AYG Award Party in London

AYG Award Party in London

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Dear Diva Readers,

Everyone knows that The Antiques Diva® loves a good party. But couple that with an entire party devoted to the world of antiques – filled with the movers and shakers of the antiques world – and I am in my element! I, along with my UK Antiques Diva Agent Gail McLeod and our behind the scenes Creative Guy Andrew Skipper, were recently in London to attend an evening to celebrate the Antiques Heavy Artillery Mentors of Antiques Young Guns at Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair. The party, which was held in the Club Room, was sponsored not only by The Antiques Diva® & Co but also more importantly by BADA, LAPADA, and, of course, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair.

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Attending the party was a myriad of antiques trade professionals and journalists. We spent the evening mixing and mingling, champagne in hand of course! When it was time for the awards ceremony, I was so pleased to present the award for Most Innovative Mentor to my friend and renowned antiques dealer, Spencer Swaffer. He gave space in his own store for a pop-up shop to his mentoree Paul Jones during the busiest week of the year.  The overall winner of the Heavy Artillery Mentor Program went to Robert Young who could not attend the party, so it was accepted by the Young Gun whom he mentored which happens to be our very own Swedish Divo Guide, Daniel Larsson.

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Following the reception, everyone gathered at a fabulous new restaurant at Vauxhall called Counter which is owned by Antiques Road Show Host Mark Hill’s partner, Philip. Mark is also one of the co-founders of Antiques Young Guns along with Gail McLeod and George Johnson. Drinks, dinner, and lots of conversation ensued until the wee hours of the morning. A Diva’s work is never done!

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Huge congratulations to Gail Mcleod who worked tirelessly to put this evening together, all while taking VIP clients on tour during the same week as this monumental event in the antiques industry. They say that if you want something done, ask a busy person… well, Gail certainly knows how to get things done! Looking forward to seeing Antiques Young Guns grow in the coming year and can’t wait for the next party!

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair, Olga, The HighBoy

The Antiques Diva®   

Sweet Alabama Takes a Shine to Provence

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Dear Diva Readers,

Our locally-based Provence Antiques Diva Guide recently led a tour for some lovely American clients and they had such a wonderful time on this dream-like adventure, treasure hunting and soaking up the scenery of Provence that Diva Guide Caren had to write to share with our readers their adventure!

Caren writes:

Provence is especially seductive in May and June. Not too hot, nor too cold. And so alive with the colour and sounds of spring. The hillsides are covered with carpets of wild-flowers, the greens on the trees are still young and fresh, and the radiant blues of the skies are kept clear by the fresh winds of the mistral. It’s as if the wind is blowing away the final cob-webs of winter and opening the gates towards summer.

Antiquing in Provence, Alabama Interior Designers, Caren Trafford, Shopping in Provence, Flea Markets of France, Antiques Diva Tours

But this time, the beauty of Provence was enhanced by the unbridled enthusiasm and joyfulness of the two interior designers that hailed for an Antiques Diva tour, from their home-town in Alabama. Their gusto for this corner of the world was infectious and their appreciation and wonder of all things French made their three day antiquing foray into the south a delight for everyone. Vendors and clients alike! 

I am always a little nervous when visitors come on buying tours to Provence, given the relaxed way of life here. It is the smaller, simpler things that matter. People here, in general, are not interested in the trappings of wealth. They are far more interested in what they will be having for lunch, which wine will be a good accompaniment, what their neighbours are up to and their dogs.

Antiquing in Provence, Alabama Interior Designers, Caren Trafford, Shopping in Provence, Flea Markets of France, Antiques Diva Tours

And so with antiquing, my concerns cover areas like, will the clients understand, for example, that the French have a two hour break for lunch, come what may, or if another client happens to be in front of us, we will be completely ignored until it is our turn to shop, after all in France, everything is at its own time.

But these ladies took to the French way of life like ducks to water.

When was the last time they actually stopped for lunch back home, I asked them? They couldn’t remember. Sometime before the children were born, one of them thought.

We spent three days exploring Provence.

Antiquing in Provence, Alabama Interior Designers, Caren Trafford, Shopping in Provence, Flea Markets of France, Antiques Diva Tours

We found antique doors that had once adorned the very fashionable and chic Royal Hotel in Vichy before the 2nd World War. The door-seller still had 68 of them left. His father had bought every door in the hotel.  My clients bought 24 of them. This door-stop is like a museum. We found a door from the 1600s that was once a cell door in the prison in Draguignan. The door was so heavy, and had been located so deep in the dungeon, that it took 2 men and a great deal of rope to bring it up to the surface.

Don’t be fooled. Although the majority of antiques here hail from Provence, the sellers scour the French country-side as far as Normandy and Brittany as well as the neighbouring countries of Italy and Spain, so there is a wonderful choice of items to be had here. Everything from the typical provincial furniture, with wonderful patinas, to fountains and chimney places. And the brocante markets offer a wealth of smaller treasures.

Antiquing in Provence, Alabama Interior Designers, Caren Trafford, Shopping in Provence, Flea Markets of France, Antiques Diva Tours

Really, antiquing is the nicest possible way to spend the day in Provence if you are lucky enough to to come here. The vistas, the food and the choice of antiques cannot be surpassed anywhere else.

Just ask my clients.

By the end of the tour, their lives were changed. As one of them so aptly put it.  ‘I’m spending all my summers here from now one. Where can the kids go to take French classes? How easy is it to rent a house for the summer? Should we rent by the beach or in the hills? My husband doesn’t know it yet….but it won’t be long before we’re back’.

Antiquing in Provence, Alabama Interior Designers, Caren Trafford, Shopping in Provence, Flea Markets of France, Antiques Diva Tours

Caren Trafford is our Antique Diva guide for Provence. She also writes children’s books (www.planetkids.biz) and lives with her two dogs and husband in a mas covered with bougainvillea over-looking the azure blue waters of the Mediterranean.

Bisous,

Diva Guide Caren & The Antiques Diva® & Co

JVR108 Inventory

JVR108 Inventory

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Dear Diva Readers,

At my home in Berlin, I have a stack of coffee table books in my living room which I love to peruse when I have down time.  At the top of the stack is a favorite, “Houses of Veranda”, which always gives me drool-worthy inspiration. Imagine my excitement when one of our Antiques Diva sources, owners of JVR108, contacted me and told me they were opening an antiques showroom adjacent to their boutique hotel in Antwerp, and that the inaugural inventory includes the very console table which graces the front cover of “Houses of Veranda!” I felt like I had died and gone to… Diva Heaven!

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

Philip and Frederick have purchased several pieces from the renowned Chateau Rozenhout which was decorated by Axel Vervoordt and Brigitte Garner. The inventory is so top secret that it hasn’t even been announced yet! In fact, the guys are in the process of designing their showroom so the furniture is in a storage unit at the moment. But that doesn’t stop The Antiques Diva! While recently touring with trade clients, we had the opportunity to shop the storage unit, filled with exquisite pieces in this private warehouse. It’s so thrilling when we’re able to find pieces with perfect pedigree like this and make them accessible at amazing trade prices to our clients.

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

JVR108, Boutique Luxury Hotels, Antwerp, Chateau Rozenhout, Axel Vervoordt, Brigitte Garner, Veranda, Houses of Veranda, The Antiques Diva

Of course, after shopping the storage unit, we went back to the hotel and the boys of JVR108 had a private chef prepare a 5 course dinner for us—A Diva’s work is never done! If you’d like information on these pieces, contact us at [email protected]. And don’t forget, when you’re in the Antwerp area, stay at JVR108 for an top-notch experience. And tell them The Antiques Diva sent you to make sure you get SPECIAL BEHIND THE SCENES ACCESS not available otherwise!!

Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva®

How to Find the Paris Flea Market

How to Find the Paris Flea Market

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Dear Diva Readers,

One of our most popular antique buying tours is our Paris Flea Market Tour!  While  most people have heard of this magical wonderland… you’d be surprised at the number of people who have TRIED to visit this famous flea market Les Puce de Paris but couldn’t actually find their way! I receive emails from blog readers saying… “I went to the Paris Flea Market… But all I saw was a shabby little market with t-shirt vendors, and suitcases, stolen watches and designer fakes!! What did I do wrong? Where is the Paris Flea Market of my dreams?! The one you see in all the magazines!!”

Paris Flea Market, Les Puces, Antiques Diva Tours, Paris Flea Market Tours, Marche Paul Bert, Marche Vernaison, Marche Serpette, Clignancourt, Buying Antiques in Paris, Editor at Large,

Photo Courtesy of Nest Nest Nest

Paris Flea Market, Les Puces, Antiques Diva Tours, Paris Flea Market Tours, Marche Paul Bert, Marche Vernaison, Marche Serpette, Clignancourt, Buying Antiques in Paris, Editor at Large, Antique gilted picture frames

It is always difficult trying to navigate a foreign city, but Les Puces can be tricky to find.

First off – the area surrounding the Puce is always a surprise! It’s located in what I call “the armpit of Pairs”—the northernmost area of the city near the Porte de Clignancourt.  This is the type of neighborhood that makes you want to watch your wallet and hold your purse close! It’s a pick-pocket’s haven so BE CAUTIOUS. My go-to technique when meandering in an area is to wear dark shades and avoid eye contact with the humanity. Oh and yes, when I pop out of the flea market the first thing I always think is… “Oh the Humanity!”   Don’t let this dissuade you – you just need to push past the populous.

Paris Metro, Line 4, How to get to Paris Flea Market, Puce, Clignancourt

Paris Metro, Line 4, How to get to Paris Flea Market, Puce, Clignancourt

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Paris Flea Market, Jennifer Meditash, Marche aux Puces

To get to the flea market, take the metro line 4 from anywhere in the city to the end of the line and get off at the stop Porte de Clignancourt. There will be signs that point to Puces de Paris in the metro station so go ahead and follow those. When you come up to the street exit, you’ll see on the opposite side of the road a small market set up—the kind that sells sunglasses, fake designer bags, t-shirts and even stolen cell phones. Don’t be fooled—this is NOT Les Puces! Most people go wrong at this point and give up, thinking that the Paris flea market of their dreams doesn’t exist.

Paris Flea Market, Les Puces, Antiques Diva Tours, Paris Flea Market Tours, Marche Paul Bert, Marche Vernaison, Marche Serpette, Clignancourt, Buying Antiques in Paris, Editor at Large,

Paris Flea Market, Les Puces, Antiques Diva Tours, Paris Flea Market Tours, Marche Paul Bert, Marche Vernaison, Marche Serpette, Clignancourt, Buying Antiques in Paris, Editor at Large,

Paris Flea Market, Les Puces, Antiques Diva Tours, Paris Flea Market Tours, Marche Paul Bert, Marche Vernaison, Marche Serpette, Clignancourt, Buying Antiques in Paris, Editor at Large,

What you need to do at this point is walk down Avenue Michelet and go past the overpass which is the highway periferique (it circles Paris). Turn left when you see Rue des Rosiers. Once you’ve arrived at the corner of these two streets. you’ve officially made it to the Paris Flea Market! When you get there, you’ll find 15 miles of antique filled alleyways, so it can be a bit overwhelming. Where do you go? What sections specialize in what styles? How do you get your purchases home? That’s where we come in. Our Diva Guides will take you to the best spots in this vast flea market, all the while translating and negotiating on your behalf. They’ll even help liaise you with your preferred shipper.

Paris Flea Market, Les Puces, Antiques Diva Tours, Paris Flea Market Tours, Marche Paul Bert, Marche Vernaison, Marche Serpette, Clignancourt, Buying Antiques in Paris, Editor at Large,

If you happen to be going on your own, however, I’ll give you my three favorite areas of Les Puces. The first is Marche Vernaison which will be on the right as you enter Les Puces. This market has smalls and perfectly packables which are attractively priced. You can find good jewelry, small paintings, hotel silver, porcelain, and other tabletop items.  The second area I love is Marche Paul Bert which is best described as the Paris flea market you’ve always dreamed of shopping!   It’s what you see in photos when you google Les Puces and it is where the magic happens. A mix of furniture, decorative antiques, industrial items and much more is all set up in proper shops rather than tents. It’s styled and romantic—just what you imagine Paris to be.  Lastly, be sure to visit Marche Serpette which is connected to Paul Bert as the covered section of the market  and perfect should a rainy day make you need to run inside for shelter!

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Paris Party Maison Object, IFDA

At my famous annual party in Paris during Maison Objet with a team from IFDA

So there you have it! Don’t get detoured when trying to find the Paris Flea Market. Use this guide and if you want a seamless experience, email us at [email protected] to book a tour of this world famous treasure!  While you can always shop the market on your own… we save you time and money by shopping with us! You tell us what you want and we plan your day to get you directly to the areas of the market where you’re most likely to find what you’re looking for!  And then we negotiate – getting way bigger discounts as locals who are seen shopping the market every weekend of the year – than you as a tourist would get. And then we liaise you with an international shipper to help you get your goods home sweet home across the pond!!

Want more of the Paris Flea Market!?? Watch me on Editor at Large TV here (part 1) and (part 2) here.

Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva®

Mantiques For Father’s Day

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Dear Diva Readers,

In honor of Father’s Day, we want to celebrate by sharing some of our favorite “mantiques.” Every man needs his own space or man cave, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish with a dash of diva, er make that divo, thrown in!  See our top picks for Father’s Day gifts from our friends at The Highboy’s website below! It’s rather appropriate we’re giving a shout out to The Highboy for today I’m off to London to meet Olga Granda-Scott, co-founder of The Highboy, for a week of antiquing in London and beyond!

1-Leather Club Chairs

Father’s Day Gifts, Mantiques, The Antiques Diva, Gift ideas for men, The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Leather Club Chairs, Leather desk sets, Bar Carts, Vintage cuff links, Vintage globes and maps

This pair of vintage brown French club chairs from the 1970’s are fantastic. Done in the Art deco-style, they’d be the perfect place for Dad to sit back and relax at the end of a hard day. Covered in a two tone brown leather with single piping trim and removable cushions,  these very comfortable chairs are also right on trend.

2- Desk Sets

Father’s Day Gifts, Mantiques, The Antiques Diva, Gift ideas for men, The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Leather Club Chairs, Leather desk sets, Bar Carts, Vintage cuff links, Vintage globes and maps

Desk sets are the perfect accessory for the study—a place Dad spends many evenings. This 20th c. Italian Leather Desk Set is in superb condition and will add that pop of color to a dark-paneled room. We’re just picturing a distinguished gentleman sitting down to write a note on this desk set—very sophisticated!

3- Bar Carts

Father’s Day Gifts, Mantiques, The Antiques Diva, Gift ideas for men, The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Leather Club Chairs, Leather desk sets, Bar Carts, Vintage cuff links, Vintage globes and maps

Ok, we must admit that a bar cart is an essential for any home. But this sleek Italian model from the 1950’s is perfect for Dad with its ebonized mahogany wood frame with antique brass fittings and smoked grey and black glass tiers. It’s masculine, modern, and begs the question, “Shaken or stirred?”

4- Cuff Links

Father’s Day Gifts, Mantiques, The Antiques Diva, Gift ideas for men, The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Leather Club Chairs, Leather desk sets, Bar Carts, Vintage cuff links, Vintage globes and maps

A beautiful and practical gift for Dad would be this pair of 14K yellow gold and reverse painted “Essex Crystal” nautical flag cufflinks. Essex crystal is a process where rock crystals are cut as a cabochon and carved on the flat side, then painted on the back to produce a three-dimensional effect. Even when he’s not wearing them, cuff links look great just laying on a desk or side table.

