If you’ve ever attended one of my lectures at High Point Market or the D&D geared towards interior designers you’ll inevitably have heard me say “The most important tool you can have in your toolbox is a passport.” Mine is battered, covered with baggage tag stickers and filled with page after page of stamps and visas. In my current passport, I have only 10 blank pages remaining. (Note to self: Order Extra Pages). Saint Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” If that’s the case, then I’ve been living a well-read life.
More and more during these last few years, I’m taking time to stop and smell the proverbial roses. As business travel is a regular part of my life the easiest way to do this is adding days onto each trip to bookend a business trip. This last month has had a heavy focus on travel – with my vacation to China followed by a business trip across the USA to High Point, New York, Boston and London.
Often as an individual I’ve got my eyes set on the horizon looking towards the destination – I sometimes get so busy considering my plan and next steps of action that I forget to celebrate the milestones.
I dream big.
And in order to achieve big things – it’s necessary to dream bigger than everyone else around you.
But life is a journey – not a destination.
As I write, I’m on the train, the Frecciarossa, en route home from Piemonte from Easter weekend with friends. At home on my bedside table is Eckart Tolle’s Power of Now – a reminder to simply enjoy the Great Big Right Now. I’m soaking up the moments – and as a result, I am finding more and more inspiration each day. For design. For writing. But also just for day to day life. I’m cooking more. Being more creative in general. I’ve even pulled out my watercolors which I haven’t played with in years.
Design Inspiration can come from anywhere. Often it’s my travels that inspire me, sometimes it’s an everyday object that I see in a new way, people I meet and places I go that weave themselves into my soul. When my friend Alessandro told me he was moving to China he gave me Andrea di Robilant’s book Autumn in Venice: Ernest Hemingway and his Last Muse. He told me the title was important, “Hemingway because you were an English literature major in uni. Last Autumn because it’s my last autumn before I move. And Venice IS your muse.”
He was right. Moving here has inspired me. Venice is an obvious choice for inspiration – but inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. Those who follow me on Instagram were fascinated when they learned that the leather on my Roccoco-style bench in my Antiques Diva Furniture Collection by Aidan Gray was inspired by the designo leather in my Mercedes SUV.
Last week I was struck with Global Design Inspiration while visiting friends in England at the end of a business trip. The entire world was brought to me in one destination. Ascott House is a palace-like Jacobean black and white timbered cottage that was the creation of Leopold de Rothschild and architect George Devey. It’s a quintessentially English Country House with exquisite English antiques standing alongside Dutch and Flemish masterworks and fine French furniture and art. I nearly ran into a Rodin as I stepped backward in the Billards Room turned Library.
In the library I looked around – the room was beyond cozy – but something felt different. It was more casual than one would have expected a formal library. (The photo above makes the space look much more formal than in real life). When I commented on the unusually light color of the wooden library shelves the docent confessed, “though it’s now a National Trust estate the family still uses the property – and they stripped the wood to make the room more airy.” Bingo! I suddenly realized why I loved the house so much. That was the difference. While it is a museum – it’s still a family home part of the year.
It’s the perfect example of how to live with antiques.
But not just any antiques – Ascott House could be the pictorial definition of the word wanderlust. It’s layered with generation after generation of antiques, textiles and embroideries from the Grand Tour and the Silk Road. The Silk Road was the ancient network of trade routes that connected the East with the West. It meandered along the northern borders of China, India, and Persia and wove through Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. It was important because it helped to generate trade and commerce between a number of different kingdoms and empires but trade was not the only purpose of the Silk Road. Just as on the Grand Tour young men and women learned the most important developments in language, arts, court etiquette, legal and political systems, science and culture, the Silk Road was also about the exchange of ideas.
The more we travel, the more we open our minds.
In a conversation recently with a television producer, I was told that Americans don’t want to see TV shows filmed abroad. “How can you travel the world through antiques if you’re not interested in the travel aspect?” I wondered. It seemed incomprehensible. Was the producer telling me the entire American viewing audience had Xenophobia – the fear of foreign places? I’ve made a career out of making both international antiques and foreign places accessible – I’ve been called the Anthony Bourdain of antiques – that girl who travels the world uncovering lesser-known places and exploring their cultures and antiques – then sharing my #Divascoveries with my followers.
As humans – as humanity – we grow when we’re connected with people and places outside of ourselves. We are all connected. What happens in one part of the world, impacts another. Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect? The theory is based upon an idea if you track the path of a hurricane from its inception, you’d see that it was all caused by a change in air pressure caused from the flap of a butterfly’s wings three weeks prior and halfway across the world. The Silk Roads network of connecting pathways changed history because the people who traveled along part or all of the Silk Road planted their cultures like seeds carried to distant lands.
Bringing your travels home has long been a tradition in interior design. A classic English Country House simply wouldn’t be an English Country House without its global influence – seeds plucked from faraway places and transplanted at home.
Ascott House exemplifies the East Meets West decorating vibe. My favorite room is the living room where you’ll find Ikat silk chapans from Uzbekistan repurposed into Roman Shades. Someone painstakingly de-assembled vintage robes and hand-stitched the fabric together to form patchwork, and then used the patchwork to make the fabric for the blinds. In one corner of the curtain, you can see still see the vague outline of the sleeve of an arm. The whole setting is very Robert Kime – one of my favorite London Interior Designers known for his elaborate use of antique textiles, creating what 1st Dibs calls, “comfortable classically English Rooms that his clients – including Prince Charles – say they never want to leave.”
I found myself thinking about travel, collecting and interior design as I toured Ascott House. What is it that makes us desire to see far away places and to bring a piece of it home? Is it a Napoleonic desire to conquest? A holdover from the caveman days of hunting and gathering? Why do we collect? Is it merely a means to give meaning to our lives – making an emotional connection to a period, place or time? Or does it have deeper meaning?
