Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I love foie gras!

Every trip we go to France I have to have foie gras poele as often as I can since I can't have it back at home. That's when they sautéed the entire goose liver whole and serve it with something sweet like a fig jam. Doug thinks I'm going to die of high cholesterol one day, but it's only 3 times a year. Since I can't have it at home we sometimes bring home the next best thing: preserved foie gras that comes in a glass jar like this one:
Rougie is the brand they sell at the airport so we try to buy something more artisanal at a local shop near our hotel or if the Chatou antiques fair is going on then that is the place to buy Marie's Fresh Homemade foie gras which is my favorite. Here in Miami you can get some at Chocolate Fashion, a great bakery down the street from our shop or from Marky's in North Miami, they ship anywhere.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fly traps and Lavender

Fly traps and lavender, that's what I have on our dining room table, more accurately lavender in fly traps. These photos are of our dining room as I prepped it for the Miami Herald's Home & Design photo shoot. We are going to be featured in the June, Renovations Issue. I was interviewed today by Alejandro Saralegui, freelance writer from New York. I hope I didn't giggle too much, I have a tendancy to giggle when I 'm nervous. Which leads me to more reasons why I'm about to be very nervous, I'm going to be on television! This Friday, I'm going to be on the variety show South Florida Today on NBC 6. I'm going to take a little set up including a wonderful Genovese chandelier, a pair of bergeres, and a few more things and I'm going to talk about living with antiques in a practical, modern way. This could be my big moment! I can't wait. Now if I could just agree with my husband over what I should's not easy being prego.
Back to the dining room. So I was really happy with how these photos came out. Props to Douglas Scott, the photographer, aka my husband. I must say even though we've been married almost 5 years I can't get used to calling him that. It makes me feel old. Am I old enough to be married?! I guess baby #3 should convince me that I have to at least begin to envision myself as an adult.
Yes, I have an herb garden growing in an iron urn on our buffet. I just love the way it smells. And the chandelier has got to be my favorite feature. I think people underestimate the importance of fantastic lighting.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Antique Crowns and Tiaras

We will begin unloading our latest container tomorrow which will be filled with goodies. I had lots of luck finding antique crowns and tiaras on this trip. I purchased more than I had ever been able to find. Here is a sampling of two tiaras and two crowns. All four of these came from a convent which has closed due to lack of novitiates. They adorned statues of saints for adoration. Now my clients and I just use them to decorate bookshelves, mantels, or table tops. But I always love knowing the religious component to things.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Galloping Through the Weekend

Alas, Friday is here and I can relax before "container week" begins. Our shipment should be here either Tuesday or Wednesday. The French love to pack everything in hay which makes a real mess and gives me allergies but it also feels like Christmas when I get to unpack all the treasures we purchased in Europe. I have a thing for toy horses. And old books. This is also from Chantal and Jean Claude's house outside Isle (see previous post of their kitchen.) This photo completely embodies the concepts from one of my favorite books The New Eighteenth Century Style.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A French Kitchen

We've been going to France for so many years that we now have personal relationships with many of the dealers. We often go to their homes for lunch or dinner. These photos are in a country house in Provence not too far from Avignon and Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue. I just love their kitchen which is full of collected pots and pitchers and the chandelier is made from forks. French creativity at its best. It is cramped and tiny, fine and whimsical, and the fresh cheeses and wines they serve us always taste better than at a restaurant. I can't wait until my next trip.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Parisian Antique Shop

Unfortunately, the owner of this quaint little store in the Marais section of Paris recently told us he is going to have to close due the decline of the quartier. It is pricey but I love going there because he is just so good at the mise-en-scene.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Provencal Ambiance

I recently set this up for the current issue of Veranda magazine and it is now our home page picture on our 1stdibs site as well. It is full of all the little things I love to buy when I'm in Provence...fresh lavender, antique linens, religious statues, vintage garden things, bird escargot.

Monday, April 21, 2008

1st Dibs Monday Madness

Because interior designers wait until Wednesday to see the "New Listings" on 1stDibs each week, that means Monday and Tuesday are loading madness days for us on the dealer end. Perhaps I didn't mention that our site was selected to join 1stDibs in February. It all happened at the Miami Beach Antique Show where we had a fabulous booth. This picture really doesn't do it justice. I'll see if I can get some better ones from my husband. Michael Bruno, who was scouting the show for jewelry and watch dealers...his next big thing, was brought over to our booth by a friend of his who was convinced we had the best booth at the show. When I saw him I knew I had to throw myself at his feet. Well not really, but I knew I had to strike up a conversation. I'm pretty chatty (or loquacious as someone once put it) so that wasn't too hard. He said we were "approved" on the spot and gave me his personal card so I could follow up on it. You bet that he had an email in his Inbox on Monday morning. This is now month three of our 1stDibs membership, here's the direct link, and so far we've sold two items through the site. Out of about 75 that we've listed. Let's hope the we can pick up the pace because we are still selling more on our regular site than on the 1stDibs site. Perhaps someone could give us advice on what to post, what designers are looking for on the site. I think it is still the go-to place for mid-Century and not 19th century which is really what we specialize in. Any thoughts?

The Art of Table Decorating

Here are photos of the table I decorated for the Beaux Arts' Society's Annual Table Decorating Event to benefit the Lowe Art Museum.