5- Globes, maps, Travel Accessories

Father’s Day Gifts, Mantiques, The Antiques Diva, Gift ideas for men, The HighBoy, Olga Granda-Scott, Leather Club Chairs, Leather desk sets, Bar Carts, Vintage cuff links, Vintage globes and maps

Travel accessories are so on trend right now. But they are also masculine, which makes them perfect for the man cave. This original copper plate engraving with original hand color by British artist Robert Wilkinson (fl. c. 1768 – 1825), titled “An Accurate Map of the West Indies” published June 2nd, 1794 is an amazing decorative piece. The tentative British claims in Belize and on the Mosquito Coast, where English buccaneers, pirates, and privateers set up makeshift unofficial colonies from which to raid Spanish treasure fleets, are noted. As this region was highly important to British maritime commercial and military interests, Wilkinson also identifies various shoals and other undersea dangers throughout. What an exciting piece that Dad would love!

For more mantiques, check out The Highboy here.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there! And to my own “Papa Bear” Happy Father’s Day!

Toma Clark Haines, Father's Day, Dad, The Antiques Diva, Papa Bear

The Antiques Diva®   

Root Cellar Designs

2 Comments on Root Cellar Designs

Dear Diva Readers,

As a woman entrepreneur and blogger, I am fully aware of what it takes to start a business and then keep the momentum up. You have to truly love what you do in order to maintain an energy level that allows you to grow and expand your business. That’s why I’m always excited when girlfriends of mine are able to succeed in business! My friend Tamara Matthews Stephenson has a fabulous blog, Nest by Tamara which was one of the first blogs I started following online back in the beginning of the blogosphere.  She frequently writes about antiques and how they influence her interior design. I’ve had the privilege of taking Tamara on an Antiques Diva Tour in Milan in conjunction with Blog Tour Milan by Modenus and am always happy to paint the town red with her when in New York!

Root Cellar Designs, Tamara Matthews Stephenson, Nest by Tamara, Modenus, Blog Tour Milan, The Antiques Diva, Custom textiles, Susan Young,

Tamara and her friend Susan Young have recently launched Root Cellar Designs, a fabulous custom textile company, and I’m so proud of her and impressed by the Spring 2015 line that I want to feature it here on my blog! The pair of ladies have backgrounds in the fashion and interior design industries and have pulled from both of these arenas to create fabrics that are whimsical, stylish, and take cues from history, which I love of course!

Root Cellar Designs, Tamara Matthews Stephenson, Nest by Tamara, Modenus, Blog Tour Milan, The Antiques Diva, Custom textiles, Susan Young,

The fabrics are digitally created and printed on cotton/linen fabric which means they are durable and easy to live with. I love the fact that they are using new technology along with historical influences to create an innovative product! The team says, “We like playing with history and traditional elements then tweaking them so they are fresh and new, and we are excited to note that you most likely will not see our designs anywhere else in the home marketplace.”

Root Cellar Designs, Tamara Matthews Stephenson, Nest by Tamara, Modenus, Blog Tour Milan, The Antiques Diva, Custom textiles, Susan Young,

Their products have been featured in NY Social Diary, The Editor At Large, and New York Spaces, among others. They’ve used philanthropic causes to give back and promote the line this year including The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Black Tie Tabletop Gala, Housingwork’s 11th Annual Design on a Dime Charity Showhouse and Sale, and the Third Annual IFDA NY Chapter’s Take A Seat Auction to benefit Habitat For Humanity. Come summer, Root Cellar Designs will begin selling at various design and art shows throughout the NYC metropolitan area, and they hope to offer products online by fall 2015.

Root Cellar Designs, Tamara Matthews Stephenson, Nest by Tamara, Modenus, Blog Tour Milan, The Antiques Diva, Custom textiles, Susan Young,

I’m so proud of Tamara and Susan for following their dreams and starting this business! I love when women can take their experiences and pair them with their dreams. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for these women and Root Cellar Designs—I’m sure we’ll be seeing some wonderful creations this year!!! Congratulations ladies!

Yours,

The Antiques Diva®   

(Seen here at my Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Fete with Tamara – in the middle – and friends)
Root Cellar Designs, Tamara Matthews Stephenson, Nest by Tamara, Modenus, Blog Tour Milan, The Antiques Diva, Custom textiles, Susan Young, Toma Clark Haines, Paris Flea Market Party

CORE ONE IN THE COTSWOLDS

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Dear Diva Readers,

Oh bugger… It’s the end of an era!  The eleven dealers who share the space at Core One Antiques, just off the Kings Road in London, have confirmed that they will be closing their iconic Gasworks premises on 24 June 2015. Anyone who is anyone has shopped these hallowed halls… this location was one of London’s best kept design secrets.  Shopping here almost guaranteed you’d bump into the crème de la crème of the design world. Yoo Hoo!?  Martyn Lawrence Bullard anyone?

Core One Antiques, Cotswolds, Gasworks, Lorfords Antiques, Toby Lorford, Hangar One at Babdown, The Antiques Diva, Sourcing antiques in London

They have been unable to renew their lease due to the rampant development of the riverside area adjacent to Chelsea Harbour Design District.  Finding another equally prestigious and established location to trade from together presented a huge challenge until the dealers heard that Toby Lorford and Lesley Ferguson who own Lorfords Antiques in Tetbury and the nearby Lorfords @Babdown Airfield had acquired a second hangar on the site at Babdown, which has a very similar flavour to the artisan community at The Gasworks in Fulham.

Core One Antiques, Cotswolds, Gasworks, Lorfords Antiques, Toby Lorford, Hangar One at Babdown, The Antiques Diva, Sourcing antiques in London

Cometh the hangar…,

Cometh the diaspora of displaced London dealers….

And so Hangar One at Babdown opens for an early bird preview from 8 June 2015 and will be fully open from 15 June 2015.  The incoming Core One dealers who will continue to trade together in vast individual showrooms with the similar industrial chic aura of the Core One premises will be:

Dean Antiques,

Christophe Edwards

Roderic Haugh

Christopher Jones

Simon Pugh

Richard Steenberg

Garoa Zugasti

Core One Antiques opened to acclaim in 2001 with a group of elite dealers sharing the vast building showing an collection of antique furniture and objects from the very grand to the very sleek, the frankly industrial and the hugely quirky.

The dealers came from all walks of life and brought their varied taste and experience to the great mixing pot that was Core One Antiques. The combination of styles and periods provided an eye popping sensory experience equivalent to visiting the best of international antiques fairs.

Core One Antiques, Cotswolds, Gasworks, Lorfords Antiques, Toby Lorford, Hangar One at Babdown, The Antiques Diva, Sourcing antiques in London

Lorfords at Babdown is very much in line with the original Core One idea, to bring together an unrivalled group of dealers to provide a stage for the very best in antiques and design under two roofs @Babdown!

Core One Antiques, Cotswolds, Gasworks, Lorfords Antiques, Toby Lorford, Hangar One at Babdown, The Antiques Diva, Sourcing antiques in London

From left, Toby Lorford, warehouse manager Joanna Ferguson and her mother Lesley Ferguson

Toby Lorford, founder of Lorfords explains, “They say timing is everything, and acquiring the second hangar here at Babdown at just the right moment gave us the opportunity to welcome this important group of dealers from Core One to embellish our impressive line up of resident dealers at Babdown.  We have been told that we now represent the most important trade call in Europe and we look forward to developing this unique space going forward.”

The Antiques Diva ®

A Very British Affair with Alys

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Dear Diva Readers,

Perhaps one of the best things about my Antiques Diva Guides is that they all have a passion for antiques. Even when not leading buying tours, these antique aficionados can be found perusing flea markets and popping into countryside shops in their spare time. What can I say, it’s in their blood! One of our UK Diva Guides – Alys Dobbie – recently spent the day scouting the flea markets and shares her experience with us, noting that you really can find anything when you know where to go!

Alys Dobbie, Antiques Diva England Tours, Buying Antiques in England, Nanadobbie,

Alys writes:

“When it’s flea market day, the sleepy quintessential villages of Merry Old England become chockablock with visitors who are making their way to scout for treasures.

Alys Dobbie, Antiques Diva England Tours, Buying Antiques in England, Nanadobbie,

I recently went on a buying trip for my own website nanadobbie.com, arriving to a market which opened at 9am (You can imagine how happy I was for once that the flea market had a very manageable opening hour as most fairs in Britain start from 6am!).  I took my boyfriend along for some company, as it’s always better to shop with a friend, and together we ran around like madmen as we had to leave by 1pm. Most would say this would be plenty of time to see everything, but the truth is, that we barely scratched the surface.  A woman with over 200 pairs of deer antlers is placed next to a small French woman who only sells watering cans.  A giant stuffed black grizzly bear (price tag  £20,000) is on a stand next to a man selling baguette trolleys. The fact of the matter is that you can buy anything and everything here, for all of your houses across the globe or just your downstairs bathroom.

Alys Dobbie, Antiques Diva England Tours, Buying Antiques in England, Nanadobbie,

Alys Dobbie, Antiques Diva England Tours, Buying Antiques in England, Nanadobbie,

Alys Dobbie, Antiques Diva England Tours, Buying Antiques in England, Nanadobbie,

As for me?  I managed to buy a fully functioning 1840s wall mounted roulette horse racing game, a lovely little French 1950’s sideboard and saw a hilarious knock off Bart Simpson rocking chair – which just goes to show you really can buy anything here!”

If you’d like to book your tour with Alys, who not only specialises in the big country flea markets, but also knows a thing or two about Portobello Road Market in central London, email us at [email protected]. As always, Alys can pick you up from the nearest station or airport, drive you to the fair or market and spend the day giving sound advice and introducing you to the many dealers she knows – and you, dear readers, get to shop like a dealer for a day for dear Alys is taking you not only to dealers we recommend our clients shop at but where she herself as an antiques dealer in England also shops to stock her store.  Now that’s an insider’s guide to antiquing in England!

The Antiques Diva®

Quintessence and Stylish Shopping By Susanna Salk Take an Antiques Diva Tour

Quintessence and Stylish Shopping By Susanna Salk Take an Antiques Diva Tour

1 Comment on Quintessence and Stylish Shopping By Susanna Salk Take an Antiques Diva Tour

Dear Diva Readers,

As an antiques & design blogger myself I’m often asked what design blogs I read… and one of my favorite is Stacey Bewkes’ Quintessence Blog.  From art and architecture, interiors and design, fashion and jewelry to books and movies, food and wine, travel and more, Quintessence has become a trusted source for well-researched, original content in the online world.  I love that she takes us behind the scenes to some of the world’s most gorgeous properties and gives us a peek into some of the very best shops all over the globe.  We get to tag along as she attends exclusive events, meets design icons and tastemakers and connects the dots to bring you the story behind the style.  In addition to blogging, Stacey was revolutionary in the blogosphere when she teamed up with Susanna Salk to produce and edit one of the best design video series.

Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Susanna Salk, Stylish Shopping, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair, Sourcing Antiques in Italy, Toma Clark Haines,

Imagine my excitement when these two dynamic women confirmed that they wanted to take an Antiques Diva Tour of Mercanteinfiera with me! I couldn’t wait to get these ladies to Italy and show them the ropes of navigating Italy’s largest antiques fair which takes place twice a year in Parma. With over one thousand vendors and several buildings, it can be tricky to weave your way through the thousands of international shoppers – but don’t worry, we know the fair and its vendors like the back of our hand!

Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Susanna Salk, Stylish Shopping, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair, Sourcing Antiques in Italy, Toma Clark Haines,

Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Susanna Salk, Stylish Shopping, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair, Sourcing Antiques in Italy, Toma Clark Haines,

Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Susanna Salk, Stylish Shopping, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair, Sourcing Antiques in Italy, Toma Clark Haines,

Once we started shopping, I could see why these two women are known as international tastemakers. Their eyes are trained and I watched as they gravitated toward piece after gorgeous piece! Some of their favorite finds were a large mirror, a stately lion statue, a rustic armoire, architectural ornaments, and a pair of oversized urns. They also pointed out that attending fairs like Mercanteinfiera is a great way to get styling ideas as the exhibitors create interesting displays. I couldn’t agree more!

Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Susanna Salk, Stylish Shopping, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair, Sourcing Antiques in Italy, Toma Clark Haines,

Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Susanna Salk, Stylish Shopping, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair, Sourcing Antiques in Italy, Toma Clark Haines,

In a blog they wrote about their Antiques Diva experience, they write, “In our two days at the Parma antiques fair, we effortlessly wove through the multiple massive buildings, following Toma and Susan (our charming and knowledgeable Italian Diva) to meet special friends and dealers, from Toma’s favorite purveyor of Murano glass to the creative couple from Florence who fashion chic new treasures by blending antiques with modern artistry,to her dealer friend Maurizio from Sicily (now located in Florence).”

Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Susanna Salk, Stylish Shopping, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair, Sourcing Antiques in Italy, Toma Clark Haines,

Read the entire blog and watch the fun video they shot in the video series Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk.

Thanks ladies for coming over and living La Dolce Diva for a few days! We certainly had a blast giving you just a glimpse of what we do on a daily basis all across Europe. When you’re ready for round two, why don’t we hit Les Puces in Paris… or The Decorative Fair at Battersea in London… or hop in the car and let us introduce you to our secret sources in the Belgian countryside… So many options, so little time!

Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Susanna Salk, Stylish Shopping, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair, Sourcing Antiques in Italy, Toma Clark Haines,

Ciao,

The Antiques Diva® 

Bunny Williams On Garden Style

Bunny Williams On Garden Style

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Dear Diva Readers,

Jackson McCard, Darcy Fulton, John Rosselli, Treillage, Bunny Williams, On Garden Style, Outdoor Decorating Tips, Architectural Salvage, Garden Antique Tours, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines

I was so fortunate to take Jackson McCard of Treillage & Darcy Fulton of John Rosselli on a special VIP tour in Italy earlier this year. It is always so inspiring to take any tastemaker on a buying tour because I get a chance to see what pieces excite them – what turns them on – but it was even more fascinating than normal to see what these managers from these two iconic companies would buy. When it comes to decorating our homes, Bunny Williams (and her husband John) has been a huge influence in the way we live and she continues to push the bar of style.

Jackson McCard, Darcy Fulton, John Rosselli, Treillage, Bunny Williams, On Garden Style, Outdoor Decorating Tips, Architectural Salvage, Garden Antique Tours, The Antiques Diva,

Jackson McCard, Darcy Fulton, John Rosselli, Treillage, Bunny Williams, On Garden Style, Outdoor Decorating Tips, Architectural Salvage, Garden Antique Tours, The Antiques Diva

But what I love about Bunny is that she takes those interior design principles and applies them to what she calls “outdoor rooms.”   Her sadly now closed shop, Treillage, had one of the most charming inner courtyards I’ve ever seen in the Big Apple.  One of our top requests for tours at The Antiques Diva & Co is architectural salvage and garden antique tours. Clients are constantly looking for antique garden statues, urns & planters, gates from old estates, and even paving stones to use in modern gardens. Bunny’s new book, “Bunny Williams On Garden Style,” has so many wonderful tips for anyone who is looking to enhance their outdoor space.  In fact, what caught my eye immediately was her extensive use of antique garden pieces.   If you’re interested in garden antiques like the majority of our clients, I consider this book an Antiques Diva Essential Read!

Jackson McCard, Darcy Fulton, John Rosselli, Treillage, Bunny Williams, On Garden Style, Outdoor Decorating Tips, Architectural Salvage, Garden Antique Tours, The Antiques Diva

Jackson McCard, Darcy Fulton, John Rosselli, Treillage, Bunny Williams, On Garden Style, Outdoor Decorating Tips, Architectural Salvage, Garden Antique Tours, The Antiques Diva

While I am not a gardener myself—after all I do only have a rooftop terrace in Berlin, not a sprawling estate in New England— I can certainly appreciate beautifully laid out gardens, be they formal or more relaxed. Sourcing antique garden pieces all over Europe means that I am exposed to the creme de la creme of antique garden inventory on the market. In fact, Bunny refers to a few of the same sources we use on our AD&CO Tours!  Bunny’s book is a great way to teach the eye to spot quality and provenance.

