Did you ever wonder how The Antiques Diva® stays in business? After all, we personally introduce our clients to our secret sources – which means they are no longer our little secret! My secret weapon – even more important than my little black book of secret sources – is our team of locally based Antiques Diva Guides. Today’s guest post is by Margaret Schwartz, owner of Modern Antiquarian. Margaret is an expert in buying, marketing and selling antiques and has a passion for the home décor business. And yet after 3 years, she is now planning her 7th Antiques Diva buying trip to Europe! I’m first in line to sing the praises of our amazing team of knowledgeable, well-connected expert antiques shopping guides who know the markets like the back of their hand, and help our clients translate and negotiate, document their purchases and coordinate international shipping – but last week Margaret asked if she could write an article about her experiences with our Diva Guides (and I have the text to prove it!) I’m delighted to share with you Margaret’s 1st hand experiences with Antiques Diva buying tours and Diva Guides – accompanied by her personal photos from her tours.
Why I Still Use the Antiques Diva & Co to Stock My Store
After three years and a half dozen Diva tours, you might ask why I keep using the Diva Guides to stock my store. Why do I keep spending money on Guides? Well, there are many, many reasons!
Time is Money
It might sound odd, but it saves me money. There is an old adage “you have to spend money to make money.” This might not be exactly what they meant, but it still applies. Working with locally based Diva Guides I save precious time overseas by visiting dealers who have inventory I’m looking for, at the price point I need, and are guaranteed to be there. By maximizing your schedule you are saving time – which is saving money.
A friend recently said to me, “Efficiency is critical when you’re on an international buying trip. You can pass some costs on to your clients, but you can’t pass off your own inefficiencies.” Very true. When buying overseas there is a lot of paperwork that needs to be filled out, notes written, and photos that need to be taken. You have to fill out the purchase orders properly otherwise there could be mixups with the shipper. The Diva Guides know exactly how the shippers like their POs so it saves you from a costly mixup, as well as gives you the extra time to do another loop and make sure you didn’t miss anything, check emails, get in touch with clients, or take a minute to review the list of inventory you’re still looking for. You end up getting half as much done in twice the time once you realize everything a Diva does behind the scenes.
We all speak the language of antiques, but do you speak Flemish? Because I sure don’t. Having a local guide who speaks the language, both verbal and nonverbal, gives you a leg up. Shipping antiques is not the same as buying for resale in the US. An individual buyer who wants to spend $5,000 on a piece for their own home is entirely different than me spending $2,000 with the goal of reselling it in my shop for a profit. You’re dealing with different margins and a different type of expertise is required. By the time you factor in hiring a driver, maybe a translator, liaising with the shipper, and losing discounts you get with the Diva, you realize you’ll be saving money by spending money.
Making International Contacts & Maintaining Relationships
Diva Guides have longstanding relationships in the industry. When they have worked with dealers for years, they have a mutual respect and admiration for one another. I have seen this countless times in person when on tours. Dealers greet the Guides as old friends do, rolling out the red carpet offering tea and a cozy place to perch while reviewing purchases. You catch up on the latest industry news and discuss business.
Overseas business isn’t conducted the same way it is stateside where you stick to business. People want to vet you, know a teeny bit about you, who you are, and what your business is. Having a Diva Guide with you is a sort of credential. You’ve been “Diva-Approved” and are therefore a qualified buyer. These meetings and conversations help to establish your own independent relationships with dealers, but these relationships need to be nurtured and maintained. Diva Guides can help push these relationships along. Gail introduced me to a fabulous dealer in the UK who I’ve worked on building a relationship with. Eventually, he was generous enough to write a recommendation for me when I applied to be a member of LAPADA. These things don’t happen overnight so trust in your Diva Guide to help usher these things along.
Vendors Show Up
Many of the best dealers are appointment-only and they respect the Guides enough to actually show up when they say they will! As a native New Yorker, I truly hate when time is wasted. A few years ago I went on a Diva tour for a day while in England. While I had some downtime during my trip, I had the brilliant idea of popping over to a part of London that has fantastic dealers whom I’ve dealt with before. That was a massive waste of time. It was summer so I assumed some of the shops would be closed, but practically the entire street was deserted! Had I used my Diva Guide for an extra half day I would have been able to get into these shops by appointment. Because the Divas have personal relationships with the vendors, they typically have their personal mobile number and call them up and tell them to get down here if they don’t show up! Although that hasn’t happened often because the Divas run a tight ship.
