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Making Lamps From Architectural Fragments

Dear Diva Readers,

In a world full of mass produced pieces, antiques offer uniqueness and character to interiors. Flip through any design magazine and you’ll see that almost every stylish room incorporates some sort of antique or vintage items. It’s no surprise then, that many large retailers offer reproductions of antiques, making certain styles available to the masses, including reinterpretations of furniture, accessories, rugs, and even lighting. Still, we are seeing an increase in demand for one-of-a-kind objects that people can use to imbue their homes with personality. One of our top requests is for architectural salvage, whether people are coming on tour or utilizing our buying services. However they aren’t always using the salvaged pieces in traditional ways. From private clients to shop owners to interior designers, many creative people are sourcing architectural fragments and turning them into very special lamps—and we LOVE that idea!


Lamps from Alexandra available here:


Of course you can find mass produced reproductions of these architectural fragment lamps from companies like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and West Elm, but there is something about having your own made from original antique architectural pieces that takes the lighting game to a whole other level. With it’s rich history of architecture, Europe is the perfect place to source unique fragments. Our Diva Guides often take clients to flea markets where they find one-off pieces such as finials, scrollwork from an old section of boiserie, or even corbels from grand houses which have been renovated. These pieces are just waiting for a creative genius to come along and give them new life. Mounted to a lucite base, a chippy gilt wood fragment topped by linen shade becomes a sculptural lamp with one foot in the past and the other in the present.


Lamps from Alexandra available here:


While flea markets and shops can be ideal for finding a few treasures, clients who are looking to buy in bulk need to go to the countryside. Several of our sources in Provence specialize in architectural salvage and reclaimed materials. These warehouses are the perfect places to find loads of hand carved architectural fragments that would not only look great as table lamps, but also as floor lamps! Imaging a set of columns from an old hotel transformed into a matching pair of lamps! Why not have beautifully carved corbels and brackets made into sconces? When you look at lamps as more than functions, they become sculpture and statuary as well. The possibilities are endless.


Lamp from Skelton St. John available here:

Once you get your architectural fragments home, it’s good to entrust a local lamp shop to help wire and transform your pieces into lamps. Remember there are countless options when it comes to bases including lucite, iron, brass, wood, or even marble. Select a lamp shade that works with your lamp-base and voila! You’ve got a very special one-of-a-kind lamp that has character and a story. In a cookie cutter world, having a custom piece really helps to make a space stand out from the rest. Since every home needs lighting, why not think outside the box and go with something that is sure to make your home stylish and chic?


Lamps from Alexandra available here:

If you would like information on our Antiques Diva Buying Tours which operate in 8 different countries—France, Italy, England, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Holland & Denmark- email us at We’d love to custom plan a private antiques buying tour for you. If you can’t come to Europe but still want us to source antiques on your behalf, our Buying Services are the ideal solution. You simply give us your personal shopping list, and we act as your man on the ground, sending you images and prices until you choose the perfect pieces. Send us an email to discuss your options! Your dream of sourcing antiques in Europe just might be easier than you think!


Lamp from Watkins Culver available here:

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva®

Vintage Chanel Gets an Upgrade

Dear Diva Readers,

hire catherine, Vintage Chanel, Hire Catherine, Catherine Russell, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Repurposing, Vintage Purses, Mautto, Lynette Sedenquist

My dear friend Catherine, a social media expert and content curator, and I have known each other for ages.  We lived in Paris together back at the start of the millineum and have been shopping the world together ever since.  She was with me when my I first developed my passion for Chanel and so I was so excited when she emailed me recently to say she was lucky to be gifted a vintage Chanel camera bag for Christmas.  It was everything she was looking for….

  • black lambskin
  • quilted patent leather
  • tassel
  • gold chain strap
  • front outer pocket with CC logo
  • inside zip pocket

Vintage Chanel, Hire Catherine, Catherine Russell, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Repurposing, Vintage Purses, Mautto, Lynette Sedenquist, Chanel Photo Bag

The bag was perfect for life in the city: the right size to hold a wallet, smart phone, keys and lipstick. Not too big or heavy, waterproof for year-round walking the streets of NYC. And it would fit easily inside her LV shopper carry-on when traveling.

She had been coveting the purse for several weeks, but with the holidays coming it wasn’t the time to buy herself a gift. But Santa’s helper must have whispered in her husband’s ear, because on Christmas morning the little black bag was hers! All Hers!

Vintage Chanel, Hire Catherine, Catherine Russell, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Repurposing, Vintage Purses, Mautto, Lynette Sedenquist, Chanel Photo Bag

Catherine writes,

“We were heading out for dinner, and I decided it was a good night to try out my new bag. The bag looked stunning against my black and gold coat: as a shoulder bag. The chain strap was simply too short to use as a cross-body, the purse rested snugly above my waist. Living in the city I strongly prefer the convenience of a cross-body purse, easy for hands-free walking, subway rides and carrying groceries home.

