Dear Diva Readers,
One of our most popular requests is for architectural salvage. Whether clients are coming on tour or utilizing our Buying Services, we are constantly scouring Europe for all types of salvage and reclaimed materials. One trend that is very popular in the USA right now is the barn door—a type of sliding door you would typically find in a barn. But now people are using them in homes, restaurants, and hotels to divide spaces and add instant character and diva charm!
As with any design trend, the specifics of each project vary, but the overall concept remains the same. All you need are door track hardware and wheels, which you can find at many big box or hardware stores (or even online), and a door of course! Here at The Antiques Diva & Co we recommend using a vintage or antique door to make your project that much more special and unique. You can make this a DIY project or entrust it to your contractor, but be sure to select a door and hardware that enhance your particular space. This look works great in a traditional setting as well as a contemporary room. It all depends on the door you choose—the age, patina, finish, color, and style will all play a part in how the overall project turns out. For a more modern look, why not choose an industrial door? For a casual feeling, opt for warm wood tones with just the right about of wear.
We love taking clients to warehouses that are literally filled to the brim with doors. Perusing row upon row of every type of door imaginable is always a thrill. We’ve seen some beautiful old church doors as well as tall imposing doors that once hung on hinges of great country houses and chateaus of Europe. Many of our sources have excellent workrooms where their craftsmen can help get your door (or any other architectural pieces you find) ready to your specifications before shipping it. This means they can adjust the height, width, drill necessary holes for hardware, stain, paint, sand, and distress to your liking. We’ve even had pieces lacquered in Europe before having them shipped to clients across the pond.
Depending on the size of your space, you may want to consider using a pair of doors for your barn door project. It’s not uncommon to come upon a pair of matching doors that may have once been used as pocket doors or as double doors. Mounting them in the barn door style gives them a fresh life and what’s old can become new again. Another bonus is that older doors are often solid and made of the upmost quality. Think about it—if a door has been around for 100 years, it has proven that it can stand the test of time.
If you would like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour or if you’d like to learn more about our Buying Services, email us at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!
The Antiques Diva®
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;”>On a recent Antiques Diva Buying Tour in Belgium, a client spotted a beautiful wooden round tilt-top table and asked what it was originally used for. It happened to be an antique French wine tasting table and the client was so excited that I wanted to share a bit about them here on the blog since I think they are versatile pieces for the way we live today.
Originally used in 19th century France, these tables were kept in wine cellars where space was limited. Often round or oval, they have tops that can be tilted up, allowing the table to be placed against the wall. When wine tasters would arrive or the harvest would be in and wine needed to be sampled, the tabletops could be flipped down and pressed into use to hold bottles, glasses, and other wine tasting accoutrement.
As you can imagine, since wine making was a large part of local livelihood, sampling each new vintage was a much anticipated occasion. While we often think of wine tasting as a past time activity to enjoy with friends, it’s serious business for a wine maker! Wine producing families of the time would invite friends and favored patrons to their vineyards or cellars. These tables would be unfolded and all would gather around to evaluate the clarity, aroma, bouquet, weight, flavor, finish, and the potential success of a particular harvest.
Today you can find them in various sizes. These versatile pieces are perfect for use in small rooms as they conserve space when flipped up. Simply open the table to its horizontal position when you need it, and refold it vertically when you don’t. Whether you choose to leave them out all the time or use them only on occasion, wine tasting tables are ideal for breakfast nooks, game rooms, or even in the living room as side tables.
If you would like information on sourcing antique wine tasting tables or if you’d like to take an Antiques Diva Buying Tour in one of our 8 tour countries—France, Italy, Belgium, England, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden— email us at to:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com.
The Antiques Diva®
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;”>When most people think of antiquing in Europe, they envision strolling through the Paris Flea Market or shopping the French countryside. Some fantasize about unearthing treasures in Italy, ambling down antique filled lanes in England or finding the perfect painted piece in Sweden. We help clients antique in all of these scenarios, however there is one teeny tiny country in Europe that those not “in the know” tend to forget. Belgium is Europe’s best kept secret. I’ve said it for years… Belgium is a girl’s best friend! For a country barely the size of Maryland, it’s positively chock full of treasures that delight from chocolate to fashion and a diamonds… and antiques. Per capita there are more antique dealers in Belgium than practically any other country in Europe, making it an ideal country to take an Antiques Buying Tour!
