Dear Diva Readers,
y greatest indulgence is when I’ve got an evening at home alone and I can pour up a glass of chilled white wine, run the hottest, steamiest bath, and grab a decorating magazine to flip through the pages of my favorite publications – Veranda, House Beautiful, Elle Decor… I gain inspiration and new ideas and always feel compelled to rearrange the house (or at the very least redo the table top decor) once getting out of the tub! The key to achieving the same look you see on the pages of top shelter magazines is in gravitating towards the eclectic – and with antiques you’re immediately given that sense of personality – with a capital P. When you walk into most big box furniture stores, things are often sold in matching sets. However, when you look at rooms in the pages of design magazines, there are never matching sets!
Antiques & vintage pieces are great additions to every room because they are unique. As you shop, look for items from different time periods and
styles. However, don’t go too crazy. A few key statement pieces will be enough to keep your room feeling fresh and personal. It’s all about choosing material things that reflect your inner self—items that show off your tastes and personality! If you’re shopping the flea markets or antique stores and something calls out to you, buy it! If you buy what you love your house will reflect your personality.
On a similar note, try to keep one common thread that appears throughout your decor. This is an important step in mastering the eclectic mix. Perhaps the common element in your house is a color. Tie in rugs, upholstery, lamp shades, and window treatments to keep things feeling cohesive. These really are the things that keep a room feeling cohesive.
Another way to weave a common thread though your home is to have the majority of your pieces come from one particular style such as English or
French and then add in a few modern pieces to act as counterparts to them.
It’s all about trial and error. Don’t be afraid to experiment with decor. Remember there is no one stop shop to furnish your home. It takes time and patience to create a space that nourishes you and your family. As with anything in life, it’s so important to enjoy the journey. Decorating should be one of the fun aspects of life, so get out there and find the pieces that can make your home as eclectic and special as you are!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
person’s home is their palace… for me, as an American who has lived overseas nearly 15 years, I often say “my home is my country.” When people come into my home they always remark how unique it is… and the secret to my home decor lies in my antiques. Antiques make a home special and unique because they bring their own stories and pasts into the present, becoming a perfect way to showcase a truly individual point of view.
Every home is made up of pretty much the same elements— a living room with a sofa and a couple of chairs, a coffee table, end tables, a rug, lighting, and accessories. However, it is those “wow” pieces that really make a home stand out. So what should you look for when you shop for wow pieces?
Try to find things that are unique. Rather than looking for the same piece that your sister has, find something that no one you know has in their home. Even if it’s a similar style—e.g., you like the desk your friend has… you can still buy a similar antique desk but with a few minor differences. This will help your home to stand out and make a statement all its own!
Also, no matter what the size of your home is, play with scale. Finding one huge piece of furniture, whether it be an extra long sofa or a bookcase that almost touches the ceiling, really will make your space feel grand.
Why not hang an enormous chandelier above the dining table or in the middle of the living room or off-balanced in the corner of a room…. better yet, if going off-balance why not do a trio of chandeliers? These extra large pieces give that “WOW” moment when a guest walks in the door. Be daring in your decor. The worst thing you can do is play it safe.
Another way to create a sense of wow is with texture. Adding in unexpected textures like leather walls or raw silk curtains can completely change the feel of your room. Luxe= wow so go for the fabrics and materials that scream “oh, la, la!” Think antique rugs, but perhaps you use them to upholster an ottoman. If you want to do this on a small scale, try adding throw pillows made from antique fabrics such as velvets and silks. You can make them yourself or find a seamstress to custom make luxurious pillows that will definitely add the drama to your house.
And lastly, look at items with a fresh eye. Take something like a gorgeous textile or a vintage piece of clothing and have it framed in a super modern frame—then put it in a prominent place on the wall. By framing something other than a canvas, you can make it into your own art and instantly have a one-of-a-kind piece on the wall.
