How Much Does It Cost to Fill a Container with Antiques?

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Dear Diva Readers,

While we don’t do international shipping ourselves here at The Antiques Diva & Co we do liaise our clients on antique buying tours with international shippers to help them get their purchases home sweet home across the pond.  As such we get asked A LOT of questions about how it works to ship antiques internationally.  In general when queries come my way I direct them to the experts – making introductions to shippers we know and trust and have worked with long-term.

Perhaps the most popular questions after “Which international shippers do you recommend?” and “How much does it cost to ship a container?” is “How much does it cost to fill a container full of antiques?”  The answer to this question lies in the answer to the question, “How many antiques fit in a shipping container?”

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If you visualize a 20 foot container…it can hold approximately 40 medium size pieces of furniture.  Then to determine the cost of filling a shipping container with antiques you need to determine how much you are going to spend on average per item.  Chest of drawers could range anywhere from 100 Euro to 10,000 Euro depending on the age, quality, provencance, etc of the items you’re buying.  Buying 1950’s pieces cost a lot less that pieces from the 1750’s!

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If you determine an amount that you feel comfortable with as an average item of purchase and multiply that number times 40 you’ll have a rough ball park figure on “How much it costs to fill a shipping container with antiques?”  Obviously you’re not going to be buying 40 chest of drawers so this isn’t an exact science but it leads you down the path to determining what your budget should be for buying overseas.

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Clients come to me with budgets ranging from 20,000 Euros to 100,000 Euros, saying this is the amount they have to fill their 20 foot container.  On average, serious buyers – Antique Dealers – seeking to fill their container with decorative vintage and antique pieces – the type that you see in all the magazines, chic and stylish, with a degree of age on them but not necessarily uber high-end – come to me with a budget of approx. 40,000 Euro knowing they may spend less or they may spend more depending upon the price point of the items they fall in love with.  The client I was just with found a slew of cocktail tables at 50 Euro each – this brought her average purchase down exponentially and she managed to save a significant amount of money off her anticipated budget.  However…cocktail tables weren’t on her buying list.  Sometimes in order to get the best deal you have to be open to what’s on the market when you’re seeking to buy.  The client will be able to retail those cocktail tables for about $600 USD each – so she is getting a heck of a profit on them!

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When shipping remember it’s better to overbuy and overfill your container than underbuy – the less you buy the more it costs per item in the container.  The best way to save money shipping is to squeeze as many items into the container as possible! And remember – shippers use every square inch! If you have a chest of drawers you can easily pack those drawers full of smalls so there is no wasted space!

Net, net – there is no easy answer on how much it costs to fill a container – but if you use this as a guideline for shipping antiques you’ll have a starting point in determining your budget for buying antiques overseas.

Happy Shipping,
The Antiques Diva®
(Hmmm…. today perhaps you might want to call me The Shipping Diva!)

Antiquing is Match-Making

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Dear Diva Readers,

Today our Antiques Diva Guide in Provence is sharing her thoughts on what her job leading buying tours really means.  Enjoy!

Caren writes:
Antiquing is a noble profession, a bit like match-making. For what could be nobler than to introduce two entities that were made for each other? I’m talking about match-making the past with the future: the bringing together long-forgotten treasures belonging to a past era with the hosts of special people, that set out every weekend to hunt for antiques- crazy for the vintage charm of pre-loved objects of art from another age. These people are exceptional. They can appreciate the value and history of pre-loved treasures. Their thumbs start twitching and they get excited when they see items with gilded patinas and irregular scratches. And in turn, the pieces from eras gone by are waiting, anticipating…sometimes restored but always lonely and forgotten.

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For these items, there is now the hope for a new life. And it comes in the form of the recycling treasure-lovers. These are the people, the connoisseurs, who admire distressed furniture, rusty light-fittings, old paint buckets and rutted cutting boards. They can see the value of the history of a piece of furniture; they appreciate the significance and will treasure these objects, proud to have them in their care.

For many, the hunt is the fun, and where better to start than in the village of L’isle sir la Sorgue, a small town lying on the Sorgue River, between Avignon and Apt in Provence, France.

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In the 12th century, L’isle sur la Sorgue was a small fishing village where the houses were built on stilts above a marsh. Later, in the 18th century, huge water wheels churned the water on the canals, creating power for the silk and paper industries. Today, the waters flow down two main channels in town, and many shops have their back-doors opening over the water, creating shady and pleasant nooks and crannies to explore.

Known also as the Venice of Provence, the town is a delightful destination for anyone interested in antiquing, decorative arts, brocante markets or gastronomy. It is here that you will find more than 300 antique outlets and flea markets in the old mills and weaving factories: a huge selection of antiques and decorative arts and sellers who cater to all tastes.

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A wander through the village will uncover an astonishing range of antiques, suitable for all budgets. This is the perfect spot to find a treasure for your home. It’s like being in a museum but better, as you are allowed to touch and handle all of the art pieces on show.Whether you are looking for something small to display on a side-board or considering remodeling your entire house, this is the place to be.

Choose a perfect 18th century iron gate, formerly part of a French chateau, or a stone chimney piece. Or perhaps you’d prefer a grand marble stair case or a 19th century mirror that once adorned the entrance foyer of an art deco theatre, reflecting the images of opera-goers as they added their finishing touches.

If these items are too large, why not hunt for something smaller? Like kids on a treasure hunt, it’s a joy to rummage through the layers of history, looking for the piece that says, “Take me home!” From egg baskets to light-fixtures and antique iron watering cans, L’isle sur la Sorgue has it all.

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During the week, the antique dealers comb the country-side, often driving huge distances to estate sales on the other side of the country. House clearances are holy grails for dealers. If successful, they return to their workshops where they may spend many painstaking hours reupholstering a chair, repairing a door or examining various points of workmanship on their newly acquired items, so that when the markets open again for business the following weekend, there will be a whole new selection of artifacts to offer, available for eager buyers and collectors.

No divining rod needed. Introducing a beautiful vintage antique to an antique lover can be a match made in heaven. It means that fine pieces of our history will once again find a home. What could be more perfect? Old pieces, recycled by those who appreciate the craftsmanship and at the same time, indulge their passion for the old and beautiful. What better profession is there than to be an antique guide in this paradise?

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Diva Guide Caren Shopping in Provence with a Friend

Provence Diva Guide Caren – Filling in For The Antiques Diva®

 

 

 

How To Ship Antiques From Abroad

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Dear Diva Readers,

When you’re traveling overseas and shopping for antiques you have a few options on how to ship antiques home from abroad.  The first option is to only buy what you can pack in your suitcase.  This costs nothing and is perfect if you’re looking to buy a few trinkets or smaller items – but what if you’re really wanting to buy a lot when you’re overseas? The second option? Buy an extra suitcase.  When you’re at the Paris Flea Market they actually have stalls with suitcases for sale.  Pick up an extra suitcase and fill it to your heart’s content.  (It’s not a bad idea to bring a hand-held luggage scale with you on holiday so you can weigh to make sure you’re in the weight limit).

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But what if you’re buying porcelain or other breakables? Do you really want to risk putting that in your suitcase? I didn’t think so.  Then we’re talking either the local post office or FedEx – hint the post office in Europe is always much cheaper than FedEx.  Plus at the post office you can buy the box for packing your purchases.  Investigate in the town you’re traveling if they have a Mail Boxes, Etc. I often pay to have Mail Boxes, Etc pack my breakables for me.  When Mail Boxes, Etc finds out that I’m using the post office to mail my box instead of them they often offer a discount off their services.  They are faster than the local post office so if you can get a bargain here it’s worth paying a little more for special handling to go this route.

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How to ship antiques from Europe, Perfectly Packables, Mail Boxes Etc, International shippers, Recommended International Shippers, Antiques Diva Tours, La Poste

Now – you may not know this – but if you want to get a bargain in Europe – RARELY will you get that bargain on smalls.  The smaller, the more perfectly packable, it is the more expensive the price tends to be when comparing it with American standards.  On the other hand if you fall in love with an armoire it’s likely to be 1/3 the price you’d pay stateside. As I always say “Go Big or Go Home.”  The bigger the antique the better the price. But if you want to ship an armoire what’s a girl to do?  Hire an international shipper!   They will give you a cubic meter price – an estimate on the cost of shipping the item.  You’ll want to ask them door-to-door and specify that they include insurance on the delivery.  The price they give you may not be exact – it’ll probably be an estimate.  You’ll have the option to air freight the item or to put it in a consolidated container to ship home on the slow boat.  Find out the price difference between the two methods.  Be aware that delivery ALWAYS takes more time than you’re expecting.

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For more help with your international antique shipping goods, contact The Antiques Diva & Co.  While we don’t do shipping ourselves we do liaise you with some of our preferred international shippers.  We’re always happy to help you get antiques home sweet home across the pond.

Happy Shipping!
The Antiques Diva®

Client Question- Sourcing Mid-century in Italy

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Dear Diva Readers,

As owner of Europe’s largest Antiques Touring & Sourcing company, I get inquiries of all kinds. While our tours are available for tourists and individuals looking to purchase antiques for themselves, we also get quite a lot of trade professionals (antique dealers, store owners and interior designers) looking to buy enough pieces to fill a container (or two!). I recently received an email from a client who wants to stock her store with Italian and French mid-century modern pieces. She had a few questions before booking a tour that are quite common, so I wanted to share my answers with you today on the blog!

Our client asks:
I own a store in America that specializes in vintage modern furniture and décor. Most of our Italian pieces we purchase through auction and they have strong provenance. I would like a more cost effective way of acquiring these pieces. Would you recommend taking a tour and if so, where should my buying tour be?

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Answer:
We are delighted to help you source mid-century pieces abroad by custom planning a tour to get you exactly what you’re looking for! I would recommend a three day tour in Italy to source Italian mid-century pieces. We would be taking you to our sources in Milan and further south into Tuscany for the best prices. Here’s a sample itinerary to give you a feel of what you’d be doing:

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Day 1Milan is brilliant for mid-century.    You’ll visit a variety of vendors from big to small, criss-crossing the city.  To save time we actually suggest doing this tour on foot and using public transportation (or, when needed, taxis – to be paid direct at taxi) as it’s the most efficient way to cover the ground needed without dealing with parking, etc.

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Day 2 -  You really need to go further afield, delving deeper into the countryside. Florence is 1 hour 45 minutes on the train from Milan and do-able in a day trip if you’re up for a long day.  You’ll find good prices and a great variety of inventory.

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Day 3 –  If you have the time I’d encourage you to consider the area in/near Arezzo for a 3rd day tour as you’ll find a plethora of mid-C pieces.   Here, our Guide will take you to our sources, helping you find the right pieces for your store.

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Your guide would custom plan your route, she will translate, negotiate and liaise you with international shippers to relieve all the stress from you!

We look forward to helping you source Italian mid-century abroad!

The Antiques Diva®

Antiques Diva Cocktail Hour: French 75

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On Friday evenings Chez Antiques Diva, Mister Divo (aka the Wine Guy) takes off his sommelier hat and tries his hand at mixology.  While each week he personally likes to try something new, testing new recipes for Blood & Sands, Horses Necks, Sidecars and various type of Martinis, I tend towards having a favorite drink – a signature drink.  9 times out of 10 when he asks my flavor I respond with a sigh…. “Give me Coco Chanel with a Dagger” –  my code name for the French 75.  It’s elegant yet packing heat!

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French 75 Recipe, per my husband:

  1. Put Champagne flute in freezer
  2. 1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
  3. 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  4. 1 1/2 oz rich simple syrup
  5. Fill shaker with ice, gin, lemon juice and simple syrup
  6. Shake like mad until well-chilled, then strain into chilled Champagne flute
  7. Top with Champagne (do NOT use a low quality sparkler…)
  8. Stir gently and rim the glass with the lemon
  9. Garnish with a long, thin lemon spiral and a cherry (I like to use a bing cherry if available)

 

Summer Antiquing in The Hamptons

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Dear Diva Readers,

We’re delighted that Tamara Stephenson, interior designer and author of lifestyle blog Nest by Tamara is guest blogging today, sharing her favorite design sources with The Antiques Diva & Co.  Out on the East End of Long Island in the area known as The Hamptons there are many shows, flea markets and specialty shops.  Tamara sources vintage and antique pieces regularly for herself and her design clients and today shares one of her favorites stops with us.

Guest Blog: My favorite antique shopping in summer allows me to gain more knowledge about items I collect.

By Tamara Matthews-Stephenson

Photographs by Gabby Stephenson

It is no secret that the annual East Hampton Antique Show is my favorite in the area, and set on the bucolic and historic Mulford Farm it is a special place to pick up quality pieces from reliable dealers.  Drawing from some of the best shops around the east coast, this show offers something for everyone’s taste from mid-century to Victorian era furniture and accessories.  I have gotten to know many of the dealers personally in this informal setting, which is located every mid-July on James Lane in the heart of the village of East Hampton on 3.5 acres of historic land, complete with a restored 17th century farm house and several barns and outbuildings, some of the oldest in Long Island.  The farm is even home to a historic windmill built by Dutch settlers centuries ago here in eastern Long Island. The show is set up with large billowing white tents spread throughout the grassy, pretty farm giving visitors plenty of room to meander the property and inspect the goods.

Nest by Tamara, Tamara Matthews-Stephenson, Antiquing in The Hamptons, The Antiques Diva, East Hampton Antique Show, Mulford Farm, Gabby Stephenson

Over the years I have found a cornucopia of lovely antique textiles, outdoor garden sculptures, furniture, mirrors and lamps.   I have even added to my Majolica earthenware collection.  One of my favorite antique dealers hails from the north shore of Boston’s seaside town of Essex. Andrew Spindler hand picks items both locally and internationally for his shop and the shows where he exhibits.  His booth shows rare and unusual furnishings that he arranges together in a stylish manner.

Nest by Tamara, Tamara Matthews-Stephenson, Antiquing in The Hamptons, The Antiques Diva, East Hampton Antique Show, Mulford Farm, Gabby Stephenson, Majolica

Each summer while visiting this show I find pieces to add to my collections.  This year I found vintage hand towels and monogrammed linens from a local vendor to give as a hostess gift.  Last summer, I picked up a cute, Irish impish-looking painted cement garden gnome from a Vermont dealer, promising to bring good luck to my garden.  I also found a pair of Faux Bois metal outdoor chairs for under my client’s pergola.

