Let’s Meet at High Point Market!
I will be at Pandora de Balthazár’s Suite at High Point on Sunday, April 23, from 3-6pm. To schedule a high-powered business meeting with me (in bed, bien sur!) email for an appointment: email@example.com.
The Art of Sleeping
As someone who travels for both work and pleasure constantly, I find myself in many different time zones, often sleeping on planes, trains, or automobiles – hopefully not while I’m at the wheel but rather curled up in the passenger seat of the car! When I have the luxury of sleeping in my own bed, I want to enjoy every single second of it!
Becoming Brand Ambassador for Pandora de Balthazár has changed my life because she has taught me so much about the art of sleeping. Yes, it is an art! From selecting the right linens, to making the bed, to actually getting into bed and calming your body as it prepares to sleep, Pandora is an expert on getting the most out of the 1/3 of your life you spend under the covers. To help people achieve a light, soft, yet crisp sleep experience, she’s developed something called The Timeless Bed.
The Timeless Bed is the complete infrastructure that enhances the sleeper’s comfort due to its architecture of support and insulation, which assists in regulating temperature, allowing the body to breathe. How many times have you climbed into bed on a cold night, covering yourself from head to toe, only to awaken in the middle the night completely drenched in sweat? That is NOT a Diva-like experience! Hmm… Diva’s glisten and glow, not sweat! Pandora’s Timeless Bed addresses temperature issues by creating a soft fluffy feeling while also remaining airy so you rarely feel the need to toss the covers away.
The Timeless Bed starts with a natural mattress protector filled with either cotton, wool, down or batten. The protector fits tightly and protects the sleeper from chemicals in most mattresses. Next, comes the down mattress pad. Unlike a traditional feather bed, this natural, machine-washable Hungarian down and feather mattress pad comes in an 80/20 ratio. Mattress companies have been trying to address top-of-bed issues such as temperature control without much success. The Timeless Bed’s mattress pad creates a breathable corridor of air beneath the body, which is a critical element in Pandora’s success. The down mattress pad is then topped with not one but two fitted deep-pocket sheets. Why two, you ask? The bottom fitted sheet protects the down mattress pad and keeps it clean, and the top one keeps all of the aforementioned substructure firmly in place.
Next comes a flat bottom sheet of 600 to 1000 thread-count which should not be tucked in, but remain floating. These sheets are cool, crisp, and substantial. If desired, antique linens can be substituted for the bottom sheet. All of these layers are under the body, giving a cloud-like effect while remaining breathable.
Over the body, a flat top sheet drapes, again untucked. On top of this sheet goes a very light sleeping duvet. Pandora’s light duvets are the lightest on the market and are machine washable, which makes maintaining them a breeze. You could also use a heavier duvet based on personal preference. By adding Pandora’s European Sleep System to The Timeless Bed, you will complete the perfect bed!
Once this foundation is in place, it’s time to add fun pieces such as antique pillow cases, blankets and other decorative items. Throw pillows made from decorative pieces of antique textiles are a great way to add personality to The Timeless Bed as well.
Just like a fine antique French chest made from solid wood, then adorned with marquetry, ormolu, and beautiful hardware, The Timeless Bed begins with a firm foundation built for function and can be adorned to suit any taste.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
Restored Antique Frames
I am an antiques and art lover who is equally passionate about modern design and contemporary art. Finding the right frame for your art is not a simple task: the frame must complement the artwork, and many antique frames have become damaged over time. I also am attracted to design mix, and the juxtaposition of contemporary art displayed in antique frames. In my own home I practice #MixAntiquesAndModern, and art is key my design aesthetic.
I’ve been called an antiques matchmaker: someone introduces antiques to the people who will love them. As part of Antiques Diva services, we also connect our clients with antiques trade artisans and craftsman. I was delighted to be introduced to expert frame and art restorer Diego Salazar, who I think of as a frame matchmaker who matches frames to artworks by Rebecca Vicars, and am delighted to share Rebecca’s guest post with you.
