Friday, November 5, 2010

Albert Hadley Rocks Southport at Rooms with a View


Albert Hadley at Rooms with a View 2010

 Parish Hadley and Albert Hadley alums turned out in full force last night at the Gala Opening of Rooms with a View to honor Albert Hadley, effectively turning Southport Connecticut for an evening into the epicenter of premier design talent in America. For sixteen years Albert Hadley has spearheaded this charity event to benefit the Southport Congregational Church making it into one of Connecticut's most exciting design events of the year. Designers are asked to create vignettes in 5' x 8' spaces and this year Bunny Williams, Pamela Banker, Libby Cameron, Suzanne Earls Carr, David Easton, Thom Filicia, Thomas Jayne, David Kleinberg, Brian McCarthy, Brian Murphy, Nicholas Pentacost, Harry Heismann, Michael Whaley all took up the challenge as presented by Albert and Design Chair Parker Rogers.

Invitation to Rooms with a View 2010.

Pouring rain did not keep away well wishers last night. We were all there to honor Albert who took the attention in stride, ever self-deprecating and supportive of all.  The results are on view through the rest of the weekend and if you live in the area we encourage you to hurry over to see the show.  Southport is a train stop on the Metro North line out of Grand Central Station in New York and the Southport Congregational Church is within a few blocks of the station (you will walk by Albert's house on the way. See if you can guess which is his!)  Show hours are:  Friday, November 5 and Saturday November 6  10 am - 5 pm  and Sunday, November 7th  11 am - 5-pm.   Rooms with a View link HERE.

                                          Eleish van Breems at Rooms with a View 2009

Rhonda and I have exhibited and guest lectured at four Rooms with a View events over the years and were thrilled and honored to have our vignette from 2009 featured on the invitation and posters for this years event  (many thanks to Graphics Chair, Ann Franzen!). The vignette was our ode to Danish modernism and Rhonda's Dad, an artist whose works from Vienna in the sixties and seventies we love and grew up with.   Ganden Thurman, Director of Tibet House, New York graciously loaned us the precious ancient bronze sculpture of the Goddess Tara.  And we finally had someplace to put the huge Arc lamp that's been in storage!  But that was all last year. 

Take a peek via my cell phone camera at some of this year's vignettes....

Bunny Williams - Albert coming through her garden for a visit..

David Kleinberg 
 Rhonda and I fell hard for this rare corner Gustavian Settee.  $36,000.  Breathe.

Harry Heissmann - a detail.  Who wouldn't love to wake up
to Flair and Van Day Truex plates?

Michael Whaley - Brown and Amethyst

Thomas Jayne - The artisan wall treatment looks
as if it could have been inspired by Swedish kurbits!

Susanne Earls Carr

Tributes to Albert's design signatures and life were found in most of the vignettes,
whether fabrics,drawings or carpets - here Susanne Earls Carr displays
a cookbook by Albert's mother Lois Meguiar Hadley.

More personal photos of Albert (and Sister Parish)  in the vignette by Susanne Earl Carr.

David Easton at  Rooms with a View,  at the ready to sign his new book 
Timeless Elegance: The Houses of David Easton.

Today at Rooms with a View David Easton signs his new book Timeless Elegance: the Houses of David Easton.  David wrote the Forward to our book Swedish Country Interiors and we like to humor ourselves that in some small way we may have inspired his inner writer to finally come out and play.  If you have never experienced the wit and charm of this great architect and designer we encourage you to try to get to one of his book tour events this fall. You are in for a treat. Here is a snippet of my conversation with David this morning.

Swedish  Interiors (SI): Is there was a favorite project of yours in the book that we may not be familiar with? 

David Easton (D.E.):  The great problem for me was that there are so many projects that I had to leave out due to the constraints of the book form.  I just couldn't get it all in there!

SI: What are you excited about now in terms of what is happening in design?

D.E.:  I am a huge science fiction fan and what makes that genre so great is that these authors base visions of the future on our current realities.  There are going to be many more billions of humans sharing the earth then there ever were three hundred years ago.  We are very soon no longer going to be making the types of traditional houses we think of when we say "Home Sweet Home".  I believe that people are no longer going to be rooted to just one place, nor will we be rooted in possessions.  Our homes will be in our intellects - the travel of the mind is so huge.  We will be creating a different type of building. I am working on a project in Canada that is in keeping with this new direction of contemporary architecture.

     Side wall of David Easton's vignette inspired by the making of his book.

SI: Is there anything from your time working with Albert Hadley that has stayed with you - a touchstone that you find you return to?

