Selling a Table to Thom

As in Filicia. Seriously. I was set up at an antique show in North Carolina. When he and his team strolled down the aisle directly in front of my booth. I was eyeing them from the back corner of my booth, not wanting to jump on them but making sure that I was available if they had any questions. There was only one… can you get this delivered to us in New York? So, let me backtrack a bit and tell you the story of how I purchased this amazing table. At the time I was living in Philadelphia and was out shopping specifically for the show. I had stopped by one of my favorite pickers as he was pulling up to his warehouse. I quickly parked my SUV and jumped out, making a bee line for his pick up truck. Peering in I saw a wrought iron foot of the table and it was stamped 'Made Italy'. In my book, that's always a good sign. I quickly priced and purchased the table without even seeing the rest of it. Immediately, I rummaged through the rest of his finds and purchased the lot of them. Days shopping accomplished in under fifteen minutes! And the table you ask? Well, it's currently in his Sedgwick and Brattle showroom in the New York Design Center. Lisa Mende even blogged about it, click here to see. Here's a pic, or three…



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Ron Marvin and the Ferry Ride on TV

When my friend Ron Marvin, a New York City based interior designer, reached out to me and asked if I would donate to his Design on a Dime vignette for Housing Works thrift shops I said Yes immediately. Ron is a terrific friend and Housing Works does great work. It's a win-win. I needed to get the vintage brass antelope sculpture mounted on a marble base to him. And quickly. At this time I was living in Massachusetts and tt just so happened that I was heading to NYC for the weekend. With an overnight bag on my shoulder and a big sculpture in my arms I hopped in a taxi to the waterfront to take the ferry to the train station in Boston. Anyone else thinking trains, planes and automobiles? It was the almost end of the Winter of 2014 - 2015 and folks on the South Shore were still digging out from a record snowfall of about 10 feet. There was a TV news crew on the ferry who were interviewing folks about their commute and giving away free coffee and donuts as a way to say, 'hold on - Spring is around the corner'. As you can imagine, the early morning ferry full of commuters were less than enthused about the camera crew, the giddy news reporter or even the coffee for that matter. They had all endured a brutal Winter of long commutes, delayed transportation and slippery floors. But, I on the other hand, was equally as giddy as the reporter and more than happy to be interviewed on live morning TV. I think it was the antelope that got his attention! We chatted, the camera recorded and the news reporters in the studio were equally as fascinated with the antelope. I 'may' have said that I brought it everywhere with me… No, just kidding. I shared how it was being donated to a charitable event in NYC through Ron's beautiful design. Another win-win. Funny story for morning TV and a nice plug for the event. The remainder of the trip, this leg by train, was uneventful in so far as news crews, but I did have some great conversations! Here's a pic of Ron's Design on a Dime vignette:

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The antelope is placed on top of a stack of books on top of the fall front desk. Of course the vignette was a sell out and a huge fundraiser for Housing Works. I'm so happy that Ron asked me to participate!

Here are a couple fun pics of the commute…

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Kelli Ellis and Universal Furniture

Kelli and I first met in Las Vegas when I was chosen to be a tour guide for her Design Campus tour at Las Vegas Market. I was blown away by her generosity and exuberance. Kelli definitely has a magnetic personalty. Fast forward to April 2016 when I bumped into Kelli at an antiques show. She was debuting a line of furniture of her own design at Universal Furniture and wanted a few accessory and art pieces to jazz up the showroom. Of course I jumped at the chance. This market I was debuting the Modern Look Book concept and Kelli absolutely loved the oil paintings by New York City based artist Clintel Steed as well as the black and white street photography by Philadelphia based photographer Michael Penn. Kelli chose two works from each artist along with a selection of vintage brass tabletop accessories. The showroom looked great. Here are a few pics…

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Tyler Hays of BDDW

I first met Tyler when I was living in Philadelphia and had opened up a small shop in the Fishtown neighborhood on Frankford Avenue. Tyler had a massive studio in Philadelphia and would often park his car near my shop when he and his team would go for lunch. It was on one of those lunch outings that he saw the oversized antique hand painted murals hanging in my storefront windows. A few days prior I had been sourcing vintage industrial pieces and came upon the murals. They had been cast aside, rolled up and left on a cold and damp concrete floor. Not seeing the images, but understanding the scale, I quickly scooped them up and hoisted each onto my shoulder and into my rental truck. There were a lot of trips to the truck that day! Arriving back at my shop I couldn't wait to unroll the murals to see what was on them. To my great delight I saw the scenes - nature scenes, animal scenes, fishing scenes - they were stunning. And Tyler thought so too. Understanding their importance, Tyler purchased the entire collection. They now decorate his New York City and Milan showrooms. Here are a few pics…

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Southern Style Now Showhouse

