The Antiques Diva’s Favorite Piece at Home

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>I was recently asked what my favorite piece of furniture is. Each week I am exposed to hundreds of antiques while shopping flea markets and stores on tours all across Europe. With the internet, hundreds more are sent to my email inbox, often resulting in sensory overload! The mix of styles, periods, and price points is so varied that it can be difficult to choose a favorite piece or style. So I decided to look at my own home and try to pinpoint a particular piece that stands out as my personal favorite.

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I’ve found that trying to choose a favorite antique piece is like asking a mother to pick her favorite child.  In my living room I have a gorgeous pair of signed Swedish Rococo Stockholm Chairs with traces of primary paint (mostly secondary).  These chairs are the crème de la crème of antiques.  And if you bought online in the USA you’d be looking at easily a cost of $16,000 – 20,000. I bought them on our Sweden Antiques Diva buying tour and spent around 4600E for the pair.  They were a fantastic buy and absolute top quality – my favorite combination.

Swedish chair, Rococo, Swedish Antiques, 18th Century, Original paint, Buying antiques in Europe, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines
Catpuccino has refined tastes – he loves sleeping in the sunshine on my Swedish Rococo Chairs

I find that, in general, Swedish antiques are highly sought after due to their timelessness and classic design.  Open any shelter magazine and you’re sure to see a few strategically placed Swedish pieces that add just the right amount of style and serenity to gorgeously decorated spaces.

While French furniture is beautiful, it can sometimes be overly carved or too “heavy” to blend into contemporary interiors. Swedish furniture, namely Gustavian, could be viewed as the toned-down cousin” to antique French furniture. The lines are sleeker, the carvings more reserved.  The graceful forms of Swedish furniture are complemented by their color palette which is usually rooted in the natural world, offering hues of gray, cream, pale blue and green.

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My home is a very modern space and so I look for those antiques  that possess a classic sensibility without being overly flamboyant. My pair of Swedish Rococo Stockholm Chairs fits the bill perfectly. They bring a sense of history to a sleek apartment, proving that all things old can be made new again

The Antiques Diva®

P.S. – If you liked this article you might enjoy reading the article I did over at The Daily Basics on our living room décor.

Design Day at Home in Berlin

Dear Diva Readers,

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This past weekend Saturday was filled with errands as we worked on buying some essentials for our new home.  While I have an antique shipment from Sweden, Belgium and England due in the coming month (having already picked up pieces in Italy and France) to decorate our new home post fire, here in Berlin this weekend  I focused on some modern design.  (By the bye, in the coming months you can read more about these antique purchases in my on going series on decorating post fire in The Daily Basics).

My first stop on Saturday for decorating at home in Berlin? Stilwerk on the Kantstrasse in what was West Berlin not far from the Zoo.  This large concept store focuses on international design in interior décor and furniture.  After buying a new coffee table at Kartell and oohing over a few pieces at Roche Bobois, my husband and I meandered down the road checking out additional decor stores in the area.

With our stomachs rumbling it was time for lunch – fortunately just a few doors away across the road from Stilwerk is Paris Bar.  While the restaurant is known for its steady stream of celebrities who frequent it, I go there to admire their art collection whilst eating a darn good entrecôte with fries!

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After lunch we did pop down the road to get take-away cupcakes for later in the weekend  before continuing on to the Farrow and Ball shop at #34.  We were buying paint for the bedroom – and wanting to do a dark moody room we knew we needed top quality paint as dark rooms are not easy to do well.

Discovering that F&B in this neighborhood was out of the exact color of paint we were after – off black #75 – we loaded up the GPS with another Farrow & Ball,  located in Dahlem (former American Sector) on the Altensteinstraße.  And driving across town, we discovered this paint shop was tucked away in the  Königlichen Gartenakademie nearby the Botanical Gardens.  Founded as the “Royal Garden educational institution” in 1823, the aim of this historical place is to promote horticulture in Germany.  While I’m not sure how a Farrow & Ball shop found its way to be located in one of the greenhouses, it was a lovely place buy paint amidst the butterflies and bumble bees fitting from flower to flower for sale.

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Loaded up on paint, it was back into the center of town to check out the home goods on sale this June at KaDeWe.  Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Armani, bedding, etc is all on sale at KaDeWe.  And while I still didn’t find the bedding I was after, I did manage to score a gorgeous jacket and some summer frocks.

After a hard day’s shopping my husband and I headed home with our car practically bulging with purchases.   But there was one last errand to be made – our handyman had just build us a new closet in our home and we needed to buy hangers.  Where does one go for hangers in Berlin? If not Ikea then Hoffner, an allpurpose furniture and household store.  Having spent 60 Euro in hangers, we were back in the car all shopped out!

While Saturday  in Berlin was devoted to errands to decorate our home post fire, Sunday was a little more fun!   Lunch on the terrace (making the most of asparagus season in Germany) before heading to the Sony Center to watch the Great Gatsby!  And we had kicked off the weekend with cava on the terrace, taking advantage of the gorgeous sunny weather!

All in all it was a wonderful weekend at home in Berlin!  When the reader emailed asking where I lived I realized while I often write about my travels you don’t often get a glimpse into my home life.  So many readers emailed saying how they’d enjoyed my dinner party post a few weeks ago that I thought perhaps I should share a little more of life back home in Berlin.

Much Love,

The Antiques Diva

The Daily Basics: A Tastemaker’s Take on Paris

Dear Diva Readers,

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Myra Hoefer – Photo Credit House Beautiful

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>In my column in toma-clark-haines/” target=”_blank”>The Daily Basics this month I’ve interviewed top interior designer Myra Hoefer, asking this Francophile for her tips on where to antique shop in Paris, a place Hoefer kept a 2nd home for years.  In the next few weeks I’ll post a few blogs showing some of my favorite Myra Hoefer Design projects – but for now, I’ll leave you drooling for more…. And whet  your appetite with a little reading at toma-clark-haines/ ” target=”_blank”>The Daily Basics!

Happy Reading,
The Antiques Diva®

Merry Christmas

Dear Diva Readers

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Photo Courtesy of The Daily Basics

My article this Christmas eve shares the riveting tale of the origin of many of our modern-day Christmas traditions.  Contrary to popular belief, our generation did not invent the feast of Christmas consumerism. Long before Charlie Brown’s struggle to find the meaning of Christmas, Martin Luther, an icon of the Protestant Reformation, was having his own internal holiday debate! Read the entire article I wrote for The Daily Basics – and learn how where Santa Claus comes from, why we decorate for the hoidays with a Christmas tree and why we give presents!

From my house to yours this holiday season – Merry Christmas.
The Antiques Diva®