Power in Numbers
You will no doubt get local prices for inventory when working with the Antiques Diva & Co. If you are working with a Guide you have the buying power of all the Diva clients combined. The dealers want repeat business and they want to keep the client – both you and the Divas – happy. The dealers will offer generous discounts because they want you and the Diva Guides to keep coming back. What you spend on a tour can easily be made up with how much you save through the Diva discounts.
Second Set of Eyes
When I arrive at any dealer location I always walk it twice in opposite directions. I cannot tell you how many times I have discovered gems that I didn’t see on my first pass through but saw on the second pass through in the reverse. Even with this tried and true method I still miss things. This is when your Diva Guide can come in handy, pointing out things you might have overlooked. The local Diva Guides are skilled at what they do and they quickly understand exactly what you’re looking for.
Diva Guides can also point out interesting details about pieces you are considering. Things you might have overlooked at first glance but are spotted by the Guides. These things could sway you to pick a comparable but slightly different piece from the same dealer. This second set of eyes is so important when you might be suffering from buyer’s fatigue.
Secret Sources & Trend Spotting
When it comes to antiques you can’t be too careful. There is a time and place for shopping on a High Street, but most of my favorite sources are off the beaten path. This means shopping in warehouses, industrial parks, barns, and private homes. These dealers might never be discovered without your Diva Guides. With access to these kinds of inside access dealers, these Guides have important sources of information about the global market. Discussing what is selling, what isn’t and why. You can get ahead of the game on trends if you watch and listen carefully to the dealers and Diva Guides. We all want to be ahead of the curve, right?
Years of Experience & Education
All of these benefits are from hard work over years of being in the industry. The Guides are trusted, respected, valued, and knowledgeable. I have learned so much on every single trip I have taken with the Antiques Diva & Co. I rely so heavily on UK Diva Gail McLeod, that she advises and accompanies me on trips to Sweden, Belgium, and France. Many of the Divas, like Gail, have relationships that extend beyond the borders of their own country and this is very helpful when you are on a multi-country tour as I like to do. These types of working relationships take years to establish and cultivate and you’re getting a VIP pass when working with the Antiques Diva & Co.
The Guides are so knowledgeable that they know what questions to ask. There are so many questions I ask about pieces and sometimes I forget to ask something. Or, there might be something I didn’t know about a certain kind of piece like it isn’t just a cabinet, it’s actually a cabinet made by a father for his daughter as a wedding gift. I love to be able to share the history and story of a piece when I talk to my clients. I see all of us as caretakers and I want the buyer to be able to pass along the story to whoever has the piece after them.
The Guides know these things and make sure you know it too before you make your purchases. When I was in Sweden with Gail and locally based Divo Guide Daniel, I learned so much I had to keep taking breaks to write it all down, trying to remember everything. With antiques there is only so much you can read in a book. At a certain point you have to touch, feel, look, and experience these pieces so you can build your knowledge and become trusted experts too. Each trip with a Guide is another credit in your real world antiques degree.
The education isn’t limited to the antiques. It’s a business education as well. When with a Diva not only do I have a better understanding of the history of the piece, I understand how to market it for today’s buyers. Because the Divas work in the industry with design professionals they understand how people are using antiques in their homes and living with antiques. Now I’ve learned a great deal about the pieces I’m buying, AND I’ve learned how to sell them. This is pretty much as turnkey and foolproof as it gets. Antiques are always risky, but working with the Antiques Diva & Co drastically minimizes these risks.
The locally based Antiques Diva & Co Guides have their finger on the pulse of the industry. The antiques industry is thriving in Europe and like any thriving industry there are constant changes that you have to keep up with. The Diva Guides do that for you. They know when new dealers have hit the scene and what these new dealers are offering. They know when well-established dealers are making changes to their inventory, moving, or maybe even retiring altogether. Can you imagine having to replace your top dealer because suddenly they decided to carry mid-century instead of Gustavian? That would be a nightmare to sort out on your own.
These Guides are well aware of all these changes, often knowing before the information is announced to the rest of the industry. The Guides can get ahead of these changes and adjust your itinerary accordingly. And of course I love it when they find new dealers! Being one of the first buyers at a fresh source is so much fun. Being an early and loyal buyer will help you maintain these important relationships too.
Added Value: Restaurants, Hotels, Laughs, and More
Beyond industry reasons, there is so much added value that you get from working with Diva Guides. They can tell you great restaurants to try, the best times to hit museums, and great hotels to try – all at prices that will fit your budget. Plus, they are really fun and fascinating people. You’ll learn so much about the local culture and history and gain a deeper appreciation for the antiques we all love so much. You spend so much time together you develop friendships with the Divas. UK Diva Gail and I have now spent so much time together she refers to me as her “American daughter.” The Guides make it fun, entertaining, educational, and efficient. A very hard task and they do it seemingly with ease.
