I was recently in the Big Easy speaking at Southern Style Now Conference organized by Robert Leleux, former editor of Domino Magazine. Part of my time there included leading a Antiques Tour of Magazine Street, taking the group to my favorite antique dealers in New Orleans! Because I’m all about sharing secret antique sources with you — I had to write and share my Top Antique Shops in New Orleans list! In no particular order –
1) Shaun Smith Home
Shaun Smith is one of those guys that everyone loves. He’s as gorgeous as he is nice. I got to know Shaun when he was a client of The Antiques Diva & Co, shopping with us in Italy. While he certainly is a charming southern gentleman, he’s also got great style which is reflected in his store and interior design business. His inventory is eclectic, which makes his store fun to peruse. We spotted everything from an enormous model of a horse (life size) to antique Italian paintings.
2) Mac Maison
Michael Carvine has been in business for 20 years, and his refined store proves that good taste never goes out of style. Highlights here included fabulous antique lighting. From chandeliers to sconces, everything seemed to shimmer! There were also some gorgeous 18th-century Italian pieces that caught my eye immediately. I love dealers who can bring classic European pieces to the US… after all, that’s what my business is all about!
3) Karla Katz
I think I love Karla Katz’s store as much as I love her story! Years ago, she started off by just renting a stall in a larger store. As she bought more and more inventory, her space got larger and larger. After a while, she decided to take a leap of faith and start her own booming business… today her shop is absolutely stunning and draws some of the design world’s top buyers. In fact, while we were there, Bunny Williams and Suzanne Kasler happened to be shopping!
4) Anne Koerner
Anne Koerner, in my opinion, is one of the best Swedish antiques dealers in the USA. She has an incredible knowledge and can talk to you intelligently about any of her pieces. Going into her shop is like having a “history of furniture” lesson. Another thing I love about her store is that she mixes works from local artists, often juxtaposing modern art with antiques, and that is what we love at The Antiques Diva & Co!
5) Uptowner Antiques
Owners James and Roslyn take an adventurous approach to antique dealing. They not only buy & sell, they also restore pieces. James’ father was a furniture restorer and this has carried on into the business today. The couple travels to Europe to purchase pieces that need restoration. They then bring them back to their workshop in the US and restore everything impeccably. From traditional French pieces to Mid Century Modern (which happens to be James’ personal passion), they’ve got some really lovely pieces. Hint… if you go into the shop ask James about Mid-Century Modern… he was collecting MidC before MidC was cool. Hashtag #Trendsetter!
Speaking of trendsetters, Melissa Rufty and Adrienne Casbarian have found a niche in the design world. They specialize in the last 10% of things you need when decorating your home. I like to call it the jewelry for the home- lamps, small tables, art, accessories, etc. While we were there, Robert LeDeux fell in love with a lacquered parchment coffee table in the store and said it was his favorite piece on Magazine Street! My god, my problem… how to choose just one favorite piece in their store. I want it all.
7) Patricia Thompson
Patricia Thompson has been in business for over 15 years. She travels to France twice a year and shops all the famous trade fairs, bringing back fabulous 18th and 19th-century French inventory. A secret to her success is that she only buys things she personally would live with… and mamma mia, if this is how she lives at home, then next time I’m in town I’m inviting myself to stay chez elle. Perfection.
Speaking of perfection, Sarah, the owner of Balzac, has been in business for 20 years, but she never thought she would be an antique dealer! This is actually her 3rd career. Previously she was a lawyer then a stock broker. She now uses her business acumen when running her store which has fabulous lighting pieces along with a wide variety of mostly European inventory. I could have spent the entire day in shop. She knows her pieces, understands her inventory and her clients needs. First Class.
9) Kevin Stone
Further down Magazine Street than the others is none other than Kevin Stone. It may be a bit of a jaunt, but you will be rewarded as it is the largest store and Kevin’s personality is as fabulous as his inventory. Hmm… I fear there might be a photo of me sitting on his lap at his desk drinking champagne. He’s also an opera singer and if you’re lucky you can catch him singing in the shop…. if I were you and I were making a purchase I’d consider a personal song from him a requirement in lieu of a discount.
Empire has a very elegant atmosphere. From 19th century painted Italian furniture to Mid Century Modern lucite tables, this store has got style! They also have fabulous serving pieces and entertaining accessories.
11) Wirthmore Antiques
Okay really – what we do at The Antiques Diva & Co is EXCEED your expectations. So why stop at only 10 antique dealers in New Orleans. Gay Wirth has been in business for over 25 years, personally selecting each piece of inventory. Wirthmore specializes in 18th and 19th century French, Italian, and Swedish antiques. Gay encourages customers to only buy what they love, as she believes that when you purchase an antique, it should stay with you forever.