D.E.  Firstly, that Albert is a Gentleman.  I would also have to say that Albert is an Editor. His rooms have remained timeless because with him it has never been about fabrics and decoration and more curtains.  That's why his interiors have held up and look so fresh and timeless today.  It's all in the edit.

 The Edit - entrance hallway by Albert Hadley. 

I was considering "the edit" when I found Albert in a quiet moment. I asked Albert what he thought of the show and he said he thought that it was very strong. Was that, I asked, perhaps because all of the participating designers had had similar training under Parish Hadley and Albert Hadley, Inc. ?  Was there not a certain way of looking at things? A certain symmetry?

"Symmetry is the wrong word to use." stated Albert.   "The correct word is Order.  What they all have in common is order. Each designer has used negative space to create order and have, naturally, put their own personal stamp on it.  At heart, Edie, it is really all about the Order of Things." 

So quoth the Dean of American Design. Are you taking notes?
Stop by Rooms with a View this weekend for hints and inspiration on how to
bring sublime and stylish order to your interiors or listen to Albert speak at a cocktail seminar on Saturday, November 6th  from 5 - 7 pm where he will take you on a tour of "The Design World of Albert Hadley". 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Agneta Livijn's Lily Ponds - Swedish Artist arrives in New York

Artist and ceramics designer Agneta Livijn.

The Broadway Gallery in New York is going to be the place to be this coming Saturday, October 16th
from 1 - 4 p.m. as Scandinavian design and art enthusiasts gather for the opening of  Agneta Livijn's critically acclaimed solo show "Lily Ponds".  Agneta is an accomplished artist and ceramics designer who Rhonda and I have had the pleasure of knowing both personally and professionally for many years. A trip to Stockholm for us is not ever complete without a visit to her welcoming and joyous home and studio.  We have watched the evolution of Agneta's  "Lily Ponds" paintings series since she conceived of it on several of her trips to Morocco and we are so excited to tell you that these luminous canvases will be here in New York for the month of October.

Water Lilies from "Lily Ponds" a Solo Show.

Agneta is a longtime student of French art and design with degrees from  the Beckmans School of Design in Stockholm,  L’Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris and later studies at the San Francisco Art Institute. "I have always been fascinated by the life and work of famous artists like Monet and Matisse," says Agneta  "but it is the garden design work of the French artist Jacques Majorelle that inspired the Lily Ponds paintings." 

Water Lilies with Hanging Leaves

It was in 2006 that Agneta discovered the beauty of the water-lily flower and green leaves in Jardin Majorelle.  Originally created by Jacques Majorelle in the 1920's, the garden was for many years an oasis of exotic plants, water features and buildings painted in a vibrant bleu that was so unique as to became synonymous with Majorelle's name.  Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge  rescued the garden from abandonment and disrepair in 1980 and today the Jardin Majorelle continues to be open to the public and
an oasis in Marrakesh just as it was in Majorelle's time.

Jardin Majorelle in the old French quarter of Marrakech

 A Fountain at Jardin Majorelle restored
by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge

     The Lilies at Jardin Majorelles, Marrakech

Agneta has incorporated the colors from the Jardin Majorelle and  Lily Ponds into her signature line of Agneta Livijn pottery.  GET HIP! GET HANDMADE! is Agneta's tagline for her famous Agneta Livijn pottery store in Stockholm and summer pop-up shops in exclusive Swedish coastal retreats.

Her exclusive lines of colorful and chunky cups, saucers, serving bowls and dishes are all handmade and hand painted in the highest quality white stoneware.   The forms are influenced by Agneta's many travels around the globe.

Her newly launched Get Hip Get Handmade line is, to every family cook's celebration, dishwasher and microwave safe.

The ceramics Rhonda and I loved  when we first started doing business in Sweden  (and that my kids still fight over to use at home) are now an international success story!   Since the time of the first coffee mug made in her summer cottage, Agneta now works with leading design retailers in Europe, the United States and Japan. Her work is sought out by companies such as IKEA, Habitat and R.O.O.M,  all of whom she has created exclusive lines for.

Agneta in front of a grouping of smaller canvases from "Lily Ponds" a Solo Show.

We hope you have enjoyed learning about our talented friend!  Please join us in welcoming Agneta Livijn to New York on Saturday, October 16th at the Opening of  "Lily Ponds"  from 1:00  - 4:00 p.m.  at the BROADWAY GALLERY.  Rhonda and I look forward to seeing you there!