Nest by Tamara, Tamara Matthews-Stephenson, Antiquing in The Hamptons, The Antiques Diva, East Hampton Antique Show, Mulford Farm, Gabby Stephenson, Majolica

Over the past few seasons, I have added to my collection of Majolica earthenware from this show where a few dealers bring select and unusual pieces.  Majolica is a very specific looking, unique pottery often adorned with flowers, crustacean, seashells, vegetables and fruit, all of which were applied as tiny sculptures layered on top.  It was first made in Staffordshire, England around 1850, and taken from earlier tin-glazed procedures made by craftsmen in Italy during the 15th century. It became very popular during the opulent Victorian era when entertaining in the home was popular.   Majolica is a lead and tin glaze process that creates an opaque white film that is painted on the surface of pottery. First the piece is fired then a tin enamel is applied that once dries forms a white opaque porous surface. The complicated process produces unique pieces that are often colorful and bold.  I learned much about Majolica at the East Hampton show, and while talking directly with the knowledgeable dealers.  The informal atmosphere at the show is a perfect environment to learn more about items you enjoy collecting.

Nest by Tamara, Tamara Matthews-Stephenson, Antiquing in The Hamptons, The Antiques Diva, East Hampton Antique Show, Mulford Farm, Gabby Stephenson, Majolica

Each year the opening of the show is marked by a celebratory cocktail evening/gala where champagne and delicious food is served and provided by local caterer Brent Newsom.   Renowned interior designer Celerie Kemble hosted this year’s gala with live music performed by Jane Hastay and Peter Martin Weiss. Sponsors of the antique show include BNY Mellon Wealth Management, House Beautiful magazine, Channing Daughters Winery and Charlie Whitmore Gardens. The show is managed by Ferguson & D’Arruda of Providence, Rhode Island.

Nest by Tamara, Tamara Matthews-Stephenson, Antiquing in The Hamptons, The Antiques Diva, East Hampton Antique Show, Mulford Farm, Gabby Stephenson, Majolica

Thanks Tamara for sharing an insiders glimpse on antiquing in The Hamptons!

The Antiques Diva®

Meet Me at Market in Las Vegas

Meet Me at Market in Las Vegas

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Dear Diva Readers,

The Antiques Diva® is heading to Las Vegas!

Las Vegas Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva Speaking Engagement, Timothy Corrigan, Susanna Salk, Thom Filicia, Michelle Nussbaumer, Scott Eckman, Trends in Antiques, Trends in Vintage

Join me Tuesday July 29 from 3 to 4pm at Las Vegas Market in Building C – Room C174 as I discuss The Anatomy of Antiques: An Insider’s Guide to Trends in Vintage & Antiques, Sourcing Secrets Locally and Abroad and Must-Knows of Style”. I’m delighted to be one of the speakers featured in this original series of programs and educational sessions led by top industry influencers including Timothy Corrigan, Susanna Salk, Thom Filicia and Michelle Nussbaumer as well as a slew of other top names in the design industry! Scott Eckman, chief marketing and strategy officer of International Market Centers, explains, “We aim to deliver a compelling slate of programs that adds value to attendees’ experience and gives them meaningful takeaways that will benefit their businesses. This summer we are pleased to present a platform for thought leaders from both inside and outside of the home furnishings and gift industries that covers hot-button business issues facing retailers today, along with inspired trend presentations from top design authorities.”

Can’t wait to see you in Vegas!

The Antiques Diva®

Largest Louis Vuitton Collection in North America

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Dear Diva Readers,

While I’m traveling stateside this week speaking in Chicago and for Market in Vegas my dear friend and mentor, Catherine Russell, a writer, blogger for hire and social media consultant is helping out by sharing a guest blog post!

Catherine is one of those amazing people who divides her time between 3 residences – Chicago, Southern Florida and New York.  This not only makes her a great friend to crash with when traveling, but also means she is a great local “tour” guide, always showing me her newest discoveries. I particularly like visiting her in SoFlo as there are a plethora of brilliant antiques under the Floridan sun.  Today she’s sharing with you a recent “Divascovery” in Florida.

Catherine writes:
The storefront is attractive but not attention grabbing: I drive past ACP Home Interiors several times a day, always meaning to stop in and investigate what’s behind the Antiques & Country Pine sign. Finally, after several years of drive-bys, I stopped in. And discovered a South Florida gem I’d been missing out on.

ACP has been in Delray Beach, Florida for nearly 20 years, founded by Brit expat Bernard Molyneux and now run by Bernard and his wife Stephanie. I learned The Bernard Molyneux Collection is carefully curated with crafted reproductions of European-inspired furniture and is available in 30 retail stores across the country (as well as the Florida store, they have a shop and showroom in Atlanta that sells the collection).

ACP Home Interiors, Louis Vuitton Trunks, Delray Beach Florida, Bernard Molyneux, Lifestyle shop,

From my first steps into the lifestyle shop I loved the mix of light wood French Country reproductions, furnishings and accent pieces, blended with the blues and greens of seaside living: coastal chic, the way I live today. As I wandered from room to room of this former home which showcases the furnishings in a homelike setting, it reminded me of a designer showcase home: but with every nook and corner accessorized and styled to the hilt! The displays are luxurious, indulgent mélanges of practical necessities of daily life and totally decorative and charming imaginative vignettes depicting a charming but elegant seaside home.

Speaking with the team staffing ACP, I learned two things:

  1. There is a HUGE warehouse about 20 miles south filled with both reproductions and antiques furnishings.
  2. That warehouse holds most of Bernard Molyneux’s collection of refurbished Louis Vuitton trunks and cases.

Yes – you heard me right.  The REAL reason I’m sharing this discovery today isn’t the reproductions (which are gorgeous) but the gold mine off site.

ACP Home Interiors, Louis Vuitton Trunks, Delray Beach Florida, Bernard Molyneux, Lifestyle shop,

I had accidentally stumbled across one of the largest collections of vintage Louis Vuitton trunks in North America! I wandered the store, asked a few more questions, and promised to come back a day or two later with more questions.

ACP Home Interiors, Louis Vuitton Trunks, Delray Beach Florida, Bernard Molyneux, Lifestyle shop,

On my second visit to ACP Home Interiors, I reintroduced myself, and was surprised to find the gentleman answering my questions was Bernard Molyneux himself! Tall and charming, he told me a bit of his background, and when I explained my double-mission of exploring ACP for my own home décor needs, and sharing ACP with my friend The Antiques Diva®, he welcomed my interest, but assured me he was not involved with “blogging and twitter.” (This is clearly true: I’m a blogger for hire at HireCatherine and  my research proved that while ACP Home Interiors has an easily found website and Facebook page, the website has beautiful photos but is not updated: the most recent update on ACPInteriors.com appears to be 2012; however Facebook has regular updates- including some gorgeous photos!)

ACP Home Interiors, Louis Vuitton Trunks, Delray Beach Florida, Bernard Molyneux, Lifestyle shop,

I made the 20 mile trek down 95S to Deerfield Beach, followed some winding and confusing roads through a large warehouse are filled with look-a-like low rise building, and after a few missteps found a small sandwich board saying Antiques and Country Pine OPEN. I started wandering room to room, saw some LV cases interspersed among the stylized room settings, and the jackpot! The Louis Vuitton Room. Several dozen Louis Vuitton trunks and cases, an LV golf bag, framed LV ads, as well as several non-LV trunks cowhide, aluminum and leather. Jackpot!

ACP Home Interiors, Louis Vuitton Trunks, Delray Beach Florida, Bernard Molyneux, Lifestyle shop,

A few facts about Bernard Molyneux and his collection of refurbished vintage Louis Vuitton trunks and cases:

-Bernard began collecting vintage Louis Vuitton trunks and cases as a hobby over 20 years ago

-He amassed such a collection he could no longer keep them at home, and began re-selling them in his shop and at antiques shows.

-The collection is one of the largest of LV trunks and cases in North America.

-Most of the collection is now at the Deerfield warehouse and available for sale.

-Select pieces are featured in the ACP online catalog.

The Details:

-ACP Home Interiors 2050 N. Federal Highway, Delray Beach, FL 954.481.1917

-ACP Warehouse 1240 E. Newport Center Drive, Deerfield Beach, FL 954.481.1817

-ACP Home Interiors 1452 Chattahooche Ave, Atlanta, GA 404.231.1233

My tip: When shopping at ACP, ask if the market price is their best price. The ACP team seems very open to making sure the customer is happy and negotiating a special price!

Catherine Russell
HireCatherine
http://hirecatherine.com

Catherine Russel, HireCatherine, Blogger, Social Media Guru, Maven

Finding The Beauty in Everything

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Dear Diva Readers,

Vintage pigeon nesting bowls, Antiques buying tour Belgium, Sourcing antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva,  Repurposed Antiques, Decorative antiques

When I’m asked about my personal interest in antiques I’m often asked my favorite style – and while I can talk for ages about why I love 18th C pieces if I’m honest my tastes for antiques in general tend to be very eclectic.  For me, it’s less about the period and more about the decorative effect of the patina and the lines.  I’ve always believed you can find beauty in anything – these vintage pigeon nesting bowls are a case in point.  Found recently on a “to the trade” antiques buying tour in Belgium my clients and I were utterly smitten when we found them.  Though they fit into no real antiques category they are a wonderful example of how you can repurpose something purely utilitarian into an objet d’art.  Originally used as a place for pigeons bread in captivity to build a nest, they have a unique look that will add a funky, personal flair to my client’s home décor store!  When buying antiques think outside the box – utilize utilitarian pieces as decorative accents for chic diva-worthy décor.

Happy Nesting,
The Antiques Diva®

Best Hotels in Venice

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Dear Diva Readers,

Having recently launched our Antiques Diva® Venice Tours, I wanted to share a few favorite hotels on the island that our native Diva Guides and Antique Dealers Orseola and Chiara of O&C Antiques have hand selected for our Antiques Diva® clients! Should you find yourself traveling to this enchanted city on the water (or better yet, if you are booking an Antiques Diva® Venice Tour – mamma mia, the antiquing is shockingly good!), consider checking out these historic luxury accommodations.

Best Hotels in Venice, Metropole, Antiques Diva Venice Tours

Hotel Metropole

The atmosphere of this historic hotel is charming and cozy. Set over looking the lagoon, you are surrounded by gorgeous views of San Giorgio. With a convenient location just steps from the Art Biennale and the Piazza San Marco, this hotel also possesses an amazing collection of art and antiquities. An onsite restaurant that is surprising for the creativity of its award-winning cuisine also has a Michelin Star. Nothing is left to chance here and attention is paid even to the smallest detail.

Best Hotels in Venice, Palazzina Grassi, Antiques Diva Venice Tours

Palazzina Grassi

This 5 star hotel designed by Philippe Starck instantly makes guests feel like they are “temporarily Venetian.” Surrounded by houses of nobles, stores of merchants and a health spa, you couldn’t ask for a better location! No need to travel far if you’re hungry—the open air restaurant has a stunning view of the Grand Canal and the hotel itself is a stone’s throw from Piazza San Marco. Many international celebrities stay at this hotel, so don’t be surprised if you’re rubbing shoulders with the stars!

Best Hotels in Venice, Hotel Centurion, Antiques Diva Venice Tours

Centurion Palace

The motto of this hotel is “An antique setting with a futuristic spirit,” and that is exactly the way to describe it! Set in a period palace with an elaborate Gothic façade, you would imagine the interior to be classic old-school Venice.  Instead you are greeted by a futuristic decor and modern design. Surrounded on one side by the waters of the lagoon, and the other by alleyways of Venice, the palazzo is in the heart of this romantic city. And what’s in a name? A coin with the image of  the ancient Roman centurion Antinoo was found in the foundations of the hotel and has inspired its name. As if the glorious Roman empire wanted to pay homage to the grandeur of Venice, the greatest trading port of the ancient world.

Best Hotels in Venice, The Antiques Diva, Bauer Hotels, Palladio at Giudecca

Bauer Hotels (especially the “Palladio” at Giudecca)

While all 4 Bauer hotels are gorgeous, the Palladio at Giudecca is a favorite. Its main building was originally a XVI century convent, and has been converted to 37 rooms and 13 Suites.  The soft color palate of the decor is both warm and welcoming. Many rooms have beautiful lagoon views or enchanting garden views, some featuring small balconies. Some views look across the water to the Doge’s Palace, setting the scene for a romantic and dream-like experience.

The Best Hotels of Venice, The Antiques Diva, Ai Reali

Ai Reali

This 4-star Luxury rated Hotel is located in an ancient aristocratic Venetian palace of the 17th century, in the historical center of the city, between Rialto and Piazza San Marco. On site are a restaurant, a bar, a conference center and a wellness center—everything you need! Another Palace, Palazzo Gussoni, which dates back to 1500 and was supposedly designed by Pietro Lombardo, is located on one of the hotel wings.

Best Hotels in Venice, The Antiques Diva, Palazzo Barbarigo

Palazzo Barbarigo

Almost like the set of a 1940’s glamorous movie, the guest rooms and suites of Palazzo Barbarigo are situated on the two floors of the palace and overlook the Grand Canal. The interiors are decorated in Art Deco style and are oh-so-chic! Feathers, fringe, and plumes pay homage to the Venetian setting while adding the glam factor to this beautiful palace.

Best Hotels in Venice, The Antiques Diva, Liassidi Palace

Liassidi Palace

Looking over the Rio di San Lorenzo o ‘dei Greci’, a typical Venetian canal, the Liassidi Palace Hotel is set in a 15th-century palazzo. With a concierge service available 24 hours a day, your wish is their command.  The decor marries contemporary design and 18th-century Venetian Style. Arrive in true Venetian style through the ground floor’s direct water entry from Canal San Lorenzo. Perhaps enjoy a drink at the hotel bar where they specialize in several international cocktails. The hotel is equipped with an elevator and equipment to provide access to all areas of the hotel for guests with limited mobility.