Jackson McCard, Darcy Fulton, John Rosselli, Treillage, Bunny Williams, On Garden Style, Outdoor Decorating Tips, Architectural Salvage, Garden Antique Tours, The Antiques Diva

Perhaps the reason I enjoy this book more than other garden-focussed books is because it doesn’t deal so much with actual horticulture—after all, I kill any plant I come in contact with! This book talks more of the structure of a garden—likening it to a room. The focus is on the floor, overhead elements, creating walls, and utilizing ornaments (often antique garden elements) and structural pieces to form the bones of an outdoor room. The actual flowers and plants that grow within these outdoor spaces are not as touched upon, as these can change from region to region based upon climate. Rather, the mood and atmosphere of a garden are defined by the elements that remain in all seasons—the pergolas, columns, gazebos, urns, statues, and layout of the garden.

Jackson McCard, Darcy Fulton, John Rosselli, Treillage, Bunny Williams, On Garden Style, Outdoor Decorating Tips, Architectural Salvage, Garden Antique Tours, The Antiques Diva

From interior design to gardening, Bunny has a way of dissecting the elements which make any space comfortable, impressive, and simply dreamy. While her shop Treillage is closing at the end of this month, rumor has it her online store is going to be BETTER THAN EVER! As for me today, I think I’m going to skip antiquing and take a day to lounge on my terrace reading On Garden Style and dreaming of someday possessing a green thumb.  Hmmm… Chanel has started doing nail polish in modern colors, haven’t they?

The Antiques Diva®   

SAVE THE DATE IN LONDON: JUNE 15 LECTURE SERIES

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Dear Diva Readers,

SAVE THE DATE!  To celebrate the START OF THE OFFICIAL ANTIQUES SEASON – and a month filled with some of the top antiques fairs in England – one of our Antiques Diva FAVORITE SOURCES in London Grays Antiques is holding a series of talks in their Music Room on Monday 15th June.

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

This is an incredible opportunity to listen to lectures spanning subjects across the arts, antiques and collecting sphere!  Speakers will include owner of Grays (and sister centre Alfies Antiques in Marylebone) Bennie Gray, plus my friend, BBC 2 Collectaholics favourite Mark Hill (who happens to have inventory in the Mews at Grays) as well as jewellery expert Andrew Prince.

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Tickets are priced at £10 with a discount for multiple purchases and the 45-minute talks will run throughout the day.

SPEAKER SCHEDULE
11am: ‘Luxury: Between Opulence and Minimalism’, Professor Giorgio Riello
12pm: ‘From Downton to Gatsby, Jewellery and Fashion from 1890 to 1929’, Andrew Prince
1pm: ‘Undressing Antiques’, Mark Hill
2pm: ‘Antiques: Looking to the future’, Bennie Gray
3pm: ‘How London’s heritage brands contributed to the war effort’ with Q&A, Penelope Sacorafou and Caroline Groves
4pm: ‘Post-War Rye Pottery: History and Collecting’, Elisabeth Bogdan
5pm: ‘Contemporary Chinese Print-Making’, Dr Anne Farrer
Price: £10 per talk, £18 for two or £25 for three
Duration: 45 minutes

Tickets will include a glass of prosecco and are available online at www.foxandsquirrel.com/london-talks/ or in person from reception at Grays on South Molton Lane.

Keep your eyes out for my colleague Andrew Skipper who will be tweeting LIVE from the event on behalf of Antiques Diva & Co! Sharing a slew of antiques news!

The Antiques Diva ®

My Top 10 Advice on Becoming a Woman Entrepreneur

My Top 10 Advice on Becoming a Woman Entrepreneur

8 Comments on My Top 10 Advice on Becoming a Woman Entrepreneur

Dear Diva Readers,

No matter where I am in the world, I constantly have people coming up to me asking the same question… “How do you do it?!”  They wonder not only how I juggle my slightly insane international travel schedule which has me traveling each month in multiple countries (if not multiple continents); but also how I have rapidly grown my company from being a one-woman brand into a full-on business with nearly 20 employees scattered over 10 countries.

Over the last several years my role within in my company has shifted. In addition to leading antique buying tours and offering personal shopping services, I now manage a team of locally-based “ Diva Guides” who lead tours for me across Europe.  I’m managing a global company that has HR and Accounting demands as well as Marketing needs with a full-on PR machine behind it.   These last several years my role has also shifted to encompass speaking at conferences and design markets – I love sharing my knowledge of European antiques, teaching clients – whether on tour or in one of my seminars – how to source antiques, explaining what to buy and where to buy it and then answering the all important question…. how to get it home.  But here lately the biggest question my clients and attendees of my lectures have asked is for my advice as a woman entrepreneur….  “How do I start my own company? develop my brand? take my business to the next level?  What words of advice – or encouragement – do you have for me  in growing my business/brand?”  They also want to know about that about that all important question of maintaining a work/life balance.  How I organize my time, my to do lists, my company and my life.  I’m passionate about the subject and thus this genre of questions have taken on a life of their own and I’ve decided to announce a new blog series I’ll be posting the first week of each month “On Being a Woman Entrepreneur”.

Advice #1
My first bit of advice I give anyone who asks me about growing their business is to Be Adaptable.  Be Open to Change. Look at what the market is demanding and think outside the box regarding what you and your unique service can be to meet those needs.  Many of my loyal blog readers know my story. I started my blog on antiquing in Europe with an intent to write a couple of books.  What I got in return – an international company operating in 10 countries with 20 employees –  was a million times bigger than my original dream.

Top 10 Lists, Women Entrepreneurs, Career advice for starting a business, Building your Brand, From Blog to Business, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, The Secret to Success

Advice #2
Don’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.  Don’t be so focused on your own goals that you miss an opportunity when serendipity slaps you over the head.   When the recession hit in 2008 and the publishing industry dried up, telling me my luxury-based travel books wouldn’t sell, I didn’t give up my dream of being “The Antiques Diva”.

Top 10 Lists, Women Entrepreneurs, Career advice for starting a business, Building your Brand, From Blog to Business, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, The Secret to Success

Advice #3
Never Give Up.  I continued working on my blog to establish a platform that would establish me as an expert in my industry.  As they say when one door closes, another one opens. Readers of my blog started emailing me asking if I would take them on tour. I said Yes.

Top 10 Lists, Women Entrepreneurs, Career advice for starting a business, Building your Brand, From Blog to Business, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, The Secret to Success

Advice #4
When opportunity strikes – Say Yes.  For me, one “Yes” turned into another and then another and the rest is history – but I have a confession… I was tempted to let self-doubt stand in the way.

Top 10 Lists, Women Entrepreneurs, Career advice for starting a business, Building your Brand, From Blog to Business, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, The Secret to Success

Advice #5
No matter how much you know – you will never know enough.    There will always be reasons to doubt yourself.  When readers first started emailing me asking to take tours – I could have said “I’m not an expert yet”, “I don’t know enough” or “I need more time.”  And in fact – I said all these things to myself. And then I threw myself off a cliff.  Okay, not literally. Figuratively. I said Yes in spite of my self-doubt and that first Yes changed my life. It can be so easy to get caught up in the small details, but remember:  your objective is to grow steadily, not start out perfectly.

Advice # 6
When opportunity strikes do not be afraid to take a chance.  Don’t over-think your decision.  If you wait to start your business until you know everything there is to know about your industry, you are never going to start your business

Advice #7
Screw the business plan.  Yep. This is one piece of business advice no one will tell you.  Do not wait until you’ve got the perfect business plan in place to start your business.  Yes, you DO need a business plan. But it doesn’t have to be perfect.  A good business plan will evolve over time. My business changes, grows and adapts nearly every month – and if you want to know the secret to our success as a company – go back and see Advice #1 – Be Adaptable.  But before you can adapt… you’ve got to get started first.  And from my experience the biggest obstacle people have in starting their own business is they actually never start it! They spend too much time thinking about starting a business and not actually doing it.

Top 10 Lists, Women Entrepreneurs, Career advice for starting a business, Building your Brand, From Blog to Business, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, The Secret to Success

Advice #8
Just Do It.  The best piece of advice I can offer comes from the popular Nike slogan – Just Do It!  The biggest thing that holds people back from achieving their goals the fact that they just don’t do what they say they want to do.  It seems simple, but so often we think we have to be perfect or we have to have a fail-proof plan before we can even begin to take steps toward our dreams.  That simply isn’t the case. You have to start somewhere and even if you don’t have all the knowledge at the beginning, you will learn by experience along the way.

Advice #9
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  You will make mistakes.  Accept them. Learn from them. Apologize if you screw up along the way and move on.  The only person who never makes mistakes is someone who never takes chances.

Advice #10
Most goals are reached by taking one step at a time. When people ask “What’s the secret to my success…” the answer is simple… for the last 7 years since starting my company I have continued to put one foot in front of the other.  Every single day I have walked steadfastly in the direction of my goal.  I’ve taken detours along the way,  I’ve even fallen down a few times.  And I changed the destination, making my goal bigger – and my destination further away – than I ever intended when I started out.  But I have never once taken my eyes off my goal – my destination. Between you and me,  I’m still a long way from reaching my destination – but I can see the destination on the horizon… and in the meantime, life’s a journey….

As I close I leave you with one last bonus bit of advice – consider this the extra donut in the baker’s dozen – Start now, Right Where You Are, And Do One Thing To Achieve Your Goal.  And then Do It Again. And Do It Again.  And Just Keep Doing It.

Until next time, may all your dreams come true.

Top 10 Lists, Women Entrepreneurs, Career advice for starting a business, Building your Brand, From Blog to Business, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, The Secret to Success

The Antiques Diva®   

Andrew Skipper Styles My Terrace

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Dear Diva Readers,

Everyone knows that I have a taste for the good things in life—fashion, jewelry, shoes, fast cars, champagne, and, of course, gorgeous antiques! I also adore decorating my home and rooftop terrace. But I have a confession to make… I simply don’t have a green thumb. I kill every plant I come in contact with! So when it comes time to get my hands dirty and plant all the planters on my terrace, I avoid it at all costs. Luckily my colleague Andrew Skipper of Andrew Skipper Everyday loves to garden. And since he’s here in Berlin working with me this spring, I asked if he’d be interested in helping make my balcony look its best! I’m so pleased with the result that I asked Andrew to write a guest post for the blog, sharing some tips for creating a beautiful outdoor space.

Decorating a Rooftop Terrace, Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Penthouse Apartments, Balcony Gardening, French Café Chairs,

Andrew Skipper writes:

“As an interior decorator, I love taking a room and helping it realize its highest potential. The entire process from inspiration to installation thrills me! I’ve often had clients ask me to help them create outdoor spaces that can be extensions of their homes. At my own home in the USA, you can often find me puttering in the garden on a warm afternoon or entertaining friends with a dinner al fresco. When Toma (yes, The Antiques Diva does actually have a first name!) asked if I could help with her balcony, my reply was a resounding, “Yes!”

Decorating a Rooftop Terrace, Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Penthouse Apartments, Balcony Gardening, French Café Chairs,

Her terrace has great bones to begin with. She’s got a fantastic French marble-topped butcher’s table in the center that is often used for dining or doing fabulous apertivo Italian style next to her cyprus trees. The charming bistro chairs that Toma purchased in Paris direct from the famous Cafe Les Deux Magots certainly enhance the European feel of the space but we also wanted to create a place to relax, perhaps with a glass of wine and a stack of magazines.  The two lounges with black cushions which flank the table are the perfects spots for an afternoon nap in the sun.

Decorating a Rooftop Terrace, Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Penthouse Apartments, Balcony Gardening, French Café Chairs,

With five window-type openings facing the courtyard, I wanted to plant window boxes that would look attractive from the interior of the balcony as well as from the ground below. Since the terrace is open to the living room, we took our color-cues from Toma’s interior decor – so chic, you would swoon if you saw the official Antiques Diva Showhouse – and decided pink and white would complement the overall scheme nicely. With our color pallet in mind, we set out to the garden center to select our plants.

Decorating a Rooftop Terrace, Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Penthouse Apartments, Balcony Gardening, French Café Chairs,

Decorating a Rooftop Terrace, Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Penthouse Apartments, Balcony Gardening, French Café Chairs,

Bright pink geraniums greeted us upon arriving at the garden center and we just knew these would be perfect for a bright pop of color. We also wanted to add in different textures and a bit of height. A pair of small olive tree topiaries would be the perfect way to bring height and a bit of something special to the flower boxes. We also spotted a tiny orange tree and both immediately went for it! I instantly pictured this sweet tree in one of Toma’s Chinese blue and white pots. Since Toma entertains on the terrace, (she’s famous for her house cocktails) we added in some mint plants to use for cocktail garnishes.   The pair of topiary cyprus are an homage to her in laws, given to Toma by friends when her mother and father in law passed away two consecutive years.

Decorating a Rooftop Terrace, Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Penthouse Apartments, Balcony Gardening, French Café Chairs,

The result is a beautiful European-style enclosed roof top terrace that’s fit for relaxing and entertaining. I can’t wait for the first party she throws this summer! Is that a cork I hear popping?”

Antiques Diva Berlin Apartment, Toma Clark Haines, Decorating the Terrace, Balcony Gardening

Ciao,

Andrew Skipper and The Antiques Diva®   

Linda Meeks Shops Italy – Guest Blog

1 Comment on Linda Meeks Shops Italy – Guest Blog

Dear Diva Readers,

When Antiques Diva client Linda Meeks offered to write a blog about her recent Antiques Diva Tour I jumped at the opportunity. Linda has attended multiple talks of mine at High Point Antique and Design Center and over the years we’ve chatted about her extraordinary niche service she offers as a custom slipcover designer.  While Linda’s Product Design studies began formally at North Carolina State University, her passion for fine fabrics began at an early age on the back roads of eastern North Carolina. Many hot summer afternoons were spent in the back of Mama’s Ford Fairlane, traveling from one fabric store to another, searching for fine fabrics and silver linings. Today she continues the tradition with her Raleigh based company Pencil Me In,traveling across North Carolina, fashioning classic cotton and linen slipcovers for fine furniture. Recently Linda took her travels a bit further afield and went shopping with Antiques Diva style in Italy with our locally based guide, Susan.

Antiques Diva Italy Tour, High Point Market, Linda Meeks, Pencil Me In, Custom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style

Linda writes about her Antiques Diva Italy Tour:

“On instinct, I contacted the Antiques Diva & Co as soon as Barton (best friend, photographer and muse) ordered cheap airline tickets and a copy of Rick Steve’s guide to Italy. You see, since hearing Toma Clark Haines speak at High Point Furniture Market Fall 2014, I knew I was destined for a fabric reconnaissance with one of her guides. Enthralled with Rick Steves’ “Europe through the Back Door” travel style, I was convinced that seeing the marketplaces that the creatives and makers move through would carbonate my experience in Italy, and I needed a guide.

Antiques Diva Italy Tour, High Point Market, Linda Meeks, Pencil Me In, Custom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style

Antiques Diva Italy Tour, High Point Market, Linda Meeks, Pencil Me In, Custom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style  Antiques Diva Italy Tour, High Point Market, Linda Meeks, Pencil Me In, Custom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style

Toma connected me with Antiques Diva guide Susan Pennington and it was a match made in Sienna. My wish list for Susan was simple: 1. I’d like to see and hear Italians trade wares and secrets and learn a few swear words, 2. Take in the country air, and 3. Come home with a good find and a memory or two. When tour day arrived, Susan met us at our hotel and led us through the narrow streets of Sienna, dashing in and out of secret source shops, dodging Vespas and divulging tips about the local culture. Our morning excursion included an array of haberdasheries, galleries, and consignment shops in search of linens, passementerie, buttons, furniture, and art. Then we embarked on a road through Chianti, lunching in a hill town en route to Florence.

