Antiquing in Tuscany

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Dear Diva Readers,

M 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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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5. Florence
… 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!

Ciao,

The Antiques Diva® with help from her locally-based Tuscan Guide La Dolce Diva – Susan!

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Antique Dutch Jewels

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Dear Diva Readers,

I 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!

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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!

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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!

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2. Watches
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.

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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!

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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]

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Have a stylish day,

The Antiques Diva®

Kirk & Cookie’s Buying Tour

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Dear Diva Readers,

W 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.

Antiques Diva Buying Tour, Sourcing antiques in Europe

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.

Antiques Diva Buying Tour, Sourcing antiques in Europe

 

Antiques Diva Buying Tour, Sourcing antiques in Europe

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.”

Antiques Diva Buying Tour, Sourcing antiques in Europe

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® 

Antiques Diva Buying Tour, Sourcing antiques in Europe

 

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!

English Tea

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Dear Diva Readers,

I have many indulgences… Champagne for breakfast (and on Tuesdays because, after all, Tuesday should be made to feel special, too) but one indulgence I enjoy more than most is taking time for classic British tea. I’ve been fortunate to do tea in some of the most chic locales in the world – the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, the Ritz in Paris… but my favorite place I’ve ever done tea is in Scotland at Inverlochy Castle.

Inverlochy Castle, Castles of Scotland, English Tea, Afternoon Tea, The Antiques Diva

Inverlochy Castle, Castles of Scotland, English Tea, Afternoon Tea, The Antiques Diva

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!

Inverlochy Castle, Castles of Scotland, English Tea, Afternoon Tea, The Antiques Diva

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!

Inverlochy Castle, Castles of Scotland, English Tea, Afternoon Tea, The Antiques Diva

Here are some of my Antiques Diva Essentials for Afternoon Tea:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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®  

Your European Pickers

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Dear Diva Readers,

Here 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!

Architectural salvage, Decorating Tips, antique walnut bookcase, boisserie, Antique Buying Services, Sourcing antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva

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.

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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.

Italian wooden bookcase, Architectural salvage, Decorating Tips, antique walnut bookcase, boisserie, Antique Buying Services, Sourcing antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva

italian walnut bookcase, Architectural salvage, Decorating Tips, antique walnut bookcase, boisserie, Antique Buying Services, Sourcing antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva

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!

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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.

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®  

Where to Buy Antique Jewelry in Europe

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Dear Diva Readers,

Here 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.

Buying antique jewelry, European auction houses, Antiques Diva, Shopping in Europe, Vintage jewelry

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!

Buying antique jewelry, European auction houses, Antiques Diva, Shopping in Europe, Vintage jewelry

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.

Buying antique jewelry, European auction houses, Antiques Diva, Shopping in Europe, Vintage jewelry

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.

Antiques Diva Guides

Diva Guides Lucretia and Gail

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!

Toma Clark Haines, Buying antique jewelry, European auction houses, Antiques Diva, Shopping in Europe, Vintage jewelry

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!

Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva® 

Monet’s House in Giverny

Monet’s House in Giverny

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Dear Diva Readers,

While 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!

Design inspiration, Inspiration tours, Antiques Diva Tours, French antiques, Buying French antiques in Normandy, Claude Monet, Monet’s house in Giverny

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.

Design inspiration, Inspiration tours, Antiques Diva Tours, French antiques, Buying French antiques in Normandy, Claude Monet, Monet’s house in Giverny

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.

Design inspiration, Inspiration tours, Antiques Diva Tours, French antiques, Buying French antiques in Normandy, Claude Monet, Monet’s house in Giverny

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.

Design inspiration, Inspiration tours, Antiques Diva Tours, French antiques, Buying French antiques in Normandy, Claude Monet, Monet’s house in Giverny

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.

Design inspiration, Inspiration tours, Antiques Diva Tours, French antiques, Buying French antiques in Normandy, Claude Monet, Monet’s house in Giverny

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® 

Salvo Fair

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Dear Diva Readers,

Whenever 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 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.

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Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

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.

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

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.”

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

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.

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

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].

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Being Alys – An Antiques Guide

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Dear Diva Readers,

Antiques Diva Buying Tour in Sussex England

The 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!

Alys Dobbie of Nanadobbie pictured with George Johnson, Nicky Haslam and Mark Hill.  Antiques Diva Guide Alys

Alys Dobbie of Nanadobbie pictured with George Johnson, Nicky Haslam and Mark Hill

 

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)!

petworth

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!

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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.

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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.

Brighton Pier, Sussex England

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.

Antique Sourcing in England, Buying tours in England, The Antiques Diva, Alys Dobbie, Sourcing antiques in England, Antiquing in Sussex, English Antiques

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.

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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.

Antique Sourcing in England, Buying tours in England, The Antiques Diva, Alys Dobbie, Sourcing antiques in England, Antiquing in Sussex, English Antiques

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.

petworth

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!”

Cheers!

The Antiques Diva®

Save Save Save on Paris Puces du Design Tour

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Dear Diva Readers,

Attention, attention! We’ve got a last minute special happening in Paris! Book a SPECIAL TOUR of the 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.

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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 ).

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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

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®  

Favorite Finds Part 2 of Antique & Design Center of High Point

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Dear Diva Readers,

T oday we’re continuing our Favorite Finds from 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.

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.

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

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.

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

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!

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

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.

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

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!

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

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.

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

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!

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

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!

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

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.

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

Hope you’ve enjoyed our Antiques Diva High Point Antique and Design Center Round Up!

The Antiques Diva®

AD&Co Favorite Finds at Antique & Design Center of High Point – Part 1

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Dear Diva Readers,

Twice a year I cross the pond and head to 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!

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!

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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.

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Design Trends, Antique & Design Center, Antiques Tours, High Point Market,

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!

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Design Trends, Antique & Design Center, Antiques Tours, High Point Market,

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!

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Design Trends, Antique & Design Center, Antiques Tours, High Point Market,

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.

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Design Trends, Antique & Design Center, Antiques Tours, High Point Market,

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.

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Design Trends, Antique & Design Center, Antiques Tours, High Point Market,

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 PriceI 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!

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Design Trends, Antique & Design Center, Antiques Tours, High Point Market,

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.

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Design Trends, Antique & Design Center, Antiques Tours, High Point Market,

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®

Junior League of High Point 2015 Show House

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Dear Diva Readers,

H 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.

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

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!

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

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!

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

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.

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

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!

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

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.

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional 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!

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

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!

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

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!

High Point Furniture Market, The Antiques Diva, Junior League Show House, Madcap Cottage, Jason Oliver Nixon, John Loecke, Holly Phillips, Lisa Mende, Cathy Austin, Kara Cox, Lelsie Moore, Libby Langdon, Eric Ross, Traditional Home

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!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Dream of Venice

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Dear Diva Readers,

A 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.

JoAnn writes:

“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…”

JoAnn Locktov, Dream of Venice, Antiques Diva Venice Tour, Buying Antiques in Venice, Charles Christopher, Venice Tips, Things to do in Venice,

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

JoAnn Locktov, Dream of Venice, Antiques Diva Venice Tour, Buying Antiques in Venice, Charles Christopher, Venice Tips, Things to do in Venice,

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

JoAnn Locktov, Dream of Venice, Antiques Diva Venice Tour, Buying Antiques in Venice, Charles Christopher, Venice Tips, Things to do in Venice,

The unexpected mystery of Venice… misleading reflections, startling shadows, ominous light and shade, and endless corners. What’s round the next one? -Julie Christie

JoAnn Locktov, Dream of Venice, Antiques Diva Venice Tour, Buying Antiques in Venice, Charles Christopher, Venice Tips, Things to do in Venice,

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

JoAnn Locktov, Dream of Venice, Antiques Diva Venice Tour, Buying Antiques in Venice, Charles Christopher, Venice Tips, Things to do in Venice,

JoAnn Locktov, Dream of Venice, Antiques Diva Venice Tour, Buying Antiques in Venice, Charles Christopher, Venice Tips, Things to do in Venice,

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

JoAnn Locktov, Dream of Venice, Antiques Diva Venice Tour, Buying Antiques in Venice, Charles Christopher, Venice Tips, Things to do in Venice,

PJoAnn Locktov, Dream of Venice, Antiques Diva Venice Tour, Buying Antiques in Venice, Charles Christopher, Venice Tips, Things to do in Venice,

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Exporting Antiques With The Help of a Courier

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Dear Diva Readers,

Perhaps 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.