Regardless of how you choose to decorate your house, use interesting antiques to create wow moments and leave guests wondering how you thought to decorate your home this way! Decorating should be fun and coming home to a space that reflects you is the ideal way to end each day. Of course then once home serving up a signature drink isn’t a bad way to cap off a day…
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Chairish, a curator approved online marketplace for vintage and used furniture. When they recently asked me to choose a vintage rug from their site and design a style board for a room around said rug, I was up for the challenge! When choosing a color palette for a room, it can be hard to step away from basic neutrals– going bold is a big decision. But as I always say “Fortune Favors the Bold!”… and “Go Bold or Go Home!”ast year during Maison Objet I was delighted to meet one of the team members of
Part of my mission is to make antiques relevant in today’s lifestyle. To me, that means mixing antiques with vintage and modern pieces to reflect
the way we live in the 21st century. Below you’ll see the rug I chose and then a mix of pieces—all available at Chairish.com—that I think would work
well together in a space.
I love this beautiful Mid-Century Modern style sectional sofa. It looks comfortable and sleek. It’s fairly new, being only a year old and
well maintained. Starting with this piece we’ve already got a hip vibe going, but I want to mix in some antiques that will make my imaginary room
This suede pair of classic French chairs with nailhead trim would be the perfect foil for the modern sofa. Probably from the mid-20th century, the pair is nicely made and are in very good vintage condition, with a couple of very small spots on the upholstery—which is one reason I would suggest reupholstering them. While at the upholsterers, I’d have them painted black and recovered in a malachite patterned fabric to give them an entirely new look!
This stunning vintage Neo Deco brass ram’s head coffee table is the ideal statement piece. The gleaming brass finish of the three ram’s
heads contrasts brilliantly against the shiny black lacquered bass. It features outstanding quality construction with a three quarter inch thick
circular glass top. Here is where we start to add in touches of brass and gold to warm up the space.
Across the room, I’d place this French provincial Louis XV Style serpentine walnut and veneer commode. This piece would compliment the chairs while contrasting with the sofa and modern rug. Things are starting to get interesting!
Above the commode, I’d hang this vintage-inspired portrait of an aristocratic lady in the 1500’s. With its ornate gold frame, this sets the tone for a dramatic room. However, I’d place some modern accessories such as this unique black glass head, which was once a display mannequin. Mixing in some modern pieces keeps the commode from feeling stuffy.
While we’re dotting the room with modern touches, I love this 1960’s Noguchi styled sculpture on a custom stand. This piece would be stunning in front of a window.
For the walls, I’d hang this vintage monochromatic portrait which features a restrained color palette, offset by the gilt wood frame. Above
it I’d also hang this original 1896 framed and matted etching of whitewater rapids in Glen Affaric River in the Scottish Highlands.
Over the sofa, I’d hang this French style gold leaf mirror for added glamour. Every room needs a mirror and the style of this one contrasts with the modern sofa perfectly while also tying in the French chairs and the commode.
For a few pops of color, I love this purple JuJu African feather headdress along with this emerald green glazed ceramic Asian-style lamp. With its brass neck and a new black fabric shade, it ties in nicely with other pieces in the room.
For overhead lighting, I’d finish the room off with this modern brass sputnik light with a raw brass (unpolished) finish. I think it adds just the right touch to this eclectic mix of pieces!
So there you have it! A fun melange of antique furniture and mid century pieces create a playful yet stylish space that is comfortable and elegant
at the same time – exemplifying that Antiques Diva Style!!
Thanks to the lovely people at Chairish for giving me the opportunity to dream up a space inspired by one of their gorgeous rugs! Go check out the other lovely rugs they offer on their site!
Until next time,
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
ou could definitely say that The Antiques Diva® brand is associated with a glamorous lifestyle—after all, we love fine antiques, foreign travel, chic hotels, gourmet meals and, of course, Champagne by the bucket load! But often, when it comes to homes, people think that glamour and comfort cannot go together. That’s simply just not the case! I want to share some tips on how these two can live harmoniously and make your life uber chic but still comfy cosy!
First of all… go for the comfy couch. Trust me, when it comes to nap time you won’t regret it. But then add in antique French side tables and gorgeous little Louis chairs that are perfect for entertaining if not necessarily watching tv. My home (prefire) is a great example of how comfort and glamour go hand-in-hand. Art work, sculptures, gilt and crystal are perfect ways to up the glam factor in your home without sacrificing comfort. Ornate frames that set off grand oil paintings instantly transform a room. If your style is more chic, go with sleek black frames, thick white mats, and black & white vintage photography. That’s a sure fire recipe for chicness! Also think about adding a bronze sculpture on a pedestal to your space. I have a collections of Art Deco bronzes that adds a luxe feel to my living room. And if your ceiling is high enough please promise me you’ll go for a chandelier like in my old apartment in Berlin above (or better yet two – like in my new home below in Berlin)!
