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®

DIFFA – DINING BY DESIGN Interview with Dwayne Clark

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 70px; line-height: 60px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>One of the amazing opportunities I had while in NYC recently as part of tour” target=”_blank”>#BlogTourNYC was the opportunity to attend the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA)  Cocktails by Design charity event at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show Every year DIFFA invites the top talent of the design world to create tables that exemplify their style and story.   I had the opportunity to meet the designer who created my favorite table at the fair – Dwayne Clark of RDYC Interior Design.

What was your inspiration for the undersea theme?

Our inspiration was derived from Ayala Serfaty’s SOMA Web Chandelier from AQUA CREATIONS SHOWROOM in NYC at 200 Lexington Ave in New York City.  The transparency from the polymer skin and the delicate structure from the glass tubes individually hand blown to create this masterpiece made it evident that our set would take place revolving the ocean floor. Many people described the set as though if Heaven were on the oceans floor this is where it would be.

What other detail can you give me about your table design?

We covered the 48” round table top with MAYA ROMANOFF’S Mother of Pearl Aphrodite in Oyster.  The majority of MAYA ROMANOFF’S products are used as a wall coverings. We wanted to give a unique characteristic to the table for this particular project and push the design esthetic that their products are flexible also for use on columns and circular applications. They just opened a showroom within the D&D Building in NYC.

Can you share an anecdote or two from the show/dinner? 

We were honored to have Jerry Mitchell (Broadway choreographer and the Chief Editor of NEW ENGLAND HOME Mag.) at our table for dinner at the Dining by Design Gala. Consistently throughout the evening Bob Gaynor, (Lead Designer with our firm) and I reminisced that we were amongst the finest colleagues within in our industry in one room! From David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group, to Ralph Lauren, to Joyce Romanoff we realized that this was the Oscars for Interior Design!

Dwayne Clark – RDYC Interior Design

What is something most people don’t know about you?

That I am a neat freak and I have lists at all times ongoing for almost every project…..even ones for my home life. I don’t think people know that I believe family is most important and that home is where the heart is; it’s the foundation of every family. I realized early on when people would call me a Southerner….I would grin and wished they embraced their family half as much as I did mine and my insides wished that they believed too and if so I felt the world would be a better place.

Thanks Dwayne for telling the story behind the story with your Under the Sea Tablescape! 

The Antiques Diva®

(seen above at DIFFA Cocktails by Design with #BlogTourNYC friends Stacey Shephard, Kelly Morriseau of Kelly’s Kitchen Sync, Katie Treggiden of Confessions of a Design Geek and Marilyn Russell of Design Magnifique

Thanks for following my journey with #BlogTourNYC! 

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Reuse, Reduce and Recycle with Rotsen Furniture

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 80px; line-height: 70px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>If the key component of Green Living involves Reusing, Reducing and Recycling then Rotsen Furniture has just repurposed their way into adding another “R” to the eco-trifecta, giving environmentally-friendly décor a new face for chic sustainable style.  Utilizing reclaimed materials  from decaying bridges, old barns, demolished structures or fallen wood from the forest, Rotsen Furniture breathes new life into found objects to make  one-of-a-kind, high quality, hand-crafted furnishings. 

To say they are inspired is an understatement – and they give just the perfect touch of eco-chic to today’s home.  All this to say, Green Never Looked Better!

Rotsen Furniture isn’t just creating great décor – they’re creating art.   As Michelangelo, once said “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”  The designers at Rotsen share the maestro’s mentality, letting the wood serve as their muse.  Wood has an inherent beauty that man-made materials just can’t replicate.  By listening to what these natural elements have to say, the designers at Rotsen create unique furniture by repurposing their found objects combining the wood with additional elements such as metal, glass, and plexiglass to create  a holistic pieces of art.  

A perfect example of Rotsen’s penchant for finding a piece’s inherent beauty is illustrated in The Canoa Coffee Table.  As Rotsen explains, “There are some parts of a naturally fallen tree that are just too special and unique to alter.”   Here they’ve taken a salvage part of a naturally fallen Vinhatico tree and enhanced it’s unique natural texture and added a contemporary glass top for a one of a kind coffee table!

Rotsen’s Estrela Coffee table again illustrates their funky flair!