International Shipping, Using a courier to ship antiques home, Sourcing antiques in Europe, ParcelHero

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.

International Shipping, Using a courier to ship antiques home, Sourcing antiques in Europe, ParcelHero

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.

Happy Shopping!
The Antiques Diva®

P.S.  Thanks to our friends at ParcelHero.com for providing additional information on export restrictions.

Les Merveilles de Babellou

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Dear Diva Readers,

I 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 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.

Isabelle Klein, Marché Paul Bert, Paris Flea Market, Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Vintage Fashion Tours Paris, Vintage Hermes,

Isabelle Klein, Marché Paul Bert, Paris Flea Market, Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Vintage Fashion Tours Paris, Vintage Hermes,

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.

Isabelle Klein, Marché Paul Bert, Paris Flea Market, Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Vintage Fashion Tours Paris, Vintage Hermes,

Isabelle Klein, Marché Paul Bert, Paris Flea Market, Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Vintage Fashion Tours Paris, Vintage Hermes,

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.

Isabelle Klein, Marché Paul Bert, Paris Flea Market, Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Vintage Fashion Tours Paris, Vintage Hermes,

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].

Au revoir,

The Antiques Diva®  

Hermes Art

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Dear Diva Readers,

So 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!

Hermes-box-cake2, Decorating with vintage fashion, Hermes, Silk scarves, original Hermes sketchings, Antiques Diva, European buying services, Paris vintage fashion buying tour

Decorating with vintage fashion, Hermes, Silk scarves, original Hermes sketchings, Antiques Diva, European buying services, Paris vintage fashion buying tour

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!

Decorating with vintage fashion, Hermes, Silk scarves, original Hermes sketchings, Antiques Diva, European buying services, Paris vintage fashion buying tour

Decorating with vintage fashion, Hermes, Silk scarves, original Hermes sketchings, Antiques Diva, European buying services, Paris vintage fashion buying tour

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.

Decorating with vintage fashion, Hermes, Silk scarves, original Hermes sketchings, Antiques Diva, European buying services, Paris vintage fashion buying tour

Decorating with vintage fashion, Hermes, Silk scarves, original Hermes sketchings, Antiques Diva, European buying services, Paris vintage fashion buying tour

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.

Decorating with vintage fashion, Hermes, Silk scarves, original Hermes sketchings, Antiques Diva, European buying services, Paris vintage fashion buying tour

Decorating with vintage fashion, Hermes, Silk scarves, original Hermes sketchings, Antiques Diva, European buying services, Paris vintage fashion buying tour

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!

Decorating with vintage fashion, Hermes, Silk scarves, original Hermes sketchings, Antiques Diva, European buying services, Paris vintage fashion buying tour

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)

vintage fox fur, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Flea Market Tour, Andrew Joseph

First Impressions Matter – Decorating the Foyer

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Dear Diva Readers,

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

We’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.

Antiques Diva Decorating Tips, Decorating the Foyer, Toma Clark Haines, Berlin Apartments,

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.

Antiques Diva Decorating Tips, Decorating the Foyer, Toma Clark Haines, Berlin Apartments,

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.

Antiques Diva Decorating Tips, Decorating the Foyer, Toma Clark Haines, Berlin Apartments,

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.

Antiques Diva Home Netherlands, Toma Clark Haines Apartment

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!

Happy decorating,

The Antiques Diva® 

Antique Belgian Chocolate Molds

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Dear Diva Readers,

Hippity 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, Brussels, Place de Grand Sablon, Flea Markets in Beligum, Belgian Chocolates, Easter,

Antique chocolate molds, Brussels, Place de Grand Sablon, Flea Markets in Beligum, Belgian Chocolates, Easter,

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.

Antique chocolate molds, Brussels, Place de Grand Sablon, Flea Markets in Beligum, Belgian Chocolates, Easter,

Chocolate-Easter-Bunny, Antique chocolate molds, Brussels, Place de Grand Sablon, Flea Markets in Beligum, Belgian Chocolates, Easter,

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.

ANTIQUE-BIG-CHOCOLATE-MOLD-TIN-SHEEP-COMPLETE, Antique chocolate molds, Brussels, Place de Grand Sablon, Flea Markets in Beligum, Belgian Chocolates, Easter,

Golden-Eggs, Antique chocolate molds, Brussels, Place de Grand Sablon, Flea Markets in Beligum, Belgian Chocolates, Easter,

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!

Happy Easter,

The Antiques Diva®  

Come Hear Me Speak at High Point!

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Dear Diva Readers,

Are 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!

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, The Antique & Design Center, The Secret Life of Antiques, Melissa Mittag, Cari Cucksey, Heather Karlie Vieira, Fromental,

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!

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, The Antique & Design Center, The Secret Life of Antiques, Melissa Mittag, Cari Cucksey, Heather Karlie Vieira, Fromental,

Monday, April 20th, 5pm-6pm for a Panel Discussion on The Secret Life of Antiques
The Secret Life of Antiques:
a panel with Toma Clark Haines Melissa Mittag Cari Cucksey and Heather Karlie Vieira

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®

Vintage Chanel Gets an Upgrade

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Dear Diva Readers,

hire catherine, Vintage Chanel, Hire Catherine, Catherine Russell, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Repurposing, Vintage Purses, Mautto, Lynette Sedenquist

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
  • tassel
  • gold chain strap
  • front outer pocket with CC logo
  • inside zip pocket

Vintage Chanel, Hire Catherine, Catherine Russell, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Repurposing, Vintage Purses, Mautto, Lynette Sedenquist, Chanel Photo Bag

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!

Vintage Chanel, Hire Catherine, Catherine Russell, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Repurposing, Vintage Purses, Mautto, Lynette Sedenquist, Chanel Photo Bag

Catherine writes,

“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.

Vintage Chanel, Hire Catherine, Catherine Russell, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Repurposing, Vintage Purses, Mautto, Lynette Sedenquist

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!

Thanks, Lynette!

The Details:

Lynette Sedenquist
http://www.mautto.com/
www.facebook.com/MauttoHandbags
www.instagram.com/MauttoHandbags

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®

U.S. Antique Shows Partners with Antique Young Guns

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Dear Diva Readers,

Attention! 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!

Antique Young Guns, Andrew Skipper, U.S. Antique Shows, The Antiques Diva, Pier Antique Show, Gail McLeod

Antique Young Guns, Andrew Skipper, U.S. Antique Shows, The Antiques Diva, Pier Antique Show, Gail McLeod

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.

Antique Young Guns, Andrew Skipper, U.S. Antique Shows, The Antiques Diva, Pier Antique Show, Gail McLeod

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.

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Andrew Skipper, Gail McLeod, Judith Miller, George Johnson, English Antiques, Antique Young Guns

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!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®  

Shabby Is The New Chic in Provence

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Dear Diva Readers,

Our 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.

caren and lavender, Flea Markets of Europe, Buying antiques in France, French Antiques, Sourcing antiques in Provence, The Antiques Diva, Brocante, Puce, Vide-Greniers, Isle sur-la-Sorgue, Nice – Cours Saleya, Carpentras, Villeneuve les Avignon

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.

Flea Markets of Europe, Buying antiques in France, French Antiques, Sourcing antiques in Provence, The Antiques Diva, Brocante, Puce, Vide-Greniers, Isle sur-la-Sorgue, Nice – Cours Saleya, Carpentras, Villeneuve les Avignon

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.

Flea Markets of Europe, Buying antiques in France, French Antiques, Sourcing antiques in Provence, The Antiques Diva, Brocante, Puce, Vide-Greniers, Isle sur-la-Sorgue, Nice – Cours Saleya, Carpentras, Villeneuve les Avignon

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.

Flea Markets of Europe, Buying antiques in France, French Antiques, Sourcing antiques in Provence, The Antiques Diva, Brocante, Puce, Vide-Greniers, Isle sur-la-Sorgue, Nice – Cours Saleya, Carpentras, Villeneuve les Avignon

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.

Flea Markets of Europe, Buying antiques in France, French Antiques, Sourcing antiques in Provence, The Antiques Diva, Brocante, Puce, Vide-Greniers, Isle sur-la-Sorgue, Nice – Cours Saleya, Carpentras, Villeneuve les Avignon

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

 

Friday: Toulon
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® 

UK

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Dear Diva Readers,

One 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 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.

