Before I founded The Antiques Diva® & Co, I lived in Boston and worked in advertising. As a young woman from Oklahoma, Boston was my first introduction to New England interiors, design and art, and an opportunity to learn the history and culture of America’s oldest colonies. I always say the most important tool in an interior designer’s toolbox is a passport… For American interior designers, the East Coast and New England are a treasure-trove of design inspiration: American antiques, historic homes and architecture, and a unique mélange of cutting style and historical perspective – #NoPassportRequired!
Boston remains close to my heart. Although I’ve lived and worked in Europe for nearly 20 years now, I travel frequently to the US and have had several opportunities to speak or attend events at the Boston Design Center and attend design events in the Boston area. I’m delighted to introduce today’s guest blogger, Chesie Breen, Editor-in-Chief of ID Boston Magazine, a trade publication published and distributed exclusively by the Boston Design Center.
Antiquing the East Coast: ID Magazine’s Favorite Trends by Chesie Breen
These are a few of my favorite things… in antiques up and down the East Coast.
We first came across Gray Antiques on Instagram (@grayantiques) and are now both obsessed and impressed by their highly unique and sophisticated mix of fine antiques and vintage pieces. Located in the historic district of Mount Vernon in Baltimore, Maryland, the shop was started by Carol L. Vargo and Katherine Behrens Crosby. Their work combines Vargo’s keen eye and retail experience with Crosby’s interior design background and knowledge of antiques from stints at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in New York and Boston. They offer, by appointment only, a range of antiques and decorative pieces in their shop, including continental antiques from the nineteenth century, twentieth-century pieces from Maison Jansen and Paul McCobb, as well as handmade lamp shades from Massachusetts-based Perrotine Co. and decorative tabletop accessories from Aerin. They believe today’s most modern and fresh homes are layered and personal, blending timeless pieces with new items to create an environment unique to the owners’ personalities.
While you can certainly shop their well-edited website the real payoff comes when you work directly with this duo to source your design needs. Most of their pieces are acquired through auction, and they are experts at navigating this process and assisting designers and their clients with finding that perfect piece.
Market Stalls, BDC Suite 203
Anyone who visits the Market Stalls at the Boston Design Center knows that the secret weapon for spotting great finds with pedigree is Joe DiDonato.
This month he has his carefully trained eye on a new dealer: Lussier Lajoie Custom Framing. Along with exquisite and custom-designed framing, owner Daniel Lajoie sources a selection of rare and one-of-a-kind antique prints and reproductions. Adhering to museum conservation standards, products, and techniques, Lussier Lajoie Custom Framing designs and creates tailor-made frames that beautifully showcase each piece.
Falls Village, Connecticut
When interior designer Bunny Williams founded Trade Secrets with her husband, antiques dealer John Rosselli, from their home in Falls Village, Connecticut in 2001, their mantra quickly became, “If something is worth doing, it’s worth overdoing!” Today, Trade Secrets is a must-visit destination every May for everyone from garden aficionados and collectors to anyone just interested in spending an afternoon supporting their community. “We’ve grown by leaps and bounds and raised a lot of important funds for Women’s Services. We’ve had all sorts of weather over the years, including snow on the ground, but it doesn’t dampen the joy that comes from a stroll through a beautiful country garden and shopping for rare plants and garden antiques,” says Williams.
This year, guests toured the couple’s gardens in Falls Village and were able to see Williams’s new creative studio for the first time. Also on tour was architect Gil Schafer’s garden, Middlefield, which he designed in collaboration with landscape architect Deborah Nevins. Rounding out the triangle was Wethersfield Estate, about which architectural historian Henry Hope Reed, Jr. wrote, “The inspiration is grand, the tradition noble, and the vision all-seeing.”
Kinsey Marble & Co.
What do designers, past and present—from Albert Hadley and Mark Hampton to Steven Gambrel, David Kleinberg, Charlotte Moss, and Richard Keith Langham—have in common? When the need arises to help a client curate and build a unique library, they all turn to Kinsey Marable for his highly coveted, distinctive expertise. Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, Kinsey Marable & Co. specializes in furnishing distinctive libraries from New York and California to London and Paris. Seventeen years ago, Kinsey, then an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, gave up securities trading to deal in a more exotic commodity: rare and out-of-print books. Today, he is widely considered the premier American source for libraries. Though subjects such as architecture, fine arts, gardening, and design usually anchor his commissions, his knowledge is vast and versatile; for Oprah Winfrey he assembled a complete collection of first-edition Pulitzer Prize winners.
