Your “Style in One Picture” Challenge

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>One of my favorite blogs, From The Right Bank To The Left Coast, posted a Summer Challenge, asking readers to define their style in one photo. This is not an easy task to accomplish as my taste tends towards the eclectic. Frequent moves throughout my marriage (6 in 13 years) have given me time to exercise many options, but whatever color or style-de-jour I’m embracing, the one thing that’s become a constant in my home decor is how I intermingle antiques with modern art.

Alek, the brain behind the aforementioned blog, encourages readers to boil the photo & their style down into 3 simple words – for me, it’s Antiques, Modern, Glamour.

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The Antiques Diva’s Style is all about Art & Antiques juxtaposed against Modern Glamour.

  • I love intense dramatic colors that pop, calling your name and demanding attention. Black is bold yet clean, modern and edgy and if I had a place in my home for it now I’d do it in a heartbeat. As it stands, our apartment is so light and airy I hate to ruin the ambiance so in deference to our historically-listed home I’m bowing towards a traditional white and hoping for a chance to someday exercise my artistic bent elsewhere with black in the future.
  • I love outrageously over-the-top, heavily-gilted, marble-topped antiques, heavy with scrolls and embellishments contrasted against the straight lines of modern art.
  • While Modern Art speaks the language of my heart, giving expression to feelings words cannot articulate, Antiques speak the language of my soul.
  • The Object d’Art makes this ensemble – the bronze statue, Gothic miniature chest and piece of coral – evoke memories of Grand Tour souvenirs. In my own home, my art de la table is composed of an eclectic mish-mash of shells picked up on Girls Trips to Florida, Art Deco statues scavenged from flea markets and art salons throughout Europe and I’ve even a wooden box of similar size, if not similar origin. Mine is a wooden box made by my father-in-law when he was a young boy, handed down to my husband, sitting proudly on my own Louis XV commode*. My home is a mix of the precious and the priceless, the latter being made in MasterCard fashion entirely of memories!
  • My chosen photo above was taken in Holland at Art & Antiques Fair ‘s-Hertogenbosch April 2008 in the booth of the fair coordinator, Jan Roelof, a master who mixes this modern+antiques recipe.
  • AF’sH is next scheduled for April 18 – 25, 2010. See The Diva Website for more information on upcoming tours!

That’s it for now, but in the meantime, why don’t you take From The Right Bank to The Left Coast’s Challenge – What’s Your Style in One Photo?

The Antiques Diva™

* Remember: commode means chest of drawers – not toilet – in Europe!

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Feel at Home in The Hague

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Just a few short weekends ago, Holland celebrated its annual “Feel at Home in The Hague” Expat Fair teaching newcomers “How to Live in Holland”. The Antiques Diva™ took part in the fair offering new expats hints and tips on antique shopping in Holland. Those of you who weren’t able to attend missed a roaring good time, but we don’t want you to feel too left out so for readers and arm-chair travelers at home, we’re posting the article in full!
The Antiques Diva™

Antiques Shopping in The Hague

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>By mere happenstance, you’re in Holland at the best time to buy antiques in the last quarter century. Right now, Holland is offering some of the best bargains in Western Europe. Antiques have fallen out of favor with the fashion-forward low-landers and every Jan, Henk and Peter is cleaning their “zolder”, banishing anything Rococo, Baroque or beyond. As the Dutch lose interest in antiques, prices drop and savvy shoppers benefit from increased selection and lower prices. As an antique shopping maven, my mantra is the time is ripe to cash in on the age-old adage, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Of course, “trash or treasure” are subjective words. An 18th C heavily-carved Dutch walnut armoire might have sold ten years ago for 12,000 Euros. Today you can pick one up at auction for 2,000E. But you needn’t spend thousands to cash in on this recession. I’ve bought 200 year old copper pots and Art Deco lighting fixtures at Diemen’s De Eland for less than the price of dinner at IKEA. As a non-Dutch speaker, going to auction seems to be a daunting affair. But don’t let the words get in the way. De Zwaan located on Amsterdam’s Keizersgracht #474 is part vaudeville show, part cultural immersion course. Go to viewings and peruse the catalogs in advance. If serious about buying, ask that your lot be sold in English. Should your budget be a bit bigger, Sotheby’s and Christies always offer English as an option.

A perfect place to start your tour is Amsterdam’s Spiegelkwartier, where over 100 of the best mid-to-high-end antique shops have congregated in the shadow of the Rijksmuseum. Two of my favorites are located on the Prinsengracht – Ria Jong’s at 574 and Arphi Antiques & Atelier at 827. Next on your list should be De Looier Antique Mall at Elandsgracht 109, which has a decidedly more casual feel and significantly lower prices.

I do not like the flea markets in Amsterdam. Though considered institutions, the Albert Cuypmarkt and Waterlooplein tend to be too heavy on the fleas. The Monday morning Noordermarkt is full of used clothes and bric-a-brac, however I’ve found a few stalls selling genuine antiques. I picked up an art deco bronze for a third of its value. Sundays May to October head to Nieuwmarkt for casual browsing.

While Amsterdam is charming with its chunky gables and glittering canals, The Hague feels regal with her international flavor and, in this diva’s opinion, is the best place to shop in Holland! From May until October, on Thursdays and Sundays, an antique and book market sets up on the Lange Voorhout selling the sort of brocante items you would expect to find on a stroll through Provence. On my last visit, I found some antique French stemware, a painting straight off the fields of Flevoland and a great Prussian lithograph. Around the corner from this tree-lined square is the main antique shopping artery of The Hague – Denneweg and Frederikstraat. Similar to the Spiegelkwartier, but smaller, this area has a greater range in high- to low-end items. From here a trip to the Noordeinde is necessary for art and antique gallery hopping. Two of my favorite shops are Frank Vrolijk Antieke Bouwmaterialen at Heilingweg 177 and S Van Leeuwen, Noordeinde 164.