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Steve Nobel, Nobelinks, Sourcing antiques in England, British Buying Tours, The Village Pub, Barnsley House, Calcot Manor, The Antiques Diva

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.

Steve Nobel, Nobelinks, Sourcing antiques in England, British Buying Tours, The Village Pub, Barnsley House, Calcot Manor, The Antiques Diva

Steve Nobel, Nobelinks, Sourcing antiques in England, British Buying Tours, The Village Pub, Barnsley House, Calcot Manor, The Antiques Diva

Steve Nobel, Nobelinks, Sourcing antiques in England, British Buying Tours, The Village Pub, Barnsley House, Calcot Manor, The Antiques Diva

Steve Nobel, Nobelinks, Sourcing antiques in England, British Buying Tours, The Village Pub, Barnsley House, Calcot Manor, The Antiques Diva

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.

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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!

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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].

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva® 

Use Antiques to Make Your Home Feel Like a Luxury Hotel

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Dear Diva Readers,

Due to my travel schedule, sometimes I feel like I live out of a suitcase! Most often, I spend 2 weeks of each month traveling for business, not to mention countless vacations, holidays and getaways away from home.  All said that’s a lot of time away from my abode. But one thing that helps ease the stress of being gone so much is staying in fine hotels around the world. While every trip isn’t a 5-star experience—after all, when I’m on an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, I’m hardly at the hotel so we often choose budget accommodations to lay our head at night, preferring to save money on the purchases! — but every so often I indulge in a truly luxurious accommodation. So today I want to share some tips I’ve picked up on how we can all make our homes feel a bit like a luxury hotel—and of course, antiques can play a part in this as well.

mandarin oriental

Mandarin Oriental

 

Now of course I don’t mean that you have to install a full-service spa in your house—although, how bad could that be!? Don’t forget Mr Steam is available for both residential as well as hospitality projects!! But I’m talking about adding little touches that add up to an exceedingly comfortable abode that welcomes you home each day.

Blake hotel london

Blake Hotel, London

 

Speaking of spas, let’s start in the bathroom. Stock up on thick white towels and hand made soaps from Provence!  Why not invest in a towel heater—think about it— this is something you’ll use every single day. While you’re at it, buy plenty of candles for those evenings that you want to indulge in a nice long bath. I love Diptique.

Siam Bangkok

Siam Bangkok

 

hotel crillon paris

Hotel Crillon, Paris

 

Another thing that luxury hotels always seem to get right is lighting. A mixture of overhead lighting (on dimmers), wall sconces, table lamps and candles allows you to control the mood. I’m partial to antique crystal chandeliers as I think they instantly add a luxe feeling. But mix it up with an art deco lamp as well. Just make sure everything harmonizes.

hotel ritz madrid

Hotel Ritz, Madrid

 

Hotels are known for passing the “touch-feel” test with flying colors.  From sheep skin rugs to cashmere blankets, everything seems to beckon you to relax. At home you can upholster furniture in soft velvets and add cashmere pillows and throws. Why not purchase the best sheets and pillows possible for your bed? After all, you spend every night slipping into them!

Il Salviatino's

Il Salviatino’s

 

And lastly, try to incorporate wow moments. This is where antiques can play a huge role in your decor. Every luxury hotel you walk into has some sort of signature style that is usually played up in the lobby. Perhaps it’s a unique center table topped with vases of flowers. Maybe it’s a feature wall with a stunning piece of artwork. It may even be an over-sized sculpture that takes your breath away. Chest of drawers and side tables are a great place to bring antiques into the bedroom – and what about antique headboards as well.  These are the types of items you can source at antique stores, flea markets and of course your European Antique Buying Tour with us. They add that something special that makes your home individually yours!

The goal here is to create a place that makes you want to come home everyday. Add a lot of luxe and a little fantasy to your house to make it feel like the escape you’ve always longed for!

Happy decorating,

The Antiques Diva®

Villeroy & Boch

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Dear Diva Readers,

I was delighted when Veronika Miller CEO of Modenus invited me to join her group on #BlogTourFrankfurt for a day as a special guest which allowed me to catch up in person with some of my favorite design bloggers for a day at Ambiente – the world’s largest furniture fair!

villeroy and boch dinner at villa kennedy, BlogTourFrankfurt, Modenus, Veronika Miller, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Villa Kennedy, Best hotels in Frankfurt, Villeroy & Boch, Louis Guntrum, German Wine, Ambiente, World’s Largest Furniture Fair

Villeroy & Boch dinner at Villa Kennedy

 

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Louis Guntrum Winery

 

We started the day by enjoying a wine tasting at one of Germany’s best wineriesLouis Guntrum and then moved on to exploring the collection at Villeroy & Boch at the furniture fair! The day was capped off by dinner at Villa Kennedy – the chicest new hotel in Frankfurt (voted one of the top hotels in the world) by having dinner with the Villeroy & Boch team.  The hotel was chosen because they use a variety of V&B’s products in their hotel – from plateware to bathroom décor.  At the dinner I was honored to be seated right next to Monsieur Villeroy who shared with me some behind the scenes history on this truly European firm….

Meet the Bloggers Blog Tour Frankfurt - Monsieur Boch along with Jennifer Mehditash, Jeffery Johnson, Carmen Natschke, Robin Gibson, BlogTourFrankfurt, Modenus, Veronika Miller, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Villa Kennedy, Best hotels in Frankfurt, Villeroy & Boch, Louis Guntrum, German Wine, Ambiente, World’s Largest Furniture Fair

Meet the Bloggers Blog Tour Frankfurt – Monsieur Boch along with Jennifer Mehditash, Jeffery Johnson, Carmen Natschke, Robin Gibson

 

villa kennedy, BlogTourFrankfurt, Modenus, Veronika Miller, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Villa Kennedy, Best hotels in Frankfurt, Villeroy & Boch, Louis Guntrum, German Wine, Ambiente, World’s Largest Furniture Fair

Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt

 

In 1748 Francois Boch and his three sons started manufacturing ceramic crockery. In 1791, Nicolas Villeroy acquired an earthenware factory, and by 1836 the two competitors joined forces, forming a partnership which was one of the first Global Players in the business world. The company helped make porcelain accessible to the masses, whereas it was once quite expensive to produce, and thus only available to nobility. With exports to several European countries, by 1850, they were sending goods across the Atlantic to North and South America.

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Deco Porter Blogger Jennifer Mehditash Strikes a Pose with Villeroy & Boch

 

In the second half of the 19th century the company began expanding their products to include tiles and terra-cotta items. No longer just a crockery manufacturer, Villeroy & Boch were commissioned to complete restoration tile work in many historical buildings across Europe including the famous Cologne Cathedral. At this time Villeroy & Boch also creates products including their well-known crockery for very important clients like the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and the Castle of the Prince of Thurn and Taxis in Regensburg. Their global client list grows and encompasses many noble and ruling households throughout Europe.

villa kennedy v&B, BlogTourFrankfurt, Modenus, Veronika Miller, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Villa Kennedy, Best hotels in Frankfurt, Villeroy & Boch, Louis Guntrum, German Wine, Ambiente, World’s Largest Furniture Fair

Villa Kennedy Villeroy & Boch

 

By the 1950’s the company was even commissioned to create custom crockery for the Pope. Since then they’ve created tableware for several Popes which is used during formal occasions at The Vatican.

Today the company continues to manufacture and distribute tabletop pieces as well as decorative items, bathroom necessities, gorgeous tiles, and innovative flooring. The longevity and prestigiousness of Villeroy & Boch are a testament to the commitment to quality they have. From residential tableware to fine place settings (and gorgeous bathrooms) at some of the best hotels- such as the famous Villa Kennedy – chances are you’ve come across their products.   They’re simply the best.

The Antiques Diva® 

Villa Necchi Campiglio

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Dear Diva Readers,

When shopping recently for antiques at Italy’s largest antiques fair, Mercanteinfeira with VIPS John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash and Caleb Anderson, we took time out of our busy antiquing schedule to soak in some serious design inspiration by visiting one of the best kept secrets in Milan – Villa Necchi Campiglio.

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

The villa was built between 1932 and 1935 for the wealthy Lombard industrialist family made up of Angelo Campiglio, his wife Gigina Necchi, and her sister Nedda Necchi. It is situated in a very well-to-do part of Milan and was designed by Italian architect Piero Portaluppi. Both architect and client paid close attention to detail to create a house that would be the backdrop to a life well-lived in Milanese high society.

