and care… I would have bought this one myself but alas…. I was too late! It sold to one of the other vendors at High Point Market within seconds of market opening!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our High Point Favorite Finds!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
igh Point Furniture Market is always such fun! It feels like going to summer camp for adults because there are fabulous parties each day and you get to reconnect with industry colleagues who seem to always become dear friends! To kick off this market, a group of us attended the opening night party at the Junior League of High Point Show House.
The house itself is a Tudor Revival home which was built in 1912. Its graciously sized—but not overly grand— rooms were transformed by several local and national designers. After touring this lovely house, I can definitely imagine living here! It was wonderful seeing that many of the designers are actually friends and have been on Antiques Diva Tours! The theme of this year’s showhouse is “From High Point to the World.” How appropriate is that?! Without further ado, let’s recap some of my favorite rooms!
The dining room by Madcap Cottage was fabulous! Jason Oliver Nixon & John Loecke have such an eye for using color and interesting objects. Their spaces always seem to have the perfect mix of items. And of course I swooned over the Fromental wallpaper they used!
The most fun room in my opinion was our friend Holly Phillips’ Carriage House Upstairs Living Area. Holly just has a way of mixing object from different eras & styles and making it work. She paired colors that I would never have thought to use in the same room and the result was absolutely perfection.
The kitchen and back hall entrance was done by our lovely friend Lisa Mende and it is luxurious, stylish, and comfortable all at once. The combination of deep blue, lime green, and black is so cool. And the patterns she uses are amazing!
Cathy Austin’s bedroom is bright, fresh, and oh so Diva approved! With its global influences and pink tones, Cathy describes it as the heiress, globe-trotting daughter who has returned home.
Kara Cox has designed the most glamorous jewel box of a dressing room. There’s even champagne chilling on the vanity. If that’s not Diva style, I don’t know what is!
Leslie Moore created a bedroom that doubles as an art studio. And she’s featured southern female artists in this inspiring space! I love that!
The bubbly Libby Langdon did a very chic bedroom complete with canopy bed and sitting area. We ended up spending the most time in this room as Libby’s personality always attracts tons of people!
Our friend Eric Ross did the library terrace and the pool area. While outdoor spaces can be a challenge, Eric pulled it off with flying colors! Stylish and comfortable are two words that come to mind when spending time in his spaces.
All in all the shophouse certainly is a place I want to spend time in! With so many talented designers in one place, you cannot leave this home without being inspired! Huge thank you to Traditional Home for hosting this fabulous party! It was a great way to kick off spring market!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
mother isn’t supposed to pick favorites…. and as CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co all my tour countries are like my children. And while I’m not supposed to pick favorites one of our new tours has me so smitten I can’t help but to give that child a little extra love. I’m talking about Venice! Our Venice Antique Buying Tours offer beyond gorgeous opportunities for sourcing antiques in one of the most dreamy cities in the world! While Venice is full of historic gems and centuries old buildings (not to mention palazzo’s where you can shop off the palace walls), it is still very much alive as a 21st century city. It’s a complex and magical city – and perhaps one of my favorite places on earth.
Our friend JoAnn Locktov has created a book called “Dream of Venice” that celebrates contemporary Venice while still honoring its past.
“Nothing can really prepare you for Venice. The stunning agglomerate of architectural styles, the sinuous maze of narrow calli, and the languid water that follows you everywhere. It is a city built on dreams. Several years ago I met the photographer, Charles Christopher. He had a portfolio of remarkable Venice images that were unlike anything I had ever seen before. His photographers were personal and textural and so still, you could hear the silence. We decided to collaborate and publish a book on contemporary Venice. We paired the images with words from all sorts of people- writers, poets, film directors, actors, and designers. We identified Venetophiles that had an intimate connection to the city and could express their thoughts in a unique way.
