Sunday, July 29, 2007

Emotional Tags

For me, being an Antique Dealer provokes an array
of emotions. Maybe that is why I love it so much.
As I write this, I find myself searching for the right
words to define my profession.

I don't know where the word "dealer" originated or
why those of us that sell antiques got tagged with
that description, but for me, it's not an accurate one.
It seems so cold and free from anything emotional.

I much prefer the title of "Guardian." I am a
guardian of the works of skilled artisans,
who for the most part, just happen to be French.

That is another story in itself, but I think
because the French Culture places such a high
value on objets' de art, France was and continues
to be a haven for artistic expression.

Due to monetary restrictions, I'm not able
to keep all of my finds, therefore my task
is to find another guardian, a person who
can appreciate the work and skill that lies
behind the patina. Just another keeper, for a
period of time.

I was lucky this week to find two such guardians,
for two of my favorite pieces.
Pieces that I have emotional attachments to.

One of those pieces, a 19th Century French Tower
Clock, pictured below

This clock possesses a power over me and at the
same time, gives me power. She seems to transport
me to the past and at the same time, allow me to
glimpse into the future.
I find myself standing amidst the other villagers
wishing her hands would slow their movement, but
all the while respecting her for keeping harmony.
She assures our promptness to daily rendezvous
and demands an order to life. She is in sync
with the heavens.
She gives us documentation of special moments and
encourages us with anticipation of those to come.
What a true masterpiece she is!
She is a prominent piece of history and I give
thanks to her for allowing me the time to be
her guardian, however short it was!
I know she will give her new Guardian glimpse's
of past and present too.

As I pass her on, she marks the time of my
first and only child's birth, 6:30. One of the
most glorious times in my life.
It is a tradition in France, that you set the hands
of any clocks, not working, to the time of your
first born child's arrival. A most beautiful gesture.
Also, a reminder of how fast the time does past.
It is difficult to believe my child is now 30 years old.

So, as a toast to the Lady, may all my readers
have beaucoup de beaux moments à temps,
and Thanks to The Lady for reminding us all
that our time, as we know it, is limited.

As for the other piece I passed on this week,
you'll have to check back for my next post.
In the meantime, enjoy the photo's of some
other tower clocks in France.

Aix en Provence

Gare de Lyon in Paris


Gare des Brotteaux in Lyon
I've spent more than a few
evenings here as Paul Bocuse,
a famous French Chef has
one of his restaurants here
L'EST. It is a great place
if you are ever in Lyon.

Chow for now!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Country French Design in Louisville

One of the most talented Interior Designers in
Louisville, Ky., is Lee Stough of Lee Stough Interiors.
Meet Lee,

She also happens to be a very good client!

Lee lived in New York and attended the New York School of Interior Design until a friend invited her to the Kentucky Derby, 25 years ago. As fate would have it, love intervened and and kept her here.

Lucky for Louisville!

I love Lee's style. She has an uncanny ability to create an ambiance reminiscent of the French countryside. Probably because she is passionate about France.

I found these photo's of Lee's Maison on Cottages and
Gardens Magazine site

This is Lee's family gathering place.
Love the Color Palette!

The glow of the red walls is beautiful in the evening.

Lee is currently working on a home in Elizabethtown, Ky.
I can't wait to see the finished design. I hope to be able
to post those photo's soon, so keep checking back because
I know it is going to be ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!

Worldly Taste...Timeless Design is her tag line on her
website at

If you find yourself wanting to create the French Ambiance
in your home, but feel you need a little guidance, give
her a call at Lee Stough Interiors, 502-583-6169.
I promise you won't be disappointed.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I just could not resist posting these odd little creatures.
I guess you could say these are Santons of another sort.

These subjects are from Collection Regards, a French
manufacturer of ceramics and d'objets de décoration,
located in Chinon, France.

Bizarre and most unusual.

You can see the entire collection at

Friday, July 20, 2007

I absolutely adore SANTONS, especially
the antique Spanish Colonial ones.
I'll be heading back to France next month and
plan to spend a few days in Spain with the hopes
that I can find a few at an affordable price.