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

The home isn’t so much a gaudy “look at my wealth” statement—as many mansions of the gilded age were— but rather it is a mixture of architectural styles of the 19th and 20th centuries. The house is made up of an enfilade of rooms, each flowing into the next, but able to be separated by sliding doors. It is almost as if Portaluppi imagined the day-to-day life that would play out in the house and designed each space to be used at a certain time of day. Thought was given to the fact that there needed to be intimate spaces for everyday life but also larger, open rooms that could accommodate social functions.

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

The house is set in a large garden which includes a swimming pool and tennis court. Inside, the sculpted ceilings are an interesting feature as is the collection of 20th century paintings and sculpture. With no corridors, one must pass through each room to get to the next which creates a theatrical atmosphere, particularly if you imagine the sliding screens being shut and then suddenly opening to reveal the dining room with its table set for a dinner party.

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

While it’s not ostentatious, the villa is most definitely the epitome of luxury. From the grand veneered staircase which greets you to the goat’s leather paneling of the dining room walls, the attention to finishes and detail is paramount. There is even personalized crockery in the staff quarters that was designed by Portaluppi himself. Now that’s what I call understated decadence!

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

If you happen to be in Milan, you simply must visit this inspirational house museum – it’s one of Milan’s best kept secrets. It certainly is a lesson in architecture and design as it successfully mixes impressive 19th century style with progressive 20th century design. Perfection!

Ciao Bella!

The Antiques Diva® 

The English Library

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Dear Diva Readers,

I know in this digital day and age libraries are a thing of the past… but I’m The Antiques Diva® – I LIVE In the PAST! My décor fantasy is to have a dedicated room in my home someday to serve as my library.  Of course, if I’m going to dream I’m going to dream BIG…so that home would actually be a Chateau or Manor House.  Something simple, like Highclere Castle, where Downtown Abbey is filmed would do the trick.

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While I might not have the English country house just yet…. I’m working on it. In the meantime, there are a few easy ways to achieve a look reminiscent of these traditional English country homes.  First off, start with a great library shelving unit.  Those lovely boys at my favorite Belgium boutique hotel turned antique shop JVR 108 have recently acquired all the contents of the famous Chateau Rozenhout (as seen on the cover of The Houses of Veranda book) which means you could actually buy an iconic piece from one of the great houses of Europe.

highclere castle downabbey,

Of course, then once you have the book case you could add some traditional English antique pieces to line your shelves.

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So here’s my confession… While I’m a big reader – reading nearly every night for an hour before bed – I also buy books I never intend to read.  I buy gorgeous antique leather-bound books to stage my shelves! Pretentious? Maybe. Gorgeous? Absolutely!  And trust me… I’m not the only one who buys books they don’t read… flip open any decorating magazine, you’ll see miles of leather bound antique journals! You can pick these up at markets for a song.

Whenever we take clients on a Buying Tours, I always encourage them to buy small pieces as well as furniture. Why? Because if you’re going to ship a container full of bureaus and cabinets home, you might as well fill the drawers with small accessories! Volumes of antique books are the perfect thing to fit into drawers and cabinets, taking up no extra space in your shipping container – so essentially those smalls are shipped for free if you’re already shipping larger items! And once you get them home or back to your store they make the perfect addition for accessorizing your shelves.

Decorating tips, Recreating English Country Style, Staffordshire Dog, vintage tea caddies, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, Decorating English Libraries

living room bookcase, Decorating tips, Recreating English Country Style, Staffordshire Dog, vintage tea caddies, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, Decorating English Libraries

The next quintessentially English accessory has to be Staffordshire Dog statues. These typically come in matching pairs and are frequently used on mantles however they make fantastic additions to shelving. I love that they are traditional… but are also wonderfully KITCH!  I’ve even seen them used as bookends which is quite a good look especially when paired with old leather-bound books.

Another accessory that looks fabulous on open shelving is antique English tea caddies. Wooden tea caddies were first introduced in the early 18th century and by the second half of that same century, they were widely considered to be a stylish home accessory. We’ve had several clients purchase these items while on tour. In fact, many people buy them in multiples as they make a lovely displayed collection in a study or even a kitchen!  Add in some traditional blue and white Delft or for that Antique Young Guns look mix it up with some taxidermied birds!

Decorating tips, Recreating English Country Style, Staffordshire Dog, vintage tea caddies, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, Decorating English Libraries

If you’re after that old English look, try using these perfectly English accessories on your shelves. By simply adding these few elements, you’ll transform your room into something reminiscent of an English country manor! And if you’d like more information on our English Antique Buying Tours email us at [email protected]

Cheerio,

The Antiques Diva® 
(seen here at the Real Life Downton Abbey – Highclere Castle with my gorgeous niece Kyrra)

downton abbey, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Highclere Castle

Euro at 12 Year Low!

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Dear Diva Readers,

Have you been thinking about booking an Antiques Diva Tour?? Now is the time to do it the EURO is at a 12 year low!!! Which means you get more for your money when you convert your dollar to Euro – this saves you money on the COST OF YOUR TOUR and on EVERYTHING YOU BUY!!!

EUROS

The last time the US DOLLAR was this strong against the Euro was 2003!!!!  All this to say… It’s time to SHOP– Antiques Diva Style!!

The Antiques Diva®

Using Antique and Vintage Lighting

1 Comment on Using Antique and Vintage Lighting

Dear Diva Readers,

I was recently asked as part of a panel where I would start on designing a room.  For me it’s all about setting the mood – and lighting is imperative in creating atmosphere.  I believe lighting is the most important element in any room’s design.  So when I walk into a space the first thing I see is what I want the overhead lighting to be and from there I build my room around it.

Decorating with lighting fixtures, antique lighting fixtures, vintage lighting fixtures, decorating tips, Antiques Diva Interior Decorating, Chandeliers,

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Lighting can make or break the atmosphere in a space. Far too often people underestimate the power of having multiple light sources and simply rely on one overhead light – I start with a fabulous chandelier but then use select lighting to highlight specific pieces, add depth to nondescript rooms and dark corners, to make spaces seem larger and to enhance the overall mood. Sconces as well as floor lamps always come into play… and the BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to buy lighting is ITALY!  Mamma Mia… Italian lighting (specifically Venetian) is good.  I’m in search personally for a waterfall Murano floor lamp for my own living room… lucky for me I have “friends” in high places and the team at Art Glass (who deconstructs hotels) has my wish list on file so they can email when my personal piece becomes available.

Antiques Diva home in Berlin, Toma Clark Haines, Alte Malzerei, Decorating with lighting fixtures, antique lighting fixtures, vintage lighting fixtures, decorating tips, Antiques Diva Interior Decorating, Chandeliers,

You must focus on the floor and table top lighting when decorating a room.  If all of your lighting is coming from overhead, the end result is going to be unflattering. We need overhead lighting for tasks and overall illumination of course, but chandeliers and ceiling fixtures can’t be the only source of light in a room. In order to create a flattering space, you must have a combination of overhead lighting (on a dimmer), table lamps, floor lamps, and, of course, candlelight. In my home there is always LOTS of candlelight (and antique silver candelabras, bien sur)!!!

Decorating with lighting fixtures, antique lighting fixtures, vintage lighting fixtures, decorating tips, Antiques Diva Interior Decorating, Chandeliers,

Decorating with lighting fixtures, antique lighting fixtures, vintage lighting fixtures, decorating tips, Antiques Diva Interior Decorating, Chandeliers,   Decorating with lighting fixtures, antique lighting fixtures, vintage lighting fixtures, decorating tips, Antiques Diva Interior Decorating, Chandeliers,

Now don’t think I’m dissing overhead lighting—there’s nothing I love more than a gorgeous crystal antique chandelier! In fact, an antique chandelier incorporated into a modern space is one of my favorite things. But these can’t be your only source of lights. Many clients that come on tour purchase statement chandeliers and also purchase architectural pieces that they can have made into table lamps. I love this idea because it offers you a way to create custom, one-of-a-kind lamps. After all, each room needs at least five light sources, so why not make them unique?

Decorating with lighting fixtures, antique lighting fixtures, vintage lighting fixtures, decorating tips, Antiques Diva Interior Decorating, Chandeliers,

Decorating with lighting fixtures, antique lighting fixtures, vintage lighting fixtures, decorating tips, Antiques Diva Interior Decorating, Chandeliers,

The truth is, almost anything can be made into a lamp. Get creative – why not use antique jars as lamp bases? You can also take antique silver pieces such as trophies and create lamps out of them.