In Dream of Venice there is no table of contents, nor are there page numbers to guide your way. We do not identify any of the locations. It was our intention to create a passeggiata, a meander through Venice, where turning a corner, you never quite know what will greet you. So please, join me for a stroll through the floating city. We’ll stop on our way for an ombra…”
Venice is a state of mind. That is, the scintillating, kaleidoscopic, shifting colors of that watery realm remain alive inside me long after I depart the actual city. -Frances Mayes
I call my late night peregrinations “once around the block,” and although I have discovered many routes and sometimes have the pleasure of choosing different crossroads, I have come to discover that “all roads lead to Rome”- which, for me, always means San Marco. -Hutton Wilkinson
The unexpected mystery of Venice… misleading reflections, startling shadows, ominous light and shade, and endless corners. What’s round the next one? -Julie Christie
At night Venice’s lights dim, its sounds are submerged in those of slapping water, and it wraps itself in mystery, as does our consciousness when dissolved in sleep. -Marcella Hazan
I looked up at these rooms illuminated by enormous chandeliers made centuries earlier in this very city. They didn’t sparkle like the crystal chandeliers of Paris— the Venetian chandeliers glimmered. They glimmered with a dim luster like the inky water that held us aloft as we floated into the heart of my dream city. -Matthew White
From the windows, the curtains are alive, shaken by the wind and the sun. Una meraviglia- a wonder- in the only city that makes you wish, while closing your eyes, to relive each moment just as it has appeared. -Patrizia Gucci”
As JoAnn is an expert on Venice I asked her to share some of her top trips (beyond booking an Antiques Diva(R) tour) on what to do in Venice:
- Lodging: There are many splendid boutique hotels; one of my favorites is Ca’Gottardi in the Cannaregio. If you are looking for modern design in a resplendent palazzo I recommend PalazzinaG designed by Philippe Starck.
- To eat: Venice is famous for their bacari, the small wine bars that offer cicchetti, a Venetian version of tapas. It is easy to make a small meal out of these tasty bites but for a full repast I recommend La Cantina for the convivial spirit and Francesco’s mastery in a kitchen the size of well, it is so small, there actually is no kitchen. Estro is impeccable and Oliva Nera is lovely.
- To shop: The Sent sisters create beautiful and bright modern glass jewelry. Giovanna Zanella is a master cobbler; see her on your first day so that she can measure your feet for a custom pair of shoes. For gorgeous glass, a Venetian artisan tradition, I recommend Seguso. The showroom is by appointment only. The family has been creating glass on Murano since 1397. Giampaolo Seguso, the family patriarch is also a poet. He dreamt an evocative poem for Dream of Venice.
- To do: Did you know Venice had spectacular pastries and chocolate? You can join the irrepressible Monica Cesarato for this sweet tour and walk off any calories you might happen to consume. Venice is best seen from the water, so why not learn to row when you are there? Join Cristina Gregorin for an architectural tour and learn about built Venice, the agglomeration of styles and the architects who designed her most ravishing buildings and bridges. Visit an artisan studio and learn an authentic Venetian craft with one of the workshops offered through Italian Stories.
Grazie Mille JoAnn!
The Antiques Diva
Dear Diva Readers,
erhaps the biggest challenge when shopping overseas is knowing how to get goods home sweet home safely and cost effectively. Oh the thrill of the hunt! On tour we have a range of clients – from ones who fill multiple 40 foot containers, spending hundreds of thousands of euros on inventory to stock their stores to ones who are seeking just a few small items that are perfectly packable and brought home in the their luggage. Occasionally clients even buy a second suitcase on tour to bring their goods home! Now here’s a surprise… sometimes it costs less to MAIL that second suitcase with a courier than it does to bring it with you on the plane home.
When you’re shopping the fleas and decide to mail items home you need a professional international courier with the appropriate customs documents (and licenses when applicable). Typically the shipper advise of any additional arrangements required like crating for fragile objects or customs documentation.
We always recommend clients discuss with their courier or shipper their insurance needs. A good courier will offer added insurance to cover high-value items. When sending antiques with a courier, it is important the inventory is packaged carefully following the recommended packaging guidelines carefully. If the item is not packaged correctly, it will not qualify for cover in the event it is damaged during transit. On tour – when you’re out buying – we always recommend clients take photos of their purchases as they shop! This gives you extra security, in the event there is any dispute or damage in transit.