12) Gerrie Bremermann
I’ve saved the best for LAST. Gerrie is the Grand Dame of Magazine Street. She is a personal inspiration to me for both her effortless STYLE and her Entrepreneur Skills. And get this… Gerrie who is in her 90’s now actually started her career in interior design at age 42, which happens to be how old I am right now… which tells me… heaven only what will happen in the next 42 years of my life. I recently got hired to be a jewelry model for an upcoming ad campaign (#WatchThisSpace) and I can guarantee I never expected to have this on my CV, er, make that Resume in for the American readers. I find it inspiring to see other women doing what they love and succeeding at it in a Big Way making it look Easy. During Southern Style Now Gerrie received a lifetime achievement award for interior design…. And there’s no doubt why. Her store is certainly a must-see when you’re in New Orleans!
The next time you find yourself in New Orleans, I highly recommend taking some time to peruse Magazine Street, and when you pop into these stores, tell them Toma Clark Haines – aka, The Antiques Diva sent you!
Confession… just a few short weeks after I lead the antiques tour of New Orleans I kid you not Mister Leleux himself proposed marriage claiming that my antiques tour was the hit of his conference! Of course he wasn’t the only one who said that! Interior Designer Connie Seitz wrote me the sweetest note:
“It was so much fun to meet and interact with you on the Antiques Walking Tour Saturday morning. I must confess it was my favorite part of the activities associated with the Platinum VIP Ticket. Everything was perfect… the selection of sites to visit, the size of the group and even the weather! Everything went so smoothly and your hard work preparing for it was evident. I hope that next time we can take the entire day and include lunch.”
Laissez le bon temps rouler!!!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva
Dear Diva Readers,
#BlogTourNola who particularly touched my heart was Joe and Gloria Robert of New Orleans.any of you know I lost my home in a fire last year on Thanksgiving. It’s taken 4 months of living in temporary housing before we found a new home which we moved in last month on April 1st. Now, our new house sits near empty as we one piece at a time buy purchases to make our house a home. It was an air mattress at first, then they delivered the mattress for our bed – but we have to wait another 2 months before the bed itself is delivered. It’s not been easy and these 6 months since the fire have felt like an eternity. Perhaps it’s for this reason that my visit to New Orleans last month hit home more than I expected. It’s been 8, nearly 9 years since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005 and yet many residents in New Orleans still do not have homes and/or are still living in unrenovated homes. One of the couples we meet in New Orleans on
~ Photo Credits: Linda Merrill of Surroundings ~
They were newlyweds looking forward to a bright future together when Hurricane Katrina hit. They had lived in their new home only one month before Katrina slammed the city and they lost everything when the levee behind their house was destroyed – one of 53 levees in the city breached by the storm surge – and canal water swallowed the home. The Roberts evacuated the city, staying with various friends and relatives. When the flood waters receded weeks later, Joe and Gloria moved into a pop-up camper in their driveway for a while, but they’ve also been staying with a family member as well.
Nearly eight years later, Joe and Gloria’s house is still uninhabitable. While a new house has been framed out, the building lacks essentials including electrical, drywall, flooring and plumbing. Because Joe is a contractor by trade, he has the skills to work on his house, but he has generously donated much of his free time to volunteering with St. Paul’s Homecoming Center , helping to rebuild other people’s houses. You’ve heard the expression about the cobbler’s children having no shoes? Well that’s Joe. He’s spending all his time and resources helping others.
Joe works on his home little by little, but is often derailed by setbacks such as having his house broken into and his tools stolen. Even though Joe was forced to save up until he could replenish his tool supply, he has not lost his faith in humanity and happens to be one of the most gracious, humble human beings you’ll find.
Fortunately, Joe and Gloria received some good news recently when Storehouse of World Vision selected the couple and their house for a rehab project. A few weeks ago Storehouse joined forces with the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and St. Paul’s Homecoming Center to help rehab kitchens and baths in three houses as a lead-in to NKBA’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) which I had the opportunity to attend with #BlogTourNola on April 19-21 in New Orleans.
The Fund Raiser for Joe & Gloria is affectionately being called “Joe to the World”!
While Storehouse and NKBA partners have donated materials, appliances and labor for a new kitchen and bath in the Robert’s house, the rest of the unfinished home still needs lots of TLC. And that’s why World Vision has agreed to dedicate a page to Joe Robert and his story as well as a link to a fundraiser just for Joe. This donation page is coded so that all funds received on this link by May 15 will go to Joe Robert and the folks at St.Paul’s Homecoming Center.
