With my job as CEO of The Antiques Diva® & Co travel is my job- organizing and leading antique buying tours in 15 countries in Europe, Asia and America – I’m sometimes on the road for 3 months at a stretch and regularly buy round-the-world airline tickets -they save me money and time, and often help me score upgrades to 1st class. I literally live out of my suitcases!!! I bounce from hotel to AirBnB to friends’ guestrooms, taking clients on With my job as CEO of The Antiques Diva® & Co travel is my job- organizing and leading antique buying tours in 15 countries in Europe, Asia and America – I’m sometimes on the road for 3 months at a stretch and regularly buy round-the-world airline tickets -they save me money and time, and often help me score upgrades to 1st class, like my recent flight above to Argentina. I literally live out of my suitcases!!! I bounce from hotel to AirBnB to friends’ guestrooms, researching new tours and making new antique vendor contacts, taking clients on tour and meeting with the press, speaking at conferences, and sourcing the world’s best antique vendors. All this travel means I’ve become a whiz at packing. In fact my suitcase (er, make that “suitcases” depending upon the number of shoes I pack) practically packs itself. Previously I’ve shared with you some of my packing tips learned from my experience on the road the past 20 years. Today Rome Antiques Diva Guide Désirée shares some of her travel advice. (Désirée is our one of our vintage fashion experts: she has amazing fashion style and knowledge and secret resources in vintage fashion with her background as a costume designer and makeup artist. You must must book a Rome vintage fashion tour!)
10 Pieces of Travel Advice from a Diva Guide
#1 Enrich your in-between moments.
Travel can be hard- you are away from everything familiar to you. Flying can be overwhelming and long periods of sitting can be unbearable. Travel with the things that make you happy. Wear your favorite wrap or shawl and bring cozy socks on the plane. Download movies, or research the in-flight movie list and make a plan (you don’t want to end up watching a talking animal movie because you were sick of flipping through your choices). Pick up amazing treats and eats at the airport. I love to buy macaroons in the Paris airport and eat them on the plane. I also bring stationary and catch up on correspondence on the flight. Plan for all of these details and it gives me little things to look forward to throughout the journey.
#2 Get your ZZZZZ’s under control!
Toma Clark Haines says it’s the secret to her high energy! Learn to sleep with earplugs and a sleep mask and you can sleep anywhere in the world. Develop a plan for jet lag, so that you can make the most of your time on holiday.
#3 Carry an empty water bottle on airplanes.
Fill your bottle once you get through security and keep it with you. Staying hydrated may seem like unoriginal advice- but it is an essential part of traveling well.
#4 Bring something to read.
I love using my Kindle because it is so light, but even if you have to carry your belongings on your back, a book is always worth it.
#5 Keep a piece of citrus fruit in your carry-on luggage.
When I have reached ‘that point’ in the flight where the space and the food and the people are getting to me, the smell and flavor of an orange is a huge boost to my mood and my immune system.
#6 Disaster-proof your trip.
Bring extra passport photos and clearly mark your luggage. Passport photos are so easy to pick up in any big city, don’t wait until you need them, to buy them. Mark your bags with fun luggage tags and easily identifiable details. And finally… take a photo on your phone of your luggage at the airport. If something doesn’t arrive, it will be much easier to describe your bag to the customer service representative.
#7 Know the culture of tipping at your destination.
For example, in Italy leave yellow change (small copper) for a cup of coffee and a couple of euros for a meal. This is an easy detail to research before you leave home and will keep you from insulting the customer service at your destination.
#8 Learn a few words of the native language.
It helps open up the dialogue with the locals. Make interacting with you as painless as possible. I have found that most people are very receptive to my efforts. There are always exceptions.
#9 Know yourself.
Understand what you CANNOT live without and bring it with you. I always bring my own chapstick and shampoo because I am picky. However I am easy going about food and am willing to try almost anything twice (once for adventure, twice to be sure). If you are really picky about food, bring some rations with you so that you won’t be miserable.
#10 Book a tour with a DIVA!
Chances are a guide from The Antiques Diva® & Co knows just the best nooks and crannies of a city you are visiting and can give you an insiders view. This will save you TIME which is our most precious resource – especially while traveling.
DREAMING OF A TRIP TO ITALY?
BOOK AN ANTIQUES, DESIGN INSPIRATION OR VINTAGE FASHION TRIP
This time last year, I was planting my rooftop terrace garden in Berlin. In my new home in Venice I don’t have a terrace or balcony: but I do have large sunny windows that open on one side to the canal where I hear the musicians at the Conservatory rehearse Verdi, Puccini and Rossini and the gondoliers passing below humming Buonosera Signorina, Buonosera. Each Saturday morning I visit the Mercato di Rialto to buy fresh flowers along with my produce and vegetables. Nearby I’m lucky to have several florists with cut flowers and plants. My Venetian home may not have an outdoor space, but my home always has flowers. To me, flowers are a hallmark of gracious living. Mimi’s history of antique Provençal pots takes me back the beautiful gardens and countryside of my days living in France. I’ll be back soon…
Spring is truly here! It’s Antiques Week in Round Top, Texas, and Lolo and I (along with Cole and Louis) set up shop once again in Tent D at the Arbors. There are wonderful treasures to be found, great people to meet and see, and inspiration all around us. This is Texas Hill Country after all – and the roadsides are awash in color. All along the highways, cars can be seen pulling off the road – doors flying open and people spilling out with their phones held high like concert groupies. What in the world has everyone stopping in their tracks? It’s not antiques. It’s Flowers. Miles and miles of wildflowers. Beguiled by the bold and brilliant blooms, I can’t help but smile, and join in the laughter at the joy everyone is experiencing from the sight of people, young and old, posing and picture taking in fields and pastures of blue and red (reminiscent of the French flag!)
