I am a book collector. I don’t use books as decor, I love to read books – not on my iPad – I like bound books made with real paper. One of the tragedies of my life was when we lost all our belongings in a Thanksgiving night fire in Berlin… years of cherished and collected books gone in the flash of a candle’s wick. Out of that loss came a whole new library of books given to us by dear friends and Antiques Diva readers – books that have now made the journey with me to Venice and line the shelves of my office, are stacked on the floor of my living room and cover every inch of surface on my bedside tables. J’adore Rome Antiques Diva Guide Désirée’s new ideas on how to use books – even antique books – as decor. I’ll be incorporating a couple of these ideas ca Toma.
3 Smart Methods For Using Books as Decor
I’m of the same mind as Cicero on this one… I think that having books in your home is essential. I have a habit of picking up books while traveling. My favorite souvenirs are antique, hardbound novels by an author who had written in the particular city I am visiting. I bought Jack Kerouac in Oregon, Hemingway in Paris, and Robert Louis Stevenson in Scotland. Rekindling beautiful memories while going about your daily rituals, is a classic DIVA move!
Unlike other holiday purchases, like a ridiculous T-shirt or another coffee mug, a well-cultivated library can be used in multiple ways around your home.
#1 Books as a Knife Holder
Some of the most practical pieces in our home can be an eyesore, so I love this charming solution to an annoying issue.
I keep my knives separated by size and shape, making the division provided by the book covers ideal. Depending on your needs, the covers can be glued together for additional stability, however, it isn’t necessary.
- Books – You could use vintage cookbooks, but I like to have my cookbooks easily accessible. Instead, I used 3 books I have thoroughly read that were not completely precious to me. The books should have a hardcover and I recommend something quite long- the thicker the book, the more stable the base.
- Rope – I used a piece of old rope (this, in particular, was a Ralph Lauren rope-belt with leather tipped ends that I picked up at a thrift store for one dollar).
Note: Make sure you dry your knives properly before putting them away, as the water easily damages the books.
#2 Books as Floating Shelves
- I bought these floating book mounts on Amazon:
- The mounts are easily attached to the wall and create a whimsical ledge on which the most beautiful pieces of your library become additional space for lamps, eyeglasses by your bedside, or even a fabulous hat.
- Choose within a theme: books you intend to read, your favorite books, books which evoke strong memories, or even books that provide a pop of a complementary color to the space.
#3 Books as Pedestals for Antiques
I am a Stylist, not a Librarian, so I have no problem organizing my library by color. If your brain works differently than mine, you may stack books by author or subject.
- Simply stack a group of books from large to small.
- Place the books absolutely anywhere! I like to use them as a solution for hiding cords or unsightly details at home. I stack them to cover an unruly lamp cord, or in empty spaces that are easily accessible to a potential reader. Truly, ANYWHERE!
- Place some of your favorite objects on top, to highlight your treasures and collections and help elevate them into art.
With my job as CEO of The Antiques Diva® & Co travel is my job- organizing and leading antique buying tours in 15 countries in Europe, Asia and America – I’m sometimes on the road for 3 months at a stretch and regularly buy round-the-world airline tickets -they save me money and time, and often help me score upgrades to 1st class. I literally live out of my suitcases!!! I bounce from hotel to AirBnB to friends’ guestrooms, taking clients on With my job as CEO of The Antiques Diva® & Co travel is my job- organizing and leading antique buying tours in 15 countries in Europe, Asia and America – I’m sometimes on the road for 3 months at a stretch and regularly buy round-the-world airline tickets -they save me money and time, and often help me score upgrades to 1st class, like my recent flight above to Argentina. I literally live out of my suitcases!!! I bounce from hotel to AirBnB to friends’ guestrooms, researching new tours and making new antique vendor contacts, taking clients on tour and meeting with the press, speaking at conferences, and sourcing the world’s best antique vendors. All this travel means I’ve become a whiz at packing. In fact my suitcase (er, make that “suitcases” depending upon the number of shoes I pack) practically packs itself. Previously I’ve shared with you some of my packing tips learned from my experience on the road the past 20 years. Today Rome Antiques Diva Guide Désirée shares some of her travel advice. (Désirée is our one of our vintage fashion experts: she has amazing fashion style and knowledge and secret resources in vintage fashion with her background as a costume designer and makeup artist. You must must book a Rome vintage fashion tour!)
10 Pieces of Travel Advice from a Diva Guide
#1 Enrich your in-between moments.
