Shop Visit: Lars Bolander in Westport
Text by Lynda Simonton Photography by Nina Choi
Interior designer and tastemaker Lars Bolander has a reputation for creating elegant homes with a spirited global style, so it only makes sense that the shop bearing his name would reflect this sophisticated aesthetic.
After fifteen years, the Lars Bolander showroom relocated from Manhattan to Westport in February. “The timing felt right to bring the look to the suburbs,” says Chris Kalachnikoff, Bolander’s stepson and the shop’s owner.
Shoppers are delightfully surprised when they walk through the doors of the soaring, 2,600-square-foot space for the first time. The unassuming façade on Post Road belies the decorative delights within.
The boutique features the Gustavian-style furnishings that Bolander is often credited with bringing to the U.S. marketplace, but the international flair doesn’t stop there. Much of what you’ll see was acquired on family travels. Bolander’s wife, artist Nadine Kalachnikoff, speaks ten languages, allowing the family to cultivate relationships with artists and vendors who the average tourist can’t access. “We always found the back-door guy who had all the cool stuff, like our wooden mushrooms from France or colorful umbrellas from Bali,” shares Chris.
Art plays an important role in the shop, from Nadine’s three-dimensional butterfly pieces to elegant watercolors by L. R. Laffitte. Italian artist Vittoro Splendore adds interest to the mix with custom works that have a lush Old World feel.
While the eclectic finds may be intimidating at first, Chris is on hand to steer shoppers along their journey. “We tell the story behind the piece, and customers fall in love with it. We encourage clients to be adventurous and seek the things that are interesting to them,” he says. The exotic Maharaja chairs might just work alongside a contemporary sofa, for example, or perhaps the French bookcases could serve as storage for plates in a kitchen. “Bottom line is, if you love something, it will look great in your home,” declares Chris.
Lars Bolander, Westport, larsbolander.com