Antiques Diva Italy Tour, High Point Market, Linda Meeks, Pencil Me In, Custom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style

Antiques Diva Italy Tour, High Point Market, Linda Meeks, Pencil Me In, Custom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style

Antiques Diva Italy Tour, High Point Market, Linda Meeks, Pencil Me In, Custom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style

Antiques Diva Italy Tour, High Point Market, Linda Meeks, Pencil Me In, Custom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style

Next stop on our itinerary was a bit of luxury. Of course I can’t tell you the name or it would not be a secret source. But I will tell you it was neither a furniture showroom, workshop, carpenter’s shop, or architectural design studio, but a harmonious fusion of all the aforementioned. A place that honors the Florentine craft traditions, this unique space specialized in items restored, reinterpreted and reimagined for the home. Exactly what I encourage my clients to do with their heirloom furniture and fabrics every day! Here in this place Susan led the way as we climbed the attic to dig in the secret archives of waitlisted projects. And there it was! The perfect example of a Florentine footrest, aged green and tiny gilded bees. Susan negotiated the purchase and arranged to have it shipped (along with other linen & lace finds) to my workshop in Raleigh, NC, where it will be reimagined with a Florentine inspired slipcover and a story to tell.

Antiques Diva Italy Tour, High Point Market, Linda Meeks, Pencil Me In, Custom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style

Antiques Diva Italy Tour, High Point Market, Linda Meeks, Pencil Me In, Custom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style

Antiques Diva Italy Tour, High Point Market, Linda Meeks, Pencil Me In, Custom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style

Antiques Diva Italy Tour, High Point Market, Linda Meeks, Pencil Me In, Custom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style

After a long day of scouting and scavenging, and double gelato, Susan left us with assignments of more secret sources to scope on our own. Now confident in our sleuthing skills, we affirmed that whether in North Carolina, Sienna, or Florence, it is in the unexpected places and on the Back Roads that we find the EXTRA that makes the ordinary EXTRAORDINARY. And so as Back Door travelers, we have memories of: listening to Susan translate our trades in her lovely British/Italian, enjoying a scenic drive through the country, and discovering THE FIND. But did we hear any swear words? I don’t know!”

Antiques Diva Italy Tour, High Point Market, Linda Meeks, Pencil Me In, Custom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Linda! We’re so happy you enjoyed your time in Italy and that you came away with a treasure (and I promise we’ll get you a list of ‘ approved swear words” – note to the reader, Diva Guide Susan would never mutter a curse word… but the vendors on the other hand… Mamma Mia….

For more information on taking an Antiques Diva tour, or learning to cuss in Italian :),  email us at [email protected].

Ciao,

The Antiques Diva®   

Making Antiques Modern with Windsor Smith

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Dear Diva Readers,

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Antiques make a modern setting even better! My own home in Berlin is a very modern loft space, clean and contemporary with a minimalist edge, and yet almost everything in it is antique or vintage!  Bring on the Rococo Baby! The outcome is (if I do say so myself!) super stylish and highly functional for the way we live. When I came across interior designer Windsor Smith’s book “Homefront: Design for Modern Living,” I knew she was a soul sister, a kindred spirit! Reading in her intro about her travels overseas, shopping the same paths I shop from Provence down to Spain and back up to Paris, I knew we’d been educated by the same École Française. 

Decorating Tips, Mixing Modern with Antiques, Windsor Smith, Homefront: Design for Modern Living, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

Decorating Tips, Mixing Modern with Antiques, Windsor Smith, Homefront: Design for Modern Living, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

One only has to flip through a few pages of this book to see that Windsor (by the way, doesn’t she have a great name?) knows how to create a comfortable room that’s also hip, relevant and achingly stylish. And if you dissect the details—which is something I think all of us design-lovers do—you will see that in almost every room she’s decorated, she’s used vintage or antique pieces. Imagine that—design for modern living—using antiques! She even says, “It’s important for every space to have a piece with a provenance, even a breakfast room needs to have some history in it.” Every home I’ve ever had has had an antique in the loo for this exact reason – this lady is speaking my language!

Decorating Tips, Mixing Modern with Antiques, Windsor Smith, Homefront: Design for Modern Living, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

What I love about Windsor’s style is that she’s not afraid to be playful.  She takes serious pieces and makes them approachable, friendly.   In fact, one of the rooms in her book is painted a moody black along with black flooring and a crisp white fireplace—and a vibrant blue ping-pong table in the center of the room! How fun is that?! But perhaps what really strikes me is her ability to combine modern style with antique pieces. For instance she’s paired antique dining chairs with a country table in a beautiful modern kitchen. This juxtaposition works beautifully as it really does reflect the way we live today—mixing pieces from all time periods.

Decorating Tips, Mixing Modern with Antiques, Windsor Smith, Homefront: Design for Modern Living, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

Sometimes antiques conjure up feelings of formality and rigidness. You think of your mother saying, “Don’t touch that! Use a coaster! Take your shoes off!” But the reality is that antique pieces have been built with quality materials and were made to be durable. They’ve stood the test of time this long, which means they are ideal for people who actually want to LIVE in their homes! Windsor’s interiors illustrate this point perfectly. Whether it’s an 18th century commode she’s used in an entryway or a pair of mid century chairs in a living room, none of her spaces feel stuffy, overly formal or unapproachable.

Decorating Tips, Mixing Modern with Antiques, Windsor Smith, Homefront: Design for Modern Living, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

Decorating Tips, Mixing Modern with Antiques, Windsor Smith, Homefront: Design for Modern Living, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

She breaks down her process into five chapters, one of which is all about mixing the past and present. She says. “Giving the old a new perspective is critical to good design, but so is imparting a sense of history to the new. If I’m in a room where everything is raw, featureless, and brand new, I feel either uncomfortable or disappointed, as if I’ve arrived too late to the party. I want a story, to be surrounded by things that hold a vibration and note of history.” I couldn’t agree more! If you haven’t already bought your copy of “Homefront” honey don’t delay.  Order that book right now.  It’s getting premier placement front and center on my coffee table!   With 250 pages of inspiring photos and informative text, you certainly won’t be disappointed!

Decorating Tips, Mixing Modern with Antiques, Windsor Smith, Homefront: Design for Modern Living, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

Bravo Windsor! And please tell me our paths will cross in Paris and we can become best friends…. would love to know you darling.

The Antiques Diva®  

Antiquing in Tuscany

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Dear Diva Readers,

M amma Mia! If Heaven were a place on earth, I’m certain it would look like a Tuscany! Who hasn’t dreamed of taking a trip to Tuscany? From sipping gorgeous Tuscan reds to soaking in the vistas and villas – it sounds like perfection! Add hunting for antiques into the mix and you’ve got the recipe for the perfect holiday! But if you’re want to find vintage and antiques treasures where should you focus your energies to find diva worthy treasures and what sorts of pieces will you find once you get there? Our Tuscan Diva Guide Susan gives us her top 5 types of places to go antiquing in Italy!

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1. Architectural Salvage
With so many large and lovely villas set in sprawling parks and gardens coupled with abandoned Tuscan farmhouses dotted across the landscape, it’s little wonder that there is a wealth of Architectural Salvage materials to be found. Regal marble bathtubs and delicately carved sinks (just perfect for a powder room), old weather worn barn doors… still complete with original locks and hardware, soft grey ‘pietra serena’ stone fireplaces impregnated with decades, if not centuries of smoke, garden statuary, terracotta tiles and worn stair treads… each piece has a story to tell.

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2. The consignment stores
For the die hard flea marketer and bargain hunter there is no better place than the consignment stores. The thrill of uncovering hidden treasure and the satisfaction of getting a bargain to tuck into your suitcase is exhilarating. Often old estates are cleared and you can really find some gems buried under the clutter; from signed oil paintings and watercolours for less than €50, mid century glass going for a song, crystal drop chandeliers (as well as extra crystals so no need to worry when you find a great pieces with missing ones) and furniture too. Once we had someone find the most delightful ‘Murphy bed’ that folded out of a gorgeous carved wood cabinet… it weighed a ton!

3. Little stores along the road
Of course the beautifully decorated antique stores filled with elegant pieces of 17th century furniture, old master paintings and richly gilded mirrors are intoxicating, but we like to get off the beaten track and explore the Tuscan countryside, climbing ladders in barns stacked sky high, picking our way through private collections and visiting restorers who always seem to have something hidden away. We’ve unearthered some real treasures; huge terracotta oil urns, bread chests (every home should have one!) and rustic painted furniture… just to whet the appetite.

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4. Flea markets
The weekend flea markets are a must, usually held once a month, each falling on a different weekend, old books, textiles, religious artefacts and great agricultural pieces to repurpose. Depending on weekend we might hit Lucca, Florence or Arezzo. It’s fun meeting all the characters and really are the perfect place to find small pieces too to take home to friends as unique gifts or to keep and use as house gifts, though I have to confess we have found some pretty big ones too… a 5 foot high shield for one.

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5. Florence
… it’s impossible not to have it on the list, a renaissance city with precious works of art and fine antiques. But really what I enjoy are the vintage stores full of designer fashion, Gucci, Ferragamo, Pucci to name just a few. But perhaps rather unexpectedly it’s also a great source for mid century pieces with amazing prices as it’s still not fully appreciated in Tuscany. There’s nothing better than spending an afternoon in the Oltrarno browsing… and trying hard to be restrained at the irresistible.

If you would like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour in Italy, email us at [email protected] We’d love to help you source antiques in Tuscany!

Ciao,

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

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Antique Dutch Jewels

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Dear Diva Readers,

I f there’s one thing a Diva needs, it’s her jewels! And of course, being The Antiques Diva I prefer antique jewels! And there happens to be a source in Amsterdam that has some of the most stunning jewelry including antique Dutch regional pieces—you know, the type that the Queen of the Netherlands wears!

Spiegelgracht 2014

 

When walking in Amsterdam, from the Rijksmuseum towards the antiques district of Spiegelstraat, the first antique jeweler on the right is Dekker Antiquairs, and this is where you will find some of the best museum quality inventory. Ron and Dick Verburg-Dekker’s collection includes earrings, brooches, necklaces, rings, and watches that are sure to be coveted by those with discerning taste. Here are a few of my favorite drool-worthy pieces!

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1. Antique Dutch jewelry – Queen Máxima’s earrings
Dekker Antiquairs has a collection of antique Dutch jewellery, mostly 19th century. These jewels were worn by the farmers’ and fishermen’s wives, but nowadays Queen Máxima of the Netherlands wears these glamorous earrings that were not bought at Dekker Antiquairs, but are indeed from this collection. When these type of earrings were made in the mid to late 19th century, there wasn’t much money to purchase expensive gemstones, so the goldsmith would instead spend much time in working the gold. The result is filigrain that looks like golden lace, another status symbol at the time. The limitation in materials brings out the creativity of the goldsmith, who would create intricate patterns. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, who is Argentinean born, showed her style and sense of history in wearing these earrings: she premiered them in the province where they are from, and the second time in India, a very appropriate country for wearing intricate gold jewelry. It’s lovely that the Argentinian born Queen of the Netherlands has reminded the world of the beauty of these antique Dutch jewels.
For more on Queen Máxima’s earrings, read this in-depth article by Erik Schoonhoven. At €2.750 these gorgeous earrings would be a lovely addition to one’s collection!

dekker_67c4cdc6597976e6adbce2d

 

2. Watches
Watches are a speciality of Dekker, i.e. Dick Verburg specifically. This Art Nouveau lady’s pendant watch is a stunning piece. Made in America c.1900-1930, it is adorned with diamonds, rubies, fashionable green demantoid and pearls. Signed Bailey Banks & Biddle means it comes from America’s oldest jeweler and also America’s leading luxury jeweler, with more branches from coast to coast than any other.
Are you a watch collector? Check out this ultra-rare 1954 platinum and diamond Patek Philippe wristwatch that just came in.

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3. Gautrait bracelet
The great jewellers from 19th century Paris is another speciality of Dekker, for example this bracelet by Gautrait which is 18ct gold made up of alternating links both with a jour guirlande motifs decorated with white enamel and chased gold. The delicate design of the bracelet makes it extremely feminine and the detail is just breathtaking!

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4. 19th century gold, diamond and pearl necklace
This French antique 18ct gold necklace from the 19th century is adorned with natural pearls and diamonds. It reflects the opulent glamour of the time, but would make a perfect statement piece of work today. What makes it extra special is that the brooch/pendant is detachable! How fun is that?

dekker_725c4b24c3d3c295b369a4f

 

5. 19th century French bird of paradise brooch
How sweet is this French Paradise bird brooch? Comprised of 18k gold, decorated with polychrome translucent enamel and set with rose-cut diamonds, the bird holds a natural pearl.

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Another very special piece that is so Diva-worthy is this 1625 clothing rosette. Dating back to the Renaissance period, this brooch is made of rare jewels from the beginning of the 17th century. Rosettes like this were sown onto garments and into the hair. What’s extra special in this rosette are the chiffre cut diamonds, which have a flat bottom surface and three triangular facets on the top. This produces the optical illusion of 9 facets, while in reality it is only 3.

dekker_e1025c4412bb452dead0088

 

If you find yourself in Amsterdam, I certainly recommend stopping into Dekker Antiquairs to take a look at the rest of their impeccable collection. I’m saving my euros in hopes of adding to my own collection soon! For more information on how you can take an Antiques Diva Jewelry Buying Tour, email us at [email protected]

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Have a stylish day,

The Antiques Diva®

Kirk & Cookie’s Buying Tour

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Dear Diva Readers,

W hile many of our clients are trade professionals—antiques dealers who come abroad wishing to stock their stores with European antiques— we also get tourist clients, mere shopping mortals, who are looking to purchase special pieces for themselves. One such couple was Kirk and Cookie who contacted us, as they were renovating and redecorating their home in the USA and wished to buy several specific pieces to use. Of course we were happy to help and scheduled them for a multi-country tour which included stops in Paris, Belgium, and Bordeaux.

We first met face-to-face in Antwerp—they’d just arrived from Paris where they’d shopped the Paris Flea Market with our Diva Guide Debbie. Since they were staying at our favorite hotel in Antwerp, JVR108, we sat down there and went over their list of desired items. What impressed me about them was their organization! They had a folder containing photos of each room in their home along with dimensions. This meant that while we shopped with measuring tape in hand, we would know whether certain pieces of furniture would fit in their rooms at home. They were also looking to source antique European fireplaces and other architectural salvage to incorporate in the renovation.

I knew exactly who to take them to! We have a few wonderful sources for antique fireplaces and upon arriving at one of these locations, the charming vendor had prepared a gorgeous luncheon which he’s laid in the garden behind his store. We sat in the warm sun, sipping wine and enjoying delicious sandwiches while Kirk & Cookie told the vendor what they were looking for—using visual tools like the photos and layouts they’d brought.

After lunch, we walked through the vendor’s warehouse which is full of fireplaces and architectural salvage. The dealer explained that in his workshop he could altar any of the fireplaces, thus making it possible for them to select one which had the color, type of stone, and motifs they desired. After gathering information on several candidates, the couple selected a spectacular fireplace that the vendor agreed to measure and send 3D plans via email before altering the existing piece.

Antiques Diva Buying Tour, Sourcing antiques in Europe

Afterward we headed upstairs to the loft, where Kirk found the perfect pair of leather club chairs for his home study. We went to several other places and they were able to purchase several decorative items as well as a priority on the list—a desk for Kirk! Upon departing us in Antwerp, Kirk & Cookie met up with Paris Guide Debbie in Cognac, France, where she and her husband invited them to join their table at a prestigious charity event where they happened to be sitting at the table next to Fergie—that’s right, the Duchess! At the end of their buying trip, they shopped in Bordeaux with our Diva Guide Tara where they found even more lovely pieces for their home.

Antiques Diva Buying Tour, Sourcing antiques in Europe

 

Antiques Diva Buying Tour, Sourcing antiques in Europe

Once the shipment was received back in the USA, Kirk sent photos of the pieces after installation. I love seeing the end result of a buying tour! Everything in the photos he sent was sourced with The Antiques Diva & Co with the exception of the chair behind the desk. Kirk writes, “We Can’t thank you enough. Cookie and I had the time of our lives and would go back tomorrow to work with you and do it again! Thank you for all of your help and for the experience and knowledge of your team. We had a great time and met some amazing people in each of you.  The cognac experience was fantastic and one of those “once in a lifetime” events that only happen when you have completely flexible plans and are willing to take a chance.”

