Home > Culture, Inspiration > (Up)State of Grace

(Up)State of Grace

January 21, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Scandinavian Grace is a beautiful design gallery/cafe specializing in all things Scandinavian (as the name would suggest.)  Their first location was in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn; last fall they dramatically upped the cool quotient of Ulster County, NY with their new location in Shokan.  We’ve driven past it a dozen times on our way to our place just north in West Kill and finally made time to drop in over this past weekend.   Why we waited so long, I don’t know.  The 4500 sq foot former garage is filled with light, the wonderful smell of brewing coffee, and a lovingly curated selection of Scandinavian textiles, glassware, foods, toys and mid-century furniture.   I was sorely tempted to load up on the following:

Bicycle basket but how cool to hold magazines or even plants?

Bicycle basket but how cool to hold magazines or even plants?

These remind me of coffee mugs that would've been kicking around our house in the '70s.

These remind me of coffee mugs that would've been kicking around our house in the '70s.

Coupla these would look fine on my blue-ticking sofa from IKEA

Coupla these would look fine on my blue-ticking sofa from IKEA

As it turns out, THIS is what we bought.  My husband will eat these, not me.  I do not eat fiskeboller — fish balls to you and me — no matter how retro-fabulous the packaging.

Russians, like Scandinavians, luvvv that stinky fish.

Russians, like Scandinavians, luvvv that stinky fish.

Best thing about Scandinavian Grace is not the stuff (which is spectacular) but the proprietors.  Fredrik Larsson, one of the two owners, welcomed us in out of the frigid Catskills afternoon with a booming hello,  interrupted a guy repairing his coffee maker to brew us our lattes, and gave my son candy and a pencil (trust me — you’d want this pencil.  Pencils are cooler in Scandinavia.) 

Fredrik and his partner James Anthony say on their site, “We love objects of artistic form and practical function that become a vital enrichment to daily living rather than mere status symbols.” Their shop and cafe are vivid demonstrations of this passion.  In a time when lots of businesses have shut down on that stretch of Ulster County highway, I fervently hope the northern outpost of Scandinavian Grace makes it.  

For more pictures, check out Kelley Hoffman’s great post at The Pipeline.

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