Best Hotels in Venice, The Antiques Diva, Palazzo Priuli

Palazzo Priuli

A short distance from Piazza San Marco, this palace is situated on the banks of two canals in a charming corner of the city. The facade of the structure features original frescoes by Palma il Vecchio, which bear witness to the Priuli family’s wealth and prestige. The interior of the hotel maintain classic Venetian character and charm with late 20th century Renaissance style furniture, wrought iron chandeliers, Murano glass, and oriental rugs.

Best Hotels in Venice, The Antiques Diva, PALAZZO VITTURI

Palazzo Vitturi

Hotel Palazzo Vitturi is located in the heart of Venice, a few minutes from Saint Mark’s square and Rialto Bridge, and a stone’s throw from many of Venice’s other treasures. Located in one of the most prestigious areas of Venice, this 13th century Venetian palace boasts fresco paintings, gothic architecture and elegantly furnished rooms. This 3 star boutique hotel also has all the modern amenities any guest would require.

Best Hotels in Venice, The Antiques Diva, La Porta D Oriente

La porta d’Oriente

“The Door of the East” lies in the heart of Venice and offers a more quaint Bed and Breakfast style stay. The B & B overlooks the beautiful field of Santa Maria Formosa, and is just 5 minutes from San Marco. Occupying the first floor of a Venetian palace, it is accessed via a private bridge. Being a private residence, guests experience Venetian daily life, including beauty, magic, dreams and a life that still runs with the natural rhythms where the measure of time is marked only by the speed of our steps.

Ciao,

The Antiques Diva®

Special Group Tour During Maison Objet Fall 2014 Paris

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Dear Diva Readers,

For those of you who are coming to Paris this September for Maison Objet I’ve got a SPECIAL OFFER for you!

The Antiques Diva, Paris Tours, Maison Objet Group Tour, Sourcing Antiques in Belgium, Shipping Antiques from Europe

Oh la la… Extend your stay in Paris during Maison Objet this September 2014 to antique in the Belgian countryside where the bargains abound. Join Toma Clark Haines, CEO of Europe’s largest antiques sourcing and touring company The Antiques Diva® & Co, on an exclusive, all-inclusive, jam-packed 2 Day Group Tour buying antiques in Belgium, departing Paris 7am September 10 and returning back to the City of Light the night of September 11, 2014.  Choreographed specifically for interior designers to build their little black book of sources, this intelligently composed antiques buying tour takes you off the beaten path to antique warehouses, by-appointment-only stores and to some of the best Belgian sources for buying abroad.  Liaising with international shippers we’ll help get purchases home sweet home across the pond, taking the mystery out of sourcing abroad.

All Inclusive Group Tour includes:

    • 2 fully-packed days off the beaten path on an antiques buying tour in Belgium, visiting more than 10 secret antique sources – some of the largest antique warehouses and most exclusive by-appointment-only stores.
    • Round trip ground transportation from Paris to and throughout Belgium
    • 1 night hotel in Belgium
    • 2 breakfasts
    • 2 lunches
    • 2 dinners

Wine and other beverages and snacks on tour

 

Price 1100 EURO per person (approx. $1500 USD).
Deadline date August 1, 2014 

To RSVP or for more information contact Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva & Co European Tours – [email protected].  In addition to this special GROUP TOUR going on during Maison Objet as always each weekend of the year we offer our private, one-on-one custom tours of the Paris Flea Market as well as further afield in 8 countries – France, Belgium, England, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden.  Private tours in Provence & London pair perfectly with Parisian trips to Maison Objet.

See you soon!

The Antiques Diva ®

Bright Bazaar

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Dear Diva Readers,

I read blogs for several different reasons. Sometimes I want inspiration; other times I need information; still other times I just want to see what is going on in the world. But what I love about decorating and design blogs is that they inspire us to live better at home. Most of us spend a majority of time (and if not quantities of time, then most definitely quality-time) at home. One blog I follow is Bright Bazaar by Will Taylor.  I first met Will when we were both selected for #BlogTourNewYork several years ago and have been following his catapult to fame ever since!  His keen eye for spotting and using color takes the fear out of decorating with hues of every kind.  And now, his musings on color can be found in a fabulous coffee table book calledBright Bazaar: Embracing Color for Make-You-Smile Style.

#BlogTourNewYork, Will Taylor, Bright Bazaar, Inspirational Design Blogs, Decorating with Color, The Antiques Diva,

#BlogTourNewYork, Will Taylor, Bright Bazaar, Inspirational Design Blogs, Decorating with Color, The Antiques Diva,

The book features over 350 photos of interiors from all over the world. Will shares his tips on introducing color into your home whether that be through accessories, painted furniture or bold patterned wall paper. Not only does the book provide inspirational photos (inspiration often being the first step of the creative process), it takes readers to the next practical step of decorating by giving advice on how to incorporate certain color palettes into specific rooms.

#BlogTourNewYork, Will Taylor, Bright Bazaar, Inspirational Design Blogs, Decorating with Color, The Antiques Diva,

#BlogTourNewYork, Will Taylor, Bright Bazaar, Inspirational Design Blogs, Decorating with Color, The Antiques Diva,

#BlogTourNewYork, Will Taylor, Bright Bazaar, Inspirational Design Blogs, Decorating with Color, The Antiques Diva,

What I love is looking through the book and seeing the connection between antiques and color. Vintage furniture is given a new life with a couple coats of brightly hued paint. Pillows add personality to a room when their covers are made from antique patterned fabrics. Even serious antiques like Bombay chests can have a fresh lease on life when lacquered in a bold color. If these dynamic photos don’t prove that antiques aren’t boring, I don’t know what does?  Will’s youthful perspective takes color (something that’s often scary) and antiques (something that’s often intimidating) and shows how both can live together in a modern, fun and playful way.

Now that’s what I call Make-You-Smile style!  Well done Will!

Colorfully,

The Antiques Diva®

Dries Van Noten Vintage Fashion in Paris

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Dear Diva Readers,

Dries Van Noten Vintage Fashion in Paris, Antiques Diva Vintage Fashion Tour in Paris, Paris Antiques Diva Tours, Les Arts Decoratifs, ,

Our Vintage Fashion Tours in Paris are among the most popular of our tour offerings – clients love vintage fashion shopping in Paris!  But have you ever wondered where fashion designers get their inspiration?  Paris Diva Guide Jennifer who leads our vintage tours gushed about how much she loved the Dries Van Noten Inspiration exhibit at Les Arts Décoratifs – Mode et textile  - at # 107, rue de Rivoli.   The first exhibit devoted to the Belgian designer the exhibit has been a raging success – it runs until November 2014.  Bringing together the elements that inspired Dries Van Noten, it’s an intimate journey though the artist’s universe, giving a rare inside glimpse into how one of the world’s leading fashion designers gains his inspiration.  Including everything from Renaissance curiosity cabinets to 19th C works by emblematic couturiers such as Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior, this exhibition highlights the passions that make this designer one of the best in the world.  Thanks to exceptional loans the exhibit is chocked full of multi-media masterpieces guaranteed to inspire vintage fashion fans!

The Antiques Diva®

Louvre Decorative Arts Gallery in Paris

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Dear Diva Readers,

It’s time to study abroad. No need to waste time at the La Sorbonne -  it’s time to go study arts and antiques at the Louvre!  I’ve always said that anyone interested in antiques should really spend time indoors at the museums in addition to at the flea markets so they can educate their eye on quality, but now more than ever I encourage you to take my advice!  The Louvre has finally reopened its 18th-century decorative-arts galleries after a nine-year, $35 million renovation during which time this wing was closed. The project was spearheaded by who else? That bastion of French Interior Design – Jacques Garcia!  But Monsieur Garcia didn’t make a dime off the project – he donated his time to the Louvre for the love of antiques.

French Interior Design - Jacques Garcia, The Louvre, 18th Century Decorative Arts Gallery, Lessons in Art and Antiques, The Antiques Diva, French Antiques

French Interior Design - Jacques Garcia, The Louvre, 18th Century Decorative Arts Gallery, Lessons in Art and Antiques, The Antiques Diva, French Antiques

French Interior Design - Jacques Garcia, The Louvre, 18th Century Decorative Arts Gallery, Lessons in Art and Antiques, The Antiques Diva, French Antiques

This 23,000-square-foot space has 33 galleries, including 14 period rooms faithfully recreated covering the period from 1660 to 1790.  With more than 2,000 objects spread over 35 rooms consider this the ULTIMATE LESSON in French Antiques! The Louvre’s collection of eighteenth-century decorative art – royal furniture, decorative bronzes, rugs, tapestries, gold and silver ware, porcelain, jewelry and scientific instruments – is one of the richest and most comprehensive public collections of its kind.  Each room is accurately reproduced with pieces only from that period. I’m not only going to go visit the new exhibit myself I’m scheduling an outing for my entire Paris team to go together with me this fall!

The Antiques Diva®
(seen here at the Louvre with my darling husband before a gala I attended there one magical night in Paris several years ago)

Antiques Diva at the Louvre, Toma Clark Haines, Paris, Louvre Pyramid,

Antiques Young Guns

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Dear Diva Readers,

This Independence Day I spent the day in London celebrating the 4th of July at an English antiques celebration!  While my American readers were watching fireworks I was hanging out with a whole bunch of fire crackers!  The Antiques Young Guns!

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

On Friday July 4th, The Rooftop Restaurant at Alfies Antiques Market in London was the place to be! The much anticipated awards ceremony for the Antiques Young Guns took place and I was delighted to be in attendance.  The Antiques Diva & Co has strong representation in this esteemed group of young people involved in the antiques trade. Two of our Diva Guides, Alys Dobbie of NanaDobbie and Daniel Larsson of D Larsson Interior, are members along with our Creative Consultant Andrew Skipper.  And, most importantly, our English Antiques Diva Agent who leads our tours in the UK, Gail McLeod, is one of the founding members of Antiques Young Guns along with Mark Hill and George Johnson!

 

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

There were eight winners of a showcase at the prestigious Lorfords@Babdown kindly donated by Toby Lorford and Lesley Ferguson, owners of Lorfords Antiques and one of these winners was our very own Antiques Diva London Guide Alys Dobbie! It was also announced that eleven entrants will be mentored by renowned antiques experts and dealers.  We are so excited that our Swedish Guide Daniel Larsson will be mentored by Robert Young! (Alas Daniel was busy leading a VIP client on a Diva Tour in Sweden so he missed the event – here I am on stage accepting the award in his place).

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Toma Clark Haines, Daniel Larsson

If you recall, earlier this year, I announced on the blog my favorite dealers at The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair.  Well one of my top picks, James Gooch owner of Doe and Hope,was presented the prestigious award of Antiques Young Gun of the Year 2014 by winner in 2013 Timothy Medhurst. I have to tell you, I really think James is “one to watch!”  He has an amazing eye and will be shaping the way we decorate in the future.

James Gooch Awards, The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

All in all it was a fabulous evening celebrating the next wave of antiques enthusiasts. A highlight of the evening was meeting Steven Moore from the Antiques Roadshow (a twitter friend turned Real Life friend).  From dealers to journalists to auctioneers, these young people are changing the world of antiques for the better!

Rock on Antiques Young Guns!

The Antiques Diva®

 

Portobello – Modenus Hotel Recommendation

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Dear Diva Readers,

We’re always looking for tips on favorite Hotels and B&Bs in our tour areas so when Veronika Miller, founder of Modenus commented on a Google+ photo we posted of Portobello Market saying that her favorite B&B was just around the corner from Portobello Road with its boutique shops, restaurants and teeming flea market, I knew I had to tell you about it – especially when I discovered what a wonderful bargain it was with rates starting at £ 55 per person per night!

The Main House, Portobello, London Hotel Tips, Veronika Miller, Modenus, London B&Bs,

The Main House
6 Colville Road
Notting Hill, London W11 2BP

Veronika explains, “I travel a lot, for business and pleasure and do what I can to stay away from big hotel chains in search of places that are intimate, have character and allow me to experience my destination as if I were a local. The Main House is a classic, small boutique hotel that feels more like you’re staying at the very stylish home of a good friend rather than a hotel.  The rooms are a fabulous Left Bank chic with hardwood floors, crisp white linens on the beds, Belgian linen drapes and original artwork. There are only a handful of rooms and very beautifully appointed so it’s hard to choose.  We loved ours for the very spacious bedroom (how often do you get that in London), huge bathroom complete with claw foot tub and of course the style of the place.  Caroline Main, the owner, took every care and made sure we had what we needed, including fresh brewed coffee served in silver and delivered to the room every morning at the time we asked. We never felt rushed to leave the room for the dreaded housekeeping call and with our own key to the building did feel like we actually lived there. So, from someone who spends half her life in hotels: If you love individuality and a very private ambiance with class at every turn, you’re headed to the right place.”

The Main House, Portobello, London Hotel Tips, Veronika Miller, Modenus, London B&Bs,

The Main House, Portobello, London Hotel Tips, Veronika Miller, Modenus, London B&Bs,

The Main House, Portobello, London Hotel Tips, Veronika Miller, Modenus, London B&Bs,

Thanks Veronika for a great London hotel travel tip!

The Antiques Diva®

Bastille Day

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Dear Diva Readers,

Everyone knows that I love all things French! So in honor of the French holiday Bastille Day on July 14th, I wanted to give a little history behind this “French National Day!

Bastille Day celebrates the beginning of the French Revolution when the Storming of the Bastille happened on July 14th, 1789 in Paris. The Bastille was a medieval fortress and prison located in Paris, and it was a symbol of the monarchy and their abuse of royal power over the masses. At that time, there were only seven prisoners in the Bastille but the people wanted access to the large quantities of arms and ammunition that were being stored there. Needless to say, they were successful at gaining access through force and thus began the revolution which would lead to a new government structure that would spread throughout France. The days of royal rule were numbered.

