Today while running errands in Venice, I popped down the Calle delle Mandole to the Punto Simply grocery store and popped into my friend Jewelry Designer Marisa Convento’s shop, where she sells her handmade creations using antique Venetian beads.She inquired about my new kittens Fortuny and Fiorella – she had after all priorities, my kittens are quickly becoming the most popular cats on Instagram – and then, she said, “Congratulations on the launch of your furniture collection! You have traveled the world and seen some of the best designs and antiques in Europe, Asia and the Americas… I KNOW this collection is going to be good.”She emphasized “know” by touching her heart. Blushing, I thanked her and said, “I’ve a lifetime of design inspiration – Now I’m taking that design inspiration and putting it to work.”
Diane Vreeland said, “The Eye Has To Travel.”Ernest Hemingway said, “Paris is a moveable feast.” What I always say is, “The most important tool in a designers briefcase is their passport.” Other cultures and countries educate the eye, entice the spirit, encourage travelers to think differently, to see new ways of doing things, and consider new ideas. In the 1960s and70’s it was a right of passage to backpack across Europe.In the 17th and 18th Centuries, a young man of standing was not considered well-educated if he hadn’t taken The Grand Tour.Young men (and occasionally women) were traversing Europe, visiting Italy and France, learning the most important developments in language, arts, court etiquette, legal and political systems, science, culture and refined European taste. They visited France and Italy, Austria and the Low Countries and while they were out “getting cultured”, they also SHOPPED, Antiques Diva Style! Their purchases, known as “Grand Tour Souvenirs” were brought home and displayed in their salons in order to illustrate their knowledge and symbolize their refined tastes. Proof positive they were educated in the ways of the world!
During this time frame, one of the most important archeological discoveries of all time was uncovered – the Ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Visiting Pompeii was imperative. I had been there nearly 20 years ago, but this summer along with a friend I took a pilgrimage to one of the most influential design destinations on the planet and I realized how much of my own furniture collection was birthed here.
Pompeii, located south of Rome and not far from Naples and the Amalfi Coast, is well-known for the vicious eruption of Mount Vesuvius on the 29th August 70 A.D. The eruption led to the entirety of the city being buried beneath a 6 meter thick layer of volcanic ash that solidified and preserved everything that lay beneath for 17 long centuries… When excavators broke earth in 1748, the original Classical Design felt new again.But what was amazing, was that recent innovations that had only been discovered in the last century or two were found to have been in use nearly 1500 or 1600 years before. All of Europe was entranced by the discoveries of Pompeii.Neoclassical – the new classical – was en vogue!And for people returning from the Grand Tour, showing they had a piece from Pompeii was something then like having a piece of the Berlin wall was in the 1990’s.Artists began painting the ruins, and furniture makers began incorporating their symbols into their artwork.
The style was based on the designs of Classical Greece and Rome.Vases were the ultimate symbol of the ancient world and there was an enormous craze for them in the second half of the 18th century. You’ll note in our Antiques Diva Collection by Aidan Gray we have a Lucite-wrapped console that’s done in a Neoclassical fashion and the base of the piece has a vase carved between the stretchers on the legs. Swags and festoons were totally in fashion– as were hanging garlands of fabric, ribbons, flowers and bud-like motifs based on Classical Roman decoration. Lines of small bead shapes are also a frequent embellishment.
Fans of the French furniture style Louis 16th will recognize these motifs repeated again and again. It was during the Louis 16th timeframe that the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum were discovered – and elements from Pompeii pop up in the Louis 16th furniture. The Louis 16th style is neoclassical.
Did you ever wonder how The Antiques Diva® stays in business? After all, we personally introduce our clients to our secret sources – which means they are no longer our little secret! My secret weapon – even more important than my little black book of secret sources – is our team of locally based Antiques Diva Guides. Today’s guest post is by Margaret Schwartz, owner of Modern Antiquarian. Margaret is an expert in buying, marketing and selling antiques and has a passion for the home décor business. And yet after 3 years, she is now planning her 7th Antiques Diva buying trip to Europe! I’m first in line to sing the praises of our amazing team of knowledgeable, well-connected expert antiques shopping guides who know the markets like the back of their hand, and help our clients translate and negotiate, document their purchases and coordinate international shipping – but last week Margaret asked if she could write an article about her experiences with our Diva Guides (and I have the text to prove it!) I’m delighted to share with you Margaret’s 1st hand experiences with Antiques Diva buying tours and Diva Guides – accompanied by her personal photos from her tours.
Why I Still Use the Antiques Diva & Co to Stock My Store After three years and a half dozen Diva tours, you might ask why I keep using the Diva Guides to stock my store. Why do I keep spending money on Guides? Well, there are many, many reasons!
Time is Money
It might sound odd, but it saves me money. There is an old adage “you have to spend money to make money.” This might not be exactly what they meant, but it still applies. Working with locally based Diva Guides I save precious time overseas by visiting dealers who have inventory I’m looking for, at the price point I need, and are guaranteed to be there. By maximizing your schedule you are saving time – which is saving money.
A friend recently said to me, “Efficiency is critical when you’re on an international buying trip. You can pass some costs on to your clients, but you can’t pass off your own inefficiencies.” Very true. When buying overseas there is a lot of paperwork that needs to be filled out, notes written, and photos that need to be taken. You have to fill out the purchase orders properly otherwise there could be mixups with the shipper. The Diva Guides know exactly how the shippers like their POs so it saves you from a costly mixup, as well as gives you the extra time to do another loop and make sure you didn’t miss anything, check emails, get in touch with clients, or take a minute to review the list of inventory you’re still looking for. You end up getting half as much done in twice the time once you realize everything a Diva does behind the scenes.