Of course, Rotsen’s eco-friendly tables aren’t limited to coffee tables – they do full blown dining tables, benches, seats – even lighting fixtures.  They take the ordinary – and find within it – the extraordinary! 

Happy Green Week!

The Antiques Diva®

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We’ve continued our Green Week celebration April 16 -22, 2012 at The Antiques Diva® & Co with another sponsor from tour” target=”_blank”>#BlogTourNYC!

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Go Green with Du Verre

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>At The Antiques Diva & Co we will be celebrating Earth Day April 22, 2012 along with billions of other people around the globe, standing united for a sustainable future!  While we all know “Antiques Are Green” – making them an excellent décor choice for reducing through reuse – you might not realize that there are also a slew of eco-friendly products available for decorating. 

In addition to buying antiques as a means of eco friendly decorating, you can “Go Green” with everything in your house from the paint you choose to put on the walls to the pulls that attach to your kitchen drawers.  After all, as the German-born architect Mies van der Rohe is rumored to have said, “God is in the details” –  whatever one does should be done thoroughly.  Taking even small steps – by choosing eco-friendly products such as your kitchen hardware to decorate your home – goes a long ways towards creating a more sustainable lifestyle and helps to reduce your carbon footprint. 

Du Verre Hardware, a leader in quality and original design for cabinet hardware, has developed a “Green Initiative and is rapidly gaining a reputation in the design industry for their commitment to the green movement.  They’ve moved away from the sand casting process to die casting, to reflect global concerns about sustainability and the responsible use of resources and materials and today all of their hardware is manufactured entirely from recycled aluminum.  Shifting technologies has benefits for both their clients and the environment. Using post-consumer recycled aluminum reduces the generation of air and water pollution by 95% and requires only 5% of the energy that would otherwise be used in production of new metals. In addition, manufacturing this way generates a small fraction of the greenhouse gasses normally expelled in this process.

I often find myself frustrated in my attempts to find sustainable and eco-friendly products while decorating.  But as the green culture grows and becomes more desirable, more retailers and manufacturers will take a clue from industry leaders such as Du Verre and begin providing options for style-conscious homeowners and decorators who don’t want to sacrifice the planet for a great look.

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Go Green!

The Antiques Diva®

(Seen below enjoying the great outdoors over the Easter Holiday in Austria)

Design Find Photo Contest – Vote for Me!!!

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>Last week while on BlogTourNYC at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show I entered Modenus’ photo competition – taking pictures with my favorite products at my favorite exhibitor’s booths.  We were told to “be creative” with the picture, featuring our favorite products at the fair  – and so I’m hamming it up – diva style! 

As of today – April 8 – voting starts to determine the winner of the competition – and you, my readers, are charged with the task of voting for me to win the competition! While winning the trip to London would be nice, honestly what I really want is to win an iPad – which would benefit you, dear readers, as it would allow me to blog live from the road while I’m on Diva Tours, giving you more access to antiques on the road in Europe!

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Following you’ll find my entries into the Modenus Photo Competition – all you have to do is follow the link for your favorite photos and click LIKE to help me become eligible to win!!

Repurposing is the name of the game at The Antiques Diva & Co and this gorgeous Ross Edwards Design “large bowl” at the Modenus booth at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show makes a perfect hat!

Vote for the Winning Photo

Kokoon! My favorite find at the Royal Botania booth at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show was this gorgeous outdoor bedroom – called Kokoon, created in teak wood and indoor / outdoor fabric I find this modern day hammock diva-worthy!

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Vote for the Winning Photo!

The Antiques Diva & Co is in bed with Hastens – 2000T2 Flagship Model King Size Split Bed – customized as the densest bed in the world!  Believe it or not, this bed is stuffed with horse hair and that’s what gives this bed such amazing comfort!!!

Vote for the Winning Photo

Lights, Camera, ActionEthan Allen’s Maxi Me 9 Light Chandelier is ready for Action! It was the star of the Architecture Digest Home Design Show last week in NYC!!!  And at $1,999 it is a great buy, adding drama and intrigue to your home!

Vote for the Winning Photo!

Even diva’s do house cleaning with Miele!  This Miele Red Velvet Vacuum Cleaner has The Antiques Diva & Co stamp of approval… not to mention the Good Housekeeping seal! For those of you with HayFever, it’s the ideal purchase as it’s perfect for trapping allergins and the Red Velvet casing is princess perfect for decorating your cleaning closet!

