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Sourcing Antiques in Europe

Flemish Antiques

Dear Diva Readers,

Though it is a tiny country, Belgium is bursting with antiques from all over. In fact I sometimes wonder what the per capita antique dealer is when compared with the total population of residents? We are constantly taking clients on Antiques Diva tours throughout Belgium and also offering Antiques Diva Buying Services through many of our sources there. And while French finds and gorgeous Swedish pieces are found in abundance in Belgium – alongside a slew of bric-a-brac – one type of furniture original to the area is the dark, heavy oak 17th C Flemish antiques. Often seen as stuffy when paired in matchy-matchy sets, these pieces are making a massive comeback when paired with modern interiors, clean spaces and abstract art.

Flemish Antiques, Belgian Antiques, Antiques Diva Tours, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Spanish Colonial Antiques, Flanders Antiques, Flemish Style

With a checkered history The Low Countries – what is today both Belgium and The Netherlands – were once part of Spain, France and Austria.  Today when we talk about Flanders it’s the Dutch-speaking, mostly northern portion of Belgium. Incidentally, do you know what French-speaking Belgium is called?  10 points if you get this one!  Give up? It’s Wallonia!!  Now Belgium with its varied historical past was influenced by the whole of Europe in its furniture design –  the region had a reputation for tolerance which meant refugees fleeing religious persecution settled here, bringing with them their own crafts and customs.  Which means if you want Spanish Colonial Antiques? Well… 17th C Flemish Antiques can fit that bill as many of the craftsmen making furniture in Belgium at that time were Spanish refugees and the craftsmanship is quite similar.

During the 17th century, Flemish furniture had its hey-day. It was exported to England where you will still today find country houses heaving with Flemish pieces. They’re typically made of oak and have a rather heavy appearance. However a distinguishing feature of Flemish furniture is a plethora of elaborate carvings. The juxtaposition of the heaviness of the pieces and the intricate carvings makes Flemish furniture quite unique. A great way to introduce this into your home with out adding too much weight is with a mirror such as this one found on 1st dibs!  The carving is positively architectural – it’s a great example of what the Flemish were doing in the 17th C.

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Or what about this trunk from Online Galleries?  Imagine it paired with a clean linen covered sofa – wouldn’t the inlay and carving pop – if paired with something simple to counter balance it?

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Another prominent feature of the Flemish style is the Flemish scroll, an S or C curved ornamental form in which a scroll is broken by an angle. You may also find what is called a Flemish foot which is a scroll-like ending to an S or C curved leg. This Flemish scroll was not only used in Flemish Renaissance furniture, but also can be found in the English Charles I & II and William and Mary styles.

Flemish Antiques, Belgian Antiques, Antiques Diva Tours, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Spanish Colonial Antiques, Flanders Antiques, Flemish Style

Flip through the pages of any shelter magazine and you are bound to see Flemish antiques or, at the very least, their influence.  Here lately, in both Architectural Digest and Veranda, I’ve spotted a few! This 17th C Flemish Table up for sale at Christie’s recently has Axel Vervoordt written all over it.  Can’t you see this pair with some luscious Belgian linen covered chairs and religious candelabras? By the way – ever wonder WHY there were often balls midway up on the legs of antique tables? To keep the mice from running up them!

Flemish Antiques, Belgian Antiques, Antiques Diva Tours, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Spanish Colonial Antiques, Flanders Antiques, Flemish Style

Flemish chairs often with leather seats look wonderful flanking a console table.

Flemish Antiques, Belgian Antiques, Antiques Diva Tours, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Spanish Colonial Antiques, Flanders Antiques, Flemish Style

Flemish style sideboards and cabinets make fantastic bars in today’s homes and offer hidden storage behind their intricately carved paneled doors. Even small Flemish boxes have become popular again as decorative objects.

Whether you fill a room in a historic home or simply use one piece of heavy Flemish furniture to ground a more modern space, the Flemish style definitely adds character and interest with its various carvings and its unique attributes. If you’d like information on taking an Antiques Diva tour or wish to inquire about our Buying Services, email us at info@antiquesdiva.com.