We all speak the language of antiques, but do you speak Flemish? Because I sure don’t. Having a local guide who speaks the language, both verbal and nonverbal, gives you a leg up. Shipping antiques is not the same as buying for resale in the US. An individual buyer who wants to spend $5,000 on a piece for their own home is entirely different than me spending $2,000 with the goal of reselling it in my shop for a profit. You’re dealing with different margins and a different type of expertise is required. By the time you factor in hiring a driver, maybe a translator, liaising with the shipper, and losing discounts you get with the Diva, you realize you’ll be saving money by spending money.
Making International Contacts & Maintaining Relationships
Diva Guides have longstanding relationships in the industry. When they have worked with dealers for years, they have a mutual respect and admiration for one another. I have seen this countless times in person when on tours. Dealers greet the Guides as old friends do, rolling out the red carpet offering tea and a cozy place to perch while reviewing purchases. You catch up on the latest industry news and discuss business.
Overseas business isn’t conducted the same way it is stateside where you stick to business. People want to vet you, know a teeny bit about you, who you are, and what your business is. Having a Diva Guide with you is a sort of credential. You’ve been “Diva-Approved” and are therefore a qualified buyer. These meetings and conversations help to establish your own independent relationships with dealers, but these relationships need to be nurtured and maintained. Diva Guides can help push these relationships along. Gail introduced me to a fabulous dealer in the UK who I’ve worked on building a relationship with. Eventually, he was generous enough to write a recommendation for me when I applied to be a member of LAPADA. These things don’t happen overnight so trust in your Diva Guide to help usher these things along.
Vendors Show Up
Many of the best dealers are appointment-only and they respect the Guides enough to actually show up when they say they will! As a native New Yorker, I truly hate when time is wasted. A few years ago I went on a Diva tour for a day while in England. While I had some downtime during my trip, I had the brilliant idea of popping over to a part of London that has fantastic dealers whom I’ve dealt with before. That was a massive waste of time. It was summer so I assumed some of the shops would be closed, but practically the entire street was deserted! Had I used my Diva Guide for an extra half day I would have been able to get into these shops by appointment. Because the Divas have personal relationships with the vendors, they typically have their personal mobile number and call them up and tell them to get down here if they don’t show up! Although that hasn’t happened often because the Divas run a tight ship.
Power in Numbers
You will no doubt get local prices for inventory when working with the Antiques Diva & Co. If you are working with a Guide you have the buying power of all the Diva clients combined. The dealers want repeat business and they want to keep the client – both you and the Divas – happy. The dealers will offer generous discounts because they want you and the Diva Guides to keep coming back. What you spend on a tour can easily be made up with how much you save through the Diva discounts.
Second Set of Eyes
When I arrive at any dealer location I always walk it twice in opposite directions. I cannot tell you how many times I have discovered gems that I didn’t see on my first pass through but saw on the second pass through in the reverse. Even with this tried and true method I still miss things. This is when your Diva Guide can come in handy, pointing out things you might have overlooked. The local Diva Guides are skilled at what they do and they quickly understand exactly what you’re looking for.
Diva Guides can also point out interesting details about pieces you are considering. Things you might have overlooked at first glance but are spotted by the Guides. These things could sway you to pick a comparable but slightly different piece from the same dealer. This second set of eyes is so important when you might be suffering from buyer’s fatigue.
Secret Sources & Trend Spotting
When it comes to antiques you can’t be too careful. There is a time and place for shopping on a High Street, but most of my favorite sources are off the beaten path. This means shopping in warehouses, industrial parks, barns, and private homes. These dealers might never be discovered without your Diva Guides. With access to these kinds of inside access dealers, these Guides have important sources of information about the global market. Discussing what is selling, what isn’t and why. You can get ahead of the game on trends if you watch and listen carefully to the dealers and Diva Guides. We all want to be ahead of the curve, right?
Years of Experience & Education
All of these benefits are from hard work over years of being in the industry. The Guides are trusted, respected, valued, and knowledgeable. I have learned so much on every single trip I have taken with the Antiques Diva & Co. I rely so heavily on UK Diva Gail McLeod, that she advises and accompanies me on trips to Sweden, Belgium, and France. Many of the Divas, like Gail, have relationships that extend beyond the borders of their own country and this is very helpful when you are on a multi-country tour as I like to do. These types of working relationships take years to establish and cultivate and you’re getting a VIP pass when working with the Antiques Diva & Co.
The Guides are so knowledgeable that they know what questions to ask. There are so many questions I ask about pieces and sometimes I forget to ask something. Or, there might be something I didn’t know about a certain kind of piece like it isn’t just a cabinet, it’s actually a cabinet made by a father for his daughter as a wedding gift. I love to be able to share the history and story of a piece when I talk to my clients. I see all of us as caretakers and I want the buyer to be able to pass along the story to whoever has the piece after them.
The Guides know these things and make sure you know it too before you make your purchases. When I was in Sweden with Gail and locally based Divo Guide Daniel, I learned so much I had to keep taking breaks to write it all down, trying to remember everything. With antiques there is only so much you can read in a book. At a certain point you have to touch, feel, look, and experience these pieces so you can build your knowledge and become trusted experts too. Each trip with a Guide is another credit in your real world antiques degree.