LILY PONDS a Solo Show
Agneta Livijn
October 16th - 31th, 2010

Broadway Gallery
473 Broadway
7th Floor
New York, NY 10013

Monday, September 20, 2010

Danish Manor House Revival on Funen

The island of Funen in Denmark is one of the most romantic landscapes in all of Europe, and home to one of the best preserved Renaissance water moat castles to be found in the world (pictured above), Egeskov Castle.  Rhonda and I are planning a trip to Copenhagen in the spring and look forward to returning to magical Funen and Egeskov Castle. 

Late last night, with plans for our trip and the anticipation of an antiquing spree dancing in my head, I was looking at the Danish Auction house Bruun Rasmussen's website and discovered a sale going on today featuring pieces from a manor house on Funen called Gelskov Gods.

It may be too late for readers to participate in the auction but surely there will be more inventory from Gelskov Gods to choose from soon, as the owners, Anette and Heine Dahl Bartsch, are art dealers and antiques importers of French and Belgian furniture as well as the Danish.

Here are some views of their amazing property, Gelskov Gods:

Here are Anette and Heine in front of Gelskov Gods.  The couple fell in love with the Danish island of
Funen ( Fyn in Danish) and moved from Copenhagen several years ago to under take the restoration of the manor house. It is now a fantastic destination, featuring a B & B and gallery in the main space. Antiques are found throughout the property with a full shop devoted to them that is open in the stables. 

Gelskov Gods would be the perfect place to stay for those wanting to explore the surrounding area.
Here, (above) another view of Egeskov Castle, just one of over one hundred and twenty three
manor house and castles dotting the landscape of Funen. 

One of the many traditional windmills found in the countryside....

Hesselagergard floating above the lilypads...

Funen is Denmark's third largest island so you can truly return again and again and always be inspired by architecture and design that you may have missed on an earlier visit. 

Rhonda and I can't wait and we will be sure to visit Anette and Heine!

To learn more about Gelskov Gods go to

To plan a visit to Funen in which you can follow in the footsteps of Manor hopping native
son Hans Christian Andersen  go to HERE

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lars Bolander's Scandinavian Design

The long awaited guide to Scandinavian Design by Lars Bolander and Heather Smith MacIsaac.

Rhonda and I featured the Palm Beach aerie of Swedish designer Lars Bolander and his wife Nadine
Kalachnikoff in our first book Swedish Interiors and that chapter remains a favorite among our readers and in our memory as a most delightful  photoshoot.   When we heard that Lars' newly released and aptly named Lars Bolander's Scandinavian Design was about to be released by Vendome Press we called Lars up at his summer home on the island of Oland, Sweden to congratulate him. Wait till you see this book!  A comprehensive overview of all aspects of Scandinavian design, the book, written with Heather MacIsaac, is a visual delight as well as being a serious resources guide for anyone interested in the tenants of Scandinavian decor.

Lars was kind enough to take a break away form his gardening to answer some questions for us
about his life, Scandinavian design and what it means to be a Swede - all be it a very international one!

Lars in the garden at the entrance to
Carl Malmsten's school, Capellagarden in Oland, Sweden.

How did the idea of doing a comprehensive reference book on Scandinavian Design with Heather come about?
Lars Bolander (L.B.):   Alex Gregory, the founder of Vendome press (made after Place Vendome in Paris) called me a couple of years ago and asked me if I had any interest in writing such a book.

Why is the Scandinavian aesthetic so pertinent to the way we live today?
L.B.  It is a more functional way of living, which what is needed now. People are more concerned with the Green Factor and this fits in very much in the way we live now.

What are some Scandinavian places and interiors that still feed your soul?
L.B. The old town of Stockholm, the home of Carl Larsson, The Copper Tents and the Pavilion in The Haga Park in Stockholm. The boat trip from Gothenburg to Stockholm on the Gota Kanal. In Denmark, the Museum and Gardens of the Louisiana outside Copenhagan.

Lars, you were fortunate enough to work with the great Carl Malmsten. Can you elaborate for our readers on how Malmsten's designs were rooted in authentic Swedish nature and culture? How has Malmsten's philosophy found its way into your own work?
L.B.    Purely because of the clean and simple lines of his furniture, also classical and very Swedish. I would say that his respect for nature and the appreciation of life are what have influenced my work. He got the maximum out of his people because he earned their respect.

Entrance to Lars Bolander and Nadine Kalacnikoff's home Might- As- Well, which overlooks
the grounds of Carl Malmsten's Capellagarden.

May we ask...Bergman or Garbo?
L.B.    Greta Garbo.
Stockholm or Gothenburg?
L.B.  Stockholm.

