In the Press Spring 2014

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 50px; line-height: 40px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>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.

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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!

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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.

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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  to/news/” target=”_blank”>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!

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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 top-10-takeaways-2014-design-bloggers-conference/” target=”_blank”>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.


Jill McKenzie & Toma Clark Haines at DBC2014

Last but not least with respect to the Design Bloggers Conference, to-four-inspirational-bloggers/” target=”_blank”>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.

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(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 to-italy-and-mercanteinfiera/” target=”_blank”>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” target=”_blank”>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.” target=”_blank”>The Antiques Diva Guide to Berlin is featured in their premier issue!

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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®

In Bed with Eddie Ross

Dear Diva Readers,

Antique Bed Shopping

Caption:  Eddie Ross Seen Here Bed Shopping

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Design Inspiration

This fell behind #1 –  the annual resolution to lose weight and #2 – to make more organized office systems and procedures.   Neither #1 nor #2 are that interesting and are probably destined for failure.  But #3…. now THAT resolution has legs I can run with. (Hmm, if only flipping through my favorite magazines burnt more calories…).

But I digress.  This morning my husband’s alarm went off at 4am and I kissed him good bye as he headed to the airport en route to Amsterdam (note, I love that guy, but it’s January and I didn’t offer to put on clothes and drive him to the airport).  And while I regularly start my work day at dawn – finding it the best time to get caught up on office work (see I’m already implementing ways to conquer the work place clutter, who needs resolution #2?) – this morning it was raining.  Rain is my kryptonite.  I also had my regular feature article deadline for Antiques Shops and Designers magazine and a looming deadline is a guaranteed way to give me writer’s block and a desire to procrastinate.  And the cat was in bed.  And he was purring.  He even rolled over and showed me his white belly, flopping one paw over his eyes.  (The cat, not my husband.  The husband had already left by this point).  And it was still dark outside.  And cold.  Then I remembered Resolution # 3.  Get Regularly Inspired.  No time like the present.

Puccino the Cat

So I turned on my Fortuny-styled bedside lamp (note to self – REALLY MUST find the real thing on one of our Italian buying tours someday) and crawled deeper under the covers, propping my iPad up on my lap.  A tweet from Stacey Bewkes of Quintessence lifestyle blog  flittered across the top of the screen about meeting up in Paris during Maison Objet.  And I thought bingo.  What better place to start my inspiration prowl.  Stacey is a blogging genius and hers is one of my all time favorites.  As I began reading her latest posts, I noticed something on the side bar.  What’s this? Video Series – Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk .  The next thing I knew I was watching flea market maestro Eddie Ross shop the Elephant Trunk.


Caption: Eddie and Susanna Shopping Elephant Trunk

Which reminded me…  I LOVE EDDIE ROSS… so I flicked over to his site – where I soaked up divine design inspiration and spent the next hour in bed with Eddie, reading a backlog of posts I’d missed in my absence away from his site during these days when work had overtaken my life.   I use to read his posts all the time.  I love finding images styled by him.

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Caption: Classic Eddie Ross

He’s a genius.  And  budget conscious.  I had hit the gold mind of inspiration.  The mecca.   The motherlode.

Which reminded me, whomever your design hero –  I want to encourage you to spend a morning in bed with them.  Go get inspired.

And Eddie – thank you for inspiring me.  Though I should warn you… next time we meet up it might be in the bath.

The Antiques Diva®

Toma Clark Haines

Where in the World is The Antiques Diva?

Dear Diva Readers,

Celebrating New Year’s Eve – wearing my fascinator “The Clock Strikes 12”

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in Belgium

On an Antiques Tour at the Flea Market in Berlin – Photo Credit Laila McCubbin Jones

My tours/ ” target=”_blank”>antique shopping tour business has blossomed but with the bloom there has been growing pains which have left me burning the candle at both ends as I’ve been left to deal with an ever mounting pile of paperwork. Last month I took steps towards solving this problem by hiring office administration to help my staff of Antiques Diva Guides & I, but in the meantime my blog has taken the brunt of the burn out from the work load, being the thing I set aside as day to day obligations took precedence.  I’ve not had the time to blog as much as I normally do – and I find I miss you guys!!!