033

And last, but certainly not least, antique candle holders are a must. I love the patina of antique silver candle holders. But you can also use crystal, porcelain, wood—any material of candle holder really. Nothing sets the tone like candlelight, so be sure to sprinkle plenty of them throughout the room.

No matter what style of lighting you choose, be sure to incorporate antique and vintage pieces. There are always so many ways to use more lighting in any room of your house. If you’d like information on coming on an Antiques Diva Buying Tour to source lighting, email us at [email protected].

Shine brightly,

The Antiques Diva® 

Creating a Bedroom Sanctuary

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Dear Diva Readers,

I travel 2 to 3 weeks each month for work and I love nothing more than a good hotel room – but Dorothy said it best, “There is no place like home”.  It’s the place we begin and end each day— even if our house is our castle, our bedroom should be our sanctuary. After all, is there any other place on earth where we can be express ourselves so fully? However, creating a bedroom sanctuary is a process, as all decorating is. Here are a few tips to help you along the way!

Decorating a bedroom, Decorating tips,

Starting with a relaxing background is key. Now – in my own bedroom, I have painted the walls and ceiling black! You might think this sounds a bit drastic, but trust me, it sets the tone for a wonderfully soothing atmosphere. Think about it, dark colors allow the walls—and ceiling— to recede, creating an enveloping sense of space! Plus, I suffer from insomnia and so it keeps the room dark while I sleep.

no place like home, Decorating a bedroom, Decorating tips,

Next, you want to make sure that your bedroom is nurturing. What do I mean by this? There needs to be at least one thing that says, “This space is meant to rejuvenate you!”. I am lucky enough to have a gorgeous soaking tub in my bedroom which, whether I’m indulging in a bubble bath or not, reminds me to take some time out and relax. Perhaps you can incorporate a fainting sofa or a beautiful set of plush chairs in your bedroom to give your mind that visual cue that this space is about indulgence!

Decorating a bedroom, Decorating tips,

Speaking of luxe, I say go all the way with linens in the bedroom. Purchase the best quality you can and maybe even incorporate luxurious antique velvet throw pillows. Glamorous touches like this help make your bedroom feel special and comfortable. The reality is that you will spend more time every single night sleeping on your bed and in your sheets than any other place. They should be viewed as an investment!

former bedroom, Decorating a bedroom, Decorating tips,

Another very important element in any bedroom is lighting. Of course you want to have task lighting for reading in bed, but you also want to sprinkle mood lighting throughout the room. A gorgeous crystal chandelier or semi-flush mount fixture is ideal—just be sure to put it on a dimmer! Decorative antique lamps can make lovely additions to the bedroom. And if you have artwork on the walls, use wall mounted art lights to highlight them.

Remember that your bedroom should be all about you—and your partner if you have one! It’s a place to unwind and gently close the door on the outside world. By incorporating antiques and modern conveniences, today’s bedrooms can be the ideal place to end and begin each day!

Happy decorating,

The Antiques Diva® 

IACF Love Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

We love taking clients on antique buying tours, scouring the continent and British isles in search of European antiques and decorative items. There is something about the physical hunt that all antique lovers seem to crave – we like to see antiques in real life, verify their patina, touch them, hold them.  But in this age of the internet – through our antique sourcing service – we are also able to email clients photos of specific pieces in which they may be interested.  The advantage to the buyer in receiving emailed photographs from us is that we are able to personally verify these objects – seeing if they’re as good in real life as the photo and we’re able to negotiate with vendors whom we have long term relationships, helping you to get the best price.

IACF, Love Antiques, Antiques Diva Buying Services, Buying Antiques in Europe, The HighBoy, Antique Young Guns,

The internet has become an invaluable tool in our business and many antique dealers all over the world have embraced its power. Today I want to share a bit about the International Antiques & Collectors Fairs new project LoveAntiques.com. The IACF have been organizing Europe’s largest antiques fairs for over 25 years and we’ve come to expect the best from them! With LoveAntiques.com, the IACF is offering a place for qualified dealers to sell antiques to a broader audience. This is also good news for buyers since having all of these trusted vendors in one convenient place allows you to view thousands of items without leaving your desk (though we all know that visiting the fairs and antique warehouses in REAL life is always more fun!).

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Items on this website are updated daily, which makes it like a brand new shopping experience each time you visit the site. Of course, there are many websites out there that sell antiques, but we have our few trusted online marketplaces where we feel they are doing a fabulous job selling antiques online.  LoveAntiques happens to be one of those alongside The HighBoy and Antique Young Guns.

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If you happen to see something you are interested in on LoveAntiques.com, you are able to communicate directly with the dealer who is listing that item. You can also purchase pieces directly from the dealer via PayPal, making buying antiques even simpler.

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With a vast array of pieces available—from jewelry to furniture to china and glassware— LoveAntiques.com is another fantastic online source whether you want to sell or buy antiques.

The Antiques Diva® 

Decorating with Antique Textiles

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Dear Diva Readers,

Antique textiles are a great way to add character to your home, particularly when you want to create warmth and depth. For centuries, textiles have been used both functionally and for decorative purposes. In medieval Europe, large tapestries hung on the walls of great estates and castles to help keep cold draughts out. However, these intricately woven pieces were often highly decorative as well, often telling stories or incorporating nature and architecture. While we don’t need tapestries to keep the cold out today, their decorative nature keeps them on the list of sought-after pieces in the interior design world.

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Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

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When it comes to antique textiles, repurposing is also the name of the game. We find that clients often purchase antique textiles and have them made into one-of-a-kind pillows. Imagine perfectly worn velvets enhanced by intricate brocades being sewn into custom throw pillows. How decadent! These are the perfect additions to sofas, beds, and chairs that really add that element of personality to a room.

Vintage fur coats, Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

Speaking of pillows, we’ve even seen people purchase vintage fur coats and create decorative—and plush— pillows from them. It’s a great way to repurpose something that may otherwise never be used again.

Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

Of course, special antique textiles are art in themselves. Our Diva Guides in Venice, Italy know this to be true. They have access to collections of museum quality textiles from Italy and Asia that can act as artworks in a well-curated home. Simply by taking a remnant of an ancient piece of embroidery and framing it in a modern frame, you can achieve a very sophisticated look that would be at home in a traditional or contemporary space.

Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

Lastly, whether you count them as textiles or not, antique rugs are always a great addition to a well-decorated room. They are not only soft with interesting patterns, but they were made to last. Think about it— a rug is something that gets a lot of wear every day!

Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

However you choose to decorate with antique textiles, one thing is for sure—you’re going to be adding warmth and personality to your home! If you would like more information about taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour or utilizing our Buying Services abroad, email us at [email protected].

Stay warm,

The Antiques Diva® 

Antique Sourcing in Belgium

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Dear Diva Readers,

Here at The Antiques Diva & Co, there are many moving parts that all work together to create our successful European Antiques Buying Tour Service. My team of 18 Diva Guides, who operate locally in 8 different countries, are an indispensable part of the business. They bring to the table their antiques expertise, local connections, translating, and negotiating skills. Today we’re going to hear from our Belgian/Dutch Diva Guide, Lucretia Hunsucker.

Antiques Diva Guide Lucretia Hunsucker, Buying antiques in Belgium, sourcing antiques in Europe

Lucretia explains, “I love helping clients source a variety of pieces but my favorite times are when a client is searching for something specific—almost like a treasure hunt! Even when clients can’t come on tour, we can help them source pieces through our Antiques Sourcing Services. Recently one of our favorite New York Interior Designer clients asked if we could help him source a pair of De Coene consoles for a project.  De Coene was a furniture company founded in the early twentieth century based in the Flemish town of Kortrijk, which went out of business in 1975.

Leopold_III_van_België_(1934)

As fate would have it, a few days before I received this client’s email, I had happened to visit an exhibition in Brussels, dedicated to Henry Van de Velde, the famous Belgian designer. The exhibition included a gigantic desk that this firm, De Coene, had made for the Belgian king Leopold III, based on Van de Velde’s designs of the 1930s. Indeed it was common knowledge that only the rich could afford De Coene furniture, making it a prestigious brand throughout Europe. Even French customers coveted these pieces because of the excellent quality and craftsmanship.