Antiques Diva Buying Tour, Sourcing antiques in Europe

Well Kirk & Cookie, we enjoyed having you on tour and hope that each time you sit down at your desk or ease into the club chairs that you think of us with fondness! Your home is absolutely beautiful and we’re glad that we could play a part in making your dream a reality. After all, helping people source their dream pieces is what we do – At The Antiques Diva & Co we make dreams come true!  And we love to see people living modern lives alongside antiques!

If you would like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour or utilizing our Buying Services, email us at [email protected]. We’d love to help make European antiques accessible to you!

The Antiques Diva® 

Antiques Diva Buying Tour, Sourcing antiques in Europe

 

P.S. I’m closing with quite possibly the worst photo ever taken of me. It was the  end of a very long day shopping. I must confess I look exhausted… but I’m smiling from ear to ear as I simply adored these clients!

English Tea

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

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

The castle’s history is fascinating! Everyone from the current Queen of England to Thomas Jefferson, Sean Connery, Elton John and Mel Gibson have stayed there.  Built in the 13th century by John “the Black” Comyn, Lord of Badenoch and Lochaber, the structure itself remains largely unchanged since its construction. It is said that the site had been a fort some five hundred years prior. In 1863 a Scottish baronial style mansion called Inverlochy was built to the north-west as a private residence.  Since 1969 this grand house has operated as a hotel with 18 bedrooms (all with private baths). Between the frescoed ceilings & Venetian crystal chandeliers inside and the splendid views of the grounds & mountains outside, it is the ideal place to relax in the Scottish countryside—perhaps with a nice cup of tea!

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

And while it’s lovely to do tea abroad with castles and crumpets, perhaps what I love most about the art of British tea is that the castles are merely optional!  You can take time out of your schedule to indulge yourself at home any day of the week.  My travel schedule can be horrid so I love inviting girlfriends around to catch up over a cuppa. It’s an easy and elegant way to entertain – Diva Style!

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

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

  1. First and foremost you have to have an antique tea set! Whether your style is more formal (a silver or porcelain set) or casual (maybe mix-matched pieces), I think it’s important to have at least a tea pot, cream & sugar, and a tray. You can always purchase full sets which include coffee pot, waste bowl, strainer, and tea caddy.
  2. I like to use beautiful tiered etageres (think a 3-tiered cake plate) which you can find at flea markets to serve cakes and snacks on. Serve a mixture of sweet and savory indulgences like scones, biscuits, cucumber sandwiches, and other little bites you can prepare in advance. Be sure to set out cream, sugar, and lemon slices to accompany the tea.  I also suggest having a pressed set of antique linen napkins that each guest can drape over their lap. I often come across lovely embroidered linens in Belgium and these are ideal for tea time!
  3. Remember, tea time needn’t be fussy. It’s all about the time-honored tradition of pausing in the afternoon and catching up with friends. Enhance this social time with a few gorgeous antique pieces, and everyone around your table will be reminded to “use the good stuff” and take time to stop and smell the roses!

If you want to host a Tea Party at home you can follow some tips in our Antiques Diva/Chef in Berlin video or catch up on some recipes via BBC’s Good Food Afternoon Tea Party.  You know I love sharing recipes… and Ina Garten’s – the Barefoot Contessa – is one of my time-tested tea time favorites…. She makes a simply divine orange cranberry scone recipe!

Until next time, I say cheers darlings!

The Antiques Diva®  

Your European Pickers

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Dear Diva Readers,

Here at The Antiques Diva & Co we love taking clients on buying tours, introducing them to places and people that can help them find exactly what they’re looking for. With tours operating in 8 European countries, our locally based guides stay busy taking both tourists and trade professionals on tour! But did you know we also offer Buying Services for clients who want to source antiques in Europe, but can’t come over due to scheduling issues? We act as the “man on the ground,” reaching out to our trusted vendors and dealers to find specific pieces that our clients want. And while buying online has made international shopping a bit easier, we offer the service of loyalty to our customers, ensuring that what we’re showing them via email is of quality and up to their standards because we’ve actually seen each piece in person!

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

Recently one of our long-term clients (who just so happens to be a big name in the hotel world) reached out to us wanting to incorporate more antique architectural items into the hotels he designs.  So who better to source unique and special architectural salvage than The Antiques Diva & Co!? This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve sourced architectural salvage for a client. From antique gates to doors, to fireplaces to floors and even a cathedral ceiling, we’ve found it all.  We adore the idea of creating new spaces using one-of-a-kind antique elements. Antique architectural salvage is often very well-designed and made of solid, quality material but yet it comes at a fraction of the price of producing the same thing nowadays.

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

So while I was visiting a dealer in Italy, I came across a very handsome semicircular walnut bookcase circa 1810 which had a fabulous price. And because we all love a good story, I asked the dealer for a bit more information.  It was originally built for the Court of Appeals in Brescia, which is a city in Lombardy. It is composed of five elements; a central entrance (which probably concealed a secret passage), flanked by two bookcases on each side. With original patina, it is the perfect piece to design a room around. I could picture a chic hotel bar utilizing this circular bookcase.

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

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

This is just one example of gorgeous architectural elements that come out of important historical European buildings. From chateaus that are being torn down to governmental buildings that are being renovated, our sources have access to some pretty awesome pieces. Staircases, boisserie, windows, doors, flooring— you name it, we can find it. And for an antique lover like me, knowing that these pieces will have a new life for many years to come is quite a rewarding prospect!

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

If you would like information on our Buying Services or even an Architectural Salvage Buying Tour in Europe, email us at [email protected]. We’d love to help you find just what you’re looking for.

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®  

Where to Buy Antique Jewelry in Europe

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Dear Diva Readers,

Here at The Antiques Diva & Co we have resources galore when it comes to antiquing in Europe whether you’re looking for architectural salvage, 18th century French furniture vintage fashion, garden items, and more. In fact, once clients tell us what they’re looking for, we custom plan their tours in order to make the most of their time. We recently had an inquiry about antique jewelry – and while I personally am not an expert on jewelry that didn’t stop me from coming up with an answer. What’s so great about my company is that it’s not just me…. we’re not called The Antiques Diva & Co for nothing. The “Co” in Antiques Diva & Co have a wealth of experience and resources that stretch beyond my own bejeweled fingertips. So when a client wanted to know where to buy antique jewelry in Europe I went straight to my Diva Guides to find out what they would suggest when it comes to sourcing antique & vintage jewelry in Europe.

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

The question the client posed was… “Are there dedicated jewelry shows or fairs? Where can clients find a good assortment of pieces”? So many questions, but of course, we’ve got the answers and I want to share some of them with you!

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

Our Belgian Diva Guide Lucretia is a collector of antique jewelry herself so she is always looking for specialized shops with great bargains in Belgium and Holland. She says, “Every Antiques Fair like TEFAF in Maastricht, PAN in Amsterdam or Art Breda, has a fairly large selection of jewelry dealers, but be prepared to pay higher prices for high end pieces. Small antiques fairs are probably much better to find attractively priced jewels.” She tells us that there happens to be a special fair coming up soon in the Netherlands which is totally dedicated to jewels. It will be June 12 -14, in Driebergen, near Utrecht. It is a relatively small show with only 25 participants, but the inventory will be quality—if you are a serious collector, it’s the place to go.

Now – here’s the inside scoop…. while I love shopping a fair – it’s the fastest way to see the best quality inventory in one locale – if you like digging for a bargain the best places to buy vintage and antique jewelry are auctions. This is where you’ll find the best deals. Almost every major city in the Netherlands has an auction house, many of them also sell on-line.

Here’s Our Dutch Auction House Resource List:

De Zwaan, in Amsterdam

De Eland, Diemen

Van Stockums, in Den Haag

Oprechte Veiling, in Haarlem

Veilinghuis Peerdeman, in Utrecht

Venduehuis der Notarissen, Den Haag

Dickhaut, in Maastricht

Van Zadelhoff, Hilversum

Van Spengen, Hilversum

Onder de Boompjes, Leiden

Twents Veilinghuis, in Enschede

Notarishuis, in Rotterdam

And of course Christie’s is still active in Amsterdam, and has special jewelry auctions which always contain high quality items.

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

Gail, our Antiques Diva Agent in England, says while there aren’t any specialist jewelry shows in the UK, there are a few places she’d recommend to source antique jewelry. Grays Antiques in London is something of an institution in the antiques trade –  It’s located in the heart of Mayfair and houses about 150 exhibitors. From vintage to very high end jewels, Grays houses a nice concentration of antique jewelry dealers under one roof. She also advises checking websites of national antiques fairs to see if antique jewelry dealers will be selling at upcoming shows – the best place to find out about what antique shows are going on in England is Gail’s own website Antique News and Fairs.

Antiques Diva Guides

Diva Guides Lucretia and Gail

And our Paris Guides Debbie, Danielle, Katie & Jennifer, don’t want you to forget that in Paris, of course,  there is the famous Hotel Drouot Auction House.  While I LOVE Drouot for vintage fashion and haute couture you can also pick up gorgeous pieces of antique jewels here going, going, going, for a song!

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

And there you have it! What I love about my Diva Guides is that no matter what the challenge, they always come up with solutions and answers for our clients. By being locally based and well versed in a variety of sources, our guides across 8 countries possess a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the antiques trade. If you have questions about sourcing antiques in Europe, please email us at [email protected]. We’d love to help plan a tour!

Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva® 

Monet’s House in Giverny

Monet’s House in Giverny

1 Comment on Monet’s House in Giverny

Dear Diva Readers,

While most of our clients come on buying tours with serious agendas—they often want to fill a container with European antiques in a matter of days — some people also choose to add on time at the end of their tour for more of a vacation since they’re already over in Europe! And believe me, after power shopping with an Antiques Diva Guide, a little R&R is necessary (hmmm… perhaps we should start including massages at the end of each tour)!  Often times while on tour, our Diva Guides will point out interesting places along the way—after all, our guides are all locally based so they know the surrounding areas very well!

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

Recently one of our Diva Guides in France, Katie, was taking clients on a buying tour in Normandy, which is a great place to source antiques at discount prices from Paris prices. Along the way, Katie passed right by the Monet house with clients and they decided to stop en route to sneak in a little design inspiration visiting his famous house in Giverny. With warm weather just beginning, Spring time is a perfect time to take in the gardens and the scenery in this charming part of France.

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Claude Monet lived in the house for forty-three years (1883-1926) and as you can imagine, like any artist would, he made many alterations to the original structure over that time. Originally the house was called House of the Cider-Press as an apple-press was located on the nearby square. It was a small home compared to the long, spread out place it is today. As his family and career grew, Monet had the house enlarged on either side, resulting in the structure we see today. The barn next to the house became his studio and above that is an apartment he used while he worked.

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The distinct color palate (pink and green) of the exterior of the house was chosen by Monet. Rather than go with the traditional grey shutter of that time, Monet opted for green and planted Virginia creeper on the facade of the house so it would blend in with the surrounding landscape—almost like a Monet painting! From his bed he had beautiful views of the garden which he loved.

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The property is divided into flower beds where flowers of different heights create depth and volume. Ornamental and fruit tress are mixed in as well to add to the character of the garden. A mix of rare flowers as well as common ones such as daisies and poppies populate the beds. The central path is covered by iron arches that support climbing roses. However Monet’s gardens are not structured. He preferred to pair flowers according to color and then let them grow rather freely.

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But the garden isn’t only about plants. The water garden was cultivated ten years after he moved to Giverny. A small brook runs through the property and Monet had a little pond dug, which was later enlarged. Inspired by the Japanese gardens Monet had the Japanese Bridge built by a local craftsman and then planted it with wisterias. For more than twenty years he found inspiration for paintings from this very garden.

After Monet’s death in 1926 the house passed through various family member’s care until 1977 when his son bequeathed the estate to Academie des Beaux-Arts. After much neglect, it took almost ten years to restore the property to what we see today. With a crumbling staircase, trees growing in the studio, and much of the garden grown over, it took many donations, mostly from Americans, to bring the place back to its former glory. And since September 1980, the house has been opened for visitors.

Just like Monet was inspired by the gardens and home he created, our clients were inspired after their visit too! Whenever you’re traveling it’s so important to take in the historic and cultural places that you come across. You never know what you might learn and what ideas you may have after touring a historic property. That’s why I love our Diva Guides—they know this all too well and always go above and beyond for our clients.

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

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva® 

Salvo Fair

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Dear Diva Readers,

Whenever clients reach out to us for information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, one of the first questions we ask them is for which type of pieces they will be looking. Architectural salvage has been high on client’s lists for the last few years and the desire for these types of pieces hasn’t slowed down in 2015. While we have wonderful sources for architectural salvage, the largest architectural salvage fair in the world is coming up in June which will bring together dealers from the UK, Europe, and beyond. The Salvo Fair will be held on 27-28 June with Trade Day on Friday 26 June, at Fawley Hill, Fawley Green, Henley-on-Thames RG9 6JA, Oxfordshire and will be open 11am – 5pm.

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

This is the fourteenth year for this fair which is legendary in the trade, often bringing in some of the best interior designers, architects, builders, developers and dealers to shop. Even celebrities and billionaires are known to peruse the fair for just the right pieces of antique garden art or reclaimed building materials. Anything from antique flooring and bricks to vintage lighting, antique fireplaces, and decorative antiques can be found at Salvo Fair.

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

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

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

This year it will be held at Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine’s extraordinary private estate near Henley-on-Thames. And it’s the weekend before Henley Regatta and Wimbledon and just after the Royal Ascot races. It’s at the centre of the English Social calendar! Ruby Hazael, co-organizer of Salvo Fair says, “Sir William McAlpine has built an extraordinary home on the outskirts of Henley with a full size steam railway, a railway museum and 400 rescued animals. We are honoured to be able to hold the Salvo Fair at Fawley Hill, and very excited that our visitors will not only be able to browse and buy at the largest salvage fair in the country but will also be able to experience Fawley Hill’s attractions which are not normally open to the public.”

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

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

Just a taste of what one can expect to find at Salvo Fair includes:  Fireplaces, chimneypieces, doors, windows, radiators, statuary, seats, urns, troughs, tubs, garden, sundials, birdbaths, pergola, rose arches, railway sleepers, furniture, bathrooms, baths, basins, taps, toilets, tiles, brassware, knobs, handles, knockers, hinges, balls, finials, chairs, pews, altars, lecterns, stained glass, staircases, spirals, flooring, parquet, woodblock, floorboards, bricks, pavers, flagstones, york stone coping, pediments, balustrade, timber, oak pine, marble, trusses, beams, columns, pilasters, portico, cornice, dado, skirting, roof tiles, slates, ironwork, gates, railings, lighting, lamposts, kitchens, kitchenalia, sinks, post boxes, telephone boxes, cartwheels, shopfittings, butchers block, and shingles.

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

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

In other words, if you can’t find it at Salvo Fair, you can’t find it!

If you’d like more information on Salvo Fair, check out their website or email us at [email protected].

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Being Alys – An Antiques Guide

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Dear Diva Readers,

Antiques Diva Buying Tour in Sussex England

The county of Sussex, in the South East of England, is in my humble opinion one of the most beautiful places in the country to visit, and therefore a perfect location to base an Antiques Tour. When locally-based UK Diva Guide Alys Dobbie recently took a client named Shannon on a buying tour, she had such a ball with our client that she though it would be interesting for you, dear Diva Readers, to read about the tour from a guide’s perspective!

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

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

 

Diva Guide Alys writes:

“I met Shannon at the Lewes train station – how very strange it is to meet someone you’ve never clapped eyes on before. It feels like a blind date when meeting a client for the first time – we’d even told each other what we would be wearing (Purple coat for one and green tights on the other)!

petworth

Once safely into the right side of the car, Shannon told me her wants and her needs for antiquing in England. She’d already emailed a superb list ahead so I could really research and find the ideal dealers to visit in the South East. Upon hopping in the car we were fast friends – it usually works this way on tour with the guide and client as automatically you have so much in common with the shared interest of antiquing.  Plus, our clients tend to be the most interesting people.   Shannon is American but lives in Amsterdam and I was fascinated by her fabulous expat life.