While these Texas bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush are beautiful signs that spring has sprung, it isn’t officially spring for me until I’m back at home and the empty planters around my pool are all planted. Nothing quite says spring like a weathered Biot jarre or an aged Anduze pot spilling over with a profusion of colorful blooms. Filled with geraniums set amongst rambling roses or climbing vines, topiary boxwoods or fragrant lavender, potted citrus or olive trees, jarres de Biot and vases d’Anduze always make an impressive display – whether in groupings or standing alone, inside or out.
These Provençal pots, considered iconic symbols of French garden decor, are an elegant yet charming addition to any garden or home. They both conjure up images of grand chateaux, manicured gardens, and the South of France.
Named for the picturesque Medieval village of Anduze in the Cévennes mountains in the South of France, the vase d’Anduze was created in 1610 by a local potter named Boisset. Drawing inspiration from Italian Medici vases he saw at a fair in Beaucaire, he created his version of the famous inverted bell-shaped pot in a flamed color with a glaze applied in green, brown, and straw hat yellow streaks. Floral garlands, a stamped medallion with the potter’s signature, and other refined decorations embellished each pot. Pots are still being made in the Languedoc-Roussillon by artisans in the same way as the old Anduze family craftsmen.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Anduze pots were only found on the estates of the wealthiest of the wealthy. And at Versailles. The vases d’Anduze became en vogue when Marie-Antoinette lined the formal gardens and terraces of Versailles (perhaps the first container garden of note) with them and decorated the Orangeries with hundreds and hundreds of the shapely glazed planters.
Designed to showcase the potted orange and lemon trees found in the gardens and orangeries of aristocrats and nobles, production of the beautiful terracotta planters dropped dramatically during the French Revolution (1789-1799) when most of the factories in Anduze closed. With only a few artisans and factories remaining, the vase d’anduze became a rare commodity – one of the reasons the crusty old 18th and 19th century pots are so coveted and expensive today! There are a limited number of original, authentic Anduze pots made, with few vestiges of the dark green glaze remaining, along with a barely legible signature.
After the Revolution, the nouveau riche silk merchants in the Anduze region (those who sold to the Lyon textile industry) began designing and creating their own private gardens and parks. They demonstrated their newly acquired wealth by purchasing the most exotic plants and trees possible, such as sequoias, shipped in from California, and bamboo from China. The really successful were able to grow the orange tree, which had at one time only been grown at Versailles. The orange trees were planted in these beautiful large (and heavy) glazed pots, as they had to winter indoors. The Anduze pots grew in popularity as more French artisans began creating the style, adding their own flourishes.
Unlike the strictly decorative Anduze pots that served no real purpose, except to bring joy and beauty to the homes and gardens of those lucky enough to afford them, the famous earthenware jarres de Biot were used to store flour, and preserve and transport olives and olive oil before they became popular as “jarres pour le jardin.”
Named after the coastal village of Biot, near Cannes in the South of France, Biot jarres are handmade, without a mold or wheel, using the ancient technique of rope thrown pottery.
Made from a mixture of red and grey clays to achieve the desired color, the jarres are distinctive for both their classic shape and for the colorful drips of glaze, known as “mother-in-laws’ tears,” that occur when the glaze of one jar drips onto another jar during the firing process.
The most unique feature of the Biot jarre, however, is the honey colored glaze at the neck of the jar that prevented insects and varmints from climbing inside the jar and into the olives or olive oil. (YUCK!)
It’s this handmade process – the rim glaze color, the “mother-in-law-tears,” and the classic shape – that make the jarres de Biot, in production since the 16th century, so special and desirable.
Thank goodness you don’t have to be Marie Antoinette or Louis Seize to enjoy the amazing variety of fruits, flowers, and veggies or shapes, colors, and fragrances that can be grown in these fabulous pots. And don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and mix it up. Just like the French mix different styles of antiques in their homes, they often blend formal with informal and mix beauty and utility in their gardens.
I’ll be in Sweet Home Alabama soon! Sitting on the deck sipping iced tea or relaxing by the pool with a glass of chilled rosé. It won’t be long until I can enjoy the fruits of my labor. I can’t wait to start planting!