A tablescape of glass and silver at Might-As-Well.
It doesn't get much more Swedish than this...

Summer Swede or Winter Swede?
L.B.  Each has it's own beauty.

               Hallway at Lars and Nadine's Might-As-Well.

Favorite Abba song?
L.B.  Take a Chance on Me

The livingroom at Might-As-Well.


If you could pick one figure from history to design for it would be...
L.B.   A woman, it would be Catherine the Great (mainly for financial reasons).
A man it would be Gustaf the III.

A private view from Lars and Nadine's kitchen window of the gardens and
workshops of Capellagarden.  We hope to soon do another post on this amazing school
 founded by Carl Malmsten...Lars has inspired us!

Here are some sumptuous photos and captions as they appear in the new book,
Lars Bolander's Scandinavian Design:

"Architects Gert and Karin WingÄrdh provide the residents with a more direct connection
to their waterfront land. A new glass-fronted bay framed in red."

"Though many of the elements in this eighteenth-century Swedish living
room display age and wear, the overall effect is fresh
and inviting. A delicate floral fabric for the sofa’s squabs,
along with pieces of blue and white porcelain,
brightens the otherwise muted tone."

"Sailors and a ship caught amid floral flourishes reference
the coastal location of a barn in Norway. "

"A dogtrot-style breezeway in Gert and Karin Wingardh's contemporary addition to a traditional Swedish farmhouse brings dining closer to nature, with no need to run for cover. The painted walls and ceiling pick up the color of grass outside, framing the view in bright green."

"A bed placed in the middle of the space establishes an equanimity that enhances rest."

Grass roofs are ubiquitous throughout Scandinavia

"Tailored white slipcovers bring an exquisite
1770s Swedish dining room down to earth."

The other driving force behind this compilation of inspiring images and practical  how to instruction is the great editor/writer Heather Smith MacIsaac whose work appears regularly in Elle Decor and Travel and Leisure among other.  Heather shared with us her experience of writing the book.

Heather Smith MacIsaac

Had you worked with Lars in the past?
Heather MacIsaac (H.M.) : I've never worked with Lars before but liked him immediately. We quickly discovered we had sympathetic sensibilities and ideas for the book.

What were your experiences with Scandinavian design prior to this book?
H.M.  I've always been an appreciator of Scandinavian design for its simplicity, directness, and pragmatic quality. My contact with it has come through reporting on design and traveling to Scandinavia (primarily Sweden.)

Had you travelled extensively in the region before?
H.M.  I've always been an appreciator of Scandinavian design for its simplicity, directness, and pragmatic quality. My contact with it has come through reporting on design and traveling to Scandinavia (primarily Sweden.)

What new things did you discover or take away from the experience of writing this book?
H.M.   I have not traveled nearly as much as I would like through all of Scandinavia. I  have seen more of Sweden than any of the other countries. I just got back from a trip that took me to Gotland, Fjallnas (seven hrs. north of Stockholm) and a place three hours west of Stockholm. I would say traveling in Sweden is as easy as touring around the U.S. Things are well-marked, communication is never a problem, and the gas station bathrooms are always clean! And Swedish beds are the best. It was great to visit Sweden, having recently finished the book, because I knew so much more about what I was seeing.
I learned a tremendous amount about the differences, some subtle, some dramatic, between the countries in terms of design, palette, and craft. It's always interesting to see how things like natural resources, geography, even the interests of one influential figure, affect design. I had to do a fair amount of research for the book which was more than fine because I love history. Finally, I think one can't come away from an in-depth study of Scandinavian design without a renewed appreciation of nature and a desire to integrate it more in one's life.

Swedish Summer at the idyllic Might-As-Well.

History, design, nature and craft...what a fantastic journey Heather and Lars take us on in this book.  Many, many thanks to Lars and Heather for including Eleish van Breems as a resource for antiques, reproduction Swedish furniture made in Sweden and design in the Resource Guide found in the back of their book!   We are so honored!  Thank you Lars!  Thank you Heather!

Lars is back from Sweden and will be appearing this weekend for a book signing  in Southampton at the Nancy Corzine store.  The event is Saturday, August 28th from 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm at Nancy Corzine, 5 Main Street, Southampton.  Tel.  631-287-8606.

For more Swedish design and inspiration...
Visit the Lars Bolander showrooms in New York and Palm Beach Here.
Visit us at Eleish van Breems Here. and Eleish van Breems on 1st Dibs Here.

Our great friend Monikka at Splendid Willow did a must read interview with Lars Here.