One of the curses of loving your work is that in your downtime, you find yourself working! That is always true for me. Even when my brain and body are exhausted from The Antiques Diva® tours and strategy calls, emails and meetings, my mind craves… Design Inspiration! Since launching our Antiques Diva Asia Buying Tours, I can’t get enough of Asia. I’m planning a trip to Asia this summer to work on both our Antiques Diva tours and my TCH Collection jewelry line, and absorb some southeast Asia design inspiration.
When I can’t travel to Asia, I immerse myself in books and magazines featuring Asian design. One of the things I love about working with Angela, our Asia Antiques Diva Guide, is that she is an intellectual – and her tips on reading books about Asia reflect that. Me? I tend to like something that spoon feeds me #DesignInspiration and have four great books about Asia on my shelf, and I’ve ordered Angela’s recommendation Four Reigns for summer reading on the beach.
Southeast Asia Design Inspiration On Toma Clark Haines’ Bookshelf
Burmese Design & Architecture
by John Falconer and Elizabeth Moore
It is the first book to showcase the amazing diversity of architecture, design and art found in Burma (Myanmar). Ranging from the monumental pagodas of Pagan (Bagan) to the architectural heritage of Rangoon (Yangon), religious as well as contemporary secular buildings are presented in rich detail. A series of authoritative essays by archaeological experts highlight the major influences and styles found throughout the country, while chapters on Myanmar’s rich art and craft traditions provide a wealth of information on Buddha images, lacquerware, painting, ceramics, woodcarving, bronzes, textiles, costumes and much more.
Tropical Asian Style
The first book to showcase contemporary residences throughout Southeast Asia from Chiang Mai to Bali, Kuala Lumpur to Java highlighting tropical dream houses in their breathtaking natural environments.
What’s On Asia Diva Guide Angela’s Bookshelf?
Angela Somwaiya has lived in Bangkok for 24 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Japanese Studies and master’s in Thai Studies. In 2008 she took over Paul’s Antiques which has built its reputation as having one of the leading collections of colonial-era Burmese teak furniture. Since acquiring the business the collection has come to reflect her tastes and love of unique market finds throughout Asia. Innovative and entrepreneurial by nature, Angela developed a bespoke furniture service using reclaimed teak and enjoys up-cycling and repurposing found items. Angela is considered one of the leading experts in Southeast Asian antiques.
Sacred Skin: Thailand’s Spirit Tattoos: A book about sacred tattoos in Thailand that reflects animistic beliefs prevalent in Thailand. You can see many Thai symbols, designs and motifs in traditional tattoos.
by Sacred tattoos, called ‘sak yant’ in Thailand, have been around Southeast Asia for centuries and afford protection from accident, misfortune, and crime. Young women get tattooed with love charms in order to attract partners, while adolescent men use the protective power of their yants in fights with rival youth gangs. For most though, the tattoos serve as reminders to follow a moral code that endorses positive behavior.
The Buddha in Lanna: Art, Lineage, Power, and Place in Northern Thailand: Having a basic knowledge about Buddhism is helpful. Any books about Buddhist art or symbols would be useful.
by For centuries, wherever Thai Buddhists have made their homes, statues of the Buddha have provided striking testament to the role of Buddhism in the lives of the people. The Buddha in Lanna offers the first in-depth historical study of the Thai tradition of donation of Buddha statues. Drawing on palm-leaf manuscripts and inscriptions, many never previously translated into English, the book reveals the key roles that Thai Buddha images have played in the social and economic worlds of their makers and devotees from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries.
Are you craving Asian design? Armchair travel is nice, but there’s nothing like experiencing southeast Asia first-hand. Book an antique buying tour or design inspiration tour with The Antiques Diva.
Chan khoy tii jah daii jerr khun
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Summer is simply the best time to visit Sweden – the daylight never seems to end, stunningly beautiful hills and orchards and shimmering lakes, enjoying a crayfish boil and icy vodka at an outdoor café… and antiquing! Sweden is HOT for sourcing antiques this summer… and Sweden is on sale at The Antiques Diva® & Co!
The summer season is the low season for Swedish antique dealers – and those crafty Swedes use this season to stock up on new inventory. Which means for foreign buyers coming abroad to source antiques in Sweden they get 1st dibs on seeing new inventory their competitors (who are also shopping in Sweden) have not yet seen! Swedish Antiques Diva Guide Daniel can’t wait to introduce you antiquing in Sweden!
