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Antiques Diva Master Class with Daniel Larsson – Part II

Dear Diva Readers,

Last month on the blog I sat down with our Swedish Divo Guide, Daniel Larsson of  D.Larsson Interiör & Antikhandel, and asked him to share his knowledge about Swedish antiques in what I called “The Antiques Diva Master Class”.  Today I want to continue that conversation and pass on some of Daniel’s insights into what’s hot right now when it comes to antique Swedish pieces in home decor. Let’s chat with Daniel!

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Divo Guide Daniel Larsson

Antiques Diva:
What do you think defines Swedish Décor and Swedish Antiques? 

Daniel Larsson:
While there are several styles under the “Swedish Antiques” label,  the provincial Gustavian Style with the pale tones and simple lines is definitely one of the most recognizable and desirable. These pieces possess a particular elegance. This style fits in any interior whether your look is modern, rustic or classic.

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Antiques Diva: 
What are the essential antiques to set a Swedish tone in home décor?

Daniel Larsson:
As far as specific pieces go, I would say the Swedish long case clock is a must have and fits most homes from modern to more classic. This clock is typical to Sweden. There are two styles with different shapes to them: a masculine clock which has straight lines  and a feminine clock which has softer lines. So the style you choose will effect the feel of your home.

Mora clocks are the most well known. The female clocks have a belly and a different shape.  The male clocks are less popular than the female.

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The Mora clock, Sweden’s popular “feminine” style long-case clock

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The masculine version of Sweden’s popular long-case clock. Notice the straighter lines

 

Antiques Diva:
Any other Swedish pieces that
are highly desirable?

Daniel Larsson:
Swedish country furniture including drop leaf tables and Swedish dining chairs are highly sought after. While they are pricier than the French chairs, there are not a lot of dealers with original chairs.  But the real thing that is desirable in Swedish Antiques is ORIGINALITY.

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Antiques Diva:
When it comes to antiques that’s what everyone really wants – ORIGINAL PIECES FROM THE PERIOD – and our specialty is helping our Antiques Diva clients find exactly that on their Sweden Antique Buying tours
.

Daniel Larsson:
And while we help a lot of foreigners buy Swedish Antiques, the thing I think that is important for people to realize is that we Swedes also want these pieces.   The Swedish people want quality and to be honest quality isn’t cheap.  But buying quality in Sweden is a better value than elsewhere.  Regardless of where you buy them, good Gustavian chairs will go for a lot of money.  They’re desireable.

But often when you buying Swedish outside of Sweden you will pay the same price for the later reproductions in the Gustavian style from the late 19th C as you would in Sweden for an original period chair from 100 years earlier in the late 18th C.  This makes it much less expensive to buy in Sweden because you’re getting period authentic pieces.

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Antiques Diva:
It’s difficult because clients don’t always understand that Gustavian Style doe not mean Gustavian Period.  There is a difference in age and quality. 

Daniel Larsson:
When buying Swedish Antiques you really have to be careful to know the difference – are you buying Gustavian STYLE – which is not from the Gustavian period – or Gustavian Period?

Antiques Diva, Daniel Larsson Interrior, Gustavian, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Swedish Antiques, Swedish Décor, Antique Swedish Clock

Antiques Diva:
Talk to me about maker’s marks.

Daniel Larsson:
In Sweden, true Gustavian pieces sometimes have a maker’s mark to establish their authenticity to the period. Some dealers say it is important to know who made the chair, for instance, because it gives provenance.  In fact when the chairs were originally being made this was just a matter of practicality.  We Swedes – even in the 18th C – are a practical lot!  If you bought a chair and it broke then you knew who to go to fix the chair.  The maker’s mark was sort of like a guarantee. “Buy it from me, and if it breaks, bring it back and I’ll repair it.”

 

Antiques Diva: 
What are the trends in antiques at the moment in Sweden?  Do the locals love Gustavian antiques the way the rest of the world does?

Daniel Larsson:
In Sweden, good modern quality pieces are popular.  Everyone knows mid-century modern is HOT right now but I can also see that Art Deco style is gaining quite a bit of popularity.  But the Gustavian style has always been and always will continue to be popular among the Swedes. There isn’t one interior magazine in Sweden, regardless of style, that does not include one Gustavian piece in an issue. Our style is different from rest of Europe. Even IKEA is mimicking the Swedish style. In the 1980’s and 1990’s IKEA did a Swedish 18th C line that today has gained collectors value and is selling for more money than back when it was launched!  Have you seen the recent IKEA catalog? They just did their version of a Swedish standing tall case clock.