When it comes to shipping, accidents happen and snafu’s occur. But sometimes those snafu’s are more than lost of damaged goods. What happens if you buy something you’re not allowed to ship internationally? One of the best recent examples of export restrictions is the story of Jane Austen’s ring that made headlines in 2014. Singer Kelly Clarkson was forced to give up Jane Austen’s turquoise ring that she bought at a Sotheby’s auction in 2012. Clarkson was unable to take the ring out of the country due to a temporary export ban placed by Jane Austen’s House Museum. The official deadline was 30 September. The museum was able to raise £152,000 to save the ‘national treasure’ for Austen readers around the world! This complex, but fascinating case shows how important the paperwork is for collectors. The UK is notoriously strict when it comes to buying and exporting items which may be classified as ‘national treasure”!
So what are the Rules & Regulations for Export from the UK?
- In the UK, items under 50 years of age, which do not include precious metals and are not of national significance are generally exempt from restrictions.
- However items which contain precious metals and are of national significance or are over 50 years of age will be subject to stricter export regulations.
- Always check with the Portable Antiquities Scheme or Arts Council if you are unsure.
- If the object falls under the definition of the treasure outlined in the UK Treasure act, you should check that the item has been reported to a UK coroner within the legal period of 14 days. The inquest will always have final say whether or not the finds qualify as national treasure.
- If the treasure is found to constitute a national treasure, the finder must first offer the item to a museum. If a museum does not express interest, then the finder will retain ownership.
- Keep in mind, that under English Law, landowners will have rights to objects found on their land. It may be necessary to qualify with the seller where the item was found (this only applies to coins, ring, jewellery or artefacts over 50 years).
- Certain carriers like DHL have different rules and restrictions for various countries, particularly Australia. So, check with several carriers if possible.
When in doubt if the item you’re buying is suitable for export professional couriers such as the UK-based customer service team at ParcelHero.com. can advise on shipping costs and restrictions to your recipient country. You can also estimate costs of shipping excess luggage or individual antiques with their handy booking tool to help you plan your trip. The site will allow you to track up to 25 items at one time with real-time scan updates, so you can follow your packages’ movements before you even step foot on the plane.
Now if you are planning to mail your purchases home sweet home yourself – here’s a few Hints & Tips on Packaging Your Items for Mailing Correctly:
- Whether you are stuffing a suitcase or boxing items for shipping via courier, the principles remain the same – wrap and insulate correctly to avoid any damage in transit.
- Protect each item against damp and dust by wrapping the item in a clean plastic bag.
- If it is a framed artwork, use foam board and corner supports for additional protection.
- Insulate the item in bubble-wrap, secured with packaging tape.
- Use a new or strong, suitably sized box with the joins and seams reinforced.
- Place packaging chips or other insulation within the box (scrunched up paper will do)
- Place the wrapped item or items within the box, ensuring the items do not touch each other or the outer walls of the box
- If you have customs documents, place duplicate copies within the box with your items.
- If you are using a second-hand box, remove all old labels and barcodes from the box.
- Seal the box with dedicated strong packaging tape.
The Antiques Diva®
P.S. Thanks to our friends at ParcelHero.com for providing additional information on export restrictions.
Dear Diva Readers,
Les Merveilles de Babellou. This boutique is THE BEST source for vintage fashion in Paris! In fact, you can see a snippet of the store in a video we did last year for The Editor at Large when I ran into one of our Diva Guides while I was shopping the Puce on film with VIP Designers David Dalton and Jennifer Mehditash.love Paris in the Spring time… I love Paris in the Fall. Paris is perhaps the city where any Diva would feel most at home – it is the epitome of style and taste. It also happens to be one of our most popular tour cities at The Antiques Diva & Co. The Paris Flea Market alone is a huge draw as you can find almost any type of antique you are looking for – but for fashionista’s our Paris Vintage Fashion Tours are a dream come true. I wanted to share with you today one special source
Isabelle Klein is one of our favorite dealers at “Marché Paul Bert”. Her luxury vintage fashion boutique “Les Merveilles de Babellou” is actually bearing Isabelle’s childhood nickname – Babellou! The store has the ambiance of an old time Paris boutique which transports customers to a time and place when Paris fashion was at its height. Top fashion brands of the twentieth century like Chanel, Hermes, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and many others fill the store, beckoning all who enter to take a piece of fashion history home with them.