Dear Readers, I ask you to join me in helping give Joe & his wife Gloria a home. You can make a difference in one person’s life – a person who has dedicated the last 8 years to making a difference in other people’s lives. Having lost my own home through a fire I can tell you recreating a home is healing – please join #BlogtourNola, NKBA, KBIS, Storehouse World Vision, and St Pauls Homecoming Center in helping to provide the basic necessity of helping to provide a roof over one’s head
More About Storehouse of World Vision
World Vision’s Storehouse network is comprised of six warehouses across the U.S. that receive corporate donations of new, top-quality goods made available to local community partners for distribution. Goods that are distributed include building materials, school supplies, personal care items, and clothing to over 2.2 million people in low-income communities annually.
More About the National Kitchen & Bath Association
Now celebrating its 50th Anniversary, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is a not-for-profit trade association that owns the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS®). With nearly 60,000 members, the NKBA has educated and led the kitchen and bath industry since the association’s founding in 1963. The mission of the NKBA is to enhance member success and excellence, promote professionalism and ethical business practices, and provide leadership and direction for the kitchen and bath industry worldwide. For more information, visit the NKBA Press Room or
call 1-800-THE-NKBA (843-6522). KBIS and NKBA are registered trademarks of the National Kitchen and Bath Association.
You can make a difference!
The Antiques Diva®
(seen here with BlogTour Friends)
Dear Diva Readers,
t’s all about KBIS today – The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) being held in New Orleans this April 19-21, 2013 (Friday thru Sunday) at the Convention Center. Because #BlogTourNola never does anything without creating a buzz, we’ll be kick starting the day with Beignets & Bubbly, a media get-together of epic proportions where over 200+ top designers, design writers and editors mingle while attempting NOT to get sprinkled with delicious white powdered sugar from the doughnuts! We’ll also be taking a series of VIP media tours into some of our favorite vendors at the fair.
Through his best-selling books, television programs, products, magazine columns and his how-to lifestyle lectures, Danny Seo continues to share the creative ideas that have made him America’s leading lifestyle authority on modern, eco-friendly living.
Next up we get more time with Silestone after spending yesterday afternoon with their reps as we toured houses in the Make It Right foundation where Silestone is a key sponsor in donating materials for these incredible innovative rebuilds. It is incredibly moving to see how this company gives back – truly investing in the future of New Orleans as they help residents rebuild their homes. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Silestone, they are the world leader in natural quartz surfaces for kitchens and baths.
For this next media tour with Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet I’m praying they will be giving samples…. Kalamazoo is bringing the pizzeria home with their Artisan Fire Pizza Oven. Then we’ll be heading over to Toto… TOTO is the world’s largest plumbing products manufacturer. They offer 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
After all this media buzz at KBIS we’ll have worked up an appetite. But have no fear because our sponsors Poggenpohl/Blanco/Silestone are having us to their showroom for a special private dinner!!!
Today is going to be a day devoted to learning more about some of the key brands in the kitchen and bath industry. While I personally don’t work in Kitchens & Baths, I love the opportunity to better understand the house as a whole so that I can learn how the whole house functions together in great design.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
When you imagine the flickering fantasy of New Orleans it’s the lanterns dotting the French Quarter that casts a romantic glow in your mind. But did you realize that in a day and age of increasing globalization, this city’s iconic copper lanterns are still made locally by hand using old world techniques in a family-run business here in New Orleans?
I’m delighted that this morning we’ll start our day out with BlogTourNola getting to know the family who runs Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights and having an opportunity to explore their factory. This company was first founded in 1945 and revolutionized the gas lighting industry – 6 decades and 3 generations later they’re still going strong supplying not only locally but in 29 countries.
And speaking of strong, perhaps I should mention I like my coffee strong. We’re heading out the door to tour their shop with #BlogTourNola at 7am, and rumor has it that Beignets and Coffee will be the olfactory pied piper should any of the Bloggers stay out too late the night before. I must confess the first night on #BlogTour I joined a few friends on our roof-top terrace to dip our toes in the pool and continue chatting in a more intimate setting!
While #BlogTourNola involves a LOT of wining & dining, it’s really all about design and in essence design is popular because it is through design that each makes our house a home, giving our homes a personal stamp. But what if you didn’t have a home? With the advent of new “news and natural disasters”, Hurricane Katrina may seem a long time ago – in fact, it was nearly 8 years ago – and yet New Orleans is far from being completely renovated and there are a lot of residents still displaced from the disaster.
