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Andrew Skipper

Entertaining with my colleague Andrew Skipper

Entertaining with Andrew Skipper

Meet My Colleague Andrew Skipper

My colleague Andrew Skipper & I have spent countless dinners discussing Diva Business and just simply drinking too much wine over long lingering meals. Our friendship has been formed around the table… and one of the things I love most is when he is visiting me at my house in Berlin. I make dinner and he whisks open my cupboards and takes it upon himself to set my table. He always pulls dishes I’ve forgotten I had out of the back corners and sets a stunning table. As we embark upon the holiday season I asked Andrew to share with you a few of his tips for setting a table for the holiday season.

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva™

Andrew Skipper

Photo by Anderson Photography

Growing up, we always sat down for family dinners together. Even with conflicting schedules, dinner time was an important part of the day to reconnect with each other. As the oldest child, it was my responsibility to set the table each evening. Perhaps it is because of this that I still set a table every day, even if I’m dining alone. There is something dignified about laying out the place setting, folding the napkins, arranging the stemware just so. Partaking in this tradition grounds me. It also challenges me, in an enjoyable way, as I come up with fresh ways to mix china patterns and create beautiful, although often simple, centerpieces. With Thanksgiving, the most anticipated meal of the year for most Americans, just days away, allow me to share my table which incorporates European antiques (some sourced on Antiques Diva Tours), and a sense of holiday festivity. After all, it’s not just about the food, as presentation plays a very important factor in creating a warm atmosphere for loved ones.

Andrew Skipper Entertaining

Andrew Skipper Entertaining

I took inspiration from a vintage black and gold tole French cachepot I recently purchased. I decided that the entire scheme would be gold, black, silver, and red. This time of year especially, I love lots of red roses in the house, so a simple mound of them fills the cachepot. I chose vibrant red napkins to complement the flowers along with black faux bois patterned placemats to ground each place setting. For place card holders, I used little brass swans that I picked up at a flea market in Belgium with The Antiques Diva. i also used antique silver fox knife rests that I purchased in Berlin. Adding to the menagerie of animal figures, a pair of vintage silver peacocks, found at Portobello Market in London, survey the table from either side of the centerpiece. Since no dinner table is complete without candlelight, I opted for a pair of English antique brass candlesticks with paw feet.

Andrew Skipper Entertaining

Simple white dinner plates with a basket weave patterned rim rest on gold chargers and are topped by black and white toile patterned salad plates. The flatware is Ralph Lauren and the stemware is a mixture of antique and new. I always keep a bottle of bubbly on hand, so for this table, I decided to bring out my vintage champagne bucket I bought in Belgium. After all, the holidays are the perfect time to raise up a glass and toast the many blessings we have. Wishing you all a very happy holiday season!

Cheers,

Andrew Skipper

AYG Award Party in London

Dear Diva Readers,

Everyone knows that The Antiques Diva® loves a good party. But couple that with an entire party devoted to the world of antiques – filled with the movers and shakers of the antiques world – and I am in my element! I, along with my UK Antiques Diva Agent Gail McLeod and our behind the scenes Creative Guy Andrew Skipper, were recently in London to attend an evening to celebrate the Antiques Heavy Artillery Mentors of Antiques Young Guns at Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair. The party, which was held in the Club Room, was sponsored not only by The Antiques Diva® & Co but also more importantly by BADA, LAPADA, and, of course, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair.

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Attending the party was a myriad of antiques trade professionals and journalists. We spent the evening mixing and mingling, champagne in hand of course! When it was time for the awards ceremony, I was so pleased to present the award for Most Innovative Mentor to my friend and renowned antiques dealer, Spencer Swaffer. He gave space in his own store for a pop-up shop to his mentoree Paul Jones during the busiest week of the year.  The overall winner of the Heavy Artillery Mentor Program went to Robert Young who could not attend the party, so it was accepted by the Young Gun whom he mentored which happens to be our very own Swedish Divo Guide, Daniel Larsson.

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Following the reception, everyone gathered at a fabulous new restaurant at Vauxhall called Counter. As well as being a well-known expert on the BBC Antiques Roadshow, Mark is also one of the co-founders of Antiques Young Guns along with Gail McLeod and George Johnson. Drinks, dinner, and lots of conversation ensued until the wee hours of the morning. A Diva’s work is never done!

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Huge congratulations to Gail Mcleod who worked tirelessly to put this evening together, all while taking VIP clients on tour during the same week as this monumental event in the antiques industry. They say that if you want something done, ask a busy person… well, Gail certainly knows how to get things done! Looking forward to seeing Antiques Young Guns grow in the coming year and can’t wait for the next party!

Antiques Young Guns, AYG Award Party in London, The Antiques Diva, Gail McLeod, Andrew Skipper, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones Antiques, Daniel Larsson, Robert Young Antiques, Mark Hill, Counter restaurant, BADA, LAPADA, Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair, Olga, The HighBoy

The Antiques Diva®   

SAVE THE DATE IN LONDON: JUNE 15 LECTURE SERIES

Dear Diva Readers,

SAVE THE DATE!  To celebrate the START OF THE OFFICIAL ANTIQUES SEASON – and a month filled with some of the top antiques fairs in England – one of our Antiques Diva FAVORITE SOURCES in London Grays Antiques is holding a series of talks in their Music Room on Monday 15th June.