Another service he provides is cataloging and organizing your existing collection, as well as providing conservation services and meticulous binding and leatherwork. Buying an entire collection and selling it intact is another forte—he cites the libraries of Nancy Lancaster and David and Evangeline Bruce as examples.
Read more about the best of East Coast antiques and find interior inspiration in the Fall 2018 issue of ID Boston Magazine, now available in the Boston Design Center.
The Antiques Diva offers American Antiques Tours: the best antiques sources and fairs in the United States – # No Passport Required! Our US Antiques Diva guides are antique and interior design experts who create custom antiques buying tours to our inside sources – where the designers shop. Whether you’re looking to buy one specific piece or fill an entire store, our personal shopping antique buying guides share their vast knowledge of secret sources to take you to all the right places.
Ciao for now,
Toma Clark Haines is The Antiques Diva
Last year I attended the East Hampton Antiques Show for the 1st time – and was gobsmacked by the quality, variety and quantity of antiques shown. So much so in fact, that we launched our annual Antiques Diva® Hamptons Group Antiques Tour to visit the EHAS, a perfect tour for the out of town designer, art aficionado or history and culture buff who yearns to inundate themselves with an insider’s view of the design, lifestyle and sources in the Hamptons – and of course, antiques galore! A summer visit to the Hamptons is the perfect girl’s trip, especially under the guidance of our chic and connected local Antiques Diva Guide, interior designer Tamara Matthews Stephenson, pictured above with Toma Clark Haines – #NoPassportRequired.
Today’s guest blogger is my dear friend, the brilliant Cathy Whitlock, who is giving us an exclusive review of this year’s East Hampton Antiques Show. She is the author of Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction (Harper Collins, November 2010) and re-de-sign (Fairchild Books/Conde Nast, 2009). She is a contributing writer for American Airlines Celebrated Living, Hollywood Reporter and Traditional Home magazines and her work also appears in Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest and The Huffington Post where she specializes in celebrity profiles, design, film, travel and lifestyle articles. Cathy also lectures all over the country on the topic of design in the cinema.
Best in Show: East Hampton Antiques Show
Summer in the Hamptons marks one of my favorite events, the East Hampton Antiques Show. Sponsored by the East Hampton Historical Society and now in its 12th year, the show is one of the premier antiques events. Held on the bucolic grounds of the 17th-century Mulford Farm, the money goes to a great cause, maintaining some of the oldest farmhouses and barns on Long Island. And great people watching with Martha Stewart and interior designers Alex Papachristidis and Steven Gambrel in attendance.
More than 50 antiques and art dealers with a penchant for vintage decorative items and jewelry ranging from classic to contemporary for home and garden were showcased at last weekend’s event. From the whimsical to the serious, here are a few of my favorite things spotted at the preview party on July 20th.
Antiques Diva Guide Tamara Matthews Stephenson says,
“The secret to the Hamptons is knowing where to go. There are 100’s of antique shops in the Hamptons. 100’s of restaurants and 100’s of interesting places to be inspired by design. But narrowing down your choices to the right places… to the best places… takes a lifetime of making the right contacts and then of course knowing who to call to get in.”
See you in the Hamptons!
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
Next week I’ll be in Boston – Saturday night is Steven Favreau’s launch party for FavreaulousFactory.com – all the antiques in the factory are a result of an incredible trip with The Antiques Diva® & Co – stories Steven be sharing on Tuesday, March 6 at 11am when we speak at the Boston Design Center on Boston’s role as a design and cultural center, and how the Design Center is a virtual trip to the antique markets of Europe. I recently spoke to Joe Didonato, manager of Market Stalls, about how Boston’s history and culture speak to design in Massachusetts and across the globe.
If you’re in the Boston area I hope to see you at the Design Center on Tuesday when I am joined by interior design experts Steven Favreau and Tamara Matthews Stephenson as we discuss the timeless effect of antiques: here are the details and RSVP.
