Why Antiques are Essential to Design Today, and How the Industry is Meeting Digital-Age Demand
Think antiques are intimidating? Think again. Access to antiques—and trusted dealers around the world—has never been easier, thanks to a world where connections are made instantly through social media, a testament to the power of visual marketing. In truth, there’s never been a better time to be in (or shop) the antiques industry, with quality items and indispensable knowledge available at the swipe of a smartphone. Antiques (and authenticity) are more desirable than ever.
I was delighted to take part in a panel Why Antiques are Essential to Design Today, and How the Industry is Meeting Digital-Age Demand in Atlanta along with Beth Webb, Atlanta-based interior designer and Ben Cochrane, Caroline Faison Antique which was Moderated by Elizabeth Ralls, Editor in Chief of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine. We discussed how the antique market has changed, why antiques are essential to design projects across a wide range of ages and aesthetics, and how to thoughtfully integrate the quality and history of such time-honed treasures into well-edited, elegant, yet unpretentious interiors. This panel was held at AmericasMart – which opened a fabulous new Antiques floor in Building 1 Floor 2 with 90 dealers .
Antiques Are Essential to Design Today
The design industry seems to be experiencing a pendulum swing, in which many clients are at last moving away from the sameness of big-box retailers, and understanding the value of, even the story behind, independent artisans, and the small businesses who employ them. Antiques are now for everyone! Snobbery is being stripped away from the antiques scene – it’s no longer about pretentiously sticking to one period or echelon, but rather about mixing and matching and finding value in merely that which delights your eye. Antiques as a category is also being redefined. Vintage is as a relevant in today’s market as Period Pieces. And when you think antiques it’s not just about furniture – enter vintage scarves, belts, shoes, handbags, in addition to barware, art de la table, art for the walls, sculpture and statuary, and traditional furniture such as a chest of drawers, settees, tables and chairs.
I believe from a trend perspective antiques are on the upswing – young buyers value one thing more than anything else. They want to be unique – to be perceived as an individual – and one-of-a-kind finds whether for your interior or simply for wearing as vintage fashion are hot right now.
Provenance v Aesthetics
One of the questions moderator Elizabeth Rails had interior designer Beth Webb and I delve into was the question how important is provenance vs. aesthetics to our clients. Much hype has been made about the generational/cultural shift happening in the antiques and collectibles market in which Millennials have little interest in family heirlooms being passed along by their baby boomer parents – but I had say – I disagree!
I think Millennials are interested in antiques – just not interested in the way their parents and grandparents generations were!
What I find with my clients is that they simply want us to Be Real. Be Authentic. Be Honest. Be Fair. Be Generous with information. Young buyers are savvy buyers. They google to compare prices, they know how to look up authenticity, they know when they are being ripped off and they know when they’re being taken advantage of. They’re also NOT afraid to buy. And key point here… in answer to Elizabeth’s question was that I don’t always find that American buyers care about the authenticity of a piece. If the price is right, and the look is what they’re going for age doesn’t matter. Whereas 20 years ago buyers were obsessed with question “is this a period piece or an in the style of” piece” today young buyers are happy with finding something funky and fun that gives the look they’re after and could care less about museum quality pieces. An “in the style” piece from the 1950’s attracts young buyers the same as that period piece it was styled after from 1850!
Antiques Have Never Been More Accessible
1stdibs.com revolutionized the way that antiques were bought and sold, eliminating the pain points of e-commerce for small businesses around the world. Today there are half a dozen other online marketplaces that have allowed collectors to shop inventory and connect with dealers from around the world, Some would argue that antiques have never been more accessible.
All said, we decided the future of antiques is bright… so bright we gotta wear shades!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
PS Enjoy a few pics from special PR Tours I lead of AmericasMart during Atlanta Market!
Dear Diva Readers,
Chairish to create a style board for a room inspired by one of their vintage rugs. For those of you who don’t know, Chairish is a curator-approved online marketplace for vintage and used furniture. This year they’ve challenged me to design a “woman cave” inspired by a set of vintage bar stools from their site! As I believe that antiques and vintage pieces are completely relevant in today’s lifestyle, I’ve chosen to create a style board using only antique and vintage items available at Chairish.com— but rest assured the vibe is anything but old fashioned and stuffy! Without further ado, I give you my “Diva Den!”ast year I was asked by my friends at
Mid-Century Hairpin Barstools
I chose these barstools as my inspiration because I love the shape of them and brass is very “in.” I would recover these beauties in a gray velvet…yummy!