Celebrities, stylists, and vintage fashion lovers can find clothing, haute-couture, accessories, and jewelry that elicit “oohs and ahhs.” If you’re looking to add to your collection or even purchase a special piece for an event, this is the place to find it! But inspiration can also be found on their website where you can click through stylish and rare pieces from the comfort of your home. All products in the store and online are guaranteed to be authentic and of good quality.
If you happen to be in Paris, stop in and tell them The Antiques Diva sent you—or better yet, take one of our Paris Vintage Fashion Tours and shop on the arm of one of our lovely Diva Guides! If you’d like information on our Paris Tours, email us at [email protected].
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
o here’s my confession du jour. I have a few vices. I love to drive fast cars. I drink way too much champagne. When I travel I’m known to pack 2 pairs of shoes for every day of the week And I adore vintage fashion. While my feet dance an Italian beat – pounding out the syllables of Ferragamo, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana – my head and shoulders are purely dedicated to all things French… at night when I sleep visions of vintage Chanel and Hermes dance through my head. And while I love draping myself in the glamorous style of the past, I love even more when I can Decorate Diva Style using Vintage Fashion as Art!
Every once in a while we come across something so special on our tours that we know we MUST tell you about them. At the Paris Flea Market we recently found a set of 10 framed original sketches of Hermes scarf patterns. For years I’ve been encouraging clients to buy vintage Hermes and frame it for chic art – but this takes the cake! These are the original drawings upon which the scarves were made!
The designs for the scarves were first sketched and then engraved into wood blocks which were used to produce the silk scarves. Over the years, different artists have been commissioned to create their own designs and more than 2,000 unique designs have been produced since 1937. Often incorporating bold hues, the subject matter of the scarf designs range from equestrian, to flora & fauna, to constellations! Many vintage designs are re-released in fresh color palettes.
Wouldn’t it be fun to own a piece of the company’s history? With our Buying Services you can! We can shop on your behalf as your PERSONAL SHOPPER IN PARIS! We love acting as your “(wo)man on the ground” throughout Europe, but especially when it comes to something as Diva-licious as vintage Hermes! We happen to know that the vendor selling these Hermes designs is retiring, which means we can negotiate a fantastic price for our clients.
Before I close…one last fashion fact! Did you know that Hermes didn’t start out making women’s fashion? While their scarves have graced the heads and necks of fashion icons such as Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and even Queen Elizabeth II, the company began by creating harnesses and bridles for horses. After being in business for one hundred years, the company started designing scarves in 1937, made from the same silk that lined their riding jackets. Paying homage to that particular time in the company, I went elephant trekking this past summer in Thailand and wore one of my Hermes as my headscarf!
I need to dash… I’ve got some shopping to do! But if you’re interested in a Paris Vintage Fashion Buying Tour or if you want more information on our Buying Services, email us at [email protected]. We’d love to help you source exactly what you’re looking for!
Be chic, Be fashionable, and do it with Diva Style!
The Antiques Diva®
(seen here in my “new” vintage fox fur stole purchased this weekend while vintage fashion shopping in Berlin)
Dear Diva Readers,
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
e’ve all heard that saying and it’s been around for a reason—it’s true! We all make snap judgements—good or bad— based on first impressions. We see with our eyes, feel with our touch, smell with our noses, hear with our ears—basically we use our 5 senses to make a judgment whenever we encounter something for the first time. And the reality is that first impressions DO MATTER-especially when it comes to the home. Each time you open your door to a friend, neighbor, colleague, even yourself, the first impression should be one of comfort and it should reflect your tastes and personality.