Vote for the Winning Photo

Splish, splash I was taking a bath…. round about last week in NYC at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show! I LOVE this Victoria & Albert Fos Tub constructed with volcano  lava stone and available in 22 different shapes and sizes. 

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Vote for the Winning Photo

Frame yourself with this Georgian Custom Cabinetry hand-painted with Farrow & Ball available at Crown Point Cabinetry!  A great find at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show on #BlogTourNYC! 

VOTE for the Winning Photo!

That’s one “Big Ass Fan” – and nope, I’m not talking dirty, that’s actually the name of the brand! This brand wants to be the “first thought in Home Design for Energy Efficient cooling systems that fit in any home decor”.

Vote for the winning photo!

I was BLOWN AWAY by the Modern Aire ultimate designed ventilating system at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show while on #BlogTourNYC!

Vote for the Winning Photo!

Hide & Seek with Jenn Air.  I’m loving this Jenn Air Wine Cellar – Product # JUW248RWRS found at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show I attended as part of #BlogTourNYC!   

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Vote for the winning photo 

Let the Voting Commence!!
The Antiques Diva®

Farm Living with BLANCO is the Life for Me…

Dear Diva Readers,

Green acres is the place for me
Farm livin’ is the life for me.
Land spreadin’ out so far and wide.
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.
New York is where I’d rather stay.
I get allergic smelling hay.
I just adore a penthouse view.
Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue.
…The chores.
…The stores.
…Fresh air.
…Times Square
You are my wife.
Good bye, city life.
Green Acres we are there.”

If only that zany duo from the hit 1960’s American TV Show Green Acres had known about BLANCO’s new farmhouse sink, they might have avoided years of misadventures in television as they coped with leaving a life of luxury in the  city and retreating to the country and the farm life! With BLANCO, City Meets Country with the BLANCO CERANA™ Apron Front Fireclay Sink. 

You can keep that penthouse view and still enjoy the rustic charm of a country style home achieving a look that The Antiques Diva® & Co loves – mixing the past and present for today’s living! 

Traditionally the farmhouse sink was all about the chores – and thus, it had to be built to withstand heavy use in cooking, cleaning, and farm chores.  BLANCO’s new farmhouse sink adds that same utilitarian functionality – they’ve reinvented fireclay for the modern kitchen.  Crafted with artisan hand-finishing techniques and high firing temperatures, CERANA™ delivers an extremely lustrous and durable surface that won’t stain, chip or fade.  And their German engineering is the foundation for their “perfect-drain” bowl, which allows for easy draining from the sink base and no puddling of water.  Whereas most sinks stop at the edge of the countertop, the farmhouse kitchen sink has an apron bib that extends down the front, adding to the durability of the sink combining aesthetic and utilitarian value!  

And should you want a pinch of Park Avenue home on the range, then this sink can do contemporary…   With two different corner styles, CERANA can be installed with the rounded edge out to bring a touch of traditional or with the contoured front for a contemporary look!  With one large basin The CERENA Apron Front Fireclay Sink features the traditional farmhouse large basin to accommodate the large, heavy pots and pans used in cooking and chores, making it both practical as well as pretty!  With the flexibility BLANCO offers, the only thing left for you to decide is where you want to install that sink? In the country? Or the city?

The Antiques Diva®


This Blog Has Been Brought to You as Part of tour” target=”_blank”>#BlogTourNYC

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Blog Tour NYC Brunch with BLANCO and Poggenpohl

Caption:  Brunch with Poggenpohl & Blanco

Dear Diva Readers,

During my recent trip to NYC as part of tour” target=”_blank”>BlogTourNYC I had the opportunity to enjoy a brunch hosted jointly by Poggenpohl and BLANCO at the A&D Building in honor of the new chef-inspired Eric Ripert Kitchen.  

Eric Ripert is chef of the celebrated three-star Michelin rated New York restaurant Le Bernardin and he cooks with both Poggenpohl and BLANCO at home and on his Emmy award-winning TV show, Avec Eric.