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

This is an incredible opportunity to listen to lectures spanning subjects across the arts, antiques and collecting sphere!  Speakers will include owner of Grays (and sister centre Alfies Antiques in Marylebone) Bennie Gray, plus my friend, BBC 2 Collectaholics favourite Mark Hill (who happens to have inventory in the Mews at Grays) as well as jewellery expert Andrew Prince.

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Grays Antiques, Buying antiques in England, The Antiques Diva & Co, Shopping in London, Mark Hill, Collectaholics, Alfies Antiques, Bennie Gray, Andrew Prince, Andrew Skipper,

Tickets are priced at £10 with a discount for multiple purchases and the 45-minute talks will run throughout the day.

SPEAKER SCHEDULE
11am: ‘Luxury: Between Opulence and Minimalism’, Professor Giorgio Riello
12pm: ‘From Downton to Gatsby, Jewellery and Fashion from 1890 to 1929’, Andrew Prince
1pm: ‘Undressing Antiques’, Mark Hill
2pm: ‘Antiques: Looking to the future’, Bennie Gray
3pm: ‘How London’s heritage brands contributed to the war effort’ with Q&A, Penelope Sacorafou and Caroline Groves
4pm: ‘Post-War Rye Pottery: History and Collecting’, Elisabeth Bogdan
5pm: ‘Contemporary Chinese Print-Making’, Dr Anne Farrer
Price: £10 per talk, £18 for two or £25 for three
Duration: 45 minutes

Tickets will include a glass of prosecco and are available online at www.foxandsquirrel.com/london-talks/ or in person from reception at Grays on South Molton Lane.

Keep your eyes out for my colleague Andrew Skipper who will be tweeting LIVE from the event on behalf of Antiques Diva & Co! Sharing a slew of antiques news!

The Antiques Diva ®

U.S. Antique Shows Partners with Antique Young Guns

Dear Diva Readers,

Attention! Attention! You’ve heard me wax poetically about The Antique Young Guns – those wild and zany dealers from the UK.  But we’ve got great news! The Antique Young Guns is coming to America!!! Yep – American dealers under the age of 39 are now able to become Young Guns too!

Antique Young Guns, Andrew Skipper, U.S. Antique Shows, The Antiques Diva, Pier Antique Show, Gail McLeod

Antique Young Guns, Andrew Skipper, U.S. Antique Shows, The Antiques Diva, Pier Antique Show, Gail McLeod

This weekend our friends at U.S. Antique Shows will be announcing their strategic alliance with our friends at Antiques Young Guns U.K. at the Pier Antique Show in NYC at a press conference.  In fact, our very own Divo Andrew Skipper who works at Antiques Diva headquarters will be acting as the ambassador for the Antique Young Guns U.K. based group. How fitting since Andrew is the first bi-continental member, splitting his time between Europe and America where he is from.

Antique Young Guns, Andrew Skipper, U.S. Antique Shows, The Antiques Diva, Pier Antique Show, Gail McLeod

The exclusive licensing agreement will allow U.S. Antique Shows to promote growth, education, and exposure to those in the trade, 39 years old or younger, to an international audience of antiques enthusiasts. The partnership will help develop the next generation of antique dealers and those involved in the antiques trade, which means more connections between the U.K. and U.S.A. Our U.K. Diva Agent Gail McLeod is one of the founders of Antiques Young Guns U.K. which currently boasts almost 100 members along with many established “alumni” acting as mentors to the younger members of the association. Other benefits of membership include online exposure through the Antiques Young Guns marketplace, several buying and selling events throughout the year, and additional recognition in numerous trade and national publications. Members also have the opportunity to win a variety of awards including Antiques Young Gun of the Year.

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Andrew Skipper, Gail McLeod, Judith Miller, George Johnson, English Antiques, Antique Young Guns

The new Antiques Young Guns U.S.A. will host a press conference at the Pier Antique Show, March 28 at 9:30 a.m. which will provide more details on the U.S. program. The Antiques Diva & Co would like to congratulate both groups as many of our friends, sources, and Guides are associated with them. We can’t wait to see what this bridge across the pond will bring for the next generation of antique enthusiasts! Long live antiques!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®  

Can Comfort and Glamour Go Together?

Dear Diva Readers,

You could definitely say that The Antiques Diva® brand is associated with a glamorous lifestyle—after all, we love fine antiques, foreign travel, chic hotels, gourmet meals and, of course, Champagne by the bucket load! But often, when it comes to homes, people think that glamour and comfort cannot go together. That’s simply just not the case! I want to share some tips on how these two can live harmoniously and make your life uber chic but still comfy cosy!