Our first stop was a humble little town on the south coast where you wouldn’t expect to have an exceptional array of buildings all owned by one dealer…. of course that’s why you’ve booked a buying tour with us… to take you those places you wouldn’t find on your own!

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Shannon wanted a statement dining table for her kitchen that would house her and her family comfortably. There were lots and lots of lovely reclaimed railway sleeper tables and others with centuries of history. We were in our element! She also found a beautiful Jacobean chest of drawers – not particularly her style admittedly but it’s hard to find anything better than a piece of furniture that’s over 300 years old (at a reasonable price!). We spent an hour or so here and then moved onto our next appointment.

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Meeting our next dealer was a funny one – he had just moved into a new warehouse that had been newly built that week! But he was friendly and helpful. Shannon fell in love with a French baguette trolley – she told me herself that she has a real weakness for anything on wheels.

Brighton Pier, Sussex England

After which we carried on to Brighton passing over The National Park that is The South Downs. It was a typical British day – drizzle and wind, but the great hills still looked fantastic. Shannon was delighted we were going to Brighton for our next visit – seeing the pier even from the comfort of a car was a great treat.

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We next dropped off to a friend of mine’s shop – he had just been on a buying trip to France so the timing was perfect – he had lots of lovely weird and wacky decorative pieces as well as some great tambour fronted storage solutions .

After a quick spot of lunch (no rest for the wicked! we often eat on the run when on a buying tour), we moseyed on out and followed the coast west to Worthing.

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I had been recommended a place by my good friend Henry Nicholls and he came up trumps – the second we walked into the door, Shannon was in her element. She was grinning ear to ear – it’s always so great to meet another furniture enthusiast. She in particular fell in love with a huge gorgeous French grain store – the paint hadn’t been touched and it was in lovely condition.

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I was certainly saving the best until last and we visited a very well known dealer at the next location and were shown around personally. It really was an incredible experience for me, too – as a young dealer, this man has always been something of an inspiration. Shannon fell in love with a lot of his stock! Especially a very large 12′  table which would have been ideal for her kitchen. The patina and condition was beautiful.

petworth

After 8 hours our tour was complete…. sometimes the days go longer because you’re buying on the road so it’s easy to lose track of time!  I love this job – I got to take a very nice woman shopping in my home county!”

Cheers!

The Antiques Diva®

Save Save Save on Paris Puces du Design Tour

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Dear Diva Readers,

Attention, attention! We’ve got a last minute special happening in Paris! Book a SPECIAL TOUR of the Puces du Design in conjunction with the Puces de Paris and save 100 EURO!!! The Puces du Design is the only event of this size and quality to be open to the public. With over 100 dealers, our Diva Guides can help you navigate the booths, translate with dealers, and negotiate on your behalf.

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When the fair was first founded in 1999, it was absolutely audacious to propose in Paris a market with dealers specialized in Post War 20th century design.  Who would buy it, the French wondered….  But the bet of fair founder Fabien Bonillo paid off and his Puces du Design has been going strong for 15 years!  The Puces du Design is the only design event of this size and quality (100 exhibitors among which 40% of non French gallerists ).

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Among the hundred of antique dealers and gallerists coming from all over Europe you’ll find some of the most famous designers of the period – Eames, Panton, Saarinen, Matégot, Prouvé.  And did I mention they also do fashion at the fair…

Paris Flea Market, Puces du Design, Antiques Diva Tours, Mid-Century Modern, Tours of Paris

Paris Flea Market, Puces du Design, Antiques Diva Tours, Mid-Century Modern, Tours of Paris.

Get bit by the fleas. Book a tour now and save as the Puces du Design runs May 28-31. Email us at [email protected].

The Antiques Diva®  

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

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Dear Diva Readers,

T oday we’re continuing our Favorite Finds from The Antique & Design Center of High Point.  If you missed part one make sure to go back and read it HERE. Now, last time I wrote, you’ll recall, I was delighted to lead a tour of the Antique & Design Center during Spring Market. For those of you who missed market, I had to share some of my top picks from market.

Normally specializing in painted pieces of Italian, Swedish and French provenance, Mitra of Art & Antique Hunter found a sublime Swedish walnut table that she instantly knew was a show stopper. This piece is stunning in person – photos simply cannot do it justice. The pattern of the wood grain is gorgeous in an of itself, each piece specifically cut to make a starburst on the table’s center, with the woodgrain gorgeously flowing down the legs.

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

There weren’t a lot of garden antiques at the Antique & Design Center of High Point, but the pieces that were there were stellar. Perhaps my favorite garden piece at the fair was this pair of rare 1920’s sculpted garden statues from Gallery at Summerhill. Australian vendor Chris O’Brian found this pair in a Palm Beach House – constructed entirely from one piece of carved limestone. The quality is exquisite. I loved their pose- the way their forms embraced – it’s actually quite rare to find both male and female pieces together this way. And if you look closely, the male figures have classic Baroque putti faces… but the females… have you ever seen anything quite like them? Probably not! There is no tradition for a female “putti” face so the sculptor had to imagine them himself, breathing his own life and inspiration into them.

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

Another fabulous garden piece, this pair of Romantic Revival Movement garden statues circa 1800 from Hank Kozlowski are grand and fun all at once. They’d be just as appropriate today in a boxwood garden as they would be in Marie Antoinette’s hamlet where she used to frolic pretending to be a peasant!

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

Next door to Hank Kozlowski is Halsey Dean Antiques which gives vintage and antique pieces a new lease on life. They silver and gold leaf vintage pieces so they simply shimmer. One of our favorite finds in their stall was a reinvented Tomlinson piece made in 1962… RIGHT HERE IN THE VERY BUILDING where the Antique & Design Center of High Point now calls home! At The Antiques Diva & Co we believe in making antiques & vintage pieces relevant. I give Chris and Tim a round of applause for making vintage pieces that might be overlooked more marketable and applicable for today’s interior.

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

I love it when vendors think outside the box. And that’s exactly what vendor Heidi Jones of Punch Jones does. By nature she is a storyteller and her inventory is choreographed in a way that it reads as if  it were a novel. Sometimes it’s a historical novel, other times a mystery. While almost all of her pieces were statement pieces, perhaps the piece that caught my eye the most was an antique black dress framed in a shadow box. With such graphic punch it could work in a modern space as well as a traditional space!

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

Speaking of vendors with great eyes, Sandy Luther has a fantastic eye. Her entire booth is a favorite from market because of her divine style – we couldn’t choose just one piece to highlight – so we’re highlighting Sandy’s style overall. Correction make that “Sandy’s Style” overall… the word style needed a capital S! Specializing in 18th C Italian religious relics and fragments, Sandy does like to shake it up from time to time. She’s recently started mixing in mid century pieces with her inventory and she has me smitten with a capital S.

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

Speaking of being Smitten, you’ve probably heard me say before that Alhambra Antiques is one of my favorite vendors in the USA, selling divine European inventory. Ignacio (and his daughter Olga who is co-owner with husband Doug Scott of The HighBoy) have a great eye for sourcing in Europe! Alhambra Antiques consistently has top quality, creative inventory that punctuates spaces with a European vibe. His first time displaying at market, vendor Ignacio’s stole the show with his chandeliers. While he had chandeliers dating several hundred years old, perhaps my favorites were the vintage Italian Murano and Art Glass. Talk about a statement piece! WOW!

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

Sometimes my favorite items in the booth, weren’t the oldest or the most precious, or even the best value. Dealers Richard and Tatiana of Rue Auber Antiques had a wonderful assortment of pieces that were under-priced! They buy low at auction (or house clearing sales nearby their New England home) and thus they pass along their savings. One painting in their booth was estimated at $3-5K at auction and they were selling for $1200 and they had an Italian Carerra Marble fireplace that would have sold in New York for 12K going for 4K! They pride themselves on seeking quality and selling for a good value. The piece that struck me in their booth was a designer’s dream – it was a faux malachite table from the 1960s. The color, the pattern, the shape were all perfect and I can imagine it showing up on the cover of House Beautiful or some other shelter publication in the coming years!

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

Last but not least was Marshall Clements from Little Rock, Arkansas. They have some of the most to-die-for inventory – my particular favorite piece in their booth was a 19th C Sculoa Baroque Table – similar to Pietre Dura (which is comprised of semi-precious stones). This is a pigment version from a church in Rome. I think it was one of the most special pieces at the fair! I also loved their Pair of 19th C bibliotheques as well as their assortment of well priced 18th C walnut tables selling for 3-5K.

High Point Market, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva

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

The Antiques Diva®

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

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Dear Diva Readers,

Twice a year I cross the pond and head to High Point Furniture Market where each season Spring & Fall I offer a slew of events Stateside (No Passport Required) at the Antique & Design Center of High Point.  This year – in addition to speaking on a panel on The Secret Life of Antiques – I was delighted to lead a special tour of the market, pointing out new dealers, old favorites and highlighting some of my Favorite Finds at the fair!  With a crew of 40+ shoppers in tow we had an enthusiastic  group eager to learn how to shop – Antiques Diva Style!

Without further ado, here are my top finds at this Spring 2015 High Point Market … Alas there were so many goodies to be found this blog post can only fit Part 1…stay tuned for Part 2 on Friday!

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Perhaps my favorite piece in the whole of the fair was this repurposed 18th C Italian Alter from B. Kelley Antiques – who displayed for the first time ever at this fair.  Sharing a booth space with Old & The Proud (who has some great ironstone) this piece is originally from a church in Italy. In excellent condition – the piece is married from 2 pieces – the top entirely original patina while the bottom had been made from old wood with additional 18th C Italian fragments added to complete the piece.  I can picture this in an entry way, a living room, even a dining room – regardless of which room of the house it ends up in it would be an ideal statement piece in any home.

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

Next up we’re doing a total flip flop on style – flashing forward a couple of hundred years!  This Walter Von Nessen swing-arm lamp from the 1930’s – available at Metropolitan Interiors – caught my eye because it was the very first prototype of this type of lamp.  While today swing arm lamps are incredibly well known it was innovation at its finest back in the day!

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

A step into Anne’s booth Antiques on Holiday was just that… a vacation for the eye, filled with gorgeous one-of-a-kind pieces.  I was downright smitten with this French globe from the late 1800’s. I loved the scale – oversized with a gorgeous color scheme – I felt like the whole world, er, make that Le Monde (all the writing was in French) was at my finger tips!

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

There was definitely a trend towards religious pieces at The Antiques & Design Center of High Point – most of which have a Catholic origin. Perhaps one of the most unusual finds at #ADCHP was a 17th century cabinet from Arcanum Antiques & Interiors.  Of Jewish origin, probably from Eastern Europe, it is believed to be a Torah Cabinet— used for transporting the Torah and all of its accoutrement. It’s got handles and comes apart in various pieces for easy transport.

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

Another of my long-term favorite vendors at the fair is Tuesday on the Boulevard.  This vendor sells exclusively at High Point – so if you want to shop their quirky finds – which almost ALWAYS SELL OUT – you need to buy from them the Antique & Design Center of High Point.  One of my favorite items in their stall this year is a fun and happy mid-century painting in the style of Miro.  The vendor found this painting while cleaning out the contents of a chi-chi Manhattan apartment.  Now… this painting is a great example of mixing modern with antique. It would be the perfect foil for a serious antique chest of drawers in a dark wood!  I’m imagining it against an Empire commode.

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

I can not mention my favorite vendors at the Antique and Design Center of  High Point Market with out giving a great big Shout Out to Nancy PriceI love her and her entire team…. they are as beautiful as their inventory!   Choosing only 1 piece to highlight in her stall was next to impossible… but I finally settled on this Italian Altar Piece with candle holders dated circa 1750 (shown at the bottom of this photo).   Now… this piece is particularly special… most of our trade clients have us sign a confidentiality agreement when we do sourcing for them but Nancy was happy to tell her clients that she’d sourced this piece (as well as several others) with us in Europe though our Buying Services!  It’s so fun to see pieces from one of our favorite vendors across the pond make their way to America with one of our favorite vendors stateside!

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

Speaking of fun… the guys at BoxRoad.net are so much fun—and so is their inventory. The team comprised of Michel, Stacey and Donny has a great eye with an electric mix of inventory.  These aren’t the people who follow the trends… they set them.  While numerous pieces in their stall caught my attention from paper mache molds, to the “instant collections” of mirrors to Lucite barstools and industrial tables perhaps the most quirky of the inventory in their stall was this horn chair from Texas.

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

Now last but not least, before I bid you adieu in PART 1 OF MY HIGH POINT ROUND UP,  let’s talk about one more stunning piece…this vintage 1920’s Italian backdrop.  Vendor Antoinette of A. Vincent Antiques and Interiors bought this from a dealer’s personal collection and she was only allowed to buy the piece if she promised to make sure it ended up in a good home.  Hmmm…..  I give my antiques the best attention, love and care… I would have bought this one myself but alas….  I was too late! It sold to one of the other vendors at High Point Market within seconds of market opening!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our High Point Favorite Finds!

The Antiques Diva®

Junior League of High Point 2015 Show House

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Dear Diva Readers,

H igh Point Furniture Market is always such fun! It feels like going to summer camp for adults because there are fabulous parties each day and you get to reconnect with industry colleagues who seem to always become dear friends! To kick off this market, a group of us attended the opening night party at the Junior League of High Point Show House.

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

The house itself is a Tudor Revival home which was built in 1912. Its graciously sized—but not overly grand— rooms were transformed by several local and national designers. After touring this lovely house, I can definitely imagine living here! It was wonderful seeing that many of the designers are actually friends and have been on Antiques Diva Tours! The theme of this year’s showhouse is “From High Point to the World.” How appropriate is that?! Without further ado, let’s recap some of my favorite rooms!

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

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

The dining room by Madcap Cottage was fabulous! Jason Oliver Nixon & John Loecke have such an eye for using color and interesting objects. Their spaces always seem to have the perfect mix of items. And of course I swooned over the Fromental wallpaper they used!

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

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

The most fun room in my opinion was our friend Holly Phillips’ Carriage House Upstairs Living Area. Holly just has a way of mixing object from different eras & styles and making it work. She paired colors that I would never have thought to use in the same room and the result was absolutely perfection.

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

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

The kitchen and back hall entrance was done by our lovely friend Lisa Mende and it is luxurious, stylish, and comfortable all at once. The combination of deep blue, lime green, and black is so cool. And the patterns she uses are amazing!

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

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

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

Cathy Austin’s bedroom is bright, fresh, and oh so Diva approved! With its global influences and pink tones, Cathy describes it as the heiress, globe-trotting daughter who has returned home.

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

Kara Cox has designed the most glamorous jewel box of a dressing room. There’s even champagne chilling on the vanity. If that’s not Diva style, I don’t know what is!

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

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

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

Leslie Moore created a bedroom that doubles as an art studio. And she’s featured southern female artists in this inspiring space! I love that!

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

The bubbly Libby Langdon did a very chic bedroom complete with canopy bed and sitting area. We ended up spending the most time in this room as Libby’s personality always attracts tons of people!

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

Our friend Eric Ross did the library terrace and the pool area. While outdoor spaces can be a challenge, Eric pulled it off with flying colors! Stylish and comfortable are two words that come to mind when spending time in his spaces.

All in all the shophouse certainly is a place I want to spend time in! With so many talented designers in one place, you cannot leave this home without being inspired! Huge thank you to Traditional Home for hosting this fabulous party! It was a great way to kick off spring market!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Dream of Venice

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Dear Diva Readers,

A mother isn’t supposed to pick favorites…. and as CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co all my tour countries are like my children.  And while I’m not supposed to pick favorites one of our new tours has me so smitten I can’t help but to give that child a little extra love.  I’m talking about Venice! Our Venice Antique Buying Tours offer beyond gorgeous opportunities for sourcing antiques in one of the most dreamy cities in the world!  While Venice is full of historic gems and centuries old buildings (not to mention palazzo’s where you can shop off the palace walls), it is still very much alive as a 21st century city. It’s a complex and magical city – and perhaps one of my favorite places on earth.