BUY 1 / GET 1 SWEDEN SUMMER ANTIQUE BUYING TOUR
• Book a 1 Day Sweden Antiques Buying Tour, Get a 2nd day FREE
• Tour Dates: June – July 2018
Get a two-day custom, private antique buying tour in Sweden for the price of one day! Learn more here.
(The event was streamed on Facebook LIVE by Aspire magazine, watch here.)
When 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 audience asked the panel, What are the most popular European antique sourcing destinations? My answer:
Why Sweden is HOT for Sourcing Antiques
Today in interior design, its all about the mix: what I call global chic. People don’t want one specific style in their home, they want their home to reflect their travels and their interests. They like to mix it up: a high-end piece with a provenance next to a modern trendy piece, an Asian antique juxtaposed against a modern abstract painting, a mid-century home with a European sensibility. Swedish antiques marry perfectly with pieces in different styles, and different price points. With their clean lines and typically soft, muted paint colors, Swedish antiques blend beautifully with pieces in many other styles.
Compared to other French or English antiques, Sweden antiques are rare because they did not make as many. And because provenance plays a big part when it comes to pricing – it’s a tricky field to enter. There is – or rather SHOULD BE – a significant price difference between 18th C and 19th C pieces of the same style. And as it’s a case of “Buyer Beware” it’s important to educate yourself so you know what you’re buying to guarantee you’re paying the right price.
International buyers sourcing in Sweden aren’t just competing with an international market when it comes to sourcing – Swedish antiques are popular in Sweden with the Swedes too: and because Swedes appreciate quality, they are willing to pay the price for authentic Swedish antiques. When sourcing Swedish antiques, knowledge is power!
Shopping at the antique warehouses in Sweden is an education. From painted Gustavian pieces to Rococo, Baroque, or Empire pieces we’ll educate you on what differentiates these periods. Opening the by-appointment-only-door is like treasure hunting: Everywhere you turn you will see something unexpected.
When you’re antiquing in Sweden, walking in with AD&CO is instant validation. Not only do we have access to private antique warehouses that aren’t online, dealers know The Antiques Diva means business. When our clients come in the door they are typically there to buy. And not just buy one piece – but container loads. This means that when you come with us sourcing antiques in Europe, you as our Antiques Diva client you have NOT ONLY your own buying power – but the reputation and the buying power of all our clients behind us! That power and those relationships help us negotiate on your behalf.
The key thing is this – our Antiques Diva Guides are local experts and personally know most of the dealers. We have the dealers’ private phone numbers and when our clients have questions or needs we can call up the dealer direct and talk to them on your behalf.
Daniel Larsson is our native-born Swedish Divo Guide. Daniel takes pride in helping clients find the right piece at their desired price point. Daniel has an international mindset and has traveled to the US, England, India, Norway, Spain and Holland; and runs D.LARSSON Interiör & Antikhandel which deals in fine Swedish antiques ranging from 18th to late 19th century, specializing in high-quality Rococo and Gustavian painted furniture, Swedish country and decorative items.
One of things Daniel warns clients is, “When walking into a Swedish antique warehouse you can have no expectations – you must be open to what’s in stock at that time.”
When Daniel takes clients antiquing in Sweden he provides an education in antiques:
• You need to understand the story behind the pieces, the romance, and connect each piece to its period.
• More than that you need to understand what lies underneath the pieces – understand restoration, what creates value in the pieces and what doesn’t.
• He teaches you about famous artisans in Stockholm and the countryside, explaining about various furniture makers, mirror makers and clockmakers.
• He teaches the differences between Swedish and other pieces – Sweden had periods that ended and unlike France where the periods often overlap in Sweden they never continued making them, so more limited editions because periods were finite.
I always say that taking an Antiques Diva Sweden Tour is like taking a Master Class on Swedish Antiques! Last summer at the Dallas Market Center Daniel and I presented a Swedish Antiques Master– see our slideshow below to learn about the three important Swedish furniture periods.
- At first look, the presentation can seem unorganized and random: then our Diva Guide helps you zoom in, find what you’re attracted to and you understand the differences in an antiques warehouse and an antique store.
- Inventory isn’t random. Antique dealers often specialize in a particular style – one of our vendors happens to be a museum curator who also sells antiques.
- Dealers enjoy talking about their pieces and sharing their knowledge. But its also important to understand the difference between style and period, and original and rebuilt, because there are disreputable dealers in all fields.