I used all French antique majolica dishes, mostly asparagus and artichoke dishes from the end of the 19th century, handblown "fly traps" as vases for my Provencal lavender, and the "piece de resistance" a Delphin Massier jardiniere with butterflies perched on the edges.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cottage Living Photo Shoot continued...

So, first I'll finish the story about the shoot and then I'll tell the story about the remodel.

When I pitched our house to Kim Sunee, the food editor, she of course asked me what we do for entertaining. So I plugged by great uncle about his progressive cuisine and she loved it. The story is going to be entitled "Nuevo Cubano" and it is going to come out in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue.

The shoot was two fold. One feature was our great, little house. And the second component was an entertaining/food story featuring my Uncle Roly's recipes. Chef Roly is now the executive chef of the Biltmore Hotel here in Coral Gables, where they have the most wonderful brunch you could ever eat! They also have the largest hotel pool in the United States.

Because of all the recipes that are going to be published, they all had to be photographed. This meant a LOT of cooking. So, Claire Perez arrived at our house first with a few cart loads of food. She used to work for Martha Stewart, and it really showed. She was a super chef. Luckily, she also loved our new kitchen.

This is what our kitchen looked like BEFORE the remodel:

...then during the remodel (isn't my hubby cute?!):

And FINALLY after way too much money and sweat and tears, this is what it looks like now, give or take a few accessories:

Claire covered out entire breakfast table with stuff from pots and pans, to ketchup and lemons. I don't think we'd ever had that much food in this kitchen ever. She ended up making a roast pork leg, black bean soup, vegetable paella, crab cakes, calamari duo, and a chocolate tres leches for dessert. My uncle's recipes are basically classic tradition things to which he gives a new twist. It was all super yummy and there was so much we couldn't eat it all--over several days.

If you really want to get a feel for what the shoot was like you can watch this video from another Cottage Living food shoot in California.

Heather Chadduck, the official stylist for Cottage Living magazine, was the next person I met. She came to our store first to see if there were more props or things she might want to use. She picked out various things for fresh flowers, a different set of dining room chairs, plates and serving platters for the food shots, and some other little accessories. This was all in addition to the TWELVE boxes they had previously shipped to our house. Which meant we had the Sun Room completely full of "stuff". They brought their own everything--from forks to napkins to glasses. They used these enormous tumblers for wine which I was horrified about, but they were a nice green tone which looked nice in the photos. She explained that they just never know what to expect when they arrive at someone's house so they have to be prepared with any possibility. I later learned a lot of the ceramic and glass items she had were samples she would return after featuring them in the magazine. I later offered to her to lend her merchandise from our store for future projects. I hope she remembers.

Kim Sunee, the food editor, and Ray Kachatorian, the photographer, and his assistant joined in on Wednesday morning. Ray had a humorous California attitude which I liked. He does major work for lots of magazines. Check out his stuff on his website. He seemed to like us and our house which was helpful in his desire to make us and our house look as good as possible.

More to come...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cottage Living Photo Shoot

So one of my little dreams came true last month when I convinced the people at Cottage Living
to feature our little Old Spanish cottage in their magazine. The shoot was a three day event. Pictured here are Kim Sunee, food editor; Claire Perez, independent food stylist extraordinaire; Heather Chadduck, stylist; and Ray Kachatorian, photographer.

It all started when Kim wanted to buy a French bookcase from our website. She mentioned she could try to "source" it in her magazine, which gave me the brilliant idea of trying to send her some before and after shots of our house remodel.
This is what our house looked like when we purchased it. Not quite sure what we were thinking. ..Oh, yeah, only the fact that our neighbors in Little Havana had roosters which didn't let Monsieur Scott sleep at night. Her e are a few more: 1. the kitchen, 2. the living/dining rooms, 3. the back of the house....I think you get the idea. I'll write more about it tomorrow. Every little detail!

My First Blog

I certainly don't intend for this blogging thing to be easy. But I'm hoping it might even help me (and my husband) sleep better at night. Here I go, I'm making an attempt to join the 21st century by beginning my blog on anything and everything that crosses my path. Some of my friends have recommended I join Facebook, which I haven't managed to bring myself to do, so this is an effort to do something at least within that realm. I, of course, welcome lots of of input, questions, suggestions, and the like to keep me going and keep others interested.
The title "Dancing thru Paris" I find VERY cliche, but I couldn't come up with anything else, so feel free to come up with something better for me and I'll quickly change it. My husband is starting a blog called "finegoodthings" and I'm super jealous of his title so please help out!
I've been officially working at Alhambra Antiques for 7 years, and I feel that while we've expanded and grown dramatically in those years, we need to take it to the next level. This business is about passion. But we can't get so absorbed in it that it is all we live and breathe. We need to enjoy life and our children as well. For those of you who don't know yet, I'm pregnant with #3!
I keep reading about people who wanted to make a change and just up and moved somewhere else in the world. We aren't quite there yet, but at 27 years of age, I'm NOT ready to expect that I'm going to live the next 50 years of my life in Coral Gables, beautiful though it may be.
This is all my parents' fault. By the time I was 5, I had traveled through much of South America and the Caribbean. Then they let me travel/live through Europe as a teen. They are definitely responsible for my wander lust. No doubt about it.
So here I go, I'm going to "THINK BIG". I'm going to dream and achieve.
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