Michel Smith Boyd, Atlanta and New York City based interior designer, and I first met in Las Vegas at a trade conference. We became fast friends as I immediately gravitated to his warm personality and his strong taste in interiors. Fast forward to April of 2016 when we saw each other again at an antique show where I had debuted the Modern Look Book concept. Michel was captivated by the contemporary oil paintings by New York City based artist Clintel Steed. Michel was sourcing a few finishing touches for the first floor den at the inaugural Southern Style Now Showhouse in New Orleans. He selected 'Birthday Self Portrait' by Clintel Steed and it was shipped to the shophouse the following day. His room generated fantastic reviews. Here are a couple pics…

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Christopher Kennedy Showhouse

When Justin Shaulis, New York City based interior designer and trained architect, approached me with the idea to assist him in sourcing vintage pieces for a showhouse I jumped at the chance. Justin and I first met through shared social media contacts so when we finally met face to face IRL (in real life) it looked as though we had been friends forever. Case in point: Justin posted a pic of the two of us to his Facebook page and with a couple minutes received a call from him Mom asking why she had never heard of me! Sometimes you really do click with people. That was why I knew I'd be successful in understanding Justin's vision for the Guest Suite at the Christopher Kennedy Compound Palm Springs Showhouse, February 2016. At the time, I was living on the South Shore of Boston and had lucked into a few mid century homes. I sourced a pair of original Florence Knoll armchairs, a pair of Modeline table lamps, various brass accessories, a concrete torso sculpture and a pair of rock crystal and quartz decorated table lamps. The shopping was intense and I knew there was a deadline. We made it, just down to the wire with the shipper, and Justin installed everything in the Guest Suite to rave reviews. Here are a few pics…

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In the Beginning...

From early mornings in New York City to sunny travels in Rio de Janeiro, history lessons in Philadelphia... And all along I've been sourcing the important and rare finds in antique, vintage and modern. I'm Heather Karlie Vieira, welcome to 20th Century by HKFA. I suppose it all started back in the 1980's when I'd be in the flea markets of rural New Jersey with my family. I'd be walking along amazed by all of the offerings... from Queen Anne chairs to Freddy Mercury records, crystal chandeliers to ball gowns, brass side tables to ships models... it was all there for the offering. Fast forward to 2002, I had moved to New York City with the dream of becoming an antique dealer. With a six month sublet and six hundred dollars, I set out into the City that Never Sleeps. It was here that I happened upon the world famous 26th Street flea market. Every weekend dealers brought their freshest finds and the buyers lined up with flash lights in hand to buy them. I had found my passion in antique and period picture frames, so a specialist I became. Soon thereafter I established myself as a serious dealer in fine picture frames and found my clients throughout the coveted Upper East Side and all along upper Madison Avenue. With a selection of frames on my shoulder and a swipe of my MetroCard I was transported from my studio apartment in the West Village to another world. A world of Picassos and Kandinskys, Cassats and Sargents, Titians and Tintorettos... it was magical. As the years went on, my eye became drawn to art, furniture, lighting, case goods, accessories, you name it! I was now a regular exhibitor at the Pier Antique Shows and the downtown Armory Antique Shows. My client roster was growing and so was my family. I met my husband while waitressing (because everyone in New York City has more than one job) and we welcomed our first daughter in 2008. Buying and selling continued to grow and so did our family. We welcomed our second daughter in 2009. New York City had given me a profession and a family. Life was wonderful. By then we were living in the same tiny West Village studio apartment that I had moved into back in 2002 and it has become just a bit too small for the four of us. So we pulled up stakes and moved to Cidade Maravilhosa, Rio de Janeiro. My husband is a true Carioca and I immediately fell in love with the rhythm and beauty of Rio. I discovered Praca Quinze, the famed flea market, as well as a new passion - Brazilian modernist furniture. I had soon bought enough to fill a container and ship it back to New York City. The market was ripe for the ultra fresh, ultra exclusive finds. We slowly wound our way back to the States and settled in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Beautiful scenery with the added bonus of proximity to New York City, we were enjoying it all. After a couple years there we headed to my hometown of Philadelphia. Home of Rocky, the cheesesteak and our Founding Fathers. It was a great move as the buying in Philly was particularly strong. We then went North and explored the South Shore of Boston for a spell - only to be greeted with one of the harshest winters on record and enjoyed about ten feet of snow in that first year! As always, I made the best of it and found some really wonderful places to source great vintage, modern and antique finds. But, my heart drew me and my family back to New York City! With a great (small) two bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side and a storage / showroom on East 91st Street - 20th Century by HKFA / Modern Look Book / Heather Karlie Fine Art is back where it all began!!! Life and business are always running at a fast clip. My showroom is mobile, that is why I'm always on the move. Buying and flipping, selling at shows, selling on 1stdibs. You know, a rolling stone gathers no moss. I'll be looking forward to seeing you! All the best, Heather

20th Century by HKFA... Designer 20th Century Furniture. American Art. Mid-Century Paintings. Antique and Modernist Picture Frames. Vintage Industrial. 19th Century Antiques. Lighting, Lamps, Chandeliers, Sconces. 20th Century Designer Works. Garden Furniture. Important American Paintings and More...