Now… there is one formula for Glamour + Comfort that is a guaranteed win! Go for a Chaise Lounge! It adds instant, glamourous comfort to any room. I have a gorgeous chaise in my loft home office and it looks so dramatic with its patinated gilding and fresh silk gray and white striped upholstery (my dear friend Linda Merrill helped me source this fabric when I couldn’t find it on my own) . And the good news is that it is SO comfortable! You’ll note my colleague Andrew Skipper who helps out at Antiques Diva Headquarters might find it… a little TOO comfortable!!!
For adding glamour into your home find antique pieces that have good proportions and have them reupholstered. That’s a great way to be sure that they’re comfortable and still stylish. Don’t think antiques have to be fiddly and small! Louis XIII chairs dating from the late 16th and 17th C have the most wonderful proportion to them. And remember most quailty antiques aren’t actually that fiddly – there is a reason they’ve survived a couple of hundred years.
When in doubt… light candles! What’s more glamorous than candlelight reflected in elegant mirrors? Hang a couple of antique mirrors—better yet get some antique mirrors where the mercury has melted—then sprinkle lots of candles throughout your home. This will make it feel sexy and cozy at the same time—especially after the sun goes down! At The Antiques Diva & Co we love sexy décor!
Remember, glam antiques can certainly be part of a comfortable home. Just keep in mind proportions when it comes to seating and think about finishes for artwork & frames. And I almost forgot—antique rugs are a fantastic way to make a home feel regal yet warm (picture above of my study in my old Berlin apartment). They were made to last and the traditional patterns often lend themselves to a more upscale look. I think I’ll go sip a cocktail on my chaise lounge right now—all this talk has me feeling like I need a diva moment.
Ta Ta for now, darlings. Be Chic. Be Glam. And Be Fabulous.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
When I say tablescape I’m not just talking about the dining table. You can design table arrangements on console, coffee, and side tables. Even other flat surfaces like shelves, mantels, and window ledges can be used to artfully display objects. Here are some easy tips to get you started on creating beautiful vignettes using antiques in your home.
Keep it cohesive, but never boring. As with any decorating project, it’s important to know your personal style and the overall “look” you’re going for. For instance if you have a mid-century style home and theme, you probably won’t be adding heavily carved victorian pieces to your room. The same rule applies with tablescapes. Keep the style consistent with the rest of your decor and try to complement other elements in your home.
In order to keep it from feeling boring, mix up the heights of objects. Use books to stack things on top of and think about layering pieces of art in front of each other. I love the look of using small tabletop easels to display artwork or even photographs.
Add natural elements to your vignettes as well. Mixing materials such as shell, horn, flowers, and geodes with antiques really sets off the patina of the older items. Also using interesting pieces is important. That’s what’s great about antiques— they are NOT being sold mass-produced at every decor store which means when you decorate with antiques you’re giving your home a uniquely you spin!
Whether you hunt for accessories at antique shops, flea markets, or tag sales, think about what other items you can pair them with to create visually interesting tablescapes throughout your house. And remember, the same as when it comes to dating… Opposites Attract!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
hile it may be easy to complain about cold weather during this winter season, I find that there are many ways to actually celebrate the chilly temperatures outside. Ok…celebrate may be a strong word, but there are certainly ways to make home a cozy place during these frigid months and I think that antiques are definitely one element that can transform any space into a comfortable spot to snuggle.
Think about what you do with your wardrobe when it’s cold outside—you add layers! Do the same thing in your home by layering antique rugs on top of natural rugs like sisal. Adding that extra element helps bring warmth – and cozy color – to any room. Who wouldn’t want to wake up and have their feet touch a thick wool rug as soon as they hit the floor? How luxurious! But also think about well-worn rugs. Sometimes threadbare rugs can add a dimension of timelessness to a space that transports you.