Antiques Dealer (and US Antique Diva Guide) Margaret Schwartz of Modern Antiquarian took a recent antique buying trip to Sweden with Daniel:
Swedish antiques are very much in demand. We had someone come in recently and practically buy out the Swedish inventory we had at The Antique & Artisan Gallery in Stamford, CT. Swedish furniture is timeless elegance at it’s best. Swedish looks good in every style interior and as a major benefit, they tend to hold their value in the marketplace if you ever tire of them and decide to sell. Not that you would tire of them! If you are looking to buy Swedish antiques I wouldn’t wait too long because we the price is very much on the rise, as is the demand. More buyers mean higher prices and less availability of period and quality pieces. There is a lot of reproduction and component pieces our there so do your reading, know what you’re looking for, and ask the questions. We dealers love to talk about all our inventory so don’t be shy in asking (appropriate) questions.
Act Fast: our Sweden 2-for-1 tour promotion is only available until July! We’d love to take you on an antique buying tour to Sweden, and introduce you to our expert dealers and secret sources!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
I just attended High Point Spring Market, a must-do on the interior design circuit, held twice yearly in High Point, NC. In addition to leading 4 events, I was an Instagram trend-spotter for High Point Market @HPMKT and a style spotter for The Chaise Lounge@thechaiselounge taking over their Instagram pages to share what I thought was Hot this Spring!
Before you read which vendors and products were the best of #HPMKT – Mark your calendars for this Fall 2018 when my furniture collection launches at High Point Market at Aidan Gray Home!
Delighted to Be an #HPMKT Trendspotter
Here are my #designinspirations from Spring High Point Market on Instagram to help you discover what’s hot, inspiring and trending:
From #TomaClarkHaines – aka – @TheAntiquesDiva: I’m channeling #CocoChanel today at the @antiquedesignct at #HPMKT with vendor #MichaelDeLoach and @CandaceDeloach. This delicious 9 foot by 19 feet long chocolate brown intricately carved coromandel screen reminds me of the one in Madamoiselle’s apartment in Paris on the Rue Cambon. The technique of craftsmanship involves layering and carving various layers of different colored clay – moss, teal and tomato – to create a #chinosierie screen. #ParisApartment #Chanel #ParisInteriors #AntiqueDealersofInstagram #AntiquesDiva #Antiques
From #TomaClarkHaines – aka – @TheAntiquesDiva: When it comes to #Antiques Pedigree talks (or in this case Barks!) #WoofWoof #DogsofInstagramWhile I love the Miid century harlequin Great Dane and early 20th C #chinosierie chest of drawers in this vignette being sold by the @firestationguy at the @antiquedesignct of #HPMKT. It’s the 19th C Mirror which has the most stories to tell…. It belonged to Marlon Brando. Oh the #StoriesItCouldTell. #Antiques #AntiquesDiva#AntiqueDealersofInstagram
From #TomaClarkHaines aka @TheAntiquesDiva: A trip to #HPMKT is not complete without visiting @nancypriceinteriordesign located in @Codarus at IHFC H220. #MixedMedia#Artist #AbbyPrice reconfigures geodes and selenite to create #oneofakind #art And while the #pretaporter pieces are divine#nancyprice also takes custom orders for personalized installations. Now that’s #divastyle #antiquesdiva
From #TomaClarkHaines aka @TheAntiquesDiva: Am I allowed to shop for my apartment in #Venice #Italywhile doing my #Hpmkt #instagramtakeover? If so – I must confess that for my apartment near the #GrandCanal I’m considering a two-tone silver rug from @_robinbaron aka #thebaroness for my bedroom. Located at #MarketSquare #SweetDreams #LaDolceVita #AntiquesDiva#VenetianInteriors #toneontone
From #TomaClarkHaines aka @TheAntiquesDiva: Mirror Mirror on the Wall… Who’s the fairest of them all? Stacey Kunstal of @DunesandDuchess is the #belleoftheball sporting @TCHCollection serpentine earrings and posing in her booth 7010 in #marketsquare where the #laquered colors on her custom made furniture and lighting are as bright as her personality! #divastyle #simplebutchic #chicinteriors #lifeofastylist
From #TomaClarkHaines aka @TheAntiquesDiva: If you’ve been following along as I do an #InstagramTakeover of #Hpmkt you’ve already seen one of the top #interiordesigntrends for 2018…. #Chinoiserie. Want to know another #mustbuy #designtrend? Faux Bois! Check out the #enchantedforest at @curreyco
Excited to Be an #TCLPStyleSpotter
The Chaise Lounge is sharing some of my favorite #designinspirations, finds and brands from Spring High Point Market on Instagram to help you discover what’s hot, inspiring and trending:
My first stop when heading to #hpmkt is always @AidanGrayHome at 201 North Main for #designinspiration and gorgeous upholstery, lighting and case goods. Utterly obsessed with their Goliath Star Chandelier! I’m considering it for my living room in my apartment in #Venice #Italy to add that #modernluxury touch and some #divastyle#tclpstylespot
One of my favorite product launches this #HPMKT is the mantel collection from @denisemcgaha with @materialsmarketing at @highlandhousefurniture showroom on 200 Steele #designingwithadeadline #antiquesdiva #dallasdesigner#highlandhouse #dmdesigns Super Chic!