Heather Karlie Vieira, Hustler...

You know when somebody asks you to be part of a book and you think it's an amazing idea… but then it doesn't turn out to be what you thought… so you share the story yourself, on your own terms. Yeah, me too.

Please provide a background on your company and the year it was founded.

1.) It was a cold and crisp Saturday morning in February when I stepped out of my East Village sublet apartment and onto the streets of Manhattan.  The club kids and delivery men shared the same sidewalks as one group made their way home and another group began their day.  It was 4am and I was headed to the 26th Street flea market in Chelsea.  Two night prior I had packed up my life into a rental truck and made the ninety mile journey from Philadelphia.  A short two hours but surely a world apart.  It was while I was living in Philly, working as a waitress, that I had had the realization.  The realization that my childhood weekends spent with my family were truly the moments that were inspiring.  The early mornings spent looking at Queen Anne and  Queen LP’s, chandeliers and ball gowns, brass side tables and ship’s models - had laid the foundation of what was to be my moment of realization.  I wanted to be an antique dealer.  So, in February of 2002, I packed myself up and headed to New York City.  With a six month sublet that I had paid for in full and six hundred dollars to my name, I was determined to make a place for myself in The Big Apple.  That cold and crisp Saturday morning was to be the first day of my new career - only I really didn’t know what to look for or what I’d find.  Arriving to the flea market shortly after 4am I found myself in the center of a parking lot near the intersection of 26th Street and 6th Avenue.  A parking lot bustling with vendors and dealers, buyers holding flash lights who were pushing their way to the latest vehicle that had pulled in to their assigned space and started to unload.  It was when the items were pulled from the vehicle that the excitement would begin.  Anticipation and tempers ran high as buyers jockeyed for position to be closest to the fresh merchandise.  But this crowd was a fickle one.  As each new vehicle pulled in, the crowd of dealers would turn on their heels and dart to the latest vendor.  Each seller would command their attention only until the next vendor would arrive.  To me it was like watching a dance - or more like a school of fish who would ebb and flow, turn and move - all with one purpose, to find the next treasure.  And I too was there for treasure - but what?  I stepped in and out of the fray, watching and seeing all that was on display.  I was waiting for that next all important realization - what type of antique dealer was I to become?

What was the initial spark or idea you had to start your company?
2.) It was then that it happened.  I stumbled across a pile of dusty old picture frames.  They were stacked up against the wall like so many glittering relics - gold leafed, accentuated with ornament - they were it!  Beautiful and useful, architectural and artistic, practical and decadent - the picture frame was to become my inspiration, my passion, my business.  And just like that, Heather Karlie Fine Art was born.  But wait a minute!  What did I know about picture frames?  Not much.  But I did know enough to follow my gut.  And hold on just a sec - who exactly would be buying all these picture frames from me?  Well, I knew that the Upper East Side was home to some of the best art galleries, specializing in everything from Old Masters to Contemporary works.  There were sure to be a few among them who needed period picture frames.  So I invested some of that six hundred dollars into a few frames that I considered to be the best of the bunch.  By now, the sun had risen and all of the days offerings had either been snapped up by the early morning buyers or were being considered by the 'late morning’ arrivals.  These were the folks who had strolled in well past nine with a specialty coffee drink in one hand and a French pastry in the other.  It was at this time that I headed home to officially open up shop as HKFA.  Spending the morning online, I emailed every Upper East Side art gallery and introduced myself as a new source for important antique and modern period picture frames.  Then I sat back and waited for the requests to pour in.  Hmmm.  Something must have happened to my internet connection.  Maybe my email server was down?  So I turned off my laptop and waited.  It was a very long minute.  Getting it up and running again, I quickly opened my email.  Success!  An ‘out of office’ reply.  Well at least it was something.  Feeling like I needed a break, I left the world headquarters of HKFA and went out for a coffee and bagel.  Seemed like a very ‘New York’ thing to do.  Back at the office with a full belly and a renewed sense of confidence, I opened up my email.  And there it was.  An actual response from a New York City Upper East Side gallery, “Please bring a selection of your frames to the gallery at 10am on Monday”.  Short, sweet and full of promise.  I couldn’t wait to go to sleep just so I could wake up even earlier the next day and go back to the flea market on Sunday to see what other treasures awaited me.  I mean, now I was in business.