And speaking of layers, now is the time to accessorize. Pile on antique & vintage table cloths on the dining table as well as the side tables to help soften things up and create a sense of envelopment. Mix up textures to achieve a luxurious feel. Think about textiles you want to touch— velvet, leather, silk, wool, chenille— by mixing all these textures, you’ll be creating a rich environment that feels cozy and comfortable. I’m swooning over this fur covered antler-chair available with on of our vendors in Antwerp and think it’s the perfect winter item for you home! Incorporate antique textiles into your throw pillows – look for a seamstress (if you’re not one yourself) who can whip up your finds into liveable art for your home. Imagine having a one of a kind pillow on your sofa that’s made from a centuries old Venetian textile! Or like the fabric used for the red pillow above I had in my home in Holland which originally was used in a church. Not only will a piece like this set your space apart and make it feel cozy, it will also act as a conversation piece.
Of course, adding greenery to your house will instantly make it feel more homey. But simply bringing a plant home won’t have as much of an effect if you don’t have the right container. There are so many antique containers that can act as planters. Why not use a vintage champagne bucket to plant your orchids in or like I did with tulips above in my own home? What about taking a trophy cup and planting a violet inside it? Think outside the box!
Candlelight is another important element when it comes to making your house feel cozy in the winter. Be sure to purchase interesting antique candle holders like candelabra, hurricanes, and perhaps colored glass vessels.
However you choose to decorate your home this winter, nothing compares to the feeling of walking through the door and instantly feeling enveloped by the space you’ve created. Here’s to warm nights snuggled up at home with those you love!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
his was supposed to be my inaugural blog post for 2015… but life has a way of sometimes interfering with blogging. But to kick off 2015 I want to share a bit about why I love antiques – and why I think antiques are relevant in today’s lifestyle. It’s important to be informed by the past but not let ourselves be ruled by it. I believe there can be a happy medium between living in the present and living with antiques because that is precisely what I do every day!
Many people ask how I got involved in the antiques world and what initially drew me to it. My first answer is moving to Paris nearly 15 years ago opened my eyes to the world of antiques through exploring the Paris Flea Markets. But it goes back further than that. I’m American. But my mother was a third generation American. Her grandparents moved over from England and my whole life I grew up hearing stories of far-away places and long-ago times. The past was always a part of my present. As a child on special occasions my family ate with silver my grandparents carried over on the boat when they moved to America.
If I think about it in my life history, antiques and travel were always intertwined in my mind. I’ve always been a traveller – I’ve traveled in more than 45 countries – and to me antiques are another way of traveling. They transport you. Pieces with a past tell a story – of other times, other places and other lives. They take you on adventure to someplace less ordinary. My love for antiques began with a desire to live a life less ordinary.
In this post-modern era we live in there is an aesthetic value of literally “living with history” by incorporating antiques into our own homes whether that be through family heirlooms – such as my great grandparents silver which today I dine daily on in my home in Berlin – or through pieces purchased on your travels.
My goal for 2015 is to stop using my good china ONLY for special occasions and to bring it out and use it EVERY DAY. After all, isn’t every day a special occasion? My goal for 2015 as a company is to help you use your antiques every day. Stop treating antiques like they should go in a museum and begin living with them! When dealing with period pieces remember they were built much better than things are today. It’s ok to mix Ikea in with your antiques – mix whatever you want with your antiques!! This year on the blog you’ll find a lot of focus on incorporating modern convenience alongside antique craftsmanship. So many antiques are ageless—they have just as much appeal today as they did centuries ago.
So my goal this year is to help shed more light on the livability of antiques. After all, these pieces were built to be used, to be loved and to be around for a long time. One tour at a time, we are giving a fresh life to each piece our clients purchase. If you’d like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Tour in one of our 8 tour countries— France, Italy, Sweden, England, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands or Denmark— email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to discuss custom planning a buying tour for you!
Happy New Year,
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
’ve asked one of my favorite designers, Eric Ross, to share what he feels are the MOST important vintage or antique pieces you MUST have in your home if you consider yourself an antiquarian!
If Eric Ross isn’t already on your radar then you’ll be delighted to meet this full service residential interior designer who is famous for the homes he’s doing in the Greater Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, Tennessee area! This boy is designing a whole new south – traditional with a twist! I simply adore Eric and his gorgeous wife Ruthann!
While I’m certain Eric could talk for ages and pages about what each antique collector must haves, he’s promised to be brief! But if these tidbits whet your appetite for more details, just head over to Eric’s blog to read more of what collectors shouldn’t live without – and follow his 6 part series.