Antiques Diva, French history, Bastille Day, Bastille Prison, French Republic Guard on Horse, Eiffel Tower Fireworks, Toma Clark Haines

One year later, on July 14th 1790, the Fête de la Fédération was held to commemorate the Storming of the Bastille. King Louis XVI took an oath to the constitution. After the end of the official celebration, the day ended in a huge four-day popular feast where the “sans-culotte”celebrated with fireworks, and balls all over the streets. The “sans-culottes”, were the poor people, the working class and the peasants, who were not wearing the “culotte”, a kind of knicker-bocker which was the mark of nobility. They were wearing large pants instead. A few years later, when everyone became a citizen, the “culotte” disappeared.

Antiques Diva, French history, Bastille Day, Bastille Prison, French Republic Guard on Horse, Eiffel Tower Fireworks, Toma Clark Haines

One hundred years later in 1879, feasts were held to commemorate the Storming of the Bastille. In 1880 the Senate approved July 14th to be a yearly national holiday to celebrate the Revolution. Today, that celebration consists of a military parade on the Champs-Elysees, and in the air. It is actually the only day planes and helicopters are allowed to fly over Paris. The ceremony is followed by the president giving an interview to the press, talking about the situation of the country, recent events and projects for the future. At nightfall, fireworks light up the skies of Paris as well as all the cities and villages in the country, and everywhere in France you have balls in the streets and squares.

Eiffel Tower Fireworks, Antiques Diva, French history, Bastille Day, Bastille Prison, French Republic Guard on Horse, Eiffel Tower Fireworks, Toma Clark Haines

So there you have a little history on the day that the French Revolution began and the stirrings of democracy rumbled through Paris. For me, I think I will celebrate by opening a nice bottle of French wine!  Santé! Vive La France!

Antiques Diva, French history, Bastille Day, Bastille Prison, French Republic Guard on Horse, Eiffel Tower Fireworks, Toma Clark Haines

The Antiques Diva®

Save the Date: Chicago July, 26 at 2pm

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Dear Diva Readers,

randolph street market, Chicago Flea Market, Antiques Diva Speaking Engagements, Toma Clark Haines Public Speaking, French furniture styles

Oh La La… The Antiques Diva is bringing Paris to Chicago!  We’re excited to announce that Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 2pm I will be will be speaking in the VIP Cabana in Randolph Street Market giving a Style Guide Presentation and Tour of Chicago’s Randolph Street Market.   In a talk that discusses the major French furniture styles, identifying their key characteristics and utilizing modern day metaphors, this talk promises to share plenty of slightly scandalous stories from the past.   If French Royal gossip isn’t enough to bring you in for the event there will also be free French wines paired with cheese while The Diva shares stories from the past.  All attendees can enter to win 1 Free Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Day Tour and 1 Free Antiques Diva Chanel Day Tour in Paris.

To RSVP and pre-register for the Grand Prize, email our Antiques Diva Office Manager [email protected].

Meet Me In Chicago!

The Antiques Diva®

Flea Marketing in New York

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Brooklyn Flea, Flea Markets in New York City, Green Flea, Hells Kitchen Flea Market

Last week The Antiques Diva took to the streets in New York City with New York Spaces Magazine,sharing tips on where to shop in the Big Apple this summer for vintage fun in the sun!  Don’t forget – while I may be a European Diva, I was Born in the USA!

My NYC Top Flea Market picks include:

  • Green Flea
  • Brooklyn Flea
  • Hells Kitchen Flea Market
  • Artist & Fleas

Read more at New York Spaces Magazine!

The Antiques Diva®

Grand Hotel de Bordeaux

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grand hotel de bordeaux and spa, The Antiques Diva Bordeaux Tours, Sourcing French Antiques, Best Hotels in Bordeaux

One of the perks of being a Diva Guide is that you’re really required to check out fab hotels so we can make recommendations to our clients – and, as a result, we  test a lot of hotels from luxe high-end boutique hotels to more budget-oriented places to rest your head for our clients.  Last week Diva Guide Tara, our locally based Bordeaux Antiques Guide, spot checked The Grand Hotel de Bordeaux and she has declared this hotel 100% Diva Worthy – the perfect place for a splurge when traveling in Bordeaux.  Of course this classification comes as no surprise it was decorated by Diva Favorite Jacques Garcia!  And if the neo-classical façade in the “quartier des Grands Hommes” looks familiar then that’s because this mansion was designed by the same architect who designed Bordeaux Grand Théâtre.  Five stars now shine above this historic building which has succeeded in finding the perfect balance between its rich past and luxury services.

The Antiques Diva®

Save the Date: Paris Antiques Trade Fair

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Dear Diva Readers,

Often when working with trade clients we take them out of the cities to the countryside in Northern and Southern France to help them score better prices beyond la peripherique… but trade fair prices are coming to Paris this October 2014.

Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

It’s common knowledge that the best prices in antiques tend to be in off the beaten path places –  in addition to shopping the antique warehouses in the countryside there are great antique trade fairs in Avignon, Bezier, Montpellier, Chartres and Lyon.  But I’ve got great news – our friends at Cipolat who host those gorgeous antique trade fairs in Lyon and Montepellier are bringing the antiques trade fair out of the countryside and into Paris, making it easier than ever before to do wholesale antique shopping in the city of light.

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Join The Antiques Diva & Co for our inaugural tour of this special trade fair October 28, 2014 by emailing  [email protected] for reserving your tour!

  • This fair will have more than 15 nationalities of vendors represented!
  • And the buyers? More than 54 nationalities will be shopping the fair!
  • There are more than 500 vendors offering wholesale antique prices in Paris

How the tour works?

  • We’ll pick you up at your hotel and drive you to the suburbs where the fair takes place.
  • At the trade fair we’ll  translate, negotiate and liaise you with a shipper to help you get your goods home sweet home across the pond.

And if one day on tour is good – I must tell you a 3 or 4 day would be even better.  Consider booking  a multi-day tour to stock your store visiting the Paris Flea Market and then go beyond into French countryside in both the North and South of France as well as Southern England and Belgium.

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Montpellier, Paris Antique Trade Fair, Paris Antiques Trade Fair, Buying antiques in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Cipolat,

Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva®

 

Lavender & Antiques

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Lavender in Provence, Antiquing in Provence, The Antiques Diva Tours in France, Antique buying tours in south of France, Antiques Diva Provence Tour

While doing an Antique Buying Tour in Provence is divine pretty much any time of year, when you take an Antiques Diva Provence Tour in the summer months you get to combine Lavender & Antiques!  The prime season for viewing the lavender is from mid-June through early August when it’s harvested.  The scent of lavender is the essence of Provence. Each time I visit the south of France I bring home a tiny bit of Provence with me.  At the markets you can buy  hand-made linen sachets filled with dried lavender.  Tuck them in your chest of drawers and armoires so that when you open them you’re immediately transported to the south of France.

The Antiques Diva®

Greetings From America and Andrew Skipper

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Dear Diva Readers,

You may not know me but I’m Andrew Skipper and I’m one of the team members working behind the scenes at The Antiques Diva® & Co headquarters helping to make the magic happen!  You’ve heard the expression “it takes a village”? You may not realize this but The Antiques Diva® team is comprised of 18 people scattered across the continent.   As for where I’m based…that’s a difficult question to answer.  You see, I live 3 months in Europe then 3 in the USA, then it’s back to Europe for another 3 months then back again to the USA for another 3.  As an American interior designer, antiques dealer and lifestyle expert I was hired to help the company keep a fresh eye on an American perspective.  Toma (aka The Antiques Diva®) has lived outside of America for 14 years and she felt she needed a breath of fresh American air to remind her how we do things in the good old USA.  That’s where I come in… I am from a small town in northern Indiana, USA. So when the opportunity to live and work in Europe came, I was beyond excited! I had been on a tour of Europe just after college, which gave me enough time to do all the “tourist things,” which I loved. But this time I would be traveling throughout Europe for extended periods of time!  I was enamored with the thought of scouring flea markets, warehouses, and antique stores with Toma and her Diva Guides. Who better to introduce me to the antique world in Europe than The Antiques Diva?!

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

One thing that attracted me most about this opportunity to work with The Antiques Diva & Co was the European lifestyle—laid back, wine with lunch, beautiful historic surroundings— it all sounded so different from my life in Indiana. I planned to purchase treasures from each place that I travel. What I love about shopping, and antiquing in particular, is that each object has a memory attached to it. Not only the history of its former life, but the memory of how I acquired it.

The Antiques Diva, Tiger Rug, Belgian Antiques, Antique Shopping Tours in Beligum,

Every time I look at an antique tribal urn I purchased in Belgium, I am reminded of the day Toma and I spent, laughing with each other, sipping prosecco with vendors while she lay on a tiger rug (that’s a whole other story!). When I see the collection of pewter trophy cups on my coffee table, I think of my friends Scott and Jennifer, who were always up for hitting the Berlin flea markets with me on the weekends. A horse-hair covered pill box takes me back to the market in Parma, Italy, where I shopped with my new friends Carol Lee and Miller until we finally had to stop for a cappuccino break!  The top hat that hangs on my wall reminds me of my fantastic day spent at the Paris Flea Market with Paris Diva Guide Danielle, and then the macaroons and wine we shared afterward…how divine!

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

The vintage Turkish slippers I purchased in Bath make me laugh out loud, not just because of their fun appearance, but because the day I bought them was filled with laughter with my new friends Diva Agent Gail McLeod, Judith Miller and the Antiques Young Guns. The bird figures resting on my mantel bring back memories of slipping in and out of stalls at the Portobello Market in London with Diva Guide Alys Dobbie then popping into a pub for steak and ale pie. Yum! The antique white collar in my study makes me think of Anna from The Antiques Roadshow and our wonderful day in Antwerp. There are so many more objects and stories…too many to tell here.

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

I suppose, after thinking it over, that when I look at these various trinkets, I am taken back to a time and a place, and I am reminded of the people I was with. The people that effected my life and my outlook on the world. I am taken back to conversations— moments spent getting to know strangers who would become new friends.

Perhaps one of the most important lessons my time in Europe has taught me is that we are all more alike than we are unalike.  When it comes right down to it, we all just want to be validated. We want to connect—to know that we matter. We want to be heard.  Underneath the surface we are all asking, “Do you see me?  Do you hear me?” I had this notion that people in Europe would somehow be different from my fellow Americans. And while there are some differences, at the end of the day, we are all on this planet and in this life together. Antiques bring us together by allowing us to share stories.  They help us connect with the past and acknowledge our humanness. Through connecting and sharing, we realize that people are the most important things in life. It’s relationships, not stuff, that truly matter.

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

By surrounding ourselves with objects that have a story, we can remember the people in our lives each and every day. That, to me, is the real gift of shopping, antiquing and decorating. Collecting mementos that enrich our everyday lives by bringing back memories of happy times with people who we enjoy. For me, these various treasures are not just pieces of Europe I’ve brought back to America with me. They are pieces of memories, connecting me to the wonderful people who I met and shared some of the best times with. I’d say it’s time to get our there and make some more memories (and purchases!).  Who’s with me?

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

Be well,

Andrew Skipper

Say Cheese! It’s Another Shelfie

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Swedish Rococo secretaire, Shelfie, antique coral, taxidermied doves, apothecary jars, silver cache pots, vintage ink wells

In honor of yesterday’s dental appointment we’re discussing eclecticism in home decorating.  Tucked into one of the shelves in the Swedish Rococo secretaire in the corner of my living room I’ve displayed my dental mold on a shelf along with antique, leather-bound books and an inkwell.  I liked the way the white popped against the red shelves.  And while I thought this was a humorous accent I think my husband might just think it’s creepy!  Other shelves hold more antique coral, taxidermied doves, apothecary jars, silver cache pots and shells gathered on long ago vacations.   What are the eclectic touches you do in your home décor?

The Antiques Diva ®

Fish & Fleas

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Rialto Fish Market, Mercato del Pesce, Venetian Flea Market, Flea Marketing Tips, Flea Markets in Venice, Italian Antiques, The Antiques Diva Tours

When traveling in Venice one of my favorite things to do is wake early and walk to the Rialto Fish Market (Mercato del Pesce) to see the stallholders receiving their barge loads of seafood that feeds the locals and tourists for the week and the local chefs in town buying food they’ll be serving on that evening’s menu. But on Sunday the fish market closes and in its place a Venetian Flea Market (Mercato Della Pulci) pops up at the Fish Market!

Don’t you just love shopping for Fish & Fleas!

The Antiques Diva®

Travel Tuesday: The Antiques Diva’s Favorite Places

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Dear Diva Readers,

When being interviewed one of the questions I am most frequently asked is “If you had to choose one favorite place in the world, where would it be (and why)?” Such a tough question, but there are things I love about each place I travel.

As an American who has lived in Europe nearly 14 years (5 in Paris, 4 in Amsterdam and currently reside in Berlin) I have to say Europe is my playground.  As the owner of Europe’s largest antiques touring company I travel in 7 or 8 countries each month.  Waking up I never know which language to greet the day!  Saint Augustine said, The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”  If that’s true my life is a well-read novel… to choose only one favorite place feels quite simply an impossibility.

Top Travel Destinations, Paris, New York, Tuscany, Oklahoma, Thailand, Asia, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines Interviews

Top Travel Destinations, Paris, New York, Tuscany, Oklahoma, Thailand, Asia, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines Interviews

I love different places for different reasons. I grew up in Oklahoma  – and I love the serenity of slipping a saddle on a horse and riding across the salt plains.  In Paris I slip into my European life like someone else does their favorite little black dress.  I was born for Paris and it is here I feel most at home.  I dream in French.

new yorker hotel, Top Travel Destinations, Paris, New York, Tuscany, Oklahoma, Thailand, Asia, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines Interviews

tuscany, Top Travel Destinations, Paris, New York, Tuscany, Oklahoma, Thailand, Asia, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines Interviews

And I love New York. The excitement. The lights. The feeling that I’m in the center of the world that’s really just a small town where everyone seems to know everyone else. Meanwhile Tuscany takes me out of the city and reminds me of my country girl roots.

Top Travel Destinations, Paris, New York, Tuscany, Oklahoma, Thailand, Asia, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines Interviews

But to escape from reality I go to Asia which feels like a mysterious wonderland so foreign, pushing me out of my comfort zone and out of my own skin.  My husband and I area heading back to Thailand for our big vacation this year to go elephant trekking in the Golden Triangle and shopping in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  (Note: Watch this space – with the help of some of our locally-based Thai design and antiques industry friends we’ll be sharing some shopping tips this summer on Where to Antique and Shop in Thailand).

