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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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®
Dear Diva Readers,
The HighBoy on a whirlwind VIP tour of England—and when I say whirlwind, I mean it! We were constantly jetting from one antiques fair to another, working our way from London to Wiltshire and back, stopping off at secret sources and private houses in between. Our UK Diva Agent, Gail McLeod, set the agenda and added in a very special stop near Bath. She arranged for us to spend an afternoon with renowned antique textiles dealer Elizabeth Baer at her lovely home.e recently took
Gail has been involved in the Bath Decorative Fair for years and that is where she first met Mrs. Baer in 1989 where she was a vendor. As a star attraction at this and other fairs, Mrs. Baer would sell textiles like hot cakes, often to top U.S. dealers who would wait in line to see her. She’s sold to just about every Hollywood name and supplied textiles and costumes for countless films – I was completely smitten by the fact that Anna Wintour has been a long-term client. Now in her late 80’s, Mrs. Baer is still active in the trade and sells inventory by appointment only in her gorgeous house, which is a “miniature” Georgian manor house in the heart of Bradford on Avon.
As you would expect, this quintessential English lady has a beautiful garden which welcomed us when we arrived. Seeing the large, heavy front door open, we knocked and made ourselves known, and seconds later the lovely Elizabeth appeared from around the corner. She greeted us warmly and asked us to come inside the spacious foyer, where a few bolts of fabric lay on the entry table, hinting at what was in store for us.
A tour through her home revealed generously proportioned rooms, one connecting to the next, filled with antique furniture, textiles, and special bits and bobs, all telling the story of a life well lived. When in the living room, she noted the relating color palates of a painted antique blanket chest and two pair of curtain panels. “Rather than try to invent new color combinations, look for old color recipes that work. They’ve been around a long time for a reason,” Elizabeth advised. As we made out way to the sitting room, decorated in mostly pink hues, she informed us that every piece of furniture was upholstered in old curtain fabric. While stroking a velvet cushion, she shared another wise piece of advice. “The key is to enjoy what you’ve got and not be envious of what anyone else has got.”
Climbing the stairs, we got a peek into the private life of this stylish lady as she invited us to see her bedroom and extremely chic bath/dressing room. The use of antique textiles was perfection—the bed canopy, the yards and yards of drapery panels, the upholstered furniture just begging to be lounged on—all gorgeous. We even got to see her small work room where she makes everything from totes and cushions to padded hangers and basket liners—always with bits of remnant fabric and trim.
To end the afternoon, we went to the lower level of the house where she keeps her stock for sale. After being served coffee on a tray—she is, after all, a gracious hostess—we perused shelves of fabric, trims, and remnants. We settled on a few table cloths and tea towels, finding that one was not enough according to Elizabeth, “You must have one on the table and one in the wash.”
If you’re interested in antique textiles, you must check out her blog. She tells stories of her business ventures, offers up worthwhile advice and entertaining anecdotes that are sure to leave you inspired. For more information on our English Antique Buying Tours or Antique Textile Tours in general email us at email@example.com.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
ntique textiles are a great way to add character to your home, particularly when you want to create warmth and depth. For centuries, textiles have been used both functionally and for decorative purposes. In medieval Europe, large tapestries hung on the walls of great estates and castles to help keep cold draughts out. However, these intricately woven pieces were often highly decorative as well, often telling stories or incorporating nature and architecture. While we don’t need tapestries to keep the cold out today, their decorative nature keeps them on the list of sought-after pieces in the interior design world.
When it comes to antique textiles, repurposing is also the name of the game. We find that clients often purchase antique textiles and have them made into one-of-a-kind pillows. Imagine perfectly worn velvets enhanced by intricate brocades being sewn into custom throw pillows. How decadent! These are the perfect additions to sofas, beds, and chairs that really add that element of personality to a room.
Speaking of pillows, we’ve even seen people purchase vintage fur coats and create decorative—and plush— pillows from them. It’s a great way to repurpose something that may otherwise never be used again.
Of course, special antique textiles are art in themselves. Our Diva Guides in Venice, Italy know this to be true. They have access to collections of museum quality textiles from Italy and Asia that can act as artworks in a well-curated home. Simply by taking a remnant of an ancient piece of embroidery and framing it in a modern frame, you can achieve a very sophisticated look that would be at home in a traditional or contemporary space.
