Dear Diva Readers,
n a world full of mass produced pieces, antiques offer uniqueness and character to interiors. Flip through any design magazine and you’ll see that almost every stylish room incorporates some sort of antique or vintage items. It’s no surprise then, that many large retailers offer reproductions of antiques, making certain styles available to the masses, including reinterpretations of furniture, accessories, rugs, and even lighting. Still, we are seeing an increase in demand for one-of-a-kind objects that people can use to imbue their homes with personality. One of our top requests is for architectural salvage, whether people are coming on tour or utilizing our buying services. However they aren’t always using the salvaged pieces in traditional ways. From private clients to shop owners to interior designers, many creative people are sourcing architectural fragments and turning them into very special lamps—and we LOVE that idea!
Of course you can find mass produced reproductions of these architectural fragment lamps from companies like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and West Elm, but there is something about having your own made from original antique architectural pieces that takes the lighting game to a whole other level. With it’s rich history of architecture, Europe is the perfect place to source unique fragments. Our Diva Guides often take clients to flea markets where they find one-off pieces such as finials, scrollwork from an old section of boiserie, or even corbels from grand houses which have been renovated. These pieces are just waiting for a creative genius to come along and give them new life. Mounted to a lucite base, a chippy gilt wood fragment topped by linen shade becomes a sculptural lamp with one foot in the past and the other in the present.
While flea markets and shops can be ideal for finding a few treasures, clients who are looking to buy in bulk need to go to the countryside. Several of our sources in Provence specialize in architectural salvage and reclaimed materials. These warehouses are the perfect places to find loads of hand carved architectural fragments that would not only look great as table lamps, but also as floor lamps! Imaging a set of columns from an old hotel transformed into a matching pair of lamps! Why not have beautifully carved corbels and brackets made into sconces? When you look at lamps as more than functions, they become sculpture and statuary as well. The possibilities are endless.
Once you get your architectural fragments home, it’s good to entrust a local lamp shop to help wire and transform your pieces into lamps. Remember there are countless options when it comes to bases including lucite, iron, brass, wood, or even marble. Select a lamp shade that works with your lamp-base and voila! You’ve got a very special one-of-a-kind lamp that has character and a story. In a cookie cutter world, having a custom piece really helps to make a space stand out from the rest. Since every home needs lighting, why not think outside the box and go with something that is sure to make your home stylish and chic?
If you would like information on our Antiques Diva Buying Tours which operate in 8 different countries—France, Italy, England, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Holland & Denmark- email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to custom plan a private antiques buying tour for you. If you can’t come to Europe but still want us to source antiques on your behalf, our Buying Services are the ideal solution. You simply give us your personal shopping list, and we act as your man on the ground, sending you images and prices until you choose the perfect pieces. Send us an email to discuss your options! Your dream of sourcing antiques in Europe just might be easier than you think!
Until next time,
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
hen I say, “Antiquing in France,” what images come into your mind? Waking in the wee hours of the morning and driving through the countryside to get first dibs on flea market finds? Perusing brocantes as far as the eye can see, bargaining in French with vendors who sip coffee as they arrange their wares? Popping into a boulangerie for a pick-me-up of croissant then dashing across the street to a warehouse filled with antiques of all ages and styles? What if I told you there is a place where you can do all these things and more… in the same day? The Mecca. The Mother Land. The village of L’Isle Sur la Sorgue in Provence – which happens to house the second largest permeant flea market in France (after the Paris Flea Market).
The town centers around the Sorgue River in Provence between Avignon and Apt. Cutting through the town the river has always been an important part of L’Isle Sur la Sorgue. In the 12th century, it provided the main product of the area— fish but by the 18th century, large water wheels were added to the canals, generating power for the silk and paper industries. Today, the town is knows for antiques shops and markets, with the river flowing down two main channels in the town, creating an enchanting atmosphere as many shops and cafes are perched directly on the water.
When we take clients to L’Isle Sur la Sorgue, we always go on market day. Arriving in the morning, you witness the flea market setting up along the river for several kilometers. Here is where you can find a wide variety of items all at different price points. If you’re looking for smaller antiques, this is where you should really hunt. The dealers comb the countryside in search of estate sales and house clearings, and often spend a lot of time restoring pieces they purchase. It is often worth the time to engage these dealers in conversation, as many of them have warehouses and workshops nearby and may invite you to come to their homes later. If you’re in the market for a specific piece, they may be able to source it for you.
After perusing the market, we head across the street and begin shopping the long line of antique stores. Many two-story buildings line both sides of the main street in town and house every type of style you could imagine. From Roman antiquities to 18th century furniture, to art deco and beyond—it’s all there! When it’s time to refuel, the bakeries are to die for, and you can even purchase some sweet treats specific to Provence like callison or glace fruit.
A favorite area of town is tucked behind a row of buildings, only accessible through a gate and a small passage—if you didn’t know it was there, you’d probably pass right by! These hidden corners are our specialty on tours. Once through the passage, you come upon several buildings and stalls that sell French garden antiques. Statues, zinc, watering cans, iron gates, and planters wait to be discovered and it always seems clients gasp when they come around the corner for the first time!
