Sunday, March 3, 2013

Please visit and like our new Face Book Eleish van Breems page for updates on our new book "Reflections on Swedish Interiors" and other events.!/pages/Eleish-van-Breems-Ltd/220804951393179

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rhonda and Edie on This Old House, October 25th!

The Eleish van Breems design studio 
in Fairfield,CT as filmed on This Old House.

Big news here at Eleish van Breems!

Rhonda and I are so excited to welcome Kevin O'Connor and the crew of This Old House 
to our design studio in Connecticut to talk about the origins of Scandinavian design!  

If you have not been watching this season, This Old House features a wonderful old Queen Anne style home in Cambridge, MA that is being totally remodeled in Modern Scandinavian style.  It is an exciting project and when This Old House's producer, Deb Hood asked us to weigh in as experts as to what elements the homeowners should make sure to incorporate for an authentic Scandinavian feel, we were thrilled.

We appear in the middle of this week's episode and, if you tune in, you will see Rhonda and I talking about the history of what makes up a great Scandinavian style room - light, functionalism, reverence for natural materials, bringing the outdoors in and bold color injections, to name but a few.

The episode is airing this week on Thursday, October 25th on PBS and WGBH. 
You can check local listings HERE. if you want to tune in and watch with us.  Just enter your zip code and your local air dates will show!  Friends in the Tri-State area we are on Episode 4 airing on:

  • 10/27
    7:00 PM
    Cambridge Project, Part 4 of 15more [CC] [Stereo]
    WEDW, Channel 12
  • 10/28
    5:30 PM
    Cambridge Project, Part 4 of 15more [CC] [Stereo]
    WEDW, Channel 10
  • 11/04
    7:00 PM
    Cambridge Project, Part 4 of 15more [CC] [Stereo]
    WLIW, Channel 21

A rare Swedish painted trunk in the Keeping Room at Eleish van Breems.

To celebrate our appearance on This Old House, Rhonda and I are also on Dering Hall this week with our special picks on how to pull a Scandinavian feeling library together.  Dering Hall really is a fantastic place with such an eclectic group of designers and artisans and we were pleased to find lots of  almost sculptural pieces for our Dering Hall library room - elevating wood, leather and glass to new levels of chic.  We imagine all  these beautiful pieces gathered around a roaring fire this crisp October night!

Here are our selections and thoughts:

Clear Band Pendant – John Pomp Studio

Glass is revered as an art form in Scandinavia.  Made by a true artisan workshop, these hand blown Glass Pendants  by John Pomp are stunning and a must have!

Gudinna Barrel Tall Wing Chair – Bjork Studio

Gudinna means goddess and that is how you would feel sitting in this glamorous wing chair.

Rug N10210 – Doris Leslie Blau

The browns and greens of this rug bring a bit of the outside in and make you feel as if you are walking on a forest floor.  The pattern is classic mid-century Swedish.

Bookcase – Lars Bolander

Shelving in Swedish homes is practical and out in the open. This double size bookcase is a collector’s dream whether housing books or a pottery collection.

Historic Canvas by Stockholm Artist Eva Badenhorst

The words we think of for these canvases are romance and whimsy. The essence of period Swedish wall canvases is captured here and the antique sailcloth used for the canvas adds a special dimension and connection to another time.

Swedish Antique Dropleaf Table – Eleish van Breems

The Swedish “slagbord” or drop leaf table is famous among those familiar with Scandinavian furniture for its versatility and good looks. Folding down to often under a foot in width, the table may be pulled out and extended to make a work desk.  Totally functional and the soulful worn patina on this example is amazing.  We would get it out of the kitchen and into the library.

Sugar Press Stool/ Side table – Tucker Robbins

We love this stool by Tucker Robbins to bring the experience of raw wood into a room. Repurposing is important and this is a great example of materials and function being celebrated and transformed into something far from its agrarian roots.

Frasier Chair – Giannetti Home

Inspired by a mid-century Swedish chair, the Frasier has the simple lines we look for and a rich waxed brown leather upholstery that is practical as well as handsome.

