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Diva-scovery: Online Shopping at The Inglenook Décor

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 229px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sva9JO31hvI/AAAAAAAADwo/ymqwunplMZ8/s400/Inglenook-Card.gif” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Coco Chanel once said, “An interior is the natural projection of the soul” and if that’s true, then my soul is well-lit with crystal chandeliers, shabby chic slipcovers, rococo antiques, object d’art and everything Baroque and beyond! As a decorating-obsessed diva, I’m out hitting the flea markets and antique shops during the days but at night, once the markets have closed and insomnia is in full swing, I find myself surfing the design blogs, flipping endlessly through shelter publications and pursuing online décor stores. Here lately a new kid in town is capturing my attention! Enter The Inglenook Décor, an online home & garden shop specializing in 4 decorating styles: Vintage Modern, French Chateau, Rococo and Shabby Country.

to 10px; WIDTH: 229px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 305px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sva9JXRokjI/AAAAAAAADww/0C2PFKPLlxs/s400/Maureen.jpg” border=”0″ />The brains and beauty behind Inglenook Décor, choreographing the charmingly eclectic inventory, is the darling Maureen. A physical therapist in private practice, Maureen dreams of “traveling the world à la Samantha Brown, checking out the world of design & decor”. She confesses impishly that she “longs to be an interior designer to entertain her creative side….” And speaking of entertaining a creative side, that is exactly what she does for me with both her online shop and her blog!

to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sva9Jobb3II/AAAAAAAADw4/lyrOW5ghb4Y/s400/odi+et+amo+ingelnook+decor.jpg” border=”0″ />Oh, did I forget to mention – not only does Maureen run an online boutique (with a store website chocked full of useful decorating nuggets of wisdom) but she also writes a blog called Ingle Talk to boot. The design blog Odi et Amo posted a sensational interview with Maureen earlier this year, where Maureen explained among other things the origin of the company name and shed some light on where she finds the treasures for her online store!

Maureen writes, “Inglenooks are built-in alcoves centered on a fireplace where friends and families gather. It’s like the center of an old-fashioned cottage. Just like what this built-in alcove represents, I believe homes should provide warmth and should be a place of refuge from the outside world and a reflection of our own personal style and taste.”

to 10px; WIDTH: 235px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 363px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sva9JFIkzmI/AAAAAAAADwg/Cc_ni5u1i88/s400/ingelnookdecor.jpg” border=”0″ />To find inventory, Maureen started subscribing to trade magazines and checking importers from her home country – the Philippines – as well as going to several markets in the US. And Maureen explains, “Of course, (I go) antique and flea market shopping. This can be tricky, you have to separate the trash from real great finds. A little self-serving but some of it, I kept for me…. As for my archetypal customer? Highly independent, confident and creative individuals that thrive on making all of their choices definitely unique and their own. I picture them as sophisticated men and women who totally agree with one of Coco Chanel’s famous quotes: ‘An interior is the natural projection of one’s soul.’ A little frivolous for these times perhaps, but they realize that a beautiful surrounding inspires.”

Thank You Maureen for being an Inspiration – You, my dear, are The Diva of the Day!

The Inglenook Décor
www.theingelnookdecor.com

Happy Shopping,

The Antiques Diva™

Upcoming Paris Brocantes!

Dear Paris-Based Diva Readers,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>This Weekend – Oct 17 & 18 – get out of the city! Leave Paris behind and head to Senlis and visit this small town’s “Salon des Antiquaires” near Paris at the Abbaye Royale de Chaalis –Fee of 3 Euro includes entrance to the brocante & abbey!

to 10px; WIDTH: 278px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/StSWW9TzmyI/AAAAAAAADpw/GWD-6Zz38SU/s400/Salon+des+Antiquaires+Senlis.jpg” border=”0″ />Another out-of-town event nearby Paris that might be interesting to art lovers is being held this weekend on the grounds of the infamous Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons en l’île de Chatou – The Grand Marche d’Art Contemporain Oct 15-18, 2009

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 190px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/StSWWcS3ILI/AAAAAAAADpo/Pul_eODcO-U/s400/Chatou.jpg” border=”0″ />If staying in the city is more your style, visit Brocante de la place Maubert – Sunday, Nov 1.

to 10px; WIDTH: 282px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/StSWWG-7wYI/AAAAAAAADpg/O2KRh4BqXts/s400/Brocante+Maubert+Paris.jpg” border=”0″ />And last but certainly not least, visit the Antiquites Brocante at the Place de la Bastille Nov 5 – 15, 2009! There’s still time to book a to-join-two-special-antiques.html” target=”_blank”>last minute Antiques Diva Tour! I think blogger Tara Bradford of Paris Parfait has the best pics of this sensational flea market! Check them out!