How Market Stalls at the Boston Design Center brings the city’s antique history into the future
As anyone who works with antiques knows, nothing communicates a region’s cultural history like a good antique. As I’ve spent years leading tours across 15 different countries, I am thrilled to return home and showcase the rich antique history stateside. And of course, when one thinks of US cities that scream history, the first one that pops into mind is Boston. At the Boston Design Center, the recently-renovated Market Stalls section seeks to capture the feel of an international antiques market for Boston’s eclectic design history. The 10,000 square foot boutique-style market features stalls for individual dealers from greater Massachusetts and around the globe.
I’m thrilled to have the manager of Market Stalls, Joe Didonato, join me March 5th at the Boston Design Center for a conversation on Boston’s role as a design and cultural destination, and how the Design Center captures the feel of antiques markets usually found in Paris or Venice. Use Joe’s insights to plan your next trip through antiques history, #NoPassportRequired!!
1) Walking through the BDC market stalls feels like a walk through Massachusetts history. What makes your state unique as an antique and design destination?
With such deeply bound roots in American history, it’s only natural that Massachusetts would be such a hub for high-quality antiques. In addition to Boston landmarks like the Design Center and Charles Street in historic Beacon Hill, coastal towns such as Essex and New Bedford offer some of the most well-respected and eclectic antique and vintage dealers in the country. And of course, there’s the Brimfield Fair, one of the world’s largest antique fairs, and the oldest outdoor antiques show in the country.
2) In the land of the Freedom Trail, it’s all about the local history. How does the design history of Boston influence what you bring to the Boston Design Center?
Boston definitely has this perception of embodying a traditional vibe with a coastal feel. We have such strong dealers that understand this and bring in items (nautical items, traditional wood pieces, and antique silver) that really speak to this client. There’s also a growing global population coming into the city, with much broader tastes, which is why we keep our space so eclectic and have expanded our mid-century modern assortment as well as bringing in textiles.
3) Where do you find design inspiration?
There’s never a lack of inspiration when you’re housed in such a creative building; you could spend an entire day working your way through the Boston Design Center and only see a fraction of what these showrooms have to offer. I also look to social media platforms, especially Instagram, for inspiration. Design ideas have never been as accessible or immediate as they are today. You can literally search for anything, from red painted room ideas to your favorite designer’s portfolio.
4) At The Antiques Diva & Co, we love the overlap that’s happening now between antique statement pieces and contemporary designs. How does the Boston Design community use its past to build toward the future?
I see the design community of Boston looking at ways to blend traditional items of the past with the contemporary stylings of today. More and more, you see high rises popping up next to Victorian brownstones, and older buildings being retrofitted with modern interiors. There has to be a level of transitional design that blends the two, and I think the design community is really taking that approach with their projects. I love seeing a pair of 19th-century chairs flanking a modern credenza, or a bold modern painting over an antique marble mantle.
5) What are some of your favorite pieces in the Design Center right now?
I’ve always been obsessed with pattern and color. Luckily, the Boston Design Center houses the best of local and national showrooms, especially when it comes to fabrics and paints. I love walking through showrooms like Charles Spada and The Martin Group and seeing the newest fabric lines or checking out paint swatches at Farrow and Ball. I’m constantly reimagining how some of my antique and vintage pieces could be injected with new life, with just the right bold print or vivid new hue. Right now there’s a vintage Fournier-style rope and tassel chair on the third floor that’s been sprayed in a black lacquer and covered in a sinewy Cowtan and Tout animal print, and I’m completely obsessed.
6) What periods and styles of antiques are hot right now? What trends do you expect to see in the coming years?
I find that our clients are always looking for those special antique pieces that mix in well with their contemporary settings. Whether it’s the rich patina and clean lines of a William and Mary tavern table, an antique map, or a vintage Murano glass light, clients want something that will balance out and lend warmth and style to a modern setting. I definitely see this as a trend moving forward, as younger generations look at how to incorporate inherited pieces into modern design aesthetics.
7) How have you transformed the Boston Design Center from a trade-only space to a progressive, all-inclusive design resource?
I view the Market Stalls as introductory point into the Boston Design Center. Our showroom serves both the design community as well as the community at large. And while many of the showrooms in the BDC are trade-only, the building offers a designer on-call service that assists visitors, offering complimentary design advice, as well as aiding in executing sales within all the showrooms of the building. The BDC also offers a number of events and enriching lectures that are open to the public.