El Monte Lamp – Lawson- Fenning

This walnut lamp is like a sleek sculpture.  We are very attracted to the almost organic form and the melding of Scandinavian and mid-century Californian influences.

The Dyrham chimneypiece – Jamb Limited

Swedes are the first to acknowledge that the element of fire feeds the soul and the body. This 18th c. English mantle is the perfect fire alter - it incorporates many of the elements found in Classical Gustavian form, from the greek key to the garland of oak and acorns tied with ribbons.

The Klismos Bench – Jamb Limited

The Greek Klismos form has been revered in Scandinavia as well as all of Europe for centuries. The Klismos definitely reaches a new level of chic in this window bench made of teak and woven leather.

Sunburst Mirror – Eleish van Breems

Light & Reflection. Gilding and Mirrors. 
The need for more light is why mirrors are used so much in traditional Swedish design.  Our handcrafted 32 ray mirror in verre eglomise white gold is handcrafted and inspired by the northern sun as it hangs in a winter sky.

 To read more about our selections on the Dering Hall magazine, 
called DH Guide, go to HERE.Or SHOP  a few of our Eleish van Breems products and visit our website at

The dining room with Fortuny fabric covered 
Eleish van Breems Collection Gustavian style chairs.

We will be checking up on the Cambridge project at This Old

House as it progresses over the next month or so and look forward

 to seeing it being injected with lots of Scandinavian style.

All Interiors Images by Neil Landino.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Keith Granet On the Business of Design -Part II

Select and Click!  One Kings Lane has made it irresistibly easy to shop five of Keith Granet's favorite
designers this weekend at the Business of Design Tastemaker Sale - Eleish van Breems, Suzanne Kasler, Tara Shaw and Suzanne Tucker.  Rhonda and I caught up with Keith  this morning as the sale celebrating his new book is in play to find out what pieces he personally can't resist.   Here are Keith's picks:

Suzanne Kasler

Suzanne Tucker

Tara Shaw

Celerie Kemble 

Eleish van Breems

"I love the simple lines and beautiful detail of your Swedish  trestle table at Eleish van Breems, " says Keith "and being an architect at heart, I think Suzanne Kasler's saw horse table is very cool.  It really is all about  clean simple lines with me and Celerie's magazine rack and Tara's mirror are both knock outs in that regard.  All of Suzanne Tucker's fabrics are rich and beautiful but this one called Pagoda Coral just strikes a cord with me, the color is fantastic and I love the design.   Each designer has pulled together a really great selection for the event."

What are your favorites?  We'd love to know! 

The fun and fabulous The Business of Design Sale continues through Tuesday, March 13th on One Kings Lane.

See you   HERE!  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Keith Granet on Success and The Business of Design

     Keith Granet

“Walking Under the Sun.”   It is a term most often associated with nomadic travel adventurers in the tradition of Patrick Leigh Fermor and Bruce Chatwin but it is how Rhonda and I always think of our great friend and advisor, Keith Granet.  Keith walks in the sun.  He is seemingly everywhere, always traversing the globe, unearthing the latest innovations and innovators, shining light on them and always encouraging the best out of us, our colleagues, and the design industry as a whole.

 The Business of Design

With his latest book, The Business of Design, heading up the bestseller list and now standard issue at design schools across the country, Keith is poised to continue his role as senior advisor with a follow up book and as one of the founders of the Design Leadership Network. We were thrilled and honored to contribute to Keith’s One Kings Lane Tastemaker Event this weekend featuring Eleish van Breems, Tara Shaw, Suzanne Kasler, Suzanne Tucker and Celerie Kemble.   Visit our Eleish van Breems selections HERE.

 Eleish van Breems items are available this weekend on 
"The Business of Design"  Tastemaker Sale on One Kings Lane.

The Business of Design Tastemaker Event on One Kings Lane runs from Saturday, March 10th – Tuesday, March 13th and is a great place to view our latest design selections including antique armoires,  our new scandinavian inspired sofas and chairs, Gustavian style chandeliers and so much more. This also the place to pick up a copy of Keith's wonderful book if it is not already a part of your library.  Rhonda and I caught up with Keith as he was putting the finishing logistic touches with his team on the upcoming and much anticipated Design Leadership Summit that he, Peter Sallick and Meg Touborg have organized this year to be held in Morocco. 