These photos are from Historia

The name Santon comes from the Provençal word
“Santoun” which in turn comes from the Italian word
“Santibelli”; meaning “little saints”.
They are also called Santos in Spanish.

Santons originated in Italy in 1223 when St. Francis of Assisi
(whose mother was from Provence) began staging
live nativity scenes.
After his death the custom of the creche spread
throughout Europe.
It was during the French Revolution that Santons
became popular. Prior to the Revolution, parishioners
re-enacted the nativity in the form of a play. The
Church further encouraged them during the
Council of Trent in the 16th century,
to help combat Protestantism.
But, when the Revolution banned midnight mass
and nativity plays in 1789 and churches were closed in 1794,
the creche began appearing in private homes.

In 1797, a Marsaillais called Jean-Louis Lagnel (1764-1822)
conceived the idea of creating a number of provençal
santons to add to the crèche. He also developed
the plaster mould, which enabled mass production.
One of his moulds is still preserved in the
Musée de Vieux Marseille
along with a number of clay figurines. As time past
more clay figurines were added to the crèche
representative of the "Pastoral" a play performed
in Provence at Christmas.
Nowadays there are numerous santon fairs all around
the Côte d’Azur and Provence at Christmas time.
Many say that the most beautiful santon fair is in
Aix-en-Provence, the historical capital of Provence.
The fair is held every year through the month of December.

Dressed Santons originated in Italy too and can be
traced back to the 18th century. Dressed santons
represent provençal trades people from the 17th century.
A quality santon is made in one piece (except the arms)
and not held together by any wires. The hands should
be nicely shaped with well marked fingers and the
same colour as the face. The size of the santon must
be fives times the dimension of its head. Clothes must
comply with provençal customs, hand stitched and not
glued or pinned.

Typical accessories are:
Taiole : a red, blue or grey ribbon wrapped
three times around the waste.
Scarf : folded in a triangle, with three folds, the ends
crossed over in the front and hidden by the apron;
the end point of the scarf must not show beyond the waist.

Owning a Santon is like having a little bit of French
folklore and Provence in your home and something
a little magical too.

For some great examples of antique Santons
and Spanish Colonial Art visit Historia Antiques
and keep your fingers crossed that I am able
to find a few next trip.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Blissful Blogs

One more wonderful blog I stumbled upon...
"Southern Heart"

Andrea lives in Tennessee and her dream is to
someday have a home in France, so you know she
has to be pretty cool!
Her blog has some beautiful pictures, some examples
Visit her blog at
You'll love it!
Have a Great Weekend Everyone!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Simply French" Cooking Classes

European Antique Market is hosting a "Simply French" cooking class featuring "Chef Gregoire Guiot" of Mirabelle Gourmet Catering. Read more about Chef Greg at The class will be held Tuesday, July 24th from 6:30 until 8:30pm. The cost is $45 which includes your dinner. Chef Greg will be demonstrating an appetizer, entree and a dessert. Space is running out so make your reservation today! Call us at 502-585-3111 to reserve your spot or send us an email. The class will be held at European Antique Market 933 Barret Avenue Louisville, Ky. 40204 We look forward to seeing you for a Bon Temps!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pampered Pooches

