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Gathering the Treasures…

Anticipation…anticipation…  It’s making me wait…

Carly Simon’s famous tune always comes to mind as June approaches.
First, as an educator I used to look forward to the end of the spring semester and the beginning of a much-deserved holiday. It was a time to enjoy, re-invigorate, sharpen the saw, and detoxify from the stress that comes with teaching. Even though I loved facilitating the learning of others and learning from them, by June I am ready for a recess. Teaching is a very rewarding yet stressful job. Hats off to all of you committed and passionate teachers who with your efforts are leaving a great legacy!

Combining the finds from the last week markets

Now, I look toward June with even more anticipation because each year I get to travel through France, and sometimes other countries of Europe, procuring and gathering the beautiful and unusual items that we bring to our customers in the USA.

 Even though it is not all as romantic as some of our clients think it would be, roaming through the South of France with anticipation of finding a unique piece or finding a great deal, or meeting up with those other dealers who become occasional friends, makes it fun. 

Heavy English garden urns

Often when we share of this experience, our customers gasp and exclaim, “Oh, what fun! Traveling through Europe, and especially France, just shopping for beautiful antiques!”  Yeah?  Try hauling some beautiful 300 lb. concrete urn to your truck in the heat of the Mediterranean summer.  Smile!  And yet, it is a blissful experience; one that we look forward to with much anticipation. Will you come along?

This year it will be a first for Martin and he is definitely looking forward to the adventure.  Johan and I joked that as part of his initiation, he will have to do all the hauling. “I don’t think so!” says Martin, “And you guys had better treat me to some delicious French food and good wine.”  Knowing Martin, he’ll be figuring out how to “steal” recipes and ask us if we can send a few cases of wine in the container.  I will try to find him a vintage toque

Clock from British rail road station 

Johan is already there gathering gorgeous pieces for our next container.(scheduled to arrive early September) He was here for just over a month and has already been back on the road looking for all those sigh-inspiring beauties to bring to California.  Take a tour through our web site as he is already posting photos of available pieces.


On the market south west of Paris last Wednesday

Here we see him buying, hauling and preparing another beautiful cargo of French and other European antiques and vintage items.

Trinidad - Johan - Martin

Back at the warehouse


Chateau Sonoma: A French Flea Market Event

One of Sonoma's main destinations is Chateau Sonoma.
It is located in the heart of Sonoma and no, it is not a winery.
Chateau Sonoma is a little piece of France in this wine country.

Its proprietress and createur, Sarah Anderson has poured her passion 
for French Antiques in this marvelous boutique.  There are no words to
describe it.  As soon as you walk into the store, all of your senses are delighted;
your eyes widen with the amazing beauty of her displays, the aromas of French
lavender and verbena soaps tantalize you. 
You find yourself caressing each item as though trying to touch the past, the music in the background makes you think of street accordion players on the cobblestone walkways of the South of France, and  you can almost taste the freshly baked baguettes as you imagine yourself taking a tour through the streets of Ile Sur la Sorgue.

Sublime perhaps would be appropriate in trying to describe it.

Sarah travels through France procuring and gathering an array of unique items that she artistically combines in her shop creating magical vignettes. Her displays often elicit gasps and cause the faint of heart to almost swoon.  Treat yourself and visit her web site but make it a goal to visit her store soon.  You'll be delighted.

This weekend, May 21 and 22, 2011, Chateau Sonoma is hosting its annual event French Flea Market!  Come and find a new item to add to your home or garden and enjoy the revelry among lively, spirited people.  At this event, Sarah gathers vendors from all over who cater to those who love French and other European antiques.  It is not just a Flea Market, it is an experience that transports you to another space, another country.

Will you please join us?  It will be a double treat, for you'll be able to enjoy a day in a "French Flea Market" and also visit the inside of Chateau Sonoma.  Who said you had to pay high fares to experience France?  Come to Sonoma this weekend! 
A Bientot! 