All said and done, at the end of the day, it would be impossible to choose one favorite place.  There are too many pages in the book of life to read.

Happy Traveling,

The Antiques Diva®

Rooftop Gardening Diva Style with Wine Corks

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Dear Diva Readers,

Rooftop Garden, Repurposing wine corks as mulch, The Antiques Diva, Berlin terrace

You know repurposing is the name of the game here at The Antiques Diva® & Co so it should be no surprise I even repurpose everyday items such as wine corks! My favorite place to end the day is on my rooftop terrace with a glass of gorgeous Chablis in hand and the summer sun on my face.  While I must confess I’m not much of a gardener, preferring to keep my rooftop garden simple and easy to maintain, if you look closely you’ll see that the mulch for our topiary trees is repurposed wine corks!

Rooftop Garden, Repurposing wine corks as mulch, Berlin terrace, Toma Clark Haines

Gardeners know that topping dressing garden soil with mulch is an effective step in conserving soil moisture and retarding weed growth. You can also use corks in lieu of pebbles in the bottom of planters! Now that, my dear readers, is what I call Gardening with Diva Style!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Chez Coco Chanel

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Dear Diva Readers,

Here at The Antiques Diva & Co, we often get tour inquiries from clients who want to purchase a piece of “Chanel history.” Of course our Paris Diva Guides know all the hot spots to score vintage Chanel garments or jewelry but they also know the classic haunts that Mademoiselle herself would frequent.  As you’re out and about shopping for vintage Chanel in Paris you can’t help but sashay past some of these landmarks while meandering from vintage Chanel shop to vintage Chanel shop. One such place on our Must See Diva Guide is 31 rue Cambon, Chanel’s apartment above her flagship store.  While not open to the public, from time to time  – on mega VIP occasions – we’ve been admitted entrance.  But even if you’re just walking by you can almost smell #5 in the air as you look up to her window from the street and imagine Paris as it was decades before… After all, not much has changed.

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If you’re as enchanted by Madamoiselle as I am I want to share some photos and a bit of history about Gabrielle Chanel’s private apartment. One might picture a chic black and white flat, something similar to a classic Chanel suit. But the rooms above the Chanel store reflect anything but simplicity.  Coco lived large.  A smart mix of color and pattern saturate the place. The apartment is infused with rich details including shelf after shelf of leather bound books, most with red accents in the bindings. Black lacquered furniture and Chinese screens mix nicely with French antique pieces, allowing East to meet West.

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

Symbolism is another prevalent theme in this private residence. The camellia flower was an important symbol to Coco Chanel perhaps because it represents purity and longevity in Asian culture. She kept ears of golden wheat near the fireplace.  One might think this strange—until you know the meaning behind it. Wheat symbolizes prosperity and wealth, things that Chanel had not grown up with, but rather worked her way to.

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Coco Apartment

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

chanel-spring-2010-black-cuff-bracelet-with-gold-logo-print-profile, Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

These themes have continued to work their way into collections and ad campaigns even to the present day. Since Karl Lagerfeld took over the House of Chanel, he’s been incorporating Coco’s inspirations. For instance, his Spring-Summer 2010 collection featured golden wheat ears on belts, jewelry, and was embroidered on garments.

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours

Coco Chanel, Chanel Tours in Paris, 31 rue Cambon, Karl Lagerfeld, House of Chanel, Buying vintage Chanel in Paris, The Antiques Diva Paris Tours, Coco Apartment

Whether you’re designing an outfit, a room or simply looking for inspiration, Coco Chanel certainly offers plenty of ideas through the time capsule that is her apartment. I suppose one lesson here is that our experiences and aspirations influence our surroundings, and our surroundings, in turn, inform our work. Whether you’re a diehard Chanel fan or not, strolling the haunts of this iconic lady is something that should definitely be on your to-do list when visiting Paris!

If you would like information on booking an Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Tour or Vintage Chanel Shopping Tour, email [email protected].

Au revoir,

The Antiques Diva®

Portobello Market

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Dear Diva Readers,

The Portobello Market is one of the most famous markets in the world. It is actually many markets combined into one giant market selling bric-a-brac, second hand goods, vintage clothing & accessories, antiques as well as new items mixed in with fruits and vegetables.  Perhaps the crown jewel of the Portobello Market is the antiques section which is squeezed into a half mile of the Portobello Road near the Notting Hill Tube station. It may not sound like much, but believe me, there are enough shops and stands crammed into this vibrant section of the market to make one dizzy! The area is heaving with crowds on the weekend and it’s easy to get washed away with the tide of people working their way down the street and to miss the fabulous antiques galleries that line the road.

Portobello Market, Buying Antiques in London, Vintage shopping in London, Portobello Flea Market Tours, The Antiques Diva, Alys Dobbie

And while today it’s like Grand Central Station, Portobello Road was once just a country path leading from the Kensington Gravel Pits in what is now known as Notting Hill Gate, up to Kensal Green in the north.  In 1740, Portobello Farm was built nearby. The farm got its name from a town in Panama called Puerto Bello, because during the War of Jenkins’ Ear, Admiral Edward Vernon captured this town. Prior to 1850, the path near Portobello Farm was surrounded by nothing more than fields and orchards. But in the second half of the nineteenth century, Portobello Road began to take shape.  Shops and food markets started popping up to serve the wealthy dwellers of the crescents. As it developed over the next hundred years, other items were offered along this stretch of road and by the mid-twentieth century, antiques shops and stalls became the main-stay.

Portobello Market, Buying Antiques in London, Vintage shopping in London, Portobello Flea Market Tours, The Antiques Diva, Alys Dobbie

Today, every Saturday morning hundreds of dealers open their shops and set up their stands to reveal a diverse display of vintage treasures. While it’s best to arrive at some markets just after dawn, Portobello is a bit different.  There’s no need to beat the sunrise because many dealers won’t be set up that early. Get there around 8:30 a.m. and most vendors will be ready. You’ll want to get your bearings and hit the stalls you know you want to shop first thing to avoid shoulder-to-shoulder crowds which tend to begin forming around 11:30 a.m. One thing is for sure— you don’t want to arrive too late because the market starts to close down at 4:00 p.m.

Portobello Market, Buying Antiques in London, Vintage shopping in London, Portobello Flea Market Tours, The Antiques Diva, Alys Dobbie

While there are dealers that offer furniture and other large items, Portobello Market is the ideal place to search for smalls, tabletop pieces, and what I like to call “perfectly packables” — little treasures that fit nicely in your suitcase. From glass & crystal to silver and brass, there are certainly deals to be had. This market is also a great place to pick up antique books, lighting, small statues, and linens. Second hand and vintage clothing also abound. Shoes, handbags, jewelry and vintage garments line the walls of several shops, allowing you to purchase a piece of the past.

Portobello Market, Buying Antiques in London, Vintage shopping in London, Portobello Flea Market Tours, The Antiques Diva, Alys Dobbie

It certainly can help to have someone who knows the lay of the land and can ask for trade discounts. That’s where we come in!  Our Antiques Diva Guide Alys Dobbie loves taking clients through this jam-packed market, helping them find the perfect pieces.

If you would like to book a Portobello Flea Market Tour in London, email [email protected].

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

 

Client Feedback on England Antiques Diva Tour

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Dear Diva Readers,

We love nothing more than when a client takes the time to write a Thank You note after their tour.  This week our English Diva Gail Mcleod has been leading back-to-back clients on tour in England taking them to Sussex, The Cotswolds, down on the English Coast in Kent and through London.

gail mcleod, Antiques Diva, Antiques tour in London, Antiques Tour in Cotswolds, Antiques Tour in Sussex, Antiques Diva Tours

English Diva Gail Mcleod

After one of those tours, a client wrote:

“My mother and I had an absolutely fabulous time with Gail.  I could easily see why you named her the most knowledgeable woman in Antiques in England.  Gail took us to some truly fantastic shops and we were able to purchase even more than we thought we would.  This has been above and beyond our expectations and we’re so happy we did this!  I hope to be back again soon.

All the best,

Margaret”

Delighted to have another happy Antiques Diva client!

The Antiques Diva®

Secret Source: An Italian Tastemaker

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Italian vendor Salici Maurizio, Secret Source in Italy, Italian Tastemaker, The Antiques Diva, Decorative Antiques, Decorative Trendsetter,

Photo Credit: Jose Manuel Alorda

In the world of decorative antiques there are a handful of dealers who are the world’s top secret sources. These dealers sell to the top decorative dealers and in turn those dealers sale to the next rung of dealers on the chain and the process carries on until entire decorative movements – trends – are set based upon the inventory of a handful of vendors with artful eyes.

Italian vendor Salici Mauriziohas a collection of both old and new “lifestyle” inventory and he has created a style that has clients from around the globe flocking to him. As charming as he is stylish, Salici Maurizio is one of those trendsetters whose signature look is influencing the way we decorate today.

 

 

Bringing Antiques into the Present

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Venetian Antiques, Italian Antiques, Decorating with Antiques, O&C Antiques

While in Venice researching an article I was writing on O&C Antiques I had the opportunity to spend time in the Venetian home of Orseola Barozzi Rizzo. Visiting her family home tucked away near the San Toma Vaporetto stop I was reminded of how Europeans live everyday with the past a part of their present. In one corner of Orseola’s living room, on the edge of her 13th C courtyard which was once part of the local convent, she assembled a collection of pieces from the past used for the present. The Italian Chair is from the 18th C nestled against a 17th C armoire from Bologna. Positioned behind the chair on the radiator cover an 18th C Venetian Ecclesiastical alter candlestick shares space with a 16th C copper Tuscan Amfora – a jug once used for carrying water. Beside it sits an Indian gilt pedestal and above the setting – crowning it – Fritoer hangs on the wall. This 19th C plate from the Veneto was used originally for serving sweets. I loved how in one corner of the room each item came from the past but was very much a part of the present.

Antiques Diva Master Class with Daniel Larsson – Part II

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Dear Diva Readers,

Last month on the blog I sat down with our Swedish Divo Guide, Daniel Larsson of  D.Larsson Interiör & Antikhandel, and asked him to share his knowledge about Swedish antiques in what I called “The Antiques Diva Master Class”.  Today I want to continue that conversation and pass on some of Daniel’s insights into what’s hot right now when it comes to antique Swedish pieces in home decor. Let’s chat with Daniel!

Antiques Diva, Daniel Larsson Interrior, Gustavian, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Swedish Antiques, Swedish Décor, Antique Swedish Clock

Divo Guide Daniel Larsson

Antiques Diva:
What do you think defines Swedish Décor and Swedish Antiques? 

Daniel Larsson:
While there are several styles under the “Swedish Antiques” label,  the provincial Gustavian Style with the pale tones and simple lines is definitely one of the most recognizable and desirable. These pieces possess a particular elegance. This style fits in any interior whether your look is modern, rustic or classic.

Antiques Diva, Daniel Larsson Interrior, Gustavian, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Swedish Antiques, Swedish Décor, Antique Swedish Clock

Antiques Diva: 
What are the essential antiques to set a Swedish tone in home décor?

Daniel Larsson:
As far as specific pieces go, I would say the Swedish long case clock is a must have and fits most homes from modern to more classic. This clock is typical to Sweden. There are two styles with different shapes to them: a masculine clock which has straight lines  and a feminine clock which has softer lines. So the style you choose will effect the feel of your home.

Mora clocks are the most well known. The female clocks have a belly and a different shape.  The male clocks are less popular than the female.

Antiques Diva, Daniel Larsson Interrior, Gustavian, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Swedish Antiques, Swedish Décor, Antique Swedish Clock, Mora Clock, Swedish Long Case Clocks

The Mora clock, Sweden’s popular “feminine” style long-case clock

Antiques Diva, Daniel Larsson Interrior, Gustavian, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Swedish Antiques, Swedish Décor, Antique Swedish Long Case Clock

The masculine version of Sweden’s popular long-case clock. Notice the straighter lines

 

Antiques Diva:
Any other Swedish pieces that
are highly desirable?

Daniel Larsson:
Swedish country furniture including drop leaf tables and Swedish dining chairs are highly sought after. While they are pricier than the French chairs, there are not a lot of dealers with original chairs.  But the real thing that is desirable in Swedish Antiques is ORIGINALITY.

Antiques Diva, Daniel Larsson Interrior, Gustavian, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Swedish Antiques, Swedish Décor, Antique Swedish Clock

Antiques Diva:
When it comes to antiques that’s what everyone really wants – ORIGINAL PIECES FROM THE PERIOD – and our specialty is helping our Antiques Diva clients find exactly that on their Sweden Antique Buying tours
.

Daniel Larsson:
And while we help a lot of foreigners buy Swedish Antiques, the thing I think that is important for people to realize is that we Swedes also want these pieces.   The Swedish people want quality and to be honest quality isn’t cheap.  But buying quality in Sweden is a better value than elsewhere.  Regardless of where you buy them, good Gustavian chairs will go for a lot of money.  They’re desireable.

But often when you buying Swedish outside of Sweden you will pay the same price for the later reproductions in the Gustavian style from the late 19th C as you would in Sweden for an original period chair from 100 years earlier in the late 18th C.  This makes it much less expensive to buy in Sweden because you’re getting period authentic pieces.

Antiques Diva, Daniel Larsson Interrior, Gustavian, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Swedish Antiques, Swedish Décor, Antique Swedish Clock

Antiques Diva:
It’s difficult because clients don’t always understand that Gustavian Style doe not mean Gustavian Period.  There is a difference in age and quality. 

Daniel Larsson:
When buying Swedish Antiques you really have to be careful to know the difference – are you buying Gustavian STYLE – which is not from the Gustavian period – or Gustavian Period?

Antiques Diva, Daniel Larsson Interrior, Gustavian, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Swedish Antiques, Swedish Décor, Antique Swedish Clock

Antiques Diva:
Talk to me about maker’s marks.

