Oct 29, 2013
09:16 AMStyle & Design
Swedish Style in New Book By Connecticut Experts, and at Lillian August
(page 2 of 2)
Van Breems noted that Swedish homes tend to make exquisite use of light. “The light in Scandinavia is so beautiful, but there is not a lot of it during much of the year,” she observed. “There is the old joke about the summer Swede and the winter Swede—they get blue, sad and melancholic in the winter and in the summer, it’s like woo-hoo! The summer days are very long. but in the winter, historically, people have always tried to reflect to the light, to make it bounce off things. They love glass and reflective surfaces. The window treatments are very minimal—there is a sense of bringing the outdoors inside by embracing the windows and light.”
Even inside, she explained, furnishings are “all about balance and negative space.” “Each piece stands on its own. Their homes are not cluttered—things are shown off. It’s kind of serene when you go into a Swedish home. Things are treasured as part of people’s individual lives. Everything is cherished and quite beautiful. You also find that things are mixed—nothing is designed in the sense of following trends. It’s very much about lifestyle, personalization of the home.”
She said that even though IKIA comes from Sweden, the idea of disposable design is not embraced there. “They want quality of design and construction,” she said. “More thought is put into the manufacture of furniture and textiles because they are meant to last for generations.”
Swedish design is far from being stuck in the past, but Van Breems said the country “is isolated enough so some forms continued. You see Baroque style pieces being made much longer. The Gustavian style is being made to this day. If it is good design, they keep on making it.”
It is a good thing that they keep on making modern versions of classic designs for Swedish antiques can be difficult to obtain. Thus, Eleish van Breems offers a reproduction line based on antique furniture.
“We still deal in Swedish antiques—that is our first love. But not everyone can afford a set of 12 18th-century chairs,” Van Breems explained, “so we offer a reproduction line. It is a nice solution and also a wonderful way to support small manufactories in Sweden that have been around for generations but that have been losing out to Asian and Chinese manufacturing.”
Eleish van Breems, Ltd started as a fine antiques gallery in Woodbury in a historic 1760 house and garden, the store was an example of a Scandinavian lifestyle on display. Their fresh take on Gustavian formal and country Swedish folk antiques mixed with the latest accessories from Scandinavia quickly became a go-to resource for Litchfield county luminaries such as Ann Bass, Bill Blass and Graydon Carter, as well as international jetsetters such as Uma Thurman, Cate Blanchett and Helena Christiansen. Design work soon followed.
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, Glamour, Country Living, Gods and Goddars, Departures, Travel & Leisure, the New York Times as well as appearing on Martha Stewart Living,This Old House and HGTV Canada.
Today Eleish van Breems has moved its storefront online by appointment (www.evbantiques.com) and its design work and books have moved to center stage. To achieve each client’s vision the partners work with the finest artisans, builders and workrooms on both sides of the Atlantic and are known for their expertise in the layering of textures and use of colors.
“We are totally focused on creating for our clients spaces to live in that are highly personal and that, above all, inspire them,” said Ms. van Breems.
They launched a branded store in Lillian August in October.
Van Breems said the partners look forward to again having a bricks-and-mortar storefront in the future. “Right now, we are waiting for the economy to change before we have a physical store,” she said. “Having a virtual store and being part of Dering Hall (deringhall.com), which is a website that gathers top architects, designers and artisans, has been working well, but we miss having a shop.”