The education isn’t limited to the antiques. It’s a business education as well. When with a Diva not only do I have a better understanding of the history of the piece, I understand how to market it for today’s buyers. Because the Divas work in the industry with design professionals they understand how people are using antiques in their homes and living with antiques. Now I’ve learned a great deal about the pieces I’m buying, AND I’ve learned how to sell them. This is pretty much as turnkey and foolproof as it gets. Antiques are always risky, but working with the Antiques Diva & Co drastically minimizes these risks.
Ch-ch-ch-changes! The locally based Antiques Diva & Co Guides have their finger on the pulse of the industry. The antiques industry is thriving in Europe and like any thriving industry there are constant changes that you have to keep up with. The Diva Guides do that for you. They know when new dealers have hit the scene and what these new dealers are offering. They know when well-established dealers are making changes to their inventory, moving, or maybe even retiring altogether. Can you imagine having to replace your top dealer because suddenly they decided to carry mid-century instead of Gustavian? That would be a nightmare to sort out on your own.
These Guides are well aware of all these changes, often knowing before the information is announced to the rest of the industry. The Guides can get ahead of these changes and adjust your itinerary accordingly. And of course I love it when they find new dealers! Being one of the first buyers at a fresh source is so much fun. Being an early and loyal buyer will help you maintain these important relationships too.
Added Value: Restaurants, Hotels, Laughs, and More
Beyond industry reasons, there is so much added value that you get from working with Diva Guides. They can tell you great restaurants to try, the best times to hit museums, and great hotels to try – all at prices that will fit your budget. Plus, they are really fun and fascinating people. You’ll learn so much about the local culture and history and gain a deeper appreciation for the antiques we all love so much. You spend so much time together you develop friendships with the Divas. UK Diva Gail and I have now spent so much time together she refers to me as her “American daughter.” The Guides make it fun, entertaining, educational, and efficient. A very hard task and they do it seemingly with ease.
tour guides of Paris Flea Market Paul Bert Serpette” width=”700″ height=”467″ /> The Antiques Diva and the Paris Diva Guides
One final thought I’d like to leave you with is that I believe so strongly in the brand and the value this service offers that I asked to be a part of the team when they launched Antiques Diva & Co tours stateside. I knew it would be a fantastic experience to conquer my own backyard and share what I’ve discovered with other antiques lovers. Every step of the way working with this company, as both a client and guide, is an absolute joy.
I am thrilled to be the US Antiques Diva Guide for the Berkshires. If you haven’t been to the Berkshires it is an absolute must for the Autumn leaf season. Tucked away from busy New York, the historic Berkshires are located in picturesque western Massachusetts. This tour is ideal for those looking for a dynamic experience combining arts and antiques. Home to Norman Rockwell, the Berkshires offers a unique cultural experience with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, live concerts at Tanglewood, farm-to-table restaurant scene, art galleries, lovely B&Bs, and untouched small-town New England charm. If you’re looking for some R&R, stay at Canyon Ranch for a world-class spa experience.
I also show at The Compound at Round Top and have fallen madly in love with it! Twice a year Round Top, TX, which boasts a year-round population of 90, is invaded and is host to thousands of vendors and buyers. It is filled with everything you could ever imagine at dozens of different venues and hugely varied price points. How does one sieve through all these vendors and sort the bric-a-brac from the real gems? THE DIVAS! Toma & team have Round Top covered and know where and when to go. They even know where to stay and eat. Round Top is truly an antique lovers paradise and just like the Berkshires, a do not miss trip for the casual and serious buyer alike. And when you do go please be sure to stop by and see me at The Compound where you can step into some cool air conditioning and grab fresh margaritas!
And there you have it – straight from Margaret to you! Antiques Diva buying tours
save you time and money
help you source the best inventory for your budget
keep you current on industry trends
are a master’s class in antiques
– and are just plain fun! Don’t miss out on experiencing an Antiques Diva Tour to Europe, Aisa or the US – #NoPassportRequired – and sourcing the best antiques with Antiques Diva Guides, the best antiques buying experts in the business! And if you join us for a US antiques buying tour to Round Top or the Berkshires, we’ll be sure to set you up with our newest Diva Guide, Margaret!
If you’re an antiques dealer wanting to buy antiques to stock your store, it’s hard to know how far the US dollar will go when buying antiques abroad – especially when you’re sourcing high-end Swedish antiques, which are the most prestigious and best quality of European antiques – but also the most expensive. Daniel Larsson is our native-born Swedish Divo Guide. Daniel enjoys helping clients find the right piece at their desired price point. With his extensive travel including trips to the US, England, India, Norway, Spain and Holland, Daniel comes to the table with an international mindset. When he’s not guiding Diva clients, he runs a very successful business called D.LARSSON Interiör & Antikhandel which deals in fine Swedish antiques ranging from 18th to late 19th century, specializing in high-quality Rococo and Gustavian painted furniture, Swedish country & decorative items. Daniel’s extensive knowledge of Swedish antiques is a huge asset to our company and to any client who books a tour with him, as he is sure to pass on some of his wonderful insights.
When antique dealers come overseas to buy antiques to fill a container with European antiques purchases to stock their store they often come to me with a budget of anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000.Their goal is usually to multiply their purchase cost 3 to 5 times.
We asked our Sweden Antiques Expert Divo Daniel, What can an antiques dealer buy in Sweden for $100,000?