How has your brand story changed since you started your company?
3.) Being in business in New York City means that things can change in a New York minute - which I can tell you is quite a bit shorter, unless you’re waiting to open your email.  Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, months to years - but all going by in a flash.  I had built a business specializing in sourcing rare and important picture frames and selling these frames to the City’s top galleries.  And what did the years of being in business in New York City teach me?  That the only constant is change.  The City, the art world and the frame business were changing and so was I.  I had met my husband and started a family, I had lived in Rio de Janeiro, I had opened my eyes to the connection between frames and art and furniture and lighting and more!  I had a new inspiration.  My inspiration came from the history of picture frames.  During the 1600’s, 1700’s and 1800’s the picture frame was considered as furniture.  The frames were not tied to the artwork, but rather to the prevailing style of furniture.  As tastes changed and new styles came into vogue, the frames were also changed because they needed to be in the same prevailing taste - the architecture of the frame was tied to the architecture of the room.  A ha!  It was time to broaden my horizons.  I began to buy furniture, lighting, art, accessories and I began to see the design that connected these pieces.  The common thread that wove its way through history creating a tapestry that illustrated the beauty of the individual pieces viewed as part of a larger installation.  Now when I was set up and selling at top antique shows, I was showing a complete look - furniture, lighting, art and accessories - a room setting in which I could explore the historical basis of the 20th Century designs I was selling.  And thus was born 20th Century by HKFA.  My years spent specializing in picture frames built the foundation for my business in fine and decorative furnishings.  Taking a step back and seeing the whole room, but keeping a concentrated focus and perspective was my natural progression.  Remember folks, the only constant is change.  And if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you’re going to need a strong base to draw from.

What do you think has been the key to your success?
4.) And I feel fortunate to have a strong base - which is a big part of building my business and my brand.  You see, I’d like to show folks how contemporary interior furnishings often have a strong foundation in historical design.  That the key elements in today’s interiors are oftentimes based on a design from the past century - or even farther back.  For each generations contemporary style has a strong base in the previous generations history.  A key to the growth of my business is that understanding.  And the understanding that each day presents an opportunity - an opportunity to explore more of our history through furniture, lighting, art and accessories.  The design of our time is constantly evolving and changing.  And sometimes to see the future, it’s best to look to the past.  Antiques, by their very definition, are always becoming, evolving and changing.  They are often defined as being something that is at least one hundred years old - and as time passes, each year brings new items into that definition.  So for me, looking to the past and understanding its importance is another key to remaining relevant in the antiques business.  And this is not mine alone and I was certainly not the first to see it.  Diana Vreeland is quoted as saying, “There’s only one thing in life, and that’s the continual renewal of inspiration.”  A huge source of my inspiration comes from those weekends spent at country flea markets as a child, from looking to the history of the object that was to spark my initial dream, from the only constant which is change.  And that key is always close to me - for it is something that keeps me curious.  All of those 4am adventures, early morning wake ups (and staying up really late) were another key to my business.  Because each of those mornings I’m heading to the flea markets I’m never guaranteed to find anything - but I am always guaranteed to have a continual renewal of inspiration.  It’s the hunt for a treasure - something grand and significant, something delicate and simple - but having a strong base, an open mind and a curious nature are some of the best tools of my trade and keys to my business.

Did you have any naysayers when starting your company and what did they tell you?
5.) Starting my business and telling my friends and family of my plan all those years ago in 2002 while living and working as a waitress, I was met with a cool reception.  All were concerned as to whether I knew what I’d need to follow my dream and if I had the tools.  But treasure hunters are generally not a practical bunch - they are dreamers, idealists and gamblers.  To say that their words fell on deaf ears is an understatement.  I could hear only my own thoughts - those thoughts of taking a bite out of the Big Apple, of following a path without using a map or compass, of having the chutzpah to go with my gut.  And I’m sure that my friends and family saw the determination in me - that coupled with my timing of sharing the news only a week or so before leaving was all that I needed to say.  And what happened once I arrived in NYC you ask?  Those ‘jaded’ New Yorkers must have considered my small town dream to be the stuff of a made for TV movie.  Hardly.  For I was welcomed into a group of other dreamers, idealists and gamblers.  We were all betting against the house and each of us ready to hit it big.  New Yorkers are like no one else.  They are the inhabitants of an island, an island of monuments and history, and island of culture and freedom, an island of treasure.  My colleagues and I each followed our own paths, criss-crossing the island and looking for the X that marks the spot.  And what advice did we have for each other?  Well, non really.  Not that we played our cards close to the vest, it’s that antique dealers encourage one another through stories and tales.  Like a jolly group of pirates on the high seas searching for treasure and regaling one another with fantastical stories of the best painting, suite of chairs or piece of jewelry that they uncovered in the most unlikely of places.  And it was all of those stories that inspired me to build a strong base, always keep an open mind and future my curiosity.  So let the naysayers have their moment for you are listening to your own inspiration.

