Dear Diva Readers,
s we wrap up 2014 and I reflect on this year I’m reminded of words by Charles Dickens,“it was the best of times and…” well, the best of times! I cannot help but think “Wow!” It’s been a fabulous year of growth for us here at The Antiques Diva & Co. We’ve grown to being the largest antiques sourcing company in Europe, offering customized buying tours in 8 countries (and counting) and working with a team of 18 locally-based guides. If I could sum up the year in three words they would be Clients, Collaborations and Celebrations!
We kicked off 2014 in January with our first ever Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Fete coinciding with Maison et Object and Deco Off. With over 150 mega VIP guests in attendance the event received great media coverage and we were able to film a special tour of the Paris Flea Market with Editor at Large. Such was last years success we’re doing it again this January 25 2015 for our second annual fete at the Paris Flea Market in conjunction with special guests Michael Boodro, Editor in Chief of Elle Décor, one of my favorite “Frenchy” interior designers, Timothy Corrigan and the owner of the Paul Bert/Serpette, Jean-Cyrille Boutmy. (RSVP now for details email@example.com! You’re invited!!)
In February (and again in September) we were able to once again take VIP groups of American Interior Designers to Mercanteinfiera in Parma, Italy. Attending this large antiques fair is always a treat, but most especially when the clients are as fun as Tobi Fairley, Denise McGaha, Jon Call and Mark Cutler! Later in the fall we were delighted to film Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk along with Stacey Bewkes of Quintessence for an upcoming episode on antiquing in Italy, Diva Style at Mercanteinfiera! Watch this space! Both trips were filled with antiques sourcing, photo shoots and copious quantities of food & wine. This month I was also delighted to add a new member to our team at Diva Headquarters – Andrew Skipper!
Then in March I hopped on a plane and headed to the USA to speak alongside Michael Bruno founder of 1stdibs at the Design Bloggers Conference. It was such an honor to meet so many talented design enthusiasts and to be able to share my story of turning a blog into a business. Again, many lasting relationships were forged at this fantastic conference!
Just days later I was back on a plane headed for the UK. Our lovely Diva Agent Gail and I met up with Antiques Expert Judith Miller who gave our group of clients a private tour of The Bath Decorative Fair, which happened to be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a Champagne fete. Yes, Champagne does tend to follow me around. At the end of the month, I headed back to NYC to speak at the IFDA New York Design Center. What a jam-packed month!
Criss-crossing the USA, I then flew to Atlanta to speak at ADAC and then spoke in both Los Angeles and San Francisco (special thanks to Kneedler Fauchere for hosting a fete in my honor). I was also delighted to attend the launch party of San Francisco Cottage & Gardens where I befriended fashion icon Joy Venturini who moments before this photo was taken officially told me I was the “best dressed” for the event! What a treat it was to see so many clients and make new friends!
Then it was time for High Point Market which is THE MEETING PLACE for all my clients and colleagues. Here I hosted – what else? – a Champagne tour of the Antique & Design Center after leading a Style Guide lecture on the Louis (lest you think antiques are boring… this talk involved plenty of sex and scandal to spice up the antiques and history!!!!).
But I couldn’t stay long at High Point – I had to jet back to Milan, Italy for Salone to meet my Italian Diva Guide, Susan, to lead a VIP tour for Blog Tour Milan! Our lovely clients enjoyed this gorgeous city with us culminating in our party at the famous Campari Bar. After all that jet-setting, it was time to meet my husband in Tuscany for some much needed down days of relaxation at the Villa Bordoni. I’ve been fortunate my husband has been able to travel with me on some business trips as I criss-cross the globe and we met in exotic destinations.
May brought along plenty of client tours, including taking The Antiques Roadshow Magazine on tour throughout Belgium. But then in May it was back to the States for Spring Market at the D&D in New York where I spoke on a panel about Antiques in the 21st Century. Then in June a life-long dream of mine came true! We kicked off our first Antiques Diva Venice Tours with our new Diva Guides Orseola and Chiara! Exploring this enchanted city on the arms of two locals has given me access to a world I never thought I’d know as an insider.