Lastly, whether you count them as textiles or not, antique rugs are always a great addition to a well-decorated room. They are not only soft with interesting patterns, but they were made to last. Think about it— a rug is something that gets a lot of wear every day!
However you choose to decorate with antique textiles, one thing is for sure—you’re going to be adding warmth and personality to your home! If you would like more information about taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour or utilizing our Buying Services abroad, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
very antiquer has their little obsessions… pieces that capture their imagination and their mind. For me it’s antique textiles. I have a weakness for them, running my fingers over pieces I shouldn’t touch, fascinated with texture and patterns. While I love French and Belgian fabrics, it’s the Venetian textiles with their rich 1000 year long history that most captures my imagination. Famous fabric weavers like Bevilacqua, Fortuny and Rubelli represent three different stories of a 12th Century tradition which turned Venice from an importer of luxury Eastern goods exported to the Western market into a producer of lavish fabrics. Woven on enormous and complicated looms, the production was regulated and protected by a strict legislation. The earliest precious textiles, the “samites,” were inspired by the East, especially Byzantium. The decoration was reproducing wheels with symbolic animals like lions and parrots and were enriched by other details that were brought to Venice from China by Marco Polo at the end of the 13th Century.
And while we always think of the east influencing the Venetian textile design in fact one of the most important contributions to Venetian style actually came from within Italy. The weavers of Lucca sought refuge in Venice for political reasons in the 1300’s – with them they brought and shared their traditions, cultural styles and creative talents, weaving them – if you will – into their adopted culture. This unique sharing of practical knowledge made possible the production of velvets that incorporated spectacular motifs and designs.
In the 15th Century new floral patterns came from the East and inspired fresh Venetian designs. This combination of East and West is always present in Venetian textiles and is what makes Venice’s art, architecture and products special and unique. Our local Venetian Guide Orseola explains, “We were the gateway to the East. The Serenissima Repubblica – as Venice was known in the past – imported Eastern luxury goods. Not just art and architecture but they imported carpets and textiles and different ideas and ways of thinking. Venice is very different from the rest of Italy. We’re not just divided by our canals, but rather we’re divided by our mindset – we always look outward for inspiration.”
Today, gorgeously preserved textiles can be purchased and incorporated into traditional or modern homes. One of my favorite sources for textiles happens to be our Venetian Diva Guides antique business O&C Antiques that they run in addition to leading our Veneto Antique Buying Tours. They’ve taken fragments of a highly ornamental Venetian textile and framed them in contemporary, minimal ways making antique textiles some how feel modern and relevant. Appreciating antiques textiles as art is an excellent way of incorporating them into your home. While I’ve always had a passion for textiles I’ve found over the years I tend to pick up little pieces here and there… but they get tucked away in a cupboard. Thanks to O&C Antiques I’m thinking outside the box with my antique textiles. Do you have any ideas on how can you display them as art.
If you’re as interested in Venetian textiles as me – consider booking our Venetian Textile tour that not only allows you to shop but delves deep into the local culture and historical traditions. But don’t stop there… moving beyond in Tuscany you can continue this textile tour in a sensational way, exploring the culture of Italy through art, politics and local traditions. Our Tuscan Guide Susan has some amazing secret sources up her sleeve that we can’t wait to share with you.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
amma Mia… When an assignment to go to Venice to write about the local antiques scene arose, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. And while I was looking forward to my trip – who wouldn’t be? – what I didn’t expect was the arsenal of antiques that awaited me. I was surprised to discover a varied inventory, ranging from museum quality antiques, statues and paintings to 16th, 17th and 18th C painted furniture, Venetian chandeliers and mirrors as well as gorgeous antique jewelry and antique textiles. And the kicker? I didn’t just find tourist prices. These pieces were selling at market value when you entered with a local. I shopped in private palazzos and in by-appointment-only antique stores deep on back canals and calles I’d never heard of in districts where you found quiet spots the tourists hadn’t discovered or wandered off the beaten path.
On the arm of 2 local antiques dealers – Chiara and Orseola, the latter of whom happens to be from one of the 6 noble families in Venice (and an ancestor of the doges) – I visited local antique dealers, friends of her family and was invited in as if I, too, were a friend of the family. I found myself surprised at every corner that this is not a city just for the tourists to shop – but that some of the top dealers in the world are sourcing at antique shops you’d never discover without an insider making an introduction. (Between you and me I’m utterly convinced I found more than one of Axel Vervoordt’s secret sources though the dealers had complete discretion).