The frame is the Cinderella of the art world
“The frame is the Cinderella of the Art world”, Diego Salazar once remarked. There was a time, in the not so distant past, when a paintings’ original, period frame was often disregarded in favor of a more contemporary frame choice. Over the last 30 years, however, these antiquities have become increasingly admired and are now regularly honored with exhibitions around the globe.
Diego’s collection is a veritable museum where the evolution and nuance of this specialized architectural language can be explored. Here, you can literally walk through and experience hand-carved visual vocabularies from around the world and throughout time.
A spectacular and comprehensive collection of hundreds of original European and American frames dating from the 15th to 20th centuries are found here on display. Upon entering the grand and lofted hallways, with each corner turned, another enclave of history and place is revealed. Light diffused through tall and broad arched-top windows serves to illuminate the patina of the centuries-old gold and ebony finishes.
Creating the perfect marriage between art and frame is an art within itself. Scale, ornament, the karat and patina of gold, the specificity of the character revealed over time. The frame specimens in this collection have been collected over 40 years and are a direct reflection of Diego’s finely honed eye and sensibilities. From the rippling details of a 17th c. Dutch profile, to the continuously carved panel of a Louis XIV, the examples you’ll find here are exquisite representations of each particular genre and style.
In addition to his knowledge and experience in antique framing, he is an expert in frame restoration, conservation and one of America’s premier dealers in museum-quality antique and replica frames. His work can be found at El Museo del Prado, MoMA, Chicago Art Institute, Cummer Museum of Arts & Gardens, Parish Museum, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, as well as in private collections around the world.
You are invited to experience this world of lovingly curated group of antiquities with us.
Please contact us to schedule an appointment for viewing and consultation.
- 21-25 44th Ave, LIC, NY, 11101
The Antiques Diva™ & Co now offering contemporary art tours in select cities in Europe and Asia.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Toma – The Antiques Diva
2017 European Contemporary Art Scene
cover image: Frieze London
If you’re interested in sourcing art in Europe for your design projects or private collections there are some MUST attend events in the ART SCENE in several of our tour cities; while traveling abroad for attending these art fairs why not also book an AD&CO custom antiques buying tour or art tour.
The Antiques Diva and Co provides custom, curated contemporary art tours in Paris, Berlin, Bangkok, London and Venice, and by request in our other European and Asian tour cities.
To inquire about an art tour contact email@example.com.
Berlin Gallery Weekend 2017
The 13th Annual Berlin Gallery Weekend will feature emerging and established artists from 47 galleries representing the diverse art scene in Berlin.
- Friday, April 28, 2017
- Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, 2017
11 AM – 7 PM
The 57th annual international Venice Biennial entitled VIVA ARTE VIVA will include 87 exhibitors and is “dedicated to an open dialogue between artists, and between artists and the public.”
- May 13 – Nov 26, 2017
Documenta Kassel, Germany
Documenta 14: Learning From Athens features contemporary and modern art and occurs only once every five years, 2017 venues have not been announced but will include a dual exhibition with Athens.
- June 10 – September 17, 2017
ABC Fair Berlin
Art Berlin Contemporary is held by Berlin galleries as a platform for international galleries to present individual works of contemporary art in Berlin; 2o17 is their 10th annual exhibition.
- September 14 – 17, 2017
Featuring over 1000 leading artists from more than 160 international galleries, Frieze London 2017 is their 15 annual 4-day art fair.
- October 5 – 8, 2017
Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain in Paris is a contemporary art fair that features established and emerging contemporary artists and offers a wide range of price points to ensure art is affordable to art lovers and collectors at all price levels.
- October 19 – 22, 2017
Heirloom Linen Trousseau: A Treasured Tradition
One of the reasons I love antiques is because they give a window into the soul of a country – it’s like anthropology or sociology! We can study how people lived in the past through their furniture, jewelry and textiles. Many customs have evolved over the centuries – as technology advances, we no longer need certain items which once were of great importance. However, some things in life remain constant—the need for sleep being one of them.