19th Century Style Giltwood Gondola Chaise Lounge
A beautiful 1890s French chaise lounge in the Louis XVI style would be the perfect foil to the midcentury barstools. The chaise has been newly upholstered in a Stark velvet, “Velours verdi Bois de Rose”with French multicolored gimp trim all along the frame. The single down cushion is also newly upholstered with a single piping along the edges, top and bottom. This chaise has nicely gilded wood, six legs and caster wheels—the perfect spot for a Diva to perch!
Charcoal and Cream Chairs
I would use this pair of matching round back Louis style armchairs upholstered in a charcoal and white wide stripe in the same seating group as the chaise lounge. The wood has been refinished in a semi-gloss heirloom white bringing some lightness to my Diva Den!
Baker Dining Table by Barbara Barry
As strange as it may seem, I would include this Baker dining table by Barbara Barry in Java colored finish in my Diva Den. I love to cook and even more, I love to host dinner parties! Setting a gorgeous table for my girlfriends would be a highlight to using my Diva Den!
Swedish Flame Birch Dining Chairs-Set of 6
This set of six fun and elegant dark golden flame birch dining chairs would be perfect surrounding my dining table. Newly restored and newly rebuilt with new padding, covered in a durable woven black and ivory Cheetah stripe fabric, makes them Diva-approved!
Arthur Court Gold Aluminum Cast Lily Dining Table
This is an original gilt Arthur Court aluminum cast Lily table. The top of the base resembles a lily flower to support a glass top, while the bottom of the base swirls around to resemble an art nouveau inspired stem. It is an unusual piece and is oh-so-very glam! I wouldn’t use it as a dining table, but rather a side table between two chairs. This table comes with a 36″ round glass top, 3/8” thick, making it the perfect size to hold a stack of books and a couple martinis!
Mid Century Black & White Striped Chair
On one side of my lily table, I’d use this Mid-century tufted black and ivory striped accent chair. It’s been totally refurbished with new foam padding and back and cream linen fabric with double welt all around. Carved wood trim has been stripped and waxed to let the gorgeous grain show through. The perfect chair to sit and have a long conversation with another Diva!
Aesthetic Movement Chair
This chair speaks for itself and would go on the other side of my lily table. I love this because it’s unique and fitting for a sassy lady!
Gilt Faux Rope & Tassel Bar Cart
Who doesn’t need a 1960’s Italian gilded iron rope and tassel bar cart? With two glass shelves, it’ll hold plenty of spirits which can be wheeled over from the main bar!
Jonathan Adler Lucite Acrylic Brass Etagere
Bring on the tough glamour. The Jacques Collection creates a bold balance of masculine lines and feminine finishes. The étagère mixes the jewel-like sparkle of custom-tooled brushed brass with Lucite construction. The result is modern decor with an heirloom-level of quality. It’s perfect for displaying books and other favorite curiosities.
Brutalist Tom Greene Chandelier
This modern chandelier would help bring the entire room together! What a statement piece!
Diana Ross Framed Photo
Every Diva Den needs a photo of a true diva! Why not hang this black and white portrait of Diana Ross? In fact, I might just do an entire wall of diva photos…can you imagine? Talk about inspiration!
Zebra Hide Rug
Underfoot you can never go wrong with a zebra rug. The average size of a zebra hide rug is 10 feet from tip of nose to tip of tail 6 feet at the widest point making it large enough to rest under a seating group.
And there you have it! My Diva Den inspired by midcentury bar stools and decorated using exclusively items from Chairish.com! What would you put in YOUR Diva Den? Leave me a comment!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
intage finds are dominating the “antiques” market place… with more and more clients seeking vintage pieces instead of period antiques. From mid-century modern to retro and beyond, there are so many stylish pieces that can enhance a home. My design philosophy has always been to mix antiques, vintage pieces, and modern objects for the ideal finished product. That’s why I’m so excited the antiques expert—and AD&Co friend— Judith Miller http://www.millersantiquesguide.com has come out with a new book called Vintage Home.
Miller has written over 100 books, innumerable articles, and is a regular guest on several television and radio shows – I may be The Antiques Diva – but Judith is unquestionably The Queen of Antiques. While I’m constantly adding her reference books which often catalogue antique furniture and objects to my personal library, this new addition showcases the best of 20th Century furniture and design and is a style guide which focuses on vintage and retro furniture. With a brief history of the Modernist movement, the book then looks at the Art Deco period, followed by the New Look & New Moderns, and finally finishing with a comprehensive directory of designers, makers, and suppliers, Judith does what she does best – She demystifies “antiques” and removes stuffy traditional rules from the genre making this “vintage” movement accessible to antiquers helping us understand no matter the age their relevance.