Doggie Bags in France! Rare as Martini's and Ice.
I'll never forget my first seven course meal at
Restaurant L'Escargot in Vichy.
This is great, I thought, what my stomach refuses
to accommodate I'll pack up in a Doggie Bag for
déjeuner sur la route demain, (lunch on the road
A perfect day, not having to stop for lunch while
scouting out more Antiques Shops, Depot Ventes
and Vide-Greniers. No need to waste time having
When I asked my French Ami to summon the server
for a Doggie Bag he practically went into a seizure.
Pas Pas Pas (They always say it three times)
Tabou, ce n'est pas approprié. He rattled this,
three times also, while levitating from his seat and
arms flying about uncontrollably. Nothing lost in
translation here.
He then proceeded to educate me on the Art of Dining
in France. First off, most dogs are allowed in
the restaurants of France. They usually receive their
water before the humans and most people in France
take their beloved companions with them. Therefore,
no Doggie Bags.
This I could understand, being a dog lover and all.
I've not been in many French restaurants where there
wasn't a pampered pooch or two present.
Secondly, I could not shop between
the hours of 12 and 2 anyway. Everyone closes to
have lunch with family and friends, so I might as
well stop and eat too.
How ridiculous I thought, no way all the shops
would be closed.
Who in their right mind would take the chance of
missing out on the almighty dollar or franc (in 1998.)
I know this French culture is different, but they
can't be that crazy.
It took several trips to convince me. I tend to be
a bit hard headed at times, but I had also been
brainwashed for 28 years by Corporate America
AND our culture, that the most important
thing in life was Money, Money, Money. I just
could not conceive of the notion that stores would
close in the middle of the day. AND to make matters
worse, TWO WHOLE HOURS to eat lunch????
Since my first days in elementary school I had
learned to gulp lunch in 20 minutes flat. By the
age of 40 my skills were well honed. I could throw
down a Big Mac, return two phone calls and smoke
a cigarette while driving, all in the span of one mile.
I never competed in any speed eating contests,
but I bet I could have placed in the Top Ten.
Dinner in an American restaurant, not much
difference. The Golden Rule of every restaurant
chain out there is TURN TABLES. It's all about
the MONEY!
I must say, there are exceptions to the rule.
A few of my favorites in Louisville, are the independently
owned establishments in The Highlands. My favorites
being Club Grotto, Nio's, Coach Lamp Inn and
You always have to ask for your bill in France,
"S'il vous plait, l'addition." If you don't you will
sit there all day.
Slowing down was really foreign to me.

MY OH MY, how I've changed.
I now live the Life of Luxury!

The French have truly taught me how to better
enjoy life. Their culture integrates what we Americans
sometimes view as, a necessary evil, into a beautiful
Tapestry of Life. There is just a Romance to everything
they do.
Many people talk about the French Cuisine being
the best in the World. I don't know if that's so
much the case as, they know how to create the
ambiance and they take the time to actually taste
what they put in their mouth.
How many Americans actually conserve a bottle
of wine until it has matured? NOT, we are more
into the instant gratification.
A really cool thing to do, a French tradition,
is when there is a birth of a child in your family
or a friends, buy a case or two of Bordeaux.
Put it in the cave (basement.) Open a bottle only
for special occasions in that persons life.
A graduation, marriage or the birth of their child.
I'll be buying a case shortly, as my 2nd grand-daughter
will arrive later this year. When the time comes
you won't just drink a glass of wine, you'll create
an experience.
My friends in France just opened a bottle from 1988
to celebrate their son, Charles, scoring a 13 on his
baccalaureate. He was just accepted into the Finance
program at the University of Geneva. Quite an
My friend also told me that even the most modest
families in France will invest in quality items when
it comes to the table. Dressing their tables with
the finest of linens, sparkling crystal, antique silver and
china all in an effort to set the stage for a wonderful
moment. Objects become entwined with the special
moments in life. That is luxury.
Sometimes there is even a place setting for
the beloved dog. That is luxury.
I have found myself frequenting those restaurants
that welcome my Cavalier, Zoe. Of course its patio
dining here, but I happen to enjoy her company
and she loves being with us.
Some day, when I get rich, I'm going to open a
restaurant, complete with antique linens, crystal,
mature wine, doggie menus along with the kids,
and NO DOGGIE BAGS! Oh, your also going to
have to ask for the bill.
Until that day, buy some great linens, invest in
some antique crystal, hide a case of wine in the
basement, (I would recommend a Saint-Emilion
Bordeaux) and invite your pampered pooch to
the table. Oh, and Bon-Apetit!

These are Doggy-Treats the Chef Gregoire Guiot
of Mirabelle Gourmet Catering whipped up for
our Doggy-Hop at European Antique Market

This is a sketch in progress of my Pampered Pooch "ZOE"
Jenny Deamer, an artist is drawing her.

Zoe again, she is 10 months old now.