In the past, brides-to-be would build a linen collection for their future homes, an ongoing task that involved much care and excitement as they dreamed of the big day. Building a trousseau could be likened to registering for china and silver today. The goal was to amass a collection of bedding, table linens, and other household textiles by the wedding day to last for many years of happy marriage. Though some modern brides-to-be still practice the custom of building a trousseau, the tradition rarely involves the attention to detail it once did. Is this any wonder with the mass-produced bedding available in big box stores? While it may seem easier to simply purchase off-the-rack linens, I’ve got a special source that can change the way you think—or dream—about bedding. As Brand Ambassador for Pandora de Balthazár, I want to share some insider tips with you on the importance of building your own trousseau and just how to go about doing it – and best of all, this is something you can do for yourself. It doesn’t require a groom or bride. We spend 1/3 of our life in bed… should that time be spent with the most luxurious linens we can afford?
Collecting Beautiful Linens
Collecting beautiful linens in a meaningful way starts with knowing what your personal style is and what your needs are. Do you prefer sheets with delicate lace trim or are you a fan of a more minimal look? Are monograms your thing? While collectors can certainly value heirloom linens, anyone with a discerning eye and good taste can appreciate and use them. Many antique linens have been passed down for generations and can still be enjoyed today. Pandora de Balthazár happens to have one of the most notable collections of antique linens in the world, and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to building your own trousseau.
“In most European countries, and with a few American families, the preparation for a young bride’s trousseau once began at birth and often before,” she says. “Years before her betrothal, the future bride amassed enough linens for her bedding and tables to sustain her family throughout their lifetime.”
One thing to look for when considering longevity is a blue tint in antique linens.The bluing is usually in the thread and rarely fades, making these particular pieces highly sought after, as they are often ready to use. Trousseau Blue linens were especially a favorite for bridal bedding as only the best would do for the place where the bride and groom would consummate their marriage.
Determine A Budget
When building your own trousseau, it’s important to determine a budget first. This budget should include professional cleaning as well, since you want to maintain your antique linens. Next you want to decide what style fits your personality and home. From Victorian and Edwardian to Early American or even Asian linens, figuring out which style you love will help guide your future purchases. Speaking of future investments, it’s a good idea to come up with an initial plan for how you plan to use your trousseau. What sizes of linens do you need? How many sets of sheets would you like? Write all of this information down and keep it with you when you shop. And remember: Pandora advises you change your linens frequently – up to several times a week – not just once a week or every other week!
It’s also wise to consider repurposing linens. Since sizes of antique linens are so varied, pieces that were once tablecloths may make ideal bedcovers with a bit of alteration. The key is to choose pieces you connect to. Touch the embroidery, lace, and appliqués. This will aid you in understanding your tactile personality. Remember it’s not only about how pieces look, but also how they feel.
Regardless of the size or style of your trousseau, building it should be fun. It’s a great way to carry on a treasured tradition which will keep you in comfort for many years to come. Looking for an ideal place to start building your trousseau? Contact us at The Antiques Diva & Co and begin by perusing the inventory of Pandora de Balthazár.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
I’m beyond thrilled to share with you a guest post by Margaret Schwartz, owner of The Summer House, and the inaugural USA Antiques Young Gun of the Year. Margaret is an antiques powerhouse: she began her career working at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which played a key role in inspiring and developing her passion for the home décor business. After four years, she left to open her own shop, The Summer House in New Canaan, Conn. Margaret applies her signature styles and passion for home design to hand pick today’s best finds: upholstered furniture, fashionable jewelry, eye-catching lighting, exquisite rugs, fine art and more.
I have a confession. I am an antiques junkie.
Three years ago by a stroke of luck, I discovered The Antiques Diva through another favorite blog, The English Room. I was planning a trip to London and just by chance The English Room posted about antiques tours offered by The Antiques Diva, the brainchild of Toma Clark Haines. I was very intrigued because I love antiques but was hesitant to buy because I don’t have a degree in Decorative Arts. The Antiques Diva gave me the opportunity to buy with confidence. The moment I laid eyes on a lavender glass mid-century chandelier on Lillie Road, I was hooked. That was nearly three years ago, and I am about to embark on my next adventure with Gail McLeod, UK Antiques Diva, and Daniel Larsson, Swedish Divo.