One final thought I’d like to leave you with is that I believe so strongly in the brand and the value this service offers that I asked to be a part of the team when they launched Antiques Diva & Co tours stateside. I knew it would be a fantastic experience to conquer my own backyard and share what I’ve discovered with other antiques lovers. Every step of the way working with this company, as both a client and guide, is an absolute joy.
I am thrilled to be the US Antiques Diva Guide for the Berkshires. If you haven’t been to the Berkshires it is an absolute must for the Autumn leaf season. Tucked away from busy New York, the historic Berkshires are located in picturesque western Massachusetts. This tour is ideal for those looking for a dynamic experience combining arts and antiques. Home to Norman Rockwell, the Berkshires offers a unique cultural experience with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, live concerts at Tanglewood, farm-to-table restaurant scene, art galleries, lovely B&Bs, and untouched small-town New England charm. If you’re looking for some R&R, stay at Canyon Ranch for a world-class spa experience.
I also show at The Compound at Round Top and have fallen madly in love with it! Twice a year Round Top, TX, which boasts a year-round population of 90, is invaded and is host to thousands of vendors and buyers. It is filled with everything you could ever imagine at dozens of different venues and hugely varied price points. How does one sieve through all these vendors and sort the bric-a-brac from the real gems? THE DIVAS! Toma & team have Round Top covered and know where and when to go. They even know where to stay and eat. Round Top is truly an antique lovers paradise and just like the Berkshires, a do not miss trip for the casual and serious buyer alike. And when you do go please be sure to stop by and see me at The Compound where you can step into some cool air conditioning and grab fresh margaritas!
And there you have it – straight from Margaret to you! Antiques Diva buying tours
- save you time and money
- help you source the best inventory for your budget
- keep you current on industry trends
- are a master’s class in antiques
– and are just plain fun! Don’t miss out on experiencing an Antiques Diva Tour to Europe, Aisa or the US – #NoPassportRequired – and sourcing the best antiques with Antiques Diva Guides, the best antiques buying experts in the business! And if you join us for a US antiques buying tour to Round Top or the Berkshires, we’ll be sure to set you up with our newest Diva Guide, Margaret!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
I know Philip and Sim Hamilton Harvey of ARCANUM Market from their fabulous booth at High Point Antique and Design Center; each year when I lead the walking tour I tend to feature their finds. When I was asked to lead the VIP Antiques Tour in in Savannah at Southern Style Now, I went to them for some of the best antique dealers and experts in Savannah!
Sip champagne, see the sights and score some antiques on my VIP Antiques Tour!
- Southern Style Now
November 9-11, 2017
- Antiques Diva VIP Antiques Trolley Tour
Friday November 10 11:30am – 2pm
Please note: Attendance is limited, so sign up today! #NoPassportRequired
Here’s a sneak preview of my Savannah antiques tour:
346 Whitaker Street
A modern mix of American and Continental antiques and new home furnishings.
Everyone who knows me also knows that being The Antiques Diva® means I’m away from home more often than not… as I write this I just returned to Berlin from a 3-suitcase trip covering NYC, High Point, Key West and London. And after I unpack (and retrieve my laptop which was sadly left on the plane to London), I’m off to Venice, Savannah for Southern Style Now then Bangkok preparing our TCH Collection launch before going back to the USA to speak in Jacksonville, FL, for the London Calling charity event.
What keeps this Diva going (besides equal parts coffee and champagne)? Sleep. I have energy in spades and keep up the hectic pace for days but what’s essential are my zzzz’s — getting 7 to 8 hours sleep every night is mandatory. (And truth told, I’ve recently discovered the joys of spending an entire Saturday in bed, which just might include my laptop and Netflix…) When I arrive at my travel destination, where I’m sleeping is of utmost importance. And my #DivaStyle radar lit up last year at my first visit to Round Top when I was introduced to Rancho Pillows. The best way I can describe it is part Brooklyn, part Old West, and thoroughly Texan. And that’s why I personally selected Rancho Pillow as our home-away-from-home on our Round Top Group Antiques Tour in April, with US Antiques Diva Guide Doni Belau of Girls Guide to Paris. Book by Dec 1 to get our special introductory rate!
Rancho Pillow is the absolute coolest and funkiest place to stay at Round Top. If you are looking for an excuse to join our Round Top tour, this is it! Where else can you experience a fabulous day antiquing treasures from Europe, Asia and America, followed by a pink sunset over the trees, in a folk-art fantasy designed by artist Sheila Youngblood.