Daniel Larsson:
In Sweden, true Gustavian pieces sometimes have a maker’s mark to establish their authenticity to the period. Some dealers say it is important to know who made the chair, for instance, because it gives provenance.  In fact when the chairs were originally being made this was just a matter of practicality.  We Swedes – even in the 18th C – are a practical lot!  If you bought a chair and it broke then you knew who to go to fix the chair.  The maker’s mark was sort of like a guarantee. “Buy it from me, and if it breaks, bring it back and I’ll repair it.”

 

Antiques Diva: 
What are the trends in antiques at the moment in Sweden?  Do the locals love Gustavian antiques the way the rest of the world does?

Daniel Larsson:
In Sweden, good modern quality pieces are popular.  Everyone knows mid-century modern is HOT right now but I can also see that Art Deco style is gaining quite a bit of popularity.  But the Gustavian style has always been and always will continue to be popular among the Swedes. There isn’t one interior magazine in Sweden, regardless of style, that does not include one Gustavian piece in an issue. Our style is different from rest of Europe. Even IKEA is mimicking the Swedish style. In the 1980’s and 1990’s IKEA did a Swedish 18th C line that today has gained collectors value and is selling for more money than back when it was launched!  Have you seen the recent IKEA catalog? They just did their version of a Swedish standing tall case clock.

Antiques Diva, Daniel Larsson Interrior, Gustavian, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Swedish Antiques, Swedish Décor, Antique Swedish Clock

Antiques Diva:
You can’t talk about Sweden without thinking of it’s most famous export – IKEA!

Daniel Larsson:
I honestly believe that IKEA is doing more positive things for Swedish furniture than negative.  While it is of course budget furniture they are doing it with some style.  In Sweden – and I think across Europe this holds true – you’ll actually find IKEA often in high-end homes.

 

Antiques Diva:
I’ve said it before and will say it again – Decorating with Antiques is about the mix of High & Low.  So Swedish decorators pair a Gustavian armchairs with an Ikea Coffee table and the mixture just works.  Swedish pieces, whether old or new, are relevant to the way we live today!

Thanks for joining us in this Antiques Diva® Masters Class!

The Antiques Diva®

The Hotel Beau Sejour in Provence

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Taking Home a Piece of Provence

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Dear Diva Readers,

We’re lucky to have in our midst at the AD&Co a sensational writer as part of our team -  Caren Trafford is not only an Antiques Diva Guide in Provence but she’s also an acclaimed children and environmental author and journalist!  Today Caren joins us with a guest article on Taking Home a Piece of Provence.

Provence Diva Caren Trafford writes:

Ah Provence! The very name conjures up images of dusty olive trees and rows of lavender against a background of hill top villages, basking in days filled with bright sunlight. Perhaps it is because Provence is so picture postcard perfect and enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year that so many tourists choose it as their summer-time destination.

Provence France Lavender, Provence, Lavender, Architectural salvage tour, Sourcing antiques in France, Buying antiques in Provence, The Antiques Diva, Flea Market Finds

Photos Credit: lavender field from: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/france/travel-tips-and-articles/76731

And at the end of a wonderful holiday, saturated with the bright color and intense flavors, what is more natural than to want to take home a memento of your stay? Something to enjoy over those long, dark, winter months, when the darkness descends just after lunch-time, and you have to battle the transport system home through the sleet and rain. And what is the highlight of your evening? Possibly nothing other than, “Britain’s Got Talent’” or “Dancing With the Stars”.

So, is it any wonder that tourists want to take home with them a memento of their summer holiday and keep alive that idyllic interlude in Provence?

But which souvenir is the best with such a choice? The easy picks are the mandatory perfumed sachets of lavender or a ribboned packet of rose-scented Marseille soap. And for the gourmands, there’s a host of herbs and spices, olive oils and specialty cakes and biscuits. For those a little more adventurous, the shopping list could include a perfume or two from Grasse, or a bottle of white, red or rose from a visited vineyard: perhaps even some cherished truffles, depending on when and where you visit.

Provence, Lavender, Architectural salvage tour, Sourcing antiques in France, Buying antiques in Provence, The Antiques Diva, Flea Market Finds

Photo credit: Lavendar http://belleprovencetravels.com/guides/what-to-take-home-from-provence/

Some tourists arrive with more space in their luggage. They are thinking on a larger scale and their aim is to take home- literally- a piece of Provence. I am speaking of the antique market enthusiasts. Not difficult to spot, but you have to be up early. If you are, head to the local brocante Saturday morning market in your locality and look around for the early birds, the ones with boundless enthusiasm. They are looking for something special and it’s not the weekly discount at the local supermarket.

Antiquing in the south of France is a holiday in itself. And those that are good at it have it well planned out. The rewards are worth the planning but the problem is there is such a vast choice that it is difficult to know exactly where to start – that’s where we come in.  We narrow the focus and plan antiquing itineraries that save time not to mention money getting you straight to the areas that sell more of what you’re looking for. In Provence, it’s impossible to travel far without tripping over a gold mine or two of great bric-a-brac. And because French Provencal design is so attractive, many city dwellers will spend their summer vacation hunting for that piece of spectacular vintage that they can enjoy at home.

Provence, Lavender, Architectural salvage tour, Sourcing antiques in France, Buying antiques in Provence, The Antiques Diva, Flea Market Finds

Photo credit: Old wall and street scene from: http://www.topdesignmag.com/the-beautiful-provence-in-38-images/

The antique sellers welcome these enthusiasts with open arms. At our local Saturday market, veteran brocante-seller Monsieur Herve is no exception. A man in his sixties and a veteran of all things antique, he will encourage you to take home a genuine piece of Provence.

Ask him anything. He will be able to tell you the history of every treasure that he has for sale. And as any sales person will tell you, half the sale is in the story. ‘You like this milk-pail? It’s at least 100 years old. I discovered it in the ruins of a farm-house, way up in the hills above Aubagne in the land of French filmmaker and writer, Marcel Pagnol.’ The brocante-seekers nod wisely, lapping up this wonderful tale. (Pagnol is generally regarded as one of France’s greatest 20th century writers and film-makers who created spirited cinema such as The Baker’s Wife, Jean de Florette and Manon de Source.) The antique dealer continues… ‘In fact, Pagnol may even have drunk milk from this very pail.’

The wonderful thing about Provence is that you may very well be looking at a milk-pail that Pagnol drank from. There are so many interesting artifacts to be found here, and each one has a story which the brocante sellers have researched. And if it wasn’t Monsieur Pagnol who drank from this very milk pail, it is likely to have been one of his neighbors.

Visitors to Provence seek out antique treasures that will become their pride and joy back home. Just to own a part of this land’s wonderful history is worth the holiday to Provence. And why not visit the attractive brocante and bric-a-brac stalls in the weekly village fairs and fall in love with an antique, rusting milk pail with a worn-down wooden handle that you can plant pansies in, or an antique bee-hive that will become the centerpiece and decorate your newly painted hall-way.

Provence, Lavender, Architectural salvage tour, Sourcing antiques in France, Buying antiques in Provence, The Antiques Diva, Flea Market Finds

Photo credit: Fireplace photo from: http://www.sculptures-bidal.com–

Then there is the travelers who really want to take home a piece of Provence.  And they’re not just content with a small table or a zinc tray, they are thinking bigger. Much bigger. The result? More of Provence is finding its way overseas, and not always in a suitcase.  Again, that’s where we come in – liaising  our clients with an international shipper and filling out the purchase orders and such.

Today, some of the biggest draw cards for seekers of antiques in Provence are the old, pre-loved pieces of masonry, stone, wood, marble, iron and zinc. The choice is almost limitless for this area has been a playground since the Romans arrived and built their arenas and amphitheaters. This means there is a huge choice for antique hunters looking for something monumental. The finest is 17th and 18th century French antiques, hand-carved French limestone fountains, garden accoutrements, and antique French olive jars designed from the classical patterns of antiquity, like waiting and for sale.

To be able to find a home for long-forgotten monumental pieces that have been left to crumble away at the back of some distant, unploughed field is highly satisfying. And as any match-maker will tell you, create a connection that brings long-lasting happiness, and your job is a joy and well done. What better role could there be than to be an Antiques Match-Maker – for in fact that’s what we are at The Antiques Diva® & Co.

Recently I was given a brief by a client from the USA. ‘Find me a stone or marble fire-place,’ she said. ‘It must be Louis XIII – it will be the crowning glory of my new home and is must be original.’

Marcus Tullius Cicero, orator and statesman, (106 BC – 43 BC), philosopher of Ancient Rome, considered by many to be amongst the greatest of the Latin orators and prose writers wrote…

‘There is no place more delightful than one’s own fireplace.’

So what a challenge! And yet, Provence is the very place to find the very piece she was looking for. For this region is filled with architectural and monumental antiques from the 15th through to the 19th centuries, all waiting to be reclaimed. Aged limestone flooring, architectural elements such as stone surrounds, enormous doors and gates are here, all waiting to be re-discovered and loved by new owners.

Monumental pieces, ignored and overlooked for decades are now in vogue. And they are being snapped up by visitors who come to visit Provence eagerly with more than just an empty suit-case. These visitors are the ones that will bring new life to forgotten treasures salvaged from another era.

Provence, Lavender, Architectural salvage tour, Sourcing antiques in France, Buying antiques in Provence, The Antiques Diva, Flea Market Finds

Photo credit: Crumbling building in field from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/the-perfect-break/7034021/Van-Goghs-Provence.html

And who can blame the ones that crave to take home to their own back yard, a piece of Provence? Those of us whom are lucky enough to call Provence home can enjoy it all. We are surrounded by endless fields of sunflowers, the scent of lavender wafting through a breeze, beautiful clear skies, charming medieval villages, regional food, the azure of the Mediterranean and wonderful people, and it’s all ours, without having to spend a bus fare… let alone travel half way around the world.

These days, Provence offers so much more than just a Kodak moment. As antique collectors will tell you, if you’re not lucky enough to live the dream, as we do, the next best thing is to be able to take a piece of the dream home. It’s recycling at it’s finest, after all Antiques Are Green. There are people who will happily choose some iconic piece of history for their own.

As a match-maker of antiques, I couldn’t be happier than when some aged architectural element finds a new home, perhaps on the other side of the world. Once there, I imagine these antique treasures stand proud once more and remind the rest of the world what living in Provence is all about.

Au Revoir,
Caren – Your Antiques Diva Guide in Provence.
The Antiques Diva®

The Antiques Diva Shops Venice

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Dear Diva Readers,

Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

Mamma Mia… When an assignment to go to Venice to write about the local antiques scene arose, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. And while I was looking forward to my trip  - who wouldn’t be? – what I didn’t expect was the arsenal of antiques that awaited me. I was surprised to discover a varied inventory, ranging from museum quality antiques, statues and paintings to 16th, 17th and 18th C painted furniture, Venetian chandeliers and mirrors as well as gorgeous antique jewelry and antique textiles.  And the kicker? I didn’t just find tourist prices.  These pieces were selling at market value when you entered with a local. I shopped in private palazzos and in by-appointment-only antique stores deep on back canals and calles I’d never heard of in districts where you found quiet spots the tourists hadn’t discovered or wandered off the beaten path.

Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

On the arm of 2 local antiques dealers – Chiara and Orseola, the latter of whom happens to be from one of the 6 noble families in Venice (and an ancestor of the doges) – I visited local antique dealers, friends of her family and was invited in as if I, too, were a friend of the family. I found myself surprised at every corner that this is not a city just for the tourists to shop – but that some of the top dealers in the world are sourcing at antique shops you’d never discover without an insider making an introduction.  (Between you and me I’m utterly convinced I found more than one of Axel Vervoordt’s secret sources though the dealers had complete discretion).

Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

While these ladies were helping me rediscover Venice for an article I was writing, I realized this discovery was too big for simply a magazine feature with a word count limited at 1000.  This was my 6th trip to Venice – yet I had never felt so embraced by the city as I did when I visited it with insiders.   I wanted to be able to share what Chiara and Orseola  had taught me. It wasn’t just about sharing the antique address… but was about giving insider access to the Venice only a local knows about.  Plus, when antiquing, Chiara and Orseola give the kind of access that happens when a local calls instead of one of the millions of tourists who come each year.  You will show up in a tiny shop and be invited to the vendor’s home on the nearby campo to see more of the collections. Only a small part of the inventory in Venice is kept in store fronts where the space is limited.

Hand made fabrics, Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

After antiquing in Venice several days with Chiara and Orseola I asked these ladies – the dealers who choreograph the amazing collection at O&C Antiquesto join my team as our newest The Antiques Diva & Co Guides leading antique buying tours in Venice and to my great pleasure they said “Si! Si! Si!”, delighted by the opportunity to share their world.

Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

Thanks to a partnership between The Antiques Diva & Co and O&C Antiques, Venice – The Queen of the Adriatic – has just become Antiques Diva Territory!  Stay tuned for more details as along with Chiara and Orseola we share more details on how you can bring Venetian Antiques home.

Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

Ciao Bella!
The Antiques Diva®

 

The Suzy Menkes Collection To Be Sold at Auction

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Dear Diva Readers,

At The Antiques Diva & Co, we love vintage fashion!  Taking clients on tours to search for Chanel bags & jewelry or the perfect vintage dress is one of the great parts of my and my Diva Guides’ jobs! Sometimes, however, the closets of style setters are opened to the public via auction. Well if you’re a fashionista, hold onto your wallets, because I have good news for you! On Tuesday June 24th at 5pm, Rosebery’s is holding an auction of the personal wardrobe of International Vogue Editor, Suzy Menkes. She has been a style icon since the inception of her career, donning some of the most fashionable garments from the 1960’s through the 2000’s. Her clothing along with enviable accessories will go to the highest bidder at this Fine Art Sale.  Yes. Fashion is Art!

Suzy Menkes, Fashion Editor, International Vogue, International Herald Tribune,

Designs from renowned fashion designers will go under the hammer, including pieces from Bill Gibb, Biba and Ozzie Clark, Janice Wainwright, Chanel, Yves St Laurent, English Eccentrics and Christian Lacroix. This auction is surely featuring some of the best designers of our time and will be a lively evening as bidders vie for the most sought after pieces of the 67 lots.