Decorating with Antiques, Chaise Lounge, Glamour, Linda Merrill, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Andrew Skipper, Comfortable Glamour, Chic Style

Photo credit Laila McCubbin Jones

 

First of all… go for the comfy couch.  Trust me, when it comes to nap time you won’t regret it.  But then add in antique French side tables and gorgeous little Louis chairs that are perfect for entertaining if not necessarily watching tv.  My home (prefire) is a great example of how comfort and glamour go hand-in-hand.  Art work, sculptures, gilt and crystal are perfect ways to up the glam factor in your home without sacrificing comfort. Ornate frames that set off grand oil paintings instantly transform a room. If your style is more chic, go with sleek black frames, thick white mats, and black & white vintage photography. That’s a sure fire recipe for chicness! Also think about adding a bronze sculpture on a pedestal to your space. I have a collections of  Art Deco bronzes that adds a luxe feel to my living room. And if your ceiling is high enough please promise me you’ll go for a chandelier like in my old apartment in Berlin above (or better yet two – like in my new home below in Berlin)!

Decorating with Antiques, Chaise Lounge, Glamour, Linda Merrill, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Andrew Skipper, Comfortable Glamour, Chic Style

andrew skipper, Decorating with Antiques, Chaise Lounge, Glamour, Linda Merrill, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Andrew Skipper, Comfortable Glamour, Chic Style

Now… there is one formula for Glamour + Comfort that is a guaranteed win!  Go for a Chaise Lounge!  It adds instant, glamourous comfort to any room.  I have a gorgeous chaise in my loft home office and it looks so dramatic with its patinated gilding and fresh silk gray and white striped upholstery (my dear friend Linda Merrill helped me source this fabric when I couldn’t find it on my own) . And the good news is that it is SO comfortable!  You’ll note my colleague Andrew Skipper who helps out at Antiques Diva Headquarters might find it… a little TOO comfortable!!! 

Antiques Diva Headquarters, Decorating with Antiques, Chaise Lounge, Glamour, Linda Merrill, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Andrew Skipper, Comfortable Glamour, Chic Style

For adding glamour into your home find antique pieces that have good proportions and have them reupholstered. That’s a great way to be sure that they’re comfortable and still stylish.   Don’t think antiques have to be fiddly and small!  Louis XIII chairs dating from the late 16th and 17th C have the most wonderful proportion to them.  And remember most quailty antiques aren’t actually that fiddly – there is a reason they’ve survived a couple of hundred years.

Decorating with Antiques, Chaise Lounge, Glamour, Linda Merrill, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Andrew Skipper, Comfortable Glamour, Chic Style

When in doubt… light candles!  What’s more glamorous than candlelight reflected in elegant mirrors? Hang a couple of antique mirrors—better yet get some antique mirrors where the mercury has melted—then sprinkle lots of candles throughout your home. This will make it feel sexy and cozy at the same time—especially after the sun goes down! At The Antiques Diva & Co we love sexy décor!

Decorating with Antiques, Chaise Lounge, Glamour, Linda Merrill, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment, Andrew Skipper, Comfortable Glamour, Chic Style

Photo credit Laila McCubbin Jones

 

Remember, glam antiques can certainly be part of a comfortable home. Just keep in mind proportions when it comes to seating and think about finishes for artwork & frames. And I almost forgot—antique rugs are a fantastic way to make a home feel regal yet warm (picture above of my study in my old Berlin apartment). They were made to last and the traditional patterns often lend themselves to a more upscale look. I think I’ll go sip a cocktail on my chaise lounge right now—all this talk has me feeling like I need a diva moment.

Ta Ta for now, darlings.  Be Chic.  Be Glam. And Be Fabulous.

The Antiques Diva® 

Wrapping Up 2014 with The Antiques Diva

Dear Diva Readers,

As we wrap up 2014 and I reflect on this year I’m reminded of words by Charles Dickens,“it was the best of times and…” well, the best of times! I cannot help but think “Wow!” It’s been a fabulous year of growth for us here at The Antiques Diva & Co.  We’ve grown to being the largest antiques sourcing company in Europe, offering customized buying tours in 8 countries (and counting) and working with a team of 18 locally-based guides.   If I could sum up the year in three words they would be Clients, Collaborations and Celebrations!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Party, Maison Objet, Deco Off, Editor at Large, Timothy Corrigan, Paul Bert, Serpette, Michael Boodro, Elle Décor,

We kicked off 2014 in January with our first ever Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Fete coinciding with Maison et Object and Deco Off.   With over 150 mega VIP guests in attendance the event received great media coverage and we were able to film a special tour of the Paris Flea Market with Editor at Large.  Such was last years success we’re doing it again this January 25 2015 for our second annual fete at the Paris Flea Market in conjunction with special guests Michael Boodro, Editor in Chief of Elle Décor, one of my favorite “Frenchy” interior designers, Timothy Corrigan and the owner of the Paul Bert/Serpette, Jean-Cyrille Boutmy (RSVP now for details toma@antiquesdiva.com! You’re invited!!)