What better spot to chill and refresh end of day on your once in a lifetime shopping fantasy tour?
Farmhouse elegance plus comfort guarantee a good night’s sleep at Rancho Pillow.
Texas hospitality guarantees a good night’s sleep in the sleeping quarters at Rancho Pillow.
Breakfasts at Rancho Pillow promise hot coffee with a view.
Outdooring bathing at the communal bathhouse is just one of the many options during your stay.
We’ll enjoy a feast in the field with a private chef at Rancho Pillow during Round Top Antiques Fair.
Experience the sounds and taste of Rancho Pillow on this video tour:
A heated, saltwater wading pool… swapping stories of the day’s hunt with new friends at the firepit… a quiet moment in the poetry library…
… it will be hard to see Rancho Pillow in your rearview mirror as we drive away, but your memories of this special visit to Round Top won’t fade away soon… and I’m betting you’ll have a few new pieces sourced at Round Top Antiques Fair to remind you of our Diva Extravaganza!
Join me and Antiques Diva Guide Doni Belau of Girls’ Guide to Paris for 4 days & 5 nights of finger-licking bbq, antiques and vintage as far as the eye can see and further, country music, Texas bluebonnets, seriously good wine – and Rancho Pillow! At the biggest antique show in the world you’ll discover gems from Belgium, France and Holland as well as mamma’s attic down the road. There is something for all price points plus we’ll help you negotiate and ship it all home. And the location in Texas Hill Country is gorgeous. Why haven’t you been yet? You were waiting to come with The Antiques Diva, weren’t you!?!!
See y’all in Texas!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Are you an Antiques Diva, a junkie for junk or a flea market queen? If you love vintage and antiques like we do, then you must join us next spring at the mecca of all antique shows in Round Top, Texas. This isn’t one antique show, its many shows which converge in one small town over the span of two weeks covering 20 miles or more. (Design junkies know Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper have made two phrases famous: shiplap and Round Top!)
Our group antiques tour to Round Top from April 2-7, 2018, is 4 days and 5 nights of finger-licking bbq, antiques and vintage as far as the eye can see and further, country music, Texas bluebonnets and seriously good wine. At the biggest antique show in the world you’ll discover gems from Belgium, France and Holland as well as mamma’s attic down the road. There is something for all price points plus we’ll help you negotiate and ship it all home. And the location in Texas Hill Country is gorgeous. Every dealer and shop owner who is serious shops here – so why haven’t you been yet? You were waiting to come with The Antiques Diva & Co, weren’t you!?
Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva® & Co, has teamed up with Doni Belau from Girls’ Guide to Paris (a French antique dealer who exhibits at Round Top), and they will be your guides for the week. Rancho Pillow, the absolute coolest and funkiest place to stay, will be your home during our sojourn. If you don’t have a good time on this trip and score some serious finds then frankly… we simply can’t help you!
Round Top Texas Group Antiques Diva Tour
April 2-7 2018
- Lodging, all breakfasts & lunches, 3 dinners, all tours & all transport on site
- Transport to and from Round Top Texas (we are happy to schedule one specified time for transport from Austin Airport via van)
- 3 dinners, however, we will have suggestions on where to eat and transportation is provided
- Extra drinks at music venue & elsewhere
- All antiques purchases & shipping
April 2nd, Monday
We’ll kick off our time together with a welcome meal at a local steakhouse and some bubbly in this Getting To Know You event!
April 3rd Tuesday
Breakfast at Rancho Pillow and then we’re off to do the Original Round Top Tour, followed by an afternoon visit to one of the local Czech communities. In the evening we’ll hang out and relax back at Rancho Pillow. Those who need to unwind can take a yoga class or have a massage to work out the stress of all that hardcore shopping – Diva-style! Dinner is on your own.
Tues April 4th
Following breakfast, we’ll head for a behind-the-scenes tour of Excess I & II followed by a picnic lunch. That afternoon we’ll shop The Compound with one of the dealers getting the inside scoop on how the dealers score the best deals. Naturally, the day will end with cocktail & nibbles in Diva Guide Doni Belau’s booth she shares with Diva Guide Margaret Schwartz. Dinner reservations confirmed this evening as a group.
Wed April 5th
Today we’ll shop til we drop with Arbors Antiques with owner Curtis Ann Davies – one of the most beloved of all the show owners. Dealers in Round Top fight for space to display at her fair simply because she’s so darn nice. Some of our favorite Antiques Diva clients are selling on this field and we’ll make sure to high light friends and friends. After lunch we’ll enjoy an afternoon walk and photo safari among the wildflowers before heading back to the ranch for a Private Chef Dinner with Rancho Pillow! Bone Appetit! (I suspect in Texas longhorn country meat may be on the menu!)