July took me to The Windy City of Chicago for a speaking engagement at the Randolph Street Antique Market where I did a promo spot on ABC in Chicago! Then it was off to Las Vegas Market where I spoke on Antique Trends and was delighted to be named one of their Design Tastemakers!!
August brought some much needed down time in Thailand as my husband and I traveled to Thailand together to spend time at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok followed by shopping in Chiang Mai (Watch this space for upcoming Diva News! Will the Diva Do Asia?) followed by an amazing week at the Anantara Elephant Camp in the Golden Triangle learning to drive my own elephants. Taking in this magical place was truly what we needed after all the hustle and bustle of this whirlwind year!
In September I was back in London, leading a VIP tour alongside industry sage and icon Stephen Nobel. Taking in exciting inspiration and sourcing unique antiques was the name of the game—along with lots of bubbly, bien sur! By the end of the month I was back again in London, taking a lovely journalist from Traditional Home on a special tour which coincided with The Decorative Fair at Battersea.
Then in October after spending time in Italy for Mercanteinfiera I flew back to the Big Apple to speak at the D&D Building for Fall Market. But I couldn’t stay long because up next was High Point Market where I spoke yet again about my Antiques Diva Style Guide. High Point is always like a reunion! Such a pleasure to see so many familiar faces. Before I knew it, I was back to Italy for another VIP event – attending the opening night gala at the Gotha Biennale with special VIP guests Darcy Fulton of John Rosselli and Jackson McCard of Bunny Williams’ Treillage!
In November we capped off the year with our last Antiques Diva event as I returned to NYC, speaking alongside the grande dame of antiques Judith Miller, Traditional Home magazine antiques editor Doris Athineos and Olga Granda-Scott of The Highboy at Jonathan Burden, Antiques and Works of Art. I was also able to go to the opening night gala of Holiday House New York with my dear friend and client Justin Shaulis whose room “Gallery Hopping in Miami” was simply a show stopper! I was also particularly partial to client Louis Navarrete’s Bohemian Rapsody!
All these events… and I’ve not mentioned the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS YEAR. As a company my 18 guides and I served more clients than ever before! Our busiest week of the year we had more than 25 clients spread across 6 of our tour countries!!!! Thank you for your support, your love and…baby, we quite simply could not do it without you.
And that brings us to December where I’ve fallen into a pile of exhaustion as we entered our slow season, as I spent my holiday in the Arctic Circle. You must add the ICEHOTEL to your bucket list. It’s amazing. I’ve spent the last week dog sledding in the tundra, reindeer sledding (and making one too many sightings as those buggers crisscross the roads in the Nordic) and stargazing while watching the Northern Lights. All in all I’d say it’s been a full, fun and fabulous year.
As we prepare for 2015, I can’t help but think that the BEST is still ahead! This past year has had many highs (and a few lows as well) and the lesson here has been on priorities. In January 2014 I told my husband my goal for the year was to jump off cliffs…. free falling to see where these risks I was taking would take me. The year has yielded more returns than I ever expected.
Thank you to all of my clients, friends, family and followers for everything and I look forward to seeing all of you in 2015!!! Let’s make it a great year!
Happy New Year,
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
#BlogTourNola in New Orleans as part an amazing program created by Veronika Miller of Modenus. She selects 10-15 bloggers to take with her several times a year to write about sponsors in a variety of great cities around the world – New York, Paris, Milan, LA, etc. You probably read about me being one of those sponsors just 2 months ago in Milan when a group of design bloggers came overseas to write about the #BlogTourMilan event. As part of participating in the all-expenses-paid blog tour the bloggers are required to write about a certain number of the sponsors.ast April 2013 I attended
I’m usually very good at fulfilling my commitments. I’m nothing if not loyal. However, life got in the way after I attended #BlogTourNola and I didn’t get all the sponsors written about at the time. I was in the middle of a move, I was in the middle of taxes, and oh by the way, my company was growing by leaps and bounds and I was struggling to manage it all. Yes, I’m making excuses. And I have been for over a year. But since then I’ve felt quite guilty that I never wrote about one of our fabulous sponsors – Toto.
