Perhaps Rio Hamilton said it best. Doesn’t he usually? “Our sunset hour was a treasured stroll through Mulford Farm for the East Hampton Antiques Show or as I like to call it East Hamptons Fashion Show. Even on the hottest day of the year – the à la mode sauntered by looking cool.”
Attending opening night VIP early bird shopping was like attending a runway show in New York or Paris, only the object was shopping for antiques – sort of like fox hunting but for interior design. It was definitely a competitive sport. You first dressed for the occasion. Chanel handbag. Check. Dolce Gabbana mumu double check. Hat à la Grace Kelly… Let the shopping commence!
We arrived the Grand Opening VIP Party at the East Hampton Antique Show held by the East Hamptons Historical Society as the Grand Finale of our 2 day Antiques & Design Inspiration Group Tour of the Hamptons after having stopped off at Wolffer Estates Winery to pre-fortify ourselves for shopping. Not to worry – plenty of champagne was on hand at the antiques fairs opening night party being served on silver trays to the Who’s Who of the Hamptons. As I reached for a glass my knuckles (clad in my own TCH Collection knuckle buster ring) accidentally brushed with Martha Stewart’s hand. In a fan girl moment, I stepped back in surprise, nearly bumping into Donna Karan. Clearly I needed to up my cool game. Breathe. I sipped the champagne slowly… “Ok. Now I know who I’m playing with.” We’re in with the big boys. I’ve got this. The event hosted by the exclusive media sponsor Hamptons Cottages and Gardens was definitely THE attend event of the season. (Pictured above: Tamara Matthews Stephenson, Toma Clark Haines and Kendell Cronstrom, Editor in Chief New York Cottages & Gardens and Hamptons Cottages & Gardens magazines.)
Strolling past stalls of antiques I gushed out loud in enthusiasm as I stumbled upon Don Belau of Girls Guide to Paris‘ booth. Her stall was perfectly French – having that vintage French feel straight out of a brocante in Provence. As we chatted Su Hilty of IFDA New York came rushing up to me… “I would love to introduce you to someone. She just recognized you.” I smiled from ear to ear. “Imagine that – being recognized in the Hamptons?” I sighed.
I stopped and chatted and posed for a picture with Lamont Studio owner, Carlyn Kenny. As chance would have it, hers was already one of my favorite booths. Her style embodied that Hamptons sea sand and air feel I was looking for. Another favorite vendor was Andrew Spindel Antiques whose cheeky inventory at the fair ranged from Americana to French to urban industrial. As we started chatting, he said “I read you were coming here. I subscribe to your newsletter.”
I travel the world. And speak at design fairs and antique fairs coast to coast. I can’t make a trip to New York or LA without running into someone I know… I shouldn’t still be shocked when someone in the antiques or interior design world knows who I am… But.. it still makes me blush like a school girl. Especially when in the Hamptons.
Paris, New York, Berlin, Bangkok all feel like home… but the Hamptons still occasionally intimidates me. The thing about the Hamptons is this… It’s a secret society. You have to know the secret handshake to get into the best places. Visiting there without local friends would be positively boring. The Hamptons is about access. And that’s what we at The Antiques Diva & Co provide. Locally-based Diva Guide Tamara Matthews Stephenson grew up on Long Island – while a renowned NYC interior designer (and co-founder of Root Cellar Designs) she’s had a house in East Hampton for nearly 20 years. As we walk down the road she’s stopped at regular intervals with local vendors thanking her for a recent blog post she wrote about their shop on her #1 voted interior design blog Nest by Tamara. Another vendor asks, “Are you still writing for Dan’s?” Dan’s Papers, for those who aren’t in the know, is the iconic Hamptons newspaper every local reads.
Tamara explains, “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.”
Our little black book is what we specialize in at The Antiques Diva & Co. Whether you’re on a buying tour in Chiang Mai or touring in Tongeren or simply using our Buying Services for those times when you don’t have time to travel with us to go shopping… Our job is to understand what your fantasy antiquing experience is and then give you access to antiques and design inspiration only a local knows about. While our next Hamptons Group Tour won’t be available until next July – we do offer private Hampton Antique tours every day during summers.
As the East Hampton Antiques Fair VIP Opening shopping night came to a close, the sun settled low in the sky turning the horizon pink behind the 17th C Dutch windmill on the Mulford Farm estate where the fair is held. I began humming La Vie En Rose and smiling thinking fondly of The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald would have been right at home here… I can almost hear the click-clack of his type writer keys as he writes,
“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
Book a Hamptons Antiques and Design Inspiration Tour
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
Join Toma Clark Haines:
Hamptons Antiques & Design Tour
Just outside of the Big Apple, the infamous “Hamptons” are towns that were settled as early as the 1600s, and dotting the eastern coast of Long Island while boasting a cornucopia of beautiful, Dutch-inspired architecture, farmland and gorgeous beaches. Today, the Hamptons remains a popular weekend retreat for the rich and famous chock-filled with art, design and cultural hot spots. This is not your average sleepy beach destination, instead the Hamptons offers daily gallery openings, museum visits, concerts, educational and industry leader speaking events, theater productions, art cooperatives and many antique shows and festivals, shops and estate sales. The Hamptons has been associated with the lifestyles of the wealthiest families in the United States, and the area draws cutting edge artists and designers from around the world… And thus local inventory to has to cater to their needs. This combination has encouraged the production of beautiful art and design. Sometimes the best-kept secrets are where you least expect them… There are many hidden sources in the Hamptons. The antique trade has cropped up throughout all the major towns with some of the finest small boutiques, barn sales and estate auctions available.