Chattic & The Antiques Diva Make Collecting Cool with Real-Time Appraisals from the Miami Beach Antique Show #chatticlive
I recently attended The Original Miami Beach Antique Show for the first time and was gobsmacked by the size of the show and the sheer number of antique dealers onsite! Diva heaven! In addition to leading a tour of the show, I teamed up with Nicole Sawyer and Dan Thieleman, the founders at Chattic, a new way to ‘value your old stuff,’ to lead a series of Facebook Lives for Chattic! I’m on a mission to make antiques modern and relevant to younger people: and I believe technology is key! I was super-excited to introduce this new technology at the show with some real-life appraisals of people’s collectibles – right in their own home! Just as Chattic believes The Antiques Diva® & Co is the new Antiques Roadshow, I’m convinced Chattic is the new way to value your old stuff. The IOS App is coming soon – Chattic invites you to be the first to beta test the app. Go to www.askchattic.com and enter your email address – tell them The Antiques Diva® sent you!
New App Teaches You How to Value Vintage & Antique Treasures
Chattic, The Antiques Diva and The Original Miami Beach Antique show announced are all on a mission to make collecting cool and bring the antiques and vintage industry into the 21st century.
Chattic teamed up with legendary appraisers Stuart Slavid from Skinner Auctioneers who is also a regular expert on the PBS series The Antiques Roadshow, and Paul Haig founder of Haig’s of Rochester – Fine Jewelry & Objects of Art, to bring #ChatticLive; a digital TV show streamed on Facebook Live to provide viewers’ answers from experts on demand by simply sending in digital photos of their unique vintage and antique finds.
Nicole and Toma explained,
This is the first time users have had the opportunity to interact in real time, for free, with world-renowned experts in the antiques industry without leaving the comfort of their homes.
On Chattic, users can snap photos of their items and post them on the app for crowd-sourced feedback.
WATCH The Antiques Diva challenge Stuart Slavid to a Burlesque dance-off and Chattic users get answers simply by snapping photos of their unique items.
During #ChatticLive Stuart gave users actionable tips on posting photos for online appraisals.
Stuart Slavid’s Online Appraisal Tips:
- TAKE A CLEAR PICTURE:
Look at the picture yourself make sure you can see whatever information you want to portray.
- SEND SEVERAL PICTURES:
Don’t just send one picture, take several from every angle. Snap photos of the top, bottom, sides, front, back. Vague photos mean a much longer conversation than need be.
- SEND AS MANY DETAILS AS POSSIBLE:
Elaborate on the condition, dimensions, and take close-up photos of signatures or any distinguishing marks.
- TAKE SIZE COMPARISON PHOTOS:
Take a photograph of your piece next to something standard like a soda can or cell phone to give the appraiser an idea of relative size.
Chattic user Amy from Indiana learned her two vases were actually Chinese Republic porcelain, roughly 100 years old with a value of $800-$1200! Congrats to Amy!
Chattic user Halina from Florida sent photos of a unique piece of jewelry that her father-in-law found in a New York City cab in the 1950’s. For the first time in nearly 70 years, she finally got answers on this mysterious treasure.
How do you think technology can be used to keep antiques relevant to younger buyers – I’d love to hear your ideas!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Toma Clark Haines is Taking Over!
Follow Toma Clark Haines at High Point Market on April 17 for Spring Market
as she shares what’s hot, inspiring and trending on the HPMKT Instagram page:
Toma will be joined by other notable industry influencers Kelli Ellis, Joann Kandrac and Kelly Kole on April 17, as well as other trend-spotters throughout HPMKT.
Antique shipping and insurance are the least sexy parts of my job – but one of the most critical aspects to antique and design professionals who need to make a profit on their investment. Sourcing antiques like a pro isn’t simply knowing where to buy antiques: Interior designers, antique dealers, landscape architects and other design professionals not only source antiques in Europe, they also need to make sure their purchases make it safely home! I spoke to a room of design professionals on How to Source Antiques like the Pros with interior designers Robert Passal and Garrow Kedigian at an event at the D&D Building hosted by The Robert Allen Duralee Group.
(The event was streamed on Facebook LIVE by Aspire magazine, watch here.)
One hot topic the audience asked the panel was, What insurance do I need for international antiques shipping?
Do I need insurance for international antiques shipping?
International shipping of antiques can be intimidating. Your shipping company will try to make shipping the antiques you purchased in Europe back to the US as simple as possible – but the reality is, shipping is always difficult. The reality is, something can always go wrong with shipping. If you’re shipping antiques from Europe to the US, make sure you have insurance. Don’t automatically assume your shipper has booked your insurance. If you don’t ask, most shippers don’t insure.
And while your shipper can book your insurance – you also have the right to book it yourself. Design expert Garrow Kedigian shared that he uses Chubb insurance company – and in his experience damaged piece claims are quickly resolved. Audience member and interior designer Justin Shaulis said he always buys American insurance when shipping antiques from Europe to the US as he feels it simplifies the process having his own insurer he sourced rather than working through the shipper. (And he also recommends Chubb!)
The Antiques Diva Insurance Tips for International Antiques Shipping
How likely is it that goods will be damaged in transit?