Special Event with Lolo French Antiques et More:
Join Antiques Diva blog contributor Mimi Montgomery and antiques dealer Laurent Gouon of Lolo French Antiques for a furniture history lesson learning to tell your Louis 15th from your Louis 16th. Ask Laurent all your questions on how to care for your antiques.
Special Event with Pandora de Balthazár:
Join European linen dealer and sleep expert Pandora de Balthazár to learn how to get better sleep and how it will improve your overall health. We’ll get in bed and drink champagne to learn why a good night’s sleep isn’t a luxury, it’s an essential to maintaining a #DivaLifestyle.
Thurs April 6th
For the last day of your Diva Extravaganza we’re heading to Warrenton and Zapp Hall. We’re still awaiting the dates for the Junk Gypsy Prom – but we’re hoping the gods align our fates so we can be the belles of the ball. Either way tonight will be about kicking up our heels (and by heels I mean cowboy boots, not stilettos) and listening to some down-home country music whilst eating BBQ. Those who want to trade the champagne bottle for beer will have that option.
Friday April 7th
There are a few select places available on this once in a lifetime shopping fantasy tour. Contact us ASAP to reserve your space or to learn more. There’s a reason why they say everything is bigger in Texas.
Take a behind-the-scenes peek at my Champagne Tour at the Round Top Arbor Antiques International Antiques & Interior Design Show:
See y’all in Texas!
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
One of my favorite antique shows is TEFAF (The European Fine Arts Fair) in Maastricht, The Netherlands. I try to attend every other year. Attending TEFAF is like going to a museum… but everything is for sale. You can hold the Monet, try on the $200K tiara. Standing in a booth and eavesdropping on a conversation between a vendor and a potential buyer is a mini-course on fine arts – you get the best (and yes best, also means most expensive) expert dealers from around the world in one location. After one of the 1st TEFAF shows I attended, I wrote:
As you walk about the carefully decorated stalls look around – not just at the items for sell, the great floral arrangments and the innovative décor, but at the other visitors to the fair. See that guy over there – he’s a private buyer who just flew in on his private jet. Of course, unless you are a polyglot, you might find eavesdropping on the rich and famous to be a bit difficult. You’re as likely to hear English spoken as you are Russian, Chinese, Aarbic, French, Portugese, German, Dutch or Italian. It’s as if you’ve taken the worlds wealthiest citizens, thrown them in a Baccarat martini shaker and added copious quantities of cologne, silk ascots, and mink. The cocktail comes out tasting a tad Fitzgeraldesque, but with price tags included.
The main attraction for me is jewelry – Van Cleef Arpels & Chopard have antique and vintage pieces but also a slew of jewelers have eye candy for #designinspiration.
TEFAF New York returns October 28 – November 1, 2017, at the Park Avenue Armory, featuring fine and decorative art from antiquity to 1920.
- TEFAF New York
- October 28 – November 1, 2017
FRIDAY OCTOBER 27
2 PM – 9 PM: VIP Preview (VIP cardholders)
6 PM – 9 PM: Opening Night Reception for the Benefit of Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK Invitation only)
SATURDAY OCTOBER 28
11 AM – NOON: Early Access (VIP cardholders)
Noon – 8 PM: General Admission
SUNDAY OCTOBER 29
11 AM – Noon: Early Access (VIP cardholders)
Noon – 6 PM: General Admission
MONDAY OCTOBER 30
11 AM – Noon: Early Access (VIP cardholders)
Noon – 8 PM: General Admission
TUESDAY OCTOBER 31
11 AM – NOON: Early Access (VIP cardholders)
Noon – 8 PM: General Admission
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 1
11 AM – Noon: Early Access (VIP cardholders)
Noon – 6 PM: General Admission
- Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue
New York, New York
“This, the Dutch seemed to be saying, this is how you do an art fair.”
The Arbor International Antiques & Interior Design Show in Round Top, Texas, is one of the biggest antique shows in the South! Last year I attended The Arbors Show at Round Top for the first time and was simply gob-smacked by the quality of the antiques offered for sale; the warmth, friendliness and plain old southern hospitality of the vendors (from 13 countries!); and the scenic hills and beautiful countryside. My #NoPassportRequired Champagne Tours at Round Top were just plain fun, and I was simply blown away by the quality of antiques, vintage and accessories being offered!
