Swedish Antiques Splendor

Busy, busy over here. Sorry for the lack of blog visits this week. I have some serious blog catching up to do.

My lovely, local blog sis, Marianne, recently gave me an article from Architectural Digest. As some of you know, I had fun for a couple of years importing high-quality Swedish antiques to the US. I stopped when the economy tanked and then started my blog instead.

But I have not ruled out doing it again. I love Swedish antiques. I grew up with them and they never get boring to me.

Swedes like to keep things simple, soothing and “quiet” and that is why so many of the old Swedish pieces still work centuries later. Swedish antiques are beautiful on their own but, because of the simple lines and neutral color palette, they can easily be mixed with other styles & eras. There are very few antique “styles” you can say that about.

The article Marianne gave me was about Jill Dienst moving her antiques gallery (Dienst + Dotter Antikviteter) from Sag Harbor to Manhattan. I have mentioned Ms. Dienst on my blog before but the Manhattan store is all news to me.

When I saw the pictures of her new store, I almost started to hyperventilate. Man oh Man. Swedish antiques are, in my opinion, out of this world gorgeous. And see how lovely they blend with Danish mid-century furniture. I am so visiting this gallery on my planned spring trip to NY.

Jill’s good friend Martha Stewart (via Kevin Sharkey) showed some pictures of the store opening on her blog.

Martha will have to fight me for this column cabinet. (In the old days, secret liquor was often stored in them!).

I also want a silver vessel to store my store business cards in…

Speaking of store. A big thank you to two dear blog friends for their unexpected shout-outs for my store. What a treat! And this coming from you — two ladies with tremendous style and taste! It means a lot.

Thank you Laura (Laura Casey Interiors)!

Thank you Teresa (Splendid Sass)!

I follow both blogs loyally. You should too.

Happy rest of the week, friends.

Images: No. 1, 6-9 via Martha Stewart/Kevin Sharkey, no. 2-5 via AD.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Art & Antiques,Thank you!,The Best of Sweden | Tags: , , ,


My Candy Store Is Now Open!

Every winter holiday season we turn our old, Swedish secretaire into a treat cabinet, which my children officially have dubbed “The Candy Store”. We fill the cabinet with all kinds of sweets and let me tell you that there is a constant flow of family members and guests heading in that direction of the house! Plates and bowls are frequently being filled up!

I personally love this tradition. The kids (and hubby!) get so excited every year. As of Dec. 18th (my oldest daughter’s birthday – the big 10!) – “The Candy Store Is Officially Open! Even our spoiled cat Charlie, wants to be part of the fun!

An absolute must have in our store, are chocolates from Brugge Chocolates. It does not get much better than that, folks. Absolutely top notch European style chocolates made locally here in Seattle. I can’t rave enough about this brand – and once you learn about it, you almost want to keep it a secret! Remember that you learned about Brugge Chocolates here first!

Brugge Chocolates was opened in February 2010 by owner and head chocolatier, Susan Walukiewicz. I really like her. After retiring from a career at Microsoft (kind of envious of here career switch…), Susan attended the Barry Callebaut Chicago Chocolate Academy, where she trained with Belgian, French and Canadian chocolatiers, always with an emphasis on artisan chocolates and confections.

Here are a few pieces I just picked up. More will be added next week – I want it all super fresh. ( I gave myself a medal for not taking even the tiniest of nibbles).

…with real gold flakes…

Some other Holiday touches at our house. You all know that I like to keep things simple. But for being a fairly modern gal, it sometimes even surprise myself  that I am so attached to a more old feel, rustic Christmas. I feel it has such a good, friendly vibe.

The Christmas tree (with its forest theme) is up. Here seen from my office.

Hubby wanted more red in the tree (The only time he has an opinion about colors, is when the tree is to get some decor. What is that all about?!) – so I added red apples to the mix.

The kids decorated their village.

Today you will find me linking to these lovely and creative blogs: Cottage & Vine, Savvy Southern Style, Between Naps On The Porch, Dittle Dattle & DIY Home Sweet Home. Thank you for the fun parties, ladies!

And if you are looking for some last minute gifts, meet me over at my close & stylish friend Manvi’s blog Mochatini, where I have listed a few things I want for myself!

Happy New Week!

Written by Splendid Willow in: Holidays & Celebrations,My Home | Tags: ,


Why Have I Ignored These Objects At My House?

Last week beautiful Greet sent me an image asking me if lanterns like these could be something to hang above my new kitchen table. (My friend, I would take the whole room if I could!). This time I think I am going to go a tad bit modern, though. I like to mix.

