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Villa Necchi Campiglio

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 shopping recently for antiques at Italy’s largest antiques fair, Mercanteinfeira with VIPS John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash and Caleb Anderson, we took time out of our busy antiquing schedule to soak in some serious design inspiration by visiting one of the best kept secrets in Milan – Villa Necchi Campiglio.

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

The villa was built between 1932 and 1935 for the wealthy Lombard industrialist family made up of Angelo Campiglio, his wife Gigina Necchi, and her sister Nedda Necchi. It is situated in a very well-to-do part of Milan and was designed by Italian architect Piero Portaluppi. Both architect and client paid close attention to detail to create a house that would be the backdrop to a life well-lived in Milanese high society.

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

The home isn’t so much a gaudy “look at my wealth” statement—as many mansions of the gilded age were— but rather it is a mixture of architectural styles of the 19th and 20th centuries. The house is made up of an enfilade of rooms, each flowing into the next, but able to be separated by sliding doors. It is almost as if Portaluppi imagined the day-to-day life that would play out in the house and designed each space to be used at a certain time of day. Thought was given to the fact that there needed to be intimate spaces for everyday life but also larger, open rooms that could accommodate social functions.

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

The house is set in a large garden which includes a swimming pool and tennis court. Inside, the sculpted ceilings are an interesting feature as is the collection of 20th century paintings and sculpture. With no corridors, one must pass through each room to get to the next which creates a theatrical atmosphere, particularly if you imagine the sliding screens being shut and then suddenly opening to reveal the dining room with its table set for a dinner party.

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

While it’s not ostentatious, the villa is most definitely the epitome of luxury. From the grand veneered staircase which greets you to the goat’s leather paneling of the dining room walls, the attention to finishes and detail is paramount. There is even personalized crockery in the staff quarters that was designed by Portaluppi himself. Now that’s what I call understated decadence!

Villa Necchi Campiglio, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Art and Antiques Fair, John Eason, Jennifer Mehditash, Caleb Anderson, Milan Architecture and Design, Portaluppi, Italian Design

If you happen to be in Milan, you simply must visit this inspirational house museum – it’s one of Milan’s best kept secrets. It certainly is a lesson in architecture and design as it successfully mixes impressive 19th century style with progressive 20th century design. Perfection!

Ciao Bella!

The Antiques Diva® 

Antiques Diva Resources

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;”>While at The Antiques Diva & Co we’re known for our customized private antique buying tours throughout Europe – our contacts go beyond “just antiques”.  Our local Diva Guides are our greatest assets because they know their regions like the back of their hand… and they have contacts beyond your wildest dreams! Many of our clients are interior designers, which means finding antiques is just one thing on their long to-do list to finish their projects.  In Italy our local Diva Guide Susan has not only antique sources but so much more! Her little black book of artisans and skilled craftsmen is bulging with brilliant ideas.  In addition to sourcing antiques we can also help with new custom Italian furniture either from reclaimed or new materials that can match or coordinate with your antiques.

Antiques Diva Italy, Buying antiques in Italy, Sourcing design elements in Italy, Little black book of Artisans and Skilled Craftsmen, The Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Tuscan Diva Guide Susan, Shopping in Tuscany, Painted Pieces in Italy, Forged Ironworks in Tuscany, Italian Design,

Locally based Tuscan Diva Susan explains, “We know that being a decorator or buying for your private home is very different to being an antiques dealer. How often does one look at a piece and say, ‘If only it was a little shorter, a smidgen wider…’ Sometimes the European measurements just don’t match up. Or perhaps you found the perfect table but need twelve chairs instead of just four. With this in mind, it occurred to us on our travels that for you as a designer, maybe we can help with this dilemma.”

Over the years we have gotten to know and become friends with lots of interesting artisans – Italy is famed for its design, taste, and talented craftsmen. Albeit this latter category is a rare and dying breed so we have traveled far and wide to seek out the best small family-run businesses that have been passed down from generation to generation to ensure our clients find the artisans for which they are looking. Passion and pride play a fundamental role in their dedication and success.

Antiques Diva - Italian antiques, Buying antiques in Italy, Sourcing design elements in Italy, Little black book of Artisans and Skilled Craftsmen, The Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Tuscan Diva Guide Susan, Shopping in Tuscany, Painted Pieces in Italy, Forged Ironworks in Tuscany, Italian Design,

Traditional Elements

We have a source that is fantastic at making high-quality ‘antiqued’ furniture. In particular they have a beautiful range of marquetry dining tables, chairs, and cabinetry and will make bespoke pieces just for you. This eliminates your problems with length, width, height, and style of legs or finish. And better still, we know from past clients that their prices are a fraction of those in the USA.

Antiques Diva Buying antiques in Italy, Buying antiques in Italy, Sourcing design elements in Italy, Little black book of Artisans and Skilled Craftsmen, The Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Tuscan Diva Guide Susan, Shopping in Tuscany, Painted Pieces in Italy, Forged Ironworks in Tuscany, Italian Design,

Painted Pieces

The father & son business we work with specializes in painted furniture of fine artisan quality. You’d be forgiven for mistaking it for old! The furniture consists of Italian style chests, buffets, cupboards, as well as sconces and chandeliers. The plus is that you can choose the color and the hardware. They use Farrow & Ball, so you will know exactly how the color will turn out, and their standards are high.

