NEW YORK — When Lars Bolander enlisted the help of his stepsons Howard Kalachnikoff, 29, a record producer, and Chris Kalachnikoff, 26, a graphic designer, to open an outpost of his antiques shop in the city, the Swedish interior designer found himself going where few dealers have gone before: the Meatpacking district. Located at 72 Gansevoort Street — a block better known for its eating establishments like Florent and Pastis than its antiquities — Lars Bolander New York, a 2,300-square-foot loft space, opens its doors July 11.
Like its predecessors in Palm Beach and East Hampton, the shop features Bolander’s rare finds, Gustavian and French 17th and 18th century furniture, European prints and paintings, and accessories, all culled from international antique fairs and dealers.
Unlike its predecessors, Howard and Chris will be in charge.
“My wife said, ‘We will not have another shop unless someone else in the family runs it,’” says Bolander, settled into a dark, expensive-looking chair alongside his jeans-clad sons in the new shop, and looking every inch the PB decorator in his signature round tortoise glasses, a yellow linen vest and loafers — no socks.
“Little did I ever think the boys would agree,” his wisecracking wife, Nadine Kalachnikoff, interjects from across the room.
“If you mentioned the word ‘antiques’ growing up, they ran the opposite way,” adds Bolander.
So, what brought about the boys’ change of heart?
Howard, an avid chef who lives on the Lower East Side, says, “I’ve learned to appreciate antiques a lot more and to feature them as pieces of artwork.” Chris, who lives in Brooklyn, spent time working for the legendary David Mlinaric in London and believes that getting into the family business is a natural step.
“We learned everything by osmosis,” he says, motioning to the surrounding objets: oversized stone urns, a grandfather clock, a lacquered black and white chest of drawers, all offset by the shop’s minimalist interior of poured concrete floors and skylights. “Growing up, our household looked a lot like this room.”
Though the brothers agree that their personal tastes veer toward the modern, they do believe, like their stepfather, that interiors are best when they feature a mix of things: a Moroccan rug paired with a Venetian set of drawers and an antique architectural desk, for example.
Their mother says her boys have an eye for antiques. “They don’t know it yet, but they have it,” she says. “They don’t always go for the most expensive thing.”
While her sons’ taste might be impeccable, their managerial style is yet to be proven. To that end, Nadine has already laid down some ground rules.
“One of them must be in the shop at all times,” she declares. “That’s the rule.”
Bolander, who will be introducing his new furniture line at the shop this fall, issued the other rule and declares it the most important lesson he can impart to them. “Tell the truth,” he says. “Never say something’s old if it’s not.”