But what Greet’s picture made me realize is that I am actually already an owner of a beautiful old candle lantern similar to the ones in the picture. It has been sitting in a box for 15 years! I bought it at an auction in Sweden right before I moved to the US and have never hung it. Not even once! Earlier today I saved it from its yellowed cardboard box.

This Swedish candle lantern is from the 1700-hundreds and I really wonder why I have neglected it. What is wrong with me?! No more! It is going to be cleaned and hung in a lovely and most visible spot!

And then it occured to me that I have quite a few lovely things stored away in the oddest places, being totally ignored. It is time to give them some respect.

For instance I have a pair of these beautiful Swedish Empire frames (1800-1850). One is sitting on our chest in the foyer but the other one has been stored behind a futon in a storage area! How crazy is that! They are beautiful, hand carved gilded frames and have never been restored. They were meant for paintings so glass has been/will be added.

Since the glass is not original, I can allow myself to play a little. Now the time has come to finally do my mirror quote (see my old post here) that I have been wanting to do for a long time. Note: Never paint on old, original glass!

And why on Earth is this poor Swedish plate rack (original 1700-hundreds) moving around in the house like a neglected ghost? I honestly don’t even know what to do with it. But one of the most prominent antique dealers in Sweden, who I purchased it from, told me that I could not sell it. It used to belong in the kitchen of an old Swedish castle and apparently these standing plate racks are rare to come buy. (Hanging plate racks from that era are more common). No, do not suggest that I paint it gray! This is a rare piece and this is its original color = do not touch!

This is the environment it should be in! I apologize for the bad scanning job. (From Lars Sjoberg’s book The Swedish Room).

I have now promised myself to give this plate rack a new purpose. What, I don’t know yet (and I’m running out of walls in my dining room!) — but I won’t  let it stand sadly along a bare wall in an unused room any longer. That’s for sure!

In an odd corner of the stairway sits an antique writing chest that I, up until recently (do you remember Kikki!), was willing to give away. I thought is was ugly and everyone ignores it and bumps into it. Today when I was walking around my house with “open eyes”, I found it quite charming and saw that it could totally be a focal point in our guest room. It just needs some lovely art and a nice chair. “I will move you my friend and give you the attention you deserve — I promise!”

And then I also re-discovered this candle holder behind a door. (I have four of them!). It is new but it is handmade by an artist in Sweden and inspired by a royal 18th c. plack hanging behind the Museum of Music in Stockholm. Why I am not using all four of them – is beyond me! I am now on the hunt for a good spot.

And then finally, I dragged in this antique, Swedish Empire candle pendant from the garage. It is all dusty and needs a good polish but look how pretty the golden acorn is and the green shell. It will look lovely with some nice candles. To think that this poor thing has been sharing a dark corner with ski boots and old roller blades…

No more buying new! I have plenty to work with at home. (And I have even more….). I am so looking forward to re-arranging and mixing with more modern pieces. I think we all could take a closer look at what we already have and give things we grew tired off or simply forgot — new life and new purpose. In most homes there is at least a little lamp, frame or kitchy porcelain figurine that can be spray painted white (or why not a bold color) and all of a sudden look fabulous again! Just walk around your home with open eyes.

If you are interested, I will later show you where the pieces ended up.

Warm hugs to you all. And Happy Valentines Day/Weekend!

 Images no. 1 via Belgian Pearls, 2-6, no. 7 via here, no. 8 + 9 via Splendid Willow, no. 10. Swedish Room,  11-15 via Splendid Willow. Last image via Zyprezz.

Written by Splendid Willow in: My Home | Tags:


Oh My – Moooi Gallery + Swedish Antiques

I have no idea why I have missed this design institution in Amsterdam called Moooi Gallery. But I almost feel I want to hop on a plane now. Not only does Moooi Gallery showcase products from some of the best within Dutch design, as well as other recognized designers, but they also contrast their contemporary funishings with sprinkles of beautiful 18th century antiques from – YES!, you guessed it – Sweden! Here you see once again (and you have heard me rant about this since the very beginning of my blog adventure) how beautifully Swedish antiques, with their simple lines and quiet look (especially the pieces with gray patina), work with modern pieces of today. I can go on about this all day long!

I see some antique Swedish beauties in the background.


But this is when I start to hyperventilate…. I have a few lovely antique pieces myself. But there is one piece I have always wanted, and I hope to one day be the lucky owner of. That is a Swedish antique clock cabinet. I almost fainted when I saw this stunning piece over at the Moooi Gallery.

Here are a few clock cabinets for sale, represented by US antique dealers with great reputation.