Jenny Deamer sketching her pooch "Daisy"

This is a dog house I brought back from a French Chateau.
It just sold to one of my clients who happens to have
39 pampered pooches. Yes, you read that right, 39.
She rescues dogs.
I happen to have the neatest people for clients!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

"The Law of Attraction"

Oh How I Love "The Law of Attraction"

I'm really kind of new to this Blogging thing and
learning as I go. I had a few comments and something
I did made them disappear into oblivion. I really need
to purchase the Blogging for Dummies book!

I've recently started looking for other blogs out
there that embody true "Country French."

Enter Joni, an interior designer in Texas.
Joni's blog Cote de Texas is a must see. A
truly talented person and a wonderful blog.
I've posted a few photos of her design work
which can be seen on her blog at

Don't you just Love It?

I'll also be starting My Blissful Blogs list and happy to
say Cote de Texas will commence the list!
If your on the same wave length and have a blog
please leave a comment! Hopefully I'll figure those
things out and it will post!

I've had a few questions from the Curious Minds out
there about how I got started in this business.
If I could say only 3 words it would be

It is truly amazing the good fortunes that come your
way once you begin to Follow Your Path.
Not to say there aren't stumbling blocks, but they are
just that, rocks that you pick up and toss off your
path and continue on your way.
And you have to believe it and feel it. Trust me!!!
If you need a kick start or a little convincing that
you can do it, I would recommend any book
by Anthony Robbins. He is the best at teaching
you to create your own reality. I was the lucky
recipient of my first Anthony Robbins book on
my 27th birthday, 20+ years ago. I knew that I
was not living my passion, but felt stuck in a
corporate job. My life's circumstances prevented
me from making any change, OR so I thought.
I just started doing a little something every day
that would help me reach my ultimate goal.
I was in my mid-forties before I was able to leave
the corporate rat race and my risks were somewhat
limited, because I had already built an import
antique business.
It has been 6 blissful years now that I have been able
to devote all that additional energy to my passion.
It just keeps getting better!!!!!
Once you set in motion,
"The Law of Attraction"
the universe will support your cause.
"The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating"

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Louwee Louwee, Oh Yes, me gotta buy

France only had 18 Kings named Louis, no wonder

for the confusion when you start talking styles of
Two of my favorite are Louis XV and Louis XVI.
Could be due to the feminine influence and taste of
Madame Pompadour and Marie Antoinette..
Thanks ladies.

I also like the styles because they blend so well
with Rustic or the more sumptuous Romantic.
So which ever direction your heart strings
pull, you just can't make decorating blunders when
you include these pieces.
Both Kings reigned during the 18th century.
Louis XV (1715-1774) reigned during the
period that corresponds to Queen Anne and
Chippendale in America and Georgian in England.
Furniture designers at that time
worked at the Kings request and in an effort to keep
their livelihood, worked to create more beautiful
pieces. Enter Rococco. The term Rococco is
derived from the French word rocaille,
meaning rock and shell garden ornamentation.
The movement portrays motifs of romance,
shells, flowing vegetation, scrolls and curves.
The new freedom, informality, and desire for
comfort is perhaps best expressed in seating
furniture, including the armchair en cabriolet,
an upholstered chair with cabriole, or S-curved,
legs; the winged chair known as a bergère; and
the two- or three-part duchesse-brisée, or daybed.

Louis XVI (1774-1793) This style was inspired
by the rediscovery of Pompeii in Italy and the
return of neoclassicism.
Georgian was still the style in England and
in America the styles were Chippendale and
Straight lines, simplicity and delicacy are trademarks.
Rectangular spaces with classic emblems adorned
and legs became straight and fluted.
The motifs of the time were rosettes, garlands,
festoons, and laurel leaves.
The demi-lune debuted during this period.
Many of the pastel painted pieces I find are Louis XVI.

There are more Louis you know, but for now
those two will do.
They also seem to be the most popular in
Country French Decor.
As for the types of wood, there are many.
One of my favorites is walnut (noyer) in French.
French oak (chene) is also nicer than American. The
grain is a bit finer and much of it came from
the Black Forest.
Many of the painted pieces are birch.
Whatever the wood, rest assured, that the French
made some of the finest furniture in the world.
If your looking for a Louis XV or XVI piece,
be sure to give us a call. We have a large selection
since it happens to be just one of my many
weak spots!
Have a Great 4th of July!