8) One of my favorite parts of antique sourcing is the constant surprises around every corner — the pieces you weren’t expecting but fall in love with right away. What surprises you about the pieces that come into the market?
The Market Stalls is fortunate to house such a diverse and eclectic group of high-quality antique dealers. I’m always amazed by the depth and quality of the pieces that our dealers bring into the space. Whether it’s a 17th-century Baroque credenza, a vintage Venini chandelier, or a beautifully hand-crafted Persian Kazak rug, there’s always something worth drooling over.
9) Antique flea markets are some of my favorite places on earth, and the BDC captures the feel of walking through street stalls filled to the brim with precious and eclectic pieces. What are some of your favorite travel destinations, and how has international inspiration shaped the Design Center?
For me, travel is invaluable. I’ve been lucky to find something unique and lovely in each country I’ve visited. International travel is also such an important part of what makes up the Market Stalls. Our dealers are literally traveling the world to find pieces to bring to our showroom. We have beautifully preserved furniture sourced from England and France, rugs and textiles from the Iran and Turkey, and art and porcelain from China and Japan. The Market Stalls is also modeled after the incredibly fabulous flea markets of Paris.
10) What are you most excited for right now? What’s next for the Design Center?
The Boston Design Center has been undergoing an extensive renovation over the past few years, with a new lobby, dining options, and additional retail spaces all coming soon. There’s also an endless amount of building development happening in our neighborhood – Boston’s Seaport District. The area is seeing a massive shift from a once thriving shipping area to a vibrant hotbed of condos, hotels, and retail options. I’m excited to see how these changes play a role in expanding the Boston Design Center’s reach within the city and overall design community.
- Market Stalls at Boston Design Center
- Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm
- 2nd Floor West Wing
- MarketStalls@BostonDesign.com or call 617.439.6902
The Market Stalls at Boston Design Center second-floor west wing houses a 10,000-square foot boutique-style market, featuring high-quality antiques sourced from around the globe. Dedicated space is reserved for individual dealers, representing an eclectic mix of period furniture, lighting, and art from the 17th to 20th centuries appealing to interior designers, architects, and design enthusiasts.
I hope to see you in Boston!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
I’m heading to The Original Miami Beach Antique Show to film a special episode for United Airlines in-flight channel. I’ll be meeting up with Chattic at the Miami Beach Antique Show to show you how antiquing is done, #DivaStyle! I have a few free tickets to the show – message me in the Comments below if you’d like to attend – First Come, First Serve!
Alongside Nicole Sawyer of Chattic, I will do a virtual walking tour on Facebook Live of the Original Miami Beach Antique Show and get expert advice on your unique treasures.
Visit AskChattic and send us pictures of items you’d like to know more about and have a chance to have your questions answered LIVE!
Saturday, February 10
@AskChattic 12:00noon ET
LIVE at the Miami Beach Antique Show and LiveStreamed on Facebook
The Original Miami Beach Antique Show exhibits the finest antiques, art and jewelry collections in the resort city of Miami. The internationally renowned show is held at the Miami Fair Expo Center and features more than 600 established dealers from across the globe.
Best known as America’s largest indoor antique show, they offer a vast selection of exceptional antiques year after year. Items range from a variety of historical time periods including the Renaissance, Georgian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco, and more. On the show floor, attendees can explore a variety of antique treasures such as fine art, American and European silver, antique jewelry, fancy colored diamonds, clocks and timepieces, Asian antiquities, rugs, porcelain, objects of virtue, and much more.
- February 9 – 12, 2018
- Miami Fair Expo Center
10901 SW 24th St.
Miami, FL 33165
Chattic is the new way to value old stuff! Chattic is the world’s first antique and vintage social marketplace, building technology to help people understand and monetize their collectibles in a new way.
By crowdsourcing ideas in a digital community, Chattic users get answers on demand about what they have and what it’s worth.
See you in Miami!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
My design crush Robert Passal opened a new design destination in Greenwich with business partner Kim Alessi. I visited the shop just before it opened, and I was delighted to discover inventory Robert had purchased with The Antiques Diva® at the Paris Flea Market and in Italy. Join Robert and me on Tuesday, Feb 6 with Garrow Kedigian at the D&D Designer Forum Series, as we discuss how to source antiques like the experts, with sponsor Duralee. I was in Connecticut with Diva Guide Doni Belau as we planned our New York area US antiques buying tours – #NoPassportRequired, so of course we had to stop for a preview of the P&M collection!