2-Day Antiques Diva Hampton Antiques, Design, History and Lifestyle Group Tour
Thursday, July 20: 11-5 pm; Followed by Dinner in Private Home of Style Maker Tamara Matthews Stephenson
Friday, July 21: 11 am-6 pm; Followed by VIP Champagne Gala at East Hampton Antique Show with Hamptons Cottage and Gardens Magazine
East Hampton, Southampton, Sag Harbor, Montauk, Bridgehampton
Join me – Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, and Style Maker Tamara Matthews Stephenson on this exclusive opportunity to tour the Hamptons… with Diva Style. This is perfect 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. Coinciding with the Traditional Home Hampton Designer Showhouse and the East Hampton Mulford Farm Antique Show in July, your Antiques Diva locally based Tour Guide, interior designer Tamara Stephenson will take you behind the scenes to both these summer favorite events for private buying time at the antique show (on the oldest farms in the East Hampton, complete with an original 16th-century Dutch windmill), as well as sneak peeks of the country’s finest design talents as they create their spaces for the opening gala at the Showhouse. Over the two days you will visit Jackson Pollocks’ famous home where he created his drip paintings, renowned insider gardens and homes, local farmer’s markets, and some of the most important antique shops in the area, as well as other off the beaten path finds.
Interior designer Tamara Stephenson has lived in the Hamptons part-time with her family after building their beach cottage in East Hampton over twenty years ago, and she has designed many homes in the East End as well. Additionally, for five years she wrote the East End Nest column for local iconic magazine Dan’s Papers where she covered design in the Hamptons. Much of her content on her well-renowned blog, Nest by Tamara covers the design happenings in her summer column, Under The Pergola. Tamara will lead these tours armed with her plethora of eastern Long Island history and an array of great sources and connections in the industry, as well as with her talent as a working interior designer.
See you in the Hamptons!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Nest by Tamara is guest blogging today, sharing her favorite design sources with The Antiques Diva & Co. Out on the East End of Long Island in the area known as The Hamptons there are many shows, flea markets and specialty shops. Tamara sources vintage and antique pieces regularly for herself and her design clients and today shares one of her favorites stops with us.e’re delighted that Tamara Stephenson, interior designer and author of lifestyle blog
Guest Blog: My favorite antique shopping in summer allows me to gain more knowledge about items I collect.
By Tamara Matthews-Stephenson
Photographs by Gabby Stephenson
It is no secret that the annual East Hampton Antique Show is my favorite in the area, and set on the bucolic and historic Mulford Farm it is a special place to pick up quality pieces from reliable dealers. Drawing from some of the best shops around the east coast, this show offers something for everyone’s taste from mid-century to Victorian era furniture and accessories. I have gotten to know many of the dealers personally in this informal setting, which is located every mid-July on James Lane in the heart of the village of East Hampton on 3.5 acres of historic land, complete with a restored 17th century farm house and several barns and outbuildings, some of the oldest in Long Island. The farm is even home to a historic windmill built by Dutch settlers centuries ago here in eastern Long Island. The show is set up with large billowing white tents spread throughout the grassy, pretty farm giving visitors plenty of room to meander the property and inspect the goods.
Over the years I have found a cornucopia of lovely antique textiles, outdoor garden sculptures, furniture, mirrors and lamps. I have even added to my Majolica earthenware collection. One of my favorite antique dealers hails from the north shore of Boston’s seaside town of Essex. Andrew Spindler hand picks items both locally and internationally for his shop and the shows where he exhibits. His booth shows rare and unusual furnishings that he arranges together in a stylish manner.
Each summer while visiting this show I find pieces to add to my collections. This year I found vintage hand towels and monogrammed linens from a local vendor to give as a hostess gift. Last summer, I picked up a cute, Irish impish-looking painted cement garden gnome from a Vermont dealer, promising to bring good luck to my garden. I also found a pair of Faux Bois metal outdoor chairs for under my client’s pergola.
Over the past few seasons, I have added to my collection of Majolica earthenware from this show where a few dealers bring select and unusual pieces. Majolica is a very specific looking, unique pottery often adorned with flowers, crustacean, seashells, vegetables and fruit, all of which were applied as tiny sculptures layered on top. It was first made in Staffordshire, England around 1850, and taken from earlier tin-glazed procedures made by craftsmen in Italy during the 15th century. It became very popular during the opulent Victorian era when entertaining in the home was popular. Majolica is a lead and tin glaze process that creates an opaque white film that is painted on the surface of pottery. First the piece is fired then a tin enamel is applied that once dries forms a white opaque porous surface. The complicated process produces unique pieces that are often colorful and bold. I learned much about Majolica at the East Hampton show, and while talking directly with the knowledgeable dealers. The informal atmosphere at the show is a perfect environment to learn more about items you enjoy collecting.
Each year the opening of the show is marked by a celebratory cocktail evening/gala where champagne and delicious food is served and provided by local caterer Brent Newsom. Renowned interior designer Celerie Kemble hosted this year’s gala with live music performed by Jane Hastay and Peter Martin Weiss. Sponsors of the antique show include BNY Mellon Wealth Management, House Beautiful magazine, Channing Daughters Winery and Charlie Whitmore Gardens. The show is managed by Ferguson & D’Arruda of Providence, Rhode Island.
Thanks Tamara for sharing an insiders glimpse on antiquing in The Hamptons!
The Antiques Diva®