I’ve taken a half-dozen tours with The Antiques Diva and I’ve learned quite a bit about how to prepare for a buying trip. Let me give you some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way.
Tips for An Antiques Buying Trip
Do Your Research
Antiques Diva tours are incredible regardless of how much prep you as a client do. However, these guides are seasoned vets and know all the best places to go for that perfect Venetian mirror your client covets. For instance with this upcoming trip, I am looking for pairs of chests, pairs of nightstands, cabinets, side tables, mirrors, and lighting. We usually create a shared photostream on our phones and post photos of past items I’ve purchased and loved, things I’ve seen and loved, or items that clients have requested I locate. Pinterest or a shared visual board would work, but we prefer the shared photostream because you can add detailed descriptions, measurement, and budget info and it’s private. Once the Diva or Divo Guide has an idea of what you’re looking for, he or she will tailor the itinerary to your needs.
Trust in your Guide
Your Diva or Divo Guide is there for you, no matter what you need. This is something that differentiates them from other buying agents. Your guide has access to some of the best secret sources in Europe. When I say I’ve bought from castles, I mean actual, real fairytale-esque castles. I’ve also dug through dirty warehouses because you really can find a diamond in the rough. If you prefer to only shop castles, let your guide know as far in advance as possible so she can schedule those calls for you. No need to storm the gates down; when they see it’s an Antiques Diva client, they will roll out the red carpet for you.
There is an art to negotiating, and in Europe you need a trusted hand to guide you through any cultural barriers. They will translate for you and help you negotiate prices. The dealers offer good prices because The Antiques Diva brings so many clients through, and there is power in numbers. Be prepared to bargain, but don’t insult them and your Diva Guide will help you walk that fine line.
Your Diva is also an expert in the industry. She can help you spot a piece that you might have overlooked, or conversely a piece you are interested in, but you didn’t see that replacement leg that would turn off your clients. You make your own decisions, but they will keep you informed and point out things you might not be aware of. Listen to what they have to say because they will impart wisdom to you and teach you so much about the industry. Gail McLeod, UK Diva Extraordinaire, has been such a tremendous source of wisdom and support, helping me grow my business and career, and she’s been with me every step of the way on all my antiques tours. She has become a fast friend too. I don’t know what I would do without Toma and Gail!
I cannot stress this enough. Set. Your. Budget. And then add 20%, minimum. There will inevitably be an absolute to-die-for must-have piece, and of course it comes when you’ve already spent your budget. Your budget can be anything. There is no minimum spend on these tours, but communicating your budget in advance with your guide will help set you up for success! Price-point is key so they know where to book your calls. A quick note, even when you do set your budget and go over, there will still be the one that got away.
I had the opportunity to buy the console from an Axel Vervoordt-designed castle that was on the cover of The Houses of Veranda book. What was I thinking passing it up? I was thinking, “Oh my god, I’ve been on tour for two weeks, and I’ve completely blown my budget!” There will ALWAYS be the one that got away! And that’s ok. My mom likes to say that it’s good to not get everything you want. Naturally, she is referring to the sable coat she has always wanted, but she got a gorgeous sheared mink with sable cuffs and that will do. Haha!
How can you help stick to your budget (+20%)? Transfer funds ahead of time! One of the best tips I’ve learned is that you transfer your budget, plus the 20% slush fund, to your shipper. While you are out on your trip, your Diva Guide will be writing up detailed purchase orders and you can keep track of your spending that way. If you don’t use the 20% extra (I’ve never been that disciplined) that’s fine. Your shipper can deduct their charges from that leftover amount. It’s all very tidy when done this way.
I learned the hard way that the dealers need to be paid immediately. Your reputation over there is everything, and if you drag your feet on payments, other dealers might hear about it. So pay promptly. Seriously. These dealers work so hard sourcing and restoring, and this industry already has razor thin margins. In order to keep these wonderful dealers in business, we must pay them promptly.