The foyer is the ideal place to create a vignette and atmosphere that shows off your style. This is where you can BE DRAMATIC!!! BE BOLD! SPLASH IT WITH COLOR and SET THE TONE TO YOUR HOME! In my own home, my entry way is small leading towards a stairwell… but a small space doesn’t mean you can’t be big on style. I put in a Spanish secretaire that’s older than America (with original paint) and painted the space (even the ceiling) a moody black – hung some dramatic art and accessories… et voila, when people enter my home they know they are entering an experience.
Whether your entry way is big or small, once anyone crosses your threshold, they should be welcomed into your world.
First things first— get a nice table to set things upon like keys, purses, gloves, etc. This can be a gorgeous antique console table or if your space allows, a statement center table which can also hold a beautiful bouquet of flowers that smell delightful—see we’re already involving the senses!
Speaking of the senses, don’t forget about “touch.” There should be at least a chair or bench at the ready for guests who want to remove their shoes. This doesn’t necessarily have to be something plush or super comfortable, as it isn’t an area of the house where anyone spends much time. Rather, this piece should be a place to perch for a moment, which means it can be more decorative.
Anything that resembles clutter should be hidden in the foyer. If you have a closet, outfit it with shelves or baskets to hide things like hats, gloves, coats, shoes, umbrellas, and other necessities. If you don’t have a closet, consider using hooks on the wall or a coat rack, along with beautiful baskets (perhaps antique) to store things in.
Lighting is also important – if ceiling height allows – go for a chandelier baby! Or add a couple of buffet lamps to your console table or even a few candle holders for ambiance.
A mirror is the ideal piece for an entryway as it allows you to “check yourself out” before leaving the house and also gives guests an opportunity to tidy their hair when arriving on a windy day. Not to mention, mirrors reflect light and add sparkle to any space.
Of course, a rug is necessary especially in the winter months when snow and dirt are dragged into the house. Opt for something that’s durable and easy to clean. Antique rugs are perfect for foyers as they were made to withstand lots of use and often incorporate beautiful colors and classic patterns.
However you choose to decorate your foyer, keep in mind that it must be functional and beautiful. A place to wipe feet, a spot to sit down and remove shoes, an area to store coats and other accessories, a mirror to check your appearance, and a table to sit things down are all necessary pieces to the puzzle that will create a perfect entrance to your home—your world!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
ippity Hop Hop! Hippity Hop Hop! Easters on its way!! It’s hard to believe that it’s already officially spring time! That means that Easter is almost upon us and that’s got me thinking about Easter baskets. You know what I think stinks? Is that as adults we no longer wake up to an Easter basket. This year I might just have to buy myself my own basket!!!! And of course not only would I fill it full of chocolate and candy but I’d also add in some antique Belgian chocolate molds so the gift just keeps on giving throughout the year. Incidentally Brussels’ Place de Grand Sablon Flea Market is THE PLACE to find these molds. In fact the largest vendors of antique chocolate molds in the entire world has a stand right there at the antiques market!
Antique chocolate molds were traditionally in the shapes of butterflies, bunnies, and eggs along with various other shapes which developed over time. As with many utilitarian items, these molds became more and more decorative as time went on. The detail and craftsmanship has improved over many years, yet their original purpose is still served—to create yummy and gorgeous chocolates! They come as single molds, which are usually larger, or tray-like moulds which allow you to make several of the same shape at once.
Another fantastic thing about antique molds is that they make beautiful decorative accents. With many of them being made of metal, which takes on such a wonderful patina, they can be hung in mass on a kitchen wall to create an interesting focal point. You can also use them on a plate shelf as objects of interest. From copper to tin, these molds have been around in grand kitchens as well as humble abodes throughout Europe.
Of course if you’re a serious collector, you’ll want to look for a maker’s mark (stamp) and definitely take into consideration the condition of the molds you find. Another factor that plays into the value of each mold is the rarity of its shape. Most antique molds were made in France and Germany, then exported all over Europe. From the early 18th century through modern times, chocolate molds have evolved and reflected the style of each era. For instance, earlier molds were very detailed in Victorian times while during the Art Deco era they became more streamlined with an air of fantasy.
