For Basil Kavalsky and Nopporn Khaewpong, owners of Cote Jardin Antiques, it was a mix of chance, circumstance and inclination that led the former World Bank economist and biochemical engineer on their paths to becoming collectors. “It started out as a hobby,” explains Kavalsky. “Then it became an obsession, and finally the only way to continue was to open our stores.” While decorating their new home in Gordes, France, they began to acquire an enormous array of contacts and inventory, focusing on one-of-a-kind French wares, which would prove popular in their shops set in Washington, D.C., and West Palm Beach. With an emphasis on decorative objects from the 18th and 19th centuries, painted French and Continental furniture, industrial pieces, ceramics and a vast selection of original and reproduced garden accessories, they manage a collection replete with hidden historical gems. “We’re attracted to the patina and aesthetic of each piece,” says Khaewpong. “If something has an aspect of the unusual, then we know it’s meant to be.”
LX: Design icons:
NK: We’ve worked for years with Herve´ Baume of Avignon, who has become a close friend, and we have a weakness for the 1960s designs of Maison Jansen from Paris.
LX: Favorite restaurant:
BK: The China Kitchen at the Hyatt Regency Delhi in India. The de´cor, food and staff were brought in from Shanghai, and it’s the best Chinese cuisine we’ve eaten inside or outside of China.
LX: I love what I do because:
NK: I get to travel all over Europe in search of beautiful objects. The most exciting thing is finding a wonderful antique at the back of a truck, or at a store in a remote village.
LX: Treasured keepsake:
BK: An extraordinary Turgot wall map of Paris that covers most of our living room wall. It was struck from the original plates that were housed in the Louvre since it was first made in the 18th century.