Keith's secrets to success are revealed in The Business of Design.

Edie and Rhonda:   Keith, this is your first book and it’s a runaway best seller!    
Did that surprise you? Tell us about how it came about and what your plans are for a sequel.

Keith Granet:   It is one thing to write a book and it is a completely different thing to write a book that is well liked.  Yes, that was a surprise because although I knew what I wanted to say and how I wanted to share the information, when you are not a writer as your "day job" you don't know whether people will relate to it.  The book has been in my head for years, it wasn't until I met Jill Cohen, my agent that it became a reality.  Jill knew this was a book that was needed and she truly made it come to life.  As for a sequel, I truly never thought I had it in me to write another book.  However, I am now on a mission to help our profession communicate the value of design and I think my next book will address that in a big way.

Keith in Copenhagen at last years Design Leadership Conference.

E / R  What do you feel are the qualities that must to be nurtured for all of us to be good 
at the business of design?

K.G. As I say in my book, there are six qualities that every successful designer must have and they are: 1. Talent, you need to find your particular talent.  2. Passion, if you don't have passion for this industry it is the wrong profession for you.  The love of design must be in your veins.  3. Discipline, you must have the ability to work at something a little bit each day to reach your goal.  4. Good Knowledge, you need to understand the profession.  5. Common Sense, the world is too hard to navigate without it and finally 6. Chutzpah, you need to be able to take risks to grow and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

E / R  You work with so many different types of clients, from architects and designers to furniture and fabric companies. What issues do you find unique to each discipline or is there an over-riding theme that comes up again and again?

K.G.  The common thread that gets most companies in trouble is their ability to communicate.  Whether it is in educating the client or communicating expectations, communication is the single biggest issue that makes companies fail.  I think the design industry is so closely attached to each profession so whether you are an architect, an interior designer, a manufacturer or a retailer in the design world, you share many of the same issues: “Does my product/service communicate its value?”- Not value in how much does it cost but value in “Is it worth it?” If something is expensive that is okay as long as it is worth it.  A designer's time is hard to qualify but the better at communicating the value of your time the more respect and ultimately the more value you will create for your time.

E / R  You are known for your inspirational business retreats - is this a practice you recommend for all companies both small and large and if so why?

K. G.  Yes, I think it's vital to your growth to get off the daily treadmill and stop and set goals for the coming year or years.  Tomorrow will be not be a new day it will be the same day if you can't stop and look at what works and what doesn't.  Retreats also connect the senior members of your firm to help support the company's growth and their own personal growth.

Keith spreading the sunshine at his book launch event in New York.

Join us tomorrow as Keith sees for the first time the unveiling of what we, Tara, Celerie, Suzanne T.
and Suzanne K. have selected for his special The Business of Design Sale on One King Lane.  We are going to find out his personal favorites – can’t wait to join him for coffee via Skype on the West Coast! 

All photos courtesy of  Granet and Associates and One Kings Lane.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crocus Carpet in Copenhagen

The King's Garden in Copenhagen

The idea of a crocus carpet under a large birch tree at my home has been in the back of my mind now for several years but it was going to the Kings Garden at Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen this spring for the Design Leadership Summit that finally spurred my plan into action.  I am counting on unsuspecting Paul and my boys to pick up the bulb digging where I leave off!

Rosenborg Castle

Rosenborg Castle is one of the many great Renaissance buildings in Copenhagen built by Christian IV (1577-1648).  The landscape design for the castle began in 1606 under the direction of Hans Konig and Martin de Cuder and their plans show that there were extensive areas for fruit, vegetable and herbs laid out within the castle walls.  Under Christian IV's son Frederik III (1609 - 1670), walking avenues in the Baroque style were added.