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 252px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/StSWVsgpAHI/AAAAAAAADpY/BELZNFhmXPM/s400/Brocante+Bastille+Paris.jpg” border=”0″ />While we at Diva Tours like to keep you informed on what’s on in Paris, we also like to educate you so you can find the flea markets of Paris (and all of France for that matter) on your own. Whatever dates you’re in Paris, you can always look up to see what flea markets and antique fairs are being held in the city of light by visiting the Brocabrac website. For Paris events click region 75 and learn what the fleas have in store for you!

Happy Shopping,

The Antiques Diva™

One Minute Diva – Sketches for Charity

to 10px; WIDTH: 297px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/StIzXwmDcyI/AAAAAAAADo4/8Zih59ZXS7c/s400/000_0367.JPG” border=”0″ />Dear Diva Readers,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>A friend in the blogosphere just emailed, sharing insight into a new project she’s started called “Sketches for Charity” and I wanted to spread the word about her project.

Tina Steele Lindsey is a talented full-time artist residing in Atlanta, focusing on abstract works and figures as well as creating custom pieces for private spaces. Sketches for Charity is an opportunity for you to do “good works” while scoring high-quality art work for incredibly reasonable prices. She’s kicking off this program with a sketch titled “JuJu B” selling for $50, an incredible bargain for art lovers. The full proceeds of the donation will go towards one of the following organizations: Doctors Without Borders, CARE, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Visit Tina Steele Lindsey’s website for more details and stay tuned to Lindsey’s site for future Sketch for Charity Opportunities!

Until Next Time,

The Antiques Diva™

Guest Blog: Lady Lotus – Are You Next on the Jewelry Chain?

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SsozVoBz0qI/AAAAAAAADmw/qR8Zv3x7Y1Q/s400/IMG_3265.JPG” border=”0″ />Dear Antiques Diva,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Dangling from my wrist these days is an amazing bracelet made from Euro coins. The gold and silver match everything and the piece is curious enough to evoke conversation, most of which start out by me proclaiming that the best part of living in an American university town is being surrounded by amazing local artists. One of my favorite designers, Danya Roselle, is the artist who crafted my new favorite piece.

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SsozWI0BBFI/AAAAAAAADm4/cnEb9IcDIxE/s400/IMG_3267.JPG” border=”0″ />She normally provides the Euros, but in my case I gave her the ones I wanted because my husband and I had great fun picking them out on our recent trip to Paris. In the end, I settled on a 2 Euro France, flanked by 1 Euro Germany and Italy. The silver swirly bits are Danya’s own making and the bracelet was specifically crafted to fit my wrist. And all this for only $81. I normally wear the “back” side up so that I can see the country designs instead of the numbers, but it looks lovely both ways. And I also turn a deaf ear to anyone who mentions that defacing money is probably frowned upon … a benefit of living in the US is that hardly anyone knows what foreign money looks like!

When La Reine saw my bracelet, she immediately ordered one of her own. Are you next on the jewelry chain??

Happy Shopping!

Lady Lotus

And So To Bed…

UPDATE! Rumor has it that between my last visit and now, the Porthault Linen factory in Rieux-en-Cambresis has closed. According to the D. Porthault website, their factories are located in Normandy, on the west coast of France, and in Cambrai, in northern France.

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp01lcDVZI/AAAAAAAADfM/4PAmXRKxFys/s400/Diva+Bedroom.JPG” border=”0″ />The Antiques Diva™ theory on bedroom decorating is “Keep it simple & peaceful for a good night’s sleep!” This is where The Diva & husband rest their weary heads at night.

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Research says we spend one third of our life in bed – thus, putting your money in the mattress isn’t such a bad idea if you want to get a good night’s sleep! First off, I love American retailers such as TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning and Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy high thread count, Egyptian cotton sheets and duvets at bargain-bin prices and, though I live in Europe, I often shop these discount stores while in the good ole’ USA. On my annual visit to America, I stock up on savings whilst guaranteeing a good night’s sleep the rest of the year!