Buying antiques in Belgium, Sourcing antiques in Europe, Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Diva Guide Lucretia, De Coene console, New York Interior Designer

Upon returning home and receiving the client’s email, I immediately tapped our Antiques Diva database and contacted a Brussels antique dealer who had just what we were looking for – a black De Coene console for sale! The only problem? Our Antiques Diva client was specifically looking to buy a pair of them! Where was I going to find a second one? The hunt was on…

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Back to the drawing board… a few phones and numerous emails later we stumbled upon an exact duplicate of my first find, but this time it was in mahogany. This console was identified as a “De Coene Murat”. It was almost an exact match to the black console— the only difference was that this one had a mahogany finish. Although made in the 1950s, this De Coene Murat console was designed in that “Retour d’Egypte” style,  made out of polished mahogany with mat guilt bronze classical detail. I knew there had to be a way to make this pair work—even if they weren’t exactly twins! Never say Die!

I contacted the vendor and told him that the Murat console I wanted had to be black. His solution was that he could HAVE THIS PIECE LACQUERED IN BLACK making it THE PERFECT COMPANION to the first console table we found.  In my opinion, the console looked so much more modern and glamorous in black, with all the gold accessories shiny and polished. Problems solved!

Murat-SàM_DC_Eetk-Van_Put-1963-Dressoir-F01, Buying antiques in Belgium, Sourcing antiques in Europe, Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Diva Guide Lucretia, De Coene console, New York Interior Designer

De Coene Murat furniture fetches sky-high prices in the US. In 2007, the Murat console was featured on the cover of a catalog issued by a New Orleans auction house — where it later fetched the sum of $21,600. A New York antique dealer, Kemp, sells Murat consoles for $60,000! Now, even with the extra labor – the lacquering – and transportation costs, our New York client could acquire this beautiful pair of Murat consoles for a fraction of what it would have cost him in the USA.

For myself, it was an eye-opener too. Once this mahogany neo-empire furniture had undergone this transformation – being painted black and having the gold trimmings polished – it looked very modern and perfect for our client’s needs!  Resembling art deco rather than empire, it fit very well in a contemporary interior, and the neutral black finish offered great possibilities for mixing well with the flamboyant colors that are so en vogue now.  I also learned that the firm De Coene had been selling black- lacquered furniture from the beginning, taking away my reservations about changing the looks of such carefully executed heirloom pieces.

The lesson here is that no matter what you’re looking for, where there’s a will there’s a way. From the client, to our company Antiques Diva headquarters, to me as the local buying agent to two of the dealers we know, the exact pieces that we sought were found, modified, and purchased for a fraction of the cost they could have been purchased for in the US.”

If you’d like information about an Antiques Buying Tour or our Buying Services, please email us at [email protected]. We’d love to help you source the perfect piece!

The Antiques Diva® 

Collecting Antique Artwork

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Dear Diva Readers,

A house without artwork is like an outfit without jewelry… and I never leave the house without wearing a bauble or two. No matter what your style, art adds personality and character to a space – finishing an interior! If your walls are feeling bare and boring, hanging artwork will add depth, color, pattern, texture and an element of surprise, making a room anything but bland!

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It can seem daunting to start an art collection, especially with the vast array of pieces available on the market. However, you should always purchase what you love – like my client Susan’s son (in a recent blog post). Start with this one rule in mind and you’ll be on the way to creating a collection of pieces that reflects your individual tastes.

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A great way to ensure that you’re investing in something that will at least retain its value is by buying antique art pieces. This doesn’t mean that they have to be outrageously expensive. Even if your budget only allows you to purchase one good piece, that is a great place to start. Establishing a collection takes time and is rarely achieved at a one-stop-shop. From antique store to auctions to flea markets, there are many avenues from which to procure artwork.

Tips on buying artwork, Collecting antique art, decorating with art, antiques diva tips

Tips on buying artwork, Collecting antique art, decorating with art, antiques diva tips

When selecting art, you also want to be sure that it will work with your decor. Perhaps it’s the color palette that you want to coordinate. Maybe it’s the subject matter. Either way, don’t just purchase something and hope it will fit. Be mindful of the vibe you already have going at home and choose something that will mesh with that.  But don’t be afraid to take chances.  When it comes to art work and antiques, opposites attract, just like in love.  Using modern artwork alongside antique furniture pieces is a great way to achieve a chic modern relevant look. So go with your gut and trust your eye!

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When it comes to displaying art, consider a gallery wall. This can take many shapes and forms. From hanging pieces in symmetrical rows to placing them randomly on the wall, gallery walls add interest to any space. Aside from walls, try using easels to display your art. Whether it be a floor easel or table-top, there’s something about an easel that makes a piece feel special.

Tips on buying artwork, Collecting antique art, decorating with art, antiques diva tips

The key with art is to not be intimidated! Remember it should speak to you and if you educate yourself about the pieces you’re interested in, you will know exactly what you’re purchasing. Art is fun and the process of researching, purchasing, and decorating should be fun too.

If you’d like information on how The Antiques Diva & Co can help you source antique art abroad, email us at [email protected]. Through our Buying Tours or Buying Services, we’d love to help you start or expand your collection!

Artfully yours,

The Antiques Diva® 

European Decorative Arts – Sotheby’s

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Dear Diva Readers,

Here at The Antiques Diva & Co we are thrilled to be part of an exciting global community of antiques and design enthusiasts. With our staff of locally based Diva Guides throughout Europe, we have developed—and are constantly expanding— a vast network or dealers and experts in the field who constantly teach us more and more about the world of antiques. Continuing education is an important part of what we do… both internally within our company and externally, educating our clients.  When asked where we look for ongoing education I have to say the Sotheby’s Institute of Art is my first source!  They are currently offering a new course called “European Decorative Arts”, covering decorative arts from the seventeenth century with the rise of the Baroque and culminating in Art Nouveau at the end of the nineteenth century. Participants will study stylistic developments in Western European design and decorative arts, learning about furniture, ceramics, glass and metalwork. The course will also focus on the broader historical and cultural forces that have influenced the production and consumption of decorative art objects. I’ve always found that the more you know about antiques, including historical context and significance, the better you are able to source what you’re looking for. And in fact the more you know – the better you’re able to spot bargains along the way whilst shopping abroad!   Think about it— if you have knowledge, which we all know is power, you can spot period pieces and know what you are talking about. This helps with negotiating and procuring the right piece for your personal or professional collection.

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Not only will participants of this course be part of lectures, but they’ll also visit leading museums, galleries and country houses. After all, the world is a classroom! A great way to learn about antiques is firsthand. Many of our own clients often comment on how much they learn just by talking to our Guides and dealers at our sources.

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Sometimes antiques can seem intimidating, but this particular course requires no prior knowledge, allowing you to learn without feeling self-conscious. A sample of topics that will be covered are as follows:

  • Louis XIV and the influence of Versailles
  • Trade with the Far-East in the 17th century
  • Rococo interiors
  • Neo-classicism
  • Arts and Crafts
  • The impact of Japan in the 19th century
  • Aestheticism
  • Art Nouveau

If you would like more information on the course which runs from May 26 to June 19, 2015 click this link.

sothebys institue of art, Sotheby’s, Institute of Art, European Decorative Arts, Continuing Education in Design,

sothebys institue of art, Sotheby’s, Institute of Art, European Decorative Arts, Continuing Education in Design,

And as always, if you’d like more information on an Antiques Diva & Co Buying Tour, please email us at [email protected]. We’d love to help you source antiques in Europe!

The Antiques Diva®

Layering with Antique Rugs

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Dear Diva Readers,

Winter weather always has me wanting to nest… spending time snuggling up indoors and creating cozy, winter-worthy interiors.  One way to warm up the indoors is by layering in antique rugs.   Think about it—when cold temperatures hit with fashion we layer on the clothes, adding a turtleneck, sweater, scarves, coats, gloves…anything that will keep us toasty. The same principle can be applied to the home. By adding layers with rugs you can keep nice and cozy all winter long.

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Layering a small rug over a larger one can help define a seating area. It visually pulls things together, creating a sense of intimacy in a given space.  Another easy way to add texture with small rugs is by using animal hides. We recently had a client purchase a vintage reindeer hide on tour! And, remember: don’t be afraid to layer rugs over carpet either.

Vintage rugs, antique rugs, decorating with layers, layering rugs, Decorating tips for winter weather, The Antiques Diva

 

While we’re talking about texture, be aware of the rugs you’re layering. You want to make sure they are of different weaves. For instance, if you have a jute or seagrass rug on your wood floors, layer a rug of a different material on top—like wool. You want to have a mix of flat and textured rugs.