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Tobi Fairley, Denise McGaha, Jon Call, Mark Cutler, Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair,

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Jon Call, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair,

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair,

In February (and again in September) we were able to once again take VIP groups of American Interior Designers to Mercanteinfiera in Parma, Italy. Attending this large antiques fair is always a treat, but most especially when the clients are as fun as Tobi Fairley, Denise McGaha, Jon Call and Mark Cutler!   Later in the fall we were delighted to film Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk along with Stacey Bewkes of Quintessence for an upcoming episode on antiquing in Italy, Diva Style at Mercanteinfiera!   Watch this space! Both trips were filled with antiques sourcing, photo shoots and copious quantities of food & wine.  This month I was also delighted to add a new member to our team at Diva Headquarters – Andrew Skipper!

Then in March I hopped on a plane and headed to the USA to speak alongside Michael Bruno founder of 1stdibs at the Design Bloggers Conference. It was such an honor to meet so many talented design enthusiasts and to be able to share my story of turning a blog into a business.  Again, many lasting relationships were forged at this fantastic conference!

Just days later I was back on a plane headed for the UK. Our lovely Diva Agent Gail and I met up with Antiques Expert Judith Miller who gave our group of clients a private tour of The Bath Decorative Fair, which happened to be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a Champagne fete.  Yes, Champagne does tend to follow me around.  At the end of the month, I headed back to NYC to speak at the IFDA New York Design Center. What a jam-packed month!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, San Francisco Cottage & Gardens, Joy Venturini,

Criss-crossing the USA, I then flew to Atlanta to speak at ADAC and then spoke in both Los Angeles and San Francisco (special thanks to Kneedler Fauchere for hosting a fete in my honor).  I was also delighted to attend the launch party of San Francisco Cottage & Gardens where I befriended fashion icon Joy Venturini who moments before this photo was taken officially told me I was the “best dressed” for the event!  What a treat it was to see so many clients and make new friends!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, High Point Market, Antique & Design Center, Mad Cap Cottage

Then it was time for High Point Market which is THE MEETING PLACE for all my clients and colleagues.  Here I hosted – what else? – a Champagne tour of the Antique & Design Center after leading a Style Guide lecture on the Louis (lest you think antiques are boring… this talk involved plenty of sex and scandal to spice up the antiques and history!!!!).

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Blog Tour Milan

But I couldn’t stay long at High Point – I had to jet back to Milan, Italy for Salone to meet my Italian Diva Guide, Susan, to lead a VIP tour for Blog Tour Milan! Our lovely clients enjoyed this gorgeous city with us culminating in our party at the famous Campari Bar. After all that jet-setting, it was time to meet my husband in Tuscany for some much needed down days of relaxation at the Villa Bordoni.   I’ve been fortunate my husband has been able to travel with me on some business trips as I criss-cross the globe and we met in exotic destinations.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Spring Market, D&D Building, Antiques in the 21st Century,

May brought along plenty of client tours, including taking The Antiques Roadshow Magazine on tour throughout Belgium. But then in May it was back to the States for Spring Market at the D&D in New York where I spoke on a panel about Antiques in the 21st Century. Then in June a life-long dream of mine came true! We kicked off our first Antiques Diva Venice Tours with our new Diva Guides Orseola and Chiara! Exploring this enchanted city on the arms of two locals has given me access to a world I never thought I’d know as an insider.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Las Vegas Market, Antique Trend Forecast, Design Tastemaker,

July took me to The Windy City of Chicago for a speaking engagement at the Randolph Street Antique Market where I did a promo spot on ABC in Chicago! Then it was off to Las Vegas Market where I spoke on Antique Trends and was delighted to be named one of their Design Tastemakers!!

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Anantara Elephant Camp, Golden Triangle,

August brought some much needed down time in Thailand as my husband and I traveled to Thailand together to spend time at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok followed by shopping in Chiang Mai (Watch this space for upcoming Diva News! Will the Diva Do Asia?) followed by an amazing week at the Anantara Elephant Camp in the Golden Triangle learning to drive my own elephants.  Taking in this magical place was truly what we needed after all the hustle and bustle of this whirlwind year!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Steve Nobel, Nobelinks,

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Decorative Fair, Battersea, Traditional Home, Antique Markets in London

In September I was back in London, leading a VIP tour alongside industry sage and icon Stephen Nobel. Taking in exciting inspiration and sourcing unique antiques was the name of the game—along with lots of bubbly, bien sur! By the end of the month I was back again in London, taking a lovely journalist from Traditional Home on a special tour which coincided with The Decorative Fair at Battersea.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Gotha Biennale, Fall Market, Darcy Fulton, Jackson McCard, John Rosselli, Bunny Williams, Treillage, Art and Antiques Fair Parma Italy

Then in October after spending time in Italy for Mercanteinfiera I flew back to the Big Apple to speak at the D&D Building for Fall Market. But I couldn’t stay long because up next was High Point Market where I spoke yet again about my Antiques Diva Style Guide. High Point is always like a reunion! Such a pleasure to see so many familiar faces.  Before I knew it, I was back to Italy for another VIP event – attending the opening night gala at the Gotha Biennale with special VIP guests Darcy Fulton of John Rosselli and Jackson McCard of Bunny Williams’ Treillage!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Olga Granda-Scott, The Highboy, Doris Athineos, Traditional Home Antiques, Jonathan Burden, Antiques in the 21st Century

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Holiday House New York, Justin Shaulis, Gallery Hopping in Miami, Louis Navarrete,

In November we capped off the year with our last Antiques Diva event as I returned to NYC, speaking alongside the grande dame of antiques Judith Miller, Traditional Home magazine antiques editor Doris Athineos and Olga Granda-Scott of The Highboy at Jonathan Burden, Antiques and Works of Art. I was also able to go to the opening night gala of Holiday House New York with my dear friend and client Justin Shaulis whose room “Gallery Hopping in Miami” was simply a show stopper!  I was also particularly partial to client Louis Navarrete’s Bohemian Rapsody!