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva®  

P.S. Here’s a few period examples of museum quality pieces to help educate your eye! Photos from: http://museumfurniture.net/flemish/

Flemish Antiques, Belgian Antiques, Antiques Diva Tours, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Spanish Colonial Antiques, Flanders Antiques, Flemish Style

Flemish Antiques, Belgian Antiques, Antiques Diva Tours, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Spanish Colonial Antiques, Flanders Antiques, Flemish Style

Flemish Antiques, Belgian Antiques, Antiques Diva Tours, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Spanish Colonial Antiques, Flanders Antiques, Flemish Style

Flemish Antiques, Belgian Antiques, Antiques Diva Tours, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Spanish Colonial Antiques, Flanders Antiques, Flemish Style

Flemish Antiques, Belgian Antiques, Antiques Diva Tours, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Spanish Colonial Antiques, Flanders Antiques, Flemish Style

Flemish Antiques, Belgian Antiques, Antiques Diva Tours, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Spanish Colonial Antiques, Flanders Antiques, Flemish Style

Your European Pickers

Dear Diva Readers,

Here at The Antiques Diva & Co we love taking clients on buying tours, introducing them to places and people that can help them find exactly what they’re looking for. With tours operating in 8 European countries, our locally based guides stay busy taking both tourists and trade professionals on tour! But did you know we also offer Buying Services for clients who want to source antiques in Europe, but can’t come over due to scheduling issues? We act as the “man on the ground,” reaching out to our trusted vendors and dealers to find specific pieces that our clients want. And while buying online has made international shopping a bit easier, we offer the service of loyalty to our customers, ensuring that what we’re showing them via email is of quality and up to their standards because we’ve actually seen each piece in person!

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Recently one of our long-term clients (who just so happens to be a big name in the hotel world) reached out to us wanting to incorporate more antique architectural items into the hotels he designs.  So who better to source unique and special architectural salvage than The Antiques Diva & Co!? This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve sourced architectural salvage for a client. From antique gates to doors, to fireplaces to floors and even a cathedral ceiling, we’ve found it all.  We adore the idea of creating new spaces using one-of-a-kind antique elements. Antique architectural salvage is often very well-designed and made of solid, quality material but yet it comes at a fraction of the price of producing the same thing nowadays.

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So while I was visiting a dealer in Italy, I came across a very handsome semicircular walnut bookcase circa 1810 which had a fabulous price. And because we all love a good story, I asked the dealer for a bit more information.  It was originally built for the Court of Appeals in Brescia, which is a city in Lombardy. It is composed of five elements; a central entrance (which probably concealed a secret passage), flanked by two bookcases on each side. With original patina, it is the perfect piece to design a room around. I could picture a chic hotel bar utilizing this circular bookcase.

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italian walnut bookcase, Architectural salvage, Decorating Tips, antique walnut bookcase, boisserie, Antique Buying Services, Sourcing antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva

This is just one example of gorgeous architectural elements that come out of important historical European buildings. From chateaus that are being torn down to governmental buildings that are being renovated, our sources have access to some pretty awesome pieces. Staircases, boisserie, windows, doors, flooring— you name it, we can find it. And for an antique lover like me, knowing that these pieces will have a new life for many years to come is quite a rewarding prospect!

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If you would like information on our Buying Services or even an Architectural Salvage Buying Tour in Europe, email us at info@antiquesdiva.com. We’d love to help you find just what you’re looking for.

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®  

Salvo Fair

Dear Diva Readers,

Whenever clients reach out to us for information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, one of the first questions we ask them is for which type of pieces they will be looking. Architectural salvage has been high on client’s lists for the last few years and the desire for these types of pieces hasn’t slowed down in 2015. While we have wonderful sources for architectural salvage, the largest architectural salvage fair in the world is coming up in June which will bring together dealers from the UK, Europe, and beyond. The Salvo Fair will be held on 27-28 June with Trade Day on Friday 26 June, at Fawley Hill, Fawley Green, Henley-on-Thames RG9 6JA, Oxfordshire and will be open 11am – 5pm.

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Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

This is the fourteenth year for this fair which is legendary in the trade, often bringing in some of the best interior designers, architects, builders, developers and dealers to shop. Even celebrities and billionaires are known to peruse the fair for just the right pieces of antique garden art or reclaimed building materials. Anything from antique flooring and bricks to vintage lighting, antique fireplaces, and decorative antiques can be found at Salvo Fair.