As Ascott House caused me to contemplate my own travel I thought about how antiquing abroad has influenced me over the years. The Antiques Diva started because I was traveling the world. Some people buy a t-shirt on holiday. I buy antiques as my souvenir because that’s what interests me. The French word souvenir means memories, and for me – that’s what I am doing when I antique abroad. I buy memories.
Traveling and antiques have always been intertwined in my mind. As a child, I remember family dinners when my mother pulled out the antique silver that my grandparents brought over with them on the boat from England to America. This cutlery represented not only my family’s heritage but faraway places that influenced how we lived. I saw antiques as a way to be transported to other times and other places.
While traveling in China last month one of my favorite moments was in Kaifeng, the 11th Century Song dynasty capital. My friend and I had stumbled into an antiques and artisans two-story gallery that was partially abandoned. Antique furniture, fragments and tools were propped against walls, while porcelain and lacquerware filled the shelves. Men gathered at card tables played mahjong near their stalls. One of the things I Iike about antiques is that antiques unite us. When you go antiquing, people with different backgrounds, interests and passions collide. Each person can find something that speaks to their soul. My friend Alessandro is a physicist and etno-mathematician. On a purely surface level, we couldn’t be more different if we tried. I lost track of him while we were browsing the stalls and at a certain point, I rounded the corner and saw him bent over a box smiling from ear to ear. He looked up and showed me what he’d found – an antique abacus, a Chinese counting tool. Ironically, he was the one who bought antiques that day – not me.
Meanwhile while touring this gallery I was introduced to something new. I’d become obsessed with the Chinese traditional painting. In the gallery nearly 2 dozen artists had ateliers and you could watch them dip their brushes into black ink or water-based color pigments, creating patterns on paper or silk using traditional themes, materials and techniques. Watching the artist paint felt like peeking through the window into the soul of the country. Guóhua, as traditional Chinese painting is called, is one of the three pillars of Chinese culture (the others being medicine and opera.) Chinese painters tend to learn their craft by copying earlier masters in order to build their foundation.
To understand the past is to understand the future.
Elizabeth Hammer, Head of Sales of Chinese Classical and Modern Paintings at Christie’s New York explains that “the most prized Chinese traditional paintings are those that reveal the artist’s personality and character. It is believed that an evil person cannot make a fine work of art. To really understand an artist’s works, it helps to learn his or her biography, and about the times in which the artist lived.”
Last year during the Architectural Biennale in Venice I met the team from Chanel who were documenting Coco’s life, travels and inspirations for Chanel’s in-house archives. “We need to see what she saw, be influenced by her influences, to design a brand that stays according to her vision.” Once you’ve traveled, that knowledge of a country, it’s people, traditions and architecture, their decorative arts and their environment, the natural world – the subtle sense of a place – will continue to inform you. Hemingway said, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
But it’s not just Paris that’s a moveable feast – all your travels – your adventures – are your personal progressive dinner.
For me, while visiting Ascott House my olfactory memory went straight to the Silk Road. Having just been in China last month, my jaw dropped when I walked into Ascott House’s Porcelain Room filled with turquoise and purple-glazed ceramics from the mid to late Ming dynasty (1368-1644) displayed in specially designed bamboo cabinets. The collection was formed by Anthony de Rothschild when he used a buying agent (the 1920’s equivalent of an Antiques Diva Guide) to help him source pieces that suited his tastes.
In the end – that’s what it all comes down to. Taste. Buy what you love. Whether you’re an antique dealer, interior designer, or a private antique buyer – that is the best advice I can give you. Buy what you love. As Elizabeth Hammer of Christie’s explains, “Follow your instinct when collecting and buy something that delights you.”
As I close I challenge you:
Go someplace new. Do something new. Maybe you can’t go to Uzbekistan this week – but you can seek out an Uzbek restaurant. Take yourself on an Artist Date. Last month in New York City we did our first ever Antiques Dealer Training Workshop. Interior designers Justin Shaulis and Robert Passal joined us as guest speakers for a break-out session, advising our attendees on How Antique Dealers Should Work With Interior Designers. While closing, Robert told a personal story of his own career and how he became an interior designer after he read Julia Cameron’s book The Artist Way – a book that also inspired me to launch The Antiques Diva & Co. In her book, Cameron advises each week to take an Artist Date. Make time for yourself – on your own – to do something enchanting. Expose yourself to new places and new ideas. Where will you go on an Artist Date this week?
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Toma – The Antiques Diva
Buying and selling antiques has changed dramatically since I launched The Antiques Diva® & Co ten years ago – and no one knows that more than antique dealers. Like all changes, there is both good and bad about selling and buying antiques online. For antique dealers, selling antiques online opens them to potential buyers who may never visit their shop – or even their country! – in person, but can easily view their inventory, ask questions, negotiate prices and arrange to pay for and ship their new antique online, any day of the week, 24 hours a day.
For antique buyers, the ability to buy antiques online allows them to discover antique treasures they may never have come across at home or on their travels and compare pieces and prices. It provides competitive information. Buyers get peace of mind and gain confidence when online antique dealers are screened and vetted by an online marketplace.
I love the thrill of the hunt. Personally, I love shopping for antiques in person, touching the piece, inspecting it, talking to the dealer. I love the challenge of negotiating the best possible price for an item. Practically, when I need a special antique for my home I may not have the time or money to travel until I find the perfect piece, at the right price. Being able to shop 24/7/365 from dealers around the globe has enabled me to score some antiques that I realistically would never have bought if I hadn’t sourced it online. Professionally, many antique dealers, interior designers and homeowners simply do not have the time or budget to travel to Europe or Asia to buy the best pieces at the best prices. At AD&CO technology – the internet – allows us to offer our antiques buying services, where we combine the magic of technology with our Diva Guides’ 1st hand antique expertise and personal relationships with antique dealers to buy some amazing inventory for our clients and ship it to their business or home. Online antiques marketplaces are important sources for both our trade and private clients.