You should know that damage IS ALWAYS A RISK. There are so many parties involved in getting your goods home that the odds of damage occurring are simply high. A general rule of thumb with shipping… expect there to be a problem regardless of who your shipper is – and be prepared in the event of damage – and then be pleasantly surprised when there are none!
We always recommend that international buyers thoroughly document and photograph all your items before packing so that the state of each item before shipping can be used as a reference should you need proof for insurance. Photograph the item with the Shipping Tag on the item.
There are A LOT of hands handling your inventory from the time you buy until the time you receive it
- First of all, after you’ve written your PO and tagged your purchase, the vendor usually moves the item out of his store to his warehouse to wait for it to be collected by the shipper.
- The shipper then sends a truck to collect the goods which are transported to the shipping warehouse.
- The goods are then packed in the warehouse and loaded into a container.
- The container is then transported to port.
- The container gets moved on to the ship.
- The ocean creates its own set of obstacles depending on the weather.
- If you have LCL then they have to then be unpacked and examined for customs at the port destination.
- Then your goods have to be loaded into a truck and transported to your destination. .If you’ve purchased an entire container the container is delivered to your door for you to unpack yourself.
- Finally, if you’ve contracted for our White Glove Service the goods have to be unloaded from the truck, unpacked and placed according to your wishes.
All said – there are several opportunities for damage to occur!
Better safe than sorry – Be insured!
What do I do if items have been damaged at some point during the life cycle of the delivery?
- The first thing you should do if you discover damage that wasn’t there when you made the purchase: take photos and contact your shipper.
- They work with you on determining the next steps regarding filing an insurance claim.
How does insurance work?
- Depending on the value of your goods being shipped, we normally advise the purchase of an “All Risk” insurance policy. Your shipper will coordinate the insurance. If using AD&CO Logistics – the art and antiques division of ALC – for example, the policy will be written by a broker in Antwerp.
- This specific coverage will be applicable for the same period of time in which you have purchased the shipping (e.g., Port to Port, Door to Door or White Glove). The coverage goes into effect the moment that your shipper collects your goods at the vendor.
- The coverage of the “All Risk” policy is 110% of the value of your goods and the cost of the policy is 1.5% times the value of your goods.
- The value of your goods is determined based on the amounts stated on the vendor invoices.
- There is generally a 150 EUR deductible per claim.
Do you have questions about how to get your antiques home? Contact us for international fine arts and antique shipping information and to get a quote:
ANTIQUES DIVA SHIPPING SERVICES
REQUEST A QUOTE
FAX: +32 (0)3 283 73 49 MOBILE: +32 (0)478 01 01 01
We’d love to take you on an antiques buying tour, and introduce you to our expert dealers and secret sources!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Sourcing antiques like a pro isn’t simply knowing where to buy antiques: Interior designers, antique dealers, landscape architects and other design professionals not only source antiques in Europe, they also must learn to authenticate the provenance of antiques and spot fakes! Not even experts can always spot a fake: a recent news story about a woodworker who fooled antique experts with a fake American secretary has everyone buzzing! I spoke to a room of design professionals on How to Source Antiques like the Pros with interior designers Robert Passal and Garrow Kedigian at an event at the D&D Building hosted by The Robert Allen Duralee Group.
(The event was streamed on Facebook LIVE by Aspire magazine, watch here.)
One hot topic the audience asked the panel was, How do I spot fake antiques?
How do I spot fake antiques?
First and foremost: Spotting fake antiques and reproductions that are being presented as real antiques takes practice – and even the experts can be fooled. One of my favorite stories is that the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has the largest collection of fake Rembrandts in the world! They did an exhibit a few years back of all their fake Rembrandts. The reality is they didn’t buy them as fakes: they thought they were buying real Rembrandts but found out later they were not. This just goes to show: Mistakes can happen to anyone.
What I say is buyer, beware. You should always do as much as you can to authenticate a piece, but even the most educated buyer can make a mistake. But my theory is, when you’re buying an antique, it comes down to:
- Do you love it?
- Is it a price you’re willing to pay?
- Are you willing to live with it even if it’s not what you think it is?
Buyer, Beware: How to Avoid Buying Fake Antiques
Some reproductions are over 100 years old, and antiques themselves! If you love it and its perfect for your needs, there’s nothing wrong with buying a reproduction or ‘fake antique’ – as long as you know it’s not an authentic antique and it’s not being misrepresented. One of the biggest trends in ‘fake antiques’ is when vendors use antique materials to create newly made pieces. An important question to ask is, “Is this a period piece? Or a style piece?” Unfortunately, there are dealers who will deliberately mislead a buyer. Here are some steps you can take to avoid buying fake antiques:
- Educate Yourself
Do your research before you shop and become familiar with the style of antiques you are shopping for.
Ask the dealer if the piece is a genuine antique, inquire about its provenance.
- Buy From Reputable Dealers
Most antique dealers love their business and are proud of their stock and reputation. They like talking about their inventory, and telling you how they acquired a piece and sharing their expertise.
Take a close look at any piece you are interested in buying. Do the joints look authentic? Are there signs of modern manufacturing methods? Are the selections – or the prices – too good to be true?