In fact, Toto has been haunting me. I was staying at my friend’s apartment in Chicago and went to flush the loo… and who did I see? Toto Toilets! I was in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Atlanta speaking at the Design Bloggers Conferrence and again? Who did I see? Toto Toilets! In fact, at least once a month – always in a high-end luxury accommodation – I would bump into my friend Toto in the restroom. They were everywhere. And Toto doesn’t just do toilets. In fact, they also do bathroom fixture (gorgeous sleek towel racks and paper holders) as well as bath tubs and faucets, even showers. Toto is the world’s largest plumbing products manufacturer with a complete line of commercial and decorative plumbing fixtures and fittings, faucets, accessories, shower and flush valves, as well as lavatories, toilets, Air Baths and urinals. For over 90 years, they have been producing their products. I was certain I’d never have a moment’s peace in the bathroom again unless I cleared my conscious – so wanted to write today to tell you about this top brand. I really like luxury living – whether in hotels on the road or at home – and I knew without catching up on my BlogTourNOLA obligations I’d never flush peacefully again – because I’m telling you I can’t turn around without bumping into a bathroom product by Toto. They’re everywhere because quite simply – they’re the best.
Ta Ta for Now,
The Antiques Diva®
(Seen below on BlogTourNOLA with blogger Linda Merrill of Surroundings)
Dear Diva Readers,
D&D Building for Spring Market but the timing worked out perfectly for me to also attend the Take A Seat Charity Auction for the International Furniture and Design Association – where I’ve donated a period Louis XV French Fauteuil. This Rococo upholstered beechwood arm chair is older than America and proceeds from this chair will go to “chair-ity” – proceeds gifted will go to non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity.’ve just flown in to NYC to speak at the
And while my donation was titled “Viva la Diva – French Fauteuil” with a little plaque perhaps it should have been titled, “It Takes a Village” because when it comes to giving back, it’s better when we all participate. That’s exactly what happened with my donation. Let me share the story with you
It all began in March of this year at the Design Bloggers Conference, where I was speaking alongside Michael Bruno of 1stdibs. Alan Rauta of Cromatti attended the talk and won the $5000 gift certificate grand prize donated by Michael Bruno to one of the attendees. In attending the conference Alan said the main thing he learned about blogging was that blogging was about sharing, and thus he donated $4000 of his prize to 4 of the bloggers – $1000 each – that he met at the conference whom he found most inspirational.
I was honored to be one of those bloggers and decided to make this the gift that keeps on giving by using my gift certificate to purchase a chair from 1stdibs and donate it to the Take A Seat Chair-ity Auction.
As I researched what European antique chairs were available on 1stdibs in the USA I sought out vendor Trace Mayer because he has has consistently good quality pieces at great prices. I found a chair in his collection that epitomized The Antiques Diva® Style. I contacted Trace to buy the chair so I could donate it. Trace, upon hearing I was donating the chair to charity, offered me a substantial discount off the purchase price to make this donation even more possible.
I love how a community came together to make this one donation possible! “It takes a village” to change the world one chair at a time!
From Michael Bruno of 1stdibs to Alan Ruata of Cromatti to me to Trace Mayer, a 1st Dibs vendor – each of us have contributed to make this donation possible!
I was thrilled my dates in New York overlapped with the auction so that I was able to attend the event in person! Now I can’t wait to see the final person in our village who buys the chair!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Jeffrey is an internationally known designer who infuses his projects with antiques from around the globe. Being one of Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators, Jeffrey has graced television screens in over twenty-five countries, showcasing his relaxed yet tailored esthetic.
His “sophisticate informal” look can also be seen in his first coffee table book, The Meaning of Home, published by Rizzoli – which currently graces my coffee table.
In the book (which one can’t help but drool over), Jeffrey’s relaxed California style mixes with old world European antiques which lend just the right amount of polish and glamour without getting fussy.