Daniel recommends dealers stocking their store with Swedish antiques buyat least 30% STATEMENT PIECES– these are higher priced items and higher end in terms of quality – that will help establish your reputation as a dealer.
Also, remember when doing display space – Swedish antiques need air to breathe… room around them to look their best. And with your display space you’ve got the room to create the environment needed to set the tone of the collective!
Antiques Diva Tip:
Mix Mid-Century Modern in with these Period Pieces to Make Both Periods Pop. Eclectic Mix of Perfectly Paired Contrasting Inventory Draws a Crowd.
General Price Points
Pair of Arm Chairs $4000 – $6000
Chest of Drawers (veneered) $3000 – $6000
Cabinet $4000 – $5000
Buffet $2500 – $4000
Mirrors $2500 – $3500
Sofa $2500 – $4000
Console tables $3000 – $5000
Chairs $1000 – $2000
Antiques Diva Tip:
For mirrors I often recommend clients go France as the price point on French mirrors is much lower than on Swedish – similar age and style for half the price.
To Stock Swedish Inventory in Your Store
You should consider stocking 3 kinds of Swedish pieces:
1. Period – Original Paint
2. Period – Repainted, Scraped, Retouched
3. Finer Statement Pieces
So much of what is on the market in the USA is “style” pieces – pieces that look like the period, but aren’t of the period. You want to be known for having REAL ANTIQUES. You want to set the bar that you are offering the best antiques money can buy. In my opinion the best quality – with the best profit margin – is Swedish.
Stay Tuned to Learn More Details about the upcoming Master Class Daniel and I will be leading at Dallas Market Center this June 2017.
How Much Can I Buy?
If you budget $100K to fill a 40-foot container, you can get approximately 50 Swedish pieces, including a combination of top quality statement pieces as well as a wide variety of excellent quality mid-range 17th and 18th C period pieces.
Here is a sample client budget for buying antiques inventory in Sweden:
30% STATEMENT PIECES Price Range for Higher Priced Items and Higher End Quality
Pair of Arm Chairs $4000 – $6000
Chest of Drawers (veneered) $3000 – $6000
Cabinet $4000 – $5000
Buffet $2500 – $4000
Mirrors $2500 – $3500
Sofa $2500 – $4000
Console tables $3000 – $5000
Chairs $1000 – $2000
Statement Pieces You Can Buy
1 x Pair of Arm Chairs $5000
1 x Chest of Drawers (veneered) 5000
1 x Cabinet $4000
1 x Buffet $3000
1 x Mirror $3000
1 x Sofa $3500
1 x Console table $5000
1 x set of 8 chairs $8000
SubTotal: $36,500 – Approx 8 – 10 important pieces
70% NICE QUALITY PIECES
Cabinet ca $2000 – $3000
Chest of Drawers $1000 – $2000
Tables ca Prices $500 – $1500
Sofa $1500 – $2500
Buffet $1000 – $2500
Mirrors $1500 – $2500
Chairs 500 – 1000 (per chair)
Nice Quality Pieces You Can Buy
5 x Cabinets ca $12500
5 x Chest of Drawers $8000
10 x Tables (includes side table and console) ca Prices $10000
5 x Sofa $12500
5 x Buffet $10000
5 x Mirrors $10000
two sets of Chairs of 6 – 8 $12000
SubTotal: $75,000 – Approx 35 – 40 Pieces
TOTAL – $100,000K – Approximately 50 Pieces Total
What will it cost to ship these pieces to the US?
Assuming you’re shipping a 40-foot container and crate a lot of what’s going in the container, it’s a safe assumption to budget approximately €15K for shipping 1 exceedingly well container door to door.Granted –prices vary – so this is just a guideline – you could save thousands depending on your packing needs.
How long after my Antiques Diva buying tour will it take to receive my purchases?
Estimated lead time from payment of vendors: 2 – 3 weeks for collection and preparation + 25 days transit time + door transport.
crating for fragile items (based upon level of protection and m3) /m3 € 60,00-150,00
fumigation (if needed: based upon nature of shipped goods) € 200,00-400,00
weighing container (for customs) € 145,00
ocean freight (port-port)Europe – US 40-ft € 3.400,00
banking on behalf of buyer: included
Does not include duties and import taxes, demurrage or unloading at destination.
How do I price Swedish antiques for sale in the US?
We are not antiques dealers, but we work closely with dealers and designers to buy European antiques and negotiate the best price possible. Based on our experience, we find that dealers typically sell their pieces for at least 3 times over the purchase price.
Interested in booking an Antiques Diva Sweden Buying Tour?Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a phone call to discuss your needs.
If you’re interested in sourcing art in Europe for your design projects or private collections there are some MUST attend events in the ART SCENE in several of our tour cities; while traveling abroad for attending these art fairs why not also book an AD&CO custom antiques buying tour or art tour.
The Antiques Diva and Co provides custom, curated contemporary art tours in Paris, Berlin, Bangkok, London and Venice, and by request in our other European and Asian tour cities.
To inquire about an art tour contact email@example.com.
Berlin Gallery Weekend 2017
The 13th Annual Berlin Gallery Weekend will feature emerging and established artists from 47 galleries representing the diverse art scene in Berlin.
Friday, April 28, 2017 6-9 PM
Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, 2017 11 AM – 7 PM
Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain in Paris is a contemporary art fair that features established and emerging contemporary artists and offers a wide range of price points to ensure art is affordable to art lovers and collectors at all price levels.