Not only did we get to snack on divine brunch foods and hear a slew of details about kitchen trends but we were also introduced to never-before seen products including the BLANCO CERANA Fireclay Apron Front Sink and Poggenpohl’s +ARTESIO Kitchen.  Joining over 30 design editors in an interactive and educational event, we saw Eric’s concept for cooking and entertaining at home brought to life in a beautiful contemporary and eco-friendly design.

Caption:  Kelly’s Kitchen Sync

Having the opportunity to taste Eric’s treats while touring New York’s ultimate design center resource for luxury kitchens alongside fellow #BlogTourNYC participant Kelly Morisseau of Kelly’s Kitchen Sync was a dream come true as her expert eye honed in on kitchen features I might have missed on my own.   

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Kelly’s blog, Kelly’s Kitchen Sync, is a top-ten kitchen design blog on the internet and with good reason – her award-winning experience includes more than 25 years as a professional kitchen designer, both on her own and for leading design/build firms. She is a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD) and a Certified Interior Designer (CID) in California and also author of a new book on kitchen design.

What caught Kelly’s eye as we were touring this Poggenpohl/BLANCO event at the A&D Building was the Miele cooktop inset into the Poggenpohl counter and set back to allow for a plating station at the front.

Photo Credit: Kelly’s Kitchen Sync

Kelly also remarked upon the 66” high tall pantries on the far wall behind the kitchen island. 

As Kelly tournyc-the-kitchen-version-pt-1.html” target=”_blank”>wrote in her blog, this feature “makes a room feel more open, allows for design and decor applications, and keeps storage ergonomically within reach. This design has been part of European and world kitchen design for at least 30 years. Still going strong in high-end design.”

Photo: Kelly’s Kitchen Sync

Kelly oohed and aahhed over Poggenpohl’s plate rack calling it a “little piece of artwork – beautiful wood, beautifully finished, slick steel. “

With her kitchen designer’s eye, she also noted a detail I would have missed altogether – the electrical outlets in the band above the lighting.

Photo Credit: Kelly’s Kitchen Sync

Touring the Poggenpohl & BLANCO Kitchen at NYC’s A&D Building alongside Kelly Morisseau reminded me of a statistc I’d read that 80% of consumers want to redo their kitchens. Most of them will want to pull their hair out at some point in the process… but with using tips from Kelly’s book and products from Poggenpohl & BLANCO, it’ll go a long way to avoiding remodeling stress!

When you use the best – it shows!

Bon Appétit!
The Antiques Diva®
(seen below with BlogTourNYC friends) 


A Few Behind-the-Scenes #BlogTourNYC Pics from the Poggenpohl & BLANCO brunch courtesy of Marilyn Russell of tournyc/” target=”_blank”>Design Magnifique


Live From New York!

Dear Diva Readers,

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How lucky for me that I was given a corner room on the penthouse with sweeping views over the Hudson and Manhattan!!  I definitely felt like I had arrived in STYLE!!!  And speaking of style, Veronika Miller and Tim Bogan of Modenus have it in spades.  They were waiting in the lobby with cocktail in hand.   The enchanting Pippa Jameson immediately got the party started by attempting to drink wine straight from the carafe….

Of course, Will of Bright Bazaar wasn’t far behind…

With the wine flowing, Modenus had organized a gorgeous little orientation fete where we ate a slew of nibbles (my favorite being the fish tacos) and got our goody bags while discussing our plans for the week!  Score!!

At this very moment whilst writing this blog post, I’m actually wrapped in luxury wearing the towelcompany.com/ ” target=”_blank”>Turkish Towel BathRobe that came with the kit! 

Presents unwrapped and stashed in our room following our orientation cocktail, we dashed out onto the street, hobbling in our heels for dinner at Barbes, an amazing little Moroccan restaurant named after the Paris neighborhood at the foot of the Sacre-Coeur.  We found ourselves giggling and chatting and fast becoming friends…

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Caption:  Emily Peck, Hannah Coleman and Stacey Sheppard ham it up! 

We even got to see a few sites in transit to dinner… Andrew Dunning, of ADP Interiors pointed out the Empire State building as we dashed by.

A highlight of the night was getting to meet 2 of my favorite bloggers who were #BlogTourLondon participants last year – Tamara of Nest, Nest, Nest and Stacey of Quintessence.  Equally delightful were the sponsors on site for the night.  I had the pleasure of dining with representatives from Modern Aire and the Architectural Digest Home Design Show.