The juxtaposition continues with interiors that blend weathered wood surfaces with sleek modern finishes. The book is real life proof that decorating with antiques can be stylish, fresh, and very “now.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Antiques are Modern!
The icing on the cake? Jeffrey includes his favorite shopping addresses and sources in the book, giving you access to the perfect pieces to complete your own home!
Jeffrey’s designs are constantly featured in top shelter publications such as Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, House Beautiful, and Town & Country. Be on the look-out for what this style setter does next. I have a feeling we will see great things from Jeffrey that will change the design industry as we know it!
The Antiques Diva®
(seen above with Jeffrey Alan Marks)
Dear Diva Readers,
Timothy Corrigan certainly has mastered the art of creating an elegant atmosphere that is also fully functional and most importantly, comfortable. The story of how Timothy acquired and subsequently breathed new life into Chateau du Grand-Luce is not only inspiring (who wouldn’t want to buy a great chateau and turn it back into a private residence?!), but also a lesson in decorating for real life, proving that form and function are not mutually exclusive. I love pouring over the gorgeous images in his book, noting his use of color, scale, and style that ultimately create a warm feel that envelops you even from the pages.
This project was more than just renovating a shell. Many of the original fixtures are still in tact and Timothy took great care to preserve these relics from an age gone by. However, he wasn’t limited by the chateau’s history. He even says in the book, “This can be especially challenging in historically significant residences, as so often people believe they must be unreasonably faithful to the past and live in their homes the way the original residents did.”
The ultimate purpose of the house, however, is to be a home, a place to entertain friends and the furniture arrangements needed to be accommodating for conversations and actual everyday living.
I can just imagine attending a country weekend in this beautiful home. Arriving in the early evening on a Friday, just in time to change and enjoy a cocktail on the gravel allee in the formal garden, followed by a casual dinner in the orangery. Perhaps after dinner retiring with a book in one of the many well-appointed guest rooms only to awake the following morning to a gorgeous view of the gardens. A leisurely Saturday spent admiring the many works of art in the home would turn into an evening to remember with dinner served in the formal dining room. And who wouldn’t want to stay up to the wee hours of the morning, enjoying lively conversations in the Salon Chinois?
In my mind, what Timothy Corrigan has done with Chateau du Grand Luce is create a world within a world. A place that doesn’t shut out the modern era, but embraces the way we live today, while still remaining true to the roots of our past. I was fortunate enough to meet Timothy recently in Atlanta at the Design Bloggers Conference and now I am not only smitten with Chateau du Grand Luce, but also with the man of the manor himself. When I met him, I told him I was his doppelganger–he was an English major, I was an English major. He worked in advertising, I worked in advertising. He moved to Paris which changed his career to design, I moved to Paris which changed my career to antiques! He bought a chateau….I….well, still waiting on that one!
Regardless of whether I’ll ever own a grand chateau, I am inspired to take lessons from what Timothy’s done in his home and apply them to any space I find myself inhabiting. Honor the past, but live fully in your home now. After all, there is no greater luxury than comfort, and I’d prefer to have my comfort in a gorgeous room filled with antiques and pieces that mean something to me.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
It was a double whammy with Homes & Antiques magazine as my article “Vintiquing in New Orleans” appeared in their February issue! If you’re not already familiar with this British publication Homes & Antiques magazine mixes the best of the old with the best of the new – this much loved homes magazine is for people who adore great design and beautiful objects from every era.
I guess I should make this a grand slam home run… Imagine my surprise when my copy of the 2014 – 2015 Collectables Handbook and Price Guide by Judith Miller and Mark Hill showed up in the mail with a quote on the back cover by YOURS TRULY!
This book is an indispensable guide to antiques, providing the most in-depth and up-to-date information to the collectables market.
Speaking of great publications – if you haven’t seen the recent issue Antique Shops & Designers magazine – I had 2 articles inside – one about my favorite Tuscan villa agriturism estate Montestigliano and another sharing secrets to antiquing in Sweden.