In the book, Miller highlights famous designers like Eames and Murano, and also sheds light on lesser known 20th Century designers. It’s a fantastic reference book for collectors and a visual feast for interior design lovers. For those looking to start or expand a vintage furniture collection, this is the book to read before heading to the auction house or buying online. It’s also a nice guide for the less serious buyer, as it covers mass-produced and highly popular designs that may be considered kitsch and not so costly, but still highly sought after.
I’ve seen a big trend in the last year with younger clients wanting to source vintage pieces as well as antiques. Mixing in vintage and retro pieces, be it a mid-century chandelier or a funky plastic chair is what interior designers are doing today and Vintage Home provides inspiration with its gorgeous photos as well as information on specific styles and pieces. Incorporating vintage pieces into the home can be tricky, but the homes featured in this book show how to tastefully add in vintage touches for the way we live now.
If you’re a design fanatic like me, or simply interested in vintage furniture, I recommend adding Vintage Home to your library. It’s a great way to learn about what I think is the next big thing in interiors and antiques, allowing you to know about the styles, designers, and makers of vintage and retro pieces.
Until next time,
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
‘m so excited to announce that The Antiques Diva & Co will now be offering tours of the Portobello Flea Market in London! We’ve just finished mapping out our tour with new Diva Guide Alys Dobbie (watch this space for an upcoming blog all about Alys). Alys has been in the antique industry for over 11 years and brings her knowledge of the London markets to lucky Antiques Diva & Co clients, taking them hand in white glove hand through London’s most popular flea market.
The Portobello Road Market calls itself “the world’s largest antiques market” with over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of vintage and collectible item imaginable. It’s a bustling street in Notting Hill full of shoppers hunting for the perfect treasure. Composed of street vendors and shops, there is a wide variety of items available.
At The AD&Co we love the market for the vintage clothing options as well as purses and shoes. From Versace to lesser known designers, there are many pieces to choose from. And speaking of fashion, the jewelry options are amazing at Portobello! If I’ve found one piece of jewelry I’ve wanted I’ve found a thousand!
On Portobello Road there is definitely a “thrill of the hunt” feel when scouring through cabinet after cabinet, looking for just the right piece. You’ll find a wide range of silver, silver plate, pewter, and brass merchandise available. Antique china and tea cups are in abundance and the prices are phenomenal!
Portobello is the place to find a deal on vintage finds. While the occasional high brow antiques mix in with the bric-a-brac this is a market to come to if you’re looking for unique small pieces for your home. Here you’ll find those perfectly packables that fit in your suitcase, commemorating your trip abroad.
We believe antiques and vintage finds should be used in every room in your house and when you buy antiques while traveling abroad these pieces replace the proverbial t-shirt as your travel souvenirs. One of our recent Portobello finds is this onyx lidded jar. It’s going home with our client to hold cotton balls in the powder room or to be used as a stamp container on their desk. Priced at 18GBP it’s a great example of these perfectly packable travel souvenirs found at Portobello that allow you to take a piece of London home. Each time you see it you’ll remember that day you spent shopping with The Antiques Diva & Co in London’s most beloved market.
Our Diva Guide Alys knows what different vendors specialize in, so before arriving the market you tell her what makes you tick and she’ll custom plan a route that guides you through the hoards of people (the crowds are unbelievable) to find just what you’re looking for! Having someone who knows the lay of the land really does help it seem not so overwhelming when navigating these crowds! Moreover – because Alys is a member of the antiques trade – she’ll ask for a trade discount to help you score better prices than you could on your own.
While Portobello Road is known as a tourist’s haven there are some true gems to be found hidden in the halls if you know where to go to avoid the reproductions and tourist tack. Not only does Alys know these secret sources she also knows where to get away from the crowds to shop nearby areas off the tourist path. And when your bellies start rumbling she can whiz you away from the crowds to get a quintessentially English meal at a nearby pub. Steak and ale pie? It’s just what this diva needed to refuel after my last Portobello Road shopping trip!
To book a Portobello Flea Market Tour in London, email email@example.com.
Best day to book a Portobello Road tour is Saturday! Though we also offer special vintage fashion tours in London Wednesday through Friday!
Let the shopping commence!
The Antiques Diva ®
PS: To book an Antiques Diva Tour or inquire about our Buying Services so you can source antiques abroad virtually, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Diva Readers,
ennifer – one of our Antiques Diva Guides leading tours at the Paris Flea Market- has been an Hermès addict since the age of 13 when she received her first scarf. She’s been obsessed with the idea of owning a Birkin ever since, but the $9,000 upwards to $120,000 price tag stands in her way!
