Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Some of the things I saw in Paris...

(Doesn't this photo look like it was taken decades ago...nope, just taken last month!)

I've been putting off writing about my trip to Paris earlier this month, only because there are so many nice things to write about, I never know where to start! We timed our trip to coincide with one of the most charming antiques fairs in central Paris, La Foire de Saint Sulpice. You may recall the movie, The DaVinci Code, made this church quite famous. It is in the 6th arrondissement, which is right in the middle of it all. The church has a large square in front of it which allows for a nice size fair. Shops such as Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, and Christian Lacroix line the square, and Catherine Deneuve's apartment overlooks it. Every summer, la mairie, organizes a series of fairs to run consecutively in the square. There is a book fair, a "games" fair, the antiques, etc.

While I love many things about Paris, France, and traveling in general. My favorite thing is meeting different people and personalities. Antiques dealers as a group are particularly interesting in my opinion. The whole bohemian lifestyle attracts a curious lot (I suppose that would include me as well). Here is a photo of a few dealers at closing time of the opening day of the fair sharing some champagne with Madame, the organizer of the fair. Nothing like a little bubbly right before dinner.

Have a great 4th of July weekend! Thanks for passing by and more to come next week!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Queens and Saints: The Most Beautiful Antique Crowns

When I saw these four crowns on my last trip to Paris, I had to just sweep them up and bring them home in my suitcase. I couldn't possibly wait for them to go on our container. They are 19th century gilt brass with colored cut glass jewels. The detail and craftsmanship is superb and they are in perfect condition. I just posted them on our website if you are interested! Email me through this blog and receive a special discount and free shipping. I don't think you can find a better selection anywhere on the internet. Here are the four beauties one-by-one:

I also have these other types from previous purchasing escapes. I'm not quite sure when and how I got the crown bug, but I'm a hopeless collector now! Just something about the delicacy and religious inspiration all combined.

The most spectacular crown I've ever had, it looks like it is made of real jewels, sapphires and diamonds! It could fit beautifully on this old statue of the Madonna and Child we have from Northern France:

This one is real bronze, 18th century from Germany. A crown for the Infant Jesus. Nice and heavy. Here is a processional Madonna and Child in my current collection with their original vestments and crowns (very rare):

This wreath is from the turn-of-the-century, French, and was given as an award or prize for competitions, usually writing competitions hosted by newspapers. One side has laurel leaves, a very old symbol dating back to the Greeks. In ancient Greece laurel wreaths were awarded to victors, both in athletic competitions, including the ancient Olympics, and in poetic meets; in Rome they were symbols of martial victory, crowning a successful commander during his triumph. The other side has oak leaves with acorns. The oak is a common symbol of strength and endurance and has been chosen as the national tree of many countries including England, France, Germany, and the United States. Oak leaves are frequently used to decorate military insignia to represent rank or class. For example, arrangements of oak leaves, acorns and sprigs indicate different branches of the United States Navy Staff corps officers. This crown therefore represents victory, glory, strength, wisdom, and endurance.

This piece is from an opera or theater collection. I loved its colors and unusual shape. Fit for a king!

Which one would you like to wear tonight?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to Get this Charming Look Now

The wonderful ladies of The Skirted Roundtable mentioned this House Beautiful Dream Kitchen and it inspired me to create the same look for the breakfast room with antiques and accessories currently available at Alhambra Antiques. Of course, we don't have the house nor custom cabinetry, but I think if you have the room I could create the same feel and look.

Let's begin with the back wall. On top of the closed armoires are French demijohns, we have the exact ones:
Next, the wall arrangement is anchored by a sunburst mirror like this one:

Moving downward, there are decorative plates for color, some options could be:

asparagus plates

or oyster plates.

Below the plates, there is a series of colored prints. This is from a series of six chromolithographs:

Here's the photo of the room again, so you don't lose sight of what we are working on:

Now we go to the counter accessories. First a set of lamps, I can offer the choice of one of these two pairs:

lamps made from vintage bathtub feet

or these made from garden urns.

They have also selected some antique gold wood fragments mounted on stands. I have had similar fragments such as wings as they have, but at the moment I have this interestingly carved piece:

Now let's move on to the table and chairs. I have two proposals for chairs. For either set, we can have custom-made cushions to match the drapes. The first is this set that I just purchased in Paris:

And now for the table. We could try this marbletop one:

Or, we do have one with a similar iron base and wood top as the one pictured:

The only thing is that is that ours currently has a pietra dura marbletop on it that does not fit the style we are currently trying to acheive. So just imagine it without the marbletop, and with a rustic wood top instead.

To finish it all off, add a stunning yet rusty lantern for a light fixture. It is a little more ornate than the one used in the "Dream Kitchen" but I think it will add a piece de resistance to the set.

What do you think? Did I acheive success? Did I create your dream breakfast room?

Friday, June 19, 2009

The 3/50 Project and What you can buy for under $50.

Have you heard about the 3/50 project ? Are you tired of hearing about the recession? I've just learned about the movement from fellow antique dealer/blogger the Curious Sofa. The 3/50 Project was created out of necessity to get the message out that if you want your favorite brick and mortar stores to survive, you must support them!

Here's the plan:
1. Pick 3 independently owned businesses you would miss if they disappeared. Stop in. Say hello. Pick up something that makes you smile. Your purchases are what keeps those businesses around.
2. If half of the employed population spent $50 each month in these stores it would create over $42 billion in revenue.
3. For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you spend this money online, nothing comes home.

Here at Alhambra Antiques, we have seen dramatic drops in in-store browsing and shopping, to the extent that we don't turn on the lights in our showroom anymore unless someone walks in the door. A large portion of our sales now come from our website. Still, most people who do come to our store comment on how much they enjoy the experience, the atmosphere, the conversations. Solution: come pay us a visit! And, at least two other local businesses.

Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking: "what can I possibly purchase at Alhambra Antiques for $50?" Here are some suggestions, I hope you are pleasantly surprised!
Stay tuned for the next post with pictures from our buying trip to Paris.

Vintage beer crate $50. Tiny clay flower pots $3. each

6" Moss spheres $25. 6" Ivy Leaf spheres $45.

Lichen spheres $25. Florist's handwoven basket $30.

French antique handblown demijohn $35.

French vintage birdcages $30.

Vintage paperbacks $25. each

Mercury-glass hearts $25. French wooden harvesting basket $40.

Assortment of decorative leatherbound books $25. each

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