- Consult an Expert
At The Antiques Diva®, our job is to connect you to the right experts who have what you’re looking to buy.
Interior designer Robert Passal pointed out that with experience, you can usually tell an authentic antique from a fake. He added that sometimes reproductions aren’t so bad! Design expert Garrow Kedigian agreed that sometimes reproductions a good purchase: you have to understand decorative art versus antiques. It’s all about the style – sometimes a piece is perfect, even if it’s not an antique.
We’d love to take you on an antiques buying tour, and introduce you to our expert dealers and secret sources!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Flanders is the perfect tour for an antique dealer seeking to stock his store. Flanders offers many off the beaten path sources for antique shopping and a slew of trade-only warehouses and private sellers. Our local expert Antiques Diva Guide picks you up at your hotel and takes you antiquing in Flanders to our favorite vendors, exposing you to bargains on Napoleon III pieces as well as special finds from the 18th to 20th centuries. Flanders is one of our go-to destinations for antique dealers on the antiques trail. Booked in conjunction with several days on a South of France or England, this tour is ideal for antique dealers. One of my personal favorite antiquing destinations, Antiques Diva Flanders antique buying tours are sure to please!
Antiquing in Flanders
Flanders s the Dutch-speaking, northern portion of Belgium – where the local language is called Flemish. (The French-speaking part of Belgium is called Wallonia.) Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent and Tongeren are some of the best-known cities in Flanders. Today’s Flanders has been a part of Spain, France, Holland and Austria, and with its varied past was influenced by the whole of Europe in its furniture design. The region had a reputation for tolerance so refugees fleeing religious persecution settled here, bringing with them their own crafts and customs. For example, 17th C Flemish antiques have a Spanish influence as many of the craftsmen making furniture in Belgium at that time were Spanish refugees.
Flemish furniture was popular in and exported to England, where you still see it in many country homes – oak, heavy and with elaborate carving and the distinctive Flemish S scrolling. Over the centuries so many different people found refuge in Flanders, and today you can find many different styles including Louis XV, Louis XVI, Empire, Napoleon III, Spanish Colonial, Henri II, Willem III, Gustavian, Louis Philippe, Chippendale, Rustique, Baroque, Neo-Baroque, Lodewijk, Queen Anne, Bretonne… and more!
In Flanders you will find pieces from many periods and designs to meet any need – and our Diva Guides will who the best dealers, wholesalers and private sellers are:
- architectural salvage
- garden pieces and statuary
- art and objets d’art
- religious artifacts
- art deco
If you need to shop for antiques but don’t have time to travel to Europe, Antiques Diva Buying Services will work with you to source, purchase and ship pieces that meet your exact requirements.
Bruges Zandfeesten is one of the largest flea markets in Belgium, held three times per year: the 1st Sunday in July and August and the last Sunday in September – and its crowded with locals and tourists. Tongeren’s Sunday morning flea market has been booming for over 30 years, with bric-a-brac and curiosities as well as serious antiques. Many antique lovers are familiar with Brussel’s Sablon district with its amazing antique shops and galleries, but there is also a Brussel’s weekend antique market and a daily flea market on the Place de Jeu de Balle in the Marolles district. Your Antiques Diva Guide will create a custom itinerary based on your antique shopping requirements, budget and schedule that takes you to flea markets, small shops and dealers, antiques warehouses and private homes where the owner’s collection are available for sale.
Our Antiques Diva Guides are local experts – they know the dealers personally, have long-standing relationships with them and have sourced antiques at their shops for many years. Shopping with The Antiques Diva gives you insider access to the best antiques at the best prices. You have the shopping power of all our clients behind you – when antiques dealers see The Antiques Diva, they know we mean business! Our guides will translate, negotiate and help you find exactly what you are looking for, at a price you can afford. Then, we will help you ship it home either through our Antiques Diva shipping services partner or with your preferred shipper.
We’d love to see you in Flanders, where we’ll open our little black book full of restaurants, hotels, fashion, home decor and bien sur, antiques!
Flanders is a full day antiques tour and is available Tuesday – Sunday – and schedules perfectly with a France or Sweden tour!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Brexit has had an impact on buying antiques in the UK. In short, England has gone on sale for American buyers! Now is the best time to buy antiques in England. If you’re only going to shop one place, I would say shop in England. England is one-stop shopping – the best of France is already there. For hundreds of years, the Brits have been scouring the world collecting antiques. Our English Antiques Diva® Buying Agent Gail McLeod just might be the most connected woman in the world of antiques. She is owner of Google’s top-ranked antiques fair website Antiques News & Fairs, Editor in Chief of the Antiques are Green website, vice-chair of the new Antiques are Green Trade Association and co-founder of Antiques Young Guns.Today Gail is sharing the top UK antique trends last year and the 1st two months of 2018. You can shop these trends at the 30th annual Bath Decorative Antiques Fair in March, as well as other UK antique fairs, on an Antiques Diva England antiques buying tour.
Antique Trends in UK 2017
Here in England, we are blessed with a complete melting pot of inventory which has arrived on our shores from the Colonies and there has never been an occasion when I have been stumped by a request from a Diva client! Spanish Colonial period pieces for a Hollywood mansion? Step this way! A collection of gravestones and a church spire for a luxury theme park? No problem!