New York interior designers Robert Passal and Kim Alessi opened Putnam & Mason in Greenwich, CT, in May 2017. Called the D&D of Greenwich by Architectural Digest, the atelier promises to make NYC design to Connecticut. The workman were putting finishing touches on the showroom as Robert and Kim welcomed us despite the flurry of last-minute activities and gave us a personal tour of the showroom.
Taking center stage both in the Putnam & Mason showroom and on the website is this 17th-century hand-painted Italian chest that Robert discovered on-tour with The Antiques Diva. Discovered in a convent in Italy, the colors and craftsmanship on this chest literally took my breath away!
Putnam & Mason has a multi-tier design approach:
The shop offers a collection of antique and contemporary furniture, art and accessories, with custom options available, home delivery and design services.
The 2nd tier offers trade services for local designers from the Sample Bar select range of brands that P&M represents.
The 3rd tier is one-stop-shopping to assist clients with home renovation projections including kitchens and baths, landscaping and media rooms, partnering with local vendors.
Interior designers, furniture manufacturers and showrooms, architects, landscapers, shelter magazines and design industry professionals stay ahead of trends in design, decor, art, cuisine and fashion by traveling to locations that inspire and nurture their creativity and are an opportunity to see first-hand emerging trends in the design world.
- Putnam & Mason
- 34 East Putnam Avenue
Do You Want to Shop for Antiques in Italy?
BOOK AN ANTIQUES AND DESIGN TRIP WITH THE ANTIQUES DIVA
I hope you join Robert and me on February 6 at the D&D!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
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.
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.
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!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
I know Philip and Sim Hamilton Harvey of ARCANUM Market from their fabulous booth at High Point Antique and Design Center; each year when I lead the walking tour I tend to feature their finds. When I was asked to lead the VIP Antiques Tour in in Savannah at Southern Style Now, I went to them for some of the best antique dealers and experts in Savannah!
Sip champagne, see the sights and score some antiques on my VIP Antiques Tour!
- Southern Style Now
November 9-11, 2017
- Antiques Diva VIP Antiques Trolley Tour
Friday November 10 11:30am – 2pm
Please note: Attendance is limited, so sign up today! #NoPassportRequired
Here’s a sneak preview of my Savannah antiques tour:
346 Whitaker Street
A modern mix of American and Continental antiques and new home furnishings.
Everyone who knows me also knows that being The Antiques Diva® means I’m away from home more often than not… as I write this I just returned to Berlin from a 3-suitcase trip covering NYC, High Point, Key West and London. And after I unpack (and retrieve my laptop which was sadly left on the plane to London), I’m off to Venice, Savannah for Southern Style Now then Bangkok preparing our TCH Collection launch before going back to the USA to speak in Jacksonville, FL, for the London Calling charity event.
What keeps this Diva going (besides equal parts coffee and champagne)? Sleep. I have energy in spades and keep up the hectic pace for days but what’s essential are my zzzz’s — getting 7 to 8 hours sleep every night is mandatory. (And truth told, I’ve recently discovered the joys of spending an entire Saturday in bed, which just might include my laptop and Netflix…) When I arrive at my travel destination, where I’m sleeping is of utmost importance. And my #DivaStyle radar lit up last year at my first visit to Round Top when I was introduced to Rancho Pillows. The best way I can describe it is part Brooklyn, part Old West, and thoroughly Texan. And that’s why I personally selected Rancho Pillow as our home-away-from-home on our Round Top Group Antiques Tour in April, with US Antiques Diva Guide Doni Belau of Girls Guide to Paris. Book by Dec 1 to get our special introductory rate!
Rancho Pillow is the absolute coolest and funkiest place to stay at Round Top. If you are looking for an excuse to join our Round Top tour, this is it! Where else can you experience a fabulous day antiquing treasures from Europe, Asia and America, followed by a pink sunset over the trees, in a folk-art fantasy designed by artist Sheila Youngblood.