If you’d like information on taking one of our Antique Buying Tours in Belgium or any of our 8 European tour countries, email us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
re you heading to High Point Market? If so then you won’t want to miss me at the Antique & Design Center of High Point where I will be doing 2 events!
Saturday, April 18th, 4pm at The Antique & Design Center
As owner of Europe’s largest antiques touring and buying service company, The Antiques Diva & Co takes you on a tour of the major antique periods and styles to identify their key characteristics, utilizing modern day metaphors and featuring inventory found at the Antique and Design Center in High Point. No passport required. See you there!
Have you ever wondered just how those incredible antique finds end up on the covers of your favorite shelter magazines and in the showrooms of the top designers? Well, we’re here to uncover their past, reinvent their present and revitalize them for the future. Join Toma, Melissa, Cari and Heather as they discuss the journey from flea market find to show stopping favorite. The discussion will focus on just how the vintage and antique pieces are sourced by dealers, then how their histories are revealed through research and restoration, going forward the panel will discuss the marketing of vintage and antique finds and how the interior design community has been at the forefront of the resurgence of popularity of these pieces, and they’ll also discuss how those vintage and antique pieces are placed in homes, showrooms and how they wind up on the pages of our favorite shelter magazines.
Join us for a fun and lively discussion on the Secret Lives of Antiques!
You already know me – Toma Clark Haines aka, The Antiques Diva CED (that would be Chief Executive Diva) of Europe’s favorite antique buying tours – Melissa Mittag is an expert on antique and contemporary wall coverings and is a representative for Fromental llc, Cari Cucksey is an HGTV personality and has her own line of paints, Heather Karlie Vieira is a vintage and antique dealer with a showroom on the South Shore of Boston called @20th Century by HKFA.
See you there,
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
My dear friend Catherine, a social media expert and content curator, and I have known each other for ages. We lived in Paris together back at the start of the millineum and have been shopping the world together ever since. She was with me when my I first developed my passion for Chanel and so I was so excited when she emailed me recently to say she was lucky to be gifted a vintage Chanel camera bag for Christmas. It was everything she was looking for….
- black lambskin
- quilted patent leather
- gold chain strap
- front outer pocket with CC logo
- inside zip pocket
The bag was perfect for life in the city: the right size to hold a wallet, smart phone, keys and lipstick. Not too big or heavy, waterproof for year-round walking the streets of NYC. And it would fit easily inside her LV shopper carry-on when traveling.
She had been coveting the purse for several weeks, but with the holidays coming it wasn’t the time to buy herself a gift. But Santa’s helper must have whispered in her husband’s ear, because on Christmas morning the little black bag was hers! All Hers!
“We were heading out for dinner, and I decided it was a good night to try out my new bag. The bag looked stunning against my black and gold coat: as a shoulder bag. The chain strap was simply too short to use as a cross-body, the purse rested snugly above my waist. Living in the city I strongly prefer the convenience of a cross-body purse, easy for hands-free walking, subway rides and carrying groceries home.
The next few days I did some online research and discovered Mautto, makers of purse straps, replacement straps and handbag accessories. After studying their prices and photos, I ordered a 12” strap extender made of gold chain and black leather with mini hooks. $31.00 less 10% first-time customer coupon, for $27.90 shipping included. Express delivery is available starting at $12.99.
Because I decided to travel after I ordered the strap extender, I emailed Lynette, the owner of Mautto, and changed my shipping address. Lynette couldn’t have been nicer or more prompt with her response: perfect customer service.
The strap arrived in less than 2 weeks (with another 10% discount coupon), and I easily attached it to my Chanel chain strap with the tiny gold hooks. The length is perfect: my cross-body now rests comfortably on my hip. And you can barely notice where the strap extender attaches to the original chain strap.