Just as important as the relationships you build with your Diva guides is the relationship you build with your shipper. Your Diva Guide can help you with that, but better yet, you can conveniently use the in-house The Antiques Diva shipping service. The Antiques Diva & Co. kicked off their shipping service last year, and using them will help streamline your experience. The fewer moving parts the better! And you absolutely need a trusted shipper. There are so many forms to fill out and information that customs needs. Getting a shipper who understands that process and guides you through it, or manages it for you, is absolutely vital. Plus, you want someone reputable, reliable, and experienced and The Antiques Diva knows quality when she sees it!
Day to Day Tidbits
- Wear comfy shoes. While Toma is always clacking in heels, my days of Barbie Feet (look it up, it’s real) are over since I moved out of the Upper East Side, and now I prefer a pair of fly-looking Chiarra Ferragni slip-on sneakers so I’m still stylish but can navigate barns and fields.
- Pack light, re-wear items. The dealers don’t know that you’ve worn that sweater twice before, and the Diva Guidess don’t mind. Trust me on that one.
- Take breaks throughout the day. Your Diva Guide will keep you fully caffeinated and fed, but you will both need mental breaks to review what you’ve purchased throughout the day.
- Take photos of everything. Now on your iPhone you can write directly on the pictures so you remember what the price was, the measurements, and what restoration was promised or that you need to do on your end.
- Be social! Get your booty into high gear with social media. Post multiple times a day and have a little fun with it. Yes, this is a serious job with serious people, but it’s also an absolute joy. And even though the company is called The Antiques Diva, the guides and you will get down and dirty so have fun with it! Show people what the behind-the-scenes of the business is!
Margaret (Modern Antiquarian)
How To Shop For Vintage & Antiques at French Flea Markets
Marché aux Puces and Brocantes
In France, flea markets are known as marché aux puces or simply, les puce, (the fleas). But googling “brocante” will take you off the beaten path to traveling flea markets that are only held a few weekends a year. They can be held anywhere from 1 day to a full 2 weeks. Bigger traveling flea markets in France will have billboards all over town advertising them – so when you see a sign stuck to a lamp post or a giant poster in the metro with the word brocante highlighted, get ready to shop! Brocantes attract vendors from all over France, selling everything from high-end antiques to vintage pieces and simply second-hand junk. Prices here are usually better and take you into neighborhoods you might never have reason to visit on your own. A great website for finding brocantes is www.brocabrac.fr. While the Paris Flea Market is a personal favorite and must-do (and The Antiques Diva & Co are the only official tour guides of Paul Bert Serpette at the Paris Flea Market), visiting other French flea markets in Paris and across France is ideal to shop for antiques and vintage pieces. Here are my top 3 brocantes in Paris – and my all-time favorite French flea market starts next week!!
tip: Check out our Antiques and Design Markets and Fairs 2017 Calendar for flea markets in France and across Europe!
While there is nothing more fabulous than getting lost in France and discovering some place (or something) magical, shoppers in the know research where to go before traveling overseas. We suggest you book an Antiques Diva tour so you can shop on the arm of a local who knows the area like the back of their hands – plus more importantly – has relationships with the vendors which allows you to get the best prices possible when negotiating. But if you decide to give it a go on your own, be prepared and do your research. Google the cities where you’re planning to antique, using keywords for the antiques and vintage pieces you want to buy.
On brocabrac.fr you will also find vide-greniers – essentially attic sales – set up in the center of town with anywhere from 50 to of 1000s of people participating. These aren’t professional vendors, but instead they private people wanting to sell their goods – think of it as a town-wide garage sale where anything and everything is for sale. While you’ll have to dig through second-hand clothes and used toys you can also find gorgeous antiques going for a song!
Salon des Antiquaires
If you’re looking for high-end antiques you want to go to a salon des antiquaires – a step up from a flea market or brocante – which can have second-hand and decorative objects. This will be more high brow and have higher quality pieces – but don’t let that phrase scare you – there are still bargains to be had. Remember French antiques are often 3 to 5 times less expensive in France than they are in America or Australia. Something selling for 2,000 Euro in the North of France might go for $6-10K in the USA. You have to spend money to save $$$!