Antiques Diva, Daniel Larsson Interrior, Gustavian, Sourcing Antiques in Europe, Swedish Antiques, Swedish Décor, Antique Swedish Clock

Antiques Diva:
You can’t talk about Sweden without thinking of it’s most famous export – IKEA!

Daniel Larsson:
I honestly believe that IKEA is doing more positive things for Swedish furniture than negative.  While it is of course budget furniture they are doing it with some style.  In Sweden – and I think across Europe this holds true – you’ll actually find IKEA often in high-end homes.

 

Antiques Diva:
I’ve said it before and will say it again – Decorating with Antiques is about the mix of High & Low.  So Swedish decorators pair a Gustavian armchairs with an Ikea Coffee table and the mixture just works.  Swedish pieces, whether old or new, are relevant to the way we live today!

Thanks for joining us in this Antiques Diva® Masters Class!

The Antiques Diva®

The Antiques Diva’s Favorite Piece at Home

Dear Diva Readers,

I was recently asked what my favorite piece of furniture is. Each week I am exposed to hundreds of antiques while shopping flea markets and stores on tours all across Europe. With the internet, hundreds more are sent to my email inbox, often resulting in sensory overload! The mix of styles, periods, and price points is so varied that it can be difficult to choose a favorite piece or style. So I decided to look at my own home and try to pinpoint a particular piece that stands out as my personal favorite.

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Chairs seen on a Sweden Antiques Diva Tour

I’ve found that trying to choose a favorite antique piece is like asking a mother to pick her favorite child.  In my living room I have a gorgeous pair of signed Swedish Rococo Stockholm Chairs with traces of primary paint (mostly secondary).  These chairs are the crème de la crème of antiques.  And if you bought online in the USA you’d be looking at easily a cost of $16,000 – 20,000. I bought them on our Sweden Antiques Diva buying tour and spent around 4600E for the pair.  They were a fantastic buy and absolute top quality – my favorite combination.

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Catpuccino has refined tastes – he loves sleeping in the sunshine on my Swedish Rococo Chairs

I find that, in general, Swedish antiques are highly sought after due to their timelessness and classic design.  Open any shelter magazine and you’re sure to see a few strategically placed Swedish pieces that add just the right amount of style and serenity to gorgeously decorated spaces.

While French furniture is beautiful, it can sometimes be overly carved or too “heavy” to blend into contemporary interiors. Swedish furniture, namely Gustavian, could be viewed as the “toned-down cousin” to antique French furniture. The lines are sleeker, the carvings more reserved.  The graceful forms of Swedish furniture are complemented by their color palette which is usually rooted in the natural world, offering hues of gray, cream, pale blue and green.

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Our living room – my favorite Swedish Chairs opposite the modern sofa

My home is a very modern space and so I look for those antiques  that possess a classic sensibility without being overly flamboyant. My pair of Swedish Rococo Stockholm Chairs fits the bill perfectly. They bring a sense of history to a sleek apartment, proving that all things old can be made new again

The Antiques Diva®

P.S. – If you liked this article you might enjoy reading the article I did over at The Daily Basics on our living room décor.

Antiques Diva Master Class with Daniel Larsson

Dear Diva Readers,

When sourcing antiques I believe that knowledge is power.  I like to think of The Antiques Diva® & Co as a multi-faceted resource to our clients. Of course we custom plan tours based on our clients’ style, budget, and time frame….  Of course we also utilize our local Guides’ relationships with vendors all over Europe to get our clients the best pieces….  Of course we translate and negotiate on our clients’ behalf…. BUT our Guides are also knowledgable when it comes to antiques themselves, helping clients understand WHAT pieces are desirable and WHY they’re desirable.  They educate the client (and myself!) about the history of certain styles and why certain pieces are important.

Over the next several months our Antique Tour Guides will be sharing their wealth of knowledge with you here on the blog.  Consider this a type of “Antiques Diva® Master Class,” if you will.  We’ll be giving you information on various styles, period pieces, and the history behind some of today’s hottest trends in antiques.

Today to kick off the series we’re hearing from The Antiques Diva & Co’s Swedish “Divo” Guide, Daniel Larsson of D.LARSSON INTERIÖR & ANTIKHANDEL giving a Guide to Gustavian Antiques.