2017 saw some new trends following a few years of nonstop ghostly Nordic furniture and large-scale reclamation quests, with a thirst for more grown-up pieces including oak and mahogany. At the recent Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair at Battersea there was a complete stampede on the opening day on a stand selling what we call in England American export goods – writing boxes, tea caddies, oak framed mirrors, library accessories, oak framed botanical and sporting prints, barometers, brass and copper accessories.
The return to what was sold by the container load in the 80s and 90s is seen elsewhere in the decorative trade, French marble top confectioners’ tables, brass and iron bakers racks, faux bamboo armoires and chests of drawers, heavily carved fruitwood armoires, painted English chests of drawers and confit pots all selling like hot cakes.
Two recent Antiques Diva tours have been almost exclusively oak and mahogany small-scale furniture – joint stools, lamp tables, luggage stands, corner display cupboards, long sets of dining chairs, all available at such buyable prices – for now! When the market demands these piece will start to rise again.
Downton Abbey and The Crown tv shows have influenced overseas private buyers who want a piece of Merry Old England that looks like it is going to last for years – and it probably will! The shipwrecked look still has its appeal to Millennials but the solid pieces are appealing more to the Baby Boomers although a recent NY based Millennial furnishing a house here in Notting Hill chose almost exclusively William IV mahogany and C19th Chinoiserie pieces for their drawing room. Another client from CO chose an outstanding Italian bureau plat with brass ormolu, very formal and imposing and she had been looking online and in the US for 4 years but found the perfect piece on our first call!
Many of our clients are trade buyers who are servicing the buying requests for both Millennials and Baby Boomers so these private tours give us a bird’s eye view of what is hot – or not. We have very few inquiries in the UK for Mid Century and Industrial pieces but architectural reclamation is a staple here. The British architectural reclamation trade is a vibrant and successful part of the business and we have helped with some interesting projects in 2017 supplying beautiful linenfold paneling from the library of a known estate, wellheads, mill wheels, stone roof tiles, stone flooring, chimney stacks and gargoyles. This trend is a constant rather than fashion led.
The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair March 8-11 has many examples of what’s trending in the UK, Muddy Stillettos forecasts what will be available at the fair in Retro rehab: Mid-century Scandi, folk art, architectural reclamation, garden antiques – and the resurgence of our old friend ‘brown’ furniture (photos courtesy Muddy Stillettos).
DO YOU WANT TO SHOP FOR ANTIQUES IN ENGLAND?
BOOK AN ANTIQUES AND DESIGN TRIP WITH THE ANTIQUES DIVA
Toma, The Antiques Diva
Next week I’ll be in Boston – Saturday night is Steven Favreau’s launch party for FavreaulousFactory.com – all the antiques in the factory are a result of an incredible trip with The Antiques Diva® & Co – stories Steven be sharing on Tuesday, March 6 at 11am when we speak at the Boston Design Center on Boston’s role as a design and cultural center, and how the Design Center is a virtual trip to the antique markets of Europe. I recently spoke to Joe Didonato, manager of Market Stalls, about how Boston’s history and culture speak to design in Massachusetts and across the globe.
If you’re in the Boston area I hope to see you at the Design Center on Tuesday when I am joined by interior design experts Steven Favreau and Tamara Matthews Stephenson as we discuss the timeless effect of antiques: here are the details and RSVP.
How Market Stalls at the Boston Design Center brings the city’s antique history into the future
As anyone who works with antiques knows, nothing communicates a region’s cultural history like a good antique. As I’ve spent years leading tours across 15 different countries, I am thrilled to return home and showcase the rich antique history stateside. And of course, when one thinks of US cities that scream history, the first one that pops into mind is Boston. At the Boston Design Center, the recently-renovated Market Stalls section seeks to capture the feel of an international antiques market for Boston’s eclectic design history. The 10,000 square foot boutique-style market features stalls for individual dealers from greater Massachusetts and around the globe.
I’m thrilled to have the manager of Market Stalls, Joe Didonato, join me March 5th at the Boston Design Center for a conversation on Boston’s role as a design and cultural destination, and how the Design Center captures the feel of antiques markets usually found in Paris or Venice. Use Joe’s insights to plan your next trip through antiques history, #NoPassportRequired!!
1) Walking through the BDC market stalls feels like a walk through Massachusetts history. What makes your state unique as an antique and design destination?
With such deeply bound roots in American history, it’s only natural that Massachusetts would be such a hub for high-quality antiques. In addition to Boston landmarks like the Design Center and Charles Street in historic Beacon Hill, coastal towns such as Essex and New Bedford offer some of the most well-respected and eclectic antique and vintage dealers in the country. And of course, there’s the Brimfield Fair, one of the world’s largest antique fairs, and the oldest outdoor antiques show in the country.
2) In the land of the Freedom Trail, it’s all about the local history. How does the design history of Boston influence what you bring to the Boston Design Center?