Our friend JoAnn Locktov has created a book called “Dream of Venice” that celebrates contemporary Venice while still honoring its past.

JoAnn writes:

“Nothing can really prepare you for Venice. The stunning agglomerate of architectural styles, the sinuous maze of narrow calli, and the languid water that follows you everywhere. It is a city built on dreams. Several years ago I met the photographer, Charles Christopher. He had a portfolio of remarkable Venice images that were unlike anything I had ever seen before. His photographers were personal and textural and so still, you could hear the silence. We decided to collaborate and publish a book on contemporary Venice. We paired the images with words from all sorts of people- writers,  poets, film directors, actors, and designers. We identified Venetophiles that had an intimate connection to the city and could express their thoughts in a unique way.

In Dream of Venice there is no table of contents, nor are there page numbers to guide your way. We do not identify any of the locations. It was our intention to create a passeggiata, a meander through Venice, where turning a corner, you never quite know what will greet you. So please, join me for a stroll through the floating city. We’ll stop on our way for an ombra…”

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

Venice is a state of mind. That is, the scintillating, kaleidoscopic, shifting colors of that watery realm remain alive inside me long after I depart the actual city. -Frances Mayes

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

I call my late night peregrinations “once around the block,” and although I have discovered many routes and sometimes have the pleasure of choosing different crossroads, I have come to discover that “all roads lead to Rome”- which, for me, always means San Marco. -Hutton Wilkinson

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

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

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

At night Venice’s lights dim, its sounds are submerged in those of slapping water, and it wraps itself in mystery, as does our consciousness when dissolved in sleep. -Marcella Hazan

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

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

I looked up at these rooms illuminated by enormous chandeliers made centuries earlier in this very city. They didn’t sparkle like the crystal chandeliers of Paris— the Venetian chandeliers glimmered. They glimmered with a dim luster like the inky water that held us aloft as we floated into the heart of my dream city. -Matthew White

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

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

From the windows, the curtains are alive, shaken by the wind and the sun. Una meraviglia- a wonder- in the only city that makes you wish, while closing your eyes, to relive each moment just as it has appeared. -Patrizia Gucci”

As JoAnn is an expert on Venice I asked her to share some of her top trips (beyond booking an Antiques Diva(R) tour) on what to do in Venice:

  1. Lodging: There are many splendid boutique hotels; one of my favorites is Ca’Gottardi in the Cannaregio.  If you are looking for modern design in a resplendent palazzo I recommend PalazzinaG designed by Philippe Starck.
  2. To eat: Venice is famous for their bacari, the small wine bars that offer cicchetti, a Venetian version of tapas. It is easy to make a small meal out of these tasty bites but for a full repast I recommend La Cantina for the convivial spirit and Francesco’s mastery in a kitchen the size of well, it is so small, there actually is no kitchen.  Estro is impeccable and Oliva Nera is lovely.
  3. To shop: The Sent sisters create beautiful and bright modern glass jewelry.  Giovanna Zanella is a master cobbler; see her on your first day so that she can measure your feet for a custom pair of shoes. For gorgeous glass, a Venetian artisan tradition, I recommend Seguso. The showroom is by appointment only. The family has been creating glass on Murano since 1397. Giampaolo Seguso, the family patriarch is also a poet. He dreamt an evocative poem for Dream of Venice.
  4. To do: Did you know Venice had spectacular pastries and chocolate? You can join the irrepressible Monica Cesarato for this sweet tour and walk off any calories you might happen to consume.  Venice is best seen from the water, so why not learn to row when you are there?  Join Cristina Gregorin for an architectural tour and learn about built Venice, the agglomeration of styles and the architects who designed her most ravishing buildings and bridges.  Visit an artisan studio and learn an authentic Venetian craft with one of the workshops offered through Italian Stories.

Grazie Mille JoAnn!

The Antiques Diva

Exporting Antiques With The Help of a Courier

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Dear Diva Readers,

Perhaps the biggest challenge when shopping overseas is knowing how to get goods home sweet home safely and cost effectively. Oh the thrill of the hunt! On tour we have a range of clients – from ones who fill multiple 40 foot containers, spending hundreds of thousands of euros on inventory to stock their stores to ones who are seeking just a few small items that are perfectly packable and brought home in the their luggage. Occasionally clients even buy a second suitcase on tour to bring their goods home! Now here’s a surprise… sometimes it costs less to MAIL that second suitcase with a courier than it does to bring it with you on the plane home.

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

When you’re shopping the fleas and decide to mail items home you need a professional international courier with the appropriate customs documents (and licenses when applicable). Typically the shipper advise of any additional arrangements required like crating for fragile objects or customs documentation.

We always recommend clients discuss with their courier or shipper their insurance needs. A good courier will offer added insurance to cover high-value items. When sending antiques with a courier, it is important the inventory is packaged carefully following the recommended packaging guidelines carefully. If the item is not packaged correctly, it will not qualify for cover in the event it is damaged during transit.   On tour – when you’re out buying – we always recommend clients take photos of their purchases as they shop! This gives you extra security, in the event there is any dispute or damage in transit.

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

When it comes to shipping, accidents happen and snafu’s occur. But sometimes those snafu’s are more than lost of damaged goods. What happens if you buy something you’re not allowed to ship internationally? One of the best recent examples of export restrictions is the story of Jane Austen’s ring that made headlines in 2014. Singer Kelly Clarkson was forced to give up Jane Austen’s turquoise ring that she bought at a Sotheby’s auction in 2012. Clarkson was unable to take the ring out of the country due to a temporary export ban placed by Jane Austen’s House Museum. The official deadline was 30 September. The museum was able to raise £152,000 to save the ‘national treasure’ for Austen readers around the world! This complex, but fascinating case shows how important the paperwork is for collectors. The UK is notoriously strict when it comes to buying and exporting items which may be classified as ‘national treasure”!

So what are the Rules & Regulations for Export from the UK?

  • In the UK, items under 50 years of age, which do not include precious metals and are not of national significance are generally exempt from restrictions.
  • However items which contain precious metals and are of national significance or are over 50 years of age will be subject to stricter export regulations.
  • Always check with the Portable Antiquities Scheme or Arts Council if you are unsure.
  • If the object falls under the definition of the treasure outlined in the UK Treasure act, you should check that the item has been reported to a UK coroner within the legal period of 14 days. The inquest will always have final say whether or not the finds qualify as national treasure.
  • If the treasure is found to constitute a national treasure, the finder must first offer the item to a museum. If a museum does not express interest, then the finder will retain ownership.
  • Keep in mind, that under English Law, landowners will have rights to objects found on their land. It may be necessary to qualify with the seller where the item was found (this only applies to coins, ring, jewellery or artefacts over 50 years).
  • Certain carriers like DHL have different rules and restrictions for various countries, particularly Australia. So, check with several carriers if possible.

When in doubt if the item you’re buying is suitable for export professional couriers such as the UK-based customer service team at ParcelHero.com. can advise on shipping costs and restrictions to your recipient country. You can also estimate costs of shipping excess luggage or individual antiques with their handy booking tool to help you plan your trip. The site will allow you to track up to 25 items at one time with real-time scan updates, so you can follow your packages’ movements before you even step foot on the plane.

Now if you are planning to mail your purchases home sweet home yourself – here’s a few Hints & Tips on Packaging Your Items for Mailing Correctly:

  • Whether you are stuffing a suitcase or boxing items for shipping via courier, the principles remain the same – wrap and insulate correctly to avoid any damage in transit.
  • Protect each item against damp and dust by wrapping the item in a clean plastic bag.
  • If it is a framed artwork, use foam board and corner supports for additional protection.
  • Insulate the item in bubble-wrap, secured with packaging tape.
  • Use a new or strong, suitably sized box with the joins and seams reinforced.
  • Place packaging chips or other insulation within the box (scrunched up paper will do)
  • Place the wrapped item or items within the box, ensuring the items do not touch each other or the outer walls of the box
  • If you have customs documents, place duplicate copies within the box with your items.
  • If you are using a second-hand box, remove all old labels and barcodes from the box.
  • Seal the box with dedicated strong packaging tape.

Happy Shopping!
The Antiques Diva®

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

Les Merveilles de Babellou

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Dear Diva Readers,

I love Paris in the Spring time… I love Paris in the Fall.  Paris is perhaps the city where any Diva would feel most at home – it is the epitome of style and taste. It also happens to be one of our most popular tour cities at The Antiques Diva & Co. The Paris Flea Market alone is a huge draw as you can find almost any type of antique you are looking for – but for fashionista’s our Paris Vintage Fashion Tours are a dream come true.  I wanted to share with you today one special source Les Merveilles de Babellou.  This boutique is THE BEST source for vintage fashion in Paris! In fact, you can see a snippet of the store in a video we did last year for The Editor at Large when I ran into one of our Diva Guides while I was shopping the Puce on film with VIP Designers David Dalton and Jennifer Mehditash.

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

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

Isabelle Klein is one of our favorite dealers at “Marché Paul Bert”.  Her luxury vintage fashion boutique “Les Merveilles de Babellou” is actually bearing Isabelle’s  childhood nickname – Babellou! The store has the ambiance of an old time Paris boutique which transports customers to a time and place when Paris fashion was at its height. Top fashion brands of the twentieth century like Chanel, Hermes, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and many others fill the store, beckoning all who enter to take a piece of fashion history home with them.

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

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

Celebrities, stylists, and vintage fashion lovers can find clothing, haute-couture, accessories, and jewelry that elicit “oohs and ahhs.” If you’re looking to add to your collection or even purchase a special piece for an event, this is the place to find it! But inspiration can also be found on their website where you can click through stylish and rare pieces from the comfort of your home. All products in the store and online are guaranteed to be authentic and of good quality.

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

If you happen to be in Paris, stop in and tell them The Antiques Diva sent you—or better yet, take one of our Paris Vintage Fashion Tours and shop on the arm of one of our lovely Diva Guides! If you’d like information on our Paris Tours, email us at [email protected].

Au revoir,

The Antiques Diva®  

Hermes Art

2 Comments on Hermes Art

Dear Diva Readers,

So here’s my confession du jour. I have a few vices.  I love to drive fast cars.  I drink way too much champagne. When I travel I’m known to pack 2 pairs of shoes for every day of the week  And I adore vintage fashion.  While my feet dance an Italian beat – pounding out the syllables of Ferragamo, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana – my head and shoulders are purely dedicated to all things French…  at night when I sleep visions of vintage Chanel and Hermes dance through my head.  And while I love draping myself in the glamorous style of the past, I love even more when I can Decorate Diva Style using Vintage Fashion as Art!

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

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

Every once in a while we come across something so special on our tours that we know we MUST tell you about them.  At the Paris Flea Market we recently found a set of 10 framed original sketches of Hermes scarf patterns.  For years I’ve been encouraging clients to buy vintage Hermes and frame it for chic art – but this takes the cake!  These are the original drawings upon which the scarves were made!

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

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

The designs for the scarves were first sketched and then engraved into wood blocks which were used to produce the silk scarves. Over the years, different artists have been commissioned to create their own designs and more than 2,000 unique designs have been produced since 1937. Often incorporating bold hues, the subject matter of the scarf designs range from equestrian, to flora & fauna, to constellations! Many vintage designs are re-released in fresh color palettes.

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

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

Wouldn’t it be fun to own a piece of the company’s history? With our Buying Services you can!  We can shop on your behalf as your PERSONAL SHOPPER IN PARIS!   We love acting as your “(wo)man on the ground” throughout Europe, but especially when it comes to something as Diva-licious as vintage Hermes! We happen to know that the vendor selling these Hermes designs is retiring, which means we can negotiate a fantastic price for our clients.

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

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

Before I close…one last fashion fact!  Did you know that Hermes didn’t start out making women’s fashion? While their scarves have graced the heads and necks of fashion icons such as Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and even Queen Elizabeth II, the company began by creating harnesses and bridles for horses. After being in business for one hundred years, the company started designing scarves in 1937, made from the same silk that lined their riding jackets.  Paying homage to that particular time in the company, I went elephant trekking this past summer in Thailand and wore one of my Hermes as my headscarf!

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

I need to dash… I’ve got some shopping to do! But if you’re interested in a Paris Vintage Fashion Buying Tour or if you want more information on our Buying Services, email us at [email protected]. We’d love to help you source exactly what you’re looking for!

Be chic, Be fashionable, and do it with Diva Style!
The Antiques Diva® 

(seen here in my “new” vintage fox fur stole purchased this weekend while vintage fashion shopping in Berlin)

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

First Impressions Matter – Decorating the Foyer

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

We’ve all heard that saying and it’s been around for a reason—it’s true! We all make snap judgements—good or bad— based on first impressions. We see with our eyes, feel with our touch, smell with our noses, hear with our ears—basically we use our 5 senses to make a judgment whenever we encounter something for the first time. And the reality is that first impressions DO MATTER-especially when it comes to the home. Each time you open your door to a friend, neighbor, colleague, even yourself, the first impression should be one of comfort and it should reflect your tastes and personality.

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

The foyer is the ideal place to create a vignette and atmosphere that shows off your style. This is where you can BE DRAMATIC!!! BE BOLD! SPLASH IT WITH COLOR and SET THE TONE TO YOUR HOME!  In my own home, my entry way is small leading towards a stairwell… but a small space doesn’t mean you can’t be big on style. I put in a Spanish secretaire that’s older than America (with original paint) and painted the space (even the ceiling) a moody black – hung some dramatic art and accessories… et voila, when people enter my home they know they are entering an experience.

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

Whether your entry way is big or small, once anyone crosses your threshold, they should be welcomed into your world.

First things first— get a nice table to set things upon like keys, purses, gloves, etc. This can be a gorgeous antique console table or if your space allows, a statement center table which can also hold a beautiful bouquet of flowers that smell delightful—see we’re already involving the senses!

Speaking of the senses, don’t forget about “touch.” There should be at least a chair or bench at the ready for guests who want to remove their shoes. This doesn’t necessarily have to be something plush or super comfortable, as it isn’t an area of the house where anyone spends much time. Rather, this piece should be a place to perch for a moment, which means it can be more decorative.

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

Anything that resembles clutter should be hidden in the foyer. If you have a closet, outfit it with shelves or baskets to hide things like hats, gloves, coats, shoes, umbrellas, and other necessities. If you don’t have a closet, consider using hooks on the wall or a coat rack, along with beautiful baskets (perhaps antique) to store things in.

Lighting is also important – if ceiling height allows – go for a chandelier baby!  Or add a couple of buffet lamps to your console table or even a few candle holders for ambiance.

A mirror is the ideal piece for an entryway as it allows you to “check yourself out” before leaving the house and also gives guests an opportunity to tidy their hair when arriving on a windy day. Not to mention, mirrors reflect light and add sparkle to any space.

Antiques Diva Home Netherlands, Toma Clark Haines Apartment

Of course, a rug is necessary especially in the winter months when snow and dirt are dragged into the house. Opt for something that’s durable and easy to clean. Antique rugs are perfect for foyers as they were made to withstand lots of use and often incorporate beautiful colors and classic patterns.

However you choose to decorate your foyer, keep in mind that it must be functional and beautiful. A place to wipe feet, a spot to sit down and remove shoes, an area to store coats and other accessories, a mirror to check your appearance, and a table to sit things down are all necessary pieces to the puzzle that will create a perfect entrance to your home—your world!

Happy decorating,

The Antiques Diva® 

Antique Belgian Chocolate Molds

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Dear Diva Readers,

Hippity Hop Hop! Hippity Hop Hop! Easters on its way!!  It’s hard to believe that it’s already officially spring time! That means that Easter is almost upon us and that’s got me thinking about Easter baskets. You know what I think stinks? Is that as adults we no longer wake up to an Easter basket. This year I might just have to buy myself my own basket!!!!  And of course not only would I fill it full of chocolate and candy but I’d also add in some antique Belgian chocolate molds so the gift just keeps on giving throughout the year.  Incidentally Brussels’ Place de Grand Sablon Flea Market is THE PLACE to find these molds. In fact the largest vendors of antique chocolate molds in the entire world has a stand right there at the antiques market!