The Hague VVV offers a brochure of the Art & Antiques District. Every August, Kunst en Antiek Dagen offers a program full of art & antique related activities. Horse-drawn carriage rides are free of charge, showing the best routes as they traverse the quarter while a special “en plein air” exhibit takes place around the Lange Voorhout.

If there’s one thing The Netherlands does well, it’s antique fairs. The pièces de résistance is TEFAF, the world’s leading art and antique show, held each March in Maastricht. Maastricht compliments the fair with a great number of antique shops clustered in the Wijck district. But s’Hertogenbosch hosts AFSH, with prices more targeted at Mercedes drivers rather than museum curators or those with private jets. Thus, I find this high-end fair more accessible for extravagant splurges. As in Maastricht, Den Bosch has her own antiques quarter and the VVV offers a map listing the antique shops. My favorite fair coordinator is InterEvent’s, which hosts among others two fairs in Naarden – La Table held 13-16 November, 2008 and Kunst & Antiek Weekend on the 22-25 January, 2009. While adding dates to your agenda, you mustn’t forget to add the popular PAN Amsterdam November 23-30, 2008.
If you’re interested in antiques, you might be interested in booking a private tour with The Antiques Diva™ Exclusive Antique Shopping Tours of Holland, Belgium and France! Visit The Diva’s blog for weekly “where to shop” updates.

Antiques Diva Blog and Antiques Diva Tours

The Alfajiri Gallery and De Nationale Art Deco and Design Beurs

top:5px;float:left;color:white;background:#382900;border:1px solid darkkhaki;font-size:100px;line-height:70px;padding-top:1px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>When my new friend, Joanne, sent me an email telling me about De Nationale Art Deco & Design Beurs happening Jan 31 – Feb 3, 2008 in The Hague, I found myself distracted by something else I read in her email. For in that same email about the fair, Joanne had included a link for me to see her own online art gallery – The Alfajiri Gallery. I was gobsmacked to discover that my new English friend was an artist – and that she, along with friends Jane and Briony, had set up shop on the internet selling their sculptures, paintings, weavings and more.

While Joanne had sent me an email so that I could tell The Antiques Diva™ readers about the fair in The Hague, I felt that Joanne’s online art gallery was just as diva- worthy, so I decided to lead off today’s blog by sending you her way. Joanne’s resin bronze of running hares is so wonderfully William Morris-inspired that I’ve half a mind to add it to my collection. Briony’s oil painting of an artichoke is crying out to be hung in my kitchen/open dining area while Jane’s rustic weavings might just be the perfect raw and tactile contrast to juxtapose against the French finery I tend to favor.

Meanwhile, Joanne was indeed a gem for recommending this upcoming fair! De Nationale Art Deco and Design Beurs fair is a “who’s who” in the world of Dutch Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Amsterdam School. The top galleries in Holland gather to present and sell their collections crafted during the last century as they display applied arts from 1880 – 1980. To round out the selection, galleries and designers from Belgium and Germany have also tossed their own tory_1920_1930.htm#Cloche%20Hat%20Timeline” target=”_blank”>cloche hats into the ring, offering Jungendstil and Bauhaus designs. Add to the offerings the fact that this fair is held in the Grote Kerk on the Torenstraat in the middle of my favorite city in The Netherlands – The Hague – and you can just about guarantee where you’ll find me and WG this weekend! The fact that the Grote Kerk happens to be conveniently nearby my favorite Dutch department store (Maison de Bonneterie) hasn’t slipped my mind either – and I suspect they still have some of the January sales ongoing.

Unfortunately, as the Grote Kerk in The Hague isn’t very big and the fair is exceedingly popular, the church is bound to be crowded on Saturday and Sunday, Feb 2nd & 3rd. If you have the time, I recommend you squeeze in a visit on Thursday, Jan 31st or Friday, Feb 1st to avoid rubbing shoulders with the masses of humanity. Joanne also advises that you wear what her grandmother calls “sensible shoes” as the floor in the church is old, and thus uneven, with random steps and dips. And while you’re planning your wardrobe, remember to wear clothes that layer as Joanne recalls she nearly froze to death during her first visit to the fair years ago and then last year found the heat was turned so high that she was sweating bullets!

For the record, the heat didn’t seem to get in the way of Joanne’s shopping! A true diva through and through, Joanne was determined to shop in spite of the heat! Thankfully she did, and as a result she’s got a great tip for you! She advised The Antiques Diva ™ readers to keep an eye out for her favorite stall – Galerie Fleur de Lis – where they sell beautiful glass art and vases. For this week’s fair, she is already making a list and checking it twice – she’s going to find out which glass is naughty and nice! Needless to say, I’m angling for an invitation to visit Joanne for a proper cup of tea in the coming weeks so that I can see her latest purchases and get a better look at her own art work!

Until next time, Gros Bisous from one Art Deco Lover to Another!

The Antiques Diva ™

PS. Sadly, Galerie Fleur de Lis doesn’t have a website – but if you miss the fair you can still check them out in person at their shop in Delft.

Galerie Fleur de Lis
Roland Holstlaan 1068
2624 JR Delft
+31 (0) 15 262 87 60”>