Suzy Menkes, Fashion Editor, International Vogue, International Herald Tribune,

A tomato red trouser suit, 1960s. The cut velvet flared trousers with gilt button detail, together with a sleeveless long line jacket with gilt button and chain clasp. Unlabeled. Part of a collection. Estimate £120-£180

Suzy Menkes, Fashion Editor, International Vogue, International Herald Tribune, Chanel,

Chanel: A black quilted lambskin handbag with plaited leather and chain shoulder strap. 1980s, together with a Chanel silk scarf, double C logo on purple ground, decorated with jewellery imagery. Estimate £250-£350

In case you’re thinking “would love to buy, but don’t have the funds” don’t despair yet.  Even bidders on a budget may score some vintage fashion.  Estimates range from an affordable £80-100 for a Janice Wainwright printed silk chiffon kaftan style dress, to £400-600 for a stylish black Chanel leather vanity case.

Suzy Menkes, Fashion Editor, International Vogue, International Herald Tribune,

Ossie Clark for Radley, 1970s. A smock-backed tea dress of violet moss crepe with deep button decollete and wrapped belt to the waist. Size 36. Estimate £200-£300

Suzy Menkes, Fashion Editor, International Vogue, International Herald Tribune,

A flapper style beaded crepe cocktail dress, 1970s, the black crepe sleeveless dress with shaped hem and silvered glass and clear bugle bead embellishment. Unlabeled. Estimate £100-£150

The sale is on view at The Old Chocolate Factory, West Norwood, London from Friday - Tuesday, 20 -24th June. The full catalogue can be viewed online and even if you can’t make it to London, online bidding will also be available.

Want even more vintage fashion? Consider taking an Antiques Diva & Co Vintage Fashion Tour! We offer great vintage fashion tours in Paris, London & Berlin!  Simply email us at [email protected] for more information.

Be fashionable,

The Antiques Diva®

May I Flush In Peace

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Dear Diva Readers,

Last April 2013 I attended #BlogTourNola in New Orleans as part an amazing program created by Veronika Miller of Modenus.  She selects 10-15 bloggers to take with her several times a year to write about sponsors in a variety of great cities around the world – New York, Paris, Milan, LA, etc.  You probably read about me being one of those sponsors just 2 months ago in Milan when a group of design bloggers came overseas to write about the #BlogTourMilan event.  As part of participating in the all-expenses-paid blog tour the bloggers are required to write about a certain number of the sponsors.

BlogTourNOLA, Modenus, Toma Clark Haines, New Orleans Design, KBIS,

I’m usually very good at fulfilling my commitments. I’m nothing if not loyal.  However, life got in the way after I attended #BlogTourNola and I didn’t get all the sponsors written about at the time.  I was in the middle of a move, I was in the middle of taxes, and oh by the way, my company was growing by leaps and bounds and I was struggling to manage it all.   Yes, I’m making excuses.   And I have been for over a year.  But since then I’ve felt quite guilty that I never wrote about one of our fabulous sponsors – Toto.

TOTO-NEOREST-750H-Vignette, Toto Toilet, High-End bathroom fixtures, BlogTourNOLA,

In fact, Toto has been haunting me.  I was staying at my friend’s apartment in Chicago and went to flush the loo… and who did I see? Toto Toilets!  I was in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Atlanta speaking at the Design Bloggers Conferrence and again? Who did I see?  Toto Toilets! In fact, at least once a month – always in a high-end luxury accommodation – I would bump into my friend Toto in the restroom.  They were everywhere.  And Toto doesn’t just do toilets.  In fact, they also do bathroom fixture (gorgeous sleek towel racks and paper holders) as well as bath tubs and faucets, even showers.  Toto is the world’s largest plumbing products manufacturer with a complete line of commercial and decorative plumbing fixtures and fittings, faucets, accessories, shower and flush valves, as well as lavatories, toilets, Air Baths and urinals. For over 90 years, they have been producing their products.  I was certain I’d never have a moment’s peace in the bathroom again unless I cleared my conscious – so wanted to write today to tell you about this top brand.  I really like luxury living – whether in hotels on the road or at home – and  I knew without catching up on my BlogTourNOLA obligations I’d never flush peacefully again – because I’m telling you I can’t turn around without bumping into a bathroom product by Toto.  They’re everywhere because quite simply – they’re the best.

Ta Ta for Now,
The Antiques Diva®

(Seen below on BlogTourNOLA with blogger Linda Merrill of Surroundings)

Toma Clark Haines and Linda Merrill, BlogTourNOLA

Antiques Fair at St Sulpice, Paris

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st sulpice, Antiques Markets in Paris, Paris Flea Markets, Flea Market tips, Brocantes,

Oh la la… it’s that time of year again in Paris when the Square at St Sulpice fills with antique vendors for the Antiquities Brocante at St Sulpice.  Starting today June 18 this French Flea Market runs until June 29, 2014. While we love shopping the Paris Flea Market and the Porte de Vanves market, we also offer Off the Beaten Path Brocante Tours visiting traveling flea markets around the city of light in special locations in famous squares and along the boulevards!  Some of the best bargains and most unusual pieces can be found at these traveling short term markets.

Image Source:  StaticFlickr

Gary Gibson Design Inspiration

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Dear Diva Readers,

While in Los Angeles recently I had the opportunity to meet so many fantastic people – one of the most inspiring was Gary Gibson.  Gary is an L.A. based interior designer, product designer, and owner of a fabulous store. He’s one of the great style makers of our time setting trends and establishing the way we live today.

Gibson Design, Style Maker, LA Interior Designer, Gary Gibson

Gibson Design, Style Maker, LA Interior Designer, Gary Gibson

Gary Gibson breaks the mold of traditional decorating, and yet his interiors and shop still feel comfortable and welcoming.  He thinks outside the box and combines different textures and mediums, all the while playing with scale, color, and light.  When shopping his store, you get a real sense of his aesthetic; playful, unique, out-of-the-box with taste.

Gary Gibson Design Inspiration, Gibson Design, Style Maker, LA Interior Designer, Gary Gibson

Gibson Design, Style Maker, LA Interior Designer, Gary Gibson

The mix of metal furniture (some bronze and stainless steel pieces are his own designs from his line Gibson Studio) and wood pieces along with interesting vintage accessories feels familiar and fresh all at once. In one vignette he combined a sleek wood console, rustic metal letters, marble urns, and a glass lamp—what a chic mix!  And Gary isn’t afraid of color, which is refreshing. His interiors are meant to be used and that is evident even in his store. I mean, he has a stocked bar set up on the sales floor! If I wasn’t jet-lagged and it wasn’t morning when I visited, I may have just poured myself some bubbly! How welcoming!

Gary Gibson Design, Gibson Design, Style Maker, LA Interior Designer, Gary Gibson

With features in publications like Architectural Digest, Veranda, and Elle Decor, Gary Gibson is definitely “one to watch” if you want to be inspired. Visiting his shop and chatting with him was definitely a highlight of my trip to LA!

Gary Gibson and Toma Clark Haines, Gibson Design, Style Maker, LA Interior Designer, The Antiques Diva

Be stylish,

The Antiques Diva®

Flea Marketing in Rzeszow, Poland

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Antique Zinc

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Dear Diva Readers,

Antique zinc is a hot item right now, especially in America.  With its natural look and interesting patina, zinc is the perfect addition to any interior. In Europe it’s been used as an architectural element for centuries.  If you look at historic buildings, you’ll notice zinc window frames, decorative downspouts, over-door decorations, gables, and other ornamentations.  Because it is lightweight, zinc could be molded into intricate designs, adding elegance to many European homes, churches and public buildings.

Zinc Oeil de Boeuf, Antique Zinc, Buying architectural fragments in Europe, Designing with Zinc, The Antiques Diva, Architectural salvage

In its natural state, zinc has a shiny metallic look, but after time and weather have their way it transforms into a matte gray finish, almost chalk-like. Over the years it continues to patina which only adds to its appeal. If it gets scratched, zinc will repair itself! While being delicate enough to mold, it’s also quite durable. Many old buildings have their original zinc roofs that are well over 100 years old. Because it doesn’t rust, it was the perfect element to use in architecture.

Antique Zinc, Buying architectural fragments in Europe, Designing with Zinc, The Antiques Diva, Trends in Design, Trends in Antiques, Architectural Salvage

Zinc finials, Antique Zinc, Buying architectural fragments in Europe, Designing with Zinc, The Antiques Diva, Trends in Design, Trends in Antiques, Architectural Salvage

Today we see zinc used in interior design.  Mostly decorative but also functional, zinc adds a sense of history to a space.  Its color is neutral enough to fit into most schemes while the texture adds a unique element.  Zinc can be used as an embellishment over a door or window or simply hung on the wall as 3D art. Why not turn an old window frame into a one-of-a-kind mirror? Zinc finials make wonderful sculptures for tabletop vignettes. I’ve seen entire zinc railings while antiquing and thought they would make great headboards!

Antique Zinc, Buying architectural fragments in Europe, Designing with Zinc, The Antiques Diva, Trends in Design, Trends in Antiques, zinc railings, headboard ideas, Architectural Salvage

zinc railing, Antique Zinc, Buying architectural fragments in Europe, Designing with Zinc, The Antiques Diva, Trends in Design, Trends in Antiques,

The key is to reimagine what you can create with these architectural fragments. Incorporate them into new construction or simply use them as decoration. However you reinterpret this classic material, it’s sure to bring something unique and visually appealing to your space! Look for these pieces at flea markets and antique stores.  We often find dealers that have the most unique zinc ornamentation hidden in their back rooms, guarding them as if they were a secret. With all the inquiries we’re getting about antique zinc, I don’t see this trend going away any time soon.

Zinc Oeil de Boeuf, Antique Zinc, Buying architectural fragments in Europe, Designing with Zinc, The Antiques Diva, Trends in Design, Trends in Antiques,

Zinc finials, Antique Zinc, Buying architectural fragments in Europe, Designing with Zinc, The Antiques Diva, Trends in Design, Trends in Antiques, Architecural Salvage

If you would like to take an Antiques Diva & Co Buying Tour in one of our 8 tour countries–France, England, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands or Germany- just email [email protected] for more information.

The Antiques Diva®

Mantiques for Father’s Day

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Dear Diva Readers,

While you know me as a European Diva, I’m originally from Oklahoma, having moved overseas nearly 14 years ago.  But my roots go back to blue jeans and boots.  My father is a cowboy through and through.

I come by my penchant for hunting and gathering naturally…you might say it’s in my DNA.  As a child I remember trailing along as my parents visited junks shops, garage sales, antique stores and estate sales.  We even visited abandoned houses and the ghost towns left behind from the dust bowl when the settlers went west in search of better times and fortunes.   We’d walk through dug out houses and discuss what life was like after the Oklahoma Land Run.  While out riding horses my father would find arrowheads in the dirt and show them to me, telling the story of the Native Americans and the buffalo hunts.

Chuck Clark, Red River Reality, Cowboy, Ranches for sale in Oklahoma

My parents took pieces from the past – pieces with more of a story than financial value – and decorated their home with wonderful eclectic style that told stories of afternoons out and back road adventures.  Today as a relator specializing in selling ranches my dad doesn’t get to spend as much time on a horse as he’d like, but he decorates both his office and home with antique saddles and chaps, spurs and more.  When I moved overseas his first questions were about the European horse scenes and when he and my step mother visited we rented horses to race through the countryside.

Vintage Bridle, Polish antiques, Rzeszow, Flea Market finds, Father's Day, Mantiques

Over the years I’ve sought out “western” pieces à la European style – “mantiques” – to give for birthdays, holidays and father’s day.  One year I gave him bronze Dutch clogs – that just so happened to be stirrups. This year while visiting friends in Rzeszow, Poland for their monthly flea market I happened upon a vintage bridle.  I’m uncertain of the age. Or origin – though the vendor felt it was Soviet due to the star.  It’s hand tooled and well-used and will look perfect hanging in the tack room as mantique décor.

When it’s a holiday – be it Christmas or a birthday, mother’s day or father’s day – I like  buying presents that are personal.  No gift certificates from me.  I try to buy vintage finds perfect for the recipient.

Happy Father’s Day, Papa Bear.  Just something small to let you know I’m thinking of you on my travels as I continue our tradition of hunting and gathering.

The Antiques Diva®

the antiques diva on the beach in germany, cowboy boots,

Italy Diva Guide Susan’s Architectural & Garden Tour

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Dear Diva Readers,

Due to the custom nature of my company, clients often email me with their visions and dreams and ask my feedback on where they should book their Antiques Diva Buying Tour based upon their interests.  When a client told me his partner was a landscape architect with a keen interest in re-purposed and antique garden items and showed me some pictures of past projects I immediately channeled Italy!  Next thing I knew we were taking this client on a buying tour.  Because our tours are a-la-carte, clients can book their buying tour by the day.  They can add our tours on to other travel plans – booking anything from 1 day to 1 week on tour then do their own additional travel added on to the trip.  Since this client was planning time near Rome I had to share my advice with him (and you) on places where he’d gain inspiration as well – telling him which castles and villas we thought he should see since architecture is their passion.

Part of the magic of my company is that I don’t do this alone. I have a team of 18 Diva’s who help lead antique buying tours.  I asked our Italian Diva Guide Susan Pennington her advice and she came back with a slew of Roman Architectural and Garden options.

As Susan explains, “The area just above Rome is Viterbo, which is the most populated with both gardens to tour and antique/architectural sources to buy. I happen to be passionate about gardens and villas, perhaps my English blood, and have visited many in my 20 years living in Tuscany.”  For those of you who don’t yet know our Italian Diva Guide Susan she’s British by birth, Italian by choice.

bomarzo, Italian Parks, Sourcing antiques in Italy, Antiques Diva, Architectural salvage

parco mostri, italian garden tours

Parco Bonmarzo is one of Susan’s favorite gardens to tour. Located in Lazio, it has Etruscan, Roman and Medieval influences, giving it a sense of history and a unique style of its own. Also known as “The Villa of Wonders,” one passes through the gardens only to come upon stone figures and life-like statues of animals. From elephants to three-headed beasts to Neptune, what’s known as The Park of the Monsters is a sixteenth century fantasy world.