Today, Jen’s “Bringin Home The Birkin” … well, almost!
Diva Guide Jennifer writes:
“For those lusting after one of the most sought after accessories on the planet but without the patience for the year-plus waiting list, why not try an Antiques Diva solution? There are many stores in the Marché aux Puces de Paris in Saint-Ouen that specialize in vintage Hermès, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. Just be sure if you go the vintage route to buy from a reliable Antiques Diva approved source as Hermès will confiscate any copies and you will be out the cost of a new car”!
“I myself fell in love with this red Birkin but I fear my budget means I will have to make do with my orange “faux-kin”. A chic new substitute – a tote bag that has the Birkin screen printed on it! At least I can carry my flea market purchases in fun style”!!
“Both can be found at the Marché Serpette at Pierre L”.
(Pierre L, Marché aux Puces de Paris-Saint-Ouen, Marché Serpette, Stand 16, Allée 3).
The Antiques Diva & Co ®
Winterexpositie Het Juweel 2009
het Slot Zeist, Zeist
Friday 27 -Sunday 29 November 2009
11am – 7pm
On an Antiques Diva Tour in The Hague recently, David shared a glimpse into his collection and I was utterly smitten – his collection runs the gamut of items for the Mr. or the Mrs. from vintage & antique watches, to purse clocks, to beautiful baubles from the Art Deco period and beyond! I’ve got my eye on a pair of Van Cleef and Arples cufflinks for my husband as a Christmas cadeaux and would be delighted if I could convince the hubster that I desperately need that platinum, gold, diamond & emerald 1920’s Dutch Art Deco ring Rocks & Clocks has in inventory! If you’re looking for a special present for someone else (or better yet, yourself) you must visit Winterexpositie Het Juweel 2009 this November and if you can’t make these dates, never fear: Rocks & Clocks is at present updating their website with a sensational collection of “Must-Have Diva-Worthy Accessories” – so stay tuned for details on their website launch: http://www.rocksandclocks.nl/
Entrance Price: € 12.50 per person
Until Next Time, Layer on those Jewels!
While visiting friends in Stuttgart, Germany a few weeks ago, my husband and I stumbled into a sensational little antique shop on Katharinenstrasse called Cocotte Antiques – I think owner Steffen Vetter might have purchased the best of France and transferred it into his discrete little well-lit boutique, jam-packed with crystal chandeliers, sconces, antique furniture and object d’art.
Founded in 2004, this store has acquired a cult following with collectors around the world. Steffen explains why so many people like his style and the items he offers for sale by writing:
“I suppose it’s because of my preference and my nose for things with an individual and unique aura. For me, to find such things is not just a kind of profession, it’s rather an art. And it’s much more an art to combine these pieces in a way that every object keeps its own personality and, additionally, enhances itself in the interaction with others. I love objects in which (their) history can be touched, and I love authentic pieces full of grown patina. You enjoy these items as well? May be we should know each other…”
Know each other indeed – you’ll thank me for introducing you to today’s Diva-scovery – Cocotte Antiques!
70182 Stuttgart Germany
Phone: +49 (0)711 5532335
What is Diva-scovery?
A fabulous find or shopping discovery – be it an Antique Shop, Vintage or Home Decorating Store – that will entice diva’s on parade to stop, shop and drop some dough!
Do you have a Diva-scovery? Email The Antiques Diva™ at email@example.com, giving all the details of your find: write a quick blurb telling about your Diva-scovery, the name of the store & their website, including address & phone number. Plus, include a link to your blog (if applicable) and a photo of yourself!
The Antiques Diva™
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In the thick of the throes of frustration over my computer problems, I neglected to pass along an antique shopping tip from The Belgian Beauty! Better late than never — this weekend, March 29 & 30, 2008, why don’t you head to Amsterdam’s Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky for the Verzamelen in Stijl!
A vendor planning to be there and who has caught my eye is De Sluis Art Deco with their beautiful vintage jewelry, while Goede Sier has a collection of Amsterdam School silver that I’ve seen in their stall at Amsterdam’s De Looier’s which looks quite interesting. Meanwhile, Kanne & Kruike has me intrigued enough by their collection of Art Nouveau & Jugendstil that I’ve half a mind to cancel my weekend get-a-way to Antwerp and stay home here in Amsterdam to go to this fair. Alas, perhaps it was Freudian that it slipped my mind to post the notice on this fair — as maybe I felt that if I couldn’t go, I didn’t want anyone else too either!
Happy Shopping & Buy something for me while you’re there!