All these events… and I’ve not mentioned the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS YEAR.  As a company my 18 guides and I served more clients than ever before! Our busiest week of the year  we had more than 25 clients spread across 6 of our tour countries!!!!  Thank you for your support, your love and…baby, we quite simply could not do it without you.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle Dog Sledding, Reindeer Sledding in the Arctic, Northern Lights, New Years Resolutions

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle Dog Sledding, Reindeer Sledding in the Arctic, Northern Lights, New Years Resolutions

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle Dog Sledding, Reindeer Sledding in the Arctic, Northern Lights, New Years Resolutions

And that brings us to December where I’ve fallen into a pile of exhaustion as we entered our slow season,  as I spent my holiday in the Arctic Circle.  You must add the ICEHOTEL to your bucket list. It’s amazing.  I’ve spent the last week dog sledding in the tundra, reindeer sledding (and making one too many sightings as those buggers crisscross the roads in the Nordic) and stargazing while watching the Northern Lights. All in all I’d say it’s been a full, fun and fabulous year.

As we prepare for 2015, I can’t help but think that the BEST is still ahead!  This past year has had many highs (and a few lows as well) and the lesson here has been on priorities. In January 2014 I told my husband my goal for the year was to jump off cliffs…. free falling to see where these risks I was taking would take me.  The year has yielded more returns than I ever expected.

Thank you to all of my clients, friends, family and followers for everything and I look forward to seeing all of you in 2015!!! Let’s make it a great year!

Happy New Year,

The Antiques Diva®

 

Antiques Young Guns

Dear Diva Readers,

This Independence Day I spent the day in London celebrating the 4th of July at an English antiques celebration!  While my American readers were watching fireworks I was hanging out with a whole bunch of fire crackers!  The Antiques Young Guns!

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

On Friday July 4th, The Rooftop Restaurant at Alfies Antiques Market in London was the place to be! The much anticipated awards ceremony for the Antiques Young Guns took place and I was delighted to be in attendance.  The Antiques Diva & Co has strong representation in this esteemed group of young people involved in the antiques trade. Two of our Diva Guides, Alys Dobbie of NanaDobbie and Daniel Larsson of D Larsson Interior, are members along with our Creative Consultant Andrew Skipper.  And, most importantly, our English Antiques Diva Agent who leads our tours in the UK, Gail McLeod, is one of the founding members of Antiques Young Guns along with Mark Hill and George Johnson!

 

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

There were eight winners of a showcase at the prestigious Lorfords@Babdown kindly donated by Toby Lorford and Lesley Ferguson, owners of Lorfords Antiques and one of these winners was our very own Antiques Diva London Guide Alys Dobbie! It was also announced that eleven entrants will be mentored by renowned antiques experts and dealers.  We are so excited that our Swedish Guide Daniel Larsson will be mentored by Robert Young! (Alas Daniel was busy leading a VIP client on a Diva Tour in Sweden so he missed the event – here I am on stage accepting the award in his place).

The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Toma Clark Haines, Daniel Larsson

If you recall, earlier this year, I announced on the blog my favorite dealers at The Bath Decorative Antiques Fair.  Well one of my top picks, James Gooch owner of Doe and Hope,was presented the prestigious award of Antiques Young Gun of the Year 2014 by winner in 2013 Timothy Medhurst. I have to tell you, I really think James is “one to watch!”  He has an amazing eye and will be shaping the way we decorate in the future.

James Gooch Awards, The Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod, Mark Hill, George Johnson, Alys Dobbie, Andrew Skipper, Lorfords Antiques, Robert Young, Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, James Gooch, Doe and Hope, Timothy Medhurst, Daniel Larsson,

All in all it was a fabulous evening celebrating the next wave of antiques enthusiasts. A highlight of the evening was meeting Steven Moore from the Antiques Roadshow (a twitter friend turned Real Life friend).  From dealers to journalists to auctioneers, these young people are changing the world of antiques for the better!

Rock on Antiques Young Guns!