Castello Ruspoli, Vignanello, Italy, Garden Tours of Italy, Sourcing antiques in Italy

For a true journey to the past, visit Castello Ruspoli which dates back to 847 AD where original traces of the structure can be found built into the cliff where it lies. Over the centuries it’s been used by Pope Leo IV as a convent for Benedictine monks and a private residence by several noble Italian families.

palazzo farnese, Italy Palazzo, sourcing antiques in Italy, Buying antiques in Europe, Italian Tours

For a taste of sixteenth century architecture, Palazzo Farnese is just the ticket. The Palace was built in the shape of a pentagon, and lends itself to the feel of a fortress more than a villa, surrounded by a deep moat which today we recognize the great bastions specially angled left as to demonstrate the great military power of the Farnese family.

parco mostri, italian architectural salvage tours, antiques diva

Italian Gardens, Italian Tours, Antiques Diva

Giardino dei Ninfa is an ideal place to tour if you love historic gardens as it is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. With an overall Anglo-Saxon style, the Garden of Ninfa contains paths that spread out  in a non-geometric fashion, all leading to informal plantings. Spontaneity is the name of the game and visitors are rarely aware of the human hand in the garden.

If you find yourself in Italy, you simply must visit some of the wonderful old villas and castles.  Hopefully this list can be a starting point for your adventures (or at least daydreams!). We’re always happy to recommend places to see for tourist adventures alongside your antiques buying tour.  Consider booking an Antiques Diva & Co Buying Tour in one of our 8 tour countries–France, England, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands or Germany- just email [email protected] for more information.

Ciao for now,

The Antiques Diva®

Another Shelfie

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Shelfie, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva Berlin Apartment, Book Shelves, Decorating a Loft Apartment

Last week I shared my first “Shelfie” and today I had to share again- but disclaimer please, this photo from our library shows no antiques. It’s a photo simply filled with memories. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle was my favorite book as a pre-teen and after our house fire last year my mother gave me the tattered copy from my youth. The glass mason jar is filled with seashells picked up on a girl’s trip years ago in Sanibel Island with dear friends Stacey, Catherine and Tamara and the giant foot is a souvenir from Rome when I took my 16 year old niece Tessa to Italy for her birthday.

And, lastly, the playing cards a memento of my time spent chatting a couple of months ago with Design Hero Gary Gibson at his trend setting shop in LA.  I see my home in memories – each piece a souvenir, sitting on a shelf and reminding me of moments that make me smile.

Portobello Market

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portobello notting hill, Shopping flea markets in London, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, English Antiques

I just love the cherry glossy red exterior of Alice’s Antique Emporium – a landmark on our London Portobello Road Flea  Market Tours.  While the street market is positively heaving with people on the weekends, I prefer to meander in Notting Hill on weekdays when the shops are open but the crowds have dispersed sticky-beaking my nose into the individual retailers, finding vintage bits and bobs and everything in between.

The Antiques Diva’s Favorite Piece at Home

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Dear Diva Readers,

I was recently asked what my favorite piece of furniture is. Each week I am exposed to hundreds of antiques while shopping flea markets and stores on tours all across Europe. With the internet, hundreds more are sent to my email inbox, often resulting in sensory overload! The mix of styles, periods, and price points is so varied that it can be difficult to choose a favorite piece or style. So I decided to look at my own home and try to pinpoint a particular piece that stands out as my personal favorite.

Swedish Antiques Buying Tour, The Antiques Diva, Buying antiques in Sweden, Gustavian, Rococo, Swedish chairs

Chairs seen on a Sweden Antiques Diva Tour

I’ve found that trying to choose a favorite antique piece is like asking a mother to pick her favorite child.  In my living room I have a gorgeous pair of signed Swedish Rococo Stockholm Chairs with traces of primary paint (mostly secondary).  These chairs are the crème de la crème of antiques.  And if you bought online in the USA you’d be looking at easily a cost of $16,000 – 20,000. I bought them on our Sweden Antiques Diva buying tour and spent around 4600E for the pair.  They were a fantastic buy and absolute top quality – my favorite combination.

Swedish chair, Rococo, Swedish Antiques, 18th Century, Original paint, Buying antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines

Catpuccino has refined tastes – he loves sleeping in the sunshine on my Swedish Rococo Chairs

I find that, in general, Swedish antiques are highly sought after due to their timelessness and classic design.  Open any shelter magazine and you’re sure to see a few strategically placed Swedish pieces that add just the right amount of style and serenity to gorgeously decorated spaces.

While French furniture is beautiful, it can sometimes be overly carved or too “heavy” to blend into contemporary interiors. Swedish furniture, namely Gustavian, could be viewed as the “toned-down cousin” to antique French furniture. The lines are sleeker, the carvings more reserved.  The graceful forms of Swedish furniture are complemented by their color palette which is usually rooted in the natural world, offering hues of gray, cream, pale blue and green.

Swedish Rococo Stockholm Chairs, Chandeliers, Swedish Antiques, Sourcing antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines

Our living room – my favorite Swedish Chairs opposite the modern sofa

My home is a very modern space and so I look for those antiques  that possess a classic sensibility without being overly flamboyant. My pair of Swedish Rococo Stockholm Chairs fits the bill perfectly. They bring a sense of history to a sleek apartment, proving that all things old can be made new again

The Antiques Diva®

P.S. – If you liked this article you might enjoy reading the article I did over at The Daily Basics on our living room décor.

Porte Cochere

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Dear Diva Readers,

I love interior design and the entire process of taking an abstract idea and making it a reality. However anyone who has undertaken a remodel project (or even just redecorated a room) knows that the process can be very intensive and often stressful! Interior Designers are so valuable when it comes to selecting the right pieces for a room and at The Antiques Diva & Co we often take interior designers on antique buying tours as well as source pieces for them through our Buying Services.

I recently met Anna Beck Bimba and Ann Shriver Sargent, founders of a very useful business for interior designers called PORTE-COCHÈRE.  I asked them a few questions and wanted to share their answers with you as I think they are on to something new and exciting! So…let’s chat with PORTE-COCHÈRE!

PORTE-COCHÈRE Founders Anna Beck Bimba and Ann Shriver Sargent

PORTE-COCHÈRE Founders Anna Beck Bimba and Ann Shriver Sargent

Antiques Diva®: Can you explain your service?

PORTE-COCHÈRE: Top full-service interior designers find and procure thousands of products a year for their wealthy clients – not an easy task! Product sales are essential to their bottom line and vendors want their orders! PORTE-COCHÈRE is a business-to-business membership marketplace connecting a curated group of vendors and vetted design firms without acting as a middleman for the transactions.

PORTE-COCHÈRE’s business model embraces what is great about the 21st century – information technology and networks without geographic borders. We know from experience that when items are procured through the design firm’s standard process and arrive in the warehouse ready for installation they are part of the profit stream and a smoother project for their client. I (Ann Shriver Sargent) am always looking for ways to improve systems and increase profits and job satisfaction. We are in a new era, and technology allows us to scale some solutions for our community and build meaningful relationships with our peers and vendors.

In a way you can think of us as an “uber rep” focused on connecting an international talent band of design professionals.

3 handmade Murano glass lamps by PORTE-COCHÈRE Brand Member Cartwright

3 handmade Murano glass lamps by PORTE-COCHÈRE Brand Member Cartwright

 

Antiques Diva®: How did you come up with this idea?

PORTE-COCHÈRE: With 28 years designing I (Sargent) know it is impossible to design without identifying the exact products that inform a space and so much of a design firms’ energy is expended in search and procurement. The Internet has made searching for anything possible but a Google search is inefficient for professionals and I dreamed of a better way. I saw the need for a more channeled solution for interior design firms like mine to connect with trusted, profitable vendors.

Anna had interned at my firm in college and we stayed in close touch. At lunch one day I mentioned my idea to her and she immediately saw the value, and for many months, barraged me with articles, data and ideas. Anna left the security of her job as a brand manager for a luxury European furniture group and I sold my successful design firm to my partner, and in June 2013 we launched PORTE-COCHÈRE.

Antiques Diva®: Who uses your service?

PORTE-COCHÈRE: Design Firms are invited, or apply through referral. They must demonstrate they are a creditworthy full-service firm with clients that expect premium, luxury and bespoke products. They must have the back office systems to support direct accounts with vendor members and be able to provide references from subcontractors and vendors.

Vendors are vetted for quality of product and service and enjoy the opportunities PORTE-COCHÈRE provides for them to become and stay in the running for selection on our top Design Firm members’ projects – a targeted audience who is highly qualified and has the trust of their high-net-worth clients.

An interior by PORTE-COCHÈRE's Design Firm Member Mark Cutler Design

An interior by PORTE-COCHÈRE Design Firm Member Mark Cutler Design

Antiques Diva®: What differentiates you from other design websites?

PORTE-COCHÈRE: Unlike other websites that connect designers and vendors, we are a closed network solely focused on direct business-to-business relationships between a rigorously vetted group of established interior designers and credible suppliers in the high-end residential and hospitality marketplace. PORTE-COCHÈRE is not a middleman, and our focus is exclusively on promoting quality and improving efficiency and profitability in the designer-vendor supply chain.

Image of Signoria’s profile page on PORTE-COCHÈRE’s member-only web rolodex tool

Image of Signoria’s profile page on PORTE-COCHÈRE’s member-only web rolodex tool

Antiques Diva®: Do you have any favorite brands/services on your site?

PORTE-COCHÈRE: We love all of our vendors! By the nature of our vetting process our curated group is only the best of the best. Our member-only web rolodex tool is a simple clean tool for connecting our members at this stage, however we have big plans for integrating this tool with designers’ everyday processes to make their lives easier and business’ more profitable – some very exciting things are in the works! We welcome inquiries and applications from designers and vendors around the world!

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva®

Client Feedback: Paris Flea Market Guide Danielle

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Dear Diva Readers,

I love nothing more than when a client writes in after their tour and so I was thrilled recently when Rebecca C wrote in to thank me for her Paris Flea Market tour! In today’s blog I wanted to share her kind words with you about our Paris Flea Market Antiques Guide Danielle!

Paris Diva Guide Danielle, Antiques Diva Tours Paris, Paris Flea Market Tours, French Antiques Tours, Shopping in Paris

Paris Flea Market Antiques Guide Danielle

Hello Diva,

My husband and I just returned from Paris on Sunday, 05/25/14. I had booked a full day antique tour with your company for Sunday, 05/18/14. We had a wonderful day with our guide, Danielle Pelletier. What a great way to start our trip to Paris!

Danielle picked us up right on time in her little car and away we went! She really put us at ease right away. She was invaluable in helping me to find my antique treasures. In fact, before we had even arrived, she was sending me photos of things she thought I might like and keeping an eye out for a variety of items. She had also talked with a vendor at the Puces and sent me a link to the vendor’s website for Lamidesarts so I could check out some pieces prior to arriving in Paris. The vendor, Claire Castillo, brought all the items to the shop and I was able to view everything and purchased quite a few treasures.

I’m mostly a “I’ll know it when I see it” shopper and there are some items I’m always keeping an eye out for, even here in the U.S. Danielle was wonderful at picking up on the items I was looking for and was relentless in helping me to find those items. She said we would “shop ’til we drop” and we did.

I really wanted to let you know what a memorable day we had with Danielle and will definitely recommend the Antiques Diva & Co. and Danielle to any friends traveling to Paris and will also let our travel agent know about your company.

I see that you have antique tours in other countries so hopefully in the future; we will be able to meet up with another Antiques Diva guide in another country or in Paris, if we’re fortunate enough to return.

We have some lovely French antiques to remember our 20th anniversary spent in Paris.

Best regards,

Rebecca C.

To book your Paris Flea Market tour email [email protected] The Antiques Diva®

Liquidating An Estate

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Dear Diva Readers,

Anyone who has a soft spot for antiques is sure to be familiar with the various ways to obtain them: inheritance, antique stores, flea markets, auctions,and, of course, estate sales. But what do you do if you find yourself wanting to “get rid of” the things you or a loved one has accumulated?  Well Martin Codina demystifies the process of liquidating an estate in his aptly named book, Liquidating an Estate: How to Sell a Lifetime of Stuff, Make Some Cash, and Live to Tell About It.” 

martin codina liquidating an estate, estate sale tips, how to handle an inheritance,

Whether you’re looking to downsize or deal with an inherited estate from a loved one, it can be difficult to know what to do with items that may have significant value. Unless you own an antique store or are savvy in online selling, you most likely will constantly be asking, “What do I do with all of this stuff?”  The last thing anyone wants to do is make a mistake throwing something away they could have sold.  Codina also shows you how make money while simply selling common household items in an estate sale.  The key is knowing what you have and knowing how to sell it. 

And while selling everyday items might add up to a sizable amount of money, don’t we all love those Antiques Roadshow type stories about the one-of-a-kind pieces that bring in the big bucks? In the book, Codina tells stories like this from personal experience and also reveals how to deal with professional estate liquidators and auction house personnel.  After all, these people should act as your advocates and help get you top dollar for your items.

Speaking of people, it can be awkward and difficult to deal with issues among family members when it comes to liquidating the estate of a loved one.  Codina touches on this subject offering helpful tips on how to handle certain situations among your relations.

Like I’ve said before, knowledge is power and that applies in all situations, including estate sales! Know what you have, know what it’s worth, know your market, and know when to ask for help.  There are so many resources out there that can help with liquidating an estate. Why not start with this Estate Sale guide that has our Antiques Diva® seal of approval?!

Author Martin Codina is the founder and CEO of Fine Estate Sales and Estate Liquidation, Inc. in the San Francisco Bay area – and in addition to be a great resource he also happens to a friend as well as one of my antiques heroes. He has conducted estate sales for nearly 20 years offering a wealth of experience!

martin codina, estate sale tips, Estate Liquidation, Antiques Diva, Kelly's Kitchen Sync,

Enjoying dinner with author Martin Codina and his lovely wife, Valetta, along with my dear friend Kelly Morisseau of Kelly’s Kitchen Sync.

Happy selling,
The Antiques Diva®