It’s no secret that when I’m not at home in Berlin or traveling on Diva business, I can frequently be found in Belgium. Serious shoppers in-the-know go to Belgium to buy antiques, vintage and decorator pieces at positively brilliant prices. On a Diva Buying Tour, our local Belgium Antiques Tours Guides take you to our favorite sources including European antique warehouses and by-appointment-only secret antique shops off the beaten path, all the while translating and negotiating on your behalf. From classic French furniture to tabletop items and smalls, Belgium offers a variety of French flea market pieces for the antiques lover.
Antwerp and the surrounding area is one of the best areas for sourcing antiques. On our Antwerp tour, our Guide picks you up at your hotel and takes you to a plethora of antiques, vintage and home décor stores both in town and the surrounding countryside. Here you’ll find that classic Belgian style of bleached oak furniture and painted pieces as well as gorgeous linens, crystal, paintings and decorative pieces. Plus Mid-Century Modern and fabulous Retro pieces are incredibly hot in Belgium at the moment and the vintage art scene is definitely cool. Belgium sets the trends for design so be prepared to find pieces that may grace the cover of next season’s shelter magazines. On tour our Guide translates and negotiates on your behalf and we also liaise you with a shipper to get your purchases home.
Antwerp may be Europe’s best-kept secret when it comes to antique sourcing. On our Antwerp tour our Guide picks you up at your hotel and takes you to a plethora of antiques, vintage and home décor stores both in town and the surrounding countryside. Here you’ll find that classic Belgian style of bleached oak furniture and painted pieces as well as gorgeous linens, crystal, paintings and decorative pieces. Belgium sets the trends for design so be prepared to find pieces that may grace the cover of next season’s shelter magazines. On tour, our Guide translates and negotiates on your behalf and we also liaise you with a shipper to get your purchases home.
Antique Warehouses, By-Appointment-Only Antique Stores, Private Residences Our Guide picks you up at your hotel and takes you to our secret sources including European antique warehouses, by-appointment-only antique stores – including private residences where virtually everything in the vendors home is for sale. Everything from decorative antique accessories to fine French or country furniture can be found on this tour. Tell us what you’re looking for and we custom plan a route to take you to the perfect places to find what you want. As always, our Antiques Guide translates and negotiates on your behalf, bringing the buying power of all our clients to the table when we walk in the door.
Use our AD&CO LOGISTICS antique storing and shipping service to get your treasures home, or we will also liaise you with your preferred shipper.
Meet Our Antwerp Antiques Guides
Antiques Diva Guide Philip Ver Hoeye Philip Ver Hoeye is a native Belgian and is our Divo Guide in Belgium and the north of France. Born in Antwerp, his interest in antiques began in his teenage years when he started collecting small antique objects and furniture. His lifelong passion for antiques and fine living has culminated in opening a boutique hotel called JVR 108 in Antwerp. His favorite part of being an Antiques Diva Guide is taking clients to hidden secret sources and helping them choose antiques whether they are looking for fine 17th century pieces or mid-century modern. Aside from collecting antiques, Philip also enjoys cars, particularly British ones and interior decoration which is evident in his perfectly appointed guesthouse in Antwerp!
Antiques Diva Guide Frederik Aers Frederik Aers is a native Belgian hailing from Brussels. He’s also lived in the Flemish part of Brabant and now resides in Antwerp. He is one of our Divo Guides in Belgium, North of France, and The Netherlands. He’s always had a passion for antiques and design. In fact, when he was just a small boy he would constantly be drawing houses, building villas with blocks and collecting articles on interior design, antiques, and gardens. Today, along with our other Divo Guide Phillip, he operates a boutique hotel in Antwerp called JVR108. Frederik enjoys taking clients to see beautiful places where they can find special antiques and objects d’art. When not on tour with The Antiques Diva & Co, he loves to travel and experience different cultures which gives him inspiration. Touring interiors which reflect the personality and tell the story of the people who inhabit them is a favorite activity for him. Frederik believes that a well-combined collection of objects and furniture tells a story and this is part of why he loves taking people on Antiques Buying Tours!
When I visit Antwerp, I stay at Philip and Frederik’s luxury guest house, JVR108: The hotel is actually a historic mansion that happens to be right near the heart of Antwerp. The location is convenient to the historic city center where you can find shops, restaurants and museums, not to mention the city’s famed cathedral. Public transportation is close by and there are also bicycles available to guests free of charge. Learn more about JVR108 here.
We’d love to see you in Antwerp, where we’ll open our little black book full of restaurants, hotels, fashion, home decor and bien sur, antiques!
Welcome to today’s guest blogger Brendan Von Enck, manager, agent and consultant at Fashion+Decor, as he shares his 1st visit to the Paris Flea Market with Antiques Diva Guide Katie. Enter our giveaway and #TellMeAboutYourFirstTime by Oct 25!
My 1st Time at the Paris Flea Market
by Brendan Von Enck
I met Toma Clark Haines three years ago at the High Point Market Antique and Design Center. Through different interior design industry events I grew to be close friends with The Diva herself, and when I decided to take a vacation to Paris I knew the flea market had to be one of my first stops. Upon telling the Diva the dates I would be in Paris, purely in hopes she would be passing through at the same time, I was swiftly put in touch with my amazing guide, Katie.