I have a myrtille blue Louis Vuitton Speedy bag and have been searching to find a matching strap; unfortunately LV discontinued the myrtille color a few years ago. I’ll be purchasing my strap from Mautto – with the 10% discount coupon!
The Mautto website is easy to use with lots of pictures and examples of their custom straps and extenders. A blog, photo gallery and tips make it easy to pick your best solution from the literally hundreds of combinations possible – Mautto has dozens of colors, metals, hook styles, and accessories to choose from. They also provide custom solutions to your designer bag strap dilemmas.”
At The Antiques Diva & Co we love vintage fashion and we love repurposing items to fit modern day living!! What an excellent idea Catherine shared! How are you repurposing your vintage fashion items?
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
ttention! Attention! You’ve heard me wax poetically about The Antique Young Guns – those wild and zany dealers from the UK. But we’ve got great news! The Antique Young Guns is coming to America!!! Yep – American dealers under the age of 39 are now able to become Young Guns too!
This weekend our friends at U.S. Antique Shows will be announcing their strategic alliance with our friends at Antiques Young Guns U.K. at the Pier Antique Show in NYC at a press conference. In fact, our very own Divo Andrew Skipper who works at Antiques Diva headquarters will be acting as the ambassador for the Antique Young Guns U.K. based group. How fitting since Andrew is the first bi-continental member, splitting his time between Europe and America where he is from.
The exclusive licensing agreement will allow U.S. Antique Shows to promote growth, education, and exposure to those in the trade, 39 years old or younger, to an international audience of antiques enthusiasts. The partnership will help develop the next generation of antique dealers and those involved in the antiques trade, which means more connections between the U.K. and U.S.A. Our U.K. Diva Agent Gail McLeod is one of the founders of Antiques Young Guns U.K. which currently boasts almost 100 members along with many established “alumni” acting as mentors to the younger members of the association. Other benefits of membership include online exposure through the Antiques Young Guns marketplace, several buying and selling events throughout the year, and additional recognition in numerous trade and national publications. Members also have the opportunity to win a variety of awards including Antiques Young Gun of the Year.
The new Antiques Young Guns U.S.A. will host a press conference at the Pier Antique Show, March 28 at 9:30 a.m. which will provide more details on the U.S. program. The Antiques Diva & Co would like to congratulate both groups as many of our friends, sources, and Guides are associated with them. We can’t wait to see what this bridge across the pond will bring for the next generation of antique enthusiasts! Long live antiques!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
ur lovely Antiques Diva Guide in Provence is Caren. Today she’s sharing a bit about why antiquing is so much more exciting than simply shopping big box stores—especially in Provence where markets have constantly changing inventory! She even shares some of her favorite places to score antiques.
Diva Guide Caren writes:
“Antiquing… it’s so much more exciting than just shopping. It’s like looking for hidden treasure. You’re never sure what you will find and it’s often not in plain view, but when you discover the right piece, you know it’s a keeper. For most of us, shopping is a chore. Not so with antiquing. In a world where so many of the stores pump out the same old, same old, it is a breath of refreshing air to be in Provence with daily possibility of shopping at a market.
And remember, nowadays, even top fashion houses are looking to combine shabby with chic. When you’re antiquing you won’t see the same brand names that are found in high streets, airports and shopping malls the world over. The French markets are a daily and weekly delight, brimming with fresh local produce and handicrafts.
If you’re looking for a bargain or something that won’t be found in any of the high street shops, it’s the Puce or Flea markets, the Brocante (Second Hand goods) and the Vide-Greniers (literally, Empty Attics,) which are the ones to seek out.
Some Flea Markets take place on a regular basis and the stallholders are mostly professional dealers, but the Brocante and Vide-Greniers sales tend to be held only occasionally. Vide-Greniers normally attract private sellers who in the UK might attend a Car Boot Sale or in the US would hold a Yard Sale. Really big Vide-Greniers may attract hundreds of sellers and thousands of bargain hunters. This is the place to find collectables or pick up a bargain— something that you won’t find at any chain store.