Modern Aire  

We were given a bit of the inside scoop on setting up the show and then the next thing I knew more gifts were being bestowed upon us! THANK YOU Samuel Heath for the lovely robe hook & pull cord by designer Kevin McCloud.

And thanks to Kelly of Kelly’s Kitchen Synk for the use of her photo! Her’s came out so much better than mine I decided to borrow it!

All in all, I’d say our arrival evening into #BlogTourNYC went wonderfully – I was knackered when I got back to the hotel after flying into NYC from Berlin. 

Today we’re off for our 1st full day of adventure!!  On tap, includes a visit to the A & D Building for a town.poggenpohl.com/seite/home.html” target=”_blank”>Poggenpohl & Blanco before popping down the road to the D & D building for afternoon tea with Madame De Le Curona, a luxury textile firm.  Then – Modenus knows how do it diva style –  they’ve coordinated a fab dinner in the Miele showroom after we tour the luxury apartments at One 57.

You might be wondering why we’re touring a luxury, 90 story skyscraper overlooking Central Park…. Well, aside from the photo opps, the key thing is the entire building opted to install Miele’s appliances… this building is the essence of fine living and so this decision speaks volumes!

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I should dash as the day is about to dawn…but stay tuned for more news from the road with #BlogTourNYC!

The Antiques Diva®

Spirit of Sports with Marvin Russell of Linebacker in the Boardroom

Dear Diva Readers,

tour” target=”_blank”>BlogTourNYC sponsor tofsports.com” target=”_blank”>Spirit of Sports  blends the same elegance and sophistication in their collection of sports-related fine art, sculpture, gifts, and home accessories as this Chanel football does, helping fans to create chic interiors that reflect their passion for style + sports.   In the days of yore, living with sport art conjured the classic man cave – a room, in my book, to be avoided at all costs!  Picture paneled walls with posters of the big game and souvenir plastic cups stacked on top of a 1970’s beer fridge.  But NO MORE – gone are days of a large frayed and stained couch parked inches from the latest 60″ flatscreen with a trio of remotes on the nearby 3-legged coffee table – and in its place is sports décor fit for a diva (or divo)! 

Chic Rooms by Spirit of Sports

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Spirit of Sports is surfing the television waves and is popping up everywhere with recent guest appearances on the today.msnbc.msn.com/today/46428111#46428111″ target=”_blank”>Today Show and on the  Nate Berkus show – both of which illustrate that combining sports and art is a positively perfect way for people to have a genuine emotional connection with the rooms in which they live.  tofsports.com” target=”_blank”>Spirt of Sports owner John Pagnucco believes sports activities speak to the heart of what people value – hard work, passion, commitment to a goal, competition, and the ecstatic feeling of pride and accomplishment people get when it all comes together and they – or their team – winMarvin Russell,  author of Linebacker in the Boardroom, agrees. 

Marvin’s book Linebacker in the Boardroom takes his experiences playing Notre Dame football combined with 30 years experience as a senior executive in major international corporations, volunteer community organizations, and as owner and managing partner of a leadership consulting practice to help the reader find their own leadership path through his life lessons and learning tools.  In his own homes he has combined his love for travel and antiques with his passion for sports and the outdoors and the combined result exemplifies the “Spirit of Sports” mentality

Marv Russell hiking in the Alps

From my many visits to Marvin’s miscellaneous homes I’ve witnessed first-hand that living with mantiques and sports memorabilia can be elegant, sophisticated and easily incorporated into any décor.  My friend MR grew up playing sports, played football at the University of Notre Dame and has spent a lifetime collecting pieces from his sports history… memorabilia – new and old – that inspires his sense of sportsmanship and competition.

Over the years I’ve visited MR in the many different cities around the world his career has taken him, and seen how his sports pieces evolve as his surroundings change.

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View from Paris Plaza Athenee

In his Paris apartment MR’s desk lamp was fashioned from his old college helmet sitting on a carved walnut base and crowned with a silk shade. In his front entry was a chic French brass umbrella stand always filled with canes he collected from travels around the world, and used to support his football-damaged knees after many surgeries. Casually thrown in the umbrella stand were a couple antique golf clubs he picked up while in Scotland.  His office bookshelves were filled with text books, management and business books and journals, the latest novels, and bookends comprised of vintage cameras, old bowling pins, footballs, his father’s old fishing reels and chess sets. On his desk a Waterford crystal golf club head held down a stack of papers and a glass frog held a collection of vintage fountain pens.