The Antiques Diva®

 

Greetings From America and Andrew Skipper

Dear Diva Readers,

You may not know me but I’m Andrew Skipper and I’m one of the team members working behind the scenes at The Antiques Diva® & Co headquarters helping to make the magic happen!  You’ve heard the expression “it takes a village”? You may not realize this but The Antiques Diva® team is comprised of 18 people scattered across the continent.   As for where I’m based…that’s a difficult question to answer.  You see, I live 3 months in Europe then 3 in the USA, then it’s back to Europe for another 3 months then back again to the USA for another 3.  As an American interior designer, antiques dealer and lifestyle expert I was hired to help the company keep a fresh eye on an American perspective.  Toma (aka The Antiques Diva®) has lived outside of America for 14 years and she felt she needed a breath of fresh American air to remind her how we do things in the good old USA.  That’s where I come in… I am from a small town in northern Indiana, USA. So when the opportunity to live and work in Europe came, I was beyond excited! I had been on a tour of Europe just after college, which gave me enough time to do all the “tourist things,” which I loved. But this time I would be traveling throughout Europe for extended periods of time!  I was enamored with the thought of scouring flea markets, warehouses, and antique stores with Toma and her Diva Guides. Who better to introduce me to the antique world in Europe than The Antiques Diva?!

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

One thing that attracted me most about this opportunity to work with The Antiques Diva & Co was the European lifestyle—laid back, wine with lunch, beautiful historic surroundings— it all sounded so different from my life in Indiana. I planned to purchase treasures from each place that I travel. What I love about shopping, and antiquing in particular, is that each object has a memory attached to it. Not only the history of its former life, but the memory of how I acquired it.

The Antiques Diva, Tiger Rug, Belgian Antiques, Antique Shopping Tours in Beligum,

Every time I look at an antique tribal urn I purchased in Belgium, I am reminded of the day Toma and I spent, laughing with each other, sipping prosecco with vendors while she lay on a tiger rug (that’s a whole other story!). When I see the collection of pewter trophy cups on my coffee table, I think of my friends Scott and Jennifer, who were always up for hitting the Berlin flea markets with me on the weekends. A horse-hair covered pill box takes me back to the market in Parma, Italy, where I shopped with my new friends Carol Lee and Miller until we finally had to stop for a cappuccino break!  The top hat that hangs on my wall reminds me of my fantastic day spent at the Paris Flea Market with Paris Diva Guide Danielle, and then the macaroons and wine we shared afterward…how divine!

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

The vintage Turkish slippers I purchased in Bath make me laugh out loud, not just because of their fun appearance, but because the day I bought them was filled with laughter with my new friends Diva Agent Gail McLeod, Judith Miller and the Antiques Young Guns. The bird figures resting on my mantel bring back memories of slipping in and out of stalls at the Portobello Market in London with Diva Guide Alys Dobbie then popping into a pub for steak and ale pie. Yum! The antique white collar in my study makes me think of Anna from The Antiques Roadshow and our wonderful day in Antwerp. There are so many more objects and stories…too many to tell here.

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

I suppose, after thinking it over, that when I look at these various trinkets, I am taken back to a time and a place, and I am reminded of the people I was with. The people that effected my life and my outlook on the world. I am taken back to conversations— moments spent getting to know strangers who would become new friends.

Perhaps one of the most important lessons my time in Europe has taught me is that we are all more alike than we are unalike.  When it comes right down to it, we all just want to be validated. We want to connect—to know that we matter. We want to be heard.  Underneath the surface we are all asking, “Do you see me?  Do you hear me?” I had this notion that people in Europe would somehow be different from my fellow Americans. And while there are some differences, at the end of the day, we are all on this planet and in this life together. Antiques bring us together by allowing us to share stories.  They help us connect with the past and acknowledge our humanness. Through connecting and sharing, we realize that people are the most important things in life. It’s relationships, not stuff, that truly matter.

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

By surrounding ourselves with objects that have a story, we can remember the people in our lives each and every day. That, to me, is the real gift of shopping, antiquing and decorating. Collecting mementos that enrich our everyday lives by bringing back memories of happy times with people who we enjoy. For me, these various treasures are not just pieces of Europe I’ve brought back to America with me. They are pieces of memories, connecting me to the wonderful people who I met and shared some of the best times with. I’d say it’s time to get our there and make some more memories (and purchases!).  Who’s with me?

Andrew Skipper Everyday, The Antiques Diva, Vintage Top Hat, Antique Buying Tours in Europe

Be well,

Andrew Skipper

In the Press Spring 2014

Dear Diva Readers,

Extra Extra Read All About It…. The Antiques Diva & Co has been in the press all over the place! From Atlanta to London, Amsterdam, Houston to Dallas, Parma, Italy and everywhere in between…..   First off we showed up in the press at the Homes & Antiques blog while touring the Bath Decorative Fair with Judith Miller.

Antiques Diva , Toma Clark Haines

It was a double whammy with Homes & Antiques magazine as my article “Vintiquing in New Orleans” appeared in their February issue!  If you’re not already familiar with this British publication Homes & Antiques magazine mixes the best of the old with the best of the new – this much loved homes magazine is for people who adore great design and beautiful objects from every era.

Antiques Diva 2

I guess I should make this a grand slam home run…  Imagine my surprise when my copy of the 2014 – 2015 Collectables Handbook and Price Guide by Judith Miller and Mark Hill showed up in the mail with a quote on the back cover by YOURS TRULY!