What was the biggest obstacle you had entering the market with your product/service?
6.) And that voice must rise above the din, for there will also be people building walls to close you in.  To contain you.  To stifle you.  Breaking through, going around, above or under - the walls must not hold you in.  I, too, had my share of obstacles.  And those obstacles come in so may forms - whether it was the day to day life in New York City, a run of bad luck or bad timing when searching for merchandise or the self doubt that creeps in and tries to construct another wall - I knew that my dream was bigger than all of it.  But the greatest obstacle would always be the learning curve.  The becoming while building was and always will be a driving force in the entrepreneurs schooling.  Or as I like to call it, trial by fire.  For my business education did not include textbooks, online courses or classrooms - it was spent taking chances, searching for treasure and often times coming up with a whole new inspiration.  And that in and of itself was at times an obstacle.  Learning and a natural curiosity would try to divert me from my focus.  Digesting the stories of my colleagues who had made tremendous scores in other areas of the business would cause an ache within me.  A pang if you will.  Could my gut be leading me down the wrong path?  Was a specialization in antique and modern picture frames too narrow a field?  The perception of success can be one of the greatest obstacles of all - but I would not let that stop me.  Instead, I celebrated their successes and used them to buoy my spirits.  I dug deep and planted my feet firmly on the ground.  I invested in trips to some of the world’s best museums to see the best examples of frames.  I invested in catalogs and books and spent hours pouring over the images and descriptions of frames.  But most importantly, I welcomed the obstacles - for they were not walls but would be the building blocks that I would use to fortify my position.  To build a strong foundation.  To have the courage to specialize in a field.  To create a business in the heart of New York City based only on my dream and six hundred dollars.  And the obstacles will continue and they have continued.  I have encountered the obstacles of growth, of expanding my scope and of building a brand.  20th Century by HKFA is an important selection of well curated 20th Century finds - this leaves the door open to history.  To 100 years of design and decor.  To learning something new each day while maintaining focus.  To becoming while building.  So I continue to see obstacles as building blocks - not walls.  And I will continue to use them to build my foundation and my base.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had as your business has grown beyond the start up phase?
7.) Because the challenges are many - and the growing pains will be sharp.  Building my business from picture frames to sourcing fine and decorative furnishings for some of the design industry’s top creatives has been an adventure.  One that saw me start a family and move from the City that Never Sleeps to Cidade Maravilhosa, Rio de Janeiro.  Challenges abounded.  Establishing myself and my family in a new city in a new country.  Learning another language.  Stepping out from my comfort zone and embarking on a whole new adventure.  I was ready for the challenges.  I was ready to grow my brand.  Returning to my roots, I discovered a new source of inspiration through focus.  Buying top examples of mid Century designer Brazilian furniture was to be my focus - learning about the line, the form and the backstory became my passion.  I embraced the challenges because I knew that the foundation was there.  Returning to the States after some time, my brand was beginning to become.  But I was still building so there would be more challenges.  Creating a strong online presence was the next step.  I set about creating an impactful website and developing engaging social media accounts that were to become my calling cards in a burgeoning field of creative types.  And it was here where I faced another challenge - how to stand out as a professional antique dealer.  How would 20th Century by HKFA face these challenges?  By entering the home furnishings industry through one of the top trade shows.  By placing my brand, my inventory, my eye and myself in front of 80,000 design industry professionals.  By exhibiting and selling at High Point Furniture Market.  And by understanding that collaboration is one of the keys to growth.  It was during this time that I began to question how I would continue to elevate my brand solely on my own.  I could see that I needed someone in my corner.  So I enlisted the professional public relations, marketing and networking connections of Fashion + Decor.  This new alliance would further help me to meet the current challenges and prepare myself and my brand to face future challenges.  And continue to ride the learning curve.

Give an example of a mistake you made along the way that has led to a valuable lesson.
8.) You know, learning curves are a funny thing.  The slow and steady ones allow you to push forward solidly, steadfastly - but slowly.  It’s those sharp learning curves, the ones where you’re racing uphill enjoying breakthrough after breakthrough, only to stumble when you’re so close to the next peak.  If you can’t hold on you’ll slide backwards down that steep slope and find yourself back where you started.  But, if you can hold on, gather yourself up and re-group - you will have learned a valuable lesson.  That mistakes and missteps will happen.  The proverbial zigging when you should have zagged.  My career has had its fair share of mistakes.  Take for example and early Saturday morning in 2003 when I was sourcing antique frames in New York City.  I had been growing my vocabulary of frames and felt that my knowledge base had grown exponentially in just a short year.  Feeling ready to step up to the plate, I bought a near mint example of a period Louis XIII frame dating to the mid Seventeenth Century still retaining its original finish, original size and original hand carved ornament.  Worm holes and all.  I couldn’t get the $750 out of my pocket fast enough.  Beaming with pride I headed directly to my good friend and mentor’s frame gallery in TriBeCa.  His eyes widened as he took one look at my recently purchased masterpiece.  “It’s a good one”, he said “for a copy.”  … What?  “Yes, this is a reproduction dating from the early 20th Century.  As long as you didn’t pay too much, there’s always a market for these.”  Feeling myself starting to slide backwards, knees buckling, stomach lurching I managed to utter, “Ummm.”  That was all he needed to hear, for he had also been there.  Been in the place where you think you have it all figured out - only to see that you’ve been looking at it all wrong.  I took a step back, re-grouped and saw the situation for exactly what it was.  A valuable lesson.  For even as I was buying the frame, there was a little voice inside me saying to slow down.  But I didn’t listen.  Because I had been racing uphill along this learning curve, I chalked up this little voice to self doubt.  Quickly pushing it away because I couldn’t be bothered - I mean, I had already learned so much about frames in the past year!  Luckily this mistake and bravado cockiness was something that didn’t push me backwards.  I used it to propel me further, through humility and the understanding that mentors are priceless.