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Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

This year it will be held at Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine’s extraordinary private estate near Henley-on-Thames. And it’s the weekend before Henley Regatta and Wimbledon and just after the Royal Ascot races. It’s at the centre of the English Social calendar! Ruby Hazael, co-organizer of Salvo Fair says, “Sir William McAlpine has built an extraordinary home on the outskirts of Henley with a full size steam railway, a railway museum and 400 rescued animals. We are honoured to be able to hold the Salvo Fair at Fawley Hill, and very excited that our visitors will not only be able to browse and buy at the largest salvage fair in the country but will also be able to experience Fawley Hill’s attractions which are not normally open to the public.”

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

Just a taste of what one can expect to find at Salvo Fair includes:  Fireplaces, chimneypieces, doors, windows, radiators, statuary, seats, urns, troughs, tubs, garden, sundials, birdbaths, pergola, rose arches, railway sleepers, furniture, bathrooms, baths, basins, taps, toilets, tiles, brassware, knobs, handles, knockers, hinges, balls, finials, chairs, pews, altars, lecterns, stained glass, staircases, spirals, flooring, parquet, woodblock, floorboards, bricks, pavers, flagstones, york stone coping, pediments, balustrade, timber, oak pine, marble, trusses, beams, columns, pilasters, portico, cornice, dado, skirting, roof tiles, slates, ironwork, gates, railings, lighting, lamposts, kitchens, kitchenalia, sinks, post boxes, telephone boxes, cartwheels, shopfittings, butchers block, and shingles.

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

Salvo Fair, Architectural Salvage, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, English Antiques, Fawley Hill, Sir William McAlpine, Decorating tips, Decorating with Reclaimed Materials

In other words, if you can’t find it at Salvo Fair, you can’t find it!

If you’d like more information on Salvo Fair, check out their website or email us at info@antiquesdiva.com.

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

Exporting Antiques With The Help of a Courier

Dear Diva Readers,

Perhaps the biggest challenge when shopping overseas is knowing how to get goods home sweet home safely and cost effectively. Oh the thrill of the hunt! On tour we have a range of clients – from ones who fill multiple 40 foot containers, spending hundreds of thousands of euros on inventory to stock their stores to ones who are seeking just a few small items that are perfectly packable and brought home in the their luggage. Occasionally clients even buy a second suitcase on tour to bring their goods home! Now here’s a surprise… sometimes it costs less to MAIL that second suitcase with a courier than it does to bring it with you on the plane home.

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When you’re shopping the fleas and decide to mail items home you need a professional international courier with the appropriate customs documents (and licenses when applicable). Typically the shipper advise of any additional arrangements required like crating for fragile objects or customs documentation.

We always recommend clients discuss with their courier or shipper their insurance needs. A good courier will offer added insurance to cover high-value items. When sending antiques with a courier, it is important the inventory is packaged carefully following the recommended packaging guidelines carefully. If the item is not packaged correctly, it will not qualify for cover in the event it is damaged during transit.   On tour – when you’re out buying – we always recommend clients take photos of their purchases as they shop! This gives you extra security, in the event there is any dispute or damage in transit.

International Shipping, Using a courier to ship antiques home, Sourcing antiques in Europe, ParcelHero

When it comes to shipping, accidents happen and snafu’s occur. But sometimes those snafu’s are more than lost of damaged goods. What happens if you buy something you’re not allowed to ship internationally? One of the best recent examples of export restrictions is the story of Jane Austen’s ring that made headlines in 2014. Singer Kelly Clarkson was forced to give up Jane Austen’s turquoise ring that she bought at a Sotheby’s auction in 2012. Clarkson was unable to take the ring out of the country due to a temporary export ban placed by Jane Austen’s House Museum. The official deadline was 30 September. The museum was able to raise £152,000 to save the ‘national treasure’ for Austen readers around the world! This complex, but fascinating case shows how important the paperwork is for collectors. The UK is notoriously strict when it comes to buying and exporting items which may be classified as ‘national treasure”!

So what are the Rules & Regulations for Export from the UK?

  • In the UK, items under 50 years of age, which do not include precious metals and are not of national significance are generally exempt from restrictions.
  • However items which contain precious metals and are of national significance or are over 50 years of age will be subject to stricter export regulations.
  • Always check with the Portable Antiquities Scheme or Arts Council if you are unsure.
  • If the object falls under the definition of the treasure outlined in the UK Treasure act, you should check that the item has been reported to a UK coroner within the legal period of 14 days. The inquest will always have final say whether or not the finds qualify as national treasure.
  • If the treasure is found to constitute a national treasure, the finder must first offer the item to a museum. If a museum does not express interest, then the finder will retain ownership.
  • Keep in mind, that under English Law, landowners will have rights to objects found on their land. It may be necessary to qualify with the seller where the item was found (this only applies to coins, ring, jewellery or artefacts over 50 years).
  • Certain carriers like DHL have different rules and restrictions for various countries, particularly Australia. So, check with several carriers if possible.