But if you’re a Princess-and-The-Pea-sort-of-girl, I’ve got a brand for you. In my opinion the best linen in the world is made by D. Porthault, the first French linen firm to introduce printed bed linens after being so inspired by Monet, Renoir and other Impressionist painters that they decided surely one would sleep better ensconced in printed French blossoms.

to 10px; WIDTH: 267px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp018F11FI/AAAAAAAADfU/vOCG6ccUzJE/s400/victoria+mag.jpg” border=”0″ />Image from Victoria Magazine – D. Porthault collection

Of course, being ensconced comes at a price – a set of D. Porthault sheets can set you back thousands of dollars. But why pay full price when you can pay a mere fraction of that? Instead of shopping retail, spend the savings you’ll realize to cover the cost of an airline ticket to the D. Porthault factory outlet, just outside of Lille, France in Roubaix.

to 10px; WIDTH: 150px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 150px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp02jl96_I/AAAAAAAADfk/Y6A2SI7Nc94/s400/d.porthault2.jpg” border=”0″ />Roubaix is the former heart of the French textile industry and now the center of mail-order shopping in France. The city used to be known as the ‘city of 1,000 chimneys’ and the old factories and their chimney’s still stand. Getting to the D. Porthault factory is certain to cause confusion on your GPS, but stay the course and you’ll be rewarded when you arrive at the destination:
D. Porthault
19 Rue Robespierre
Rieux-en-Cambresis, France

to 10px; WIDTH: 183px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 280px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp2fxrkz2I/AAAAAAAADf0/b8vWLg75DKs/s400/C%27est+la+Vie.jpg” border=”0″ />But you don’t have to take just my word for it, take that of my shopping idol, Born to Shop expert Suzy Gershman. She writes in her memoir, C’est La Vie, “A one thousand dollar sheet costs about ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS at the outlet. The Porthault outlet store is located right within the factory. Most of the world’s top hotels have Porthault robes. The Porthault factory outlet sells both commercial lines as well as consumer lines, both are deluxe brands released (in the factory) at a small fraction of the regular retail price.” If it’s good enough for the world’s top hotels, then it’s good enough for me! Of course, with the plethora of guests I’ve been hosting since my recent move to Berlin, I might have opened a B&B; for friends and family and not even known it!

While you’re in Lille, you’ll want to maximize your shopping time. That’s why you want to go to Lille, France the FIRST WEEKEND in SEPTEMBER every year for their Grand Braderie – literally a town-wide garage sale! You can stock up on French furniture and antiques to go with those gorgeous sheets and table cloths you’ve just purchased. And before leaving Lille, you’ll naturally have to hit ALL those other factory outlets – my favorite is L’Usine – an outlet mall with three floors selling 200 brands of discounts of up to 60 percent off. If you don’t find anything at D. Porthault (sadly there’s no guarantee you’ll find the bargains Suzy talked about in her book) then you’ll definitely find something at L’Usine … Check out the Deschamps outlet store and keep your eye open for linens with labels such as Cristian Lacroix, Pierre Frey, Yves Delorme – all, bien sur, at deeply discounted prices!

to+bed+diva.jpg”>to+bed+diva.jpg” border=”0″ />L’Usine
228, Avenue Alfred Motte
59100 Roubaix, France
L’Usine Website

Until Next Time, Bonne Nuit!

The Antiques Diva
(Seen Right at Le Grand Hotel Intercontinental Paris)

Calendar Alert for Amsterdam – Kunst & Antiekbeurs Verzamelen In Stijl

to 10px; WIDTH: 266px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SrUJRyJ-NgI/AAAAAAAADjs/YOGueCJzIp8/s400/Krasnapolsky.jpg” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>The Kunst & Antiekbeurs Verzamelen in Stijl is back in town for 2 days only – Saturday, October 17 and Sunday, October 18, 2009.

to 10px; WIDTH: 250px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 150px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SrUIUWjsw3I/AAAAAAAADjc/IpBfHRGpqsg/s400/verzamelin+in+stijl2.gif” border=”0″ />Entry is FREE this year and this dazzling art and antiques fair specializing in Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Jugendstil will take place in one of A’dams most centrally located hotels – Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky on Dam Square. Stay for lunch in their gorgeous Brasserie Reflet, with its Belle Epoque interior dating back to the 1880’s.

About forty exhibitors will show their collections in this wonderful, large, monumental glasshouse building which was built in 1880. The exhibitors will share tidbits about their products and passions, expounding upon the various style periods and more!

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SrUIUGxZtTI/AAAAAAAADjU/zXjAdaxkZmM/s400/verzamelin+in+stijl.jpg” border=”0″ />NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky
Dam 9,
1012 JS Amsterdam

A must shop antiques event in Amsterdam! Hope to see you there!