Did you have a mentor early in your career and what key piece of advice did he/she give you?
9.) Mentors are invaluable assets for they have trudged the paths, climbed up the learning curves and made the mistakes.  They have been there and are willing to share their stories, successes and failures.  I’d like to tell you about four different mentors that I had and that each of the four were connected to the Chelsea flea market.  The first is a dealer in important American and European Twentieth Century design - a dealer who has been and continues to be a future in the top New York, Hamptons and Miami high end antique and design shows.  This dealer taught me to appreciate the scale, form and line.  To believe in the pure beauty of the object.  And to buy the best that you can.  I think it is Miles Redd who is quoted as saying, “Buy the best, and you only cry once.”  Needless to say, I have shed a few tears when shopping through the years and will no doubt continue to do so.  But I’ve always had a smile on my face afterwards.  The second mentor is a team of specialists in antique and period picture frames.  An expert team who devotes their lives and careers to the study, understanding, restoration and appreciation of picture frames.  From this husband and wife team of specialists I learned that focus and determination are essential building blocks to creating a strong foundation.  And the third mentor is a renowned New York City estate buyer who has bought and sold some of the most iconic antique and decorative furnishings to pass through the five boroughs.  He taught me to always look a little deeper and to explore the backstory of each object.  He taught me that more often than not, your first offer is your best offer and to always be ready for the next adventure.  And the fourth mentor.  Ah, the City itself.  The City that welcomes so many to test themselves and to dare to dream.  This mentor taught me that good things come to those who hustle.  And hustle I did.  You didn’t think that I simply showed up, opened up shop and sat back while the money rolled in?  No.  I worked day and night and every weekend.  Days spent working for my mentors and seeing clients.  Nights spent working at any one of five different night clubs, working till 4am and then heading directly to the flea market.  Nights spent waiting on the City’s hottest celebrities and days spent researching and selling the City’s finest treasures.  These four mentors gave me the best advice, advice that I’d like to share with you.

What advice would you give young entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?
10.) Trust your eye.  It really sounds simple enough, but it’s some of the most profound advice.  Trust is one of the most sought after beliefs.  It is the belief in reliability, truth, ability and strength.  To trust in yourself is to declare to all that you have confidence and conviction.  This trust will shine through in your work, your relationships and in your life.  And your eye.  The window to your soul, your vision, opinion, attitude.  Trusting in your vision, opinion and attitude will illustrate to all that you yourself are ‘one to watch’.  That you are someone whose work is to be studied, whose relations are strong and whose future is bright.  When you trust your eye, you believe in what you are seeing and the way in which you are seeing it.  And this vision will change over time as your opinions and attitudes change.  But the thing that will always remain constant is you and the way you see things.  Whether you are seeing a product, a project or an entire market - your vision is exclusive to you.  And you bring your experiences to that moment of seeing.  How I trust my eye has to do with how I see the antiques that I am buying.  I am seeing each for their individual beauty in the moment.  I am seeing each as a work of art and design whose backgrounds can be traced through history.  And I am seeing it as part of a larger whole - as an ingredient in the making of something special.  Over the past thirteen years I have bought and sold thousands of objects, many of which I can still see in my mind’s eye.  And as I look back at them, I can see how they play off one another, how they are influenced by one another and how there is a natural progression to my vision.  Each day I think back to my mentors, remembering their advice, I can see their individual vision.  And I can see how they each have changed over the years while becoming and building.  To remain steadfast in your confidence and convictions while always having a fresh look at the world around you is a sure fire way to create success.  Trust your eye and you will always be fulfilled.  The future is yours.

Where do you see your company going in the future?
11.) And what about the future?  Where do you see yourself physically, mentally, financially?  The variables are endless, but the path is clear.  Envisioning your future is a powerful tool.  By doing so, you’re creating a road map in your head that will guide you as you build and become.  When I look back, sometimes I say, “I could never have seen myself here.” - but that’s not really true.  For this moment is my truth and it is the culmination of hard work, good luck and great mentors.  I am where I want to be.  And as I look to the future, I am envisioning 20th Century by HKFA as a brand.  A brand whose products celebrate history and embrace the future.  A brand that seamlessly blends antique and period furnishings with contemporary designs.  Designs which pay homage to the past while serving a true purpose in the present and having longevity to remain into the future.  I see 20th Century by HKFA as a curated collection of objects for the home, for the connoisseur and for generations to come.  And to achieve these dreams, to build them into becoming my reality will require the constant maintenance of my foundation, the collaboration with creatives from across industries and the belief in myself that I can always trust my eye.  I hope you will take part in this journey, that you will build and become your reality and that one day you will look back and see the beauty that you created, whether it was a product, a project or an entire market - you will have made your mark and left the world a more beautiful, more special, more individual place because no one sees things like you do.  Thank you for allowing me to share a bit of my story with you.  I’m looking forward to writing, creating, envisioning and seeing many more chapters yet to come.  The future is ours to see - keep an open mind, a curious nature and always trust your eye!
Heather Karlie Vieira
20th Century by HKFA
Heather Karlie Fine Art
Modern Look Book