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I think it’s best to have your main rug be pretty neutral and for it to have less pattern. Then you can layer colorful patterned rugs on top to add interest. By starting with a neutral base, you open up your options when it comes to layering on smaller rugs throughout the year. This allows the smaller rugs to be more like accessories.

Vintage rugs, antique rugs, decorating with layers, layering rugs, Decorating tips for winter weather, The Antiques Diva

And lastly, consider adding antique rugs to every room in the house. Of course you’ll want them in the living room, but why not add a rug in the kitchen to spice things up? Also think about the bedroom—wouldn’t it be nice to step out of bed each morning onto a soft rug?

As the foundation of any room, rugs are not only a good idea but also a good investment!  So the real question is … where should you buy your antique rugs?? Of course, we’ve got a source for you! The The London Antique Rug and Textile Art Fair – held this 16-19th April 2015. Visitors to LARTA 2015 will have the opportunity to source items originating from Anatolia, the Caucasus, Persia, Central Asia, India and China, as well as from Europe and Africa, and from all periods up to the early 20th century.

Vintage rugs, antique rugs, decorating with layers, layering rugs, Decorating tips for winter weather, The Antiques Diva

Address : The Showroom, 63 Penfold St, London NW8 8PQ

The Showroom is an arts venue about half a mile north of Marble Arch, 100 yards from Edgware Road.

Dates & Opening Times 2015

Thursday 16th April – Opening Night, 6pm – 10pm (by invitation only).
Friday 17th April, 11am – 7pm
Saturday 18th April, 11am – 7pm
Sunday 19th April, 11am – 5pm

Entry is free at all times!

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

Stay warm,

The Antiques Diva® 

Antiques Roadshow Moment on Antiques Diva Tours

Antiques Roadshow Moment on Antiques Diva Tours

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Dear Diva Readers,

The number one rule of advice I give clients on our antique buying tours is to buy what you love.

Buy What You Love, Antiques Roadshow, Antiques Diva Tours, Susan Cohan Gardens, Mucha, Art Nouveau print, LANGAGE DES FLEURS, projet de teinture, Flea Market Finds, Toma Clark Haines

Recently Susan Cohan, principal of Susan Cohan Gardens, a boutique design studio which specializes in residential landscape design, booked a 10 day long Antiques Diva Gardens and Ornaments tour in France & Belgium to shop the flea markets, warehouses and architectural salvage stores, bringing a group of her friends with her to shop abroad with diva style.

susan cohan gardens and ornaments group antiques diva tour, Antiques Roadshow, Antiques Diva Tours, Susan Cohan Gardens, Mucha, Art Nouveau print, LANGAGE DES FLEURS, projet de teinture, Flea Market Finds, Toma Clark Haines

While we were in Belgium her son was rummaging through a flea market and fell in love with a gorgeous Art Nouveau Mucha print which he bought for 12 Euro.  Bringing it back to New York he and his mother dropped the print off at the framers.  As they were unmatting it they discovered that this “print” was in fact “the real deal.”

Mucha, Antiques Roadshow, Antiques Diva Tours, Susan Cohan Gardens, Mucha, Art Nouveau print, LANGAGE DES FLEURS, projet de teinture, Flea Market Finds, Toma Clark Haines

LANGAGE DES FLEURS.
Plate 35 from Album de la Decoration.

10 3/8×14 1/4 inches. F. Champenois, Paris.
Condition A.
A brunette with flowing hair is caught in the midst of a fantastic swirl of Art Nouveau flowers in red, blue, green and yellow. A “projet de teinture” (“a study for fabric”) , Rennert/Weill refers to the finalized cloth version (printed on “satin or velveteen and possibly on silk” p. 396) and pictures two images clearly from the same series. Rennert/Weill A.11 (var).

It had been auctioned off at the Swann Galleries in 2002 for more than $2,000.

Susan’s son had his treasure framed behind UV glass with an acid free backing and matt and smiled all the way home – delighted with his Antiques Diva Antiques Roadshow moment.

The moral of this story according to Susan Cohan, “Buy art that you love and you will never be a loser!  And, sometimes, you will be a really big winner!”

With Susan Cohan Shopping the Paris Flea Market, Antiques Roadshow, Antiques Diva Tours, Susan Cohan Gardens, Mucha, Art Nouveau print, LANGAGE DES FLEURS, projet de teinture, Flea Market Finds, Toma Clark Haines

Bonne Shopping!
The Antiques Diva®
(seen above with Susan Cohan while shopping The Paris Flea Market)

Decorating with Antique Mirrors

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Dear Diva Readers,

Whether we’re taking private clients or trade clients on Antique Buying Tours, there are a few key items that people are ALWAYS looking to buy!. Antique mirrors, large or small, are one of the most sought after pieces.  Not only do they work in nearly any space – enhancing it and reflecting light – as we age (yes, I’m talking people, not antiques) we look better and better in old, mottled mercury mirrors!  My theory is:  if you can’t turn back the hands of time at least you can turn back seeing the wrinkles!  Antique mirrors allow us to see ourselves in new ways.

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Decorating Tips, Decorating with Antique Mirrors, Trumeau, Best place to hang a mirror, Decorating with style, Antiques Diva

An entryway is the ideal place for an antique mirror, preferably a large one so that you can check yourself one last time before you leave the house – it also imbues the home with light, making it feel immediately welcoming.

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Above the mantel is obviously a traditional place to put a mirror and my theory is that this is where you should GO BOLD.  The bigger and the more ornate, the better.  In the evenings, light a slew of candles and watch how the flames flicker in the reflection.   On this cold day in February I’m dreaming of snuggling up next to the fire with the candlelight reflected above.

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While we’re talking about candlelight, try to hang mirrors any place that candles can be reflected across the room, etc.  Think about a long mirror hung horizontally above the sideboard in the dining room. Then you can fill the sideboard with candles that will make your dinner hour sparkle or it can catch the light from the dining table as you entertain.

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If you have a strangely placed electric panel, why not prop a mirror up against the wall in front of it? This can also be a great way to use a mirror if you’re a renter and don’t want to put holes in the walls. Propping a large mirror against a wall creates a sense of depth and space and also makes a room feel casual – in fact in my bedroom at home (which has brick walls) I’ve propped an oversized trumeau.

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Hanging a mirror at the end of a dark hallway or in a closed stairwell will reflect light and give the illusion of a continuation of space. Mirrors make cramped spaces less claustrophobic so anywhere that feels tight, just add a mirror!

Decorating Tips, Decorating with Antique Mirrors, Trumeau, Best place to hang a mirror, Decorating with style

Mirror Mirror on the Wall… Who’s the Fairest of them All?

The Antiques Diva®

Antiques Diva Resources

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Dear Diva Readers,

While at The Antiques Diva & Co we’re known for our customized private antique buying tours throughout Europe – our contacts go beyond “just antiques”.  Our local Diva Guides are our greatest assets because they know their regions like the back of their hand… and they have contacts beyond your wildest dreams! Many of our clients are interior designers, which means finding antiques is just one thing on their long to-do list to finish their projects.  In Italy our local Diva Guide Susan has not only antique sources but so much more! Her little black book of artisans and skilled craftsmen is bulging with brilliant ideas.  In addition to sourcing antiques we can also help with new custom Italian furniture either from reclaimed or new materials that can match or coordinate with your antiques.

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Locally based Tuscan Diva Susan explains, “We know that being a decorator or buying for your private home is very different to being an antiques dealer. How often does one look at a piece and say, ‘If only it was a little shorter, a smidgen wider…’ Sometimes the European measurements just don’t match up. Or perhaps you found the perfect table but need twelve chairs instead of just four. With this in mind, it occurred to us on our travels that for you as a designer, maybe we can help with this dilemma.”

Over the years we have gotten to know and become friends with lots of interesting artisans – Italy is famed for its design, taste, and talented craftsmen. Albeit this latter category is a rare and dying breed so we have traveled far and wide to seek out the best small family-run businesses that have been passed down from generation to generation to ensure our clients find the artisans for which they are looking. Passion and pride play a fundamental role in their dedication and success.

