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;”>When Antiques Diva client Linda Meeks offered to write a blog about her recent Antiques Diva Tour I jumped at the opportunity. Linda has attended multiple talks of mine at High Point Antique and Design Center and over the years we’ve chatted about her extraordinary niche service she offers as a custom slipcover designer. While Linda’s Product Design studies began formally at North Carolina State University, her passion for fine fabrics began at an early age on the back roads of eastern North Carolina. Many hot summer afternoons were spent in the back of Mama’s Ford Fairlane, traveling from one fabric store to another, searching for fine fabrics and silver linings. Today she continues the tradition with her Raleigh based company Pencil Me In,traveling across North Carolina, fashioning classic cotton and linen slipcovers for fine furniture. Recently Linda took her travels a bit further afield and went shopping with Antiques Diva style in Italy with our locally based guide, Susan.
Linda writes about her Antiques Diva Italy Tour:
“On instinct, I contacted the Antiques Diva & Co as soon as Barton (best friend, photographer and muse) ordered cheap airline tickets and a copy of Rick Steve’s guide to Italy. You see, since hearing Toma Clark Haines speak at High Point Furniture Market Fall 2014, I knew I was destined for a fabric reconnaissance with one of her guides. Enthralled with Rick Steves’ “Europe through the Back Door” travel style, I was convinced that seeing the marketplaces that the creatives and makers move through would carbonate my experience in Italy, and I needed a guide.
tom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style” width=”317″ height=”233″ /> tom Slipcovers, Tuscan Tours, Susan Pennington, Shopping in Florence, Buying Antiques in Italy, Florentine style” width=”231″ height=”312″ />
Toma connected me with Antiques Diva guide Susan Pennington and it was a match made in Sienna. My wish list for Susan was simple: 1. I’d like to see and hear Italians trade wares and secrets and learn a few swear words, 2. Take in the country air, and 3. Come home with a good find and a memory or two. When tour day arrived, Susan met us at our hotel and led us through the narrow streets of Sienna, dashing in and out of secret source shops, dodging Vespas and divulging tips about the local culture. Our morning excursion included an array of haberdasheries, galleries, and consignment shops in search of linens, passementerie, buttons, furniture, and art. Then we embarked on a road through Chianti, lunching in a hill town en route to Florence.
Next stop on our itinerary was a bit of luxury. Of course I can’t tell you the name or it would not be a secret source. But I will tell you it was neither a furniture showroom, workshop, carpenter’s shop, or architectural design studio, but a harmonious fusion of all the aforementioned. A place that honors the Florentine craft traditions, this unique space specialized in items restored, reinterpreted and reimagined for the home. Exactly what I encourage my clients to do with their heirloom furniture and fabrics every day! Here in this place Susan led the way as we climbed the attic to dig in the secret archives of waitlisted projects. And there it was! The perfect example of a Florentine footrest, aged green and tiny gilded bees. Susan negotiated the purchase and arranged to have it shipped (along with other linen & lace finds) to my workshop in Raleigh, NC, where it will be reimagined with a Florentine inspired slipcover and a story to tell.
After a long day of scouting and scavenging, and double gelato, Susan left us with assignments of more secret sources to scope on our own. Now confident in our sleuthing skills, we affirmed that whether in North Carolina, Sienna, or Florence, it is in the unexpected places and on the Back Roads that we find the EXTRA that makes the ordinary EXTRAORDINARY. And so as Back Door travelers, we have memories of: listening to Susan translate our trades in her lovely British/Italian, enjoying a scenic drive through the country, and discovering THE FIND. But did we hear any swear words? I don’t know!”
Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Linda! We’re so happy you enjoyed your time in Italy and that you came away with a treasure (and I promise we’ll get you a list of ‘ approved swear words” – note to the reader, Diva Guide Susan would never mutter a curse word… but the vendors on the other hand… Mamma Mia….
For more information on taking an Antiques Diva tour, or learning to cuss in Italian :), email us at to:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com.
The Antiques Diva®