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

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

Antique chocolate molds were traditionally in the shapes of butterflies, bunnies, and eggs along with various other shapes which developed over time. As with many utilitarian items, these molds became more and more decorative as time went on. The detail and craftsmanship has improved over many years, yet their original purpose is still served—to create yummy and gorgeous chocolates! They come as single molds, which are usually larger, or tray-like moulds which allow you to make several of the same shape at once.

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

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

Another fantastic thing about antique molds is that they make beautiful decorative accents. With many of them being made of metal, which takes on such a wonderful patina, they can be hung in mass on a kitchen wall to create an interesting focal point. You can also use them on a plate shelf as objects of interest. From copper to tin, these molds have been around in grand kitchens as well as humble abodes throughout Europe.

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

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

Of course if you’re a serious collector, you’ll want to look for a maker’s mark (stamp) and definitely take into consideration the condition of the molds you find. Another factor that plays into the value of each mold is the rarity of its shape. Most antique molds were made in France and Germany, then exported all over Europe. From the early 18th century through modern times, chocolate molds have evolved and reflected the style of each era. For instance, earlier molds were very detailed in Victorian times while during the Art Deco era they became more streamlined with an air of fantasy.

If you’d like information on taking one of our Antique Buying Tours in Belgium or any of our 8 European tour countries, email us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!

Happy Easter,

The Antiques Diva®  

Come Hear Me Speak at High Point!

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Dear Diva Readers,

Are you heading to High Point Market?  If so then you won’t want to miss me at the Antique & Design Center of High Point where I will be doing 2 events!

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

Saturday, April 18th, 4pm at The Antique & Design Center
As owner of Europe’s largest antiques touring and buying service company, The Antiques Diva & Co takes you on a tour of the major antique periods and styles to identify their key characteristics, utilizing modern day metaphors and featuring inventory found at the Antique and Design Center in High Point. No passport required. See you there!

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

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

Have you ever wondered just how those incredible antique finds end up on the covers of your favorite shelter magazines and in the showrooms of the top designers? Well, we’re here to uncover their past, reinvent their present and revitalize them for the future. Join Toma, Melissa, Cari and Heather as they discuss the journey from flea market find to show stopping favorite. The discussion will focus on just how the vintage and antique pieces are sourced by dealers, then how their histories are revealed through research and restoration, going forward the panel will discuss the marketing of vintage and antique finds and how the interior design community has been at the forefront of the resurgence of popularity of these pieces, and they’ll also discuss how those vintage and antique pieces are placed in homes, showrooms and how they wind up on the pages of our favorite shelter magazines.

Join us for a fun and lively discussion on the Secret Lives of Antiques!

You already know me – Toma Clark Haines aka, The Antiques Diva CED (that would be Chief Executive Diva) of Europe’s favorite antique buying tours – Melissa Mittag is an expert on antique and contemporary wall coverings and is a representative for Fromental llc, Cari Cucksey is an HGTV personality and has her own line of paints, Heather Karlie Vieira is a vintage and antique dealer with a showroom on the South Shore of Boston called @20th Century by HKFA.

See you there,
The Antiques Diva®

Vintage Chanel Gets an Upgrade

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

My dear friend Catherine, a social media expert and content curator, and I have known each other for ages.  We lived in Paris together back at the start of the millineum and have been shopping the world together ever since.  She was with me when my I first developed my passion for Chanel and so I was so excited when she emailed me recently to say she was lucky to be gifted a vintage Chanel camera bag for Christmas.  It was everything she was looking for….

  • black lambskin
  • quilted patent leather
  • tassel
  • gold chain strap
  • front outer pocket with CC logo
  • inside zip pocket

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

The bag was perfect for life in the city: the right size to hold a wallet, smart phone, keys and lipstick. Not too big or heavy, waterproof for year-round walking the streets of NYC. And it would fit easily inside her LV shopper carry-on when traveling.

She had been coveting the purse for several weeks, but with the holidays coming it wasn’t the time to buy herself a gift. But Santa’s helper must have whispered in her husband’s ear, because on Christmas morning the little black bag was hers! All Hers!

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

Catherine writes,

“We were heading out for dinner, and I decided it was a good night to try out my new bag. The bag looked stunning against my black and gold coat: as a shoulder bag. The chain strap was simply too short to use as a cross-body, the purse rested snugly above my waist. Living in the city I strongly prefer the convenience of a cross-body purse, easy for hands-free walking, subway rides and carrying groceries home.

The next few days I did some online research and discovered Mautto, makers of purse straps, replacement straps and handbag accessories. After studying their prices and photos, I ordered a 12” strap extender made of gold chain and black leather with mini hooks. $31.00 less 10% first-time customer coupon, for $27.90 shipping included. Express delivery is available starting at $12.99.

Because I decided to travel after I ordered the strap extender, I emailed Lynette, the owner of Mautto, and changed my shipping address. Lynette couldn’t have been nicer or more prompt with her response: perfect customer service.

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

The strap arrived in less than 2 weeks (with another 10% discount coupon), and I easily attached it to my Chanel chain strap with the tiny gold hooks. The length is perfect: my cross-body now rests comfortably on my hip. And you can barely notice where the strap extender attaches to the original chain strap.

I have a myrtille blue Louis Vuitton Speedy bag and have been searching to find a matching strap; unfortunately LV discontinued the myrtille color a few years ago. I’ll be purchasing my strap from Mautto – with the 10% discount coupon!

Thanks, Lynette!

The Details:

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

The Mautto website is easy to use with lots of pictures and examples of their custom straps and extenders. A blog, photo gallery and tips make it easy to pick your best solution from the literally hundreds of combinations possible – Mautto has dozens of colors, metals, hook styles, and accessories to choose from. They also provide custom solutions to your designer bag strap dilemmas.”

At The Antiques Diva & Co we love vintage fashion and we love repurposing items to fit modern day living!! What an excellent idea Catherine shared!  How are you repurposing your vintage fashion items?

The Antiques Diva®

U.S. Antique Shows Partners with Antique Young Guns

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Dear Diva Readers,

Attention! Attention! You’ve heard me wax poetically about The Antique Young Guns – those wild and zany dealers from the UK.  But we’ve got great news! The Antique Young Guns is coming to America!!! Yep – American dealers under the age of 39 are now able to become Young Guns too!

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

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

This weekend our friends at U.S. Antique Shows will be announcing their strategic alliance with our friends at Antiques Young Guns U.K. at the Pier Antique Show in NYC at a press conference.  In fact, our very own Divo Andrew Skipper who works at Antiques Diva headquarters will be acting as the ambassador for the Antique Young Guns U.K. based group. How fitting since Andrew is the first bi-continental member, splitting his time between Europe and America where he is from.

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

The exclusive licensing agreement will allow U.S. Antique Shows to promote growth, education, and exposure to those in the trade, 39 years old or younger, to an international audience of antiques enthusiasts. The partnership will help develop the next generation of antique dealers and those involved in the antiques trade, which means more connections between the U.K. and U.S.A. Our U.K. Diva Agent Gail McLeod is one of the founders of Antiques Young Guns U.K. which currently boasts almost 100 members along with many established “alumni” acting as mentors to the younger members of the association. Other benefits of membership include online exposure through the Antiques Young Guns marketplace, several buying and selling events throughout the year, and additional recognition in numerous trade and national publications. Members also have the opportunity to win a variety of awards including Antiques Young Gun of the Year.

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

The new Antiques Young Guns U.S.A. will host a press conference at the Pier Antique Show, March 28 at 9:30 a.m. which will provide more details on the U.S. program. The Antiques Diva & Co would like to congratulate both groups as many of our friends, sources, and Guides are associated with them. We can’t wait to see what this bridge across the pond will bring for the next generation of antique enthusiasts! Long live antiques!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®  

Shabby Is The New Chic in Provence

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Dear Diva Readers,

Our lovely Antiques Diva Guide in Provence is Caren. Today she’s sharing a bit about why antiquing is so much more exciting than simply shopping big box stores—especially in Provence where markets have constantly changing inventory! She even shares some of her favorite places to score antiques.

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

Diva Guide Caren writes:

“Antiquing… it’s so much more exciting than just shopping. It’s like looking for hidden treasure. You’re never sure what you will find and it’s often not in plain view, but when you discover the right piece, you know it’s a keeper. For most of us, shopping is a chore. Not so with antiquing. In a world where so many of the stores pump out the same old, same old, it is a breath of refreshing air to be in Provence with daily possibility of shopping at a market.

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

And remember, nowadays, even top fashion houses are looking to combine shabby with chic. When you’re antiquing you won’t see the same brand names that are found in high streets, airports and shopping malls the world over. The French markets are a daily and weekly delight, brimming with fresh local produce and handicrafts.

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

If you’re looking for a bargain or something that won’t be found in any of the high street shops, it’s the Puce or Flea markets, the Brocante (Second Hand goods) and the Vide-Greniers (literally, Empty Attics,) which are the ones to seek out.

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

Some Flea Markets take place on a regular basis and the stallholders are mostly professional dealers, but the Brocante and Vide-Greniers sales tend to be held only occasionally. Vide-Greniers normally attract private sellers who in the UK might attend a Car Boot Sale or in the US would hold a Yard Sale. Really big Vide-Greniers may attract hundreds of sellers and thousands of bargain hunters. This is the place to find collectables or pick up a bargain— something that you won’t find at any chain store.

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

The great news is, that if you’re in Provence, there’s a flea market to be found every day of the week. Here’s a list of some of the Antique markets.

Saturday: Villeneuve les Avignon.

One of my favorites is held every Saturday morning across the Rhone from Avignon. Moderate in size, it is held in the car park underneath the ancient fortress of Villeneuve. Between 80 and 100 vendors set up here, offering a wide range of items, many with a focus on Provence. Buyers who own shops in the near-by Isle sur la Sorgue come here in search of a bargain.  Provençal ceramics, pots, linens, agricultural tools and clocks.  A great market where you might well make an interesting discovery, and at a reasonable price.

 

Sunday: Carpentras – parking des Platanes

Carpentras is approximately 30 km north of Avignon.  Late on a Sunday mornings a delightful flea market unfolds in a lovely tree-lined parking area– parking des Platanes.  It starts around 10.00 am and it’s a preferred meeting place for some of the more serious collectors: those who a happy to do their own digging. Here you often have to rummage through boxes and crates to find your treasure. Between  130 to 150 vendors set up and often, they are selling their own belongings, which fall more into the category of “second-hand” than “collectable”. The variety in terms of wares and prices is huge, with an emphasis on the rustic and every day, rather than on up market decorative objects. If you are looking for something really unusual and surprising, this is one of the best places to find it, though you will have to expend some energy in the process.

This is the perfect flea market for someone to dig around and hunt for something special and affordable!

Also on Sunday…

Aubagne: Antique market: last Sunday of every month at the Marche de Gros, quartier de la Tourtelle

Isle sur-la-Sorgue: Antique and flea market: every Sunday all along the avenue des 4 Otages, in the village centre

 

Monday:  Nice – Cours Saleya

There are about 200 vendors here until to mid-afternoon. Cours Saleya is just behind the Promenade des Anglais and it’s a great place to rummage.  The market is mostly high quality, but treasure hunters can often find a special something. Many items have also found their way here from across the Italian border which makes for an interesting mélange and some vendors speak English, as well as Italian.  Lots of silver, vintage clothing, posters, nautical and travel items and ceramics.

 

Tuesday and Thursday: Aix en Provence, Place Verdun in the mornings

 

Wednesday : Pernes les Fontains
Antique market in the morning in the car-park at the centre of the village

 

Friday: Toulon
A Brocante market at Place du Théâtre in the morning

 

If you would like more information on an Antiques Diva Provence Tour, email us at [email protected].

Au revoir et Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva® 

UK

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Dear Diva Readers,

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to travel all over the world and meet the most interesting people. Recently, we partnered with Steve Nobel and took a VIP group of interior designers on an Antiques Diva England Tour. Of course, our local Diva Agent Gail was able to help us find the perfect places to eat and perhaps do a little sight-seeing in between our shopping appointments. While on tour we dined at The Village Pub at Barnsley, just outside the Cotswolds town of Cirencester. This local pub is at the heart of village life and is in fact owned by the same company that owns nearby Barnsley House.

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

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

Barnsley House was the home of one of the area’s premier lady gardeners, Rosemary Verey. Our Diva Agent Gail used to sell to her daughter Denzil who ran a small garden antiques shop in the grounds— what a small world! The house is now an extremely stylish Cotswolds hotel, which also features a restaurant on the premises. Visitors can tour the expertly maintained grounds which include knot gardens, ornamental fruit, and vegetable gardens.

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

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

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

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

The Village Pub where our group dined is much in the same vein as Barnsley House and sits on the enchanting Cotwolds High Street in Barnsley.  The traditional country pub has been refurbished but still retains a cozy atmosphere complemented by excellent service. They’ve reworked classic English dishes, bringing tradition into the 21st century.

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

If you find yourself in the area for a few days, another house turned hotel owned by the same company is Calcot Manor which is on the other side of Tetbury and a popular place for US visitors. Complete with a spa, this hotel may be the place to end your Buying Tour with a little R&R!

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

If you’re planning an Antiques Diva Buying Tour in the UK, be sure to ask us for suggestions on dining and hotels. We’d be delighted to recommend places that our locally based Guides trust and know. For more information, email us at [email protected].

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva® 

Use Antiques to Make Your Home Feel Like a Luxury Hotel

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

mandarin oriental

Mandarin Oriental

 

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

Blake hotel london

Blake Hotel, London

 

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

Siam Bangkok

Siam Bangkok

 

hotel crillon paris

Hotel Crillon, Paris

 

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

hotel ritz madrid

Hotel Ritz, Madrid

 

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

Il Salviatino's

Il Salviatino’s

 

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

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

Happy decorating,

The Antiques Diva®

Villeroy & Boch

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

Villeroy & Boch dinner at Villa Kennedy

 

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Louis Guntrum Winery

 

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

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

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

 

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

Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt

 

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

Deco Porter Blogger Jennifer Mehditash Strikes a Pose with Villeroy & Boch, BlogTourFrankfurt, Modenus, Veronika Miller, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Villa Kennedy, Best hotels in Frankfurt, Villeroy & Boch, Louis Guntrum, German Wine, Ambiente, World’s Largest Furniture Fair

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

 

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

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

Villa Kennedy Villeroy & Boch

 

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

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

The Antiques Diva® 

Villa Necchi Campiglio

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ciao Bella!

The Antiques Diva® 

The English Library

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

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

highclere castle downabbey,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheerio,

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

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

Euro at 12 Year Low!

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

EUROS

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

The Antiques Diva®

Using Antique and Vintage Lighting

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

chandeliers antiques diva home in berlin, Decorating with lighting fixtures, antique lighting fixtures, vintage lighting fixtures, decorating tips, Antiques Diva Interior Decorating, Chandeliers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shine brightly,

The Antiques Diva® 

Creating a Bedroom Sanctuary

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

Decorating a bedroom, Decorating tips,

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

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

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

Decorating a bedroom, Decorating tips,

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

former bedroom, Decorating a bedroom, Decorating tips,

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

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

Happy decorating,

The Antiques Diva® 

IACF Love Antiques

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Antiques Diva® 

Decorating with Antique Textiles

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay warm,

The Antiques Diva® 

Antique Sourcing in Belgium

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

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

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

Leopold_III_van_België_(1934)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Antiques Diva® 

Collecting Antique Artwork

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Dear Diva Readers,

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

Tips on buying artwork, Collecting antique art, decorating with art, antiques diva tips, Toma Clark Haines Artwork

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artfully yours,

The Antiques Diva®