When in doubt if the item you’re buying is suitable for export professional couriers such as the UK-based customer service team at ParcelHero.com. can advise on shipping costs and restrictions to your recipient country. You can also estimate costs of shipping excess luggage or individual antiques with their handy booking tool to help you plan your trip. The site will allow you to track up to 25 items at one time with real-time scan updates, so you can follow your packages’ movements before you even step foot on the plane.

Now if you are planning to mail your purchases home sweet home yourself – here’s a few Hints & Tips on Packaging Your Items for Mailing Correctly:

  • Whether you are stuffing a suitcase or boxing items for shipping via courier, the principles remain the same – wrap and insulate correctly to avoid any damage in transit.
  • Protect each item against damp and dust by wrapping the item in a clean plastic bag.
  • If it is a framed artwork, use foam board and corner supports for additional protection.
  • Insulate the item in bubble-wrap, secured with packaging tape.
  • Use a new or strong, suitably sized box with the joins and seams reinforced.
  • Place packaging chips or other insulation within the box (scrunched up paper will do)
  • Place the wrapped item or items within the box, ensuring the items do not touch each other or the outer walls of the box
  • If you have customs documents, place duplicate copies within the box with your items.
  • If you are using a second-hand box, remove all old labels and barcodes from the box.
  • Seal the box with dedicated strong packaging tape.

Happy Shopping!
The Antiques Diva®

P.S.  Thanks to our friends at ParcelHero.com for providing additional information on export restrictions.

The English Library

Dear Diva Readers,

I know in this digital day and age libraries are a thing of the past… but I’m The Antiques Diva® – I LIVE In the PAST! My décor fantasy is to have a dedicated room in my home someday to serve as my library.  Of course, if I’m going to dream I’m going to dream BIG…so that home would actually be a Chateau or Manor House.  Something simple, like Highclere Castle, where Downtown Abbey is filmed would do the trick.

downton abbey, Decorating tips, Recreating English Country Style, Staffordshire Dog, vintage tea caddies, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, Decorating English Libraries

While I might not have the English country house just yet…. I’m working on it. In the meantime, there are a few easy ways to achieve a look reminiscent of these traditional English country homes.  First off, start with a great library shelving unit.  Those lovely boys at my favorite Belgium boutique hotel turned antique shop JVR 108 have recently acquired all the contents of the famous Chateau Rozenhout (as seen on the cover of The Houses of Veranda book) which means you could actually buy an iconic piece from one of the great houses of Europe.

highclere castle downabbey,

Of course, then once you have the book case you could add some traditional English antique pieces to line your shelves.

Decorating tips, Recreating English Country Style, Staffordshire Dog, vintage tea caddies, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, Decorating English Libraries

So here’s my confession… While I’m a big reader – reading nearly every night for an hour before bed – I also buy books I never intend to read.  I buy gorgeous antique leather-bound books to stage my shelves! Pretentious? Maybe. Gorgeous? Absolutely!  And trust me… I’m not the only one who buys books they don’t read… flip open any decorating magazine, you’ll see miles of leather bound antique journals! You can pick these up at markets for a song.

Whenever we take clients on a Buying Tours, I always encourage them to buy small pieces as well as furniture. Why? Because if you’re going to ship a container full of bureaus and cabinets home, you might as well fill the drawers with small accessories! Volumes of antique books are the perfect thing to fit into drawers and cabinets, taking up no extra space in your shipping container – so essentially those smalls are shipped for free if you’re already shipping larger items! And once you get them home or back to your store they make the perfect addition for accessorizing your shelves.

Decorating tips, Recreating English Country Style, Staffordshire Dog, vintage tea caddies, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, Decorating English Libraries

living room bookcase, Decorating tips, Recreating English Country Style, Staffordshire Dog, vintage tea caddies, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, Decorating English Libraries

The next quintessentially English accessory has to be Staffordshire Dog statues. These typically come in matching pairs and are frequently used on mantles however they make fantastic additions to shelving. I love that they are traditional… but are also wonderfully KITCH!  I’ve even seen them used as bookends which is quite a good look especially when paired with old leather-bound books.

