Serious shoppers in-the-know go to Belgium to buy industrial and mid-century modern pieces at positively brilliant prices. On Antiques Diva Belgium tours, our Antiques 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. As always, our Guide translates and negotiates on your behalf, bringing the buying power of all our clients to the table when we walk in the door. We also liaise you with a preferred shipper to get your purchases home.
Mid-Century Modern Spotted on a Recent Antiques Diva Tour in Belgium:
Designers Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand
“Prouvé combines the soul of an engineer with that of an architect” – Le Corbusier
Dear Diva Readers,
erious shoppers in-the-know go to Belgium to buy antiques, vintage and decorator pieces at the positively brilliant prices. While it may be our smallest tour country geographically, Belgium makes up for its modest size with amazing finds at great prices! While you can certainly find fantastic antiques of several different styles including Flemish, French, English, and Swedish, Belgium is also home to some of the best Mid-century modern dealers in Europe.
Pick up any international shelter magazine and you will find Mid-century pieces being incorporated in every type of interior imaginable. In Belgium you can find an entire range of Mid-century pieces. From larger furniture pieces like seating, desks, dining room tables, and commodes to smaller furniture like side tables, livingroom tables, and side chairs, Belgian dealers are scouring Europe for the sleek silhouettes and sexy lines of Mid-century style. But they’re not stopping with furniture. Several of our sources offer gorgeous mirrors, decorative objects, and lighting as well. In fact, a lighting is one of the most popular categories clients are looking for right now. Belgian dealers stock a range of lighting options from huge mid-century glass chandeliers, to smaller chandeliers, standing lamps, desk lamps, and wall-fixtures. While it can be more difficult to find Mid-century artwork, we do have sources that deal in unique, qualitative and quantitative are from paintings to objects.
Some clients are looking for specific designer pieces that command a higher price due to their provenance. This is where our Buying Services can come in handy. We have very good sources for top-of-the-range exclusive and rare pieces of Mid-century furniture. We put the word out to our vast list of secret sources in our little black book, and when a particular piece becomes available, they let us know before putting it on the market. It’s a great way to add to a collection or source highly specific pieces.
For those who want the Mid-century look without the costly price tags, we certainly have seen a vast amount of pieces which are “in the style of” famous designers, but are offered at much lower prices. This is the perfect way to get the look you’re after without paying for the designer name. Regardless of whether you want to source designer furniture or simply get the look for less, you can find very reasonable prices in Belgium compared to what is for sale in larger American cities, or international websites which sell antiques.
As far as trends go, we’ve seen clients buy a lot of Mid-century credenza’s, desks, seating, and lighting as of late. That means these items are popular and will be showing up in America stores, homes, and on magazine covers in the near future.
If you’re interested in booking an Antiques Diva Mid-century Buying Tour in Belgium, I’d recommend a 2 to 3 day tour depending on the scope of your interest. Send me an email at email@example.com and we can talk about your wants & needs to determine the perfect custom tour for you! if you can’t make it over to Europe but still want to source Mid-century pieces, email me about our Buying Services. You may just find it’s easier to source antiques in Europe than you thought!
Until next time,
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
n most people’s minds, the phrase “Antiquing in Tuscany,” conjures up images of rustic Italian furniture, perfectly patinated terra cotta pots, hand forged wrought iron, and some of the best architectural salvage on the planet. However savvy Mid Century Modern lovers know that mid 20th century pieces also abound in Italy if you know where to look. Just as Italy revived its position as a fashion mecca in the 20th century (think Florence and Milan), so too it produced some of the greatest mid century furniture that is still highly sought after today. Though of course there are the well known names; (Paolo Buffa, Ico Parisi, Osvaldo Borsani etc…), that are sought after , it’s not neccessarily the names that count. There are so many unknown or lesser known furniture designers that possess the same quality, design, style & panache that Italy is known for– but it’s all in the detail!
If you’re looking for mid century pieces, Florence is the place to go. When we have clients who are mad about mid century, we recommend that they stay in Florence and spend at least one day exploring the shops in the city and another day or two with our Diva Guide in the countryside. There are some extraordinary stores in the city that offer the best of the best vintage inventory. Dashing from shop to shop through tight streets and alleyways is always a thrill, and learning about specific pieces from the very knowledgable dealers is a treat any enthusiast would love.
As with anything however, prices in the city are higher than in more rural areas. In fact, many high-quality dealers in Florence source their inventory in the countryside… and we know where their sources are! That’s why we always recommend taking at least one day with our Diva Guide to go to these sources, as she knows exactly where to go to find the best pieces at the best prices!
After driving a short distance outside of Florence, there are several exits off the main highway that lead to different mid century shops and warehouses. Many of these places are by appointment only and have new inventory constantly coming in. These are the dealers who specialize in house-clearings and have first access to estate sales so their stock is often fresh and unique!
If Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn shared a house, this is where they would shop! Everything from vintage chairs upholstered in velvet with sexy silhouettes to ultra modern plastic furniture can be found in these off the beaten path warehouses. If you have a thing for buttery leather upholstery and brass feet, then this is where you want to be! Rows upon rows of sleek dining chairs from the 1950s-1970s fill attics and basements while chrome and brass light fixtures illuminate the space.