Hard at work at Diva Headquarters – Photo Credit Laila McCubbin Jones

Today, as I write, it’s my way of coming back to you to tell you a bit about my year so far and what’s been keeping me so otherwise engaged.  Those of you who follow me on Facebook  & Twitter have seen the maddened pace of tours/” target=”_blank”>Antiques Diva Tours I’ve been on as I share tos ” target=”_blank”>daily photos of our company tours and treasures.  But for those of you who aren’t following me on social media you might have missed the joyful madness!

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Behind the scenes Global Living Photoshoot, snapping a picture of Photographer Laila McCubbin Jones hard at work

As soon as I returned home from celebrating Christmas in the United States I immediately went to work on preparing my house for the Global Living photoshoot.  Imagine my joy when I discovered they decided to feature my home on the cover of their Premier issue.  After doing the behind the scenes work with photographer Laila McCubbin Jones for that feature and another in Belle Inspiration, I left for Belgium to help New York Times T magazine with a feature they were doing.  In between these press calls I was taking some extended tours in Belgium, France and England with tours/trade-only-tours-coming-soon/” target=”_blank”>To The Trade buyers as I helped antiques dealers and interior designers stock their stores. 

Lynn Yaeger - Fashionistas at the Fleas

Photo courtesy of Vogue Meeting Florence and Enjoying a delightful morning in Paris Fashion Week with Lynn Yaeger – Elizabeth Lippmann ­ 

Next up it was Fashion Week in Paris which meant a party with Vogue – Fashionista’s at the Fleas!  And then it was on the road again to Bath, England for my new favorite fair – The Bath Decorative and Antiques Fair.  You know how much I love La Foire National a la Brocante et Jambon?  Well this one in Bath has as good of inventory as Chatou but with better prices and it is now vying for the title of best brocante ever!

Kirstie Allsopp, Mark Hill, Gail McLeod, Judith Miller, Angela Linforth, Natasha Goodfellow

Spending the day at the Bath Decorative and Antiques Fair – Natasha Goodfellow, Homes & Antiques, Judith Miller, Mark Hill, Gail McCleod, Kirstie Allsopp, Angela Linforth, editor Homes & Antiques

While in England for the fair, I had the opportunity to do a press tour around the fair chatting with vendors alongside BBC stars Kirstie Allsopp & Mark Hill as well the famous maven of antiques Judith Miller.  I even had the opportunity to chat with Nigel Worboys of Antiques Are Green and George Johnson all thanks to the amazing introductions of Gail McLeod, who not only happens to be my Diva Agent in England but also owner of Antiques News & Fairs and one of the most connected women in antiques in the UK!   After attending the Bath Decorative & Antiques Fair, there was a party hosted by Homes & Antiques magazine  – the official magazine of The Antiques Roadshow  – to celebrate The Best of Britain competition.  At the fair the antique award winners were announced and a champagne fete was thrown in their honor.


With Cathy Barrow of Charcutepalooza in Paris at the National Fair of the Flea Market and Ham

March Madness literally had me on the road the entire month from day 1 to day 31!  While in the UK I had the opportunity to stay in both The Manor House and The Royal Crescent – luxury hotel experiences you’ll be reading more about this summer both on my blog and in a couple of publications I write for.  Then I bid adieu to England and said Bonjour to Paris yet again as I helped Charcutepalooza with their Grand Prize Giveaway, taking winner Peter Barrett of A Cook Blog on an antiques tour and then co-hosting alongside Cathy Barrows of Charcutepalooza and Jack Dancy of Truffle Pig a Parisian Blogger fete before bagging it for Belgium this time to take a group on tour. 

