Gleaning through the IKEA catalogue, and numerous design blogs devoted to the 'Nordic Style,' I assumed that all interiors followed the sparse format with pale grey/beige/white walls, stream-lined furnishings, scrubbed table-tops, and undressed windows; not so, shared Sue (Susan Kopperman) who owns the charming Swedish shop called Klaradal, located in Olney, MD. Sue had spent quite some time in Sweden and explained that all Swedish interiors are not pale and filled with painted white furniture, light fabrics, worn surfaces, and bereft of ornamentation. Historical Swedish interiors reveal an amalgamation of influences: French love of curves and carvings in the style of Louis XIV/XV/XVI (Baroque and Rococo); German and Eastern European love of heavy pomp and solidity via the Biedermeier style; the arrival of the exotic via blue and white ceramics and textiles from the Far East; exposure to Spanish and Portuguese culture through the introduction of tile production methods (and design) via Amsterdam. Today, what has become quite popular is the style based on peasant cottages, farm-houses, and country estates where informality and practicality was paramount.
Klaradal, housed in a picturesque farm-style building sits in a field of happy daisies and sunny black-eyed susan plants, and seemed charming, very inviting and almost fairy-like. The inventory includes painted Swedish furniture, tiny oil-paintings, lovely textiles, wall clocks, chandeliers and other decorative objects. Her offerings are lush, warm and there does seem to be more than a pop of color. Sue acknowledged that many interiors in Sweden do share a propensity for the pale, yet many homes utilized bolder and richer colors (combined with lots of lamps and crystal chandeliers, as well as mirrors) which seemed to work best against gloom during the long, dreary months of winter. In urban areas, where uncovered windows can run the risk of encountering the risque, interiors are much more luxurious, layered, and reveal global influences and contemporary design trends. A recent viewing of Bergman's Cries and Whispers offered evidence that Swedes are not averse to the attractions of aubergine, blood-red, absolute-black, greener-than-green green, and yellowier-than-egg-yolk yellow.
Good news indeed, for I am all about color, passion, and going against the grain (of white/beige/greige/grey), and plan to head back out to her shop for the unveiling of the newest arrivals (early next month). Buying trips to Sweden (as well as finds by a secret army of pickers in Sweden and Estonia) allow her to offer beautiful pieces at reasonable prices. And not unlike a good Swede, I value practicality and comfort; longevity (in quality of materials and construction) is a must; as well as the opportunity for a 'deal.' Please stop in at her shop in Olney, MD or visit the website at www.klaradal.com.
PS: Thanks for being a devoted visual-treat reader (and peep).....