The best online antique warehouses carefully choose their dealers and vet the inventory on their site. They understand that value, honesty and quality are key to making their antique marketplace a success. I’m delighted to introduce you today to LoveAntiques.com, an online antique warehouse run by IACF, International Antiques & Collectors Fairs. I spoke to Will Thomas, Managing Director at IACF, about what’s hot and selling in this uber-competitive industry.
LoveAntiques.com Online Antiques Marketplace
Tell us about LoveAntique.com: what is it, who runs it and who are your dealers?
LoveAntique.com is an online antiques marketplace located in LoveAntiques.com is owned and operated by International Antiques & Collectors Fairs, organizers of Europe’s largest antiques fairs. For over 25 years, IACF has been trusted by dealers to deliver thousands of buying customers to our fairs. Our venture into online sales in 2013 is no different with dedicated marketing and PR teams, and the largest advertising budget in the online antiques sales market, you can trust IACF to deliver buyers both on and offline.
Antiques are listed by certified dealers, their items are then approved by the LoveAntiques.com team. Only antique dealers who can prove an honest history of dealing are able to upload pieces onto our website, so you can shop with confidence on LoveAntiques.
Many of our dealers also have a brick-and-mortar antique shop and list some or all of their inventory on LoveAntiques.com.
Why did you launch an online antiques site?
With online shopping becoming the main way consumers buy products, it was inevitable that the antiques trade will be doing more and more business this way, leading to increased expansion of the online marketplace and the continued growth of the website. I have a firm belief that if you do something well, there is always a place for you in the market. Our visitor traffic is up 75% in the last year and we expect similar growth in the coming year. We’ve doubled our dealer numbers, and more than trebled the number of inquiries coming through to dealers.
Who are your customers? Who buys antiques on LoveAntiques.com?
LoveAntiques wants to help the growth of the antiques industry online. We want to bring the world of antiques online for the good of the industry, and we work with numerous publications to promote our antique dealers and their inventory, and to encourage new audiences to shop for antiques online.
The International press is a big PR target for LoveAntiques.com, with our experience of working and encouraging international buyers to attend our IACF fairs. 2 of the USA’s biggest publications, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, have promoted our online antique marketplace, which has increased traffic on our site from across the Atlantic, which benefits the antique dealers on our site. We promote LoveAntiques.com to all relevant international publications across the globe.
What are your top sellers – what’s trending?
What’s most popular on LoveAntiques.com with American buyers?
The US is about 25% of our market now. The top item going to the US at the moment are the vintage wrist watches!
How do buyers pay for their antiques at LoveAntiques.com?
Many dealers accept online payments where buyers can purchase the item instantly via PayPal with the necessary delivery costs (if applicable). If however the dealer does not accept online payment the Buy This Item button will take you to a contact form, and you can email the dealer and arrange payment by other means and ask any questions you might have about the item.
English Antiques Diva Buying Agent Gail McLeod is a regular visitor at LoveAntiques.com, as a customer as well as a dealer:
I’ve known Will for years through IACF events, they are long-standing advertisers with us at Antiques News & Fairs. We often take Antiques Diva clients to their prominent shows around the UK, Ardingly, Newark and Shepton where we are able to meet a large collection of dealers in one place with plenty of fresh inventory ideal for the export market. The main shippers are also on site so we can get our purchases picked up on the same day.
I know many of the dealers personally on Love Antiques, such as Fontaine Decorative, and can source special pieces for our clients and alert them to be on the hunt for antiques that are particularly difficult to find when a client is searching for something very specific. As a lover of English garden antiques, my own shop @JardiniereAntiques will be joining LoveAntiques.com later this year because I have great feedback from dealers on the site – so I personally can vouch for the quality and diversity of their antiques! Will is an expert in SEO and the site is becoming one of the most hi-viz in the sector.
LoveAntiques.com: The Details
For more information on Antiques Diva antique sourcing trips or buying services contact us.
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
Unique and sustainable materials are important trends in interior design. Architectural salvage and reclaimed materials allow the homeowner to curate a unique, personal aesthetic that represents who they are – and isn’t identical to their neighbor’s home. We’ve seen architects use old French doors in new construction, interior designers source vintage sinks in multiple colors to complement a scheme, and 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 adds the warmth and patina that only antiques can provide. Loft dwellers love finding burnished pieces and industrial salvage, perhaps from an old warehouse or factory. Reclaimed and repurposed materials add character and are one-of-a-kind statement pieces.
Where to Buy Architectural Salvage in Europe and Asia
Most of our clients purchase architectural salvage and reclamation pieces for a specific project: whether that’s an interior designer sourcing pieces to be used in a client’s home design or a developer who contacts us to find materials to use in constructing homes or hotels.
And as always – we have a slew of antique dealer clients who source architectural salvage in Europe and Asia to stock their own stores for resale.
The Antiques Diva & Co has 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 Antiques Diva Guides know where to go, who to talk to about restoration, what a fair price is, and how to ship your purchases back home. Depending on the look and style you want to buy, the best countries to buy architectural salvage are England, Belgium, France, Italy, Thailand and Indonesia.
Our English Antiques Diva Buying Agent Gail McLeod believes England is ideal to buy architectural salvage reclaimed materials.
