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On the antiques trail

7th October 2008, Comments0 comments

On the antiques trail
The Antiques Diva explains how Europe became her playground and her house became ‘just her!’ She shares her knowledge of antiques shopping in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and Switzerland.

When we accepted our first expat assignment, I orchestrated the move, while my husband went ahead to start his new job in Paris. When our shipment arrived months later with only a forth of our furniture in tow, my husband was baffled. As he desperately scanned the living room for a chair to sit on, he asked incredulously, “Why didn’t you bring all of our furniture?”

Europe as the playground

As the consequences of his not sharing in the coordination of our international move finally hit home, I gave my husband an answer that would define nearly a decade of expatriate life: “As an expat, Europe is now my playground.  A person’s home should reflect not only who they are, but where they’ve been and where their going.”  By bringing only our favourite possessions, I had given us room to grow into the people we’d become through living abroad.

Lacking a dinner table as well as the china to set on it, we began searching the flea markets of Europe, letting our travel choices dictate our décor.

The Antiques Diva and Husband shopping“Darling,” I rang my husband’s office one day, “We need a buffet and I’ve just read an article on the selection of antique side boards available in the Costa Blanca.  Shall we go to Spain this Easter to see the procession and stop by an excellent source for richly carved chestnut chests?”  Weekends were passed ‘flea-marketing’ in the French countryside as we filled our home, and stomachs, while sampling the regions’ specialities. Along with our expanding waistlines, we’d return to our 6eme Parisian apartment with spoils such as a shabby chateau canapé, which groans when sat upon and Napoleon III side-tables lacquered and adorned with mother of pearl embellishments.  

When we moved to Holland, Belgium became our favourite getaway as it brought back memories of France with it’s abundance of French antiques, at more reasonable Belgian prices. Trips across Germany have filled our home with the types of knick-knacks that we never knew we needed until they completed a tableau.  Visits to friends in Switzerland resulted in our starting a new collection of antique globes found at the many Swiss brocantes and led us to purchasing a politically incorrect vintage fur throw straight from a chalet at a bargain-bin price.

Friends and family visiting us in the Netherlands nearly a decade after our expat journey comment unfailingly on the eclectic international décor, and when I point out a pile of plates that I peddled home in a box tied to the back of my bungee cord, they exclaim, “It’s just so you!”     

Read the Antiques Diva ™ Expatica Resource Guide, which takes you on an antiques shopping trip through all six Expatica countries:
France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Switzerland

logos By The Antiques Diva, an expert in scouting for antiques in Holland, Belgium and France. For more information, visit:www.antiquesdiva.com  or www.antiquesdiva.blogspot.com


7 October 2008



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