One of our #BlogTourNola sponsors – Silestone – has been actively involved in the restoration efforts – they are a key partner in Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation. Silestone will pick us up downtown and bring us to Gentilly in the north of New Orleans – one of the hardest hit areas during hurricane Katrina where many families lost everything they owned.
Photo Credit: The Examiner
Three families are now able to move into their newly remodeled or rebuilt homes through the help of The Storehouse of Worldvision which supplies building materials to over 2 million people in need, annually. The Storehouse project is supported by many great corporate sponsors and manufacturers of building materials and home products, including BlogTour sponsors the NKBA and KBIS.
We at #BlogTourNola are proud to be among the first to tour the completed homes and share more about this important project. We’ve been invited to do this, to spread the word that the work is not over yet. Our# BlogTourNola community has a combined reach of 1 MILLION Twitter followers and we’re hoping to use the power in our tweets to make the world aware that there is more work – and help needed – here in New Orleans.
Next up we’ll visit an amazing modern architectural project. With Hurricane Katrina, these new Modernist designs are the “new” New Orleans. Brad Pitt’s foundation has produced over 80 homes and involved many local architects in addition to industry icons like Frank Gehry.
As the afternoon gives way to evening, we’ll continue celebrating design, attending the NKBA Design Awards night and dinner.
Net, net – today is guaranteed to be another amazing day in New Orleans!!
Stay Tuned for more Blogs from Crescent City!
The Antiques Diva®
The lesson of the day is that the contacts in a Diva’s “Little Black Book” are worth their weight in gold – or rather make that jewels, fine art and authentic Versailles furniture! I’ve just added a contact to my address book that will have you swooning.
A scheduling conflict had my smile turned positively upside down to miss both the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris and The Armory Show in NYC. You know my motto reads “Love antiques, will travel for world-class antique fairs and flea markets”…so you can imagine my sorrow at having to sit out not just one, but two. While moaning to friend and business contact Saxon Henry of Roaming by Design over my misfortune, Sax had the perfect solution to my problems. While she couldn’t clone me so I could be in two places at once, she could introduce me to a friend of hers who just so happened to be attending both events this fall. The next best thing to being in both Paris and New York is knowing someone who will be – someone who could fill in both me and my readers on the crème de la crème of these antiques events so that even when I’m home on the range I won’t miss a moment of the action.
Enter “Candid Kellogg,” the soupcon of style, whose jet set life has me wanting an upgrade on my frequent flyer account. As I type back at the office in Berlin, Candid Kellogg is living la diva loca in Paris, sipping champagne and making me green with envy… Just like “snap, crackle, pop,” Kellogg sets aside her crystal flute to share with Diva Readers a contact from her little black book to yours.
Candid Kellogg writes:
“As the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris winds down this week (ending on September 22nd), and you find yourself returning to the other side of the Atlantic looking for a museum-quality Monet, Norman Rockwell, authentic Versailles furniture, or a quirky Enigma Machine, then step into the Rau Antiques booth at the Armory show this fall, September 30 to October 3.
Bill Rau, the third generation owner of this venerable, prestigious antiques and fine arts gallery based on Royal Street in New Orleans since 1911, has a master’s eye when it comes to acquiring spot-on antiques and, lately, pedigreed fine art, a category that has shown a marked increase in the past 18 months.
Rau Antiques is a sprawling 30,000 sq ft gallery, with a neighboring townhouse called Le Salon, which offers the connoisseur and visitor to New Orleans an impeccable and historical tour of 18th and 19th century decorative arts.
Just one of the items in his extensive collection that has me drooling is a Paul de Lamerie Sterling Coffee Pot. Incredibly rare, this sterling coffee pot, crafted by leading Georgian silversmith Paul de Lamerie, features finely engraved and repoussé decoration in this lavish Rococo example with shells, lion masks and richly detailed foliage. De Lamerie, considered for more than 250 years as the pre-eminent English silversmith of all time, he created some of the finest Georgian silver ever made, and also fused English Queen Anne elements with French Rococo style. He is simply unrivaled, and works similar to this coffee pot can be found in museums and important private collections around the globe. Hallmarked London, 1742. 8 1/4″ wide x 8 1/2″ high”.
If Candid Kellogg has you salivating for more fine art and antiques, you must visit Rau Antiques Booth at The Armory Fair this fall.
September 30 – October 3, 2010
Antiques and Art at the Armory features more than 50 dealers from around the world, specializing in high-end antiques and art. The show is vetted to ensure the highest quality and assurance of authenticity.
Special thanks to “Candid Kellogg” and her touch down from Paris! And stay tuned for more!