Spring Renewal

In a world gone chaotic, our homes have become the reliable gentle hug at the end of the day. While that comfort comes through in different styles, from ultra-clean contemporary polish to the exuberant color, pattern and texture interplay of maximalism, one style vies for the top spot: Scandinavian.

left: Danish cabinets with shelves; a Warren Platner vintage coffee table for Knoll in front of a Borge Mogensen midcentury leather sofa; and a mid-century Swedish vases by Arthur Percy for Gullskruf. right: 1970s leather and chrome Safari chairs by Karen Mobring; 1960s chrome-and-wood column clock; and Austrian brass pin wall art

To uncover the wide appeal of this home-design hero, we turned to Rhonda Eleish and Edie van Breems, the Nordic-style experts behind Westport’s ELEISH VAN BREEMS (evbantiques.com), a home furnishing and design company and retail store that specializes in antique, vintage and contemporary Nordic style. They work with a variety of makers and craftsmen and bring a fresh approach to everything they do. People have noticed. They’re doing well, even expanding the local shop (they have another location in Nantucket) to two to-the-trade buildings across from the Saugatuck railroad station. They even renovated space to suit their style and showcase their treasures in vignettes and ever-changing arrangements in the boutique.

On a recent visit, they mention that Danish Modern in particular has found a foothold. “It refers to furniture design from the period of Danish design masters of the late 1940s to the early 1970s,” says Rhonda. “Today, when we refer to it, we are referencing a design perspective that is as much about great design as it is about lifestyle and sustainability.”

A Danish Credenza always makes an inviting bar and elegant storage space.

This perspective, applied to furniture and furnishings, is notable for its minimal ease, which is to say, it pairs form and function without fussy embellishment. It indulges in the essentials, being practical and pleasing. It appeals to the calmness found in organization. Think wood, curves, natural colors, soft textiles and leather. “Danish Modern speaks to how we aspire to live,” says Rhonda. “There is a focus on healthy living; design that supports the family. It is about less is more, with clutter and extraneous items being a thing of the past. It speaks to a wide range of people because people want a simpler life—one with less complication.”

It also champions craftsmanship, which squares with Rhonda’s take: “Clients are gravitating to quality. They are spending more money on fewer items. There is a return to understanding that quality and good design hold their value over the long haul.”

left: This living room in Greenwich, designed by Rhonda Eleish, is an example of how the pure, clean lines of Scandinavian modernism can work seamlessly with art from any period and create a soothing backdrop for living. right: Handblocked Scandinavian linen pillow in blue and white, photograph of Iceland by Matt Wood and a Niels Bach rosewood coffee table in the showroom


Shoppers can get a feel for Danish Modern by shopping the store, but Eleish van Breems also works directly with professional designers. Here are Rhonda’s picks for what’s hot now:

Comfortable, high-design furniture and accessories.

Ways to extend exterior spaces, especially where indoor and outdoor have a dialogue.

Flexible spaces that can be used for a variety of purposes—for example, a formal dining room that doubles as a work-from-home area.

People are living more in their spaces, so they want fabrics that keep up with that.

They are looking for patina and the soul that antiques add to interiors. They are also returning to investment buying for antiques.

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