Have you made your way over to @Theodore_Alexander_Official to Check out the @XanderNoori Collection? It’s being called the best new collection showing at #HPMKT spring 2018!!! Love the pod shaped forms, integrated leather banding and Zaha Hadid-esque shape shifting forms. Congrats Xander! #divastyle #modernluxe
From #TomaClarkHaines @TheAntiquesDiva for #TCLPStyleSpotter at #HPMKT
These #blueandwhitesoap bubble glaze ceramic #decorativeaccents from @howard.elliott would give a #globalchic vibe to any #interior. Special thanks to #BrandAmbassador @justinshaulis for giving me a tour of the #HowardElliott showroom #divastyle #globalsourcing #tclpstylespot
High Point Spring Market
Fall Market: October 13 – 17, 2018
Don’t miss The Antiques Diva Early Bird Tour of The Antique & Design Center High Point Fall Market!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Last Spring I took journalist Alison Engstrom of Rose & Ivy Journal on an antique tour of Paris and Provence. I was beyond thrilled with her October 3- part series, The Thrill of the Hunt, A Provençal Dream and We Run for Antiques.
Last week I went through the painful process of updating my iPhone – it wasn’t as seamless as I’d hoped! But during the process I discovered these gorgeous photos I took while we were shopping the antiques market – these l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue produce market photos are simply too stunning not to share!
Antiques Diva® tours provide design inspiration: of course we track down the best antiques and negotiate the best prices – but on our custom, 1:1 antique shopping tours our expert, local Diva Guides introduce to all that is special about the region – art, culture, terroir, and bien sur, foods! Design inspiration is all around you. Join me on my culinary souvenirs of a weekend antiquing in Provence…
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is one of 12 antiques shopping tours The Antiques Diva offers in the north and south of France. Our Antiques Diva Guide picks you up at your hotel and takes you to the second largest antiques flea market in France (after the Paris Flea Market) where essentially the entire town center is filled with antiques! We custom plan a route based on your style and budget, maximizing your time and money. Our Guides translate and negotiate on your behalf, and help you ship your purchases home using Antiques Diva fine arts and antiques shipping partner or we will liaise you with a preferred shipper to get your items home. Additional visits outside of town in the neighboring countryside are also added in based upon your wish list. Ideal for both the trade and tourist.
Here are my photos from the l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market that have been waiting to be rediscovered on my iPhone…
Toma, The Antiques Diva
Ciao, Bella! Today Antiques Diva Guide Désirée is taking us antiques shopping in Rome! Whether you’re shopping for vintage fashion, antiques or seeking design inspiration, Italian design is guaranteed to deliver! From dodging Vespa’s in the hustle and bustle of Roman and Renaissance cities to cruising the softly undulating hills of the Tuscan countryside, Italy is brimming treasures just waiting to be uncovered. This is the perfect country to plan a multi-day, bespoke Italy antique tour, going from Rome to Milan to Florence to Venice to Siena or a hilltop village in between; finding the best prices on mid-century pieces, contemporary ceramics and glass and a gorgeous selection of rustic farmhouse and more traditional antiques. Our Italy Antiques Diva Guide will take the guesswork out of where to go, creating well-researched itineraries for you, as she picks you up from your hotel and escorts you through this enchanting nation, translating and negotiating on your behalf the entire time. Because our guides are locals, they have relationships with vendors and know exactly where to take you based on your style and budget, maximizing your time and money while on tour. Today, Rome Antiques Diva Guide Désirée is taking us behind-the-scenes on a recent tour.