Travel can be hard- you are away from everything familiar to you. Flying can be overwhelming and long periods of sitting can be unbearable. Travel with the things that make you happy. Wear your favorite wrap or shawl and bring cozy socks on the plane. Download movies, or research the in-flight movie list and make a plan (you don’t want to end up watching a talking animal movie because you were sick of flipping through your choices). Pick up amazing treats and eats at the airport. I love to buy macaroons in the Paris airport and eat them on the plane. I also bring stationary and catch up on correspondence on the flight. Plan for all of these details and it gives me little things to look forward to throughout the journey.
#2 Get your ZZZZZ’s under control!
Toma Clark Haines says it’s the secret to her high energy! Learn to sleep with earplugs and a sleep mask and you can sleep anywhere in the world. Develop a plan for jet lag, so that you can make the most of your time on holiday.
#3 Carry an empty water bottle on airplanes.
Fill your bottle once you get through security and keep it with you. Staying hydrated may seem like unoriginal advice- but it is an essential part of traveling well.
#4 Bring something to read.
I love using my Kindle because it is so light, but even if you have to carry your belongings on your back, a book is always worth it.
#5 Keep a piece of citrus fruit in your carry-on luggage.
When I have reached ‘that point’ in the flight where the space and the food and the people are getting to me, the smell and flavor of an orange is a huge boost to my mood and my immune system.
#6 Disaster-proof your trip.
Bring extra passport photos and clearly mark your luggage. Passport photos are so easy to pick up in any big city, don’t wait until you need them, to buy them. Mark your bags with fun luggage tags and easily identifiable details. And finally… take a photo on your phone of your luggage at the airport. If something doesn’t arrive, it will be much easier to describe your bag to the customer service representative.
#7 Know the culture of tipping at your destination.
For example, in Italy leave yellow change (small copper) for a cup of coffee and a couple of euros for a meal. This is an easy detail to research before you leave home and will keep you from insulting the customer service at your destination.
#8 Learn a few words of the native language.
It helps open up the dialogue with the locals. Make interacting with you as painless as possible. I have found that most people are very receptive to my efforts. There are always exceptions.
#9 Know yourself.
Understand what you CANNOT live without and bring it with you. I always bring my own chapstick and shampoo because I am picky. However I am easy going about food and am willing to try almost anything twice (once for adventure, twice to be sure). If you are really picky about food, bring some rations with you so that you won’t be miserable.
#10 Book a tour with a DIVA!
Chances are a guide from The Antiques Diva® & Co knows just the best nooks and crannies of a city you are visiting and can give you an insiders view. This will save you TIME which is our most precious resource – especially while traveling.
DREAMING OF A TRIP TO ITALY?
BOOK AN ANTIQUES, DESIGN INSPIRATION OR VINTAGE FASHION TRIP
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
I’m excited to introduce our new Rome Antiques Diva Guide, Désirée Marie Townley, vintage fashion, couture and costume design and makeup artistry expert, and author of the popular blog THE CUT AND THE CLOTH. In addition to leading Rome antiques and vintage shopping tours, Désirée will be a regular contributor here on The Antiques Diva® & Co blog. With her trained eye for detail and world travels, she brings an artistic perspective to sourcing antiques and vintage fashion. If you’re attending our 5th Annual Paris Flea Market Champagne Brunch on Jan 21 (and I hope you are!) You can meet Désirée and some of our other Diva Guides in person. If not, book an Italy antiques buying, vintage fashion or design inspiration tour! Today Désirée is sharing a few tips she learned 1st hand for chic and stylish touring in Paris.
Chic Packing for Paris
Paris is its own cliche… full of things you have seen in movies and read about in books. There is a reason that descriptions and images of these streets are so widely used- this is one of the most incredible cities in the world. The more familiar the city becomes to me, the more I love her. It is impossible for me to be bored or hungry here.
To increase your pleasure of traveling to any city, I recommend engulfing yourself in cinematic and literary references to the culture. For Paris, I recommend:
• Watch: Paris Was a Woman to fall in love with the history of Paris in the 1920’s
• Watch: Midnight in Paris directed by Woody Allen, for fun
• Read: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway because it is a classic
My sister had recently turned 30, and as a gift, my parents decided to bring her to Paris to meet me. I had to give her something memorable for such an important birthday so I sent a box containing a Chanel handbag with a note that said, “The French respect Chanel. Meet me in Paris with this bag on your arm”. So she did. My whole family did.
DREAMING OF A TRIP TO ITALY?
BOOK AN ANTIQUES, DESIGN INSPIRATION or VINTAGE FASHION TRIP