Lars uptown is open for business! After helping turn around Gansevoort St. in 2002 with his vast shop, Lars Bolander has made the pilgrimage closer to the D and D Building, along design row. No stranger to running a shop, in 1995, he opened his eponymous Palm Beach location, bringing the island his take on Swedish style. Their new loft- like space at 232 East 59th Street on the 3rd Floor is beautifully done. Vignettes capture the essence of global design, and the signature chair wall is in place, showcasing hand carved Massant Chairs, which they carry exclusively.
Giant stone urns on columns flank a cane daybed and greet visitors
Beautiful gray painted small mirrors hang in a cluster above a classic settee. Fantastic lamps resembling fiddle head ferns add a playful element
Graphic pillows are on pieces throughout the showroom, making great accessories an arm's length away
An extra long settee would work in a hallway or large staircase landing. Lars has a large art collection which he likes to rotate between the shops and his homes. The pieces in the gallery are wonderful and the prices range. He also likes to bring in Swedish artists as the pieces are not always what people expect, lots of abstract pieces with vibrant colors and bold brush strokes.
An artfully arranged grouping of wooden mushrooms sprout out of the floor
A stunning carved antique mirror hangs near a fantastical decorative umbrella in an elephant stand
The umbrella sets a vacation mindset when you are shopping
A wooden etagere holds accessories galore! Everywhere you turn, accessories and exotic elements are beautifully merchandised.
A metal table is painted with soft stripes and is summer perfect
Wonderful blown glass balls clustered like grapes hang throughout the shop, making an artistic statement, and petrified wood tables are a great way to add a natural element
I caught up with Lars recently, during our endless heat wave when I visited him in the beautiful new location.
What do you keep in mind when you go shopping for you Palm Beach and Uptown New York City locations?
Things are changing; people desire simpler pieces that can be used in more varied rooms. I always buys what I like and never moves with trends. The biggest factor in what I choose for the shops is where I have just been on vacation. I recently returned from Morocco so we expect a shipment from there; last moth it was Greece so a container is on its way from there, etc. I have decorating clients all over there world so you never know what style of furniture might be coming at any given time.
What are some roadblocks you have experienced with importing?
One thing that is happening is that Swedish antiques are becoming more difficult to get and bring into the United States. Their popularity has stripped the country and the government is making more and more difficult to take them out of Sweden. However, there are excellent reproductions coming onto the market which helps people due to their price range and options of colors and sizes.
How has the retail experience changed from when you first opened?
There is a big shift towards selling through the Internet; many “shops” don’t even have store fronts and just sell through the Internet. We are selling much more through having a website and emailing clients tear sheets, however, there are definitely pieces that clients want to see in person so we will always have a retail shop. We make a real effort in our shops to give the customer an experience of being in someone’s home. They can see the pieces arranged in a way that can help them understand how to use them in their own space. It’s always wonderful to see people come in and say “I never thought of using something like that piece in that way.”
What is your idea bliss?
I enjoy relaxing with friends, a drink in hand in my pool house done in bright Indian inspired colors and swimming in my pool. I would swim all day if I could.
What are some of your favorite things and what do you like to surround yourself with?
My favorite things are food, wine, art and a big screen TV to watch old movies on. My extraordinary wife, Nadege Kalachnikoff, had a catering company and owned a few restaurants in Washington D.C. and then in New York, so she keeps me well fed.
What advice do you have on entertaining at home? What are your party essentials?
I do all entertaining in my large kitchen as it houses the dining table. If the weather permits, then dining is done outside. I love to grill, so I will use any excuse to light up the coals. I am the king of the cheese soufflé, too.
I only use one type of flower at any given event and that would depend on the season that the party thrown. Different events warrant different “essentials” as I enjoy mixing things up quite a bit. Latin music is always playing; however, themes can range from Moroccan Nights to a Swedish cocktail party. Events at the Bolander house are always quite informal though, I like everyone to be relaxed and comfortable at my house.
How do you like illuminate evening parties?
I like to put a lot of candles in lanterns and place them around the pool. I enjoy lanterns and candle holders that give off dramatic shadows.
When it comes to seating and serving areas, is it buffet or sit down?
All seating is done informally in the kitchen which holds the only dinning table in the house. Serving is done sitting down but usually with a lot of commotion as everyone in the family likes to cook and has to add their two cents.