Toma, The Antiques Diva
My design crush Robert Passal opened a new design destination in Greenwich with business partner Kim Alessi. I visited the shop just before it opened, and I was delighted to discover inventory Robert had purchased with The Antiques Diva® at the Paris Flea Market and in Italy. Join Robert and me on Tuesday, Feb 6 with Garrow Kedigian at the D&D Designer Forum Series, as we discuss how to source antiques like the experts, with sponsor Duralee. I was in Connecticut with Diva Guide Doni Belau as we planned our New York area US antiques buying tours – #NoPassportRequired, so of course we had to stop for a preview of the P&M collection!
New York interior designers Robert Passal and Kim Alessi opened Putnam & Mason in Greenwich, CT, in May 2017. Called the D&D of Greenwich by Architectural Digest, the atelier promises to make NYC design to Connecticut. The workman were putting finishing touches on the showroom as Robert and Kim welcomed us despite the flurry of last-minute activities and gave us a personal tour of the showroom.
Taking center stage both in the Putnam & Mason showroom and on the website is this 17th-century hand-painted Italian chest that Robert discovered on-tour with The Antiques Diva. Discovered in a convent in Italy, the colors and craftsmanship on this chest literally took my breath away!
Putnam & Mason has a multi-tier design approach:
The shop offers a collection of antique and contemporary furniture, art and accessories, with custom options available, home delivery and design services.
The 2nd tier offers trade services for local designers from the Sample Bar select range of brands that P&M represents.
The 3rd tier is one-stop-shopping to assist clients with home renovation projections including kitchens and baths, landscaping and media rooms, partnering with local vendors.
Interior designers, furniture manufacturers and showrooms, architects, landscapers, shelter magazines and design industry professionals stay ahead of trends in design, decor, art, cuisine and fashion by traveling to locations that inspire and nurture their creativity and are an opportunity to see first-hand emerging trends in the design world.
- Putnam & Mason
- 34 East Putnam Avenue
Do You Want to Shop for Antiques in Italy?
BOOK AN ANTIQUES AND DESIGN TRIP WITH THE ANTIQUES DIVA
I hope you join Robert and me on February 6 at the D&D!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
When I speak at design industry events or with The Antiques Diva® clients, one of my core messages is, “The most important tool in your design kit is your passport.” My personal travels are what inspired me to launch The Antiques Diva, and my later travels to Asia and South America to source antiques for clients provided design inspiration for my upcoming couture jewelry line, TCH Collection. So I knew I had found a kindred spirit when I met Julianne Taylor, the Founder and Creative Director at Taylor Burke Home. I learned more of Julianne’s design inspirations when she interviewed me for a chapter in her brilliant book DesignHER, a celebration of female entrepreneurs shaping today’s home décor industry. Living and working abroad is, to paraphrase Hemingway, a movable feast: it stays with you, and forever influences your ideas and choices.
Julianne Taylor’s design aesthetic was influenced by her many years living abroad. As an expat, she provided interior design services for clients in Australia, Spain, China and South Korea; and when her family returned home to South Carolina, Julianne launched Taylor Burke Home, providing design services and decor to clients who appreciate her bold, unexpected and sophisticated designs.
Juliane Taylor Style Shanghai Collection
Julianne’s time living in Asia influenced her recent collaboration, Shanghai Wallpaper Collection by Julianne Taylor Style for Mitchell Black. The Shanghai Collection features six designs, and each design is offered in five to seven different colors. True to Julianne’s signature style, the collection offers sophisticated designs bursting with vibrant color.
No doubt influenced by her frequent moves while living abroad, the wallpaper collection is removable and wipeable: just peel and stick, reposition, and clean with a sponge! Beauty and practicality.
In addition to wallpaper, the Shanghai Collection offers Asian-themed framed prints, including ginger jars, kimonos and drawings. Julianne’s Asian influences in the collection include:
- every-day objects such as fans and vintage brass hardware
- cultural symbols like the Chinese Foo Dog and koi fish
- nature and botanicals including water lilies
It’s All In The Mix
My design philosophy is: it’s all in the mix! Our Antiques Diva Asia Tours are a moveable feast: all your senses are engaged by the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Asia! And when you travel and bring a bit of Asia home with you – vintage textiles, antique furniture, artisanal crafts, bits of architectural salvage (or even an entire Bali bridal house!) these pieces blend beautifully with your European and American furnishings; modern, contemporary, traditional, rustic or antique!