Images – Swedish antique clock cabinets via:

1) Tone-on-Tone, 2) Eleish Van Breems, 3) Avolli, 4) Watkins Culver/1st Dibs, 5) Tara Shaw Antiques/1st Dibs, 6) A. Tyner Antiques/1st Dibs

If, no when, an antique clock cabinet moves in with us, I will pair it with a really nice and comfy chair and a wonderful painting. That’s it. Nothing else is needed. And I would sit in that chair for hours and purr like a very content cat! Happy Monday, friends!

Written by Splendid Willow in: Art & Antiques | Tags:


Design Interview

A few years ago I had the opportunity to work with the Connecticut based Antique & Design store Eleish & Van Breems on a Swedish design project. I can say first hand that the two owners Rhonda Eleish and Edie Van Breems are very professional and most knowledgeable not only about Swedish interiors but interior design in general. It is a great pleasure for me to introduce you to them and I’m delighted they’ve given us all a chance to get to know them a little bit better!

But first a thank you is in order to the highly talented Joni Webb and her blog, Cote De Texas, where I recently learned about EVB’s new book, hitting the stands this week. Joni is one of the 3 design musketeers behind The Skirted Roundtable together with fellow bloggers Linda from Surroundings and Megan with BeachBungalow8. These ladies do so much for the design blog world. Follow them!

Now, here is my chat with Edie and Rhonda.

1. Define your design style?

E: Light filled rooms, art and sculpture, indoor-outdoor living, refined rusticity, reclaimed elements and mixing periods are what I personally gravitate towards. A home should always be a reflection of the owners own interests and passions and so ultimately our design style is defined by each individual project. And of course, Rhonda and I are very influenced by hallmarks of Swedish design which really encompasses a holistic approach to man and the environment.

R: Design to me is three-dimensional. It is taking the complete environment on a macro level first and as the project develops becoming more micro. Factors in design always include environment, lifestyle and the client’s personal space, as well as my design experience and guiding eye. I am influenced also by having lived in many different places around the world and have a deep appreciation for many periods and styles of interior design, history and art.

2. Tell us a bit about your upcoming book.

E & R: This book turned out to be just as big an adventure for us as our first book Swedish Interiors was. Both of us, being Swedish American and having relatives in Sweden, are always very excited to meet others living in the States who are passionate about Swedish lifestyle design. We had the great luck to find exceptional homes all across the country that have been, each in their own way, influenced by Swedish country style. Plus, we got to hit the road again with our favorite photographers Jon and Buffer who always encourage us to view things through a different creative lens. This book is really theirs as well and we couldn’t have done it with out them!

Swedes, Swedish American and Americans who love Swedish design are all represented in the new book – Swedish Country Interiors – and their takes on Swedish style we found to be all unique and varied. Some homes in the book mix Swedish with French inspired interiors, others are inspired by a more pure historical rustic Swedish design. Our personal favorites blend contemporary design with Swedish antiques. All the chapters are about individuals who are passionate about their homes and love of Sweden. We were also very fortunate to have the support of both Lisa Newsom (Veranda founder and Editor-in-chief) and designer David Easton who both wrote wonderful Forwards for our readers on their own love of Swedish style!

3. What can you tell us about your next project?

Lights, camera, action…..

(Splendid Willow can’t wait to cover that!)

We are also very busy right now merging our traditional antique offerings with modern and contemporary furniture designs. We are very proud to be working with one of the hottest of the Scandinavian furniture manufacturers, Fritz Hansen of Denmark. We have partnered with them and are excited to have such beautiful furniture in our showroom! Fritz Hansen is a dynamic company in that they really support new designers and have come out in the past few years with new furniture by upcoming designers such as Kasper Salto, Jehs & Laud and Todd Bracher. Fritz Hansen is world known for being the maker of timeless and iconic designs. To represent these “modern masters” of furniture in our own showroom is a thrill!

Images from Fritz Hansen

4. List some of your greatest sources of design inspiration.

E: Artisans, craftsmen and manufacturers…anyone who is doing new and innovative things with materials or, conversely, anyone devoted to preserving quality traditional practices and techniques – to me they are all the true unsung heroes of interior design.

R: An amazing swatch of fabric, the location of the project, an inspirational client.

5. Do you have any design heroes that truly inspire you?

E: I still find myself looking back to the 18th c. Swedish and French architects time and again. I am also awed by the assured wit, elegance, snap and crackle of interiors by David Hicks, Albert Hadley, Billy Baldwin, Gio Ponti.

R: I want to be Albert Hadley when I grow up. If I have half the grace and elegance he has I will have succeeded.

6. The trick to merging old style or antiques with contemporary interior design?

E: The ability to make the bold, unexpected gesture. Only the finest bones – quality construction makes success easier.

R: Inner confidence. Try it! If you don’t like it you can always change it. Don’t be afraid.

7. What wall color can you not get enough of?

E: Deep butter cream/beeswax pigmented plaster.

R: Shades of light pale and grays.

8. Describe your dream kitchen? (Are you living it now?)

R: I am living in my dream kitchen – decidedly, yes! Sunlit, spacious and properly equipped for ease of use; that is what I love for myself. The kitchen is really the heartbeat, the artery of the home, and as such, should be a reflection of the homeowners needs and culinary ability. Are you a gourmand who entertains a lot? Do you need a pantry? A big entertaining space? Or are you someone who is not too into cooking but wants a cozy kitchen office? Are you a wine collector and instead of a pantry would like a wine bar from which to entertain? These are all very personal considerations. In the end it all comes down to life style.

E: My fantasy kitchen is really crazy – it involves an attached greenhouse and organic kitchen garden approximating the size of Villandry. I always awake from this reverie wondering how I could ever get my kids to help tend to that garden! That having been said, I agree with Rhonda! Light, a practical clean work space and decent equipment make any kitchen a pleasure to work in no matter what the size.

9. Do you have any true obsessions in design that makes you drool?

E: Amazing garden rooms, barns with modern interiors, 18th century buildings. I have a crush on Rogers and Goffigon linen-velvets and linen-silks on anything. I adore painted surfaces, especially paint that is expertly hand finished on furniture and walls.

R: I love to be in a space that is focused on detail. I’m really a detail person! What moves me are  – as in all things – ultimately the accessories. In design I am referring to the hardware, faucets, light fixtures, all of which can bring a project to another level. Sometimes people get caught up in the overall scheme and don’t leave enough in the budget to take care of these fine and very important details properly.

10. Knowing your wonderful collection of Swedish antiques, do you have a favorite piece you can’t live without?

E: It’s a real toss up between an ebony black Baroque mirror from a Swedish manor house or a rare painted 18th century bridal chest from Lapland. Both take my breath away.

R: My Swedish Rococo writing table I cannot part with.

11. Is there anything else we should know about you?

We are known for Scandinavian design but ironically our design projects over the past few years have been very eclectic ranging from ultra modern to full on period American. We are ultimately about lifestyle design and that is what people come to us for. We design for each client individually taking into account the complete package because everybody’s lifestyles and passions are different. We love our clients and want them to come home to feel inspired and totally supported by their environment.

Oh yes, and that we are huge fans of yours, Monika!  We just love Splendid Willow!

Thank you so much ladies! What a treat to get to know you even better!

If you are interested in purchasing EVB’s brand new book go here. But before we end:

Eleish & Van Breems have expressed their extra heartfelt gratitude to the following people involved in their new book. Let’s give them all warm applause!

“It was such a pleasure to profile the works of designers and architects Gary Brewer and Robert A.M. Stern of Robert A. M. Stern Architects, Jane Moore, Richard Hershner, Derek Clarke, Libby Holsten, Suzanna Havden Bell and Howard B. Clarke.

Our friends and colleagues were more then generous and among the homes are those of many Swedish antiques and design purveyors your readers may be familiar with: The Minnesota home of Doris Blondell of Blondell’s Antiques, Edith Gilson of Cupboards & Roses own Mill house retreat in the Berkshires, Paulette and John Peden’s charming Connecticut store Dawn Hill, the Atlanta home of Angie & Hugh Tyner of A. Tyner Antiques, the Laguna Beach house of Ann and Torbjorn Millang of Swedish Blonde & St. Barths, the Dallas residence of Shannon & Andrew Newsom of Wisteria, to name but a few. Designers Jane Moore of Houston and Suzanna Havden Bell of San Francisco have amazing Swedish antique shops as well!

Our great friends and supporters, both old and new, who also generously opened their doors to us are: Cynthia and Bruce Baber, Carolyn and Edward Wagner, Peggy and Keith Anderson, Marianne Thorsen, Heidi and David Freilich, Cherie & Michael McKinney, Lisa Segalis, Lisa and Bob Nesbitt, Gretel Holsten and Chris Lord. The book would be nothing without them. We’ve also been really blessed with a supportive publisher Gibbs Smith and our fantastic editor Jennifer Grillone”.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Designers, Illustrators, Photographers, Stylists,In The Spotlight | Tags: , , ,

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