Mid century mirrors are quite popular right now and there is no shortage of them in Italy. Minimalist shapes with an organic feel, mid century mirrors blend well into most interiors. Brass frames in the style of Gio Ponti abound and polished wood or lacquered frames are all popular choices.
It’s also good to note that if you’re looking for something specific, these dealers can most likely find it. Our Buying Service allows you to give us a list of what you’re after and we’ll canvas all our sources until we find the pieces you want, then send you photos, information, and prices. This is an excellent way of getting first dibs on unique pieces that otherwise would probably have ended up in the shops in Florence for a much higher price!
If you would like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour or on our Buying Services, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Chairish to create a style board for a room inspired by one of their vintage rugs. For those of you who don’t know, Chairish is a curator-approved online marketplace for vintage and used furniture. This year they’ve challenged me to design a “woman cave” inspired by a set of vintage bar stools from their site! As I believe that antiques and vintage pieces are completely relevant in today’s lifestyle, I’ve chosen to create a style board using only antique and vintage items available at Chairish.com— but rest assured the vibe is anything but old fashioned and stuffy! Without further ado, I give you my “Diva Den!”ast year I was asked by my friends at
Mid-Century Hairpin Barstools
I chose these barstools as my inspiration because I love the shape of them and brass is very “in.” I would recover these beauties in a gray velvet…yummy!
19th Century Style Giltwood Gondola Chaise Lounge
A beautiful 1890s French chaise lounge in the Louis XVI style would be the perfect foil to the midcentury barstools. The chaise has been newly upholstered in a Stark velvet, “Velours verdi Bois de Rose”with French multicolored gimp trim all along the frame. The single down cushion is also newly upholstered with a single piping along the edges, top and bottom. This chaise has nicely gilded wood, six legs and caster wheels—the perfect spot for a Diva to perch!
Charcoal and Cream Chairs
I would use this pair of matching round back Louis style armchairs upholstered in a charcoal and white wide stripe in the same seating group as the chaise lounge. The wood has been refinished in a semi-gloss heirloom white bringing some lightness to my Diva Den!
Baker Dining Table by Barbara Barry
As strange as it may seem, I would include this Baker dining table by Barbara Barry in Java colored finish in my Diva Den. I love to cook and even more, I love to host dinner parties! Setting a gorgeous table for my girlfriends would be a highlight to using my Diva Den!
Swedish Flame Birch Dining Chairs-Set of 6
This set of six fun and elegant dark golden flame birch dining chairs would be perfect surrounding my dining table. Newly restored and newly rebuilt with new padding, covered in a durable woven black and ivory Cheetah stripe fabric, makes them Diva-approved!
Arthur Court Gold Aluminum Cast Lily Dining Table
This is an original gilt Arthur Court aluminum cast Lily table. The top of the base resembles a lily flower to support a glass top, while the bottom of the base swirls around to resemble an art nouveau inspired stem. It is an unusual piece and is oh-so-very glam! I wouldn’t use it as a dining table, but rather a side table between two chairs. This table comes with a 36″ round glass top, 3/8” thick, making it the perfect size to hold a stack of books and a couple martinis!
Mid Century Black & White Striped Chair
On one side of my lily table, I’d use this Mid-century tufted black and ivory striped accent chair. It’s been totally refurbished with new foam padding and back and cream linen fabric with double welt all around. Carved wood trim has been stripped and waxed to let the gorgeous grain show through. The perfect chair to sit and have a long conversation with another Diva!
Aesthetic Movement Chair
This chair speaks for itself and would go on the other side of my lily table. I love this because it’s unique and fitting for a sassy lady!
Gilt Faux Rope & Tassel Bar Cart
Who doesn’t need a 1960’s Italian gilded iron rope and tassel bar cart? With two glass shelves, it’ll hold plenty of spirits which can be wheeled over from the main bar!
Jonathan Adler Lucite Acrylic Brass Etagere
Bring on the tough glamour. The Jacques Collection creates a bold balance of masculine lines and feminine finishes. The étagère mixes the jewel-like sparkle of custom-tooled brushed brass with Lucite construction. The result is modern decor with an heirloom-level of quality. It’s perfect for displaying books and other favorite curiosities.
Brutalist Tom Greene Chandelier
This modern chandelier would help bring the entire room together! What a statement piece!
Diana Ross Framed Photo
Every Diva Den needs a photo of a true diva! Why not hang this black and white portrait of Diana Ross? In fact, I might just do an entire wall of diva photos…can you imagine? Talk about inspiration!
Zebra Hide Rug
Underfoot you can never go wrong with a zebra rug. The average size of a zebra hide rug is 10 feet from tip of nose to tip of tail 6 feet at the widest point making it large enough to rest under a seating group.
And there you have it! My Diva Den inspired by midcentury bar stools and decorated using exclusively items from Chairish.com! What would you put in YOUR Diva Den? Leave me a comment!
The Antiques Diva®