Designer Eric Ross’ 6 Must Have Antiques Include:
Chairs are like friends – you need a few good ones. A few examples of my favorite styles are:
The Slipper chair. I find this style very comfortable as it allows ones arms and hands to fall naturally into the lap without worrying about the arms of the chair being the wrong height for someone’s body.
A Bergère chair, THE classic French armchair, is considered masculine because it has solid arms. The feminine version, a Fauteuil, has space under the armrest open to allow room for a lady’s skirts.
Whether they’re displayed on a table, in a bookcase, or on a wall, the glint of the polish creates an interesting play with light in a room. Colorful dishes help enhance a room’s color scheme, but don’t forget about plain white. The milky-white of cream-ware also takes on the hue of what’s around it.
The best thing about dishes is that they are a beautiful and inexpensive decoration. Don’t have the budget for art? Break out your grandma’s china and hang it.
Rug rule #1: Spare no expense! Spend the most you can afford. If you spend the least you can afford you’ll end up with a glorified bath mat. Shudder!
Rug rule #2: Always go with wool! A good rug is a workhorse. If you’re spending money on a high quality antique you have to remember that this rug has been traipsed on for over 100 years… and still looks good! Twenty years in your home isn’t going to kill it.
You really can’t have too many pillows in a room. And, they’re an inexpensive way to add pizzazz to a hum-drum sofa or chair.
Pillows are also a great way to recycle fabrics that have moved past their prime in other areas: Needlepoint or tapestry that has frayed at the edges of a chair can be given new life on a pillow. I’ve also seen beautiful vintage tea towels featuring hand embroidery put to good use by adding a little vintage touch in children’s bedrooms.
So, don’t be afraid to re-purpose Grandma’s needlepoint into a lovely pillow that can be enjoyed for generations to come.
The term “Chinoiserie” covers anything with a Far-Eastern or Oriental theme. From faux bamboo furniture, through hand-painted wallpaper panels, inlaid screens, lotus blossom art, ginger jars (swoon) and willow pattern plates, statues, pagoda shapes, caramondel screens… the list goes on and on. And, so does my passion for this style! I have several Pinterest boards set up as altars at which I worship. If you ever get the chance check it out.
For people who don’t want a lot of it, consider adding just one small foo dog, or blue and white bud vase. From a small accent to a whole wall, Eastern flavor adds just the right amount of spice to your décor.
Antique books are a wonderful and inexpensive way to decorate. They don’t have to be old and they don’t even (all) have to be pretty… they just need to be placed well.
Placement is key because it can easily look like you don’t pick up after yourself.
On shelves, mixed in with your favorite photos, art and collectibles, books give the eye a place to rest. A couple of books under a small ornament raises it into the middle of the shelf, displaying it more effectively; and a section of vertically stacked books distances one area from the next, making your shelves look well thought out rather than filed under “Boring!”
Coffee table books are a MUST. Clients of mine have flinched at the idea of spending $75 on a beautiful volume, but if you compare that with the $500 you might spend on a good vintage box, books are definitely an inexpensive accessory.
So whether you are starting a collection or just adding to, take an inventory of your treasures to see if you need to start out on a new hunt.
Don’t forget to check out Eric’s blog for more great design advice!
The Antiques Diva®
O&C Antiques I had the opportunity to spend time in the Venetian home of Orseola Barozzi Rizzo. Visiting her family home tucked away near the San Toma Vaporetto stop I was reminded of how Europeans live everyday with the past a part of their present. In one corner of Orseola’s living room, on the edge of her 13th C courtyard which was once part of the local convent, she assembled a collection of pieces from the past used for the present. The Italian Chair is from the 18th C nestled against a 17th C armoire from Bologna. Positioned behind the chair on the radiator cover an 18th C Venetian Ecclesiastical alter candlestick shares space with a 16th C copper Tuscan Amfora – a jug once used for carrying water. Beside it sits an Indian gilt pedestal and above the setting – crowning it – Fritoer hangs on the wall. This 19th C plate from the Veneto was used originally for serving sweets. I loved how in one corner of the room each item came from the past but was very much a part of the present.hile in Venice researching an article I was writing on