Part Deux: Gathering and Combining

In case some of you didn't know, Johan who is one of the owners of Atelier de Campagne is responsible for most of the selecting of merchandise, painting, designing, building, etc. He is also a great "createur d'ambiance"

Johan doesn't just buy and sell, or looks for the "hottest" item of the day, he thoughtfully selects items that he'd be proud to display in his own home and relishes mixing and combining the pieces that he so judiciously selects.


It is a sheer joy running around with him through the markets and brocantes selecting each item with care.  As we find some items, I get to learn from him, as he does hold degrees in both interior and furniture design, but I also get to hear sweet stories that come with the recognition of some items from his own childhood.  "Meme used to have one of these," he'll share with a sweet nostalgic look on his face. "I remember when I used to go to her house..." Or, "My father used to tell us that during the war, they used to have to store their food in one of these." For me it's a combination of learning about the items but also about Johan's memories and heritage.

Let's follow him as he travels through the markets 

It's not only the excitement of going to antique and brocante markets finding things, the bigger thrill for me is combining finds: mixing it up. This mirror can go with that table, that garden urn which I found in Abbeville  will work perfect in front of that gray Louis XVI mirror from the South of France, because of its color, age, and style.   At the warehouse I have plenty of room to play creating vignettes.  Trinidad calls it "playing house" but he knows it's part of creating the look and marketing our items. I use different areas of the warehouse and I usually start with a central piece; this could be an industrial table, a church clock face, large shutters, garden elements, etc. From there, I add elements from the different areas where I have searched, since I shop in Belgium, England, and France.  The combination can be varied but it has to work. 

Let me share some of my findings of today's marché de brocante in Crévecœur le Grand.  This is one of those markets where we sleep in the van, hit the streets at 3 a.m. with the flashlight. I take my little bicycle so I can rapidly move from vendor to vendor as they start unloading their vans and trucks on the streets of this picturesque  village north west of Paris. 

You can't be at all the places at the same time, and there is always competition for certain items. A lot of the other buyers become occasional friends and we end the afternoon at a cafe or bistro enjoying a beer or a glass of wine accompanied with some exquisite snacks. At the end of the long day of walking and hauling I can go back home, unload the next day at the warehouse, 
and see what needs restoration work or a paint job. 

In a few days I have another two-day market, and then next week get ready to pick up Trinidad and Martin from the Paris airport  for a three-week trip of markets and traveling. Our friends Melissa and Bob will also accompany us this summer and I am excited to host them. It will be a fun and fruitful summer I hope.

I am just as happy as a clam to be coming along on this trip.  It is my first time in Europe and I am glad that I am going along with these two who know what they are doing and where they are going.  And, yes I know we are not just going to be relaxing along the French Riviera, it's gonna be work, but I am ready. Bring it on! All I need is some great food, good wine, and I am ready to go!  We will get to see Bruxelles, Bruges, Amsterdam, Paris and a few other places in France before we embark on our buying trip in the South of France so it should be fun!

We will be doing our best to chronicle our voyage 
and will be sharing a bit with you, so stay tuned.
Au revoir mes amis!


Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

Sooo exciting! I am loving that birdhouse~ gorgeous!! Such beautiful inspiration over here... have a fantastic time! I cannot wait to see what you bring home this time! Looking for a trumeau mirror... keep your eye out for a reasonably priced ( I know, HTF!) one if you can! :) Hugs, Courtney

Ido said...

Good luck guys!!! Have a great time!
Can't wait to see those wonderful pictures!

Allie said...

Fascinating to see these wonderful images! You guys make a great team. Thanks for taking all of us along with you on this trip :) Have fun hunting and gathering

Unknown said...

Johan is a great "createur d'ambiance. Its beautiful what he pic's out.Can I buy him, hihi...very nice those market place, I wish you good luck en stay on Johan... Greetings Nicole

flowers on my table said...

Trinidad, what a wonderful insight into your working lives. Johan, obviously has an eye for design, as well as buying and selling skills. Everything in the photos looks wonderful. Enjoy your buying trip, look forward to your next post. Love Linda x

the vintage bricoleur said...

I am looking forward to "seeing" your journey. Enjoy! Terry

Acquired Objects said...

What a wonderful tribute to each and every one of you gentlemen. There’s a reason you all work so well together, it’s because of your thoughtfulness and respect for one another it shows in this post. I wish you happy hunting and happy selling lets hope it’s a wonderful summer for everyone!

Anonymous said...

PLEASE PlEASE beging selling online! I want to get my hands on some of those finds, but, alas I don't live close to the store!! Thanks, Sarah

The Paper Mulberry - Glenda Steel said...

Oh my what a gift! Your styling is DIVINE! If I could any one of those gorgeous tableaux in my home I would be over the moon! Warmest wishes from England - Glenda xxx

lvroftiques said...

I agree you guys make the most amazing team!! I'm so jealous of Martin! *winks* Sorry Martin but I gotta tell it like it is! LOL! And Johan has the eye in a HUGE way! I really love coming here Trinidad and learning from y'all! It's a visual feast!.....I wanna be just like you when I grow up *winks*....Oh and if you're taking orders? I'd love a duchesse brisee..... *winks* Vanna

La Brocanteuse said...

I can sense the excitement of your trip and love to hear about all you do and see and find..! Thank you very much for sharing, have a wonderful summer in France,(I know it is hard work..but one get hooked on that thrill as you know very well!) will be following from this side. greeting from Afrique du Sud- Colette

flowers on my table said...

All work and no play makes Trinidad a dull boy! Tee hee! Thanks for the comments, have a great weekend, love Linda x

Lynn King said...

I really hope to run into you guys on one of your European forays! I, too, am a dealer buying in France and Belgium shipping to the South, USA, that is! Glamorous, a buying trip is not! Addictive, it is! And aren't we lucky! Love your blog and your inspiring displays. Here's to meeting over a good bottle of French bubbly! And hope Martin has the trip of his life!

Atelier de Campagne said...

Thank you for all your nice comments. We went to sell at an art and Wine festival in Carmel valley today and even though people went for the wine and didn't expect to find French Antiques, we had a god time. We totally recommend it. The wine is great, the artwork varied from the very good to the WHAT???? But we all have to try. Smile! Not being catty just playful...I may blog about it before I leave on Wednesday. Hugs to all,


By Nela said...

Su blog es muy enrriquecedor, me encantará poder seguirlo. Si lo desea le invito a visitar mi blog. Saludos . Manoli.

Burlap Luxe said...

Follow him??? while he shops the marche' No I want to shop right along side of you guys :)
I am taking with me all that has inspired me while I visited.

I can only take so much beauty at one time so I will be back soon looking for a place to rest my heart on what inspired me most :) (All of it)

see you soon friends.

Jacque Ferreira said...

What a great post about a great story! Have fun guys, we look forward to hearing all about your adventure upon return.~ Jacque

Atelier de Campagne said...

Hi Jacque,

We are very excited about our trip and we can't sleep. Well, our flight was delayed a bit so we don't leave till late afternoon, so we still have a few things to do tomorrow. It was really nice visiting with you and James even for a short while.


Trinidad & Martin

Lara said...

I just wanted to stop by and let you know how much I enjoy your blog and photos. This is the style I love and you select everything so well! I just wish I didn't live so far away (Chicago) because I would certainly be shopping!! :))

Susan Barnhart said...

OMG....it's my fantasy to follow you around....need an assistant?
Overwhelming eye candy!

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