#WatchThisSpace: The Antiques Diva® is launching special Round Top Antiques Show group tours in 2018!
Toma, The Antiques Diva® is leading our Round Top Antiques Show tour with local experts and Diva Guide Doni from Girls’ Guide to Paris (a French antique dealer who exhibits here) from April 2-7 2018: 4 days and 5 nights of finger-licking bbq, antiques and vintage as far as the eye can see and further; country music, Texas blue bells and seriously good wine. At the biggest antique show in the world you’ll discover gems from Belgium, France and Holland as well as mamma’s attic down the road. There is something for all price points plus we’ll help you negotiate and ship it all home. And the location in Texas Hill Country is gorgeous. Every dealer and shop owner who is serious shops here, Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper shops here – so why haven’t you been yet? More details coming soon…
Round Top offers more than antiques – everything is bigger in Texas! In addition to the impressive display of European and American antiques – many museum-quality – The Arbors offers:
- custom furniture
- fine artworks
- handcrafted jewelry
- vintage fashion
- live music
- food trucks with everything from beer to champagne
- special events
Note: Be sure to scroll down for details on Round Top’s fundraiser Designer Dream Spree & Dwell with Dignity Event to benefit Hurricane Harvey Victims on Sept 28
Be sure to visit two of our favorite vendors at Round Top this week: Pandora de Balthazár, featuring fine linens and European textiles and Pandora’s fabulous European Sleep System (I confess: I’m working from bed right now!); Lolo French Antiques et More, direct importers of French antique furniture and accessories – plus their scene-stealing French bulldog, Louis (don’t miss Mimi’s monthly column on The Antiques Diva blog!).
Round Top Arbor Antique Show
Located in Texas Hill Country, historic Round Top is a town tiny in size, mighty in charm, and as peaceful in spirit as the gentle hills in which it nestles. Here, amidst looming oaks and verdant ranch land, picturesque vistas can be captured…land meets sky in soft, mist-laden light… a 12-acre antique festival!
- American Legion Post #338, 1503 N. State Hwy. 237, Round Top, Texas 78954. (One Mile North of Round Top Square and Six Miles South of Hwy 290.)
- September 20th opening at 9am through September 30th at 4pm
- Special Events:
Fri. 22nd – Karaoke
Sat, 23rd – Live Music
Mon. 25th – Live music in corridor for late night shopping
Tues. 26th – Live music in corridor for late night shopping
Thurs. 28th – Designer Dream Spree & Dwell with Dignity Event to benefit Hurricane Harvey Victims – Tickets $100
Fri. 29th – Karaoke
- Special Events:
- Website: www.arborantiques.com
Texas Champagne BBQ:
Live Music, BBQ and Drinks to Benefit Those Impacted by Hurrican Harvey – September 28, 2017
Trade in seeing fashion on the runway for showing up in your own fashion for a true Texas night.
Due to the devastation that Hurricane Harvey has caused, Round Top made the decision to cancel the Texas Boho Chic Fashion Show & Champagne BBQ. Curtis Ann and Julie Dodson of the Designer Dream Spree want this event to benefit those that have lost so much in the last few weeks! Both show promoters wanted the event to be one that is all about Texas! You can’t get any more Texan than listening to country music, drinking beer (& champagne) while eating BBQ from one of the top 50 best BBQ places in the state of Texas, Truth Barbeque out of Brenham, Texas. Carson Kressley will still be rockin’ it Texas Style with us too!
Julie Dodson has teamed up with Dwell with Dignity to help turn houses into homes again for people that have lost so much. All proceeds from the evening will go to helping those in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Purchase tickets and details -> http://bit.ly/2rYORGn
Come on down, y,all!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Photo Credit Jared Siskin
As summer winds to a close and before the fall breezes get too cool I’m planning my final outdoor fête on my rooftop terrace at home in my converted brewery loft apartment in Berlin. Hosting parties chez moi is perhaps my favorite thing to do in my free time. I spend oodles of time reading cookbooks (Barefoot Contessa is still my favorite) and pinning recipes on Pinterest. As always when seeking Design Inspiration I look to both my travels and my designer friends to get chic tips for living stylishly and entertaining.
The most stylish outdoor party I attended recently in the Hamptons involved both of these two things: Travel and some of my favorite Interior Designers!
