Monday, July 14, 2014

Eleish Van Breems

I recently had the pleasure of spending a day with one of my personal design icons, interior designer and antiques dealer Edie van Breems. Edie and her business partner Rhonda Eleish are the founders of Eleish Van Breems and the authors of three of my favorite design books, Swedish Interiors, Swedish Country Interiors, and Reflections on Swedish Interiors.


Edie spent the morning talking with me about her work and how Eleish Van Breems has evolved and grown since she and Rhonda began working together in 1998. Childhood friends, they followed different paths after school, but working together was always on the horizon and when the right moment presented itself, they seized it. A mutual interest in design, a shared heritage with family connections in Sweden, and an affinity for the look and lifestyle made Scandinavia their focus.


Edie gave me a tour of her beautiful house, part of which functions as a showroom for antiques and as the office for her interior design business.


Long known for their selection of fine Scandinavian antiques and home accessories, Eleish Van Breems is now importing a range of beautiful Swedish reproductions. The furniture is crafted in Sweden and includes pieces in a variety of styles from different historical periods. The pair have recently collaborated with Farrow and Ball to offer finishes from F&B's incomparable line of paints. The partnership came about as Edie and Rhonda searched for a manufacturer of high-quality paint whose colors were consistently true to samples.


A basic tenant of Swedish life is maintaining a balance with nature and these pieces are produced with a focus on sustainability and using environmentally friendly materials. Painted by a talented team of artisans in Connecticut, the finishes are rich and durable. Edie showed me a few new arrivals and recent finish samples.


After enjoying an exquisite lunch prepared by Edie in her light-filled kitchen, I pulled out my dog-eared copies of all three of the Eleish Van Breems books and, in true design geek fashion, made Edie sign each one. She was very good natured about it.


Then we hit the road. Our first stop was the Farrow and Ball shop in Westport, Connecticut. Overseen by the charming and dapper Gardner Stevens, the shop has some pieces from the Eleish Van Breems reproduction line painted in colors one would not normally associate with Swedish interiors.


This ”¶stermalm chair is painted a deep aubergine - a non-traditional finish color that offers a modern interpretation of historic Scandinavian design and shows how the pieces can work in contemporary interiors of any style.


From there we went to Lilian August in Norwalk, Connecticut where Eleish Van Breems has an in-store boutique showcasing a selection of their Swedish and Scandinavian antiques and decorative accessories.




At the end of the day Rhoda met us for a cup of tea, and she and Edie talked about the inception of Eleish Van Breems and how, from the beginning, educating the buyer was a priority. A client took home not just a piece of antique furniture, but knowledge of Swedish history, regional styles and folk culture, of stylistic decoration, traditional color palettes and the minerals used to create them. The combination of soulful antiques in the light, uncluttered, elegant Scandinavian aesthetic they championed was irresistible. Rhonda explained that the Swedish principle of functionality in furniture design is why the pieces remain relevant in contemporary interiors.


Today, Eleish Van Breems continues to inspire, demonstrating how the tenants of Swedish style can be interpreted to suit anyone's personal taste. Edie and Rhonda are such a dynamic pair, and clearly so passionate about what they do, it is easy to see why Eleish Van Breems has met with such success and created a devoted following.

25 comments:

  1. Phyllis, WOW!! How wonderful that you were able to meet these two ladies and spend time with them! I have "Swedish Interiors" sitting on top of a Vermeer book on my c. 1800 writing table in my living room. While my decorating leans towards very traditional, I just love the idea of an antique Swedish piece (or 2) in a room. With a daughter in DC, I have been to Loi's store and have pictures of some of the pieces that I covet still on my phone! The beautiful gardens, historical places and interesting people you cover makes me want to jump in your back pocket. Love following you in your blog and on Instagram!
    Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Charming ... I wonder if these are the two women who opened an interiors shop in Woodbury years ago? I also saw them in a charming diminutive designer show house in Southport, CT ... In a church affiliated with Albert Hadley. They were charming women and very talented.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, my all time favorite style. I've read several articles about their beautiful work. Thank you for such an inspiring, interesting post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What an inspiring visit, thanks for taking us along! Beautiful interiors and how wonderful to learn about these stylish ladies and what they've achieved with their business. Thanks, Phyllis! XO

    ReplyDelete
  5. Phyllis a dram day for sure, so much talent and creativity. I adore the aubergine chair!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Phyllis -
    I first visited EVB when they had their lovely antiques shop in Woodbury, CT. Good to know that I can still enjoy their inventory at Lillian August! Thanks for the tour - beautiful pieces. And I'm a fan of their wonderful books. Hope they write another one :)
    Cheers
    L

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love how light, clean and beautiful Swedish interiors are. I think that is one reason why so many people like Martha Stewart, because she marries that pared down aesthetic with American traditional. xo, N.G.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Their reproductions are lovely and the colors look wonderful. Thank you for another wonderful peek into the world of gorgeous Swedish design! And those beams in her home...be still my heart!!!

    xo Kat

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow that must have been such fun getting to tour her beautiful home. I love the Mora clocks, just stunning! Thank you for taking us along on the tour.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Phyllis,
    To me, Swedish designed pieces and even the overall Swedish style always feels welcome in a room filled with other pieces. Like the popular person in a room, it's lovely and doesn't demand to dominate. The images of Edie's home/showroom are a beautiful. I especially love the old beams and the ever present calming influence of the uncluttered look. Thanks, Phyllis. You always take us to such wonderful places for an inspiring design tour.
    xo,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  11. Awww Phyllis, this was a delight to read! I love how you captured their essence so to speak with your narrative. The tour was a treat for the eyes. Thanks for sharing! x

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am the proud owner of all of their books. So nice to meet the ladies behind them!

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a lovely day and interview with these two fabulous women! I love their aesthetic and it must have been so much fun to walk in their shoes for the day! Great post. xo Nancy

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Phyllis,
    It looks like you had a great day.
    I love the aubergine colour the Ostermalm chair is painted. It has often winked at me in Farrow and Ball, so it's lovely to see it 'in situ'.
    Hope you have a lovely day,
    Liz x

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a treat for you to be in the midst of all that talent and beauty. And to spend a day with one of your style icons...amazing opportunity!!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a stylish pair Phyllis. So many beautiful pieces, I could shop till the cows came home. As for Mr Stevens, is it hot in here right now? Phew! :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I am in awe! What a beautiful space. So glad I saw this.
    Thank you.
    Di
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love those clocks...looks like the perfect day!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Nice Blog , This is what I excatly Looking for , Keep sharing more blog .

    Modular Kitchens | Kitchen Remodelling

    ReplyDelete
  20. So thrilled to hear you're going to be helping my friend, Jeanne, create her farmhouse paradise! I know you will have a wonderful time and I cannot wait to see the results! xo

    ReplyDelete
  21. What wonderful news, my friend. I'm loving that bench with the copper pots! Keep us posted on your new project, sounds like a perfect one for you. xx's

    ReplyDelete
  22. what a beautiful design! Those two did a great job decorating such a small space. Looks like a very cozy little nest!

    Manipulative hallway

    ReplyDelete

Please share your thoughts!