Antiques Diva 3

Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines

This book is an indispensable guide to antiques, providing the most in-depth and up-to-date information to the collectables market.

Speaking of great publications – if you haven’t seen the recent issue Antique Shops & Designers magazine – I had 2 articles inside – one about my favorite Tuscan villa agriturism estate Montestigliano and another sharing secrets to antiquing in Sweden.

Antiques Diva 4

Antique Shops & Designers is a magazine of home interiors, home decorating, and Interior Design. The magazine combines antique objects of art with contemporary home decorating. A designer’s reference book loaded with imported antique accent pieces, modern designer kitchen appliances, antiques and the latest in today’s lighting and accessories design.  I really appreciated the shout out Joni of Cote de Texas gave The Antiques Diva & Co as well in her post about this fabulous magazine.

Meanwhile we were delighted to make the Mothers Day Gift Supplement in  The Times (that would be London’s Times not New York’s) and then imagine my delight when California Homes magazine hit the newsstands yesterday and yours truly was pictured on the “Party” page for the Americans in Paris Party! You’ll recall I wrote about this sensational fete in January.

The Antiques Diva London Times

americans in paris party california home magazine

Sometimes our media coverage is a bit more incognito… we appeared lurking “behind the scenes” in an article about one of our favorite Dutch dealers – Benko – in a Dutch newspaper.  We’re incognito in this article as we were shopping for a top secret VIP client! Oh the intrigue!  Sorry… I’ll never tell who we were shopping for… one of our services at AD&CO is complete confidentiality for our clients.   My new in house creative consultant Andrew Skipper is also seen here noting the plethora of purchases our client was making.

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Meanwhile The Antiques Diva & Co was mentioned in a slew of blogs after I spoke at the Design Bloggers Conference!

Antiques Diva 6

The Design Bloggers Conference is the only conference specifically focused on the interests of bloggers on interior design teaching attendees how to build a stellar personal brand for their design career.  Special thanks to Pamela Copeman for mentioning The Antiques Diva & Co in her Posh Palette Blog on 30 Quick Takeaways from DBC 2014.   Pamela Copeman is an award winning interior designer noted for her posh panache and timeless designs that unite classic style with a modern, often colorful twist.

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Photo of Pamela Copeman with Kandrac & Kole

Kelly Kole and Joann Kandrac of Kandrac & Kole blog also gave The Antiques Diva & Co a shout out! in their colorful blog.  Kandrac Kole is a nationally recognized interior design firm well known for their approachable, dynamic personalities, signature use of color, and one of a kind, custom designs.  Voted one of Atlanta’s Top 20 Residential Interior Designers in 2013 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, their work has been featured on HGTV as well as The New York Times, House Beautiful, Southern Lady Magazine.

Inspirational lifestyle design writer Mitzi Beach was also so kind to include a mention of my speech in her blog as well.  Mitzi is an award winning interior designer who not only is an author but is an esteemed speaker as well!  On top of this she’s a Baby Boomer Marketing & Lifestyle Specialist  armed with 30+ years’ experience and a masters degree in interior design. Mitzi firmly believes the Boomers can and must be the generation that changes the way we age in this country and her unique combination of education, expertise and experience—even the Aging in Place principles evidenced throughout her own “Living Lab” home, called Cypress—make her the ideal candidate to lead that charge.

Antiques Diva

(I’m seen here with Mitzi Beach and Lisa Mende Designs)

I was also particularly honored that Steve McKenzie’s blog mentioned me in their DBC2014 highlights.  Steve and Jill McKenzie own Steve McKenzie’s Interiors and Lifestyle store.  The brand offers a design sensibility that converges two fundamental influences – the southern hospitality and graciousness mixed with their love for the mid-century modern aesthetic. Steve’s fabric designs are beyond divine.

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Jill McKenzie & Toma Clark Haines at DBC2014

Last but not least with respect to the Design Bloggers Conference, I want to thank Cromatti for not only including me as one of their 4 Inspirational Bloggers but also for sharing their $5000 1st dibs prize with me, giving me a $1000 Gift Certificate.  I met Alan Rauta, their Chief Operating Officer, at the conference on the first day and for the next several days we traded banter.  When Michael Bruno announced that the 1st dibs competition winner of the $5000 Gift Certificate was Alan Rauta of Cromatti I was smiling from ear to ear – it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!  But I had no idea how nice he was – imagine my surprise when I received an email from Alan saying “The thing I learned at the Design Bloggers Conference was that blogging is all about sharing and I want to share my prize with you.”  His generosity left me speechless.  This unexpected act perhaps sums up Cromatti as a brand – they offer the unexpected in their collection of ultramodern and colorful metal furniture.  Perhaps what intrigued me most after learning about their company is that they’ve found a new meaning in modern furniture that begs the question: Does minimal have to be understated?  If you’re a designer or collector add Cromatti to your “Brands To Watch” as they’re changing the future of design.

I was beyond honored my home state of Oklahoma included an interview with me in the design ezine Sooner Spaces.  Sooner Spaces is a new media site devoted to sharing compelling stories about Oklahoma spaces and the people behind them.