Antique Shops & Designers is a magazine of home interiors, home decorating, and Interior Design. The magazine combines antique objects of art with contemporary home decorating. A designer’s reference book loaded with imported antique accent pieces, modern designer kitchen appliances, antiques and the latest in today’s lighting and accessories design. I really appreciated the shout out Joni of Cote de Texas gave The Antiques Diva & Co as well in her post about this fabulous magazine.
Meanwhile we were delighted to make the Mothers Day Gift Supplement in The Times (that would be London’s Times not New York’s) and then imagine my delight when California Homes magazine hit the newsstands yesterday and yours truly was pictured on the “Party” page for the Americans in Paris Party! You’ll recall I wrote about this sensational fete in January.
Sometimes our media coverage is a bit more incognito… we appeared lurking “behind the scenes” in an article about one of our favorite Dutch dealers – Benko – in a Dutch newspaper. We’re incognito in this article as we were shopping for a top secret VIP client! Oh the intrigue! Sorry… I’ll never tell who we were shopping for… one of our services at AD&CO is complete confidentiality for our clients. My new in house creative consultant Andrew Skipper is also seen here noting the plethora of purchases our client was making.
Meanwhile The Antiques Diva & Co was mentioned in a slew of blogs after I spoke at the Design Bloggers Conference!
The Design Bloggers Conference is the only conference specifically focused on the interests of bloggers on interior design teaching attendees how to build a stellar personal brand for their design career. Special thanks to Pamela Copeman for mentioning The Antiques Diva & Co in her Posh Palette Blog on 30 Quick Takeaways from DBC 2014. Pamela Copeman is an award winning interior designer noted for her posh panache and timeless designs that unite classic style with a modern, often colorful twist.
Photo of Pamela Copeman with Kandrac & Kole
Kelly Kole and Joann Kandrac of Kandrac & Kole blog also gave The Antiques Diva & Co a shout out! in their colorful blog. Kandrac Kole is a nationally recognized interior design firm well known for their approachable, dynamic personalities, signature use of color, and one of a kind, custom designs. Voted one of Atlanta’s Top 20 Residential Interior Designers in 2013 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, their work has been featured on HGTV as well as The New York Times, House Beautiful, Southern Lady Magazine.
Inspirational lifestyle design writer Mitzi Beach was also so kind to include a mention of my speech in her blog as well. Mitzi is an award winning interior designer who not only is an author but is an esteemed speaker as well! On top of this she’s a Baby Boomer Marketing & Lifestyle Specialist armed with 30+ years’ experience and a masters degree in interior design. Mitzi firmly believes the Boomers can and must be the generation that changes the way we age in this country and her unique combination of education, expertise and experience—even the Aging in Place principles evidenced throughout her own “Living Lab” home, called Cypress—make her the ideal candidate to lead that charge.
I was also particularly honored that Steve McKenzie’s blog mentioned me in their DBC2014 highlights. Steve and Jill McKenzie own Steve McKenzie’s Interiors and Lifestyle store. The brand offers a design sensibility that converges two fundamental influences – the southern hospitality and graciousness mixed with their love for the mid-century modern aesthetic. Steve’s fabric designs are beyond divine.
Jill McKenzie & Toma Clark Haines at DBC2014
Last but not least with respect to the Design Bloggers Conference, I want to thank Cromatti for not only including me as one of their 4 Inspirational Bloggers but also for sharing their $5000 1st dibs prize with me, giving me a $1000 Gift Certificate. I met Alan Rauta, their Chief Operating Officer, at the conference on the first day and for the next several days we traded banter. When Michael Bruno announced that the 1st dibs competition winner of the $5000 Gift Certificate was Alan Rauta of Cromatti I was smiling from ear to ear – it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy! But I had no idea how nice he was – imagine my surprise when I received an email from Alan saying “The thing I learned at the Design Bloggers Conference was that blogging is all about sharing and I want to share my prize with you.” His generosity left me speechless. This unexpected act perhaps sums up Cromatti as a brand – they offer the unexpected in their collection of ultramodern and colorful metal furniture. Perhaps what intrigued me most after learning about their company is that they’ve found a new meaning in modern furniture that begs the question: Does minimal have to be understated? If you’re a designer or collector add Cromatti to your “Brands To Watch” as they’re changing the future of design.
