By Carleton Varney Special to the Palm Beach Daily News
The next time you are lunching at Belle & Maxwell’s on Antiques Row, enjoying a touch of yesterday along with super salads, here’s a tip when you depart: Stop by 3608 S. Dixie Highway to visit what I would describe as a classic and happy antiques shop, Patricia’s Gallery.
Countess Patricia Pingree-Clouet is the French-born proprietor and she has the same style and charm as one of her past employers. For five years, she worked in Paris for the fashion house of Coco Chanel under the late Karl Lagerfeld. She also enjoyed a stint with Nina Ricci.
I first encountered Patricia prior to the recent opening of her shop, for I love antique Hermes scarves and purchased one or two from her.
The countess, who told me to simply call her Patricia, is delightful and down to earth. She once did faux finishes on furniture and walls prior to landing in America. From Huntington Beach, Calif., Patricia and her husband moved to Jupiter Island. Her son also has become a Floridian and operates an event-planning business, so you can say all the family is creative.
Patricia’s shop, which opened a little over five weeks ago, houses some fabulous treasures, including stunning lamps, most created by Patricia. On my visit, a pair of all-white porcelain pagodas atop black lacquer bases caught my eye. So did a pair of crystal lamps with golden rope ties, which would be perfect jewels for any room with a classical or contemporary influence.
Patricia finds items for her collection all over the world, buying from estates and private homes. Other items come from places she discovers while traveling.
There’s a certain lustrous glow in Patricia’s shop, thanks to the gleaming and plentiful silver, shiny brass and vermeil. You’ll find top-quality vases and cachepots, perfect for spring flower arrangements. The ambience is also exotic, with accessories that look as if they came from a safari in Kenya, including porcelain elephant-figure brackets and zebra-stripe pillows.
And don’t miss the ostrich-egg candle sticks, which Patricia designs herself. I think you’ll appreciate her charm and talent; and when you visit, tell her I sent you!