What’s a Blog Tour?

Blog Tour. Blog Tour London. What’s a BlogTour and why do you keep hearing about it? A Blog Tour is when a selected group of bloggers are invited to a sponsored tour of a certain place or  destination that is directly or closely related to the type of blog they write and the industry in which they work for the purpose of exposing these bloggers to products or experiences for press release. In this case (Blog Tour London), its design. Interior Design. Designers and Design Bloggers. Come along and see exactly what we did and what we took away from it. All the photos from my recent excursion to London via Modenus really make me smile, bringing back memories of wonderful experiences in international design, meeting fellow design bloggers and international designers and businesses that I am connected to via Social Media in real life.  I’ll be sharing many photos with you, to illustrate our escapades.

Let’s begin with post flight.  Along with two blogging companions that were on my transatlantic flight, we checked into the oh-so-chic CitizenM Hotel newly opened in London. My first impression:

CitizenM Lobby – Photo: Patti Johnson

CitizenM Hotel Street shot, Photo: CitizenM

The CitizenM Hotel is new on Lavington St. just having opened this past summer! The contemporary furnishing installations in the public spaces are from Vitra. My initial impression of  European furniture is that it is much smaller in scale than American furniture.

“Vitra is a furniture company dedicated to developing healthy, intelligent, inspiring and durable solutions for the office, the home and for public spaces.

Vitra’s products and concepts are developed in Switzerland by applying a diligent design process that brings together the company’s engineering excellence with the creative genius of leading international designers. It is our goal to create products with a high functional and aesthetic life expectancy.” ~ Vitra.com

Example of CitizenM lobby. Photo: CitizenM

We then deposited our bags and checked out our rooms….and they even spelled my name right!

“IPad” type device controls temperature, lighting including mood lighting, (yes, you can select your mood), alarm, television etc. One tap turns off the lights once in the comfy bed. Photo: Patti Johnson

The technology in the United Kingdom is… a bit more progressive than in Ohio let’s say, but a few of us Americans became, let’s say a bit umm, perplexed on how to work it. That’s all I’m gonna say about that, and I didn’t slip it into my bag either. The beds were great and the hotel was very accommodating and I would recommend it for  international travelers. CitizenM is soon to open a location in NYC!

First on the agenda for #BlogTourLdn  for our arrival time was lunch at Berkeley Square at noon, courtesy of  the  The Lapada Art and Antiques Fair! After securing directions we  headed out to the tube or the London Underground. As you can see, we made it to “Chalk Farm” but oh my, that wasn’t even in the right direction! We asked directions again. And again.

London Bridge Underground

Doesn’t Mr. Goodwill Hunting look sophisticated with his leather brief?

After two hours and a few more rides on the tube, we found our way to Berkeley Square.  No time for sight-seeing, all we could think of was that a very lovely luncheon awaited us at the Lapada Art and Antiques Fair and by now we were determined to get there and EAT! Although we were extremely tardy, the staff cheerfully and very  graciously prepared for us  a wonderful meal of lamb and herbs. It was also here that we first met our fearless leaders Veronika Miller and Tim Bogan who arranged this wonderful tour with help from the lovely Erin Tye.  After much conversation and introductions, we enjoyed a delicious dessert and a cappuccino.

I also had the privilege of sitting next to Sarah Percy-Davis, the Chief Executive of Lapada who was extremely cordial and told me a bit about the show this year and the high volume of visitors and sales. With our appetites satisfied, we headed out to ooh and ahh over the show floor. The Lapada Art & Antiques Fair is the UK’s Largest Trade Association for Professional Art and Antiques Dealers. The fair’s primary sponsor is  1st Dibs  which according to their tagline: “THE WORLD’S LEADING ONLINE MARKETPLACE FOR THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS ON EARTH” so that may give you an idea of what was there to feast your eyes upon.

One of the Art pieces on display at Lapada that I thought illustrated our visit quite well! Photo:Patti Johnson

A B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l antique SILVER display from a vendor at the Lapada Art & Antiques Fair. I adore silver! Photo: Patti Johnson

More exquisite antiques! Photo: Patti Johnson

Just an average view as we head out in our taxi toward the hotel. Photo: Patti Johnson

View from the car as we made our way back to the Hotel CitizenM to change and prepare for dinner.

Not a bad rear view!

Stay tuned for more from Chatti Patti about the events attended on Blog Tour London 2012! Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a question!

Thank you to our wonderful Blog Tour London 2012 Sponsors!

Identify #Antique Furnishings

The Dictionary defines Antique as:

“antique [ænˈtiːk] n

1. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Antiques)

a.  a decorative object, piece of furniture, or other work of art created in an earlier period, that is collected and valued for its beauty, workmanship, and age
b.  (as modifier) an antique shop
2. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Antiques) any object made in an earlier period
3. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) the. the style of ancient art, esp Greek or Roman art, or an example of it”

In the Home Interiors, Design and Furniture world, antiques are most often classified by their age and characteristics, age being of 100 years or more. Items that are not that old are often considered  ‘Classics”. So, with that in mind, what makes wood furniture of 100 years old or more valuable? Primarily the origin, handcrafted or workmanship, the artisan or woodworker, the condition and the type of material, i.e. rare species of wood and of course, the finish.

Educating yourself with the world of antiques prior to venturing out and investing would be highly recommended! Good ways to do this is by visiting your local library where you should be able to find extensive information to read up on or even take a class at your local community college or just spend time at antique shows learning by speaking with the vendors. As a designer, I encourage my clients to invest in one or more antiques. Antique pieces can be  assimilated into almost any type of decor when done properly and scale and proportion are considered.

A basic and primary characteristic of a genuine antique furnishing would be dovetailed drawers; devoid of modern nails, and screws.

A drawer with only a few dovetail joints, with the ‘pins’ at the top and bottom being narrower than the dovetail (part in between) indicate a hand made joint as shown above.

Notice in this picture that the joints are all uniform in the drawer corner shown above depicting machine cut joinery.

In addition to the method of construction, the type of wood also makes a big difference when identifying authentic antique furnishings. Oak was broadly used prior to the 1700’s, however after 1700 and on; walnut and mahogany woods were commonly used. American antiques were commonly crafted from pine as it was very plentiful and equally easy to work with. Higher quality antique pieces were constructed with walnut, mahogany or even maple and cherry woods.  Genuine antiques are rarely perfectly cut due to the hand crafted nature whereas a reproduction will be precise and symmetrical as a result of  the process of machinery. If you were to investigate the wood closely and were able to determine the saw cuts, you can assume hand cut or circular saw cut which will help you date the item. Circular saws and machine cutting for furniture came along around 1860, making even a machine crafted piece an antique that still falls into the age category of being more than 100 years old. However, this serves to increase the demand for hand crafted pieces causing them to be more sought after and valuable!

I hope you enjoyed your little Antiques 101, check back soon for more on Antiques. If you have a question you would like answered, please submit it below!

Happy Hunting!