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Treasure Hunter: Sara Wardrip

Treasure Hunter: Sara Wardrip

“Auctions in Paris get my blood going,” Sara Wardrip reveals of a favorite source for scoring the finds that fill her Encinitas shop, C’est la Vie Antiques. On her frequent buying trips to Europe, Wardrip searches out pieces like the 18th-century French armoires, French and Italian crystal chandeliers, and commanding architectural elements that mingle together in her expansive 6,000-square-foot warehouse. Outdoor space allows her to incorporate vintage faux bois furniture, antique stone garden pieces and pots from Anduze and Biot. What started as a penchant for English, Welsh and Irish pieces, Wardrip’s taste has evolved since she opened her shop in 1999. She now hunts for French, Italian and Swedish furnishings and likes to “mix lighter painted items with the darker wood pieces, especially Swedish Gustavian with French Empire.” After over a decade in the business, Wardrip isn’t ready to stop. “The excitement of finding these things keeps me going,” she says. “And, of course, unloading the container filled with all of the beautiful antiques.”

LX: What's inspiring you now?

SW: Paris. I get some of my greatest inspirations from my dealer friends in the flea markets. They are masters at setting up exquisite vignettes of different textures and pieces.

LX: Design period you find most engaging:

SW: I love 18th-century Gustavian. It mixes so well with other periods and styles, especially here in California.

LX: Tools of the trade:

SW: A good shipper, trusted dealers and a husband who speaks several languages.

LX: Design icons:

SW: Axel Vervoordt, Albert Hadley and David Easton. They are not only able to richly layer a project, but use old and new textiles together.

LX: Favorite hotel:

SW: The Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat. It’s in the perfect setting, and its recent renovation is very chic and modern.

LX: Words of wisdom:

SW: Buy what appeals to you. You may end up with the pieces in your own home, so you had better like them.

cestlavieantiques.com;
760.944.5244

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