Another accessory that looks fabulous on open shelving is antique English tea caddies. Wooden tea caddies were first introduced in the early 18th century and by the second half of that same century, they were widely considered to be a stylish home accessory. We’ve had several clients purchase these items while on tour. In fact, many people buy them in multiples as they make a lovely displayed collection in a study or even a kitchen!  Add in some traditional blue and white Delft or for that Antique Young Guns look mix it up with some taxidermied birds!

Decorating tips, Recreating English Country Style, Staffordshire Dog, vintage tea caddies, Antiques Diva Buying Tours, Sourcing antiques in Europe, Decorating English Libraries

If you’re after that old English look, try using these perfectly English accessories on your shelves. By simply adding these few elements, you’ll transform your room into something reminiscent of an English country manor! And if you’d like more information on our English Antique Buying Tours email us at info@antiquesdiva.com

Cheerio,

The Antiques Diva® 
(seen here at the Real Life Downton Abbey – Highclere Castle with my gorgeous niece Kyrra)

downton abbey, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Highclere Castle

Antique Sourcing in Belgium

Dear Diva Readers,

Here at The Antiques Diva & Co, there are many moving parts that all work together to create our successful European Antiques Buying Tour Service. My team of 18 Diva Guides, who operate locally in 8 different countries, are an indispensable part of the business. They bring to the table their antiques expertise, local connections, translating, and negotiating skills. Today we’re going to hear from our Belgian/Dutch Diva Guide, Lucretia Hunsucker.

Antiques Diva Guide Lucretia Hunsucker, Buying antiques in Belgium, sourcing antiques in Europe

Lucretia explains, “I love helping clients source a variety of pieces but my favorite times are when a client is searching for something specific—almost like a treasure hunt! Even when clients can’t come on tour, we can help them source pieces through our Antiques Sourcing Services. Recently one of our favorite New York Interior Designer clients asked if we could help him source a pair of De Coene consoles for a project.  De Coene was a furniture company founded in the early twentieth century based in the Flemish town of Kortrijk, which went out of business in 1975.

Leopold_III_van_België_(1934)

As fate would have it, a few days before I received this client’s email, I had happened to visit an exhibition in Brussels, dedicated to Henry Van de Velde, the famous Belgian designer. The exhibition included a gigantic desk that this firm, De Coene, had made for the Belgian king Leopold III, based on Van de Velde’s designs of the 1930s. Indeed it was common knowledge that only the rich could afford De Coene furniture, making it a prestigious brand throughout Europe. Even French customers coveted these pieces because of the excellent quality and craftsmanship.

Buying antiques in Belgium, Sourcing antiques in Europe, Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Diva Guide Lucretia, De Coene console, New York Interior Designer

Upon returning home and receiving the client’s email, I immediately tapped our Antiques Diva database and contacted a Brussels antique dealer who had just what we were looking for – a black De Coene console for sale! The only problem? Our Antiques Diva client was specifically looking to buy a pair of them! Where was I going to find a second one? The hunt was on…

Murat, Buying antiques in Belgium, Sourcing antiques in Europe, Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Diva Guide Lucretia, De Coene console, New York Interior Designer

Back to the drawing board… a few phones and numerous emails later we stumbled upon an exact duplicate of my first find, but this time it was in mahogany. This console was identified as a “De Coene Murat”. It was almost an exact match to the black console— the only difference was that this one had a mahogany finish. Although made in the 1950s, this De Coene Murat console was designed in that “Retour d’Egypte” style,  made out of polished mahogany with mat guilt bronze classical detail. I knew there had to be a way to make this pair work—even if they weren’t exactly twins! Never say Die!

I contacted the vendor and told him that the Murat console I wanted had to be black. His solution was that he could HAVE THIS PIECE LACQUERED IN BLACK making it THE PERFECT COMPANION to the first console table we found.  In my opinion, the console looked so much more modern and glamorous in black, with all the gold accessories shiny and polished. Problems solved!

