In these days of lumberjack sweaters and cozy-but-hideous UGGs, dreams of South Florida sun, Lilly Pulitzer pinks, and bonheurs-du-jour have been dancing in my head. What?! you say - shift dresses and tans, OK, but the nearest antiques port to Palm Beach is New Orleans.
You couldn't be more wrong, as I learned upon my arrival a few weeks ago at the Decorative and Fine Arts (DAFA) gallery in Fort Lauderdale.* Behind a plain post-war exterior lies a dazzling Aladdin's cave of delights, almost all directly out of estates and fresh to the market. I was instantly made to feel at home when I recognized several items from an esteemed New York gallery - yes, the very same but with a zero taken off the end.
Debbie and Craig Mayor, center, are the proprietors of DAFA and kindly hosted a Castaing lecture and book signing,
along with the charming appraiser and expert Juan Lluria, above, and Lars Hegelund of Frederick Fine Art.
Craig has the most marvelous eye and loves the hunt (and the acquisition). What this means is that his mark-up is quite modest so that things can move and his new purchases can come on the floor (like the contents of an entire mansion decorated by David Hicks - are you breathing as heavily as I am???) A few dealers are already onto the DAFA secret, but why not go directly to the source (and before the price has been doubled)?
The inventory is eclectic, spanning periods, countries, and importance and is exactly to my taste. One can imagine many of the items coming out of a Palm Beach doyenne's villa as decorated by Rose Cumming in the 1920s.
The painting selection is equally of interest and is curated by the elegant and erudite Lars Hegelund.
Lars was excited by this new arrival "Blue Crab" which I could happily find a place for as could I this ivory leather-tufted couch. O how I adore this couch.
Like Miss Hootie, below, my cats would be hard-pressed to shred it with their talons.
Am I purring? Yes, but so will you when you visit. Debbie and Craig's son has convinced them to embrace the digital age and is in the process of putting their inventory online here. In the meantime, hop on a plane or in a car to:
DECORATIVE ART & FINE ANTIQUES, INC.Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334
3263 North Dixie Highway
3263 North Dixie Highway
* Fort Lauderdale is less than an hour's drive from Miami and Palm Beach (depending on traffic). Because you might not be watching as much daytime television as I do, I can pass along Nate Berkus' preference to fly in to Lauderdale rather than Miami.