Boston definitely has this perception of embodying a traditional vibe with a coastal feel. We have such strong dealers that understand this and bring in items (nautical items, traditional wood pieces, and antique silver) that really speak to this client. There’s also a growing global population coming into the city, with much broader tastes, which is why we keep our space so eclectic and have expanded our mid-century modern assortment as well as bringing in textiles.
3) Where do you find design inspiration?
There’s never a lack of inspiration when you’re housed in such a creative building; you could spend an entire day working your way through the Boston Design Center and only see a fraction of what these showrooms have to offer. I also look to social media platforms, especially Instagram, for inspiration. Design ideas have never been as accessible or immediate as they are today. You can literally search for anything, from red painted room ideas to your favorite designer’s portfolio.
4) At The Antiques Diva & Co, we love the overlap that’s happening now between antique statement pieces and contemporary designs. How does the Boston Design community use its past to build toward the future?
I see the design community of Boston looking at ways to blend traditional items of the past with the contemporary stylings of today. More and more, you see high rises popping up next to Victorian brownstones, and older buildings being retrofitted with modern interiors. There has to be a level of transitional design that blends the two, and I think the design community is really taking that approach with their projects. I love seeing a pair of 19th-century chairs flanking a modern credenza, or a bold modern painting over an antique marble mantle.
5) What are some of your favorite pieces in the Design Center right now?
I’ve always been obsessed with pattern and color. Luckily, the Boston Design Center houses the best of local and national showrooms, especially when it comes to fabrics and paints. I love walking through showrooms like Charles Spada and The Martin Group and seeing the newest fabric lines or checking out paint swatches at Farrow and Ball. I’m constantly reimagining how some of my antique and vintage pieces could be injected with new life, with just the right bold print or vivid new hue. Right now there’s a vintage Fournier-style rope and tassel chair on the third floor that’s been sprayed in a black lacquer and covered in a sinewy Cowtan and Tout animal print, and I’m completely obsessed.
6) What periods and styles of antiques are hot right now? What trends do you expect to see in the coming years?
I find that our clients are always looking for those special antique pieces that mix in well with their contemporary settings. Whether it’s the rich patina and clean lines of a William and Mary tavern table, an antique map, or a vintage Murano glass light, clients want something that will balance out and lend warmth and style to a modern setting. I definitely see this as a trend moving forward, as younger generations look at how to incorporate inherited pieces into modern design aesthetics.
7) How have you transformed the Boston Design Center from a trade-only space to a progressive, all-inclusive design resource?
I view the Market Stalls as introductory point into the Boston Design Center. Our showroom serves both the design community as well as the community at large. And while many of the showrooms in the BDC are trade-only, the building offers a designer on-call service that assists visitors, offering complimentary design advice, as well as aiding in executing sales within all the showrooms of the building. The BDC also offers a number of events and enriching lectures that are open to the public.
8) One of my favorite parts of antique sourcing is the constant surprises around every corner — the pieces you weren’t expecting but fall in love with right away. What surprises you about the pieces that come into the market?
The Market Stalls is fortunate to house such a diverse and eclectic group of high-quality antique dealers. I’m always amazed by the depth and quality of the pieces that our dealers bring into the space. Whether it’s a 17th-century Baroque credenza, a vintage Venini chandelier, or a beautifully hand-crafted Persian Kazak rug, there’s always something worth drooling over.
9) Antique flea markets are some of my favorite places on earth, and the BDC captures the feel of walking through street stalls filled to the brim with precious and eclectic pieces. What are some of your favorite travel destinations, and how has international inspiration shaped the Design Center?
For me, travel is invaluable. I’ve been lucky to find something unique and lovely in each country I’ve visited. International travel is also such an important part of what makes up the Market Stalls. Our dealers are literally traveling the world to find pieces to bring to our showroom. We have beautifully preserved furniture sourced from England and France, rugs and textiles from the Iran and Turkey, and art and porcelain from China and Japan. The Market Stalls is also modeled after the incredibly fabulous flea markets of Paris.
10) What are you most excited for right now? What’s next for the Design Center?
The Boston Design Center has been undergoing an extensive renovation over the past few years, with a new lobby, dining options, and additional retail spaces all coming soon. There’s also an endless amount of building development happening in our neighborhood – Boston’s Seaport District. The area is seeing a massive shift from a once thriving shipping area to a vibrant hotbed of condos, hotels, and retail options. I’m excited to see how these changes play a role in expanding the Boston Design Center’s reach within the city and overall design community.
- Market Stalls at Boston Design Center
- Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm
- 2nd Floor West Wing
- MarketStalls@BostonDesign.com or call 617.439.6902
The Market Stalls at Boston Design Center second-floor west wing houses a 10,000-square foot boutique-style market, featuring high-quality antiques sourced from around the globe. Dedicated space is reserved for individual dealers, representing an eclectic mix of period furniture, lighting, and art from the 17th to 20th centuries appealing to interior designers, architects, and design enthusiasts.