Clintel Steed and the Explosion of an Image

Clintel Steed. Working and exhibiting New York City artist. This is no small feat, my friends, in the City that Never Sleeps. But what brought this artist all the way from Utah, via Chicago, to New York City with his easel tied to the top of his 1968 Cadillac? The Hustle. What brings everyone to New York City.

Clintel holds a BFA in Painting from the Art Institute of Chicago, an MFA from Indiana University and completed Advanced Studies at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture. You could say that he is quite the over-achiever. Clintel found representation with Mark Borghi Fine Art Gallery and is also a NARS Foundation Studio Artist. Clintel’s studio is in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn, one of the last vestiges of unadulterated New York art studio space. “The battle between good and evil, heaven and hell was preached all the time. This struggle is still within me, the lust for money and the battle for power.”

Born in 1977 and raised in a devoutly Pentecostal Christian household in Utah, Clintel’s childhood centered around the church. This devotion prominently figures in his work to this day as an exploration of moments, feelings, situations and experiences through art. "My work is about being alive really. I am an African American male who was born in 1977. When you look at the history and the time I was born, a lot of things were happening. It was not just the end of the hippie period and the beginning of the club phase - which I believe me and my generation were feeling the residue of - it was not just about the party."

In 2001, Clintel drove to New York City with his easel tied to the top of his car and settled in Harlem. Representation with Borghi Gallery has led to exhibitions throughout New York City, the Hamptons, Philadelphia. He won the John Koch award from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 2015. Clintel is an artist who represents the urgency and grit that was synonymous with New York City in the 1970’s and 1980’s. “Painting is being open to what’s around you. But you are imagining, you are coming up with an idea, and you give in to ideas. It is always a push and pull. To me it’s like the computers. It’s the opportunity to make something epic. You ride the wave of the text until you get to the moment. The way we live life right now is that there is a lot of jumbling. Everything becomes fractured. Like how music now is different from what it was in the 1980s. Then, every song was five minutes. There was time to take a breath. Now they are all 2-3 minutes, and that seems long. But, I was reading this book about the sublime. The sublime is now. I think that everybody, when they are making a painting, is trying to be in the sublime: that moment when they are not thinking, but in the present.”

Visit Clintel's site by clicking here.

Michael Penn, Street Photographer

Michael Alvin Penn, 46, is the son of the late industrial artist and photographer, Alvin Penn.

He has lived in the “Art Gallery District” of Old City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his wife and their two adopted cats since 1994.

After his first solo photo exhibition at Silicon Gallery in Philadelphia, Michael launched his new career by shooting contemporary and classic architecture in and around Philadelphia. It was during this time, his Benjamin Franklin Bridge Portfolio was gaining National and Global recognition.

Since that first solo show, Michael has gone on to exhibit in nine group shows from Manhattan to Santiago Chile and his work was purchased for the permanent collections of The Wharton Business School in Philadelphia, PA and The Philadelphia Eagles Football Organization.

Michael's growing interest in the photography of W. Eugene Smith, William Klein, and Takuma Nakahira slightly altered his views about his own work. It was the 2009 lecture and meeting of Daido Moriyama that was the catalyst for a change in his photographic gears.

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The shooting and archival printing of 1000 10" x 15" photographs shot over the course of three years, known as "The Philadelphia Project", allowed a smooth transition from Fine Arts Photography to Street Photography and is also his most successful undertaking to date.

"The Philadelphia Project" documents the city during its most recent gentrification and urban renewal movement. Much of what was photographed is now long gone. The Philadelphia Project Book Series consists of 25 full bleed photos spanning 40 soft back 8.5" x 11" books in editions of 50. The series continues to sell out monthly and subscriptions conclude in March 2016.

The demand and success of The Philadelphia Project inspired Michael to start and complete new projects in New York City, Philadelphia's Chinatown and Old City Philadelphia. The "MONTH-DAY-YEAR" book series is 25 photographs taken in the course of one day.