Antiques Diva 10

(Journalist Malena Lott and me in OKC last November)

Just south of my home state of Oklahoma you’ll find Texas – and honey, everything is big in Texas including the heart on Dallas blogger and top interior designer Denise McGaha.  I simply adore Denise and am delighted to have met her!  Denise McGaha delivers fashionable, diverse, and adventurous designs for clients who live on the fast track; specializing in turn-key, concierge-level service delivered in 90 days or less. With a roster of clients from professional sports figures to busy executives, Denise offers her discriminating clientele a true luxury experience with a timeline.  By offering Deadline Driven Design solutions, her clients receive exhilarating interior design coupled with prompt and nimble completion of their project.  It has been said that Denise McGaha Interiors, is consistently ahead of the curve not just influencing interior fashion, but often dictating it.  With a seamless blending of multiple interests Denise is able to offer her affluent clients access to Dallas’ best-kept secret: her black book of high-end concierge services.   And speaking of that little black book I’m delighted Denise counts The Antiques Diva & Co among those resources!  She’s written about her recent Italian antiques buying tour in a series on her blog.

Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines

Denise is seen here on our Antiques Diva VIP TOUR with Mark Cutler (far left), Denise McGaha, Tobi Fairley, me, and Andrew Skipper

Fans of the popular company Girl’s Guide to Paris will be delighted to note the company has expanded and is now producing an online magazine – The Girls’ Guide To Europe.   The Antiques Diva Guide to Berlin is featured in their premier issue!

Antiques Diva, Berlin

All these press or blog mentions and I’ve forgotten to mention two exciting new developments at  The Antiques Diva & Co – one geared towards our tourist clients another specifically geared towards our trade clients.    We’re delighted American Express has chosen us yet again for their Personal Shopper program for Paris and London…. #WatchThisSpace for more details on this exciting new program.

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Meanwhile…  a sexy new interior design site named PORTE-COCHÈRE has included The Antiques Diva & Co as one of their preferred business resources.

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PORTE-COCHÈRE is a new sales channel and national membership network exclusively for full-service interior design firms and their suppliers in the high end residential market.  Their mission is to increase efficiency and profits for all members through direct designer-supplier relationships, and to promote the stature of professional full-service interior design.

Until next time,
The Antiques Diva®

25th Anniversary of the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair

Dear Diva Readers,

This week marked the 25th anniversary of the Bath Decorative Antiques Fair in England and I just so happened to be taking a group of ladies on a tour in Bath at the same time!

Antiques Diva Tour  Bath Decorative Antiques Fair

Although these particular clients were tourists and not trade clients, we opened the doors to give these “mere shopping mortals” access to wholesale shopping – diva style.  We went to the fair on trade day (using our own trade credentials to get our clients in the door).  It’s always great to get first choice of everything!  There was definitely excitement in the air as vendors brought in a vast array of pieces from Georgian and early Victorian to mid-century Danish and 18th C Gustavian…and everything in between!  Variety is the spice of life.

Bath Decorative Antiques Fair

Bath Decorative Antiques Fair

Bath Decorative Antiques Fair

Bath Decorative Antiques Fair

Bath Decorative Antiques Fair

Bath Decorative Antiques Fair

The day was filled with plenty of shopping and special VIP rendez vous with honorary diva’s – such as renowned antique expert Judith Miller! She took our ladies out for an hour at the fair to give her opinions on their purchases and to walk through the stalls pointing out what she noticed with each vendor.  But more on that later…  Toward the end of the day, the party celebrating the fair’s 25th anniversary kicked off.  Shoppers at the fair were ushered out but our locally based Diva Agent Gail McLeod managed to secure us invites for the fete.  Champagne and hors d’oeuvres were passed and there was a lovely cake cutting to celebrate the silver anniversary.

Bath Decorative Antiques Fair

Bath Decorative Antiques Fair 7

Bath Decorative Antiques Fair

Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, Toma Clark Haines

Bath Decorative Antiques Fair, Toma Haines

Bath Decorative Antiques Fair

We were so pleased to mix and mingle with industry colleagues and leaders such as the Editor of Home and Antiques Angela Linforth and Assistant Editor Dominique Corlette.  We also clinked glasses with Marc Allum and Lisa Lloyd from the Antiques Roadshow.  George Johnson of Lady Kentmore Antiques gave us news about the Antiques Young Guns alongside fair organizer and founding member of Antiques Young Guns, Gail McLeod.

All in all it was a fantastic opening to a fun filled fair and I look forward to sharing some of my favorite items from the fair with you in the coming days!

Stay tuned for more from the Bath Decorative Fair.

Cheers!
The Antiques Diva®

PS:  To book an Antiques Diva Tour or inquire about our Buying Services so you can source antiques abroad virtually, email info@antiquesdiva.com

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The Antiques Diva & Co offers custom planned Antiques Buying Tours for tourists and trade professionals. Whether you’re looking to buy one specific piece or wanting to fill an entire container, our personal shopping antique buying guides share their vast knowledge of secret sources to take you to all the right places.

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