I was beyond honored my home state of Oklahoma included an interview with me in the design ezine Sooner Spaces. Sooner Spaces is a new media site devoted to sharing compelling stories about Oklahoma spaces and the people behind them.
(Journalist Malena Lott and me in OKC last November)
Just south of my home state of Oklahoma you’ll find Texas – and honey, everything is big in Texas including the heart on Dallas blogger and top interior designer Denise McGaha. I simply adore Denise and am delighted to have met her! Denise McGaha delivers fashionable, diverse, and adventurous designs for clients who live on the fast track; specializing in turn-key, concierge-level service delivered in 90 days or less. With a roster of clients from professional sports figures to busy executives, Denise offers her discriminating clientele a true luxury experience with a timeline. By offering Deadline Driven Design solutions, her clients receive exhilarating interior design coupled with prompt and nimble completion of their project. It has been said that Denise McGaha Interiors, is consistently ahead of the curve not just influencing interior fashion, but often dictating it. With a seamless blending of multiple interests Denise is able to offer her affluent clients access to Dallas’ best-kept secret: her black book of high-end concierge services. And speaking of that little black book I’m delighted Denise counts The Antiques Diva & Co among those resources! She’s written about her recent Italian antiques buying tour in a series on her blog.
Denise is seen here on our Antiques Diva VIP TOUR with Mark Cutler (far left), Denise McGaha, Tobi Fairley, me, and Andrew Skipper
Fans of the popular company Girl’s Guide to Paris will be delighted to note the company has expanded and is now producing an online magazine – The Girls’ Guide To Europe. The Antiques Diva Guide to Berlin is featured in their premier issue!
All these press or blog mentions and I’ve forgotten to mention two exciting new developments at The Antiques Diva & Co – one geared towards our tourist clients another specifically geared towards our trade clients. We’re delighted American Express has chosen us yet again for their Personal Shopper program for Paris and London…. #WatchThisSpace for more details on this exciting new program.
Meanwhile… a sexy new interior design site named PORTE-COCHÈRE has included The Antiques Diva & Co as one of their preferred business resources.
PORTE-COCHÈRE is a new sales channel and national membership network exclusively for full-service interior design firms and their suppliers in the high end residential market. Their mission is to increase efficiency and profits for all members through direct designer-supplier relationships, and to promote the stature of professional full-service interior design.
Until next time,
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
2014 Design Bloggers Conference in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 4th! The event – held March 2- 4, 2014 is the event of the year for interior design bloggers, new media innovators, and interior design industry leaders from all over the world. Other speakers include Jeffrey Alan Marks, Candice Olson, Timothy Corrigan, and Suzanne Kasler among others! To say that I’m honored to be in such esteemed company would be an understatement.am so excited to be speaking at the
In this time of computers and smart phones, I have found social media to be the best way to connect with our wonderful clients, friends and potential customers. Offering helpful insights and unique content is what we do at The Antiques Diva® & Co – not only on our tours – but on our website, blog, and social media pages (be sure to like us on Facebook @The Antiques Diva & Co and follow us on Instagram @theantiquesdiva). We love seeing what our customers and colleagues are looking for and social media allows us to communicate with them in a fast, up-to-the-minute manner.
That being said, I will be speaking alongside Michael Bruno about The Role of Social Media and Content Building a Luxury Brand. Michael is a true visionary and the founder and chairman of 1stdibs, the world’s largest online luxury marketplace for antiques and vintage design. I am thrilled to be sharing the stage with Michael!
It’s always a fun time when I cross the pond and visit the USA to meet top bloggers and design geniuses. Stay tuned to The Antiques Diva & Co social media pages because we’ll be bringing you the inside scoop from our fabulous 3 days at this year’s Design Bloggers Conference in Atlanta!
Until next time,
The Antiques Diva®