Plans for the King's Garden

The crocus lawn at Rosenborg as we experience it today is a contemporary feature added to the
garden park in the 1950's.  The lawn was designed by the Royal Gardener, Ingwer Ingwersen and Erna Sonne Friis in a simple, repeating pattern of different shades of purple and white crocus.  Old House Gardens describes the massive 36' wide x 525" long crocus lawn, as it springs into bloom:
 " From one end, the eye sails up the sea of crocus, more then 200,000 corms
planted in rich purple weave across the moat to the castle."

A portrait of King Christian IV by Dutch painter Karel van Mander II. 
 Could I ever command as imposing a figure directing the planting of crocus corms? 

I spent a whole morning obsessively measuring and photographing the crocus lawn. When I arrived at the Summit conference that afternoon I couldn't believe my luck in being seated next to Robert Truskowski ,one of the world's top landscape architects. What ever did I think I would ask him? My house is not formal but a sprawling old colonial with a Craftsman style addition, the focus being low key and cozy with all windows looking out upon the surrounding fields and stone walls.  I realized that the best plan of action was to leave Mr. Truskowski alone and perhaps go with the original idea of an unstructured naturalized crocus carpet that would bring out the beauty of our property's only birch tree.

Along with Snowdrops, Crocus are the freshest and brightest signs of Spring.

At dinner later that week in Stockholm, I dined with yet another of the world's top landscape architects (what are the odds?), Stephen Suzman of Suzman & Cole Design.  Stephen described the importance of incorporating historical elements and things ones loves into a garden to give it some personal depth and meaning.  This is something Rhonda and I always try to implement  for our interior design clients when decorating a home -  to make the project highly personal to the homeowner and to help them achieve a vision or long held dream.

That was it.  Time to realize my own vision.  Crocus Lawn, ho!

The crocus blooming in front of the Temple at Kew Gardens
photo: Kew Gardens

The plans for my crocus bed under the birch tree are now quite a bit looser then the Rosenborg Crocus lawn.  (Paul is breathing a huge sigh of relief!)  I am inspired by these photos from England of Kew Gardens (above) and the Great Lawn at Dartington.  (below)

Dartington, England

My birch tree in Connecticut, shaded in by a stand of Hemlock that need to be removed.

Bulb pots from the Skinner catalog of the Kadison Collection of Wedgewood.

And what if I run out of steam with piles of crocus corms languishing in boxes?  Forcing bulbs couldn't be easier and is a super solution for those of us with over zealous catalog ordering tendencies.  I covet these early Wedgewood Stoneware Bulb Pots (above), especially the faux agate one on the bottom.


A detail of Colchicum from a series of botanicals by
an Eleish van Breems favorite- Crispin de Passe's Hortus Floridus
photo from the collection at   Trillium Rare Prints.

The Crocus Ring

Come, show me a crocus ring,
That dances round a bush of green,
And I will make a lovely thing
To match the magic seen.

                         - Ivor Gurney

Some hardworking and helpful suppliers of crocus bulbs are our Connecticut neighbors
at  Van Engelen, Inc.  and  White Flower Farms  as well as C.J. Ruigrok & Sons.

There is also a fantastic article at the Hills Gardens of Maine website that will tell you everything you may have ever need to know regarding bulb pests and all sorts of different phosphorous fertilizers.

I can't wait until Springtime!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Marimekko. Its personal...

If you are like us, your journey with  Marimekko has been a long one and perhaps that is why the opening of Marimekko's new Flatiron District store feels  like a New York homecoming worthy of celebration. Sure, there was the little upstairs Marimekko showroom hidden away above Madison Avenue for many years, but that always had the feeling of a Bird of Paradise being kept in a canary's cage. How could the full impact of the inspired and colorful patterns by such great textile designers as Maija Isola, Fujiwo Ishimoto, Sanna Annukka, Maija Louekari and Theresa Moorhouse be seen and appreciated in such a small space?

Rhonda and I are thrilled that Marimekko has opened its New York flagship at last bringing to New York the same experience as their stores in Europe.  With Occupy Wall Street in full swing. and an October chill in the air, the timing of the store's opening was an injection of colorful fresh air to the weary 99% and the equally jittery 1% .   Marimekko's upbeat and cheery design is truly for everybody!