Katie arrived at my AirBnB in the 13th district of Paris off the Michel Bizot metro stop promptly at 8:30am as arranged by the Barbara the amazing office manager of AD&CO. Katie, my friend and I jumped in the electric rental and took off for the flea market. Once we arrived, Katie directed us to a delightful breakfast at a restaurant right in the heart of the market where we strategized on how to make the most of our day. We started at the high-end booths that showcased gorgeous midcentury furnishings and Murano chandeliers.
Obviously, I had to make a stop at the fashion booth to visit an amazing dealer that The Diva had told me about several months before.
With my mind racing over the gorgeous inspirational mix of antiques and vintage items I had just seen, we walked into an open air part of the flea market. At this point, it was around 11am and Katie told us we were making great time through the market and all of the vendors in the area we were heading to should now be open!
It was in this area that I saw a pair of twin beds which took my breath away! This pair of 18th-century beds were hand carved and painted with gold flaked details and luxurious red velvet drapery.
After gazing at the beds for about an hour and trying to figure out if I could sell my car, belongings, move back into my mother’s home and fit these two beauties into my suitcase, Katie and I pushed on into the rest of this gorgeous booth and found another breathtaking twin bed frame and absolutely amazing mirrors!
Once we left another booth that made my heart swoon we walked through a wonderful area with tables and tables of beads, hardware and other wonderful grab-and-go items that made wonderful gifts for my friends back in the states!
As my first trip the Paris Flea Market wound down Katie took me into a storefront that has changed what my idea of #goals means! The wonderful Daisy, owner of Marc Mason, welcomed us into her store and made us feel as though we were family. Katie and she spoke in French, at best I could blurt out “Merci” when they would look to me which of course was met with a joyous laughter. The storefront was breathtaking but it was when we entered the basement that I was absolutely speechless, in both languages. These fireplace mantels changed the game!
Then I almost spit out my champagne when I saw the one that brought me to tears.
Once Katie pried me from the basement we did another sweep through some artist areas of the flea market. Of course, many of these artists wouldn’t let me take any photo’s for understandable reasons but I have to say that the volume of original art at this flea market was amazing!
At this point in the day Katie, my friend and I grabbed a drink before leaving, this is another point when I discovered an amazing drink, Aperol Spritz. I must say that my day at the Paris Flea Market will always be one for the record book! I look forward to my next trip to France and can only hope that I run into the Toma!
top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>The dust has barely settled from my recent trip to the USA speaking on buying antiques abroad followed by a quick jaunt to Venice for a Salon during the Architectural Biennale and then onto Antwerp sourcing antiques through our to-the-trade/buying-services” target=”_blank”>Buying Service for a client who didn’t have time to come abroad…. And yet, I’m already scheduled again to hit the road this weekend going to England for the Grand Opening of a “new” Antiques Warehouse! Well, as they say… everything old is new again!
This new antiques store is the result of a marriage made in heaven – but quite an unusual union! Stuart Atkinson and Kiel Shaw owners of Fontaine Decorative and Martin Johnson and Paul Wong owners of Martin D Johnson Antiques have been friends for a long time, both trading in the coastal South of England counties of Kent and Sussex. Both businesses rank at the top of the decorative trade tree but each retains its own unique style and character, enough so that the boys all go buying together in the South of France without falling out! Based on this close relationship, synergy of business style and many ‘planning meetings’ in the restaurants and bars of England and France, they are trail blazing a new way to trade by opening a monumental warehouse together just outside Lewes, East Sussex, which opens to the public on Monday 13 June 2016.
“Martin Johnson Antiques is a family business which has traded in the High Street in Seaford, East Sussex for nearly 30 years, moving from dealing in silver and semi formal oak and mahogany to the uber decorative look they are known for both at home and in the US, dealing in C17th, C18th and C19th English antiques and a mix of decorative French furniture, industrial pieces and mid-century furniture.
Another successful arm of the business is their line of bespoke commissioned pieces using recycled industrial equipment and elements, uniting antique components with more contemporary materials, sourcing locally and in France.
Martin and Paul have become expert property hounds over time, buying and restoring a number of neglected beauties and they worked hard to get planning consent to convert their Seaford premises to residential use so that they could decamp to a more user friendly space for their huge business – parking and loading are key to the life of a dealer to say nothing of ceiling height. This all came to pass in 2015 when permission was granted and they found their new warehouse on a beautiful farm just outside Lewes and the future became clear.
Over in Kent, The Fontaine Boys, as they are known by most people, who had started their career in the Lewes area some 20 years ago, had also been busily acquiring and restoring cherished buildings and their first Margate showroom was once Margate Town Laundry. This too had parking, loading and ceiling height issues so they let it to a well known animation company and acquired a warehouse showroom in nearby Broadstairs which opened in 2015. They too are property junkies and they also acquired an unloved shop in the centre of nearby Ramsgate which is currently being transformed into a retail showroom and will be the next Fontaine Kent outpost.
From their humble beginnings setting off for their first adventure in France 20 years ago, Fontaine are now established and experienced French decorative antiques dealers and members of LAPADA – The Association of Art & Antique Dealers. Their informal and relaxed approach when it comes to buying and selling antiques has attracted a cool and loyal following – hipster antiques and collectables expert Mark Hill wrote, ‘Stuart and Kiel who run Fontaine are veritable alchemists when it comes to display. Their innate skill and eye at sourcing objects of beauty and desire are unparalleled, but it’s what they do with it that marks them out as truly top-flight dealers and decorators’.”
