It’s possible to fall in love with an antique object d’art at Inner Gardens’ showroom and find that you are unable to buy it. Not yet, anyway.
That’s because I may not be ready to let it go. I only buy what I love, what I am willing to live with for years in the showroom until the right buyer comes along. Sometimes the buyer comes along too soon, and I’m not ready to part with the piece yet.
The investment in finding each piece is far greater than most buyers could ever imagine, and that’s what has made my showroom so enduring for all these years.
I don’t stock my showroom with antiques I orders online, from a laptop and with a glass of Bordeaux within reach. In fact, each buying trip, approximately three times per year, follows a similar grueling routine that goes something like this:
Overnight flight from Los Angeles to Paris, train ride to Avignon in the south of France, followed by hours with my agent driving through the countryside meeting with collectors. Finally, after about a 30 hour journey, I arrive at my home-away-from-home, Le Chateaux des Alpilles in St. Remy, a manor house built around 1825. It’s one of the most beautiful chateau hotels in Provence. I have become part of the family and stay there every time I go to Europe.
My routine doesn’t vary much from one trip to the next. Each lasts about a week during which I fill every single day with hours of driving, 6-7 miles a day of walking, and endlessly scouring through detritus to find the gems.
I attend three major antique fairs that draw sellers largely from the Mediterranean areas of France, Italy, Spain and Greece, who bring wares that work well in Southern California’s similar climate. My most recent trip in late November was very cold and wet. It was about 35 degrees and rained every day.
While I’m there, I’m sorting through thousands of pieces that are of no interest to me to find the ones that are. It’s seeing friends and dealers who I’ve known for years, who collect for me in the months that I’m not there. There’s tremendous competition for the best pieces, and there are only a few. It’s figuring out the containers and out how much space I have to fill, figuring out the crating and insurance and customs processes, trying to buy just the right amount so I don’t need a second container, which just sits until it is filled.
Aside from the people I meet and the friendships I’ve made, one of the most enduring reasons I continue to go is my unquenchable curiosity about the world. I learn about the history of the world through these objects, and about people, too. What’s interesting about going to these places is I get to learn about the world empirically, not through the newspapers.
In November, I met a Greek man at the Bezier Antique Fair who filled a truck with 19th century oil jars hoping to make some money in France. He said, `I have no work in Greece and had to take a shot at trying to selling pots.’” I bought several for Inner Gardens. They have layers and layers of white paint, wide-mouths that make them great for trees, and altogether perfect for our climate.
There’s a risk to these purchases because I buy everything on spec. I always hope that someone likes what I’ve selected, and usually that someone comes along, either by visiting the showroom or browsing on the Inner Gardens website. If you think you might be one of those someones, come to Inner Gardens to see the treasures I’ve found, or click here.