The next few days I did some online research and discovered Mautto, makers of purse straps, replacement straps and handbag accessories. After studying their prices and photos, I ordered a 12” strap extender made of gold chain and black leather with mini hooks. $31.00 less 10% first-time customer coupon, for $27.90 shipping included. Express delivery is available starting at $12.99.

Because I decided to travel after I ordered the strap extender, I emailed Lynette, the owner of Mautto, and changed my shipping address. Lynette couldn’t have been nicer or more prompt with her response: perfect customer service.

Vintage Chanel, Hire Catherine, Catherine Russell, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Repurposing, Vintage Purses, Mautto, Lynette Sedenquist

The strap arrived in less than 2 weeks (with another 10% discount coupon), and I easily attached it to my Chanel chain strap with the tiny gold hooks. The length is perfect: my cross-body now rests comfortably on my hip. And you can barely notice where the strap extender attaches to the original chain strap.

I have a myrtille blue Louis Vuitton Speedy bag and have been searching to find a matching strap; unfortunately LV discontinued the myrtille color a few years ago. I’ll be purchasing my strap from Mautto – with the 10% discount coupon!

Thanks, Lynette!

The Details:

Lynette Sedenquist

The Mautto website is easy to use with lots of pictures and examples of their custom straps and extenders. A blog, photo gallery and tips make it easy to pick your best solution from the literally hundreds of combinations possible – Mautto has dozens of colors, metals, hook styles, and accessories to choose from. They also provide custom solutions to your designer bag strap dilemmas.”

At The Antiques Diva & Co we love vintage fashion and we love repurposing items to fit modern day living!! What an excellent idea Catherine shared!  How are you repurposing your vintage fashion items?

The Antiques Diva®

Antique Trophies

Dear Diva Readers,

People love antiques for several reasons. Perhaps they want to make an investment in something that will retain its quality while appreciating in value. Maybe they have a personal connection to a piece because it reminds them of their childhood. Still other times people fall in love with a specific item and begin collecting. In my own home I have a small collection of antique trophies of all different shapes and sizes. I love these pieces because they are decorative and also serve several purposes!

Antique Trophies, Repurposing, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva, Unusual Flower Vases

Antique Trophies, Repurposing, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva, Unusual Flower Vases

Of course trophies were first created to memorialize some type of victory. Long, long ago, this meant victories in battle. But by the early 18th century, sterling silver trophies were awarded to equestrians who won horse races. Over the decades the trophy evolved and came in several styles—think cups, two-handled urns, lidded vessels— and were awarded for numerous sports and other achievements.

Antique Trophies, Repurposing, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva, Unusual Flower Vases

One thing remains, however, and that is the fact that the trophy stands for success! Perhaps that’s why it is so appealing. What I love about antique trophies is that they often have gorgeous patina and can sometimes have beautiful inscriptions. While these inscriptions may be interesting, you can still find antique trophies without inscriptions, allowing you to have them engraved to memorialize your own event.

Antique Trophies, Repurposing, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva, Unusual Flower Vases

And while these timeless pieces make lovely displays on a table or mantel, they can also be functional. I often pull one or more trophies to the dining table and fill them with flowers for a dinner party. If trophies are large enough, you can fill them with candy and set them on the coffee table.

Derby-Trophy-Inspiration, Antique Trophies, Repurposing, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva, Unusual Flower Vases

Regardless of what you collect, the fun part is in the hunt. From flea markets to antique shops, searching for pieces that speak to you can become a lifelong hobby. If you’d like to source antiques in Europe, we’d love to help you! Just email me at and I’ll be happy to answer any questions!

Happy hunting,

The Antiques Diva® 

Repurposing Flea Market Finds

Dear Diva Readers,

Flea marketing is a European past-time that locals and tourists indulge in alike.  At The Antiques Diva & Co we are constantly taking clients to flea markets in all of our 8 tour countries, which means we see a lot of inventory! Flea markets can be overwhelming, but if you know what to look for – and what to do with those things you find –  bargains can abound.  Today I want to share with you some of my favorite ways you can repurpose items found at the flea market.  Hmmm… now that I think about it, I should have titled this blog “Flea Market Finds and How They Get Their Groove Back”.

Repurposed antiques, repurposed flea market finds,

Turn On A Slew of Ideas for Repurposing Flea Market Finds with Pinterest


Repurposed flea market finds, buying antiques in europe

Turn On A Slew of Ideas for Repurposing Flea Market Finds with Pinterest

1.  I think one of the biggest bargains at a flea market is on lighting.  Whether you’re buying traditional crystal laden chandeliers, funky vintage fixtures from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s or table top lamps, prices at the puce in Paris can be up to 10x cheaper than in a retail shop.  But you don’t just have to buy ready-made lamps – the flea market is a virtual lamp supply store for people with an eye for repurposing.  All you need to do is go to your local hardware store, pick up a lamp kit and then scan the market for something you can use for a base.  It needs to be sturdy enough to stand on its own after you add the lamp apparatus and shade on top.  Bottles and vases make obvious choices, but think outside the box. You can make a lamp base out of anything: a stack of antique books, an old type writer, a vintage camera, a teapot, a stack of mixing bowls or even stacked pasta strainers.  Any old bucket will do. What about a tripod or a mannequin, statues or even old dolls?  Ideas for repurposed lighting are endless.  And we haven’t even started talking about what you could do with the shades!  Rip the fabric off a lamp shade and string the frame with vintage crystal for a shabby chateau look.  Drill holes through the end of vintage cutlery and string them on a lamp frame to put in on a dining room lamp.   Sconces are a breeze to make from old plates or hand held mirrors.