Key French Shopping Phrases
Now that you know where to go whether it’s a puce, brocante, vide-grenier or salon des antiquaires you should know a few key phrases in French to get the ball rolling! Even if you don’t speak French, learning some basic vocabulary is worth it’s weight in golden Louis 15th antiques.
- Always start the conversation with a simple, Bonjour Madame or to catch the vendors attention try S’il vous plaît (SVP) Monsieur.
- Point then to the item you are interested in and ask how much it costs: C’est combien, SVP? or try Vous voulez combien?
- Ask how old it is? Quel âge a cette chaise? Ça date de quand? What wood it is? C’est quel type de bois? And where it comes from: Quelle est sa provenance?
- Don’t be shy – negotiation is expected. Ask for a good deal. Vous pouvez faire un meilleur prix? Will you make a better price? or C’est votre meilleur prix? or Vous pour faire mieux? Is that your best price? It’s best to ask the Vendor to tell you their best price BEFORE you offer a number – because sometimes they offer you more of a discount than you would have expected. If the piece is 100E and you ask for a best price, the vendor might come back and say 80E. You can then continue the negotiation – Will you take $70? Prenez Vous 70E? If said this way, the vendor might compromise on 75E. 25% is a reasonable amount to expect for a discount.
Be willing to walk away in order to get a discount. Leaving then returning to the piece helps with negotiation… but beware… you might just return and find your item SOLD to someone else!
- Verify they are giving you the export price – C’est le prix pour exportation? Is it too expensive? C’est trop cher! (said while batting your eyes!) A good deal? C’est bon marché – C’est un bon prix – C’est raisonnable. I’ll take it! Je le prends!
- And don’t forget to say Merci! Au Revoir!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva
Antiques Diva Shipping Services
When purchasing valuable, one-of-a-kind or fragile antiques or art, one of the first questions our clients ask is how to pack and crate antiques for international shipping. In addition to The Antiques Diva & Co in-house, turnkey antiques shipping services AD&CO Logistics, we also offer antique warehousing and shipping liaison services, and work on your behalf with your shipper to meet your transportation needs.
This gorgeous table was purchased by an Antiques Diva antique buying tour client who contracted AD&CO Logistics to pack and crate it for international shipment, along with her other purchases.
la Vendange: Antique French Wine Tasting Table
The wine tasting table had the following specifications:
- antique French wine tasting table with tilt-top
- 86cm diameter x 67cm height
- 10 kg weight
- traveling from Europe to the US
- prepare for international shipment
- to be picked up by client’s transport company
This beautiful antique French wine tasting table was purchased on an Antiques Diva buying tour.
Fragile, valuable and one-of-a-kind pieces are carefully cushioned and protected for international transport. Our AD&CO Logistics expert team carefully built a custom crate to protect the table from damage during shipment.
Our team of international shipping experts have been packing, crating and shipping antiques for over 50 years, to destinations around the globe.
Our shipping concierges understand you have unique needs and requirements. We will work with you to provide a solution to your international shipping needs. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about international shipping.
The crate is wrapped tightly in a special black foil to protect it from rain damage during transport.
Request a Quote Today
FAX: +32 (0)3 283 73 49 MOBILE: +32 (0)478 01 01 01
When you’re traveling overseas and shopping for antiques you have a few options on how to ship antiques home from abroad. In addition to Antiques Diva shipping services, here are some other ways to ship antiques home from abroad. For more information on Antiques Diva tours and services, see our FAQs.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva
Darlings, London is Calling… and you’re invited to join me – VIRTUALLY that is!
I am live streaming my LAPADA presentation Feb 23, 2017, when I broadcast on Facebook LIVE while I speak at the Houses of Parliament for the 9th Annual LAPADA Conference at the House of Lords!
My talk as CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co is on establishing client trust and creating international business relationships, addressing factors such as the influence a customer’s decision making has in buying from one dealer over another as well as what creates a sense of trust in establishing long-term international relationships with clients. I’ll discuss the main drivers in creating trusted relationships between buyers and sellers, offering tips on how to develop these relationships and how to best communicate with American clients.
