By Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva & Co European Tours


creative closets

Above the shoes my necklaces hang on drawer pulls screwed directly into the wall. A whimsical touch is the “pair of shoes” hooks clustered into the mix giving the perfect dose of diva décor!

We’re continuing our series on “Lessons in Real Life Decorating” as I share sources telling my methods and inspirations for redecorating my home in Berlin Germany post fire. Today I’m coming out of the closet – or perhaps, going in. I have quite possibly the biggest luxury in Europe – a walk in closet. By American standards my walk in closet is nothing to write home about – it’s not appointed with cedar closet systems nor is it particularly big – but I’ve made the experience of walking into my closet part of my home décor. I believe every room in your home should be beautiful. Each room should inspire you and delight your eye and each room should have something special. I love antiques so I’ve outfitted my closet with antiques just as I would any other room in my house.


On the far wall I’ve placed a Napoleon III period/ Louis XV style French Commode. This is one of the few pieces we were able to save from our house fire – and it was my favorite piece.

Purchased at the Paris Flea Market for a $1000. over 10 years ago, it was the first signed piece I owned. And while the rosewood marquetry has fallen out of fashion in recent years (causing prices on these pieces to plummet) I love it as much today as I did when I bought it. One of my Antiques Diva® shopping tenents is “You Will Never Make a Bad Buy If Buy What You Love. Fashions are passing, but Love, Sweet Love is Forever.” Inside my commode I store winter scarves and gloves, purse-sized umbrellas, etc.

Hanging above the commode is a mirror purchased in Provence on a L’ilse Sur La Sorgue Antiques Diva Tour. If you haven’t been to L’isle Sur La Sorgue you’re missing out – it’s the second largest flea market in France after the Paris Flea Market. My mirror in my closet is Rococo – anyone following this series will note that I have an affinity for the curved lines of the 18th Century. The mercury in the mirror is mottled to perfection. Another Antiques Diva Tenets – ladies, take note – “the older you get the better you look in the mottled glass of aged mercury!”


The Napoleon III period/ Louis XV style French commode was one of the few pieces we were able to salvage from the fire that devastated our previous apartment


My husband’s favorite Art Deco flapper statue doubles as my jewelry storage

If you’ve ever squinted your eyes and looked through your eyelashes in the mirror and caught a glimpse of yourself in years gone by you understand the effect antique mercury mirrors have on your reflection. However when buying antique mirrors look for glass that shows its age – but be aware that if you’re not able to see yourself at all in the mirror the value of the piece goes down exponentially.

Adorning the pink tint of the marble top commode is one of my husband’s Art Deco statues. Here form meets function. I’ve accessorized my flapper girl with baubles of my own as part of my jewelry storage. And speaking of jewelry storage several of my rings adorn a glove mold and my husband’s cuff links are clustered in a little antique crystal bowl.

I was hoping to have my closet wall papered by now, but well… life is busy and wall papering the closet hasn’t been a huge priority. Nonetheless I’m trying to decide between 3 different papers to adorn the wall behind the commode – a black and white stripe, a lattice work pattern and a toile wall paper.


What’s your vote? Which one would you choose?



The rest of my closet is kitted with basic IKEA. I used adjustable shelves as a shoe rack. Above the shoes my necklaces hang on drawer pulls screwed directly into the wall. A whimsical touch is the “pair of shoes” hooks clustered into the mix giving the perfect dose of diva décor!

creative closets

A mixture of some favorite antiques, a crystal chandelier and Ikea has made my closet into one of my favorite rooms



About Lessons in Real Life Decorating:

On Thanksgiving night in 2012, there was a fire in Toma & BJ Haines apartment in Berlin where they lost all of their possessions and left them looking for a new place to live. This is the journey they have taken to rebuilding a new home in a new building.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four