Murat-SàM_DC_Eetk-Van_Put-1963-Dressoir-F01, Buying antiques in Belgium, Sourcing antiques in Europe, Antiques Diva & Co, Toma Clark Haines, Diva Guide Lucretia, De Coene console, New York Interior Designer

De Coene Murat furniture fetches sky-high prices in the US. In 2007, the Murat console was featured on the cover of a catalog issued by a New Orleans auction house — where it later fetched the sum of $21,600. A New York antique dealer, Kemp, sells Murat consoles for $60,000! Now, even with the extra labor – the lacquering – and transportation costs, our New York client could acquire this beautiful pair of Murat consoles for a fraction of what it would have cost him in the USA.

For myself, it was an eye-opener too. Once this mahogany neo-empire furniture had undergone this transformation – being painted black and having the gold trimmings polished – it looked very modern and perfect for our client’s needs!  Resembling art deco rather than empire, it fit very well in a contemporary interior, and the neutral black finish offered great possibilities for mixing well with the flamboyant colors that are so en vogue now.  I also learned that the firm De Coene had been selling black- lacquered furniture from the beginning, taking away my reservations about changing the looks of such carefully executed heirloom pieces.

The lesson here is that no matter what you’re looking for, where there’s a will there’s a way. From the client, to our company Antiques Diva headquarters, to me as the local buying agent to two of the dealers we know, the exact pieces that we sought were found, modified, and purchased for a fraction of the cost they could have been purchased for in the US.”

If you’d like information about an Antiques Buying Tour or our Buying Services, please email us at info@antiquesdiva.com. We’d love to help you source the perfect piece!

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 info@antiquesdiva.com and I’ll be happy to answer any questions!

Happy hunting,

The Antiques Diva® 

Original or Repurposed Antiques?

Dear Diva Readers,

Part of why I enjoy leading antique buying tours is I love to tell a good story. And when it comes to antiques there is always a story to tell… about the history of the piece, how it was used and why. My guides and I get to share our passion and knowledge with our clients and we believe that educating clients about their purchases is important.

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Repurposing Antiques, The Antiques Diva, Tijdloos Antiques, French country farmhouse table

As Europe’s largest Antiques Sourcing Company we work with a large range of clients with a variety of knowledge levels. When taking a client on tour our objective is to first find out what they’re looking for – if they want period pieces or simply a certain style. Once on tour, educating our clients on all parts of the buying abroad process is part of our job. We try to give tips so the clients know the difference between a “period piece” or a piece that’s just in the style of a certain period.

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Repurposing Antiques, The Antiques Diva, Tijdloos Antiques, French country farmhouse table

A big movement as of late is repurposing antiques and this can be done any number of ways. You might repurpose a vase so it’s made into a lamp, or, on a bigger scale, imagine a French country farmhouse table custom-made to size using antique wood. It could be 18th C wooden flooring repurposed into a table. (see a gorgeous example here where you can order wooden planks made into a table). While the materials are still antiques, these pieces wouldn’t have the same inherent value as an original 18th C farm table – that said they are still gorgeous and still have value. Just a different value than the one made 200 years ago!

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Repurposing Antiques, The Antiques Diva, Tijdloos Antiques, French country farmhouse table

I love antiques and vintage pieces of all kinds, whether a pure period piece or a repurposed piece – I’m all about equal opportunity antiquing! But the key thing for my clients is that they UNDERSTAND what they are buying and that it’s the right price for the piece they’re buying. Obviously a repurposed piece costs less than an original piece, but if the price is right on a repurposed piece, then my recommendation is go for it!

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Repurposing Antiques, The Antiques Diva, Tijdloos Antiques, French country farmhouse table

Knowing the difference between original and repurposed antiques comes down to knowledge and trust. That’s why we build lasting relationships with vendors and dealers whom we know and trust – one of my favorite vendors for buying antique farm house tables in Belgium is Roderique and Evy at Tijdloos Antiques. They have a gorgeous inventory but also really spend time with clients to educate them on what they’re buying. If a client is looking to purchase original pieces, we know exactly who to take them to. On the other hand, if they’re wanting to source pieces made from antique materials but are perhaps better price points, we also know the perfect dealers for those repurposed pieces.

The important thing to remember as you train your eye to differentiate between original and repurposed antiques is that it all comes down to trust. If you can learn from someone, be they a dealer, a restorer, or one of our Antiques Diva Guides, you’ll know that you’re getting correct information and being led in the right direction!