At The Antiques Diva & Co we cannot wait to for the launch of this union – and we’re utterly certain the result will be The Best Antiques Warehouse in England. The Martin D Johnson Antiques & Fontaine Lewes collaboration will be styled in a room set showcase layout choreographed by period and style. We’ve had a sneak peek into the space before opening day and can attest – it’s warm and inviting and almost loses its industrial cloak when you enter the very smart offices area – squashy sofas and good coffee on tap! The venue will be an absolute boon for visiting trade – always on a deadline, who can now see a high volume stock from two of the key suppliers in the industry under one roof.
top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>While we love taking clients on Antique Buying Tours in any of our 8 tour countries, we also offer to-the-trade/buying-services”>Buying Services for clients that can’t come abroad or simply want us to source specific pieces for them. We recently had a client email us asking for us to source an antique daybed. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we were so happy they sent along a photo of what they were looking for. In no time, I had my Diva Guides scouting all over Europe and was able to come back to the client with several options. The client can then make an informed decision after seeing the various styles available at different price points. But all of this hunting for daybeds got me thinking, “Isn’t the idea of a daybed wonderful?” After all, can’t you picture yourself luxuriously lounging on one in the middle of the day, reading your favorite book, with a glass of bubbly only an arm’s reach away? Ok, ok, I digress. Let’s delve a little into the history of daybeds. Were they just made for daytime naps?
First things first, let’s define what constitutes an actual daybed. I like to put it this way: The daybed is the predecessor to the sofa. It is sturdy and long enough to lie down on—much different from a love seat or a settee which are smaller in frame and meant for sitting. Of course, one can sit on a daybed, but the option of lying down—outside of the bedroom even—is what differentiates the daybed from other seating. The very first daybeds we know of were in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome, where in both societies it was fashionable to lounge while eating and socializing. Perhaps it was the hot climates that encouraged rest and relaxation rather than perfect posture at all times, but either way, daybeds were a popular fixture of these sophisticated ancient societies. In Roman culture, daybeds were often piled with pillows and used for many daily activities such as reading, writing, eating, and entertaining guests—much as we use sofas today.
Fast forward to the 15th century Europe, and we see that French furniture makers began responding to more relaxed manners of the upper class who valued rest and relaxation. After all, if one was forbidden doing certain things out side the house (which would have been seen as beneath them), then one must make the inside of the house as comfortable as possible! The demand for elongated chairs, comfortable sofas, and—you guessed it— daybeds were a result of the desire to lounge, recline, and rest.
As the centuries progressed, one could see the styles reflected in daybed construction and decoration. From the William & Mary period in England to the popular Rococo style in France, daybeds were adapted to suit the style of each locale and time period. They continued to play an important role in well-outfitted homes and even palaces throughout Europe. Who couldn’t imagine Marie Antoinette sipping champagne while lounging on a heavily carved and gilded daybed at Versailles?
As the Regency and Empire periods were ushered in, they brought with them a new interest in all things ancient, thus shining the spotlight back on daybed styles from ancient Greece and Rome. Of course these “revival” daybeds were sometimes reinterpreted, thus adding another style to the long line of daybeds in history. Versions of the daybed such as chaise longues and recamiers became fashionable at this time as well.
By the 19th century, women were beginning to grow more liberated, and were viewed as heads of all things domestic. Great ladies throughout Europe and America often hosted important gatherings, both social and political, at their homes. The daybed, then, played an important roll, as it acted as a place to host formal guests, while inviting them to lounge and feel “at home” in one’s own house.
Today, we still view daybeds as luxurious and stylish. Placed in the center of a large room, they act as functional seating, often uniting two distinct furniture groupings. Place a backless one in front of a fireplace for the ideal spot to perch, without obstructing the view of the hearth. In a bedroom, a daybed is beautiful as the foot of the bed. No matter how they are used, daybeds can remind us of the importance of relaxations, inviting us to pause, lounge, catch our breath, and carry on with style and panache. Very Diva-worthy, if you ask me!
top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>Here at The Antiques Diva & Co we offer Antique Buying Tours in 8 different countries. And while our Diva Guides are all united by their love for antiques, it seems that each country has something unique to offer. Whether it is a certain style, a way of living, or particular pieces specific to a certain country, we always try to show clients what makes each locale special. Often times clients want to take a piece home of whichever tour country they’re in, and we love that! Whenever I’m in England it seems that there are a few key things that come to mind—The Royal Family, great country houses, and of course TEA! Clients always enjoy stopping for a spot of tea in between antiquing appointments and participating in this quintessentially English tradition. Of course, many of our sources sell antique tea services, spoons, and caddies. Tea caddies make wonderful decorative accessories and can be beautifully displayed alone or in a collection. With a wide variety of caddies out there, here’s a bit of history on them.
Tea was introduced to England from China sometime in the middle of the 17th century. As it became popular and more in demand, the price went up and so did the tax. People began incorporating the ritual of tea time into their daily lives at home, making tea a necessity. Tea was taxed at an extremely high rate in the 17th and 18th centuries, therefore it needed to be kept under lock and key and this is where the invention of tea caddies came into play. 17th century tea containers were bottle-shaped jars made from glass, china, silver, and metal. However it was during the 18th century that tea caddies, box-shaped containers, became a typical accessory in private homes. As with any functional piece, tea caddies became more decorative with time and adapted to the needs of changing tastes and traditions.