Scarf repurposing, flea market finds, buying antiques in europe, The Antiques Diva

Check Out More Scarf Repurposing Ideas on my Pinterest page

2.  Vintage scarves are not only chic but also cheap.  And while they can update your wardrobe in a flash, they are positively perfect for home décor.  Frame brightly colored scarves for instant artwork.  Sew on backing – et voila – you’ve got throw pillows.  Patchwork scarves together for Bohemian draperies or for a no-sew-solution simply tie or drape a scarf across a window for a burst of color.  Hint: if you’re a hopeless seamstress you can buy iron-on tape to use in lieu of a needle and threat.   When shopping for scarves look for quality.  And while silk is always gorgeous don’t turn your nose up at a vintage rayon blend – this artificial fabric actually adds to their durability.  The stiffer the scarf the easier it can be converted into purses and bags, slinky summer tops or even skirts.  And the next time you need to give a gift, why buy wrapping paper when you can wrap the present with – what else? – a vintage scarf!

Flea market finds, gift ideas porcelain, brocantes, paris flea market

Vintage Gift Ideas

3.  You would never believe it – but the flea market is the perfect place to purchase presents. Forget going to a registry next time someone is getting married – go to the flea market and buy crystal wine glasses and a decanter.  Add a bottle of wine and an antique cork screw and you’ve got a perfect present for honeymooners (or any oenophile for that matter).  Put together a Mad Men basket for a university graduate – source martini shakers and vintage cocktail napkins, cocktail forks and little hors d’oeuvre plates. You can often find leather boxes or small trunks – pack it all away and tie the box with an old tie to make your bow.  Know someone having a baby? What about an antique silver baby rattle?  Buy antique linens and sew up gorgeous burp clothes.  Tuck into the package a bottle of The Laundress All Purpose Bleach Alternative so the young mum can safely whiten, brighten and disinfect.  Frame antique children’s clothes – bonnets, christening gowns and shoes to decorate a baby’s room. For the teenage girl, glue old jewelry onto a headband or a picture frame.  Bridal magazines are filled with images of antique broaches being used in lieu of flowers in wedding floral arrangements.  Keep your eyes out for unique cutlery and serving platters – and stock up.  Next time you’re invited to attend a party pull out a vintage platter and tell the hostess “Keep the Edwardian serving tray! I bought it just for you!”  Go a step further and stock up on antique silver accessories and get them monogrammed with your hosts initials or seeking out silver already monogrammed with your friends initials!

Pinsperation, bedroom decor, wooden door headboard, repurposing antiques, flea market finds,The Antiques Diva

Check out Pinterest for More Pinspiration for Bedroom Décor

Pinsperation, bedroom decor, wooden door headboard, repurposing antiques, flea market finds,The Antiques Diva

Check out Pinterest for More Pinspiration for Bedroom Décor

Office Decor ideas, repurposing flea market finds, mirrors

Check Out More Diva-Worthy Ideas for Office Décor

4.  Using architectural salvage in home renovations is all the rage at the moment – but even if you’re not doing a home renovation these items can be great used as decoration.  The impromptu headboard is perhaps the most classic use for architectural salvage – doors, shutters, garden gates all make gorgeous backdrops.  If you’re not handy find a good upholsterer and ask them to help you convert fireplace mantle into a padded headboard.

Repurposed Porcelain, repurposed flea market finds, lighting

Love this Repurposed Porcelain Idea

5.  China and Porcelain are available by the car load at the markets.  Whether buying one offs that you mix and match or entire sets, get out your hammer and start breaking these plates and saucers into teeny tiny bits and bobs.  Voila – you have mosaic material.  Now find something you want to mosaic.  You can mosaic anything from the side table to a tea pot to a broken violin and create your own unique art (and get rid of a lot of pent up aggression).  If a full-on craft project is more than you bargained for, add magnets to the back – et voila – refrigerator art.  Mix and match various patterns of plates and saucers. Put the biggest plate on bottom, glue a wine glass to the center of the plate then stack another plate, creating your own multi-tier serving tray.  Pretty floral china tea cup can be converted into clusters of tea cup hanging lights – wouldn’t that be adorable in a little girl’s room for throwing tea parties?  Or glue a tea cup to a garden stake and fill it with bird seed.

Happy hunting,

The Antiques Diva®

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Paris flea market

Looking for Lighting!

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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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