We have been treading the Marimekko path for a while now, sometimes running, sometimes scuffling but always finding our way along their road.  We have loved incorporating these fabrics and products into our lives and those of our clients.  Much has been written about the company's brilliant founder Armi Ratia .  Truth be told, we would not have been exposed, while growing up, to great Scandinavian design such as Marimekko if it were not for the taste makers of another iconic company called Design Research.

Design Research began in the 1950's in Boston and opened it's legendary Harvard Sqaure store in 1969.  It was the brilliant vision of one couple for whom "thinking design" was all important.    To learn all about it you can get the Design Research Book  called "Design Research: The Store that Brought Modern Living to American Homes".

It s a terrific story.  Ben Thompson (above) and his wife Jane Thompson were, respectively, an architect and an urban designer and planner who were best known for their restorations of waterfront properties in cities here and abroad.  Marimekko was one of the scandinavian companies that they became passionate about bringing to America and they used their store Design Research to bring their curated selections to the public.

The Design Research store was at the time the chic " go to"  destinaton for anyone interested in fresh, modern living.

I have recollections of Marimekko coming to Westport, CT when I was in  kindergarten and first grade. We were lucky enough to live in a town with artistic and design oriented folks at a time when there was alot of unique personality to our downtown.  In short, the perfect demographic for a Design Research store. I remember going into DR and loving the patterns, especially the giant stretched canvases.  I also remember my Mom and her friends wearing the Marimekko dresses to the beach, to work, to cocktail parties, to the theater, to the mailbox - well, just about everywhere.

As an adult, every trip I made to Sweden I would make a pilgrimage to Marimekko Stockholm.  Rhonda would as well and inevitably we would bring back to the States suitcases full of fabric and clothing for friends and clients.   In 2006 we had the opportunity to become Marimekko dealers and kept a showroom at our Eleish van Breems store filled exclusively with the latest Marimekko collections.  What always struck us is how everyone we met at our store had a special, deeply personal relationship with Marimekko.  For some it was the backdrop of their college years, for others it was the dress they wore on their honeymoon or the fabric they used to decorate their first child's nursery. It was the pillow in the living room in the house they grew up in.  The memories they recalled were always happy and they themselves were so very happy to see Marimekko again at our store!

Like so many people, Marimekko reminds me of my childhood.  Sure it was 1969 and grownups were droning on about oil, men on the moon,Vietnam and Richard Nixon.  I didn't care about any of that!  All I knew was that the Remarkable Bookstore was at its hay day and my Marimekko clad mother would let me visit with Heathcliff  the bookstore's cat, who was always to be found sunning in the Philosophy Section - whatever that meant.  After the bookstore we'd go for a root beer float at the Ice Cream Parlor or for a perfect char-grilled burger at Chubby Lanes.

Sometimes we would meet my glamorous "Grandmommy"  for lunch at Chez Pierre
where everyone smoked at lunch.  Always! 

Once in a great while, if they could not get a babysitter, I would get to go with my parents to the White Barn Theater. And there were always children's matinees at the Westport Country Playhouse. I resolved that a life in the theater was for me.

It was a time of passions.  I had 4 hamsters, 2 mice, 2 rabbits, a cat and 2 little antique dollhouses that I decorated obsessively.  I collected china animals that I would buy at Kleins and The Carosel. I studied ballet with Joanne de Berg.  I announced to my parents at age 6 1/2  that I wished to"quit the ballet" to ride ponies bareback through the woods with my friend Vicky.  That idea, surprisingly, went nowhere fast. But that same year a boy I loved kissed my cheek on the playground on the last day of school! 

Martha was still on Wall Street...

 ....and our neighbors had just made a movie.

It was a happy time.  It was my Marimekko.

What was yours?  We'd love to know!

Photo Credits:  1. Marimekko, 2. Tuuli Fabric, Marimekko, 3. Converse Sneaker by Marimekko
4 -7.  Design Research, 8. Eleish van Breems, 9. Dan Woog's 06880, 10. Ebay, 11. New York Public Library, 12. New York Magazine, 13. My Scrapbook,  14. Satter Photography and Mom  Dress by Lanz of Salsbury.