American Women of Surrey and SAT Travel

With The American Women of Surry Club on a SAT TRAVEL/Antiques Diva tour in Belgium

While the majority of our tours are private individuals, SAT TRAVEL organized a group trip with me bringing The America Women of Surry to Belgium for a fantastic 4 day shopping fete!   My three favorite vendors in Belgium took the time to do special events and parties with the group – and I want to give special thanks to Kurt and Aida of Antwerp Antiques Center, to Anne Marie of Antiques L’Histoire and Karine of Antiek’s by Karine!  

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Next off – it was up, up, up and away for two sensational weeks in New York City as I was chosen as one of a dozen or so bloggers from around the world to participate in tour ” target=”_blank”>#BlogTourNYC  a week-long celebration of design in the Big Apple coordinated by the tireless team at ModenusVeronika Miller and Tim Bogan have my absolute awe and admiration for the amazing tour they coordinated.

BlogTour 2012 - New York City - Antiques Diva

Look at the maniacal look in my eye as I learn to shoot a bow & arrow alongside some new friends from Samuel Heath a quintessentially English company who design and manufacture high quality faucets, showers and bathroom accessories

I still have a slew of blog posts to write about all the amazing things we saw  – so stay tuned for me telling you about learning to shoot a bow and arrow inside an art gallery in Soho alongside the team of Samuel Heath or hobnobbing at the D&D Building.  Spending time in NYC it was also a pleasure to meet Nicole of BKLN CONTESSA, Stacey of Quintessence and Tamara of Nest, Nest, Nest as well as getting to spend time with my dear friend Saxon Henry of Adroit (who threw a party in her Brooklyn loft in my honor) and to go vintage fashion shopping with Lynn Yaeger (stay tuned as this is another article soon to be released!)

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Back home in Berlin

Returning home to Berlin from the city that never sleeps left me a tad tired… but there’s no sleep for the weary.  Tours in Paris, Antwerp, Amsterdam and Berlin beckoned.  It was particularly an honor to help Haupt Antiek with their Central and Eastern European tour, leading a group tour in Berlin as well as hosting a party at my home in Berlin for their group of dealers coming abroad to buy for the Haupt Antiek Market – one of the top 25 flea markets in America.

Antiques Diva - Toma Clark Haines

Meanwhile my first article in Homes & Antiques magazine hit the stand – Vintiquing in Antwerp – and was followed quickly by another article I wrote for them on Vintiquing in Berlin.    Flea Market Décor magazine  gave The Antiques Diva & Co a shout out in their International Flea Markets article. 

Antique Shops & Designers magazine hit the newsstands featuring not only an article about my tours but also an article by me on a luxury shopping experience I had antiques shopping at Axel Vervoordt’s private residence – his castle nearby Antwerp.  They even used as their magazine cover one of the photos I took while on an Antiques Diva Tour!

Antiques Diva Tours

Shopping at Smeden og Journalisten – one of my favorite shops in Scandinavia 

And while all this was going on, I was laying the ground work for the expansion of my company into 2 new countries with tours/craft-tours/ ” target=”_blank”>our first ever Scandinavia Tour in Sweden & Demark. This brings our roster of countries where The Antiques Diva & Co operates to 8 countries – including also France, Belgium, England, Italy, Holland and Germany. 

I couldn’t have done this without the amazing help of an amazing team of professional stylista’s! Special thanks to Diva Guides – Gail, Jennifer, Danielle, Kim, Susan, Lucretia and the designer of our custom-made Diva Bags, Di Venter of Made by Di!

Just writing about the last few months has me exhausted and exhilarated – there are so many wonderful things going on at Antiques Diva headquarters.  I truly love my job and am blessed to have the opportunity to pursue my passion as my career!  Sorry to have been away from my blog for so long – I’ve missed you!

Yours Truly,
The Antiques Diva®