The great news is, that if you’re in Provence, there’s a flea market to be found every day of the week. Here’s a list of some of the Antique markets.
Saturday: Villeneuve les Avignon.
One of my favorites is held every Saturday morning across the Rhone from Avignon. Moderate in size, it is held in the car park underneath the ancient fortress of Villeneuve. Between 80 and 100 vendors set up here, offering a wide range of items, many with a focus on Provence. Buyers who own shops in the near-by Isle sur la Sorgue come here in search of a bargain. Provençal ceramics, pots, linens, agricultural tools and clocks. A great market where you might well make an interesting discovery, and at a reasonable price.
Sunday: Carpentras – parking des Platanes
Carpentras is approximately 30 km north of Avignon. Late on a Sunday mornings a delightful flea market unfolds in a lovely tree-lined parking area– parking des Platanes. It starts around 10.00 am and it’s a preferred meeting place for some of the more serious collectors: those who a happy to do their own digging. Here you often have to rummage through boxes and crates to find your treasure. Between 130 to 150 vendors set up and often, they are selling their own belongings, which fall more into the category of “second-hand” than “collectable”. The variety in terms of wares and prices is huge, with an emphasis on the rustic and every day, rather than on up market decorative objects. If you are looking for something really unusual and surprising, this is one of the best places to find it, though you will have to expend some energy in the process.
This is the perfect flea market for someone to dig around and hunt for something special and affordable!
Also on Sunday…
Aubagne: Antique market: last Sunday of every month at the Marche de Gros, quartier de la Tourtelle
Isle sur-la-Sorgue: Antique and flea market: every Sunday all along the avenue des 4 Otages, in the village centre
Monday: Nice – Cours Saleya
There are about 200 vendors here until to mid-afternoon. Cours Saleya is just behind the Promenade des Anglais and it’s a great place to rummage. The market is mostly high quality, but treasure hunters can often find a special something. Many items have also found their way here from across the Italian border which makes for an interesting mélange and some vendors speak English, as well as Italian. Lots of silver, vintage clothing, posters, nautical and travel items and ceramics.
Tuesday and Thursday: Aix en Provence, Place Verdun in the mornings
Wednesday : Pernes les Fontains
Antique market in the morning in the car-park at the centre of the village
A Brocante market at Place du Théâtre in the morning
If you would like more information on an Antiques Diva Provence Tour, email us at [email protected].
Au revoir et Bonne Shopping!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Steve Nobel and took a VIP group of interior designers on an Antiques Diva England Tour. Of course, our local Diva Agent Gail was able to help us find the perfect places to eat and perhaps do a little sight-seeing in between our shopping appointments. While on tour we dined at The Village Pub at Barnsley, just outside the Cotswolds town of Cirencester. This local pub is at the heart of village life and is in fact owned by the same company that owns nearby Barnsley House.ne of the best parts of my job is that I get to travel all over the world and meet the most interesting people. Recently, we partnered with
Barnsley House was the home of one of the area’s premier lady gardeners, Rosemary Verey. Our Diva Agent Gail used to sell to her daughter Denzil who ran a small garden antiques shop in the grounds— what a small world! The house is now an extremely stylish Cotswolds hotel, which also features a restaurant on the premises. Visitors can tour the expertly maintained grounds which include knot gardens, ornamental fruit, and vegetable gardens.
The Village Pub where our group dined is much in the same vein as Barnsley House and sits on the enchanting Cotwolds High Street in Barnsley. The traditional country pub has been refurbished but still retains a cozy atmosphere complemented by excellent service. They’ve reworked classic English dishes, bringing tradition into the 21st century.
If you find yourself in the area for a few days, another house turned hotel owned by the same company is Calcot Manor which is on the other side of Tetbury and a popular place for US visitors. Complete with a spa, this hotel may be the place to end your Buying Tour with a little R&R!
If you’re planning an Antiques Diva Buying Tour in the UK, be sure to ask us for suggestions on dining and hotels. We’d be delighted to recommend places that our locally based Guides trust and know. For more information, email us at [email protected].
The Antiques Diva®