While these ladies were helping me rediscover Venice for an article I was writing, I realized this discovery was too big for simply a magazine feature with a word count limited at 1000. This was my 6th trip to Venice – yet I had never felt so embraced by the city as I did when I visited it with insiders. I wanted to be able to share what Chiara and Orseola had taught me. It wasn’t just about sharing the antique address… but was about giving insider access to the Venice only a local knows about. Plus, when antiquing, Chiara and Orseola give the kind of access that happens when a local calls instead of one of the millions of tourists who come each year. You will show up in a tiny shop and be invited to the vendor’s home on the nearby campo to see more of the collections. Only a small part of the inventory in Venice is kept in store fronts where the space is limited.
After antiquing in Venice several days with Chiara and Orseola I asked these ladies – the dealers who choreograph the amazing collection at O&C Antiques – to join my team as our newest The Antiques Diva & Co Guides leading antique buying tours in Venice and to my great pleasure they said “Si! Si! Si!”, delighted by the opportunity to share their world.
Thanks to a partnership between The Antiques Diva & Co and O&C Antiques, Venice – The Queen of the Adriatic – has just become Antiques Diva Territory! Stay tuned for more details as along with Chiara and Orseola we share more details on how you can bring Venetian Antiques home.
The Antiques Diva®
In 2009 I wrote I a blog post titled “Buying Notions in Italy” where I shared my passion for tassels, trims, tiebacks, cords and bows. Judging by the amount of emails I got from readers on this topic, my passion for passementerie is a shared one. The French say that passementerie adds that certain “je ne sais quoi” – that little something extra- that puts the finishing touch on a room.
When I received an email from Juliana King, the brainchild and beauty behind Juliana’s Antique Textiles, asking for sources in Europe, I knew I had met a kindred spirit & now I bring you today’s Diva-scovery!
Juliana also adores passementeria (as well as antiques) but she’s taken this passion and designed a career for herself! She’s a pillow designer, but she doesn’t just make ANY pillow. Juliana combines antique embroideries and tapestries (and other interesting textiles) then carefully selects from her collection of European metallic “galloon” trims and sews them onto luxurious velvets, making gorgeous pillows fit for a diva!
A Few Diva-licious Pillows from Juliana Antique Textiles:
15 x 18 – Rare antique European hand embroidered crown appliqué with metallic threading and jewels. Blue topaz velvet hand trimmed with tiny dark gold vintage metallic cording from France. $422
18 x 18 – Antique gold and silver hand embroidered metallic ecclesiastical appliqué of a pelican feeding her young. Champagne velvet hand trimmed with vintage gold metallic soutache from France. $550
16 x 16 – Antique French painted tapestry bordered with antique French metallic old gold galloon on creamy velvet and self-corded. $410
Juliana first became interested in textiles on a visit to the Guatemalan markets 17 years ago where she began to appreciate the hours and energy poured into hand-sewn goods. While studying in Spain during her college years, Juliana fell in love with anything European and old. Becoming enchanted by antique European textiles was inevitable!
Juliana is constantly amazed by the incredible precision and workmanship that went into the antique embroideries featured on her pillow fronts. With the utmost of care, she creates one-of-a-kind unique pillows utilizing these pieces. And when a pillow goes from her personal collection into a clients home – adding that final perfect touch, that certain je ne sais quoi – Juliana is thrilled that another precious piece of our past is preserved, living on, garnering the attention and admiration it deserves!
Diva-scovery: Juliana’s Antique Textiles!
Visit Juliana’s website: www.antiquetextilepillows.com
The Antiques Diva™
Kerk De Duif
10am – 6pm
Entry 7 Euros
A diversity of textiles will be presented and sold including batik, embroidery, indigo, ikat, plangi and quilts; weavings from all over the world such as African textiles of the Ashanti, Bambara, Ewe, Fanti, Haussa, Kuba, Kente, Nupe, Shoowa, Woodabe, Yoruba. Also textiles from Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Chinese minorities, Philippines, India, Pakistan, India, Guatemala, Peru and Ecuador; antique textiles from Europe for example cashmere shawls, lace and linen kitchen towels.
For more information, click here.