Some caddies had two compartments—one for storing green tea and one for storing black tea— as it became desirable to offer both types of tea. Many caddies also had a space to store sugar which was an integral component to tea drinking. During the early 18th century, tea caddies were made primarily of wood or silver and shaped like small chests. Caddies from the second half of the 18th century began to incorporate painted decorations, Chinoiserie motifs, and even straw work. Other materials used to make caddies included papier-mâché, tortoiseshell, and ivory. Cabinet makers and woodworkers began offering tea caddies to their clientele as well. The late 18th century caddies were made of pine, oak or mahogany and veneered in different woods such as native fruitwoods as well as more exotic imported woods, which gave the cabinet makers more scope for designs. This enabled the makers to make the best use of rich figuring in the wood as many surfaces could be cut from the most beautiful pieces.
When it comes to early 19th century, we begin to see the Regency style reflected in tea caddies. With improved transport and trade, the culture in England had changed somewhat. The natural progression toward incorporating different cultures can be seen in the style of that time, and a departure from the old English forms. Anglo Indian and Chinese Export lacquer styles as well as materials like mother of pearl can be seen in the styles of tea caddies during this period. The neo classical influence of the 18th century began to effect the construction of tea caddies. Straight shapes and stylized ornaments were translated in the style of classical architectural forms in tea caddy design.
The second half of the 19th century brought changes as well. Social and economic growth as well as medial enhancements meant the population had grown exponentially. Increased trade gave opportunity to more people to increase their wealth and social standing. This meant the the demand for tea sky-rocketed. As tea drinking became a reality for people in small villages, as well as those in crowded cities, the English government was pressured to reduce prices on tea, and they withdrew the monopoly of the East India Company to import tea. With tea being imported from China as well as India, it became much more accessible. Of course this meant that all of the tea accoutrement increased in demand too, including the tea caddy. With new mechanical processes, it was easier to cut veneer. By this time timber was being imported from the Far East, Africa, the Americas, and New Zealand, meaning the options for variety were endless. From basic caddies for the average citizen to rare and valuable caddies made for Nobility, tea caddies, as with most material possessions, became status symbols.
Today they can be pressed into service for their original purpose or simply enjoyed aesthetically for their beauty. Whether you prefer intricately detailed tea caddies crafted from exotic materials or a clean-lined elegant silver caddy, there is a style to suite every taste! If you would like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour of England, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d also love to help source English tea caddies for you though our Buying Services! It’s a great way to buy antiques abroad even if you can’t travel yourself.
top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>My personal fashion style is all about accessories. Fab fur stoles, big earrings, big rings, big necklaces… Hmm… I see a pattern here! I once shook hands with a man who commented on my ring… “You must have a really big personality to go along with that rock!” I absolutely adore jewelry – especially unique jewelry and I’m not alone when it comes to wanting one-of-a-kind statement pieces. In addition to helping clients buy antique costume and paste jewelry we also get frequent requests on tours/france-antiques-tours/paris-antiques-tours”>Antiques Diva Paris Tours from jewelry designers asking for our help sourcing bits and bobs to make jewelry. A recent query got me thinking about all the things that could be used to make special jewelry pieces! Besides, whenever you combine three of my favorite things—antiques, jewelry, and Paris— you’ve got a winning recipe in my book!
How to Source the Paris Flea Market for Pieces to Make Jewelry
One thing I love about the Paris Flea Market is that you can find anything and everything there. As the official Tour Guides of Paul Bert Serpette, our Diva Guides know the market like the back of their hands. When clients come on tour and are searching for bits and baubles to make jewelry with, we take them to several of our favorite stalls to hunt for just the right pieces.
When you’re meandering among furniture, chandeliers, taxidermy, and linens, you have to have a keen eye to spot the little boxes filled with jewelry pieces. And it’s important to understand what price point and style you are after. There really is a range available. Some vendors carry turquoise, coral, and sterling which can run a bit higher in price. Other dealers specialize in religious icons, medals, and rosary beads. If you’re looking for really special things, there are places to find them. Why not make a necklace from an antique vinaigrette? These pieces once held vinegar-soaked sponges to block odor if you felt faint, but their intricacy make them ideal pieces for a modern day necklace! Scraps of vintage fabric, buttons, lace trim, and ribbon all make for great crafting projects and can be incorporated into eclectic jewelry items. There are some great stores that sell mini vintage bags and wrapping that make a great finish to wrap your products for sale or as gifts.
We often encourage clients to look for the junk drawers in stalls that don’t specialize in jewelry at all—and these are the stalls where you can really find bargains! In general, if something is locked behind a closed case, it will be more expensive. Rummaging through junk drawers or boxes may require you to wash your hands afterwards, but you’ll come away with some wonderful items at excellent prices! Some clients find the most broken and tarnished items possible, which helps keep the prices low. These people really have a vision for the potential of these disparate pieces and know that once they get them home, they can create beautiful jewelry. If you can think outside the box, you can pick up small sterling purses that tailors once used for keeping pins in and transform them into unique necklaces! It’s all about seeing the possibility behind objects! Perhaps one of the most unique objects we’ve seen turned into jewelry are antique baby items such as teething rings! One client made them into beautiful pendants!
If you’re not heading to Paris and want to buy one of these repurposed necklaces, one of the dealers in the USA who is doing a brilliant job creating inventory from French Finds is French At Heart. Take a look at some of her beautiful creations below and on her Pinterest page!
If this sounds like your idea of a heavenly day, then the Antiques Diva Paris Tour is for you! Email us at email@example.com for more information and we’d be happy to put together a custom tour just for you!
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