A global design mix in your home reflects who you are, your experiences and your evolution – and who you want to be. Finding decorative accessories that bring cohesion to your home can be a challenge: that’s why I’m crushing on Julianne’s Asian wallpaper collection! It’s both traditional and modern, both Asian and continental, and totally chic – just like Julianne! If you dream of traveling to and experiencing Asia one day, Shanghai Wallpaper can bring Asian design flair to your home today.
Leaving you to dream of Asia…
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Delighted to be an HPMKT Trendspotter: I’m sharing my design inspirations at High Point Market on Instagram to help you discover new, unique products: follow @highpointmarket! #designonhpmkt #hpmkt #interiordesign #interiorinspo #interiordesigners
Pop into Market Square to meet Richard Auber – who is truly a visionary in Design and a trendsetter in the Antiques world.
With its gorgeous beaches, luxury resorts, rice paddies and ancient temples Indonesia has far more to offer than just a destination as a vacation hot spot. Bali is one of the world’s best resources for global sourcing. Their antiques scene – and the abundance of offerings – is reminiscent of the Paris Flea Market but Indonesia offers more than just antiques. After assessing your antiquing and design or fashion sourcing needs our local expert Antiques Diva® shopping guide will custom plan your Bali antiques buying tour – helping to maximize your time and money by translating and negotiating on your behalf, and finally liaising you with an international shipper.
Join Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva® & Co, with Derrick Ricketts, VP, Dallas Market Center on a Bali Antiques Buying Tour with local expert Antiques Diva Guide Marilyn:
Bali is more than a vacation destination. Bali is one of the world’s best resources for global sourcing. Whether you are looking for rustic or folkart furniture… wood and stone carvings… textiles, batiks and ikats… tribal jewelry… architectural salvage… or actually seeking a source to manufacture your own furniture line… Bali has it all!
Our Bali tour crisscrosses Seminyak and Ubud. Bali has countless antiques warehouses where you can find both Balinese and Javanese furniture and architectural salvage. I simply love the colors and carvings of Indonesia!
We have a lot of places to go! Our job is to bring clients to exactly the right places for what they’re looking for! Marilyn knows all the right places, and gets the best prices.
Bali is famous for its textiles. You can even find newly made furniture in Bali. If you want to design your own furniture we can introduce you to artisans and manufacturers for handmade goods.
Bali is also an excellent place to source contemporary art.
After a full day of shopping, we take time to monkey around in Ubud Monkey Forest!
My favorite hotel in Bali is Bambu Indah, John Hardy’s famous eco-lifestyle boutique hotel. Hardy salvaged 11 antique Javanese bridal homes and reconstructed them in Bali. A reknown antiques collector, Hardy’s philosophy is Antiques Are Green. We explore with our client the use of architectural salvage in luxury and eco-design.
On Antiques Diva Tours we always take time to eat! And here eating is a culinary and visual feast.
After lunch we hit the road again. Bali boasts a district of antique shops that can only be compared to the Paris Flea Market! Mile after mile of treasures unfold.
The secret of our tours is we know where to go. We take a peek at one of Donna Karan’s secret sources.
To close the day we are invited for cocktails at the home of local antiques dealer Michael Nalder of LeMari.
Kop khun kha,
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
I’ve always had a love for old things, the passage of time, wear and tear, scars – all of this has been of interest since my earliest memory. We lived in a very old house in Cuba, a 17th-century building with old pasta floors and beamed ceilings. Most of it kindly neglected after the revolution but impeccably tidy. We moved to the US to a modern apartment not at all to my liking and so as a teenager I began buying old bits; Japanese Imari, an old French chair; my bedroom was a little museum in my mother’s Danish Modern home. I studied dance, but before becoming a professional working in Monaco I became friends with an antiques dealer who owned The Ballet Shop on the Upper West Side; I’d spend hours rummaging thru stacks of old Romantic prints and silver gelatin photos of famous dancers. Turns out that Norman Crider was a baton twirling ice skater, quite a character who was awarded the Order of National Merit and Philanthropy in France and founded the Antiques Center of America; as he had 3 shops he’d sometimes need a little help. Eventually I’d assist him setting up his booth at the Armory Show where he would display paste jewels once owned by Hollywood Royalty… I remember him saying after a little composition went up “oh dear, you have an eye” and so I cultivated that eye as I danced my way thru Europe and South America.