What better spot to chill and refresh end of day on your once in a lifetime shopping fantasy tour?
Farmhouse elegance plus comfort guarantee a good night’s sleep at Rancho Pillow.
Texas hospitality guarantees a good night’s sleep in the sleeping quarters at Rancho Pillow.
Breakfasts at Rancho Pillow promise hot coffee with a view.
Outdooring bathing at the communal bathhouse is just one of the many options during your stay.
We’ll enjoy a feast in the field with a private chef at Rancho Pillow during Round Top Antiques Fair.
Experience the sounds and taste of Rancho Pillow on this video tour:
A heated, saltwater wading pool… swapping stories of the day’s hunt with new friends at the firepit… a quiet moment in the poetry library…
… it will be hard to see Rancho Pillow in your rearview mirror as we drive away, but your memories of this special visit to Round Top won’t fade away soon… and I’m betting you’ll have a few new pieces sourced at Round Top Antiques Fair to remind you of our Diva Extravaganza!
Join me and Antiques Diva Guide Doni Belau of Girls’ Guide to Paris for 4 days & 5 nights of finger-licking bbq, antiques and vintage as far as the eye can see and further, country music, Texas bluebonnets, seriously good wine – and Rancho Pillow! At the biggest antique show in the world you’ll discover gems from Belgium, France and Holland as well as mamma’s attic down the road. There is something for all price points plus we’ll help you negotiate and ship it all home. And the location in Texas Hill Country is gorgeous. Why haven’t you been yet? You were waiting to come with The Antiques Diva, weren’t you!?!!
See y’all in Texas!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Are you an Antiques Diva, a junkie for junk or a flea market queen? If you love vintage and antiques like we do, then you must join us next spring at the mecca of all antique shows in Round Top, Texas. This isn’t one antique show, its many shows which converge in one small town over the span of two weeks covering 20 miles or more. (Design junkies know Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper have made two phrases famous: shiplap and Round Top!)
Our group antiques tour to Round Top from April 2-7, 2018, is 4 days and 5 nights of finger-licking bbq, antiques and vintage as far as the eye can see and further, country music, Texas bluebonnets and seriously good wine. At the biggest antique show in the world you’ll discover gems from Belgium, France and Holland as well as mamma’s attic down the road. There is something for all price points plus we’ll help you negotiate and ship it all home. And the location in Texas Hill Country is gorgeous. Every dealer and shop owner who is serious shops here – so why haven’t you been yet? You were waiting to come with The Antiques Diva & Co, weren’t you!?
Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva® & Co, has teamed up with Doni Belau from Girls’ Guide to Paris (a French antique dealer who exhibits at Round Top), and they will be your guides for the week. Rancho Pillow, the absolute coolest and funkiest place to stay, will be your home during our sojourn. If you don’t have a good time on this trip and score some serious finds then frankly… we simply can’t help you!
Round Top Texas Group Antiques Diva Tour
April 2-7 2018
- Lodging, all breakfasts & lunches, 3 dinners, all tours & all transport on site
- Transport to and from Round Top Texas (we are happy to schedule one specified time for transport from Austin Airport via van)
- 3 dinners, however, we will have suggestions on where to eat and transportation is provided
- Extra drinks at music venue & elsewhere
- All antiques purchases & shipping
April 2nd, Monday
We’ll kick off our time together with a welcome meal at a local steakhouse and some bubbly in this Getting To Know You event!
April 3rd Tuesday
Breakfast at Rancho Pillow and then we’re off to do the Original Round Top Tour, followed by an afternoon visit to one of the local Czech communities. In the evening we’ll hang out and relax back at Rancho Pillow. Those who need to unwind can take a yoga class or have a massage to work out the stress of all that hardcore shopping – Diva-style! Dinner is on your own.
Tues April 4th
Following breakfast, we’ll head for a behind-the-scenes tour of Excess I & II followed by a picnic lunch. That afternoon we’ll shop The Compound with one of the dealers getting the inside scoop on how the dealers score the best deals. Naturally, the day will end with cocktail & nibbles in Diva Guide Doni Belau’s booth she shares with Diva Guide Margaret Schwartz. Dinner reservations confirmed this evening as a group.