When taking clients on buying tours in Belgium, we typically stay somewhere central – often basing ourselves in Antwerp – and from there proceed to cover the entire country in about 3 or 4 days. If you drive an hour in any direction from Antwerp you find yourself crisscrossing the country from north to south, dipping into both Holland and France and working your way towards the German border. Each day on tour we shop a variety of places – from small antique shops to large over-the-top warehouses. The next day we’ll take clients to specific dealers hand-picked for them, often meeting the dealers at their own homes, in private residences and shops that aren’t really shops, but storage units opened only on appointment. Our third day on tour in Belgium tends to be ALL about the flea markets. For those really motivated we wake early and pillage Waterloo… but my favorite Belgium Flea Market after all these years is still the Tongeren Flea Market, which literally takes over the entire town center each Sunday of the year snow, rain or shine. On a Belgium Buying Tour our clients have usually spent the first two days of their tour buying furniture and special art pieces so the flea market day is typically all about the smalls, which when shipped are essentially shipped for FREE as they are packed inside the drawers and cupboards they’ve already purchased – this maximizes client’s shipping costs!
Tongeren Flea Market has several sections. As I always I have a plan of attack, I always begin at the stalls which line the Leopoldwal – the street opposite the old Roman wall. Here we have a few favorite dealers who consistently have excellent inventory – one of my favorite is the gorgeous blond couple with antique ironstone at incredible prices. From porcelain to chandeliers and French manequins – some of my favorite vendors set up here. Next up you have a choice – you can wrap back around towards the town square – the Veemarkt. The market weaves it’s way around several streets – from the Maastrichterstraat, de Schiervelstraat, Clarissenstraat, and Eburonenhal. But after the Leopoldwal shopping along the Roman Wall my second and third favorite spots to shop are the two indoor sections – in the Sports Hall and inside the Parking Garage. Here you’ll find everything from linens to crystal to furniture. Clients find all sorts of things such as wooden cheese boards, antique coffee grinders, mirrors, iron stone pieces, sculpture, and much more. I think the better quality inventory tends to be found inside these 2 halls.
It’s always such fun to see favorite dealers that we’ve been buying from for years. A shopping tour at Tongeren involves running into old friends – from vendors to other dealers we know. The great thing for our clients is that we have good relationships with these dealers, which means they not only give our clients the best prices they can but they also give a fun shopping experience for our clients – inviting our clients into their stalls as long-term friends rather than another tourist passing through for a day. In town – and in the area nearby – we have a slew of dealers we adore who have permanent shops where we stop of a glass of champagne or a coffee and cookies!
For anyone who loves flea marketing, Tongeren should definitely be on your list! if you’d like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour in Belgium, email us at to:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com. We’d love to show you our version of this small-but-amazing country!
The Antiques Diva®
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;”>Here at The Antiques Diva & Co, there are many moving parts that all work together to create our successful European Antiques Buying Tour Service. My team of 18 Diva Guides, who operate locally in 8 different countries, are an indispensable part of the business. They bring to the table their antiques expertise, local connections, translating, and negotiating skills. Today we’re going to hear from our Belgian/Dutch Diva Guide, Lucretia Hunsucker.
Lucretia explains, “I love helping clients source a variety of pieces but my favorite times are when a client is searching for something specific—almost like a treasure hunt! Even when clients can’t come on tour, we can help them source pieces through our Antiques Sourcing Services. Recently one of our favorite New York Interior Designer clients asked if we could help him source a pair of De Coene consoles for a project. De Coene was a furniture company founded in the early twentieth century based in the Flemish town of Kortrijk, which went out of business in 1975.
As fate would have it, a few days before I received this client’s email, I had happened to visit an exhibition in Brussels, dedicated to Henry Van de Velde, the famous Belgian designer. The exhibition included a gigantic desk that this firm, De Coene, had made for the Belgian king Leopold III, based on Van de Velde’s designs of the 1930s. Indeed it was common knowledge that only the rich could afford De Coene furniture, making it a prestigious brand throughout Europe. Even French customers coveted these pieces because of the excellent quality and craftsmanship.