The best part of being an ornament is that you’re invited into people’s homes, houses decorated by Colefax and Fowler, Mongiardino, all the greats and so you see and you learn how to mix fearlessly. I remember Castaign’s shop in the 80’s, the last period of high style decorating. That’s why antiques are so important, they remind us of what visual quality should be. Luckily there are still many people who appreciate that quality. Speaking of older, when I hung up my ballet shoes I attended Parson’s and was fortunate to have worked with Bunny Williams and Thomas Jayne who use antiques in all of their projects, so it was another layer of training and when I went off on my in own in 1992 I knew what I was looking at. I opened a small shop along with artist Ric Best called from House to Home in Asbury Park and then Flourish in Philadelphia as well as a small booth at the now defunct Center 44; today I sell my finds to a few high profile designers and those who know where to find me. Luckily the Antiques Diva is a great resource for those in the know.
That’s why antiques are so important, they remind us of what visual quality should be.
My take on vintage and antiques is that if something has been around for a few decades or a few centuries, the chances are that with a little care they’ll outlive us all. And even the worst antique is probably better made than the best mass-produced repro. You also won’t see yourself coming and going in your friend’s houses. Stylistically I tend to gravitate to the neoclassical though that can span a very long period of time. Here are 5 items I’d be happy to use just about anywhere.
1. A pair of Regency marble-top consoles. I love Regency, it’s not as stiff as Empire and the scale can be a little more forgiving so these pieces are suited to city living. These particular tables could be used in an entry flanking a doorway or they could live on either side of a sofa with some mod little low tables in front of them or even as additional servers in a dining room. Add a modern painting or a simple mirror above and you’re pretty much set.
2. The now much-maligned cabinet once used to house our clunky TVs were once actually used as storage. Working with clients in NYC and environs not everyone is blessed with miles of closets. I tend to go for the very plain or the very interesting. Here’s a Biedermeier cabinet that’s not too deep, so while it makes a big statement with it’s architectural presence, all columns and rusticated detailing, you could center this on a wall opposite a seating area or perhaps in your bedroom or a study to hold papers and oversized books. At one time a cabinet like this would have cost a small fortune. Best time to buy this type of furniture is now.
3. A pair of faux painted classical planters. I have a thing for non-furniture items. I think the biggest rookie mistake is to buy upholstery and tables all from one source. The quickest way to look ‘done’ and be done in is to fill a room with store bought blandness. These planters could transform any space, they could flank a doorway or a window and as they’re large they could easily be placed on stone plinths in your double height living room with some palm trees. Why not be just a decadent, you know you want to. And it will give your room much-needed height. They could also go to the side of a fireplace to hold logs. So many uses!
4. I have a thing for the Grand Tour. My first time in Florence I visited a shop that was filled with 19th-century bronze casts and models of great sculpture and I was hooked. I buy them whenever I see them and they’re not that easy to find. Group them if you have a center table, use them singly on a modern cube or coffee table, you can’t go wrong. This Atlas was used by Kelly Wearstler in a recent project.
5. While I always mix modern and contemporary art with my antiques there’s no reason one couldn’t use an ancient textile here and there. Tapestries are not something the average person ever thinks about, but imagine this late 18th-century example in a very clean lined room, or in an entrance hall. The borders alone are enough to fill you with countless hours of joy. I also tend to like religious theme, not for everyone, but here is Moses finding water in the desert, talk about a refreshing subject.
And so those are the five items I’m thinking about right about now. Hope you’ve enjoyed them.
Featured image: Room by Louis Navarrete Decoration for Holiday House 2014
Louis Navarrete Decoration
834 Riverside Drive 5B
New York City, NY 10032
Born in Cuba, Louis was always interested in houses and their contents. After emigrating to the US, he studied ballet with renowned teacher David Howard and danced professionally across Europe with Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, in the US with The Joffrey Ballet and in South America with Ballets del Zulia. A career ending injury afforded him the opportunity to attend Parson’s where he studied Environmental Design and Interior Decoration under the tutelage of ex Parish-Hadley alumni. He worked as design assistant to Thomas Jayne and Bunny Williams before embarking on his own in 1992. Louis is an expert on design with a keen eye for antiques and has developed a wide range of connections which allows him to source anything you might be in search of, at various price points.