I hope to see you in Boston!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Sourcing antiques like a pro isn’t simply knowing where to buy antiques: Interior designers, antique dealers, landscape architects and other design professionals not only source antiques in Europe, they also learn how to ship antiques from Europe to the US. I spoke to a room of design professionals on How to Source Antiques like the Pros with interior designers Robert Passal and Garrow Kedigian at an event at the D&D Building hosted by The Robert Allen Duralee Group.
(The event was streamed on Facebook LIVE by Aspire magazine, watch here.)
One of the most asked questions at the event was, “How do I get it home?” The Antiques Diva fine arts and antiques shipping partner has tried to make it as easy as possible.
How do I ship antiques from Europe to the US?
1. How do I get my purchases to my shipper?
When you’re buying antiques overseas and make a relationship with an antiques shipper – they will give you a Purchase Order book and tags/stickers. Each item you buy –you write your purchase in the Purchase Order book. For large items, you can either pay for them at the time of purchase or have our shipper pay for them on your behalf before they do collections. In the PO Book you number each item you buy – you write on a tag the corresponding number and tag all your purchases. You put tags to put on each item you buy. Note the use of the word “buy” – when you put the tag on a piece, that piece is considered sold whether you’ve paid for the item or are waiting for your shipper to pay later on your behalf! When you write the PO – you’ve written your name and the vendor’s name, and that is a legally binding commitment to buy that piece. Even when no money has been exchanged, the purchase is made. The good news is that the vendors HOLD the item for you while you have time to arrange international bank transfer and coordinate your collections. The bad news? Vendors get REALLY upset if they’ve held an item for several weeks on PO and you cancel the order. Canceling an order can result in that vendor never being willing to sell to you again.
When you have your shipper pay on your behalf at the end of your buying tour – you tally all your purchases and make one bank transfer to the shipper. Your shipper will then pay each vendor money on your behalf.
Antique sourcing pros select their shipper in advance – this saves them time and money, but many of the antique shows in Europe have shippers on hand for last minute and unexpected purchases.
2. What does international shipping cost?
Shipping isn’t cheap. We can’t estimate your shipping until after you’ve made your purchases and we know how much crating and wrapping is required to protect and ship your purchases or how many places you’re going to buy at – and thus how many collection points you’ll have to pay for.
Go big or go home. Buying just a few items is the most expensive way to ship.Where you save money is when you buy a full container. It’s hard to estimate the cost of a full container – but it can cost about $15,000 – for maybe 40-50 pieces of furniture. Buying and shipping in bulk is when and where you save money. If you spend $100,000 buying antiques in Europe on pieces that would have cost $300,000 to $500,000 in the USA – at that point the cost of shipping a container is negligible!
Our Antiques Diva shipping partner has a warehouse in Antwerp so they can store your antique purchases and you can buy over time and consolidate your shipments.
3. How long does it take to ship?
You’ve bought your purchases, you’re excited to get them! Be prepared that it is going to take a long time. Your shipper will probably say you’ll have your goodies in a month because it’s about 25 days at sea. That doesn’t consider:
- Your money has to be transferred to your shipper
- Your shipper has to collect your purchases from your vendors.
- Your shipper has to wrap and crate your purchases
- Your items have to clear customs
Some countries take longer to ship from than others. I always say expect 2 months, but be prepared for 3 months to get your antiques delivered. Interior Designer Garrow Kedigian recommends taking clients antique shopping early in the design process.
4. What do I have to worry about?
Our Antiques Diva shipping partner tries to make it as simple as possible. The reality is, shipping is always difficult. The reality is, something can always go wrong with shipping.
5. What if a piece is damaged in shipping?
Make sure you have insurance, either through your shipper or your own American insurance.
6. How does customs work?
You can choose your own customs broker if you already have a relationship with someone or your shipper can appoint a customs broker, and the fees are nominal. During our talk at the D&D, Garrow Kedigian tells our audience, “Don’t be afraid. It’s not tremendously difficult.” In New York he always works with the same customs broker. When buying or shipping antiques it’s all about relationships. Relationships get you the best prices – but also perhaps more importantly when shipping gets you the best customer service.
7. Antique shipping tips from the pros
- Carry back the small items in your carryon, says Robert Passal – even if it weighs 100 pounds! Interior designer Justin Shaulis shared that he bought an albino tortoiseshell and hand-carried it because import laws changed while he was in the buying process!
- Antiques are not taxed, so if you have documented antique pieces you will not pay an import tax.
- Robert Passal often shops with a friend and finds that consolidating shipments saves money when shipping antiques. Remember the more you buy, the more you save on shipping! And consider consolidation. Garrow Kedigian reminds you, “if you’re willing to wait, your shipper can often consolidate his shipment with another client’s because shipments come regularly to the US.”
Do you have questions about how to get your antiques home? Contact us for international fine arts and antiques shipping information and to get a quote:
Antiques Diva Shipping Services
REQUEST A QUOTE
FAX: +32 (0)3 283 73 49 MOBILE: +32 (0)478 01 01 01
If you’d like to book an antiques buying tour in Europe, Asia or the US let me know what you’re looking for and when you want to shop, and we will create a custom, 1:1 antiques shopping tour that meets your requirements and budget!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Toma – The Antiques Diva