Happy hunting,

The Antiques Diva®

The Antiques Diva Belgian Experience

Dear Diva Readers,

When I take clients on tour, my goal is to maximize their time and give them the most bang for their buck so to speak. If a person is flying across the ocean to source antiques, chances are they want to utilize their time and resources to the best of their ability and that’s where we come in.  Not only do we custom plan a shopping route according to each client’s needs, but we also translate and negotiate on their behalf. We typically start the day pretty early in order to arrive at each appointment on time, which means that while on tour, fatigue can set in and quick meals on the go are usually a must to allow more shopping time!

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Filling a container with antiques, Buying Tours of Belgium, Antiques Diva, Belgian Antiques Dealers, Champagne, European Lifestyle

Lunch at Mulino – an Antiek Café on the French/Belgian border

However it’s not all work and no play. Our relationships with our trusted dealers and sources allow us to offer clients the best shopping experience possible—Diva style!  Last week I was leading a tour in Belgium where the antique dealers seem to be the most hospitable in Europe.  On our first day, just about the time when we needed to refuel, a favorite antiques dealer we were visiting met us at the door with a bottle of Champagne. How thoughtful! He and his wife then offered to make us a gorgeous lunch consisting of croque monsieur and fresh cherry tomatoes. This little bit of down time allowed the client and I a few moments to go over the morning’s purchases and discuss items that she was considering. After our lunch break, we were refreshed and ready to hit the road for our next appointment! (and a few more purchases were made in the store after refueled with lunch and some bubbly).

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Filling a container with antiques, Buying Tours of Belgium, Antiques Diva, Belgian Antiques Dealers, Champagne, European Lifestyle

Anne-Marie of Antiques Histoire in Tongeren opening a bottle of champagne for Diva clients

The second day on tour, we stopped into another favorite dealer around lunch time. She too had a bottle of Champagne at the ready and after toasting to a successful buying trip, we enjoyed a beautiful spread of ham & cheese sandwiches that she had prepared. To finish, she offered us apple cake, made with locally grown apples. How decadent!

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Filling a container with antiques, Buying Tours of Belgium, Antiques Diva, Belgian Antiques Dealers, Champagne, European Lifestyle

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Filling a container with antiques, Buying Tours of Belgium, Antiques Diva, Belgian Antiques Dealers, Champagne, European Lifestyle

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Filling a container with antiques, Buying Tours of Belgium, Antiques Diva, Belgian Antiques Dealers, Champagne, European Lifestyle

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Filling a container with antiques, Buying Tours of Belgium, Antiques Diva, Belgian Antiques Dealers, Champagne, European Lifestyle

It’s the kindness and thoughtfulness of antiques dealers whom we know and trust that help make The Antiques Diva Buying Tours what they are. When you come on one of our tours, it’s all about introducing you to the best dealers in Europe and building lasting relationships so that we can help you source antiques for years to come. More than just shopping, The Antiques Diva & Co gives you a glimpse into the European lifestyle—and what’s better than a little champagne while you work?  My husband always jokes, “Do you really work? I’m only seeing photos of you drinking champagne!!” Our client filled her container in 2 days  – so that’s proof positive that shopping with The Antiques Diva® is more than just fun, but when shopping for antiques does it ever really feel like work?!

Sourcing antiques in Europe, Filling a container with antiques, Buying Tours of Belgium, Antiques Diva, Belgian Antiques Dealers, Champagne, European Lifestyle

Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva®

Finding The Beauty in Everything

Dear Diva Readers,

Vintage pigeon nesting bowls, Antiques buying tour Belgium, Sourcing antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva,  Repurposed Antiques, Decorative antiques

When I’m asked about my personal interest in antiques I’m often asked my favorite style – and while I can talk for ages about why I love 18th C pieces if I’m honest my tastes for antiques in general tend to be very eclectic.  For me, it’s less about the period and more about the decorative effect of the patina and the lines.  I’ve always believed you can find beauty in anything – these vintage pigeon nesting bowls are a case in point.  Found recently on a “to the trade” antiques buying tour in Belgium my clients and I were utterly smitten when we found them.  Though they fit into no real antiques category they are a wonderful example of how you can repurpose something purely utilitarian into an objet d’art.  Originally used as a place for pigeons bread in captivity to build a nest, they have a unique look that will add a funky, personal flair to my client’s home décor store!  When buying antiques think outside the box – utilize utilitarian pieces as decorative accents for chic diva-worthy décor.

Happy Nesting,
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 

The Antiques Diva & Co is a LAPADA Approved Service Provider - Seal


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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