Originally from North Carolina, Lisa Mende was born to entertain. When I asked her to share with me her her tips on Entertaining with Diva Style she wrote:
“Entertaining Diva style is an experience not to take lightly! The key to Diva entertaining is to consider all the elements, plan well and be at complete ease when your guests arrive. So how do we do that, you ask? First of all, let’s talk the drinks and bar cart! Every Diva has the drinks flowing when her guest arrive. Nothing will put your guest more at ease than a nice glass of bubbly or a fun cocktail! There must be good champagne and lots of it! You must also have a signature drink as an option for those who don’t like champagne. Customize the signature cocktail to color coordinate with the linens so the drink looks good on the table. Also, make sure your bar cart is well stocked with pretty glasses, a martini shaker, fun mixers, swizzle sticks and a large ice bucket.”
Interior Designer Lisa Mende continues:
“I’m not sure who decided we had to dine on plastic and use paper outdoors, but I say throw caution to the wind and bring on the beautiful china and linens outdoors! Divas don’t do plastic or paper when entertaining! We only serve the best! We like to make our guests feel lavish and loved! We like to make meals that can be prepared ahead, so the day of the party we can enjoy adding the final details like the flowers and candles for our table. Vary the height of candlesticks to create drama and have plenty of them. We all look so much better in candlelight, right ladies? Last but certainly not least, the consummate hostess always remembers to provide a shawl or pashmina on the back of each chair so her guest can wrap up if they get cold. When you plan well dinner parties are a gift to your guest and also to yourself. Enjoy your night and so will your guests!”
Libby Langdon has a similar philosophy on entertaining to Lisa Mende: If the host is happy, everyone is happy! Libby loves large dinners for 60 people on her front porch. She recommends you add lots of silver and candles – and flowers – always flowers. When you can pick hydrangea from your own backyard even better!
Libby explains, “One of my favorite elements of living out in Sag Harbor is being able to entertain family and friends. Great food, delicious cocktails and lots of laughs, these are the important things in life!” Lizzy shared a few pics from a recent fête she hosted in her own Sag Harbor home. Libby advises Diva Readers when entertaining to create a signature dish – she is famous for her grilled pizza and fresh mango margaritas!
Sunday, July 23, 2017 to Monday, September 4, 2017
11AM to 5PM
TIckets Now On Sale
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
Sponsors and Chairs for the 2017 Showhouse
National Magazine Sponsor: Traditional Home
Real Estate Sponsor: Saunders & Associates
Regional Magazine Sponsor: Hamptons Purist
Design Sponsor: Kohler Co
Honorary Showhouse Chairman: Mario Buatta
Honorary Design Co-chairmen: Jamie Drake & Alexa Hampton
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.
Perhaps Rio Hamilton said it best. Doesn’t he usually? “Our sunset hour was a treasured stroll through Mulford Farm for the East Hampton Antiques Show or as I like to call it East Hamptons Fashion Show. Even on the hottest day of the year – the à la mode sauntered by looking cool.”
Attending opening night VIP early bird shopping was like attending a runway show in New York or Paris, only the object was shopping for antiques – sort of like fox hunting but for interior design. It was definitely a competitive sport. You first dressed for the occasion. Chanel handbag. Check. Dolce Gabbana mumu double check. Hat à la Grace Kelly… Let the shopping commence!
We arrived the Grand Opening VIP Party at the East Hampton Antique Show held by the East Hamptons Historical Society as the Grand Finale of our 2 day Antiques & Design Inspiration Group Tour of the Hamptons after having stopped off at Wolffer Estates Winery to pre-fortify ourselves for shopping. Not to worry – plenty of champagne was on hand at the antiques fairs opening night party being served on silver trays to the Who’s Who of the Hamptons. As I reached for a glass my knuckles (clad in my own TCH Collection knuckle buster ring) accidentally brushed with Martha Stewart’s hand. In a fan girl moment, I stepped back in surprise, nearly bumping into Donna Karan. Clearly I needed to up my cool game. Breathe. I sipped the champagne slowly… “Ok. Now I know who I’m playing with.” We’re in with the big boys. I’ve got this. The event hosted by the exclusive media sponsor Hamptons Cottages and Gardens was definitely THE attend event of the season. (Pictured above: Tamara Matthews Stephenson, Toma Clark Haines and Kendell Cronstrom, Editor in Chief New York Cottages & Gardens and Hamptons Cottages & Gardens magazines.)
Strolling past stalls of antiques I gushed out loud in enthusiasm as I stumbled upon Don Belau of Girls Guide to Paris‘ booth. Her stall was perfectly French – having that vintage French feel straight out of a brocante in Provence. As we chatted Su Hilty of IFDA New York came rushing up to me… “I would love to introduce you to someone. She just recognized you.” I smiled from ear to ear. “Imagine that – being recognized in the Hamptons?” I sighed.