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Upon returning home and receiving the client’s email, I immediately tapped our Antiques Diva database and contacted a Brussels antique dealer who had just what we were looking for – a black De Coene console for sale! The only problem? Our Antiques Diva client was specifically looking to buy a pair of them! Where was I going to find a second one? The hunt was on…
Back to the drawing board… a few phones and numerous emails later we stumbled upon an exact duplicate of my first find, but this time it was in mahogany. This console was identified as a “De Coene Murat”. It was almost an exact match to the black console— the only difference was that this one had a mahogany finish. Although made in the 1950s, this De Coene Murat console was designed in that “Retour d’Egypte” style, made out of polished mahogany with mat guilt bronze classical detail. I knew there had to be a way to make this pair work—even if they weren’t exactly twins! Never say Die!
I contacted the vendor and told him that the Murat console I wanted had to be black. His solution was that he could HAVE THIS PIECE LACQUERED IN BLACK making it THE PERFECT COMPANION to the first console table we found. In my opinion, the console looked so much more modern and glamorous in black, with all the gold accessories shiny and polished. Problems solved!
De Coene Murat furniture fetches sky-high prices in the US. In 2007, the Murat console was featured on the cover of a catalog issued by a New Orleans auction house — where it later fetched the sum of $21,600. A New York antique dealer, Kemp, sells Murat consoles for $60,000! Now, even with the extra labor – the lacquering – and transportation costs, our New York client could acquire this beautiful pair of Murat consoles for a fraction of what it would have cost him in the USA.
For myself, it was an eye-opener too. Once this mahogany neo-empire furniture had undergone this transformation – being painted black and having the gold trimmings polished – it looked very modern and perfect for our client’s needs! Resembling art deco rather than empire, it fit very well in a contemporary interior, and the neutral black finish offered great possibilities for mixing well with the flamboyant colors that are so en vogue now. I also learned that the firm De Coene had been selling black- lacquered furniture from the beginning, taking away my reservations about changing the looks of such carefully executed heirloom pieces.
The lesson here is that no matter what you’re looking for, where there’s a will there’s a way. From the client, to our company Antiques Diva headquarters, to me as the local buying agent to two of the dealers we know, the exact pieces that we sought were found, modified, and purchased for a fraction of the cost they could have been purchased for in the US.”
If you’d like information about an Antiques Buying Tour or our Buying Services, please email us at to:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com. We’d love to help you source the perfect piece!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 40px; line-height: 30px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>For those of you who are coming to Paris this September for Maison Objet I’ve got a SPECIAL OFFER for you!
Ooh la la… Extend your stay in Paris during Maison Objet this September 2014 to antique in the Belgian countryside where the bargains abound. Join Toma Clark Haines, CEO of Europe’s largest antiques sourcing and touring company The Antiques Diva® & Co, on an exclusive, all-inclusive, jam-packed 2 Day Group Tour buying antiques in Belgium, departing Paris 7am September 10 and returning back to the City of Light the night of September 11, 2014.
Choreographed specifically for interior designers to build their little black book of sources, this intelligently composed antiques buying tour takes you off the beaten path to antique warehouses, by-appointment-only stores and to some of the best Belgian sources for buying abroad. Liaising with international shippers we’ll help get purchases home sweet home across the pond, taking the mystery out of sourcing abroad.
All Inclusive Group Belgium Antique Tour includes:
- 2 fully-packed days off the beaten path on an antiques buying tour in Belgium, visiting more than 10 secret antique sources – some of the largest antique warehouses and most exclusive by-appointment-only stores.
- Round trip ground transportation from Paris to and throughout Belgium
- 1-night hotel in Belgium
- 2 breakfasts
- 2 lunches
- 2 dinners
- Wine and other beverages and snacks on tour
Price 1100 EURO per person (approx. $1500 USD).
Deadline date August 1, 2014
To RSVP or for more information contact Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva & Co European Tours – to:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com. In addition to this special GROUP TOUR going on during Maison Objet as always each weekend of the year we offer our private, one-on-one custom tours of the tours/france-antiques-tours/paris-antiques-tours”>Paris Flea Market as well as further afield in 8 countries – France, Belgium, England, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden. Private tours in Provence & London pair perfectly with Parisian trips to Maison Objet.
See you soon!
The Antiques Diva ®