This year’s LAPADA, the Association of Art & Antiques Dealers, Conference will focus on how art and antiques dealers can trade online more securely, better protecting themselves and their clients. Experts will impart professional advice on a range of topics from dealing with cyber-attacks and protecting clients’ data to how to comply with Distance Selling Regulations and understanding copyright laws.
How To Watch My LAPADA Presentation on Facebook LIVE
- When: Feb 23, 2017
- Time: 3pm-3.45pm GMT – For those of you on the other side of the pond: that’s 10am EST and 9am CST and 7am PST
- Where: Go to my personal Facebook page: Toma Clark Haines to watch my presentation live.
If you’re not available to join us live, the video will stay on my Facebook page after the live broadcast.
Read more about my LAPADA presentation on Establishing Client Trust here.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
How to Care for Vintage and Antique Linens
As we began 2017, I mentioned that one of my New Years resolutions was to get better quality sleep – and more of it! I’ve always been a Princess and the Pea kind of girl – meaning that a variety of things could interrupt my nights zzzz’s however until I became Brand Ambassador for Pandora de Balthazár I didn’t understand how much the quality of linens can enhance – or detract from – one’s sleep. Pandora has one of the largest and most respected collections of antique linens on the market, many of which are museum-quality textiles. That’s what makes this partnership between Pandora de Balthazár and The Antiques Diva so perfect – we’re both big believers in using beautiful antiques that are also functional for everyday life.
As with any antique, maintenance is an important part of keeping antique linens in top condition. I’ve picked up some fantastic tips from Pandora on how to care for vintage and antique linens. By following the expert advice of Pandora, you can extend the life of your pillows, duvets, sheets, and shams, allowing you to enjoy them for many years to come.
Goose Down Pillows
Everyone cleans their sheets and mattress pads, but did you know that pillows need maintenance too? Each morning it’s important to fluff goose down pillows to allow air to circulate between the feathers, helping the pillows keep their shape. It’s also necessary to take pillows outdoors on a sunny day at least once every two-to-three months to let the sun’s ultraviolet rays kill dust mites and keep pillows fresh between laundering. Making sure down pillows are fluffed and exposed to sunlight ensures that feathers in the pillows are freed from moisture that penetrates them while you sleep.
Add another layer of protection by using pillow protectors under your pillow cases. Pillow protectors from Pandora de Balthazár are hypoallergenic and keep dust mites and allergens from building up as quickly.
When it comes to killing allergens, down pillows need to be washed. Some people perspire more than others, but it’s recommended to wash pillows at least once or twice a year! Do you wash your pillows! As I’ve begun discussing this with friends, clients and colleagues I was shocked by how many people didn’t know to do this!!! If your pillows aren’t fluffing as fully as they used to, that’s probably due to dust mites and allergens which add weight to the feathers, making them less fleecy. That means it’s time to wash them! Splish splash give them a bath!
Goose Down Duvets
As with down pillows, duvets and blankets filled with down benefit from daily fluffing and frequent exposure to sunlight. It’s also important to change linens often – about every three days or so, especially if you use body lotion, perfume, and hair products. All of these products transfer from your body to your linens (which can lead to discoloration) and finally into the down itself. Frequent fluffing and washing can increase the longevity of your bedding. The more you wash the better they will be!
Steps for Laundering Down Bedding
• Use a large washing machine, front loader or top loader without center agitator
• Use warm water, set to delicate cycle and soak thoroughly, rinsing at least twice
• Use mild detergent and be sure it is properly diluted
• Air dry outside if possible or use low to medium heat in a large dryer
• Use dryer ball or clean tennis ball to help fluff the down, or it is ideal to remove and shake every 60 minutes
• Be sure it is completely dry inside and out—especially important for pillows
• Be prepared for an estimated drying time of 2 to 6 hours, depending upon the capacity of the dryer
Most sheet sets and shams are easy to care for. Simply machine wash them on a delicate cycle in warm water. If you dry them in the dryer, be sure to use low heat, but the best option is to line-dry them. Diva Confession? I have my housekeeper iron ALL my linens!!! I thought this was normal… but am learning that not everyone irons their sheets!! For extra luxury, you want to smooth them out and iron them for a crisp hotel-like feeling!