Sussex is a key county – we have key architectural suppliers in both West and East Sussex. Somerset, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and The Cotswolds including Oxfordshire are other key locations. London has some excellent sources for both decorative antiques and architectural materials. We have worked on many projects and are aware of the detailed requirements when sourcing architectural and reclaimed material and objects for a specific project rather than for resale in a showroom.
Recent projects we have sourced for include a multi £million theme park – the theme was Victorian gothic and we spent 2 weeks on the road discovering ecclesiastical and architectural salvage and garden antiques. This included ancient fragments, stone roof tiles, Gothic paneling, crown top chimney pots by the 100, original stained glass windows 30 feet high and accurate period furniture for the interior of the various buildings and chapels on the park – all this done to a flat plan with specifications. They needed a large number of aged gravestones from decommissioned churches so I made sure our sources had plenty for them to choose from when we arrived!
Another large project was the remodeling of the former LA home of a musical superstar, restoring the house to the original Spanish Colonial style for the new owner – quite a niche sector but we found the most fabulous pieces and he was thrilled. Another couple was building a wonderful estate on the Seattle shoreline and has very specific requirements – they are currently on their 2nd tour with us to finalize the artwork.
Marc Allum is one of the BBC Antiques Roadshow experts and is also a historical buildings expert. He lives in an Elizabethan house just outside Bath where they recently found Roman remains when excavating the garden. England is a treasure trove for sourcing architectural salvage and reclaimed materials!
Read more: Tips for Buying Architectural Salvage
If you need to shop for architectural salvage and reclaimed pieces but don’t have time to travel, our Antiques Diva Buying Services will work with you to source, purchase and ship pieces that meet your exact requirements.
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Brexit has had an impact on buying antiques in the UK. In short, England has gone on sale for American buyers! Now is the best time to buy antiques in England. If you’re only going to shop one place, I would say shop in England. England is one-stop shopping – the best of France is already there. For hundreds of years, the Brits have been scouring the world collecting antiques. Our English Antiques Diva® Buying Agent Gail McLeod just might be the most connected woman in the world of antiques. She is owner of Google’s top-ranked antiques fair website Antiques News & Fairs, Editor in Chief of the Antiques are Green website, vice-chair of the new Antiques are Green Trade Association and co-founder of Antiques Young Guns.Today Gail is sharing the top UK antique trends last year and the 1st two months of 2018. You can shop these trends at the 30th annual Bath Decorative Antiques Fair in March, as well as other UK antique fairs, on an Antiques Diva England antiques buying tour.
Antique Trends in UK 2017
Here in England, we are blessed with a complete melting pot of inventory which has arrived on our shores from the Colonies and there has never been an occasion when I have been stumped by a request from a Diva client! Spanish Colonial period pieces for a Hollywood mansion? Step this way! A collection of gravestones and a church spire for a luxury theme park? No problem!
2017 saw some new trends following a few years of nonstop ghostly Nordic furniture and large-scale reclamation quests, with a thirst for more grown-up pieces including oak and mahogany. At the recent Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair at Battersea there was a complete stampede on the opening day on a stand selling what we call in England American export goods – writing boxes, tea caddies, oak framed mirrors, library accessories, oak framed botanical and sporting prints, barometers, brass and copper accessories.
The return to what was sold by the container load in the 80s and 90s is seen elsewhere in the decorative trade, French marble top confectioners’ tables, brass and iron bakers racks, faux bamboo armoires and chests of drawers, heavily carved fruitwood armoires, painted English chests of drawers and confit pots all selling like hot cakes.
Two recent Antiques Diva tours have been almost exclusively oak and mahogany small-scale furniture – joint stools, lamp tables, luggage stands, corner display cupboards, long sets of dining chairs, all available at such buyable prices – for now! When the market demands these piece will start to rise again.
Downton Abbey and The Crown tv shows have influenced overseas private buyers who want a piece of Merry Old England that looks like it is going to last for years – and it probably will! The shipwrecked look still has its appeal to Millennials but the solid pieces are appealing more to the Baby Boomers although a recent NY based Millennial furnishing a house here in Notting Hill chose almost exclusively William IV mahogany and C19th Chinoiserie pieces for their drawing room. Another client from CO chose an outstanding Italian bureau plat with brass ormolu, very formal and imposing and she had been looking online and in the US for 4 years but found the perfect piece on our first call!
Many of our clients are trade buyers who are servicing the buying requests for both Millennials and Baby Boomers so these private tours give us a bird’s eye view of what is hot – or not. We have very few inquiries in the UK for Mid Century and Industrial pieces but architectural reclamation is a staple here. The British architectural reclamation trade is a vibrant and successful part of the business and we have helped with some interesting projects in 2017 supplying beautiful linenfold paneling from the library of a known estate, wellheads, mill wheels, stone roof tiles, stone flooring, chimney stacks and gargoyles. This trend is a constant rather than fashion led.
The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair March 8-11 has many examples of what’s trending in the UK, Muddy Stillettos forecasts what will be available at the fair in Retro rehab: Mid-century Scandi, folk art, architectural reclamation, garden antiques – and the resurgence of our old friend ‘brown’ furniture (photos courtesy Muddy Stillettos).
DO YOU WANT TO SHOP FOR ANTIQUES IN ENGLAND?
BOOK AN ANTIQUES AND DESIGN TRIP WITH THE ANTIQUES DIVA
Toma, The Antiques Diva
Early in February, I spoke at New York City’s D&D Building and I was asked by a room full of interior design professionals, “Where is the trend heading for European now?” My response: If you’re only going to shop one place, for one-stop shopping the best place to buy antiques is England! In January I was in London twice – first for the London Art, Antiques and Interiors Fair, and then again later in the month for meetings to plan upcoming special events.