The Antiques Diva™

Parlez-vous brocante?

to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp6fAaJ14I/AAAAAAAADf8/tmggqXqZiyU/s400/086.JPG” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Parlez-vous brocante? Do you speak French flea market? While the “Armoire” is the best known piece of French furniture, did you know that if an armoire only has one door then it is not an “Armoire”? Instead, it is a “Bonnetiere” deriving its name from the rounded top which looks like the shape of a bonnet worn by “Breton” ladies ( women from a region in northern France called Brittany). Sometimes you’ll see this bell-shaped armoire top referred to as a “Chapeau de Gendarme” or a police man’s hat. But if that “Bonnetiere” is divided by a drawer then this piece becomes an “Homme Debout” (or “Standing Man”).

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp6mNwXP8I/AAAAAAAADgk/a66CoW5KcNY/s400/hommedebout.jpg” border=”0″ />This Beautifully Carved Walnut Homme Debout can be yours from 1st Dibs Garden Court Antiques

As Anglophones, when we hear “Commode” we think of a toilet, but in France a “Commode” is a chest of drawers and is considered the finest piece of furniture made for a house! While Anglophones tend to use “chest of drawers” for storing clothes, the French would use a “Coffre”. We might be familiar with the term “buffet” used as a side table in the dining room, but did you know a true buffet is higher than a commode with 2 doors on the bottom and 2 drawers at the top? Meanwhile, a “Buffet a Deux Corps” is literally a cabinet with 2 bodies. The bottom is usually traditional, but then a 2nd upper body is placed on top. However, if the top part has a plate rack, instead of doors, then it becomes a “Vaisselier”.

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp6glS0G4I/AAAAAAAADgU/mKyuFnIyseo/s400/commode.jpg” border=”0″ />This Louis XV Style Commode in Kingwood & Tulipwood, c. 1850 is similar to the one I have at home! Shop like The Diva at 1st Dibs – William Word Fine Antiques

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp6fy7NqiI/AAAAAAAADgM/PfqwhYPvUkE/s400/buffetadeauxcorps.jpg” border=”0″ />This Louis XV Cherry Buffet a Deux Corps, Circa 1760 is from
Richard Norton Antiques at 1st Dibs

A shelf (or even a floor in an apartment) is called an “Etage” but if a piece which sole purpose is shelving, then it is called an “Tagre”. However, if you’re storing books on that “tagre” and it has enclosed sides, then it is called a “Bibliotheque” which happens to be the same word for library in France. Wouldn’t it be confusing to ask how many bookshelves a certain library has?

All this thinking in a foreign language probably leaves you tired. You might as well take a “Siege”!! No, don’t attack a foreign city, instead take a seat – in fact, any seat, this is a general term for “Canapes, Fauteuils or Chaise”. You might know chair is “chaise” in French, but are you familiar with “Fauteuils”? This is nothing more than an armchair from any period. But if that armchair is upholstered, has an exposed wood frame and enclosed sides, then it is considered a “Bergere”. While you might be hungry don’t assume you’ll get an hors-d’oeuvre when you hear canapé mentioned – for a French man is probably asking you to sit on an antique wood-framed couch or love seat!

to 10px; WIDTH: 399px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp6fhWjpEI/AAAAAAAADgE/yZ7Tg4XzBB8/s400/bergers.jpg” border=”0″ />Another item you’ll find chez moi, this Pair of French Louis XVI Style Painted Bergeres are from the late 19th Century. From Alhambra Antiques – 1st Dibs

If you want to kick back and relax, you won’t find a Lazy Boy in France, but you will find a “Chaise Longue”, a chair long enough to support your legs! But if the “Chaise Longue” has a back rest at both ends it is known as a “Recamier”. Meanwhile a grand chair with matching ottoman would be called a “Duchess Brise”. If a chair has a footstool but it doesn’t match, that’s “un pouf”! Of course, if you’re looking for a chair that looks like a stool to sit at the side of a chair but not sit your feet on, then that’s a “Tabouret”!

