Friday, July 31, 2009

"Swedish Country Interiors" receives 1st Blog Review

Many thanks to two superb blog writers who have so graciously taken the time
to advise us on the "Way of the Blog" and how to better reach our readers through this exciting medium of blogging.

The first is Valorie Hart of Visual * Vamp! The blog of this talented writer, designer and stylist resonates with Rhonda and I deeply because we both studied dance in and around New York and Valorie is a New York dancer
goddess extrordinaire. The Tango!

The Argentine Tango is her dance. We long to go to New Orleans one day and become your students, Valorie! If you are not familiar with the Valorie's site, Visual * Vamp, go immediately ! Thank you Valorie for the review and all of your support !

xxo E & R

We'll tell you next week who our other Super Blogger advisor is. Hmmm. Can we wait that long?

Can we resist telling you that Swedish writer Henning Mankel wrote The Return of the Dancemaster in 2004 about a tango enthusiast who finds the dance figuring prominantly in a grisly murder mystery... ?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Swedish Floral in Los Angeles

Those who mourned deeply when Swedish antiques dealer Linda Kennedy decided to move on to other things from her eponymous store Chloe Decor, L.A. a few years ago have good reason to celebrate!

Linda is back... her amazing eye and talent now focused exclusively on floral design! You may recall that Linda and her husband Lindsay's home were featured in our book "Swedish Interiors" and that this grey gustavian dropleaf table in the photo above was highlighted. The Kennedys have since moved but Linda chose to bring this very special table with her and we are glad she did - look how beautiful her vases look all lined up on this rustic country piece.

Anyone who knows Linda knows that she has always had an inspired eye when it comes to design and florals. Her fresh, simple bold arrangements shown in the book were so inspiring as to have spawned a run on Casa Blanca Lilies when the book was released, not to mention a brisk demand for Swedish antique containers at our store in Connecticut!

Last year, Linda decided to take the plunge and take up her floral passion professionallly and has since finished studying in New York. Back in Los Angeles now fulltime, she is in demand with both industry event planners and young Santa Monica brides. One can see why in these photos sent to Rhonda and I the other day.

The look is fresh and, as befits Linda's Swedish sensibility, the unexpected wildflowers and grasses of nature give her work a sense of spontanaity, as if
she just went outside, clipped a few things and brought the outdoors in. Here, notice the grasses floating above the bouquets.

So delicate - anemones, geranium leaf and jasmine mixed with roses. Heavenly.
Congratultions to you Linda on your new enterprise! We wish you all success !
xoo E & R

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Gingham Icon

Just for fun we searched for a Swedish icon in gingham - Liv Ullman, Ingrid Bergman, the Abba girls - to no avail. Swedish American movie stars like Maggie Gyllenhal and gorgeous Uma Thurman fell short as well. The girl in gingham icon award goes to Brigitte Bardot, oui? In the late fifties she single -handedly put gingham back on the map (the towels would come later) with looks like this in Paris Match.

Here is BB at her 1959 wedding to Jacques Charrier in a pink and white gingham dress by designer Jacques Esterel. But she was wearing gingham
even a few years back, in 1956-57, when she was dating jazz guitarist Sacha Distel.

It is hard to tell in this black & white AP photo of the lovers but the dress is blue gingham. She and Sacha recorded together and one can imagine her following him around on tour; a big stop on the European jazz circuit being Stockholm. The 2nd track on Sacha Distel's Midnight in Paris from this period with Bardot is titled Lunchtime in Stockholm...really! She must have loved Sweden because it was the country she threatend to move to during her fractious animal rights fight with France.
Who would you meet for lunchtime in Stockholm?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Country Casual Gingham

Back to Gingham after a brief digression into Swedish jazz.... Until the middle of the eighteenth century gingham was often used in aristocratic homes and castles to cover the furniture in the off season when the residence would be empty. It was in the Gustavian period that we start to see gingham being used by the ever practical Swedes as slipcovers and upholstery for everyday. Did you know that until the mid-18th century the word "gingham" referred most often to a heavy weave striped cotton, such as that used in Carl and Karin Larsson's home in New Sundborn? The watercolor by Carl, pictured above, of this "lazy corner" perfectly captures the lived in casual feel that slipcovers can impart.

Here is a great example of Gingham done up as a casual slipcover and cushion upholstery from Enrica Stabile's book "Comfortable Country" (Ryland, Paters & Small, 2001) with photography by Christopher Drake. The room is from designer Barbara Davis' home in upstate New York. The gingham cover makes the couch relaxed and so inviting and one can picture oneself sprawling out on it with children and dogs after a long day outside - or with a book (or with a boyfriend listening to Swedish jazz? hmmm.). Note the roll shade over the window done in the same fabric - this is often typical of Swedish design to have the same fabric repeated throughout a room and Barbara gets it just right here. We love the herbs and widflowers cut from the garden too - so fresh looking and easy to do if you want to add a quick pick me up to a room.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Stockholm Jazz Festival

"They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art." - Charlie Parker

This weekend we are following the Stockholm Jazz Festival ! To read about the line up of Swedish and International talent check out The up and coming Jonas Kulhalmmer Quartet is back in Sweden at the Jazz Festival fresh off of playing in our own New York and Washington DC's Kennedy Center. We are playing music by them in the showroom today... a well designed space is always deserving of great music!

Stockholm venues are intimate and if you have never gone to a concert, let alone a jazz concert, in this great city we encourage you to delve in and experience a treat. Bird and his wonder Quintet may be no longer but the legacy lives on this weekend at the Stockholm Jazz Festival.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Gingham Fresh

Ginggang from the Malay! Gingang from the Dutch! Gingham from the English weavers of Manchester! Whatever its origins or proper name we love Gingham. Gingham has been used in Sweden to striking effect since the 18th century. We love the modern dash that a bold gingham can give to a room and how it can transform even the most formal piece of furniture into a welcoming seat. Here in my sitting room is a transitional Rococo - Gustavian Swedish settee from 1766. It was one of the first important pieces of Swedish furniture I ever bought and I love it to this day. The deep bold blue gingham is Swedish and I have never, despite much inquiry, been able to source the fabric. Any one? The closest match Rhonda and I have found is a Waverly fabric. This photo is from a dream shoot in my own home with two of the most stylish men I've ever met - Photo by Simon Upton and produced by Miguel Flores-Vianna for House Beautiful. How lucky!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Welcome to our new Blog!

We are thrilled to announce the release of our second book, Swedish Country Interiors (Gibbs Smith, 2009) has been slated for September 1st this fall! In this book we travelled the country from New Hampshire to Los Angeles covering homes whose design premise was inspired by the country style of Sweden. Rhonda and I are so very grateful to all of the wonderful homeowners, designers and Swedish specialists who opened their homes and hearts to us and shared their mutual love of Swedish Country. It was an amazing experience and we feel as if it is only the begining of a discusion on all things related to Swedish design.

There is so much more that we would like share with our readers that space in our books, Swedish Interiors and Swedish Country Interiors simply didn't allow! In this blog we would like to futher explore the architecture, decorative arts, antiques, culture and lifestyle of Sweden that all combine to create what we know as "swedish style". Here you will also find where we take our inspiration for our design work and explore along with us as we pusue our more personal passions - garden, literature, cuisine, travel and entertaining .

Welcome to our journey ~ !
E & R