England has become a far more affordable travel destination for Americans in recent years due to some negative news: Brexit led to an economic downturn. Here’s another tip: According to USAToday, ‘Airbnb is thriving in London with an average rental rate of $115 per night, and sister-site TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals are in no short supply.’
One of the best examples of “one-stop shopping in England” is the 29th Bath Decorative Antiques Fair in March.
Today is the Best Time to Buy Antiques in the UK
WATCH: Toma Clark Haines: How to Source Antiques Like the Pros
Brexit has had an impact on buying antiques in the UK. In short, England has gone on sale for American buyers! Now is the best time to buy antiques in England.
If you’re only going to shop one place, I would say shop in England. England is one-stop shopping. The best of France is already there. For hundreds of years, the Brits have been scouring the world collecting antiques.
Gail McLeod is our English Antiques Diva Buying Agent and she might just be the most connected woman in the world of antiques. She also is owner of Google’s top-ranked antiques fair website Antiques News & Fairs and is Editor in Chief of the Antiques are Green website and vice chair of the new Antiques are Green Trade Association. She is co-founder of Antiques Young Guns. Her career in the antiques trade began as manager of Pennard House Antiques in Bath – the UK’s largest export trade collective for decorative antiques in the fabled days of frantic business.
Here in England we are blessed with a complete melting pot of inventory which has arrived on our shores from the Colonies and there has never been an occasion when I have been stumped by a request from a Diva client! Spanish Colonial period pieces for a Hollywood mansion? Step this way! A collection of gravestones and a church spire for a luxury theme park? No problem!
The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair is still the leading regional event to beat, where rustic to refined ultra-relevant stylish English Country House style, Mid Century design, industrial chic, Swedish period painted furniture, period portraits and perennially fashionable crusty iron garden furniture will rub shoulders with decorative staples of the 80s and 90s.
Now back in demand by a new and younger audience – French marble top chocolatiers’ tables, elaborate brass and steel bakers’ racks, buffets and armoires in fruitwood, huge pine refectory tables and Windsor chairs, rows of yellow confit pots, pub signs, marine and advertising ephemera, homely Staffordshire dogs, samplers and quilts and yes, large-scale oak, mahogany and walnut brown furniture re-imagined by a new generation of decorators and collectors.
The event has remained at the same wonky Bath Pavilion since the launch back in 1989 and quickly fills up with eager exhibitors each year, keen to secure a place at what is reliably expected to be a busy event teeming with buyers from the UK, EU and USA happy to queue up for hours in all weathers before the doors open at 12 midday.
The 29th Bath Decorative Antiques Fair
9-11 March 2018
TRADE ONLY 8 March
The Pavilion, North Parade Road, Bath, BA2 4EU
- Opening Times:
TRADE PREVIEW Thursday 8 March: 12noon – 5pm
Admission with Trade Invite or Trade Business Card. Otherwise £10.00.
PUBLIC: Friday 9 March 10am – 5pm
Saturday 10 March 10am – 5pm
Sunday 11 March 10am – 4pm
Toma, The Antiques Diva
After returning home from Thailand for the holidays – and one last trip to visit my workshop in Bangkok before the launch of the TCH Collection – my first business trip in 2018 will be to London for the London Art Antiques & Interiors Fair at ExCel. Whether you are a dealer, collector, interior designer or design lover this Fair is a great way to start the new year with #DesignInspiration – and add find some truly special pieces. Hope to see you in London!
Toma Clark Haines The Antiques Diva Day 1 of the London Art Antiques & Interiors Fair 12 January 2018
London Art Antiques & Interiors Fair is a new style art and antiques Fair bringing together 100 specialist dealers showcasing over 30,000 unusual and desirable items from classic to contemporary. The fair is an ideal shopping destination for those searching for that perfect piece to add to their collection or simply looking for a statement piece; as well as those on the hunt for items to decorate their home.
“I’ve made it my mission to make antiques modern, relevant, fun and sexy! The London Fair is leading the way in demonstrating that antiques are for everyone –
Toma will introduce the Fair to visitors with a walking tour of booths, dealers and special events and speakers :
Friday, January 12 2018 learn more
The Antiques Diva Up Close and Personal Champagne Walking Tour
Featuring highlights of the London Art Antiques & Interiors Fair
Sign Up for the Walking Tour Here
Ribbon Cutting and Champagne Toast at Scarab Antiques Booth
Scarab Antiques Booth Hosts the Ribbon-Cutting of The TCH Collection – Lush Decadence Couture Jewelry by Toma Clark Haines
2018 Trend Forecast: Trends in Antiques
I was interviewed by the London Arts & Antiques Fair on what trends in antiques I predict for 2018:
What do you think will prove popular in 2018 when it comes to antiques?
Chinoiserie Chic! I’m picturing pagoda’s popping up everywhere as designers look towards the East for their Global Design Inspiration. More and more Asian antiques are taking places of prominence in peoples as homes as the design world looks East for inspiration. As interiors become more minimal – clean-lined Asian antiques are a perfect way to add patina without creating visual cacophony. I’m seeing – for this same reason – a rise in Art Deco furniture as well as Empire-style chests of drawers. People want the gravitas of antiques even in modern decor. When thinking how to make antiques modern – it’s all about the mix.
When thinking how to make antiques modern – it’s all about the mix.
The future of antiques is brighter than ever before. Whereas antiques use to be all about period rooms for a select few people – today antiques are for everyone. People will use antiques in unexpected ways and in unexpected places – from chandeliers in the bathroom to 18th-century mirrors in the kitchen. Repurposing and reusing stays en vogue as the green movement becomes de rigeur. Antiques are Green – and as millennials catch the wave of this realization – I predict by the 2020’s antiques will become the next “Ikea” — aka, the go-to choice for first homeowners decorating their space.
antiques will become the next “Ikea” — aka, the go-to choice for first homeowners
For now – it’s all about function – antique buyers want pieces with purpose. On our buying tours farmhouse and monastery tables continue to be top sellers as will French bergères and guéridons.