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp6g791xxI/AAAAAAAADgc/7VsHQ7myuzg/s400/Duchesse+Brisee.jpg” border=”0″ />I’ll be looking for something like this for my bedroom at Diva Tours French Flea Market Fall Extravaganza. ThisThree-piece Louis XV style Duchesse Brisee was made in 1870 and is available on line from, you guessed it, 1st Dibs.com
Vendor: Alhambra Antiques

Last but not least, you might need a “Lumire” to read by! While chandelier sure sounds like a French word to me, the French do not use this term – they call them “Lustre”. Finally, we come to something simple – a lamp is just “une Lampe”, but that’s where simple stops! If I were to say “Appliques” what would you think it means? Me? I think of an embroidery or iron-on patch, but in French this is the word for a sconce! That’s it!!! I’ve had enough French furniture vocabulary for one day! I’m going to bed, which in French is “Lit” pronounced “lee”!

“Bonne Nuit!” Good Night!

The Antiques Diva™

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Say Cheese!! Camembert Label Collecting

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spq69w24kII/AAAAAAAADg8/Ar6C5jBsFJ4/s400/074.JPG” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>At French flea markets you see a variety of collectibles you never knew were collectible! You find old (and by old I mean really old) mustard pots, tin boxes and yogurt jars. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” – especially if the trash is a few hundred years old! One perfectly-packable collectible I adore is Camembert Labels – those bright round labels found on boxes of pungent cheese from Normandy. So popular is label collecting that there is even a name for the people who do it – tyrosemiophiles!

Over the years I’ve bought my fair share of camembert and being the Frugal Diva that I am, I’ve saved the boxes (cleaned by filling with baking soda to remove the “smelly cheese” smell). I use these boxes as organizers, holding tacks, clips and other accessories that get lost in cavernous drawers. It seems so charmingly French that camembert comes in “wooden boxes” rather than cardboard containers. But in fact this tradition was started in the 19th C for exporting the cheese to America! The wood provided the perfect humidity for transport but as technology passed by the tradition lingered!

Popular scenes on labels include everything from luscious milk maidens to man’s first walk on the moon! Prices for labels run less than a euro each ($1.40) but move upwards the rarer the scene depicted is. Occasionally artisans will turn camembert boxes into small wall clocks – selling these for $10-15 each. Of course, you can make them yourself by picking up a clock kit at your local hobby store.

Enjoy!

The Antiques Diva™

(seen at right with the famous Gouda cheese of her second home, Holland)

Diva-scovery: Unopiu

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>While browsing the stores at Berlin’s Stilwerk last week I discovered Unopiu – a store whose motto proclaims itself as having “the world’s largest range of outdoor products”. While I was entranced with their gorgeous collection of furnishings for verandas, terrace’s and pool houses, I’m lucky to be able to fit a gas grill and tiny table and chairs for two on the back balcony of my urban apartment. Though I was enchanted by Unopiu’s outdoor collection – as delicious as it might have been – that wasn’t what caught my eye.

No, instead it was the Interior Collection that was one part Tuscan and one part French provincial with the remaining third being an extra dose of European country style. I could see any of the pieces fitting comfortably on the pages of Kathryn Ireland’s Classic Country book, bedecked with her brightly colored fabrics and vintage finds. A visit to their website lured me further into their folds – thus today’s DivaScovery is Unopiu.

Unopiu was started in 1978 when 2 partners with a craze for gardens started a utopian project to create furnishing solutions for open spaces as though they were part of the house, with the same care and the same elegance – 30 years later this small handicraft store has 30 showrooms in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, Austria and publish 3 million copies of their catalog (containing over 2000 items) in 6 languages!

Best of all, Unopiu offers online shopping – so you, dear Diva Readers, are only a click away from today’s Diva-scovery!

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Image from an article titled “La Dolce Vita with Unopiu” on Hidden in France blog

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Image from tos/displayimage.php?album=4924&pos=2″ target=”_blank”>Info Jardin

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Images above and below from Polyvore

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Until Next Time, Happy Shopping!
The Antiques Diva™

What is Diva-scovery?
A fabulous find or shopping discovery – be it an Antique Shop, Vintage or Home Decorating Store – that will entice diva’s on parade to stop, shop and drop some dough!