It is these bodies of work and publications that are now in holding at a number of International collections including The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, New York; The Art Institute Of Chicago, IL; Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University in New York, NY; The Library of the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, Japan; The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California; and The Philadelphia Museum Of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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When Michael is not out taking photographs or printing and matting his work, he is promoting the Photographic Arts, visual artists, and other photographers through his various social media outlets. He is outspoken when it comes to cliques in the art world and how artists who need financial backing to survive while working on their projects are commonly looked over in favor of seasoned grant recipients and fellows.

He supports, advises, purchases and collects the works of other photographers and artists while raising awareness and funds for his local animal rescue, Philadelphia Paws.

Visit Michael's website and see more of his work by clicking here.

Pride in Montauk Vintage Washed Linen

Meet Martyn Feller of Montauk Style

Traveling for work for the past decade meant jumping between the sheets of countless hotel beds - some heavenly, some I'd rather forget! However it was a quaint cottage on Montauk Beach in The Hamptons where I had my first taste of the smooth texture and simple elegance that is pure linen. Nestled between the soft, luminous, lightweight sheets, I knew I was hooked and there was no turning back!

Combining a love of fashion, design and travel, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Montauk Vintage Washed Linen - an exclusive range of classic, luxurious linen sheeting, carefully constructed and sourced from the purist Flax fibre cultivated in Normandy, France.

With an emphasis on simplicity and style, Montauk Linen is designed to flow harmoniously in the bedroom, providing a chic, elegant, lived-in look, reflecting the natural and uncomplicated beauty of the fabric.

With the highest values placed on quality, durability and design, I look forward to bundling you up in Montauk Linen.

Martyn Feller

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Martin Feller of Montauk Style. Click the pic for more info!


At Montauk Vintage Washed Linen we take exceptional pride in the linen we produce, making sure all pieces leaving our warehouse are stringently checked and are of the utmost quality.

It’s a cumbersome task to inspect each cloth individually, however a necessary one to ensure we exceed expectations every time when it comes to quality, presentation and customer satisfaction.

It begins with a fine-tooth comb inspection of each linen item examining the cloth in minute detail. Our premium Flax fibre sourced from Normandy, France, together with our manufacturer’s experience and expertise mean the finished cloth we receive are in nearly all cases flawless and strongly constructed, ensuring the right combination of aesthetics, comfort and durability.

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Montauk Style - Pure French Linen. Click the pic to see more!

Once 100% satisfied with the overall strength and quality of the cloth our focus turns sharply to presentation, where our goal here is to achieve an alluring customer touching point from the moment eyes are laid on Montauk Vintage Washed Linen to the moment you wrap yourself in it. The aim here is to evoke a range of emotions starting with the rush you receive when spoiling yourself with something beautiful - to that warm fuzzy feeling created by familiarity and ensuing comfort.

It all begins with branding our customised linen pouches with a Montauk stamp. This stamp is not only a proud display of our company logo, but also lets the linen owner know they have purchased a premium, quality inspected and assured product which will provide ample years of joy, bliss and most importantly sleeping comfort.

The linen pouch, with its natural antimicrobial properties also serves as an ideal place to store and protect your linen when not in use.

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Montauk Style - Linen Pouches for Bedding. Click the pic to see more.

The final process involves preparing the tags. Here we use recycled paper and print our logo and message in traditional blue as well as authentic gold leafing. We then manually stain the paper to give it that old-school, vintage look and charm, inspired by and a testament to products manufactured during the Industrial Revolution, when things were built to stand the test of time. A care instruction card is then added to each pouch detailing how to care for your linen correctly. Lastly, we attach the tag to the pouch using 4 ply baker’s twine, bearing our company’s colour palette.

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Montauk Style - Pure French Linen. Click the pic to learn more.

We hope you experience as much joy and excitement rolling around in Montauk Vintage Washed Linen, as we did making it!

Visit Montauk Style by clicking here!

Holiday House NYC 2014

It was a little over two years ago that I met New York City based interior designer Patrick Hamilton. I was attending a dinner hosted by Massachusetts based talent agents Fashion+Decor and had the pleasure of sitting in between Iris Dankner, the founder of Holiday House and breast cancer survivor, and Patrick Hamilton, a returning alumnus of Holiday House. Talk about lucky! We had a fabulous dinner and wonderful conversation. It was a pleasure to learn about Holiday House. It was then that our conversation turned to business when Patrick asked if I had anything horse related in inventory. Grabbing for my phone, I scrolled through image after image of items - a tole rose trellis coffee table, a Tang style Chinese horse lamp, a Mexican steel wall sculpture of Polo players - but none fit the bill. I was determined though to show Patrick something that he would like. And then it hit me, a couple weeks prior I had purchased an oversized vintage abstract shaped canvas painting that had the color scheme of the silks worn by jockeys. Wanting to make a big impression, I presented the image with a great deal of fanfare and it was met with a resounding yes! A month or so after the dinner, I rented a truck and drove the painting from Massachusetts to New York City. Patrick's room, a take on the Kentucky Derby called Derby Deconstructed was a huge hit. I was honored to be part of it! Here are a few pics…

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