Last but not least I believe 2018 is going to be about glamour and drama – it’s the #DivaLifestyle after all. Art will be oversized statement pieces and baby, gilt is coming back. All I want for Christmas is a little NeoClassical glimmer. Happy Noel.
What tips would you give to a novice antique shopper?
In the words of Nike – Just Do It. First-time antique buyers often hesitate when shopping for antiques because they are afraid. Am I getting the right price? Is it the real deal? Meanwhile, High Street shoppers tend to do impulse purchases. My advice – if you love it, if the price is a price you’re willing to pay, just do it. Research has proven our best decisions are made in a blink so when you’re struck dumb by coupe de foudre – love at first sight of that perfect antique – trust your blink and buy what you love.
What’s best to invest in at this current time do you think?
The best thing to invest in at the moment 16th and 17th-Century Flemish cabinets, cupboards and armoires are priced at an all-time low. But Baby, brown is coming back! Buy up a piece of history with pedigree pieces and laugh all the way to the bank, as you cash in on your returns in the next decade when the prices on these 300, 400, and 500-year-old pieces return to their proper place in the price pendulum.
brown is coming back
Meet the Experts
In addition to myself, the London Art Antiques & Interiors Fair features several antiques and interiors experts who also share their trend forecasts:
What specialist advice and top tips do you have for anyone looking to source antiques in 2018?
The only rule for 2018 is that all rules are off. We buy antiques today because they appeal immediately to our eyes and hearts, and then they enrich our minds. Before, interiors were strictly defined – from the Georgian dining room to the ubiquitous ‘shabby chic’ French…
What are your anticipated jewellery trends for 2018?
Whatever Meghan wears! Because her engagement ring is made of diamonds there will most likely be a resurgence of diamonds as people do seem to be swayed by what they see those in the public eye wearing. Also the rise in popularity of pearls. The royal family…
What are your anticipated interior trends for 2018?
It’s fair to say that we are still in the lure of 20th-century design, whether it’s mid-century Scandinavian ceramics and glass or Art Deco style. I’ve noticed that people are undoubtedly becoming more and more confident about combining the old with the new…
One of my favorite antiques fairs opened October 3: I’ve shared many Antiques Diva® tours and buying trips with you on the blog. I always count Battersea as a do not miss antiques event. More than just shopping, The Decorative Fair at London’s Battersea Park is an experience. And my team at The Antiques Diva & Co feels privileged to count several dealers at the fair as friends and favorite sources that our clients have special access to. Held 3 times annually, the fair’s reputation is well-known: interior designers from around the globe attend The Decorative Fair, often shopping with their clients, and many American dealers attend to stock their store – but private customers are welcome to attend also! Designers and stylists attend the Fair to search out original and unusual furniture, art and accessories to give their projects an individual touch. (Spotted: The Fair was recently visited by David and Victoria Beckham… they shopped with their decorator Rose Uniacke, and one of the UK’s hottest interior designers at present!)
Styles at The Decorative Fair range from French and English antique furniture to tabletop to mid-century modern. And what I love about the Battersea Decorative Fair is that not only is there something for everyone’s taste, there is also a range of price points. If you are seeking high-end antiques, you will find them; but The Fair also has smalls and decorative pieces that won’t cost a fortune – and may even fit in your suitcase!
Today’s guest blog is by Pippa Roberts, Specialist at The Decorative Fair, on the current trends in antiques and decor seen at London’s Autumn 2017 Decorative Fair – open now through October 8.
The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair – Battersea Park, London
Decorated ‘brown’ furniture
There has been a marked interest recently in fine, late 18th and early 19th-century furniture, with good embellishment and in richly coloured woods, such as Italian or French fruitwood or walnut commodes with ormolu/metal mounts or decoration. For international buyers pressed for time, there is no better one-stop-shop for European furniture than the Decorative Fair.
Classic country house style / maximalism
The country house look is definitely back in, and the Decorative Fair is the home of classic English country house furnishings: Persian rugs on floors, a mix of polished and painted wood furniture and nicely upholstered Regency sofas, elaborate mirrors, traditional portrait and landscape paintings, tapestries, etc. Chintz is back in, big time, in terms of textiles and pattern. Layering different periods of furniture and accessories adds instant ‘family history’ and an established, ‘been there forever’ look to a room. You can decorate an entire country house from top to bottom at the Decorative Fair! It’s the only fair you can sensibly achieve this at.
White ceramics have been a big thing for the past year or two, and look set to retain their chic; groups of white German modernist vases, large Regency-style French tureens and jugs, and more ornately decorated pieces for impactful tablescapes and cabinet displays.
Decorated folk furniture / art
Traditional pieces that have a homespun air: decorated furniture, either painted, or découpaged, or decorated with more unusual materials such as seeds, i.e. truly unique pieces.
Art Deco glamour
Art Deco design is selling well, especially glass – colourful, and looks great on the cocktail shelf/bar cart. You can see Deco style in many of the leading designer contemporary brands at present.
Bamboo and rattan furniture is still having a strong ‘moment’. As are bar carts of every style and era!
Indigo blue / blue and white
This colour, and blue & white china, has been having a renaissance; classic blue and white Delftware pots or English china plates are being used once again by decorators, even using gilded sconces to mount them around fireplaces (as per the C17th habit) or in dining rooms. Indigo blue is a big interiors colour at the moment, so we don’t see this trend changing anytime soon.