Buying antiques in Italy, Sourcing design elements in Italy, Little black book of Artisans and Skilled Craftsmen, The Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Tuscan Diva Guide Susan, Shopping in Tuscany, Painted Pieces in Italy, Forged Ironworks in Tuscany, Italian Design,

Forged Iron

Tuscany in particular is well known for its ironwork. Our blacksmiths—and truly they are much more than that— are a family of 3 brothers, their father, and nephew. Together they are quite a force, designing and creating some of the most handsome hand-forged wrought iron around, many taken from centuries old designs, but others surprisingly contemporary. They also love to make original and unique pieces of furniture using old wood and adapting older pieces.

Buying antiques in Italy, Sourcing design elements in Italy, Little black book of Artisans and Skilled Craftsmen, The Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Tuscan Diva Guide Susan, Shopping in Tuscany, Painted Pieces in Italy, Forged Ironworks in Tuscany, Italian Design,

These are just a few of our friends to whet your appetite. We have many, many more sources throughout Europe that can customize, restore or even build pieces to your specification. In fact, we have connections that can customize centuries-old fireplaces or even help you adapt antique staircases, gates, and fountains for your projects! We guarantee that your clients will be delighted with the end result because we have worked with these craftsmen for years.

If you would like more information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour in any of our 8 tour countries, email us at to:info@antiquesdiva.com”>info@antiquesdiva.com and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Toma Clark Haines and Susan, Italian Diva Guide, Buying antiques in Italy, Sourcing design elements in Italy, Little black book of Artisans and Skilled Craftsmen, The Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Tuscan Diva Guide Susan, Shopping in Tuscany, Painted Pieces in Italy, Forged Ironworks in Tuscany, Italian Design,

Yours truly,

The Antiques Diva® 

Leave the Gun, Take the Colombo…

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 100px; line-height: 90px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>An Antiques Diva reader recently asked my advice.  She had gone to an auction at Amsterdam’s newest – and hottest – auction house, Gavelers, and had purchased a dazzling Italian chair with which she’d fallen head over heels in love.  And while she felt she had scored a prize at auction she wanted my expert opinion.  “What do you know about Joe Colombo?”

The boss of the Colombo crime family” I asked, not giving her time to interrupt.  I love a good murder. 

Rumor has it that this Godfather was an ardent Catholic.  They say that when a thief stole a jewel-studded crown from his church that Colombo found the criminal and forced him to return the crown and that later the thief was found dead with a rosary wrapped around his neck.” I excitedly explained, “Reportedly it was Colombo’s work.”

“Er… Interesting…” she responded, But I meant the Italian designer,”

I detected that she seemed more than a little freaked out by my mafia knowledge.  “Too much Soprano’s” I quickly explained, and then confessed that I wasn’t an expert on this particular period.  “But what is your stomach telling you?” she queried, “I paid 1500E – do you think I got a good deal?”  My first instinct was to answer in the affirmative, but while I may not be an expert on mid-century design, I know people who are!

tour-guide.jpg”>tour guide” src=”https://antiquesdiva.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/antiques-diva-tour-guide.jpg” alt=”” width=”640″ height=”480″ />

My first call was to my tours/abouttours/” target=”_blank”>Antiques Diva Tour Guide, Lucretia.  

I must confess Lucretia is the brains (as well as beauty) behind my tour operation in the Netherlands and Belgium and I knew she’d be quick with an answer.  Great buy!” she confirmed, as she went on to explain, “The name of this chair is officially: Painted plywood chair 4801 and it was made in 1964 in Italy by Joe Colombo.” 

Since a mutual friend works at this auction house, she encouraged me to reach out to Gavelers and ask their opinion on the chair.  One email was sent and forwarded onto the right party and before I could go search for a cannoli (all this Godfather talk was making me hungry) Marcel Brouwer, the 20th Century Design Specialist at Gavelers, had responded to my email, providing a bit more behind-the-scenes info on this purchase.  

Brouwer explained, “This particular chair was manufactured by Kartell and has been made out of three pieces of laminated bentwood. What was so amazing about the chair – apart from its reasonable purchase price (the white example has been sold at DOUBLE that amount before) – is its condition. Due to use, these wooden chairs normally have been worn quite a lot, specifically on top of the seat. It is rare to find an example which is not repainted. This particular chair had its first and only original paint layer. The client who bought the chair had a very good deal since vintage furniture of well-known designers, icons of the 20th century, in pristine condition will always be desirable.

Special thanks to Marcel Brouwer of Gavelers for filling in the gaps on this client’s query.  Next time I’m going to auction, I’m going to Gavelers!  

Going, going, gone, ciao, ciao!

The Antiques Diva®
(seen below on vacation in the Amalfi coast)

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The Antiques Diva & Co offers custom planned Antiques Buying Tours for tourists and trade professionals. Whether you’re looking to buy one specific piece or wanting to fill an entire container, our personal shopping antique buying guides share their vast knowledge of secret sources to take you to all the right places.

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