While this may sound like a nice relaxing day, don’t be fooled! There are over 300 antique outlets and flea markets in the old mills of this village, so be sure to rest up and wear comfortable walking shoes! If you’re looking for something specific or a certain style of antique, it’s important to tell your Diva Guide. She knows many of the vendors and can help navigate the weaving streets and buildings, getting you right where you need to be to find that perfect piece you’re looking for.
If you would like information on booking an Antiques Diva Provence Tour, email us at email@example.com. We’d love to take you to this special village and even to the countryside beyond!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Maison & Objet – Mark your calendars!!!! As if my The Antiques Diva & Co Paris Flea Market Party at Paul Bert Serpette on January 24, 2016 wasn’t enough diva action during Maison & Objet, just wait there’s more!!! I am delighted to be joining Cathy Whitlock of Ruby LUX along with Jake Baer of Newel Antiques in a special event coordinated between Andrew Joseph PR and Beth Dempsey PR at the POP UP SHOP Ancient & Modern on Saturday, January 23 at 4pm.f you’re planning to be in Paris for
We’ll be discussing how trends come and go but style lives forever. Learn about the ins and outs behind investment pieces that will not only add taste to a home but eminent value that grows as time passes. Our group of panelists will also be discussing the differences in buying trends when seeking antiques, shopping online vs brick & mortar, and offer industry insight on what to look out for this year in 2016.
Where: 16, rue Guénégaud, Paris, France 75006
When: Saturday, January 23, 2016 4pm
I hope to see you there!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
e’re all familiar with the saying, “They just don’t make things like they used to,” and I know this to be a true statement! That’s one of the reasons many people come on tour to search for architectural salvage. Whether clients are building their dream home, adding a special addition, or purchasing inventory to stock their store, architectural salvage tours seem to be one of our most popular request. It makes sense to me—when you spend your money on something, you want to know that it is made of quality materials that will stand the test of time. What better way to ensure that they’ll last than to buy something that’s been around for over one hundred years?! Speaking of quality materials, antique architectural salvage can often by purchased at a fraction of the price it would cost to reproduce them.
Price and endurance aside, architectural salvage pieces allow you to add something unique to your home. In a cookie cutter world, it’s becoming more and more important to incorporate unique pieces into your life, better reflecting your style. Whether you’re incorporating antique mantels or lighting fixtures into your home or reinventing salvage by creating furniture from recycled items, antique pieces add character to any space.
We’ve seen architects use old French doors in new construction, interior designers source vintage sinks in multiple colors to complement a scheme, and private clients buy gorgeous chandeliers to hang over their dining tables. The options really are endless. Owners of older homes often look for period pieces for restoration projects while those building new houses want something that’s going to add that warmth and patina that only antiques can add. Loft dwellers love finding burnished pieces and industrial salvage, perhaps from an old warehouse or factory.
In fact, we’ve helped clients source entire frescoed ceilings, built-in libraries, Italian roof tiles, floor tiles, reclaimed wood floors, and even staircases. Whether found on tour or through our Buying Services, our guides know where to go, who to talk to about restoration, and what a fair price is. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re on the hunt for architectural salvage:
If you wait until the last minute to try and find a mantel or door that will fit the exact spot that’s already carved out, chances are it’s going to be difficult to source. Instead, find special pieces you love and ask your contractor to create a space for it.
The last thing you want to happen is that you buy a beautiful piece only to find out that it won’t fit through your door or up the stairs! Take measurements of the space you want to fit it in as well as all doorways and hallways it will need to pass through.
Rely on Restoration
Many times you’ll come upon an item that could use some TLC. That’s ok! It’s normal to purchase something in its “original state,” often meaning that it hasn’t been restored or changed at all because the seller wants to let the buyer choose how much to restore it, what finish to use, and to advise if size adjustments need to be made. A lot of antique dealers do their own restoring or have workshops they trust to carry these wishes out. Don’t be afraid to ask about a piece just because it isn’t in pristine condition.
Get the Right Team
Make sure the contractor you are working with understands architectural salvage. Often times if someone isn’t used to working with reclaimed materials, they’ll say that something isn’t possible, when in fact, it is. Interview your contractor and trades men to make sure they appreciate repurposing.
Not only is architectural salvage a green choice for the environment, it also can save you money. For instance, you can find antique cast-iron tubs for about a tenth of the price of new ones. Of course, you may need to refinish the tub, but you’ll still be ahead of the game financially. Installation of these antique tubs requires common plumbing techniques and they can be outfitted with reproduction faucets. Solid wood doors are another place to save by using salvage. Just be sure they have no rot on the bottom and that they aren’t warped. Compared to modern doors that are often made of lightweight pine, old doors offer much more value.
If you are interested in one of our Architectural Salvage Tours, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to help you source the perfect piece!
The Antiques Diva®