I stopped and chatted and posed for a picture with Lamont Studio owner, Carlyn Kenny. As chance would have it, hers was already one of my favorite booths. Her style embodied that Hamptons sea sand and air feel I was looking for. Another favorite vendor was Andrew Spindel Antiques whose cheeky inventory at the fair ranged from Americana to French to urban industrial. As we started chatting, he said “I read you were coming here. I subscribe to your newsletter.”
I travel the world. And speak at design fairs and antique fairs coast to coast. I can’t make a trip to New York or LA without running into someone I know… I shouldn’t still be shocked when someone in the antiques or interior design world knows who I am… But.. it still makes me blush like a school girl. Especially when in the Hamptons.
Paris, New York, Berlin, Bangkok all feel like home… but the Hamptons still occasionally intimidates me. The thing about the Hamptons is this… It’s a secret society. You have to know the secret handshake to get into the best places. Visiting there without local friends would be positively boring. The Hamptons is about access. And that’s what we at The Antiques Diva & Co provide. Locally-based Diva Guide Tamara Matthews Stephenson grew up on Long Island – while a renowned NYC interior designer (and co-founder of Root Cellar Designs) she’s had a house in East Hampton for nearly 20 years. As we walk down the road she’s stopped at regular intervals with local vendors thanking her for a recent blog post she wrote about their shop on her #1 voted interior design blog Nest by Tamara. Another vendor asks, “Are you still writing for Dan’s?” Dan’s Papers, for those who aren’t in the know, is the iconic Hamptons newspaper every local reads.
Tamara explains, “The secret to the Hamptons is knowing where to go. There are 100’s of antique shops in the Hamptons. 100’s of restaurants and 100’s of interesting places to be inspired by design. But narrowing down your choices to the right places… to the best places… takes a lifetime of making the right contacts and then of course knowing who to call to get in.”
Our little black book is what we specialize in at The Antiques Diva & Co. Whether you’re on a buying tour in Chiang Mai or touring in Tongeren or simply using our Buying Services for those times when you don’t have time to travel with us to go shopping… Our job is to understand what your fantasy antiquing experience is and then give you access to antiques and design inspiration only a local knows about. While our next Hamptons Group Tour won’t be available until next July – we do offer private Hampton Antique tours every day during summers.
As the East Hampton Antiques Fair VIP Opening shopping night came to a close, the sun settled low in the sky turning the horizon pink behind the 17th C Dutch windmill on the Mulford Farm estate where the fair is held. I began humming La Vie En Rose and smiling thinking fondly of The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald would have been right at home here… I can almost hear the click-clack of his type writer keys as he writes,
“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
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Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
The Antiques Diva® Launches US Antiques Buying Tours
For years I’ve said my mission at The Antiques Diva®️ & Co is to build an empire. And I’ve been doing it, one stiletto-clad step at a time. We launched 9 years ago in Paris as a one-woman parade. Flash forward to today and we are the world’s largest antiques touring company providing one-on-one customized antique buying tours working in 14 countries in both Europe and Asia with a team of 24 locally based guides.
Darlings, if you’re poking around our website you might have noticed something different. As Mies van der Rohe said, “God is in the details.” Our logo has been updated to include the latest step in this journey to providing the most comprehensive turnkey solution for Global Sourcing – Europe – Asia – and America.
Baby, I’m coming home! The Antiques Diva Does America.
Originally from Oklahoma, I’ve lived overseas 17 years. I’ve traveled in over 65 countries and an average month has me hopping multiple continents. As I travel I take in what’s unique in and about each country. But I experience these new lands through the eyes of me as an American. And in doing so, I’m also able to recognize what’s great about America. Just as I want to share with you my discoveries in far away places I want to help you find treasures right there in your own back yard. As we launch our social media campaign you’ll find these treasures hashtagged with #NoPassportRequired. While it’s always fun to travel abroad – sometimes you don’t have the time or money to go further afield – so we’re bringing you the best that you can find closer to home. Initially launching in the greater NYC area – over the next 6 months – we’re expanding sea to shining sea – New York, California, Florida, Texas, New Orleans, Atlanta and beyond….
And as always – I don’t do this alone. People often ask me… “How do you do it all? Have you cloned yourself?” In fact, I’ve found something better than clones. I’ve found Antiques Diva Guides. They are better than clones because they are experts in their own rights. With pedigrees ranging from working on the team of Martha Stewart to former HGTV stars to award-winning interior designers, antique dealers, authors and business women – my team of Diva Guides are your local expert.
LAUNCHING JULY 4: NY metro area private, custom antiques tours:
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