Do you have a Diva-scovery you’d like to share? Perhaps a favorite antique shop, an excellent brand or divalicious home decorating store. Whether you’re in Paris, Texas or Paris, France or anywhere else around the globe, I’d love to hear your Diva-scoveries!! Email me at to:toma@antiquesdiva.com”>toma@antiquesdiva.com

Buying “notions” in Italy

to 10px; WIDTH: 312px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9YHF9mMkI/AAAAAAAADQ8/PN_OhFWagxo/s400/Laura_Ashley27.JPG” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Call them notions, haberdashery, passementerie or passamaneria – whatever the language, whether British English, American, French or Italian, I love tassels, trims, tiebacks, cords and bows. They are small details that go almost unnoticed in homes yet make a significant difference in the decor. One doesn’t walk in a friend’s home and say “I love the trim on that chair and the tassels on those drapes!” but rather one walks into a house, commenting upon how finished and polished it is. Taking a seat, your guests will look around the room, a little bit envious, and sigh “You’ve thought of every last detail”.

to 10px; WIDTH: 259px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9YGBNkfPI/AAAAAAAADQk/gN_O9Ve42k4/s400/680.1.jpg” border=”0″ />The French say that passementerie adds that certain “je ne sais quoi” – the little something more that you can’t quite put your finger on but which differentiates the blasé from the va-va-voom. You might say it’s like putting a scarf on the room – that final, finishing touch.

“Scarf?” you ask. Every time I’m getting dressed and discover that I don’t look just right – that something is missing – I reach for an Hermès to drape over my shoulders or tie around my neck and suddenly the outfit, which I thought was already complete with pearls and cardigan, comes to life. Trims, tassels and notions work like a scarf when decorating your home. And while any scarf will do – I’ve plenty of silk swaths picked up here and there, scarves that caught my eye because they are pretty – my Hermès scarves are special. They’re in a class of their own. With tassels and trims it’s the same – they are the finishing touch and if they’re Italian they’re just a little bit more special.

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9YGVJaeUI/AAAAAAAADQs/G4GVx9I8tRs/s400/158.JPG” border=”0″ />Wherever you are in the world, you can walk into your local sewing shop and pick up something pretty and good quality, but the trims, tassels and notions in Italy have that same “je ne sais quoi” as Hermès. And just as you can buy Hermès in most major cities in the world, or online at any time, buying Hermès in Paris is special. If you shop in America, you’re buying haberdashery, but if you shop in Italy, you’re buying passamaneria – not just a household accessory, but an entire language, culture and romance.

to 10px; WIDTH: 289px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9YGEIvPnI/AAAAAAAADQc/RHmf-IzqSm0/s400/fringbraidgimptypes.jpg” border=”0″ />Part of the undefineable quality that gives Italian trims an emotional edge is the memory of you standing in a little passamaneria in a hidden alleyway in Italy wearing a stylish Hermès scarf (picked up on your last trip to Paris, bien sur) while speaking a foreign language, to/s1600-h/italian_flag.gif”>to/s200/italian_flag.gif” border=”0″ />smelling the Tripe vendor who has set up his cart just around the corner from the store and the slightly salty smell of the shop keeper who had been sitting on a little slatted chair in front of his shop soaking up the afternoon sun and watching the crowds go by until you wandered in through his door. You can still taste your afternoon gelato on your tongue and as you’re about to pull out the brightly colored European cash (for surely this small of a vendor doesn’t accept credit cards) a cat rubs against your legs, distracting you. A short Italian grandma comes out of the backroom, a room with a stairway that leads to an apartment over-head. She looks like she was born making cannoli. She says something you can’t understand and you smile as she bends over quickly as if she were 17 instead of 70, plopping her “gatto” named Pinnochio on the counter next to your purchase, tassels and trims, where he purrs expecting you to admire him as his owner rubs behind his ear. His paw reaches out to play with trim still dangling from the roll setting on the counter… much as you, back home after the trip, reach out to run your fingers through the silky strands of the tassel hanging from the lock on the top drawer of the dresser you inherited from your grandmother.

You’re not just buying tassels and trims, you’re buying a memory.

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sk9YG5YApQI/AAAAAAAADQ0/0URRky2wooo/s400/065.JPG” border=”0″ />A private memory that will take you on a voyage each time you sit in a chair you’ve embossed with a trim or open that drawer where you’ve hung a tassel. To everyone else, you’ve merely added an imperceptible detail that polishes your home, but you’ve bought a memory and as you sit drinking tea, chatting with a group of girlfriends you’ll run your finger over trim following the line of the chaise longue where you sit and you’ll smile, remembering a detail that no one else knows. It’s like wearing lingerie. Even if you’re wearing a conservative collar, buttoned up, prim and proper, no one but you knows you’re wearing La Perla underneath. You have a secret.

You’ve bought “notions” in Italy.

Stay Tuned Tomorrow and The Next Day for 2 Diva-scovery Addresses for your little black book!!

Arrivederci!

The Antiques Diva™

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