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Antiques Diva:
What are the Swedish known for when it comes to antiques?

Daniel Larsson:
When talking about Swedish antiques the most representative period is from the 18th Century  is Gustavian styles. Named after King Gustav III of Sweden it has strong influences of neoclassical French design as well as Italian classicism.

Antiques Diva Sourcing antiques in Europe

Antiques Diva:
How would we recognize the Gustavian style?

Daniel Larsson:
To recognize Gustavian you’ll want to look for clean lines.  Before becoming king, Gustav III enjoyed an extended stay with Louis XVI at the Palace of Versailles.  You’ll recall the world was all atwitter over the discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum at that time.  Louis XVI was fascinated with the Greco Roman Style incorporating that classical vibe into his décor.  Gustav III returning home and incorporated what he learned by Louis’ side.

Antiques Diva Sourcing antiques in Europe

Antiques Diva:
And just as today we’re influenced by our travels, upon returning home to Sweden from France Gustav brought this style with him!

Daniel Larsson:
King Gustav III was a well-rounded guy –  very interested in arts and clothes, architecture, style and design.  Sort of a modern day Renaissance man!   He was very influenced by the French Neoclassical designs and he brought this style to Sweden but he reinterpreted it – simplifying it.

Antiques Diva Sourcing antiques in Europe

Antiques Diva:
The Gustavian style became a restrained interpretation of the French style.  The resources available in Sweden were different than in France – how did this impact the woods and materials used in creating Gustavian pieces?

Daniel Larsson:
In the beginning Gustav was having these pieces made for the royal palaces – but the style trickled down to the city and then the countryside.  In the larger cities there were master carpenters who used expensive dark woods like mahogany. Today those piece are forbidden for export from Sweden but in the countryside they used less expensive wood such as pine, birch, alder and beech.  They painted it in different colors.  Over the years these pieces would receive fresh coats of paint – not just in white like people typically expect with Gustavian pieces but also yellow and red. Even black.

Antiques Diva Sourcing antiques in Europe

Antiques Diva:
When we buy a Gustavian piece it has been painted MANY times – it literally has centuries of layers of paint? Right?

Daniel Larsson:
Exactly – Today 90% of all Swedish antique furniture has been repainted many many times.  If you strip back the layers of paint the result is a rich patina of older paint.  In the 1980’s and 1990’s American dealers bought a large quantity of Gustavian antiques, stripped everything down to the bare wood and re-painted it all white.  Today dealers are more aware of preserving the integrity of the piece. They will strip the piece when possible to the original – or primary – paint or secondary or third level.  Often these pieces need “touched up” and a little decorative paint is then added as necessary.

Antiques Diva Sourcing antiques in Europe

Antiques Diva:
What is your best piece of advice for someone who wants to purchase Gustavian antiques abroad?

Daniel Larsson:
When purchasing Scandinavian antiques, you must be careful not to get scammed.  There are people who rebuild furniture from old parts – and then they label it as original Gustavian.  It is Gustavian style – but not period or pure pieces.  As you always teach our clients – you must know the difference between a period piece and a style piece.  One of the things that amazes me is how many vendors say they are selling Gustavian – implying it’s a period piece – but isn’t.  About 70% of what you see online is mislabeled.  It may be Gustavian Style, but not ORIGINAL. While this “rebuilt” furniture may be beautiful, it’s important to make the distinction that it isn’t original because pieces with better provenance bring higher prices.  Make sure you know what you’re paying for.  That’s why it’s smart to educate yourself before purchasing.

Antiques Diva Sourcing antiques in Europe

Antiques Diva:
Educating our clients is something you’re particularly good at Daniel.  From now on we may have to change your title from “Divo” to “Teacher”.  Thanks for sharing your Guide to Gustavian.

We hope you’ve enjoyed your Antiques Diva® Master Class.  Stay tuned for this continued series from our expert team at The Antiques Diva® & Co.

The Antiques Diva®

(seen below with Divo Guide Daniel Larsson)

Antiques Diva Sourcing antiques in Europe

Antiques Diva Sourcing antiques in Europe

 

Antiquing in Stockholm

Dear Diva Readers,

Today we’re joined by Sara Söderberg Svantesson, owner of Amazing Interiors in Stockholm. She has a showroom with antiques including pieces from the late Barouque, the Rococo, and Gustavian period until the Empire. She works as an interior designer and stylist as well as Chief Executive “Diva” of  her company, Amazing Interiors.

