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Dear Diva Readers,

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to travel all over the world and meet the most interesting people. Recently, we partnered with Steve Nobel and took a VIP group of interior designers on an Antiques Diva England Tour. Of course, our local Diva Agent Gail was able to help us find the perfect places to eat and perhaps do a little sight-seeing in between our shopping appointments. While on tour we dined at The Village Pub at Barnsley, just outside the Cotswolds town of Cirencester. This local pub is at the heart of village life and is in fact owned by the same company that owns nearby Barnsley House.

Steve Nobel, Nobelinks, Sourcing antiques in England, British Buying Tours, The Village Pub, Barnsley House, Calcot Manor, The Antiques Diva

Steve Nobel, Nobelinks, Sourcing antiques in England, British Buying Tours, The Village Pub, Barnsley House, Calcot Manor, The Antiques Diva

Barnsley House was the home of one of the area’s premier lady gardeners, Rosemary Verey. Our Diva Agent Gail used to sell to her daughter Denzil who ran a small garden antiques shop in the grounds— what a small world! The house is now an extremely stylish Cotswolds hotel, which also features a restaurant on the premises. Visitors can tour the expertly maintained grounds which include knot gardens, ornamental fruit, and vegetable gardens.

Steve Nobel, Nobelinks, Sourcing antiques in England, British Buying Tours, The Village Pub, Barnsley House, Calcot Manor, The Antiques Diva

Steve Nobel, Nobelinks, Sourcing antiques in England, British Buying Tours, The Village Pub, Barnsley House, Calcot Manor, The Antiques Diva

Steve Nobel, Nobelinks, Sourcing antiques in England, British Buying Tours, The Village Pub, Barnsley House, Calcot Manor, The Antiques Diva

Steve Nobel, Nobelinks, Sourcing antiques in England, British Buying Tours, The Village Pub, Barnsley House, Calcot Manor, The Antiques Diva

The Village Pub where our group dined is much in the same vein as Barnsley House and sits on the enchanting Cotwolds High Street in Barnsley.  The traditional country pub has been refurbished but still retains a cozy atmosphere complemented by excellent service. They’ve reworked classic English dishes, bringing tradition into the 21st century.

Steve Nobel, Nobelinks, Sourcing antiques in England, British Buying Tours, The Village Pub, Barnsley House, Calcot Manor, The Antiques Diva

If you find yourself in the area for a few days, another house turned hotel owned by the same company is Calcot Manor which is on the other side of Tetbury and a popular place for US visitors. Complete with a spa, this hotel may be the place to end your Buying Tour with a little R&R!

Steve Nobel, Nobelinks, Sourcing antiques in England, British Buying Tours, The Village Pub, Barnsley House, Calcot Manor, The Antiques Diva

If you’re planning an Antiques Diva Buying Tour in the UK, be sure to ask us for suggestions on dining and hotels. We’d be delighted to recommend places that our locally based Guides trust and know. For more information, email us at info@antiquesdiva.com.

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva® 

Wrapping Up 2014 with The Antiques Diva

Dear Diva Readers,

As 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!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Party, Maison Objet, Deco Off, Editor at Large, Timothy Corrigan, Paul Bert, Serpette, Michael Boodro, Elle Décor,

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 toma@antiquesdiva.com! You’re invited!!)

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Tobi Fairley, Denise McGaha, Jon Call, Mark Cutler, Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair,

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Jon Call, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair,

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair,

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!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, San Francisco Cottage & Gardens, Joy Venturini,

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!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, High Point Market, Antique & Design Center, Mad Cap Cottage

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!!!!).

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Blog Tour Milan

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.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Spring Market, D&D Building, Antiques in the 21st Century,

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.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Las Vegas Market, Antique Trend Forecast, Design Tastemaker,

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!!

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Anantara Elephant Camp, Golden Triangle,

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!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Steve Nobel, Nobelinks,

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Decorative Fair, Battersea, Traditional Home, Antique Markets in London

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.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Gotha Biennale, Fall Market, Darcy Fulton, Jackson McCard, John Rosselli, Bunny Williams, Treillage, Art and Antiques Fair Parma Italy

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!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Olga Granda-Scott, The Highboy, Doris Athineos, Traditional Home Antiques, Jonathan Burden, Antiques in the 21st Century

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Holiday House New York, Justin Shaulis, Gallery Hopping in Miami, Louis Navarrete,

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.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle Dog Sledding, Reindeer Sledding in the Arctic, Northern Lights, New Years Resolutions

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle Dog Sledding, Reindeer Sledding in the Arctic, Northern Lights, New Years Resolutions

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle Dog Sledding, Reindeer Sledding in the Arctic, Northern Lights, New Years Resolutions

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®

 

Fromental

Dear Diva Readers,

While recently taking a group of top American interior designers on an Antiques Diva tour in conjunction with Nobelinks, we stopped into the Fromental Showroom in London for inspiration and a little fete, Diva style! Known for its gorgeous hand-painted wallpapers, Fromental is a leader in the design industry, using traditional styles and elements but bringing them into the twenty-first century, making luxury wallpapers for the way we live now. Of course, they also produce luxury fabrics, often times adding hand embroidery depending on the client’s needs.

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

Keeping in mind that the owner is the former creative director of de Gournay, the Fromental look is informed by historical patterns, but isn’t married to them. They’ve taken these classic patterns and injected new life into them by playing with color and scale. Think classic chinoiserie in a monochromatic color story. And traditional isn’t the only look you’ll find at Fromental. Bold patterns playing off of the current London fashion scenes liven up the show room. And what I love is that whether traditional or modern, Fromental’s wallpapers make a lovely backdrop for antiques!