Antiques Diva - Italian antiques, Buying antiques in Italy, Sourcing design elements in Italy, Little black book of Artisans and Skilled Craftsmen, The Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Tuscan Diva Guide Susan, Shopping in Tuscany, Painted Pieces in Italy, Forged Ironworks in Tuscany, Italian Design,

Traditional Elements

We have a source that is fantastic at making high-quality ‘antiqued’ furniture. In particular they have a beautiful range of marquetry dining tables, chairs, and cabinetry and will make bespoke pieces just for you. This eliminates your problems with length, width, height, and style of legs or finish. And better still, we know from past clients that their prices are a fraction of those in the USA.

Antiques Diva Buying antiques in Italy, Buying antiques in Italy, Sourcing design elements in Italy, Little black book of Artisans and Skilled Craftsmen, The Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Tuscan Diva Guide Susan, Shopping in Tuscany, Painted Pieces in Italy, Forged Ironworks in Tuscany, Italian Design,

Painted Pieces

The father & son business we work with specializes in painted furniture of fine artisan quality. You’d be forgiven for mistaking it for old! The furniture consists of Italian style chests, buffets, cupboards, as well as sconces and chandeliers. The plus is that you can choose the color and the hardware. They use Farrow & Ball, so you will know exactly how the color will turn out, and their standards are high.

Buying antiques in Italy, Sourcing design elements in Italy, Little black book of Artisans and Skilled Craftsmen, The Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Tuscan Diva Guide Susan, Shopping in Tuscany, Painted Pieces in Italy, Forged Ironworks in Tuscany, Italian Design,

Forged Iron

Tuscany in particular is well known for its ironwork. Our blacksmiths—and truly they are much more than that— are a family of 3 brothers, their father, and nephew. Together they are quite a force, designing and creating some of the most handsome hand-forged wrought iron around, many taken from centuries old designs, but others surprisingly contemporary. They also love to make original and unique pieces of furniture using old wood and adapting older pieces.

Buying antiques in Italy, Sourcing design elements in Italy, Little black book of Artisans and Skilled Craftsmen, The Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Tuscan Diva Guide Susan, Shopping in Tuscany, Painted Pieces in Italy, Forged Ironworks in Tuscany, Italian Design,

These are just a few of our friends to whet your appetite. We have many, many more sources throughout Europe that can customize, restore or even build pieces to your specification. In fact, we have connections that can customize centuries-old fireplaces or even help you adapt antique staircases, gates, and fountains for your projects! We guarantee that your clients will be delighted with the end result because we have worked with these craftsmen for years.

If you would like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour in any of our 8 tour countries, email us at [email protected] and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Toma Clark Haines and Susan, Italian Diva Guide, Buying antiques in Italy, Sourcing design elements in Italy, Little black book of Artisans and Skilled Craftsmen, The Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Tuscan Diva Guide Susan, Shopping in Tuscany, Painted Pieces in Italy, Forged Ironworks in Tuscany, Italian Design,

Yours truly,

The Antiques Diva® 

Antique Young Guns in Love

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Dear Diva Readers,

Love is in the air in Britain… just in time for Valentines!  My favorite group of young antique dealers are setting shopper’s hearts atwitter with their #AYGINLOVEPOP UP SHOP in LILLIE ROAD, LONDON 11-14 FEBRUARY 2015 to celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend.

AYGINLOVE, Antiques Young Guns, Pop Up Stores, London Antiques, Lillie Road, George Johnson

Curated by AYG co-founder George Johnson and AYG of the Year finalist Lily Trunfull, these darlings will present a gorgeously choreographed collection of seriously sexy stock in which to fall in love!  Find a rare c1865 bentwood Thonet rocking chair or an early C19th Scandinavian settee, a vintage lead cherub sculpture for the garden or a late Victorian burr walnut boxed decanter set for the dining room.  And have no fear… should LONDON not be on your travel list this Valentines….  The Antique Young Guns website will also run a virtual Pop Up #AYGINLOVE gallery for one month from 11 February 2015.

AYGINLOVE, Antiques Young Guns, Pop Up Stores, London Antiques, Lillie Road, George Johnson

Lillie Road #AYGINLOVE POP UP SHOP
315 Lillie Road, London, SW6 7LL
11-14 February 2015

The shop will be open:
Wednesday 11 February – 12pm – 6pm
Thursday 12 February – 10am – 6pm
Friday 13 February – 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday 14 February -10am – 7.30 pm

Late night opening and drinks party:
Friday 13 February from 7pm till late

Happy Valentines!
The Antiques Diva®

Mastering the Eclectic Mix

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Dear Diva Readers,

My greatest indulgence is when I’ve got an evening at home alone and I can pour up a glass of chilled white wine, run the hottest, steamiest bath, and grab a decorating magazine to flip through the pages of my favorite publications – Veranda, House Beautiful, Elle Decor…  I gain inspiration and new ideas and always feel compelled to rearrange the house (or at the very least redo the table top decor) once getting out of the tub!  The key to achieving the same look you see on the pages of top shelter magazines is in gravitating towards the eclectic – and with antiques you’re immediately given that sense of personality – with a capital P. When you walk into most big box furniture stores, things are often sold in matching sets.  However, when you look at rooms in the pages of design magazines, there are never matching sets!

Decorating with Antiques, Decorating Tips, Eclectic Decorating, Designing with Style, Antiques Diva,

Antiques & vintage pieces are great additions to every room because they are unique. As you shop, look for items from different time periods and
styles. However, don’t go too crazy. A few key statement pieces will be enough to keep your room feeling fresh and personal. It’s all about choosing material things that reflect your inner self—items that show off your tastes and personality! If you’re shopping the flea markets or antique stores and something calls out to you, buy it!  If you buy what you love your house will reflect your personality.

Decorating with Antiques, Decorating Tips, Eclectic Decorating, Designing with Style, Antiques Diva,

On a similar note, try to keep one common thread that appears throughout your decor. This is an important step in mastering the eclectic mix.  Perhaps the common element in your house is a color. Tie in rugs, upholstery, lamp shades, and window treatments to keep things feeling cohesive. These really are the things that keep a room feeling cohesive.

Another way to weave a common thread though your home is to have the majority of your pieces come from one particular style such as English or
French and then add in a few modern pieces to act as counterparts to them.

Decorating with Antiques, Decorating Tips, Eclectic Decorating, Designing with Style, Antiques Diva,

It’s all about trial and error. Don’t be afraid to experiment with decor. Remember there is no one stop shop to furnish your home. It takes time and  patience to create a space that nourishes you and your family. As with anything in life, it’s so important to enjoy the journey. Decorating should be one of the fun aspects of life, so get out there and find the pieces that can make your home as eclectic and special as you are!

Eclectically,

The Antiques Diva®

University of York Antiques Fair

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

Exhibition-Centre-Main-Entrance-Best

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

18th-Century-Caughly-Mask-Jug-247x300

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

18th-Century-1st-Period-Worcester-Tea-Cannister-241x300

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

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

Happy antiquing,

The Antiques Diva®

Create a WOW Factor with Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy decorating,

The Antiques Diva®

Antiques Diva Styles a Room With Chairish

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to the lovely people at Chairish for giving me the opportunity to dream up a space inspired by one of their gorgeous rugs!  Go check out the other lovely rugs they offer on their site!

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva®

Can Comfort and Glamour Go Together?

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

Photo credit Laila McCubbin Jones

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credit Laila McCubbin Jones

 

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

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

The Antiques Diva® 

Repurpose Flea Market Finds

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

Catherine writes:

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

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

MEMO BOARD & CHALK BOARD

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

Supplies:

1 A clean metal tray with a smooth surface

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

3 A paintbrush (I like the disposable sponge brushes)

Instructions:

1 Wash and dry the tray

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

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

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

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

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

TRAY ART

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

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

Supplies:

1 An assortment of trays that nest inside each other

2 A small mirror

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

 

Instructions:

1 Wash and dry the trays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Use your chalkboard tray to write the family dinner menu

5 Spray paint for holiday themed message boards

Happy Flea Marketing!

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

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

 

Creating the Perfect Tablescape with Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

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

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

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

Decorating with Antiques, Designing Tablescapes, Artful Vignettes,

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

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

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

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

Happy Decorating,

The Antiques Diva® 

The ICEHOTEL

1 Comment on The ICEHOTEL

Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Travels,
The Antiques Diva ®

Styling the Coffee Table with Antiques

No Comments on Styling the Coffee Table with Antiques

Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

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

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

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

Coffee Table Décor – Lonny Magazine style

 

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

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

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

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Photo From Marcus Design Inc

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

Happy decorating,

The Antiques Diva®