Our Southern Sweden Antiques Diva Tours have been so popular that we’re now exploring offering antique buying tours in Stockholm.  Today we’re sitting down with Sarah to discuss shopping in Stockholm Antiques Diva Style!

Swedish Antiques Antiques Diva

Swedish Clock

Antiques Diva:
 As a designer how do you see Swedish antiques fitting into the modern day home both locally in Stockholm as well as abroad. How are clients living with antiques?

Sarah: During the last couple of years the trend has been mixing modern furniture with antiques. For example my clients might buy a modern sofa and pair it with old armchairs or a modern dining table mixed with Gustavian chairs. Often I suggest to the clients that they choose a colorful modern fabric to use on an armchair or on dining chairs with the results that the old antique fits perfectly into to a modern home. I also think that the trend in recycling is contributing to peoples’ increasing interest in buying, restoring and keeping antiques.  Remember antiques are green!

Antiques Diva:
For a visitor to Stockholm if they only had 1 day to antique in the city where would you suggest they go and what would you say they should do?

Sarah:  If you as a visitor have one day to spend in Stockholm I would suggest you try to make the most of the day by mixing high end boutiques together with ”vintage” stores. At Östermalm in Stockholm you can find the boutiques that have the most exclusive antiques in the capital. Many of them are working with antique furniture from the Baroque, Rococo, the Gustavian periods until the Empire. Here you´ll find both rare and unique Swedish antiques. After spending the morning at Östermalm I would recommend you have a short distance walk to Vasastan with all the small interesting vintage boutiques. Here you´ll find anything from old glass and candlesticks to vintage mirrors and carpets. If you are not too tired after that I would suggest you also visit the Old town, where you can combine looking at all the beautiful houses and monuments with shopping in the vintage stores that you´ll find here.

Sweden

Antiques Diva:
Stockholm is famous for its auctions, can you tell our readers about the auctions? Explain the Quality Auctions and when are they?

Sarah:  Stockholm has two leading auction houses, Bukowskis and Stockholm’s auktionsverk. They have auctions on a weekly basis and two times a year they have their Quality Auctions. Theses auctions are often held late autumn and late spring. Characteristic for the quality auctions are that, unlike from the weekly auctions, they only sell high end antiques from the Baroque, Rococo, and Gustavian periods and the Empire.

Sweden

sweden

Antiques Diva:
Are there are a variety of price points from high end to lower  prices available in Stockholm? My perspective was that everything was high end, but after our conversation last week I realized this was a myth about antiquing in Stockholm.

Sarah: As mentioned above and below the high end boutiques are located at Östermalm. At Vasastan and Gamla Stan you find the boutiques that have lower prices. You really can still find a bargain in Stockholm.

Antiques Diva: Describe your perfect day in Stockholm. Where would you go? What would you do?

Sarah:  Your perfect day in Stockholm should start with waking up at a beautiful hotel – I’d choose the Diplomat located at Strandvägen, one of the most exclusive streets in Stockholm. The hotel, that is overlooking the sea, was built in 1904 and it has a beautiful and luxurious interior.

Sweden

After enjoying a long breakfast at the hotel you start with a short walk down to Arsenalgatan where you find the Auctionhouse Bukowskis and also a couple of high end antique shops. After spending the morning here you cross the street and walk into Östermalm. At Nybrogatan you visit antique shops and the Auction house Stockholms auktionsverk and when reaching Östermalmstorg you stop at Östermalmshallen for lunch. Östermalmshallen is a market hall from 1888 and today it is a market place with local food vendors. Lunch at Melanders fisk in Östermalmshallen will prepare you for a nice afternoon at Vasastan with all its vintage shops. Don´t forget to visit Upplandsgatan where many of the cosy vintage shops are located.

Swedish Antiques

The evening you spend at Berns Asian restaurant. It´s an oldbuilding from 1863, located next door to Bukowskis. The building hosts both a hotel and a really good Asian restaurant. The old, well kept interior with all the fantastic decor in the ceilings and  walls are defentively worth a visit. This will make a ideal end on a perfect day in Stockholm.

Thanks Sarah for your Antiques Diva interview!
The Antiques Diva®

P.S. If this blog has whet your appetite for a Stockholm Antiques Buying Tour email me – info@antiquesdiva.com to schedule your shopping extravagnza!

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