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

Fromental, Nobelinks, Antiques Diva, Luxury Wallpaper, Custom-made wallpaper, hand-painted wallpaper, London design, Bespoke wallpaper

All of Fromental’s products are made to order, making it the perfect choice if you’re looking for something custom. Color, composition and technique can all be modified to fit each client’s needs. Isn’t that a luxurious experience?! Imagine ordering a customized wallpaper to use as a backdrop for a stunning antique console table. Divine! See for yourself—here are some photos from our lovely evening at the Fromental Showroom. Thanks to the staff for being such welcoming hosts and thanks again for that gorgeous dinner next door!

The Antiques Diva®

Paul Jones Pop-up Shop at Spencer Swaffer

Dear Diva Readers,

Recently on an Antiques Diva Tour, renowned antiques dealer Spencer Swaffer played host to a group of Designers on an an Antiques Diva / Nobelinks Design Tour in the UK.

Spencer Swaffer, The Antiques Diva, English Antiques

The role of host is a well-known role for Spencer and his wife Freya.  Spencer continues his hospitality hosting this month a pop-up shop as part of a mentoring program offered through Antiques Young Guns.

As part of the Antiques Young Guns awards earlier this year a young Welsh dealer named Paul Alexander Jones won a coveted spot to open a small pop-up shop within Swaffer’s store for the next ten days (cleverly in conjunction with Battersea Decorative Fair which is less than a two hour drive from Swaffer’s store).

image001

Much of the stock offered by Jones does not appear online so venturing to the pop-up gives would-be clients a glimpse into an exclusive inventory of antiques. Hailing from a very rural North Wales town, Jones offers ‘country’ style pieces– think richly glazed potter, beautifully figured timbers and charming, naive folk art. Paul confided he’s bringing some warm Welsh tapestry blankets to sell—perfect timing if you ask me, as Autumn is upon us!

Antiques Young Guns, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones, English Antiques, Country style decorating, Battersea Decorative Fair, Nobelinks, Steve Nobel,

Antiques Young Guns, Spencer Swaffer, Paul Jones, English Antiques, Country style decorating, Battersea Decorative Fair, Nobelinks, Steve Nobel,

As I’m constantly combing over Europe for the best antiques dealers, whether that be quality of pieces or best prices, I’m always thrilled when new talent developed in the antiques field. Having opened his shop in July 2012, Paul Jones is sure to learn a lot about the antiques trade while being mentored by sage Spencer Swaffer. I’m excited to hear more from Paul and see how networking with other established dealers enhances his business!

If you’ll be in the Arundel area over the next week, stop by and say hello to Paul and Spencer. Tell them The Antiques Diva sent you!

Happy shopping,

The Antiques Diva®

Special Group Tour in London for Designers

Dear Diva Readers,

I’m delighted to announce that I’m teaming up with Steve Nobel, design industry sage and adviser, who links people, places and ideas through his consulting business Nobelinks for a special group tour in London this fall.   In addition to working privately with interior designers, Steve is renowned for taking exclusive groups of interior designers to destinations such as New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and – coming this September – London. Through exploring design abroad with like-minded professionals, designers are given the opportunity to explore first hand and sharpen their overall strategic outlook.

Nobelinks, Steve Nobel, Design Trust, Antiques Diva, London, English Antiques, London Design Festival, DECOREX, FOCUS at Chelsea Harbor, Design Strategy

For this upcoming British invasion partnering Nobel’s group with The Antiques Diva & Co was a natural connection.  The AD&CO takes people to places and introduces them to people they would not have access to on their own.  As a company, our mission is to make European antiques accessible, helping to navigate the international waters of buying overseas and introducing clients not only to antiques vendors but also to international shippers and to European life in general.  On our antique buying tours we lend our experience and long-term relationships to our clients, making introductions to off-the-beaten path antique dealers and giving designers inside access that usually takes decades to achieve. My business is based on relationships as we build a bridge between North America and Europe.

Meanwhile Steve Nobel explains, “The real benefit for the participants in my Nobelinks groups is the people; collegiality is based on trusted relationships. We give interior designers the opportunity to make not only professional connections, but, perhaps more importantly, to make personal connections. Profound connections are made in our groups that are life changing for our designers.” Past participants in these ventures include Mark Cutler, Sherry Hayslip, Skip Sroka, Wendi Young and many others.

Nobelinks, Steve Nobel, Design Trust, Antiques Diva, London, English Antiques, London Design Festival, DECOREX, FOCUS at Chelsea Harbor, Design Strategy

With the help of The Antiques Diva & Co, Nobelink’s Design Trust will delve deeply into design during the top industry events in the UK this fall, traveling abroad September 19 – 23, 2014 during the International London Design Festival, DECOREX and FOCUS at Chelsea Harbor. Going further afield into the English countryside, this intimate group tour will help designers curate resources from British town and country, visiting country houses, historic castles and some of the top decorative antiques dealers in the Cotswolds and Sussex. Designers will learn how buying antiques abroad can increase their profit margin while also giving them a competitive edge in the marketplace.

For more information email toma@antiquesdiva.com

Cheers Mate!
The Antiques Diva®

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1:1 custom antique buying tours in 8 European, 6 Asian countries and America, 7 days a week, 365 days a year

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.

The Antiques Diva & Co is a LAPADA Approved Service Provider 

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The Antiques Diva & Co is the Official Tour Guide of Paul Bert Serpette at The Paris Flea Market

The Paris Flea Market Paul Bert Serpette




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