Chateau Sonoma: 153 West Napa Street, Sonoma, California 
Click here Chateau Sonoma
Event Sat. & Sun. May 21 and 22, 2011 From 11am to 6 PM




Customer Appreciation Day
Saturday May 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You deserve it and we want to show our gratitude. 

Please come and join us for a day of food, wine, drinks
a la Americana, but surrounded with a French atmosphere.

We will have special discounts on items from
our container.  Still have lots of beauties at a lower price.

Come sip on a mimosa, enjoy a hot dog, a burger, salads,
and win the raffle!

Team Atelier


Ma petite maison d'hôtes

My little guest house/transitions

Trinidad and I bought our home almost 9 years ago.  It's a tiny little cottage but we liked the fact that it had room for a large garden and also to house our merchandise as well as a workshop/studio.  It is out in the country in Corralitos, surrounded by orchards and strawberry fields, so we came up with the name Atelier de Campagne: Country Workshop.

In our previous home, I fashioned a "workshop" out of our car port.  Our neighbors would walk by and stop to talk to me as I worked either on refinishing a piece I had found in a flea market or antique fair or creating a new piece of furniture out of reclaimed wood.  "Every time I see you work, it makes me want to go home and work on a project" some of them would say. It made me feel good to know I could inspire people to create.

As we moved into our new place, I was ecstatic about having more room where I could build a workshop/studio and have room to store my tools and materials. Soon after we moved in however, I had to return to my native Belgium and was not able to build my workshop.  This sudden change and transition as much I resented at first, propelled us to reinvent our business and it transitioned into an import business.

As we began to import European antiques and brocante, we began to focus more on French Country and expanded into a sort of Temps Perdu and Style Industriel.  I foud new inspirations and my designs also transitioned.  I now had more, and varied materials that I could work with. Trinidad and I also talked about the necessity to build a storage shed where we could protect the merchandise we would be importing from Europe so he hired someone to build it.  It served it's purpose as a storage of merchandise and now it is also time for this little structure to transition.  It is becoming a petite Maison d'Hôtes.

During my short visits, aside from preparing for our bi-annual container sales, I have been focused on creating "a room of my own."  It is not quite ready to be lived in, so in the mean time, I have been using it as a sort of canvas where I can rehearse designing different vignettes.  I thought I might share some of these with you.  Hope you get to come to one of our events and see it.


Be careful with what you wish for...

Remnants of the Past

WOW!!  What a success!  This event was definitely a first for us in many respects. As mentioned in a previous posting, this was the first time we have participated in this event and boy, were we in for a treat! We have been part of and attended many antique and vintage shows and appreciate the care with which folks display their products, but the participants of Remnants definitely take it to a higher level.  There is a feeling of harmony and camaraderie and a relatively nonexistent feeling of jealousy and competition. 

Judy graciously walks around greeting folks as they arrive to set up the day before and offers assistance, water, and chocolates in the afternoon for a little pep!  The sellers also walk around to see what the others are bringing and help each other as well. We were happy to see some familiar faces and also loved meeting new ones from all over.  And of course we bought some goodies from some of the other dealers: Martin found a beautiful Style Industriel tall desk, I found a garden chandelier made from wire fence and Mason jars and Johan was happy working his magic and making our booth beautiful.

Now for the dramatic thrill....OMG!  The attendance to this Spring event was record-breaking!  I had heard from other vendors that the previous year had brought in about 1,200 attendees and that they were expecting at least 2,000 this time.  Try a whooping 4,000!!  I don't have the exact numbers, but it was amazingly crowded and people were buying!  The numbers may not sound like much if you think of other antique fairs, but this event has less than 60 dealers!
3 Fine Grains

Bleu Canoe Reloaded                               Sandi Liderman

Needles to say, (even though we were running around and dead tired at the end of the day) the sales were incredible!  I did not hear of one person for whom this was not a bounty.  I'd like to take a moment to thank both Judys, the event coordinator, and the owner of the property for their amazing work, but also the sellers for their warmth and sense of professionalism, and of course, a big THANK YOU to all of you who attended and helped make the show such a success.

Looking forward to the Fall show!
Trinidad, Team Atelier