His cottage in the Poconos was decorated with toile de jouily, vintage French sports posters, and antique ice skates and wooden skis from his wife Catherine’s family in Germany.   The house in Copenhagen on the Baltic Sea showcased an original watercolor of the multi-colored fishing boats in Malta.

MR’s penthouse apartment in NYC offered a 360 degree view of Manhattan and every room a pair of binoculars or a telescope to enjoy the views of the rivers and the skyline. Out on the terrace a roll-away putting green for days too short to escape the city and hit the links.

View from Marvin’s Penthouse in NYC

The house in St Louis – with room to spare compared to city life – had a collection of golf balls from courses he’s played around the world, and a backyard big enough to play boules, a game he’d learned in the parks of Paris.

The Chicago pied-a-terre focal point was a large fireplace surrounded by bookshelves filled with graceful female dancers – Lladro and Dali; bronze, aluminum and porcelain – reflecting MRs admiration for the gracefulness and strength of ballet.

Marvin’s book is not a sports book, nor just a book about leadership, nor only about his time playing Notre Dame football.  Linebacker in the Boardroom discusses the demand for excellence and accountability in all things we do… a concept the company Spirit of Sports embraces.   

Just like Marvin Russell, Spirit of Sports founder to-the-world” target=”_blank”>John Pagnucco is a man of impressive energy and vision.  In talking about his tofsports.com” target=”_blank”>online shop, he explains, “There are very few recognizable personalities on the site, and no team colors. We wanted to do something different.”   Just like Marvin Russell’s home décor, Spirit of Sports provides people an opportunity to look inward in themselves into the sports that are important to them, and their family, giving them a reason to think about sports that they did, or do play or enjoy and develop their designs around meaningful art that matters.

The Antiques Diva®

Paris Hotel Recommendations

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;”>Today while I’m away for a whirlwind month of VIP Antiques Diva Tours in France, England, Belgium and then off to NYC for tour”>#BlogTourNYC, one of my Diva Guides is behind the blog helm giving you hints and tips on places to stay in Paris!

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Diva Guide Kim is perhaps the chicest person in Paris… this girl flea markets in stillettos! 

In a past life she’s been an interior designer, a jewelry designer, an antiques dealer – and she was also the first Diva Guide I hired to lead tours in Paris.  In addition to knowing the Paris Flea Markets and French Interior Design scene like the back of her hand, she also has the best little black book of addresses in Paris! 

When I asked her recently where she’d recommend a client stay in Paris, she came back with a gorgeous list of well-priced Parisian hotel accomodations.

Hotel Bel Ami  has its heart beat to the rhythm of Saint Germain des Pres in Paris. Rooms and Suites are casual chic,  the Spa is by Esthederm, plus there is a B.A bar with Live music and art exhibitions.  It’s a contemporary address with a friendly and serene atmosphere.

Hotel Cadran is set in the heart of Paris’ prestigious 7th district, just a few minutes away from the Eiffel Tower and Champ de Mars

Le Placide is the ultimate boutique hotel on the Left Bank. A former 19th Century private home with just 11 rooms, Hotel Le Placide has the feel of an exclusive private club. In a superb location in the 6th arrondisement, it’s just steps from the chic Bon Marche Department Store. Completely recreated and redesigned by Bruno Borrione, of the Philippe Starck design firm, the hotel offers 21st Century style, comfort and luxury.

Le Relais Saint Sulpice  As soon as you cross the threshold of the Relais Saint Sulpice, you discover a friendly, original and very personalized ambience. Spread over three floors, this lovely 18th century listed building with a small courtyard garden sits comfortably in a quiet side street between the Palais du Luxembourg and the beautiful church of Saint-Germain de Pres where, incidentally, you can find a painting by Delacroix inside. Excellent location on the left bank in the heart of the Saint Germain quarter.

Hotel Vernet  Located in the heart of Paris, a stone’s throw away from the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysées, The Vernet Hotel, a luxurious boutique-Hotel, member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) offers you an exceptional Parisian stay.   

Sweet Dreams in Paris! Bonne Nuit!

The Antiques Diva®