Wed April 5th
Today we’ll shop til we drop with Arbors Antiques with owner Curtis Ann Davies – one of the most beloved of all the show owners. Dealers in Round Top fight for space to display at her fair simply because she’s so darn nice. Some of our favorite Antiques Diva clients are selling on this field and we’ll make sure to high light friends and friends. After lunch we’ll enjoy an afternoon walk and photo safari among the wildflowers before heading back to the ranch for a Private Chef Dinner with Rancho Pillow! Bone Appetit! (I suspect in Texas longhorn country meat may be on the menu!)
Special Event with Lolo French Antiques et More:
Join Antiques Diva blog contributor Mimi Montgomery and antiques dealer Laurent Gouon of Lolo French Antiques for a furniture history lesson learning to tell your Louis 15th from your Louis 16th. Ask Laurent all your questions on how to care for your antiques.
Special Event with Pandora de Balthazár:
Join European linen dealer and sleep expert Pandora de Balthazár to learn how to get better sleep and how it will improve your overall health. We’ll get in bed and drink champagne to learn why a good night’s sleep isn’t a luxury, it’s an essential to maintaining a #DivaLifestyle.
Thurs April 6th
For the last day of your Diva Extravaganza we’re heading to Warrenton and Zapp Hall. We’re still awaiting the dates for the Junk Gypsy Prom – but we’re hoping the gods align our fates so we can be the belles of the ball. Either way tonight will be about kicking up our heels (and by heels I mean cowboy boots, not stilettos) and listening to some down-home country music whilst eating BBQ. Those who want to trade the champagne bottle for beer will have that option.
Friday April 7th
There are a few select places available on this once in a lifetime shopping fantasy tour. Contact us ASAP to reserve your space or to learn more. There’s a reason why they say everything is bigger in Texas.
Take a behind-the-scenes peek at my Champagne Tour at the Round Top Arbor Antiques International Antiques & Interior Design Show:
See y’all in Texas!
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
One of my favorite antique shows is TEFAF (The European Fine Arts Fair) in Maastricht, The Netherlands. I try to attend every other year. Attending TEFAF is like going to a museum… but everything is for sale. You can hold the Monet, try on the $200K tiara. Standing in a booth and eavesdropping on a conversation between a vendor and a potential buyer is a mini-course on fine arts – you get the best (and yes best, also means most expensive) expert dealers from around the world in one location. After one of the 1st TEFAF shows I attended, I wrote:
As you walk about the carefully decorated stalls look around – not just at the items for sell, the great floral arrangments and the innovative décor, but at the other visitors to the fair. See that guy over there – he’s a private buyer who just flew in on his private jet. Of course, unless you are a polyglot, you might find eavesdropping on the rich and famous to be a bit difficult. You’re as likely to hear English spoken as you are Russian, Chinese, Aarbic, French, Portugese, German, Dutch or Italian. It’s as if you’ve taken the worlds wealthiest citizens, thrown them in a Baccarat martini shaker and added copious quantities of cologne, silk ascots, and mink. The cocktail comes out tasting a tad Fitzgeraldesque, but with price tags included.
The main attraction for me is jewelry – Van Cleef Arpels & Chopard have antique and vintage pieces but also a slew of jewelers have eye candy for #designinspiration.
TEFAF New York returns October 28 – November 1, 2017, at the Park Avenue Armory, featuring fine and decorative art from antiquity to 1920.
- TEFAF New York
- October 28 – November 1, 2017
FRIDAY OCTOBER 27
2 PM – 9 PM: VIP Preview (VIP cardholders)
6 PM – 9 PM: Opening Night Reception for the Benefit of Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK Invitation only)
SATURDAY OCTOBER 28
11 AM – NOON: Early Access (VIP cardholders)
Noon – 8 PM: General Admission
SUNDAY OCTOBER 29
11 AM – Noon: Early Access (VIP cardholders)
Noon – 6 PM: General Admission
MONDAY OCTOBER 30
11 AM – Noon: Early Access (VIP cardholders)
Noon – 8 PM: General Admission
TUESDAY OCTOBER 31
11 AM – NOON: Early Access (VIP cardholders)
Noon – 8 PM: General Admission
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 1
11 AM – Noon: Early Access (VIP cardholders)
Noon – 6 PM: General Admission
- Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue
New York, New York
“This, the Dutch seemed to be saying, this is how you do an art fair.”