Velvet upholstery and trimmings
Top of the list in terms of luxe upholstery trends right now! The Decorative Fair presented a passementerie foyer display a couple of years ago, and since then, tassels, trimmings, and fringes have been back with a vengeance in high-end interiors. Antique passementerie, metallic threadwork and haberdashery items are offered by many of the textile dealers (and others) at the fair.
The Battersea Decorative Antiques & Textiles Details
- October 3-8 2017
- Battersea Evolution
London SW11 4NJ
Vehicle Entry via Chelsea Bridge Gate ONLY
- Tuesday 3rd October: 12 noon – 8pm
Wednesday 4th October: 11am – 8pm
Thursday 5th October : 11am – 8pm
Friday 6th October: 11am – 7pm
Saturday 7th October: 11am – 7pm
Sunday 8th October: 11am – 6pm
- £10 on the door including catalogue which allows free re-entry
Tickets can only be purchased with cash
Vendors at The Decorative Fair are carefully selected specialists in antique and 20th-century design from Britain and Europe with an unrivalled selection of stock.
October is the last date for The Decorative Fair in 2017; if you’d like a private antique buying tour in 2018 (January 23-28, April 17-22, and Autumn 2018) to Battersea’s design extravaganza – plus our other London and English countryside custom antique buying tours.
Cheers! Hope to see you in London!
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva®
Today’s guest post is by our Antiques Diva® English Antiques Buying Agent Gail McLeod, owner of the UK’s prestigious Antique News & Fairs, Google’s top-ranked antiques fair website. Gail might just be the most connected woman in the world of antiques – is Editor in Chief of the Antiques are Green website and vice chair of the new Antiques are Green Trade Association, and a co-founder of Antiques Young Guns.
The Bruton Decorative Antiques Fair returns to the luxury laden Haynes International Motor Museum from 13-15 October, 2017, following a smash hit debut in October 2016 when buyers flooded in from across the country and the rest of the world!
Organisers Cooper Events welcomes some brilliant new names on board: Kore Purchase, Tetbury, Bombe Interiors and Elham Antiques from Kent, Molly & Maud’s Place and Chris Holmes Decorative Antiques both Yorkshire, John Read Smith, Wales, The Archives from The Netherlands will join Bruton this year with their Folk Art, Country House furniture and collectible glass, and with a big sister like the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair just up the road in the Georgian City, running at an all time high in March 2017 after 28 years, the traction is red-hot and the Bruton Decorative Fair is getting ready to motor back to the Haynes International Museum for a spectacular return.
Decorative dealers pull out all stops at this show and there will be choreographed displays from some of the most exciting decorative dealers in the UK, Europe and the Channel Islands with C18th – C20th decorative trouve for the home and garden, architectural reclamation, humble English Folk Art – early pottery, samplers, walking canes, CMid furniture and accessories, lighting, textiles, grand painted furniture from local country houses, mirrors, dazzling jewels and even desirable vintage designer handbags.
Mark Hill Selects Tour
On Saturday 14 October, BBC Antiques Roadshow expert and author Mark Hill will add some celebrity sparkle to the fair with his “Mark Hill Selects” tour – using his expert knowledge to inspire visitors with tips on using traditional and decorative antiques in the modern interior for a cool century mash-up! Mark will also be selecting some collectors’ pieces – he has an eye for obscure objects and visitors can look forward to a fun and engrossing event.
Mark’s tour will be streamed LIVE: tune in to https://www.facebook.com/BrutonDecorativeAntiquesFair
Saturday 14 October at 1pm GMT
The transformation of the sleepy Somerset town of Bruton into the ‘Notting Hill of the South West’ with the arrival of the internationally renowned Hauser & Wirth Gallery, lighting a media fire under this untouched corner of leafy Somerset and drawing an influx of City money, second home owners and celebrities to the area, presented a light bulb moment for organisers Sue and Peter Hodder of Cooper Events who knew they had found the perfect site in the area for their new event – the £6 million extension to The Haynes International Motor Museum, with its luxury interior and extraordinary raspberry red futuristic facade, just outside Bruton and very highly visible from the adjacent A303.
A number of notable Somerset dealers will return in 2017 including The Factory in Castle Cary home to seven leading dealers from the decorative trade founded by David Tupman Antiques. Sharing the beautiful former dairy house factory in Castle Cary are Brighton based dealer Jill Palmer, Pimlico, London W1 dealer Christopher Butterworth, London based Derek Greengrass and Ashburton, Devon dealer Roger Organ. Expect to see a highly charged eclectic mix of decorative antiques for the home and garden.
Alchemy from Bruton will also be returning with French and English upholstery, dining tables and chairs, C20th century glass tables, beautiful English and European mirrors, textiles, and a selection of contemporary art and sculpture, Quillon House Antiques, also Bruton based, with fine English oak and country furniture and equestrian paintings, Elizabeth Lee Interiors from Frome with French, Swedish and English decorative antiques for the home and garden, Waterfall Antiques, Bath, with a wide selection of leather luggage, conservatory decoration and kitchenalia, Sherborne based Macintosh Antiques with painted country house furniture and upholstery from the leading furniture makes of the C18th – C19th and Somerton based specialist upholstery and CMid design dealers Life England will also return in 2017. Exquisite Swedish and French painted furniture and antiques for the garden and conservatory will be shown by La Place Antiques and No1 Lewes from Sussex. Folk Art will be shown by leading experts Erna Hiscock and John Shepherd, Devon based Appledore Antiques and venerable long term Bath exhibitors Terry & Marie Kelly and collectible walking canes will be shown by Winfield Canes.
Fine British, European and Modern & Contemporary Art will be well represented by local dealers White Space Gallery, Totnes, The Jerram Gallery, Sherborne and by Cambridge based Granta Fine Art. Period portraits will be displayed by Channel Islands exhibitor Mark Blower Antiques.