And here’s a hint? In the morning when you wake and the sheets look a little wrinkled, spritz them with linen spray so they are slightly damp and smooth them with your hands… et voila, linens will pop back like they are freshly ironed. And smell fabulous too!
Antique Linens and Lace
As with most antiques, linens and lace are meant to be used. Simply storing them away is not good for them, as dry rot could set in. Linens like to be handled regularly, as natural oils from your hands keep them flexible. It’s the same with silver – the more you use your silver the less you have to polish them! Window treatments, antique shams, tablecloths with lace, and other delicate pieces should be washed at least once a year – even if they’ve only been in storage. This keeps them pliable!
If you notice any damage on your linens, repair them immediately to avoid the damage becoming worse. If you’re not sure how to repair your linens, Pandora de Balthazár offers hand-wash laundering services and repair/restoration services for all linens purchased through them. They can also examine linens that were not purchased through them, in order to advise you as to whether they can be repaired, or how they should be laundered.
If you are planning to store your antique linens, do not iron them beforehand. Simply be sure they are thoroughly dry. never store linens in plastic bags or on wooden shelves. Store linens on hangers or roll them in old linen if storing in a chest or cedar cabinet to keep oil from penetrating them. Rolling them helps prevent them from becoming brittle. To maintain a crisp white color, soak linens every couple of months in Pandora de Balthazar’s linen soak – a conditioning treatment that prevents yellowing.
As with any investment, proper care and maintenance can help linens last for generations. The bed is a place we spend a significant amount of our lives in, so why not dress is with the best linens possible? With Pandora de Balthazár’s products, sleep is more than just a necessity, it’s luxury married with gorgeous design and the highest quality Hungarian goose down and Italian linen – the perfect ingredients for any Diva’s bed!
Stay tuned for more fun as we discuss all things bedding, decorative textiles and restorative sleep here on the blog. We will be doing a series of blog posts about antique linens, teaching you all you need to know and sharing our insider tips on restoring your inner diva.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
March 2 – 5: 28th Annual Bath Decorative Antiques Fair
45 dealers will be at the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair offering a wide diversity of antiques, including painted furniture, garden antiques, mirrors, lighting, textiles, English and European pottery, collectible Country House objects; as well as super-chic metropolitan pieces. The Fair is held in the historic Pavilion, located a few minutes walk from the center of Bath. While attending the Fair, be sure to visit Bath and enjoy the many local restaurants and bars.
Gail McLeod, England Antiques Diva Guide and co-organiser of Antique Fair & News, says:
The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair is one of the most popular and unique antique fairs in the UK, is a must-show for dozens of dealers, and attracts new antiques dealers every year. Visitors love to attend the fair in charming and historic Bath, and never fail to be impressed by the diversity and quality of offerings at the fair. The show tours with antiques expert Judith Miller and Antiques Young Gun Edd Thomas are absolute must-dos!
Special Events at the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair:
- March 2: Trade Only Day
- March 3: Antiques industry celebrity tour with ‘The Queen of Antiques’ Judith Miller
- March 5: Collaboration with vintage and antiques market BathVA, with a ‘Style Up Top Picks’ tour of the Bath Decorative Fair and BathVA with Edd Thomas of ‘Edd in the Clouds’
About The 28th Bath Decorative Antiques Fair:
- For a complete list of dealers and show information: www.bathdecorativeantiquesfair.co.uk
- Date: 2-5 March 2017. TRADE ONLY 2 March
- Venue: The Pavilion, North Parade Road, Bath, BA2 4EU
- Opening Times:
TRADE PREVIEW Thursday 2 March: 12noon – 5pm. Admission with Trade Invite or Trade Business Card. Otherwise £10.00.
PUBLIC: Friday 3 – Sunday 5 March 10am – 5pm
- Admission: £5.00
Complimentary tickets: http://www.bathdecorativeantiquesfair.co.uk/freeTicket.php
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva