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 firstname.lastname@example.org! 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,
Decoration and Design Building. In this discussion intended for an interior designer audience we answered a slew of questions from where to go, to what to buy, to how much it actually costs and – most importantly – how to get it home once you buy it, sharing insider knowledge and secret hints and tips. Held in the D&D Building’s newest and hottest showroom, our host was the Bespoke by Luigi Gentile Showroom which specializes in custom, fine, hand-crafted furniture exclusively for the interior design community. During our Panel Discussion my cohorts and I were able to linger on perhaps the most comfortably chic, custom-made sofa I’ve ever sat on… and whilst discussing European antiques at one point I found my mind pondering Bespoke’s sectionals. What I love about this showroom is they make custom as easy as buying one off the showroom floor. They assist in all phases of the specifying process, from the initial conceptual selection of the basic style to the direction of the fabric application.ast week I was delighted to speak in NYC on a panel on The Accessibility of Sourcing Antiques in Europe at the
The event was moderated by the effervescent Tamara Matthews Stephenson, the blogess behind “Nest by Tamara” blog. I first met Tamara when on #BlogTourNYC several years ago and was immediately charmed by her wit, her savvy style and chic design sense combined with fabulous personality. Needless to say I’m not the only one who has been charmed by here – her blog has been voted #1 out of the Top 100 Design Blogs by Modenus. She is a mover and shaker in the design world – Dot & Bo listed Tamara as one of the TOP 50 Home Influencers inspiring us in how we live today. She started the event by sharing how her own father worked in antiques and telling stories of growing up going to auctions… should I ever decide to start Antiques Diva New York, Tamara would be the first person I’d call to help me leap the Atlantic.
In addition to me participating on the panel several famed interior designers also shared their stories of buying abroad. I was joined by interior design maven Justin Shaulis, Jon Call of Mr Call Designs and Philip Gorrivan who divides his time between NYC and London and whose work has graced some of the top shelter publications from Elle Décor to House Beautiful. Philip Gorrivan owns the eponymously named multi-disciplinary design firm incorporating interior design, architecture and product design. The firm brings its wide expertise and tailored modern taste to high-end private residences, commercial properties, yachts and hospitality projects in the United States and abroad; creating spaces, furniture and fabrics that are at once fresh and new, yet elegant and classic. His carefully edited aesthetic stems from his passion and study of the decorative arts and the history of architecture juxtaposed with contemporary art and new techniques and finishes.
Both Justin Shaulis and Jon Call of Mr Call Designs have been on recent Antiques Diva tours and both say the accessibility of sourcing in Europe has changed the way they as designers will do their business in the future. Justin Shaulis, who is quite possibly the most charming lad in Manhattan, has over 15 years of experience in architecture and interior design, working with some notable names in the industry. If his name sounds familiar it might be because you’ve seen him on HGTV – Justin starred as the Design Host for a philanthropic-based series called “Home Rules” where he and Lifecoach, Fran Harris, worked on changing the life of a family inside and out in one week. Additionally he has worked with leading furniture manufacturers to create industry showcases, provided architectural and design services for financial firms and large-scale offices in major corporate spaces while maintaining a boutique-styled approach. His experience with special projects, including development of houses, homes, estates, museums, showrooms and offices, has allowed Shaulis to make major contributions to a variety of different design outcomes. Shaulis’ perspective on design is drawn from diversity: a blue-collar upbringing, a Big 10 University education and his home in New York City. In 2002, Shaulis founded Justin Shaulis, Inc. creating a studio environment and utilizing holistic design methodologies based on context and quality of life in realizing Emotive Design.
Meanwhile designer Jon Call is simply dashing and adoreable and everytime I turn around I keep seeing his name popping up in the press. He studied architecture in Seattle before moving to New York to work for Diamond Baratta, where he was immersed in their world of vivid color, custom furniture, and storied tradition. After that, he worked for Shawn Henderson, another young designer, before striking out on his own in 2010. The name of the firm, a somewhat cheeky reference to the days when designers were known by Mr. or Mrs., embodies Call’s spirit: he winks, rather than nods, at the past. Clients say he is smart, professional, energetic and that he listens well but will be firm in “preventing you from making a bad choice.” Those looking for a rubber stamper with access to the D&D or a dusty Park Avenue institution are advised to keep looking. Those in search of a fun, fresh designer with classic taste would do well to pay a visit to Mr. Call.
Mr Call is both the past and the future of interior design; he is equally comfortable sketching plans for custom casegoods as he is posting fabric options for clients on Pinterest. A young designer with a savvy clientele, Call is embraced by the downtown (and Brooklyn) crowd, but his is not a sleek loft look. Rather, Call achieves a tailored take on classic style that is American in the broad, free-spirited sense of the word. It’s a palette that includes everything from Federal pieces to Mad Men Midcentury to clever details that conjure a wry smile. Above all, Call aims to give his clients spaces that balance comfort with “the luxury of a room with personality.”
It was such an absolute pleasure to be able share insight with the NYC Design Community into the Accessibility of Sourcing in Europe. Having panel members with profiles such as these greats of design made the event even more special.
If you’re bummed to have missed the event in NYC – don’t worry – we’re taking this gig on the road. Stay tuned for this Panel Series to come to a city near you. Next up: Chicago on Tuesday!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
Save the Date! Come join me in NYC on Nov 5th at the beautiful Decoration & Design Building!
I’ll be on a panel along with interior design maven Justin Shaulis (of HGTV fame) and famed designers Philip Gorrivan and Jon Call of Mr. Call Designs. Plus, we have the good fortune of having esteemed blogger and interior designer Tamara Matthews-Stephenson of Nest By Tamara as our guest panelist and moderator!
The topic du jour will be the Art of Collecting and the Accessibility of Sourcing Antiques in Europe.
Come! Listen! Learn! ENJOY!!
See you soon in The Big Apple,
The Antiques Diva®