The organisers have also teamed up with celebrated local restaurant Roth Bar & Grill for a competition to win a culturally enriching lunch with wine for two people.
Situated at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Roth Bar & Grill plays an integral part in the Hauser & Wirth Somerset experience combining gastronomy with contemporary art. Owners Steve & Jules Horrell regularly collaborate with artists exhibiting at the gallery to design unique dishes and cocktails, inspired by the exhibition. The restaurant works closely with local farmers, gamekeepers and gardeners, to use ethical British produce with a focus on sustainability.
Bruton Decorative Antiques Fair 13-15 October 2017
- Trade Preview Friday 13 October 11 am – 2 pm
- Public Friday 13 – 2 pm – 5 pm, Saturday 14 + Sunday 15 – 11 am – 5 pm
- Haynes International, Sparkford, Somerset BA22 7LH
- Complimentary Ticket
Schedule a private England antique buying tour in 2018 at the Bruton Fair, its sister antique fair The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair – plus our other London and English countryside custom antique buying tours!
Cheers! Hope to see you in England!
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva®
Today’s post is by Sara Morel, who recently left her corporate fashion job to establish Reclaimed Woman. A blog and business, for those in search of a more conscious life. Fashion and home fashions that are equally style-savvy as they are ethical. Like a secret diary, she previously blogged under the name Style Salvo, recording her journey into antiques, salvage and a more sustainable existence (shoe collection excluded), as head of PR for a shoe brand at the time! She vowed to do-up her new home in London with as many old, reused and reclaimed things as possible. One bedroom, one bathroom, one garden, one kitchen… now her walk-in wardrobe.
SALVO Fair: Life is not a Rehearsal – Green Living Fest
A boulder engraved with the words of the estate owner, Sir William McAlpine reads ‘Life is not a Rehearsal.’ I love this phrase, and find it can be applied to all sorts of scenarios life throws at one. In light of the bright green antique theme, SALVO 2017 is not only about appreciating antiques for their connection with history, but for their relationship with the future and the environmental benefits of reuse. Shop vintage fashion and hats including unique designs by Dior from Mary Jones Vintage, whose rare finds for gents and ladies are stocked in Liberty of London as well as her shop in Liverpool.
Whatever your motivation, here are some shopping tips you can apply to architectural antiques and vintage fashion:
- Shopping in a meaningful way starts with knowing what your personal style is and what your needs are. Fashions move in cycles, so don’t let current trends dictate your taste. If you buy something you love, it will hold your interest.
- That’s all very well… but if you’re not yet sure what your style is, antique and vintage fairs are a great place to learn and discover what you like.
- Try to buy architectural antiques first, then make design decisions based on what is available – this will make your hunt much easier. The same goes for rare vintage fashion. It makes sense to start with your statement-makers, then you can build the rest of your look around them.
- Ask about provenance (the earliest known history about the piece). This not only adds value to the item, but to your dinner party conversation. For example, the extractor pipe on the cooker hood in my kitchen is a Victorian organ pipe reclaimed from a church in East London, the overhead cabinets were converted from a 1940s staff noticeboard reclaimed from London’s St Pancras Station. And you’ll have to come for dinner to hear the rest…
- Find designers, builders and tailors that are antique and vintage fashion friendly, as alterations and allowances may be required.
- You may be in a field (at Salvo Fair for example) but you are also surrounded by some rare and incredibly valuable period pieces. Dealers are rarely offended if you negotiate reasonably and there are definitely deals to be found at the fair.
- If you insist on wearing heels like Toma, take her Salvo Fair field lead and opt for a wedge.
- Any finally, it’s easy to get intimidated; whether you’re overwhelmed by the sheer size of an architectural antique or the price of a collectible vintage handbag, I recommend starting with an experienced Antiques Diva guide tailored to you and your budget.
March 2 – 5: 28th Annual Bath Decorative Antiques Fair
45 dealers will be at the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair offering a wide diversity of antiques, including painted furniture, garden antiques, mirrors, lighting, textiles, English and European pottery, collectible Country House objects; as well as super-chic metropolitan pieces. The Fair is held in the historic Pavilion, located a few minutes walk from the center of Bath. While attending the Fair, be sure to visit Bath and enjoy the many local restaurants and bars.
Gail McLeod, England Antiques Diva Guide and co-organiser of Antique Fair & News, says:
The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair is one of the most popular and unique antique fairs in the UK, is a must-show for dozens of dealers, and attracts new antiques dealers every year. Visitors love to attend the fair in charming and historic Bath, and never fail to be impressed by the diversity and quality of offerings at the fair. The show tours with antiques expert Judith Miller and Antiques Young Gun Edd Thomas are absolute must-dos!
Special Events at the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair:
- March 2: Trade Only Day
- March 3: Antiques industry celebrity tour with ‘The Queen of Antiques’ Judith Miller
- March 5: Collaboration with vintage and antiques market BathVA, with a ‘Style Up Top Picks’ tour of the Bath Decorative Fair and BathVA with Edd Thomas of ‘Edd in the Clouds’
About The 28th Bath Decorative Antiques Fair:
- For a complete list of dealers and show information: www.bathdecorativeantiquesfair.co.uk
- Date: 2-5 March 2017. TRADE ONLY 2 March
- Venue: The Pavilion, North Parade Road, Bath, BA2 4EU
- Opening Times:
TRADE PREVIEW Thursday 2 March: 12noon – 5pm. Admission with Trade Invite or Trade Business Card. Otherwise £10.00.
PUBLIC: Friday 3 – Sunday 5 March 10am – 5pm
- Admission: £5.00
Complimentary tickets: http://www.bathdecorativeantiquesfair.co.uk/freeTicket.php
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva