I love the vibe I get from the soft, yet refined style of Swedish design. The mother of one of my best friends from high school is Swedish and I always loved hanging out at their house. It felt modern but was filled with antiques and the combination of clean lines, soft colors and Gustavian furniture gave their home an unmistakable aura of tranquility. Swedish design is so versatile and transitions subtlety with any style from classical to country to contemporary. I believe that there are many rooms in a home that are ideal for embracing this popular style. The first place that comes to mind is a guest room. Swedish design imparts serenity and I am sure we all agree that there is nothing more hospitable than an inviting bedroom. A dining room is another perfect place to elevate your style. Entertaining family and friends in an environment that is uncluttered, warm and cozy is the perfect atmosphere for a relaxing meal.
If you are a fan of this style and would like to introduce it in your home, I’m thrilled to feature two interior designers that have mastered the skill of blending the Swedish aesthetic with any composition. Rhonda Eleish and Edie van Breems Edie, founders of Eleish van Breems Ltd., are based in Washington, Connecticut and are suppliers of fine Scandinavian furniture, antiques and custom interior design services. The work of Eleish van Breems, Ltd has been featured in fine national and international publications such as House and Garden, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Veranda and Glamour as well as appearing on Martha Stewart Living, This Old House and HGTV Canada. They are available online at www.evbantiques and by appointment. Today, you will get a personal tour of one of their many interior design projects, a marvelous home in Litchfield, CT. Edie told me that they loved working on this house, “it is a melding of English and Scandinavian elements and imparts a neoclassical calm to a space made as much for reflection as entertaining. For this project, natural native materials, bespoke lighting, custom painted craftsman cabinetry, hand limed floors and fine Swedish antiques all were incorporated to make a highly functional yet elegant home.” All the photos are courtesy of Neil Landino.
Our clients wanted to give a Scandinavian lightness and feel to their country home, so architect, Reese Owens, of Halper Owens Architects, created a magnificent light giving cupola to be the architectural focal point of the house. Nods to both English and Swedish architecture can be seen throughout, creating a home that is at once elegant and relaxed.
All views in this Litchfield county home lead down to a verdant fern rimmed pond and the crane paintings were commissioned and placed in such a way as to appear to fly out towards the pond’s direction. Hand lime waxed antiqued flooring gives a soft authentic look and are very authentic to a Scandinavian country home.
Designed for the space, custom chandeliers by Scofield Lighting provide essential light without fighting the other architectural elements in the room. In our design work we try to always maintain a calm that comes from the balance of positive to negative space and the key here is not a lot of clutter and broad areas of empty floor space.
Simplicity is never that simple. The “white palette” that is associated with Swedish design is almost always layers of white, greys and soft mellowed natural wood surfaces mixed in with lots of texture to keep it from being hard edged.
Two cabinets flanking the entrance to the great room were created for the kitchen, based on antique Gustavian glass front armoires. Faux finishing was applied by Harpendon Design to create for us layers of rich blue and green, inspired by the historic colors from the northern region of Dalarna, Sweden.
The patina on Swedish antique furniture is beloved for its dry chalky finish derived from thin applied layers of pigment paint. This fine carved Gustavian settee is the perfect example of patina as poetry!
We love practical furniture hybrids. This Gustavian style chest of drawers serves an alternative function. Hidden and built within the piece is a flat-screen TV that rises with the help of a hydraulic mechanism.
For more images of this home, click here.
Eleish van Breems has added new furniture to their line this spring (see below). All pieces are made in Sweden and then hand painted in their studios in Connecticut to your color specification. They carry a range of custom Swedish historical colors to choose from, as well as offering 132 colors from Farrow and Ball’s Estate Emulsion line. Check out their entire furniture line here, it is beautiful!
“When you walk into a good Swedish-design room, whether it is an antique-filled country home or a contemporary industrial loft space, there is a serenity, calm and feel-good quality that literally permeates the atmosphere” so begins the introduction to Reflections of Swedish Interiors, the latest book by the duo of Rhonda Eleish and Edie van Breems. In addition to their interior design and furniture business, the Eleish van Breems team are co-authors of three best-selling books about Swedish design. Click on the links beneath each book to purchase via Amazon. Whether for yourself or as a gift for someone who appreciates the clean lines of Swedish style, these books are simply gorgeous and timeless. These are great resources to start visualizing how this unique style can add sophistication to your home.